Most white-collar crimes involve money; they are not violent but they are serious. Ponzi schemes can cause families to lose their life’s savings. Embezzlement can lead a company to bankruptcy, causing employees to lose their livelihoods. One individual’s greed can have ripple effects throughout a community.
Many cases of white collar crime are more modest; most involve some type of fraud. Individuals sometimes commit financial crimes for their own gain. A scam artist may coerce a friend or colleague to do something that seems devious but not necessarily illegal. The white collar criminal next door may be more guilty of gullibility than of guile.
No matter the circumstances, professionals accused of fraud can suffer harm to their reputation and career. If convicted, the consequences can be serious. Penalties may include imprisonment and heavy fines. Here are some common types of fraud.
Physicians and others in the medical field can commit Medicare fraud by billing Medicare for procedures they never performed. Patients may fail to notice the extraneous invoice items, so they do not alert Medicare. In other instances, doctors may complete one procedure but charge Medicare for a costlier one.
Medicare fraud is one type of insurance fraud, but there are other ways to scam insurance companies. Most commonly, insurance agents collect payments but use them for personal gain rather than sending them to the underwriter. Contractors can commit insurance fraud by submitting claims for work never performed. Individuals who exaggerate damage are also guilty of insurance fraud. Claimants and contractors may commit fraud by claiming that pre-existing damage was the result of a covered incident.
Mortgage fraud can take several forms, but it typically includes falsifying information to obtain a home loan. One blatant scam involves taking out a mortgage on a property that does not exist. Dishonest appraisals are common aspects of residential and commercial real estate schemes. Other types of mortgage fraud involve an individual using someone else’s identity or exaggerating income and assets.