White-collar crime is so named because it generally involves financial issues. White-collar professionals, like accountants and those in the financial sector, may be involved in these criminal activities in some cases due to the nature of their work and ability to access company funds, for example.

Sometimes, people get caught up in white-collar scams and schemes that they didn’t realize they were participating in, and in those cases, they may be accused of a crime unfairly. If you’re accused of a white-collar crime, you need to understand that the charges are serious and that you need to put together a strong defense to protect yourself.

White-Collar Crimes are Nonviolent but Serious

White-collar crimes aren’t violent in nature, but they can still harm people. For example, insider trading uses nonpublic information to help someone gain an advantage in the financial markets. For instance, you might buy stock from company B if you know that company B is buying another company to make itself more profitable and to reduce competition. If you make that purchase with information the public doesn’t have, you may have participated in a white-collar crime.

White-Collar Crime Examples

  • Identity theft
  • Cybercrimes
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Counterfeiting
  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement

…as well as others. Regardless of the kind you’re accused of, there are steps you have to take quickly to protect your own best interests.

What should you do if you’re accused of a white-collar crime?

If you’re accused of a crime or realize you’re being investigated, it’s time to look into your legal rights and to make sure you have someone on your side.

Your priority should be to protect yourself from the moment you realize that you may be accused of illegal acts. For example, if you’ve seen the Federal Bureau of Investigation at your place of work and you suspect they’re going through documents you worked on previously, contacting your attorney to make sure you’re protected is a good idea. The situation may never rise to charges, but you’ll want to be sure you’re ready if you are charged or accused of an illegal action.