September 13, 2018
White-collar crime refers to a financial crime committed by business, corporate, and government professionals. While both embezzlement and money laundering are considered white-collar crimes, there are several differences.
The charge of embezzlement is usually reserved for those who have privileged access to the stolen property. Through this access, embezzlers acquire the goods or property without the knowledge of others.
Money laundering, on the other hand, usually involves funds that were acquired directly through criminal activity, such as:
- Drug deals
- Organized crime
- Terrorist activity
Embezzlement can occur on a very small scale, or it can occur on a large-scale, national level. This type of crime can go undetected for quite a while, because small amounts can be taken over a long period of time.
For example, a stock broker skims from client portfolios, or a cashier pockets money from cash transactions.
For an embezzlement charge to stick, several factors must be present:
- There must be a reliance by one party on the other
- One party acquired the property directly through that relationship
- The acquisition of funds or property was intentional
In New Jersey, the penalties for an embezzlement conviction vary depending on the amount stolen. However, those convicted of taking more than $10,000 could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of $150,000.
Money Laundering vs Embezzlement
In a sense, money laundering is a crime within a crime. In other words, money was first obtained through criminal activity, and now the “dirty” money must be “cleaned.” Money laundering is used when the illegally gotten funds cannot be spent or deposited without the risk of being caught.
For example, large sums of money were obtained in a drug deal. The funds cannot be directly deposited into a bank account without the risk of the bank notifying the government. Without a legitimate source to explain where the money has come from, the drug dealer risks being exposed.
Money launderers do not hide the money, but transfer their funds through seemingly legitimate, complicated channels. This is done for two reasons. The first is to make it difficult to identify the origin of the funds. The second is to have the money return to them through a legitimate, explainable resource.
For example, a launderer may use the following schemes to clean dirty money:
- Fictitious business investments
- Multiple bank accounts
- Off-shore accounts
Like embezzlement, the penalties for money laundering vary according to the amount of money involved. However, those that are convicted of laundering $500,000 or more could face up to 20 years in prison.
Haddon Heights Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé Defends Those Charged with White-Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes often involve complicated questions. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, you need help finding the answers with the diligent, thorough representation of a Haddon Heights criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé. We will tirelessly investigate the details of your case to protect your rights. Contact us online or call us today at 856-546-6600 for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout southern New Jersey at our Haddon Heights office.