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When is a white-collar crime a federal offense?

While a person should be concerned over any criminal charge, regardless of type, it is understandable that you might worry about whether your white-collar charge sees a federal court. Convictions for federal crimes often bear more consequences than those for state crimes. Such consequences may include hefty fines and potentially years in prison.

Whether the crime for which you are charged is a federal crime depends on the circumstances. But, often, white-collar crimes are tried on the federal level. In fact, the federal government has constitutional authority in regulating white-collar crimes.

The reason these offenses are federal crimes is that they often occur in such a way that they affect interstate commerce. Or, to put it another way, the individuals involved in the crime commit the acts across state lines. So, for instance, a person may wire embezzled funds from one account in California to another account in Denver. This interstate action qualifies the crime as federal in nature.

How do I know if a crime is a white-collar crime?

Unsure whether a crime is a white-collar crime? To put it simply, white-collar crimes tend to involve a deceptive individual motivated by the prospect of financial profit. A Ponzi scheme, for example, is a white-collar crime in which the offender takes advantage of investors. The offender may lie about certain numbers or products and then use money from new investors to make return payments to the initial wave of investors. This is not unlike a pyramid scheme.

Other common white-collar crimes include internet fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and securities fraud. Of course, the spectrum of what qualifies as a white-collar crime is wide and varies more and more as technology advances.