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The Federal Bureau of Investigation and corporate fraud

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has made corporate fraud one if its highest enforcement initiatives. The FBI is the lead government agency that investigates this kind of white collar crime, and in those efforts, it focuses primarily on fraud that involves accounting schemes, obstruction of justice and self-dealing by executives.

Accounting schemes by far make up the majority of the corporate fraud cases investigated by the FBI. These are often schemes that deceive investors, analysts or auditors regarding the actual financial state of a particular business. This can be achieved by manipulating share prices, financial data and other ways to measure the value of a company and its financial performance. The schemes can encourage continued investment and inflow of capital based on false performance figures.

In order to identify these kinds of schemes, the FBI will look for:

-- False financial information

-- False entries by accountants that misrepresent a company's financial state

-- Fraudulent trades that serve to increase profits while hiding losses

-- Unlawful transactions that attempt to bypass regulatory oversight

The consequences of being convicted of corporate white collar fraud are severe. Rhode Island residents convicted of such crimes may be required to spend time in federal prison, even multiple years in federal prison. Fines and other monetary consequences may also be doled out following a conviction.

Because the criminal consequences of a corporate fraud conviction are severe -- and because the social and career consequences can also be devastating -- Rhode Island residents accused of these crimes may want to seek out the services of a criminal defense lawyer with experience in this area of the law. Indeed, just because one has been accused of white collar crime does not mean that he or she will be convicted of the allegations.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, "White-Collar Crime," accessed Dec. 07, 2016

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