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November 13, 2013 at 03:00 AM EST
White collar crimes on the rise, NPR reports
White collar crimes are generally nonviolent crimes. Yet, a conviction could lead to decades behind bars.

November 13, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- National Public Radio, or NPR, recently reported that white collar crimes are on the rise throughout the country. The report was part of a piece discussing the conviction and sentencing of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for a variety of white collar crimes. The mayor's actions have been described as devastating to the city of Detroit during an already difficult time. His crimes included extortion and bribery.

The occurrence of white collar crimes is not the only thing on the rise. According to the report, sentencing is also becoming much more severe. The severity of penalties associated with these crimes is intended to serve as a deterrent, encouraging those who consider similar crimes to think twice before actually committing the crime. In the above example, Mayor Kilpatrick was sentenced to almost 30 years of imprisonment in a federal facility.

White collar crime basics

White collar crime is a legal term used to describe a variety of crimes that are committed for financial gain. Examples include:
- Tax evasion. This occurs when an individual attempts to avoid paying taxes that are owed to the federal or state government. One example involves incorrectly completing tax documents or a failure to file proper forms.
- Embezzlement. If an employee is trusted with money and siphons that money for his or her own use, the employee has committed the crime of embezzlement. This could occur if a bank teller chooses to transfer money that is the property of the bank into his or her own account.
- Fraud. This occurs anytime a person deceives another for monetary gain. One example is securities fraud such as insider trading. Generally, insider trading is committed whenever a person makes a stock trade based on information not available to the general public. Other examples include mortgage and insurance fraud.

These are just three examples of white collar crime.

Sentencing of white collar crimes

Although there are other types of white collar crimes, one thing is true for all these nonviolent offenses: legal professionals are voicing concerns that the sentences associated with these crimes are too harsh. The United States is struggling to manage its prison population, and some legal professionals are concerned putting a nonviolent offender away for almost 30 years is an unreasonable use of resources.

Sentencing of these crimes was not always so harsh. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, passed in 1987, led to a dramatic increase in the penalties associated with white collar crimes. A recent report by Forbes notes that prior to the passage of this law, a harsh sentence for this type of crime was one or two years. With this law in place, a sentence of two or more decades is not uncommon.

Due to the severity of penalties associated with these crimes, those charged with a white collar crime should take the charges seriously. Contact an experienced white collar crime lawyer. This legal professional will be able to review your case and help you develop a defense to better ensure your legal rights are protected.

Article provided by Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass
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