A financial crime is any non-violent offense that is committed by or against an individual or corporation and results in a financial loss. When a financial institution is involved, the crime is referred to as a financial sector crime. Tax evasion, embezzlement of company funds, and the sale of fictitious insurance plans are just a few examples of financial crimes, while money laundering, credit card fraud, and check fraud are all instances of financial sector crimes. Most white collar crimes are classified as financial or financial sector crimes.
Although most financial crimes are felonies that carry harsh sentences, such crimes are becomingly increasingly common: in 1998 alone, more than 300,000 people were arrested for financial fraud, while in 1999, roughly one-third of Americans fell victim to some type of financial or financial sector crime.
Types of Financial Crimes
White collar crimes are nonviolent crimes committed in commercial situations by individuals, groups, or corporations for financial gain. They include but are not limited to the following types of fraud:
- Antitrust fraud includes the use of practices such as price-fixing and monopolies to stifle competition.
- Bankruptcy fraud is committed by businesses or individuals who conceal assets, mislead creditors, falsely claim bankruptcy, file multiple bankruptcy claims, or launch petition mills.
- Bribery is a crime in which money, a favor or something else of value is promised to, given to, or taken from an individual or corporation in an attempt to sway his or its views, opinions, or decisions.
- Computer fraud involves the use of a computer to engage in an illegal activity.
- Credit card fraud refers to the unauthorized use of a credit card to make purchases.
- Counterfeiting is the act of manufacturing fake currency or altering genuine currency.
- Embezzlement occurs when one who has been entrusted with funds steals them for his own benefit.
- Environmental fraud is the illegal release of potentially harmful pollutants into the air, water, or soil.
- Government fraud is any fraud committed against the U.S. Government or one of its contractors, including public housing, educational programs, and agricultural programs.
- Identity fraud refers to the theft of one’s personal information so as to use it for opening credit card accounts, applying for loans, purchasing cellular phones, or committing serious crimes.
- Insider trading occurs when someone who has confidential information uses it to reap profits or avoid losses on the stock market.
- Insurance fraud is the filing of artificial or exaggerated claims to an insurance company.
- Mail fraud involves the use of the U.S. Postal Service or another registered mail service to commit a crime.
- Securities fraud, or investment fraud, is intentional deception of investors that financially benefits the perpetrator. Numerous tactics of manipulation and misrepresentation can constitute securities fraud.
- Trade secret fraud is the theft of a confidential plan, formula, idea or collection of information that could benefit a business.