Has white collar crime changed?
Two recent cases may show a new trend in white collar crimes.
White collar crimes often involve allegations those who have a high level of trust have misused this trust for their own financial gain. Although these basic components of white collar crime remain the same, a recent publication within Forbes questions whether the type of defendant has changed in recent years. The author contends that instead of simply an individual in a position of trust, we are now seeing a number of accused parties involving those who are in the position of oversight – arguably those with the highest level of trust.
Two examples: Admission scandal and paycheck fraud
The post used multiple examples to support the argument that we are experiencing a new trend in white collar crime. Two of the more prominent were Operation Varsity Blues and the controversy surrounding police officers in Massachusetts.
Operation Varsity Blues, also known as the College Admission Scandal, involves criminal charges against famous Hollywood families and executives accused of paying to get their children admission into universities throughout the country. The government has accused these parents of white collar crimes like mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering and conspiracy crimes. The prosecution has stated it has evidence these parents hired others to take or alter test scores to ensure the children had the numbers they needed for admission. In addition to parents, leaders within the college sports arena also face charges. The author states universities gave these individuals too much power to grant scholarships to student athletes, essentially setting up for the potential for abuse. Some of the accused have taken plea deals, while other cases are still progressing. The accused face hefty financial penalties and possible imprisonment.
The second example involves a scandal in Massachusetts. In this example, the government has accused a group of ten Massachusetts State Police troopers of inaccurately reporting work hours. The prosecution claimed the troopers were claiming overtime for patrols they did not conduct. Ultimately, the government states the officers exaggerated their hours resulting in payment for periods they were not at work. The prosecution was able to build a sufficient case and the officers were sentenced to prison time and financial penalties.
Examples and defenses to allegations of white-collar crime
As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Those who hold positions of trust are often held to higher levels of accountability compared to their peers. This can lead to increased scrutiny and allegations of wrongdoing.
Whether part of the most trusted members of the community or not, those who face such allegations are wise to act to protect their interests. Defenses are available. To build a successful case, the prosecution must establish certain elements to the crime. In general, a strong defense will challenge the prosecution’s attempts to establish these elements and any potential evidence where appropriate. However, the most appropriate defensive strategy or strategies will depend on the details of the allegations.