What are Occupational Crimes?
Also known as workplace crimes, occupational crimes are defined as offenses that are committed by someone during the course of his or her employment. Occupational crimes encompass a wide range of criminal acts, but the most common include white collar offenses, such as embezzlement, money laundering, tax fraud, and the misuse of company information or property.
Although all white collar crimes tend to come with harsh penalties, occupational offenses are often accompanied by particularly severe consequences, including jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of a professional license or practice, so if you have been accused of committing an occupational crime, it is critical to contact an experienced white collar crime lawyer who can help you present a strong defense.
Defining Occupational Crimes
Occupational crimes typically originate in an employee’s unlawful use of company information, property, funds, or data and because they usually do not involve violence, are usually charged as white collar crimes. For instance, an accountant at a manufacturing business who purposely withheld information about company revenue from the IRS can be found guilty of corporate tax fraud because he or she used access to sensitive company information, namely revenue reports, to defraud the federal government.
Common Forms of Occupational Crime
The most common type of occupational crimes are actually white collar offenses, or financial crimes that are committed by employees or business professionals. It’s important to note that occupational crimes are not limited to those who work in the private sector. The corruption of government officials, for example, also qualifies as an occupational crime. Other common examples of occupational crime include:
- Money laundering;
- Altering company records without authorization;
- Committing tax fraud;
- Misusing company data or property; and
- Committing stock and securities violations.
These types of offenses are not always committed by a single individual, but often involve multiple employees, managers, supervisors, officers, and business owners. Regardless of how many people were involved the offense, most occupational crimes fall under a few different categories, including:
- Crimes of trust, or property crimes that involve deliberate contact with at least one victim or an attempt to conceal the fact that a crime has been committed;
- Offenses that were committed in the course of employment, such as accepting bribes;
- Crimes committed in furtherance of business operations, but not operations that are central to business purposes, such as misrepresentation in advertising; and
- Offenses in which crime is the central activity of the business, such as real estate fraud.
Occupational crimes are particularly common in certain professions. Over-billing by healthcare professionals, for example, is a common charge amongst medical professionals, while public officials and law enforcement officers are more at risk of being accused of offenses like bribery and corruption.
Call Today for Help with Your Defense
For help understanding your own pending occupational crime charges, please call dedicated Seminole white collar crime lawyer Justin Reep at Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff today. A member or our legal team can be reached at 727-330-6502 or via online message, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.