The legal system in Iowa handles a broad range of cases. While the public may be more familiar with crimes like car theft and bank robbery, another class of financial crimes happens in the business world. White-collar crime is a unique subset of criminal activity.
The world of white-collar crime
Iowa businesses handle millions of dollars every day. This amount provides a temptation that some employees cannot resist. However, instead of emptying a cash register, they will use their knowledge of finances to divert the money quietly.
Because the transactions are not happening in the open, it may take some time before a business recognizes any irregularities. A criminal may have been stealing money for years before anyone catches on. The police work in these financial crimes often involves accountants trained to follow the digital trail of money.
Types of white-collar offenses
White-collar crimes take several forms. Criminals can steal from their businesses, hide money for other criminals or take advantage of unsuspecting investors. Some common types of financial crimes include:
- Insider trading
- Pyramid schemes
- Money laundering
The white-collar crime profile
White-collar criminals typically have a different background than criminals involved in traditional street crimes. They are often in positions of power and trust within their businesses, giving them access to company funds.
As with any illegal activity, white-collar crimes involve risk. The typical perpetrator is a middle-aged, well-educated professional with the knowledge and skill to hide their efforts for a time. A history of low-level criminal activity is also a common part of the white-collar criminal profile.
Preventing white-collar crime
Many business-related crimes are acts of opportunity. As businesses learn more about the risk factors for white-collar crime, they will want to take advantage of background checks and regular audits. Reducing the opportunity will minimize the risk.