Occupational crime involves abuses of structural systems in the workplace in order to accomplish various white-collar crimes. Most of these involve access by employees, managers, or other workers seeking personal gain. Occupational crime bears many similarities to organized crime, and may involve overlaps with organized crime elements. In some cases, occupational crime is accomplished by the combined efforts of many persons, rather than a single individual.
Different types of acts may be considered occupational crime. Some common types of occupational crime may include:
- Money laundering
- Tax fraud and various employment tax evasion violations
- Stocks and securities violations
- Altering records (“cooking the books”)
- Corruption of government officials
Occupational crime may also involve more industry-specific violations, such as toxic dumping or other environmental violations. Some industries are more highly regulated than others.
Most occupational crime punishments are determined according to the economic damages involved. For instance, embezzlement crimes may either be categorized as misdemeanors or felonies. The difference generally lies in the dollar amount stolen. Limits between misdemeanor and felony charges may be different according to each jurisdiction.
In addition, punishments may be determined according to other factors like:
- Amount of property damage
- Amount of harm to the environment
- Whether the violation is highly offensive to public policies and standards of acceptable conduct
- Whether the defendants have a history of similar crimes
- The number of persons involved in the crime scheme
As in any other criminal case, defenses may apply depending on the facts.
Occupational crime can often involve widespread corruption or hazards in the workplace. Some occupational crime cases are filed as class action lawsuits if they affect a large number of people in the same way. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with any type of occupational crime issue. An attorney can provide you with legal advice for your situation. Also, if you have any specific concerns or questions regarding your company’s business practices, your lawyer can help ensure that your group is complying with state and federal laws.