Many, if not most, white collar crimes involve various forms of fraud. Fraud, in general, is a crime that involves one party intentionally or willfully deceiving another for some form of financial reward. One especially common form of white collar crime is securities fraud. Securities fraud describes a variety of activities, such as insider trading that utilize various forms of deception to manipulate the marketplace for financial gain, which is what happened in a recent case involving people from California and a number of other states.
In a recent case caught the attention of federal law enforcement investigators arrested 14 people on federal fraud charges. Law enforcement agents allege that the individuals participated in a long-term securities fraud scheme to manipulate stock prices. Authorities further claim that the alleged fraud resulted in more than 20,000 investors losing more than $30 million after the highly inflated stock prices finally collapsed.
According to the grand jury indictments, the fraud scheme included multiple individuals who conspired to gain control of the majority share of public companies, and concealed that control through the purchase and transfer of company shares to offshore accounts. The indictment further alleges that these individuals inflated prices and trading volumes of stocks through marketing campaigns, misleading press releases, cross-trading, and stock promoters, and then coordinated the sale of these companies at peak times and hid profits.
Like many other forms of white-collar crime, typically, both state and federal laws govern securities fraud. Furthermore, private individuals, such as investors, or government agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, can commence legal actions against those who commit securities fraud. In the present matter, if convicted, many of the men accused could face up to 100 years in prison, while others will face life sentences.
Source: Sarasota Patch, “Sarasota Man Among 14 Arrested on Fraud Charges Costing Investors Millions,” Tom Whitt, Feb. 14, 2013.