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While crimes are committed for a wide variety of reasons, many are motivated for financial gains. Individuals in Virginia and elsewhere might face accusations for a serious financial crime, causing them to be charged with a white-collar crime. But this type of crime is different from violent crimes, and it is important that defendants understand what they are being accused of and what potential penalties he or she could face.

What is considered to be a white-collar crime? The most common types include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering. Additionally, most types of scams and frauds fall within the category of white-collar crime, which includes scams such as Ponzi schemes and securities fraud, such as insider trading. Less elaborate financial crimes are also included in the category, and contain more common crimes such as insurance fraud, identity theft and tax evasion.

When most people hear the term white-collar crime, he or she commonly thinks about fraud and financial crimes occurring in the accused's workplace. However, fraud and other white-collar crimes can occur in a wide variety of setting, involving individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. In the basic and simplest terms, fraud is the act of deceiving another for monetary gain. In securities fraud, this occurs when a person is involved in insider trading, which is the act of sharing inside information about a company and in turn violates a duty or obligation by sharing that information.

White-collar crimes also include embezzlement, which is the improper taking of money from another party that you owe some type of duty. Tax evasion, another white-collar crime, occurs when a person attempts to avoid taxes that they would otherwise owe. This can range from filing tax documents with false information or avoiding ax obligations altogether.

Money laundering, which can be a complex matter, is another type of white-collar crime. This involves the filtering of illegally obtained money through a series of transactions, which makes the money appear to be legitimate at the end of the process.

Those accused of a white-collar crime should understand the elements of the crimes that they are accused of, the consequences they could face and the defense options available. It is important that defendants assert their right to a criminal defense. This could help the accused avoid conviction or result in reduced charges.

Source: Findlaw.com, "White Collar Crime," accessed May 21, 2017

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