You don’t often hear about people wearing suits to work getting in trouble with the law. That’s because the violent crimes typically get the media attention. When someone is investigated for a crime involving money and the case does make it to the press, however, you can be sure that the money involved is not peanuts. This is what’s often referred to as a white collar crime.
What is a White Collar Crime?
A white collar crime is a non-violent crime, which usually involves government or business professionals, often those with the highest positions and with the most power. The crime is motivated by financial gain. Edwin Sutherland first defined it in 1939 as a crime committed in the course of the offender’s occupation, that offender being of high social status and respectability.
How Can You Prevent This in Your Company?
Perhaps the term most often associated with a white collar crime is fraud. Fraud can happen in an office somewhere, whether in government or the private sector. To stop this from happening in your own company, there are steps you can take:
Understand the law. Your business has legal requirements, and you should be well versed in them. It may not be easy to understand all areas of the law that affect your status and your business unless you’re a lawyer yourself. But you can talk to a white collar criminal defense lawyer regarding what is legal and what might get you in trouble. The Law Offices of Seth Kretzer agrees that it is wise to have a lawyer like that on retainer, just in case.
Understand how your company works. When you’re higher up on the corporate ladder, or when you’re the owner of a company, you may not always know what goes on down there. Micromanagement is unhealthy and possibly counterproductive, but you don’t need to go there just to know how your company works. You can install monitors so you’ll know how your employees are doing their jobs.
Encourage monitoring and reporting. Cultivate a culture of ownership, so that your people take responsibility where it applies in your company. But in case there are people who are taking advantage, it is good to know that there are others who can report such activity so you can nip it in the bud.
It’s not easy to keep everything in order when you’re the leader of a big company, but it is far more difficult and often riskier to ignore what could be going wrong. Remember, white collar crime indictments get people in jail, and make them pay up to the millions. Better to be safe than sorry.