Criminal Defense

5 Common White Collar Crimes, Explained

By September 6, 2020No Comments

White-collar criminal activity is one of the most wide-ranging of any set of crimes, with myriad opportunities for fraud, theft, and more. 

But what do those crimes actually entail? What do some of the most common white-collar crimes actually look like in action and result? Check out our list below for five examples of these serious offenses.

1. Falsifying Financial Documents: Misrepresenting accounting, bookkeeping, or other financial figures is a serious offense and is typically done in an effort to avoid regulatory oversight from a business commission or other governing body. It is also done to obtain bank or SBA loans (such as PPP or EIDL) or to deceive other businesses into granting credit.  Discovery of falsified financial documents is very often the clue that leads investigators to uncover major fraud cases. 

2. Insider Trading: Oftentimes, those at a high level within a company will have access to proprietary or private information that will influence how a company is about to perform. While it’s not illegal to have this knowledge, it is illegal to use it for one’s own personal gain (such as buying or selling a stock). 

3. Money Laundering: This is described by the FBI as the process where criminals conceal or disguise their illegal proceeds and make them appear legitimately earned. Typically, money laundering is an ancillary crime to other criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking and corporate fraud. Oftentimes, money laundering requires the cooperation of several different entities in order to distribute “dirty” money broadly into circulation.  Hence, money laundering generally involves a conspiracy.

4. Securities and Commodities Fraud: There are a number of different ways this can occur ranging from embezzlement to pyramid schemes. This type of activity can occur within one national economic system, or across multiple countries, which is becoming increasingly common. As more money is invested in more financial vehicles within economies, the risk of fraud increases as well. 

5. Intellectual Property Theft & Piracy: Intellectual property is how people claim ownership of their “ideas, inventions and creative expressions” (as the FBI describes) and our intensely digital workplaces now provide more opportunity than ever for others to steal this property or pirate it. The outcomes of these types of crimes can be especially damaging as digital property often includes trade secrets, sensitive financial information, and more. 


When it comes to white-collar crimes, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These types of crimes can be difficult to prove and require the guidance of knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorneys to solve these tough cases. Wegman & Levin has decades of experience litigating white-collar crimes in Southern California and is ready to help whether you’re being accused of a crime or are under investigation. Call us today at (818) 980-4000 to schedule a free consultation.

Michael M. Levin, Esq.

Michael M. Levin, Esq.

Michael M. Levin is an experienced attorney who has been in private practice as a criminal defense lawyer for over 25 years. He has conducted numerous jury trials in cases ranging from DUI to capital murder. Read More