White collar crimes are one area where the border between legal and illegal can blur (in people’s minds, at least).
“Borrowing” money with the intention to put it back later, overcharging to make up for something you lost out on or claiming more expenses than allowed are all things people may be able to justify to themselves as OK. Yet law enforcement officials probably won’t agree if it comes to their attention.
These are the top five most frequent white collar crimes as a percentage of the total:
- Fraud 63.3%
- Racketeering and extortion 8.59%
- Larceny and theft 7.9%
- Money laundering 5.71%
- Tax evasion 4.49%
It’s also possible that many white collar crimes are never prosecuted. One report found that an estimated 90% of white collar crimes never get reported. It also found that only 4,727 prosecutions for them took place in 2021, and white collar crime cases only accounted for 3% of all federal prosecutions. Ultimately, that means those who are prosecuted, however, can expect the full focus of the authorities turned their way.
You still need to take charges seriously
The report found the average sentences included five months for gambling and lottery-related crimes, 13 months for tax evasion, and 27 months for fraud. The effect that could have on you and your family is massive, and however long your sentence is, the criminal record you get will be with you for life.
If you have realized that something you did was not technically legal, there may be steps you can take to rectify the situation and avoid further consequences. If someone has already discovered your mistakes and you are looking at charges, you’ll need legal help. While the rate of discovery and prosecution might seem low, the consequences of a conviction are high.