What is White Collar Crime and the Country’s Approach to Reprimanding the Violators?
The mention of white collar crime sounds like a crime for the elites in the top corporates. But that’s not the case because anyone, including private citizens, can be a perpetrator of these crimes. It does not have to involve thousands or millions of dollars as most people think.
A simple act of bribing with a couple of dollars for a favour or obtaining a bribe to offer a person certain benefits is enough to charge you for a white collar crime. In the past few years, Australia has upped its fight against these crimes.
With the implementation of the 2018 Senate Inquiry recommendations, the government has strengthened the law against these white collar crimes. Crime investigating bodies like ASIC have been empowered to pursue harsher punishments for white-collar criminals.
What Is White Collar Crime?
White-collar crimes are financial-related criminal offences committed mainly by professionals entrusted with running businesses and other corporations. The crimes can occur both in the private sector and government departments.
Common White Collar Crimes
Offences under white-collar crime are countless but can all be placed under several categories. Here are some of the common crimes.
Fraud is any crime that is aimed at financial gain through wrongful or deceptive means. A good example is operating a Ponzi scheme to steal from unsuspecting investors. There have been many of these here in Australia. Tax evasion, identity theft, hacking, and theft of cash are also white-collar crimes under fraud. Penalties for these crimes include fines and jail terms depending on the volume of money involved. A Ponzi scheme involving a lot of money can result in many years in prison, including life imprisonment.
This is probably one of the cleanest white-collar crimes and usually involves colossal amounts of money. These crimes are very complex, and they involve companies, business entities, or individuals acting on behalf of a company. Corporate directors and other top officers are usually involved in these illegal activities. The crime usually includes stealing from the company. Depending on the amount of money stolen and the individual’s responsibility, penalties may vary from fines to many years in prison.
Bribery is one of the victimless white-collar crimes and sometimes very difficult to prosecute. This is because, in most cases, there are no complaints lodged. If caught, both the giver and the receiver are guilty of a criminal offence. Bribery usually includes paying for favours like influencing a tendering process. The bribe could be anything from money, positions, properties, etc.
Other white collar crimes include copyright infringement, identity theft, cybercrime, tax evasion and money laundering.
What The Government Is Doing To Deter White Collar Crime
The government of Australia, through a senate bill, increased penalties for white-collar crimes from late 2018. The bill also empowered Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to pursue harsher penalties against violators, including sanctions against involved banks. Today, punishments for white-collar crimes are harsher than a few years ago.
Being summoned, charged, or investigated for white-collar crimes can be extremely stressful. You must comply because non-compliance is an offence. What you need is a good legal team for advice during the hearing.
At Bouchier Khan Lawyers, we are criminal law experts with vast experience in white collar crimes investigations and trials. Contact us, and our team will ensure that your rights are protected.