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Most people have heard the term white collar crimes usually from news channels and movies, but not many of them have a complete idea of the activities that fall under this category. A white collar crime refers to an act of theft that entails retrieval of financial data and assets with the intent of using the information for one’s own benefit.
The reason they are called white collar crimes is that they mostly take place in professional settings, where the victim and the offender are in little to no contact with each other. In some cases, people do not even know they are being targeted or have been a victim of the offense until the damage has been done.
To help you protect yourself from becoming a victim, here are some common types of white collar crimes you should know about in Illinois:
1. Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the most prevailing crimes these days because it has become quite easy for criminals to get personal information of another person. This white collar crime refers to the unauthorized use of information, such as name, address, license number, social security number, and others, with the intention to commit fraud for gaining services or goods, or any other form of felony.
The penalties and charges for identity theft vary from case to case, and are primarily based on several aggravating factors and the value of services or goods that were stolen in the process. Even a minor identity theft charge can get the offender a class 4 felony.
Embezzlement is considered a serious crime in the court of law because it involves a person in an authoritative position or a position of trust. It refers to the act of acquiring assets or goods unlawfully through exploiting the position of trust. For example, a school administrator misusing funds of the district. Embezzlement is generally dealt with Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/16-1.
The punishment for embezzlement depends on the amount of money and property stolen, and the offender can be charged with class 4 (between $500 and $10,000), class 3 (between $10,000 and $100,000), class 2 (between$100,000 and $500,000), or class 1 (between$500,000-$1,000,000) felony.
3. Credit Card Fraud
Similar to identity theft, credit card fraud is when a person engages in an unauthorized action for obtaining goods or services. The most common way of committing this white collar crime is by stealing another person’s credit card, and making purchases using it. However, credit card fraud can involve higher amounts and can become more complicated if there are more people involved, for example, a big credit card theft ring.
An offender can be charged with a class A misdemeanor, class 3 felony or a class 4 felony, based on the extent of the crime. Others forms of credit card related theft include wire or mail fraud, healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, and ATM fraud.
In addition to the above three types, bribery, forgery, and money laundering are also considered as white collar crimes, and have harsh penalties and charges. Whether you have been a victim or convicted for any of these white collar crimes, it is best that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact the law firm of Michael D. Ettinger & Associates, 708-377-5426 to discuss your case today.