A particular type of crime known as white-collar crime is more typical than other types of crimes among business executives. In fact, the name “white collar” derives from the image of a business executive, who may often wear a white-collared shirt to work, as opposed to so-called blue-collar workers in manual trades.

In the state of West Virginia, white-collar crime hit the top levels of state business. One example is that of former Massey Energy Company CEO Donald Blankenship. A Federal District Court in West Virginia sentenced Blankenship to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. This is a typical case of white-collar crime, which is financially motivated and nonviolent.

Types of white-collar crime

White-collar crime is quite prevalent in businesses where financial transactions take the forefront, such as Wall Street. However, even small businesses can see a fair share of this type of criminal behavior. Petty cash theft and embezzlement are fairly common, from the smallest mom-and-pop businesses up to large corporations. Other types of white-collar crime include bank and credit card fraud, creating false bank accounts, and identity fraud. 

Consequences of white-collar crime

Like in the Blankenship case, prison can be one serious consequence of white-collar crime. In that case, federal prosecutors tried the case and won a conviction. The FBI investigates white-collar crime at the federal level. A strategic defense is absolutely necessary to have the best chances of avoiding a conviction, which can bring heavy fines in addition to jail time. Other costs of white-collar crime convictions include the damage to a company and an individual’s business and professional reputation, which can have significant costs in terms of revenue and company success. Another penalty, in addition to the potential for jail time and fines, is that of a criminal record. Having a criminal record has several consequences in and of itself that can make employment more difficult.

The risks of white-collar crime are serious, and a conviction can bring lifelong consequences. If authorities have charged you with a white collar crime, your best option is to build a strong and strategic defense so that you can have the best chance in court of either an acquittal or, in the absence of that, the possibility for a lesser sentence.