What Qualifies as White-Collar Crime in Washington State?

White-collar crimes do not involve physical violence. Instead of using physical force or the threat of such action, the white-collar crime alleged victim claims that the accused obtained the money or other assets through fraud or trickery. A conviction of a white-collar crime can send a person to a correctional institution for months or years and impose a fine of thousands of dollars, according to Section 9A.20.021 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). 

If someone accuses you of committing a white-collar crime, a Seattle white collar crimes attorney can protect your legal rights and fight to get you the best result possible. Be sure to talk to a lawyer right away before things happen that can cause irreparable harm to your case.

Identity Theft

The term “identity theft” makes people think of a stranger in another country who buys Social Security numbers and other personal data, then uses it to steal the life savings of innocent people. While that scenario does happen, you might find yourself wrongly accused of identity theft after a relationship ends badly. 

Your former friend could try to exact vengeance by getting you arrested on false allegations of identity theft. For example, if you had permission to use that person’s debit or credit card to make purchases, after the relationship sours, you might get accused of using the card without permission.


Common examples of embezzlement include store cashiers who pocket cash from the register, bank workers who dip into inactive accounts, and office managers who skim money from the boss. A person does not have to steal from an employer, however, to get charged with embezzlement. 

Money can “go missing” from any type of business, particularly those that handle a great deal of cash. Let’s say that the store manager claims that money is missing from the office’s safe. She accuses you of stealing the funds. There are several reasons you could get falsely charged with embezzlement:

  • The manager stole the money and accused you of theft as a scapegoat.
  • Someone else took the money.
  • No one stole the money. The manager miscounted or made some other mistake.

Regardless of the reason, a false allegation of embezzlement could ruin your career.   

Mail and Wire Fraud

If someone uses the postal service to commit fraud, the charge can be mail and wire fraud. For example, “junk mail” that makes offers of home repairs and remodeling might be a front for an illegal financing scheme.

Elder Financial Abuse

Every year, seniors lose billions of dollars to others. Sometimes, the older adult merely made a poor financial decision. In some other situations, the senior got tricked out of money through a financial abuse gimmick like the emails that tell people to send them thousands of dollars to collect an inheritance from a relative they never heard of in another part of the world. 

Money Laundering

Law enforcement investigators tend to file charges of money laundering when they cannot make a case against someone for the suspected underlying activity. An example of this is when a person gets accused of setting up a money-losing business to legitimize profits allegedly made from illegal activity. These cases are sophisticated and often involve forensic accounting.

A Seattle White Collar Crimes Attorney can evaluate your situation and build a defense while making sure that the court system does not trample on your legal rights. Contact our office today.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.