The business world is full of ruinous pitfalls and traps. While a lot of these will be related to marketing complications and outdoing competitors, it’s also important to beware of committing business crimes.
While some are obvious, others are certainly less so, and you can easily find yourself facing serious accusations with legal repercussions that are just as severe. Let’s take a look at 6 common types of business crime, to help you and your business to avoid legal trouble in the future.
1. Corruption & bribery
While bribery and corruption can constitute sinister dealings, they can also be as simple as offering a favour to an official, in return for preferential treatment.
Bribery and corruption are serious crimes with potentially severe legal repercussions; as a result, it’s important to be incredibly careful when dealing with officials and competitors. If you’re unsure of whether a gift or bonus might be considered a bribe in the eyes of the law, it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer with experience in the area.
2. Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is a crime that any business can fall guilty of, in many cases accidentally. It’s important to make sure that you have legal permission to use all content used by your business; this is especially relevant with marketing material.
Check that you have permission to use any songs, videos, artwork or other visual media so that you can avoid being accused of copyright infringement.
Forgery is a white-collar crime that can be committed in multiple areas of your business. It refers to the broad practice of falsifying documents, purposefully, in order to bring about gain for the business in question.
Charges of forgery will frequently be accompanied by other charges, often of fraud or bribery. Legal defences tend to rest on proving that the falsification of documents was an accident, carried out in good faith. Proving this can require the assistance of a highly experienced legal team that fully understands the nuances of the surrounding legal area.
Fraud is one of the most common business crimes committed globally. Part of the reason behind this is that fraud refers to an incredibly diverse range of criminal activities. Various forms of fraud include bank fraud, insurance fraud, corporate fraud and Ponzi schemes.
The severity of the implications of a fraud conviction will depend on multiple factors, importantly how many parties are involved in the fraud and how much was defrauded. With all fraud cases, it’s essential for the future of the business involved that they reach out to an experienced solicitor for legal assistance.
5. Tax evasion
Bookkeeping is an incredibly important part of keeping a business on the straight and narrow. Tax evasion is perhaps the most common crime that businesses are convicted of, and it can be incredibly easy to avoid.
Make sure that your accounts team has a solid grip on your business finances; failure to pay appropriate taxes is a big deal, and the legal consequences can seriously affect the ability of your company to operate in the future. Legal consequences can result in the closure of your business, hefty fines, and potential ruinous lawsuits.
Embezzlement is a serious crime that can have disastrous effects on a business. Not only can embezzlement leave a company high and dry, without funds to continue operating, but if the assets or cash that’s stolen belonged to clients, the damage done to the brand could be irreparable.
Make sure that there are multiple safety mechanisms in place to ensure the safe management of funds. It might also be necessary to consult a lawyer or accountant to ensure that there are no legal loopholes that could facilitate embezzlement.
Seeking legal advice
If you find yourself or your business under investigation for a business crime, or suspect that you may face investigation in the near future, it’s important to seek expert legal advice.
White collar crime specialists such as Ashcott Criminal Defence Solicitors will be able to give you advice to help you avoid regulatory issues in the future. In the case that you face investigation, they’ll be able to help you to develop your defence, represent you in court, and minimise any further damage that could be done to your business.
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