What are financial crimes? - Sand Law North Dakota
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What are financial crimes?

22nd February 2022

What are financial crimes - Sand Law PLLC North Dakota Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you’ve been charged with a financial crime, an attorney with Sand Law will be ready to make sure your rights are protected at every turn. These kinds of charges can be extremely serious, leading to life-changing penalties. But we’ll be with you every step of the way, and tell you exactly what to expect at all times.

Please get in touch with us as soon as you can. We have the skill and experience needed to tackle the complexities associated with this area of the law. Call 701-609-1510 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Understanding Financial Crime

Facing a charge for a financial crime is nothing to trifle with. While you might think that this is a minor inconvenience, it’s actually a huge problem. The penalties can involve incredibly large fines, as well as a lengthy prison sentence.

So-called “white collar” crimes are non-violent offenses typically committed for some sort of illegal financial gain. Most people charged with financial crimes are professionals, such as doctors, accountants, business owners and the like. However, anyone can face this kind of charge.

Types of Financial Crime

Financial crimes involve a broad range of offenses. These are just a few of the ones that are the most common.


Fraud can be committed in many different ways. Bank fraud is just one example. It typically involves an effort to deceptively obtain money or property from a financial institution, or from depositors. Most defendants are accused of trying to defraud a bank by committing crimes such as check, credit or debit card, or internet fraud. Identity theft is often considered bank fraud as well. Investment schemes also fall under this category.

This is a federal offense, one that comes with extremely harsh penalties. People charged with bank fraud can face up to 30 years in jail, as well as a fine of $1 million or more.

Money Laundering

In a nutshell, this means trying to obscure the source of money a person has obtained. If that money was obtained through illegal means, money launderers will try to make the transaction appear legal.

Money laundering can take many forms. For example, someone might try to conceal money made through drug trafficking. This could also result in an added charge of tax evasion, since that person will obviously not report that extra income to the IRS. Insurance fraud can also be a type of money laundering. This kind of scheme usually involves collecting money from an insurance company, and then mixing it with funds obtained from legitimate sources.

Terrorist Financing

Spurred by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act that same year. Part of the Act is known as the International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001. Its purpose is to criminalize the financing of terrorist organizations.

All financial institutions are required to check the identities of customers against a list of either suspected or known terrorists. This applies to private as well as foreign bank accounts. Institutions may not do any business with known foreign shell banks. If a financial institution representative is found to have willfully looked the other way and allowed terrorist financing to occur, that person could face significant fines as well as prison time.

Bribery and Corruption

This typically applies to elected officials, but it can also apply to federal government employees as well. People who serve on federal juries could also be charged with this form of federal crime.

In most instances, public officials will face bribery and corruption charges if suspected or receiving any sort of gratuity or bribe in exchange for trying to influence a piece of legislation. But these charges can be levied for any sort of inducement involving any kind of official duty.

Insider Trading

Insider trading is also a federal offense, one that usually results from a joint investigation by the Security Exchange Commission and the FBI. The reason it’s illegal is that people are not allowed to use inside information regarding a publicly-traded company – information that the general public doesn’t have. If someone uses this information to profit through the trading of stocks, they can be charged with insider trading.

Most people assume stockbrokers are the only ones who are typically charged with insider trading, but others can face this charge as well. These include employees of corporations, as well as their friends and family members. Not only can the person who profited from the information face penalties, so can the person who provided that information.


As the name implies, cybercrime is any sort of illegal activity performed through the use of a computer. Theft and fraud are the offenses most often associated with cybercrime, but the definition has expanded over the years. Other offenses regarded as cybercrimes include stalking, drug trafficking, child exploitation, harassment and others.

Any sort of scam conducted over the internet is a cybercrime. Examples include internet auction fraud, credit card fraud and many others. In some instances, a computer is the target of a cybercrime, rather than the tool used to commit it. This includes targeting a computer network with a virus.

What to do if You’re Arrested for Financial Crime

If you have been arrested for a financial crime (or any other type of crime, for that matter), the first thing to do will be to hire an attorney as soon as you can. You should actually contact an attorney even if you suspect that you’re being investigated for committing a crime.

Even though you need to act quickly, you also need to be careful. Only consider attorneys who have an extensive amount of experience defending people charged with committing financial crimes. Again, financial crimes are incredibly complex, and defending them takes a great deal of skill and knowledge.

You should also refrain from discussing the case with anyone – including your spouse or any other family members, friends, or anyone else. Don’t post anything on social media that remotely involves your case. Also, never talk to a law enforcement official without having an attorney by your side.

Contact a North Dakota Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Sand Law has a team of criminal defense experts who will work to gather the evidence needed to clear your name. We know the elements of a wrongful arrest, and we will find any sort of mistakes law enforcement may have made in building the case against you. It could have been something as simple as failing to read your Miranda rights, or it could be something that will take a great deal of digging to uncover.

Regardless of how much work it might take, we will be more than willing to put forth the effort. Use our online form or call 701-609-1510 to learn more about how we may be able to help.