You’ve always tried to stay on the right side of the law, but you can’t control everything that goes on at your business. You may not be surprised that you’re facing white-collar crime allegations because of the size of the company, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them.

There are many kinds of white-collar crimes. If you’re accused of a white-collar crime, you need to know which crime you’re accused of. You may be accused of fraud, insider trading, embezzlement or other white-collar crimes that potentially have serious penalties.

One fortunate thing about these types of accusations is that they are very hard to prosecute. There are many complex transactions that happen in the daily life of a business, and if a person does intend to commit fraud, it’s likely that it will be very difficult to track.

The one type of person that can help the prosecution in this kind of case is a whistleblower, because he or she is a witness to the crime. There has been an increase in whistleblowing in the last several years, with 3,923 tips being sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2015. Many whistleblowers have the potential to be paid out for the crimes they report, which is the draw for providing information to the government.

White-collar crimes cost the United States around $300 billion every year. For this reason, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does prosecute those who participate in these crimes. The government can also sanction corporations if they involve themselves in offenses. Some of the potential penalties include restitution, forfeiture, supervised release or imprisonment. The penalties can be severe, so it’s in your best interests to develop a defense quickly.

Source: Cornell Law School, “White-collar crime,” accessed July 28, 2017