The term “occupational crime” is often used to describe certain types of white collar crimes, namely those that involve the abuse of structural workplace systems. Most people who are accused of occupational crime are employees or managers, and in many cases, a large group of employees may be charged at the same time. These types of charges can have serious consequences for the accused’s personal life and business reputation, as many defendants are forced to pay extremely high fines and may even face jail time. Even those who are exonerated are often maligned in the news, which can affect both personal and business prospects for years to come. Because the stakes are so high in these types of cases, it is critical for those who are being investigated for involvement in an occupational crime to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help them begin formulating a defense.
What Qualifies as an Occupational Crime?
A variety of different kinds of activities fall under the broad category of occupational crimes, the most common of which include:
- Money laundering;
- Tax fraud;
- The misuse of company property or information;
- Stocks and securities violations;
- Altering business records; and
- The corruption of government officials.
Occupational crimes are also referred to as workplace crimes and mainly originate in an employee’s access to company funds, data, or property. When this access is used to defraud the company, the government, or someone else, a person can be charged with an occupational crime. Because they are non-violent, occupational offenses are almost always charged as white collar crimes, which are penalized differently depending on a series of factors, including:
- The amount of property damage sustained as a result of the accused’s actions;
- The amount of harm done to the environment (in cases of toxic dumping and environmental regulation violations);
- Whether the offense violates public policy or general standards of acceptable conduct;
- Whether the defendants have a prior criminal record; and
- The number of individuals involved in the alleged scheme.
After analyzing these factors, prosecutors can charge the accused with either a misdemeanor or a felony offense, or in some cases, both.
Types of Occupational Crimes
Occupational crimes usually fall under one of a few different categories, all of which vary depending on the motivation of the alleged perpetrators. These categories include:
- Crimes committed by individuals, such as income tax evasion or bankruptcy fraud;
- Crimes committed in the course of employment by employees, which includes accepting bribes, embezzlement, and pilfering;
- Crimes that are in furtherance of business operations, but not central to business purposes, such as prescription fraud and misrepresentation in advertising; and
- Crime as a central activity of a business, which includes medical and real estate fraud.
Fraudulent activity is especially likely to occur in certain professions. For example, over billing by medical professionals is a common white collar charge. Law enforcement officers and public officials are also at risk of being accused of accepting bribes or of involvement in other forms of corruption. In the former case, even minor clerical errors can result in white collar charges if the practice led to incorrect billing.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
Please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to discuss your case with an experienced white collar crime attorney. Our Miami legal team is eager to assist you today.