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White Collar Crimes That Can Be Committed Without Intent

White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes typically consist of the wrongful diversion of things of value from their rightful owners by nonviolent means. Such crimes often involve a certain level of intent, but not always. People can act with other levels of purpose in pursuing financial gains or in disregarding legal duties and obligations. In many cases, the commission of a white collar crime can be negligent or accidental.

Here are a few federal white collar crimes for which a defendant can be convicted without proof of wrongful intent:

  1. Strict liability offenses — Some white collar crimes are categorized as strict liability offenses, meaning that individuals can be held criminally responsible for the prohibited conduct without proof of intent. Examples include certain environmental or regulatory offenses where the mere act of violating a statute or regulation is sufficient for prosecution.
  2. Negligence-based crimes — In certain cases, white collar crimes may be established based on negligence, where the accused party failed to exercise a high standard of care. For instance, a company might be held criminally liable for environmental pollution resulting from negligence, even if the intent to do harm is not proven.
  3. Conspiracy — While conspiracy charges often involve proving an agreement to commit a crime and some overt act in furtherance of that agreement, the specific intent to commit the underlying offense may not be required. This allows prosecutors to charge individuals involved in a conspiracy even if they did not personally carry out the criminal acts.
  4. Strict liability in occupational safety and health cases — Certain white collar offenses related to workplace safety and health are strict liability offenses. If a company violates safety regulations, causing harm or injury to employees, the company could face criminal charges without the government having to prove intent.
  5. Insider trading — This crime consists of trading stock of a public company using secret or otherwise confidential information that is not accessible to the public. It is the very act of benefiting from this information that is the crime. There is no separate requirement of having knowledge of wrongdoing. The same is true of sharing insider information with friends or family members, thereby prompting them to buy or sell the stock.

The specific elements of crimes may vary and there may be differing interpretations by courts. Additionally, if intent is an element of a crime, the level of intent required for conviction can depend on the exact statute under which charges are brought. An experienced white collar defense lawyer can give a thorough analysis to the specific elements and intent requirements for a particular white collar crime.

At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we build and present strategic defenses for individuals charged with federal white collar offenses throughout New Jersey. Our firm maintains office locations in Marlton, Hackensack, Newark and New Brunswick. To arrange for a confidential legal consultation, call 866-221-1270 or contact us online.