Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, and they involve petty offenses such as disorderly conduct. Felonies are more serious offenses. Both misdemeanors and felonies can result in fines or jail time for offenders. Fines are usually stiffer for felonies. Misdemeanors and felonies can carry a year-long jail sentence. Unlike felonies, jail time imposed for misdemeanors cannot extend beyond a year. Possession of a controlled substance over a certain amount is an example of a felony. Theft of merchandise over a certain monetary amount can also be a felony (for example, some states make it a felony to steal merchandise valued at over $1000). Misdemeanors can include minor traffic offenses and public intoxication. To review, read The Nature of Criminal Law, Constitutional Rights, Defenses, and Punishment.
Bribery occurs when someone pays a government official to influence the official's decision or actions in his or her official capacity for the benefit of the person paying the bribe. Antitrust activities are those that reduce or eliminate economic competition. Fraud involves the use of deception to acquire money or property. Larceny is the trespassory taking of property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Racketeering activities include crimes such as loan-sharking, bookmaking, money laundering, counterfeiting, smuggling, blackmailing, human trafficking, and other similar crimes. Money laundering occurs when money gained from illegal activities are processed through a seemingly legitimate business to "clean" the funds from association with criminal activities. Extortion is when someone obtains property through coercion. Another example of extortion is when a neighborhood gang extracts "protection payments" from local businesses. Identity theft occurs when a thief obtains credit in an otherwise creditworthy person's name.
To review, read Crime.
White-collar crime is a term used to describe nonviolent crimes committed by people in their professional capacity, or by organizations. These crimes are committed for financial gain, often through deception.
Securities fraud is when someone uses deception to circumvent the regulations or statutes interpreted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to acquire money or property. Insider trading is an example of securities fraud. It happens when a party uses confidential information to trade stock to his or her advantage.
Insurance fraud is the use of deception to receive insurance funds. Arson is a common method of insurance fraud. Arson involves the act of intentionally setting fire to property.
Financial institution fraud is fraud against banks and other similar institutions, such as credit unions. Money laundering is a type of financial institution fraud. It occurs when money gained from illegal activities are processed through a seemingly legitimate business to "clean" the funds from association with criminal activities.
A Ponzi scheme is a pyramid scheme, where people pay in. Those at the top of the pyramid may receive something that appears to be a return on their investment, but those at the bottom do not.
Embezzlement is a common crime, and it occurs when someone takes property that was in his or her possession lawfully and then converts it to his or her own use. Embezzlement differs from larceny because larceny requires the trespassory taking of property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Embezzlement can involve forgery. Forgery is counterfeiting someone else's signature or other document. Wire fraud occurs when the act of embezzlement involves the use electronic communications.
To review, read Crime.
This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.
Try to think of the reason why each term is included.