2014 may be remembered as the year of billion dollar settlements, but 2015 could see an uptick in prosecution against fraud.

As a new year begins, analysts are taking a moment to look back, reviewing trends in white collar crimes from 2014 and making predictions for how these trends will impact the upcoming year. Both Forbes and The New York Times ran articles analyzing these issues, noting 2014 will likely be remembered as the year the Justice Department agreed to multi-billion dollar settlements with financial institutions for their involvement in the mortgage crisis.

Although settlements and cases connected to these issues will continue through 2015, analysts also predict an uptick in charges against individuals and smaller businesses for various crimes of fraud. This prediction was recently addressed by an article in The New York Times. According to the report, a Republican controlled Congress will fuel an increased push for pursuing charges of fraud. This projection is supported by a recent statement from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., stating he would "increase compensation for supporting fraud."

Basics of fraud

There are a variety of forms of fraud that could be pursued in 2015. Some likely contenders include:

  • Tax fraud. Also known as tax evasion, tax fraud can occur when an individual or business underreports income. Those who deal with cash in service industries, like wait staff, can struggle to accurately report their income. Another common example occurs when families misstate the size of their household in order to take a larger deduction.
  • Identity theft. Those charged with identity theft are accused of wrongfully obtaining another's personal data and using that information for financial gain.
  • Embezzlement. Embezzlement is defined as the theft of assets, such as money or property, by a person who is in a position of responsibility over those assets. Store clerks and bank tellers are common examples of positions that are often accused of these crimes.
  • Wire fraud. Similar to regular fraud, wire fraud occurs when an individual is accused of wrongfully obtaining money or assets from another by using interstate wire communications, like a telephone or the Internet.

An increased focus on prosecution can lead to false allegations. Even if the accusations are false, those who face these or similar white collar crime charges are wise to take the allegations seriously. Allegations alone can cause serious damage to your reputation. As a result, those facing these charges should pursue a prompt resolution. An experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer can review the details of your case and work to better ensure an efficient and favorable resolution.

Keywords: white collar crime criminal defense