Common white-collar crimes include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering. White-collar crimes are usually motivated by a desire for financial gain, and the penalties can be disastrous. Penalties for white-collar crimes can include fines, home detention, community confinement, paying the cost of prosecution, forfeitures, restitution, supervised release, and imprisonment, according to the Legal Information Institute. So why do people put their quality of life, reputation, jobs, and futures at risk by committing white-collar crimes? Personal Finance expert Roomy Khan gives some insight, explaining 9 of the most common motivators for white-collar crimes.
- Poorly designed job incentives: According to Forbes, this happens when finance professionals are compensated and rewarded for short-term profits. All too often, in order to maximize their performance-based compensation, employees break the law. Sometimes employees don’t even know how serious of a crime they are committing! But ignorance or foolish behavior alone won’t stop the judges! If you’ve been motivated to break the law because of a job incentive, it’s time to have an experienced criminal defense attorney help you tell your side of the story.
- Management nonchalance towards ethics: Unfortunately, sometimes investment firms use expert networks to legitimize the use of inside information for stock trading. Some companies even make bribery a “business model,” leading to huge scandals and some serious consequences for employees.
- Unethical behavior perceived as harmless: White-collar crimes are not victimless crimes! However, as Forbes explains, many employees view it as such – for example, an insider trader does not see who is being cheated on the other end of the crime. Similarly, salespeople bribing their clients feel they are doing their job by getting a deal while not harming anyone. Many individuals committing accounting fraud (a very common white-collar crime) start with the justification “it is a one-time event.” If you’ve fallen into this trap, you could be facing life-long consequences. Make the smart decision and contact a defense attorney today.
- Aggressive goals without goalposts: This happens all too frequently in the corporate world. And while it might start with faulty leadership, employers can still face serious penalties for their actions. “Do what it takes,” is a common management directive used to achieve aggressive goals open the possibility of unethical strategies. In these cases, company management tends to delegate ambiguous directives to others in their organization and turn a willfully blind eye to unethical behaviors. For example, Wells Fargo management set aggressive new account quota goals leading employees to create millions of fake accounts. Remember, even if someone else created an unethical work culture, you can still be liable for your actions!
- Moral hazard: Forbes describes this situation as a work culture where risk-takers have incentives to undertake riskier decisions because other people are bearing the consequences. But remember that the tides can turn, meaning that employees bear the legal consequences for illegal and unethical actions. Common moral hazard situations include: comprehensive health insurance creating an incentive for doctors to overprescribe medical procedures or personal property insurance policies creating incentives to file false claims.
- Disregard for the law and a false belief that everyone misbehaves: This mentality encourages misbehaviors and downplays the harsh consequences. But disagreement with the law does not prevent legal consequences.
- Hubris due to success: Thinking that laws don’t apply to you can lead to foolish criminal behaviors, and then shock and surprise when you find yourself facing charges with serious penalties if convicted! A criminal defense attorney can work to get your charges dropped.
- Motivated blindness: This is the failure to acknowledge unethical behavior in an attempt to avoid consequential self-harm. For example, paid and retained accounting firms with oversight responsibilities of client company financial statements have an incentive to overlook accounting transgressions.
- Pilfering public or private entities: Stealing from a large company or the government can seem attractive because there is an abundance of cash to steal from and no perceived guilt of hurting anyone. Doctors, pharmacists, and patients at times conspire to defraud the system. Examples of fraud include billing for services not rendered, overutilization of services, kickbacks, over-prescription of addictive drugs and colluding with pharmaceutical companies, reports Forbes.
Have you found yourself in a situation where you have either willfully or accidentally committed a white-collar crime? Are you facing accusations or charges from the government or your employer in McAllen, Texas? No matter what your original motivations were, the potential penalties for white-collar crimes are nothing to be taken lightly. Don’t risk the life-altering results of a white-collar crime conviction. Get help from a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in white-collar crime laws. Get started by calling (956) 261-5609 or by sending a message online.
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