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Can you accidentally commit financial crimes?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Financial crimes can take many different forms. For example, there are simple crimes that people commit, such as robbing a store or stealing from a person directly. But there are also far more complex embezzlement schemes that involve things like altering paperwork to cover up transactions and withdrawals. These are both types of theft, where the goal is financial gain, but they look vastly different.

In some cases, accidental financial crimes may be possible. But many of these crimes require some level of intent. They’re not simply things that you can do accidentally. You have to be trying to break the law. 

Paying your taxes

A good example of this is tax fraud. If you make a mistake on the paperwork and pay the wrong amount in taxes, you may be contacted by the IRS. If it was an honest mistake and you thought you were paying your taxes correctly, though you still may face certain ramifications like paying fines or paying the balance that you owe, it’s not a criminal act.

But if you did it intentionally, purposely leaving out or altering information so that you would pay less, then it becomes fraud. This is a federal financial crime. The ramifications could become far more severe and may even include things like jail time. The two events themselves – an honest mistake and an intentional act – have the same outcome, but whether you had intent to cause that outcome is going to play a large role in the allegations that you face.

If you are in this position, be sure you are well aware of all of the legal options at your disposal.