Financial Crimes – What is it exactly ?

Though the financial institutions are known to be the ultimate losers in the event of financial crimes it is now occupying the space in the common man’s life. Banks, NBFCs, Co-operative banks, Insurance companies, Stock markets all face the heat of financial crimes.

Globally there are two types of financial crimes prominently observed in the financial sector. First is the crime which causes the financial damage to party involved in the transaction which includes fraud, theft or corruption. Whereas, second type includes protecting the financial gains derived from causing the damage to other party, this involves money laundering.

Types of financial crimes

Accordingly, every business in the financial services sector must know the potential threats they face and the measures they need to put in place to protect themselves from financial crimes. Here are some of the different types of financial crimes.

Fraud

There are variety of frauds taking place around us. This includes but are not limited to cheque fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud. Additionally, there are securities fraud, Insider trading scams, market manipulation, payment fraud, health care fraud, medical fraud, corporate fraud etc;

Theft

There are different types of theft activities. Inventory thefts, cash thefts, intellectual property thefts are the most common forms of thefts having the financial impact. As the technology evolves the impact of IP theft will have a significant impact on financial crimes.

Scams or confidence tricks

A scam is a dishonest plan of cheating the multiple entities. Scams are generally large value financial damages. Regulators calling the customers to take out insurance or fake call centers shopping for credentials are all the examples of scams.

Tax evasion

From the birth of the mankind taxes are financial burden for common man. Whenever, taxpayer gets an opportunity, he likes to save some taxes. However, when taxpayers become aggressive on saving more taxes it leads to tax evasion. There are two types of taxes Direct and Indirect. There are different methods of evading the taxes from the treasury.

Bribery

Bribery is nothing but offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an illegal action, unethical or a breach of trust. Globally, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act are two most powerful legislations dealing with this financial crime. Individuals with political influence, such as government officials, may be able to use their status and influence to launder the proceeds of corrupt activities while avoiding AML controls.

Embezzlement

Theft or misappropriation of funds placed in trust and belonging to one’s employer is embezzlement. This is a typical example of the white collar crimes in business environment.

Identity theft

Using somebody else’s identity to carry out the financial transactions causing the financial damage to the person is typically termed as identity theft. There are methods like phishing, spear phishing or vishing used in obtaining the identity of the other person.

Money laundering

Changing the color of criminal money such as corruption, bribery or terrorism to clean, white and legitimate. The money from crimes is introduced often in banks and then circulated through various bank accounts before the money actually leaves the system to be placed in the account of the end beneficiary.

Forgery and counterfeiting

This includes the production of counterfeit money and consumer goods.
Financial crimes may involve additional criminal activities, such as computer crime and elder abuse and even violent crimes such as robbery, armed robbery or murder. Individual, companies, cartels carry out frauds. Victims may include individuals, corporations, governments, and entire economies.

However, the most dangerous form of financial crime is terrorist financing. This causes damage not only financially but also to the human life. Moreover, identification and detection of these financial crimes is the priority for the law enforcement agencies across the world.

Changing Dynamics of Financial Crimes

In addition to above financial crimes, there are many other sophisticated techniques of committing the financial crimes. Some of these techniques are

There are different establishments in the world combating frauds and money laundering. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) in United States, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in Germany are some of the examples.

With the development of technology, methods of combating financial crimes are developing. With the developing regtech sector in recent years, solutions to combat financial crimes have increased. Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations have become stricter and now the countries have to comply with the FATF standards. Non Compliance leads to inclusion of the country in grey list.