Financial crime is a crime committed against property, involving the unlawful conversion of the ownership of property (belonging to one person) to one’s own personal use and benefit. Financial crimes may involve fraud (cheque fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, medical fraud, corporate fraud, securities fraud (including insider trading), bank fraud, insurance fraud, market manipulation, payment (point of sale) fraud, health care fraud); theft; scams or confidence tricks; tax evasion; bribery; sedition; embezzlement; identity theft; money laundering; and forgery and counterfeiting, including the production of Counterfeit money and consumer goods. Financial crimes may involve additional criminal acts, such as computer crime and elder abuse, even violent crimes such as robbery, armed robbery or murder. Financial crimes may be carried out by individuals, corporations, or by organized crime groups. Victims may include individuals, corporations, governments, and entire economies.
The main types of financial crimes in India include : bank fraud, electronic crime, money laundering, bribery and corruption, market abuse and insider dealing, information security, market manipulation, tax evasion.
Bank fraud is the use of potentially illegal means to obtain money, assets, or other property owned or held by a financial institution, or to obtain money from depositors by fraudulently posing as a bank or other financial institution. In many instances, bank fraud is a criminal offence. While the specific elements of particular banking fraud laws vary depending on jurisdictions, the term bank fraud applies to actions that employ a scheme or artifice, as opposed to bank robbery or theft. For this reason, bank fraud is sometimes considered a white-collar crime. In order to hide serious financial problems, some businesses have been known to use fraudulent bookkeeping to overstate sales and income, inflate the worth of the company’s assets, or state a profit when the company is operating at a loss. These tampered records are then used to seek investment in the company’s bond or security issues or to make fraudulent loan applications in a final attempt to obtain more money to delay the inevitable collapse of an unprofitable or mismanaged firm.
Computer fraud is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to let another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. In this context, the fraud will result in obtaining a benefit by: Altering in an unauthorized way. This requires little technical expertise and is a common form of theft by employees altering the data before entry or entering false data, or by entering unauthorized instructions or using unauthorized processes; Altering, destroying, suppressing, or stealing output, usually to conceal unauthorized transactions. This is difficult to detect Altering or deleting stored data. Other forms of fraud may be facilitated using computer systems, including bank fraud, carding, identity theft, extortion, and theft of classified information. These types of crime often result in the loss of private information or monetary information.
Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. The overall scheme of this process returns the “clean” money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way. One problem of criminal activities is accounting for the proceeds without raising the suspicion of law enforcement agencies. Considerable time and effort may be put into strategies that enable the safe use of those proceeds without raising unwanted suspicion. Implementing such strategies is generally called money laundering. After money has been laundered, it can be used for legitimate purposes.
Bribery and Corruption:
A bribe is an illegal or unethical gift or lobbying effort bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be money, goods, rights in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
Many types of payments or favors may be fairly or unfairly labeled as bribes: tip, gift, sop, perk, skim, favor, discount, waived fee/ticket, free food, free ad, free trip, free tickets, sweetheart deal, kickback/payback, funding, inflated sale of an object or property, lucrative contract, donation, campaign contribution, fundraiser, sponsorship/backing, higher paying job, stock options, secret commission, or promotion (rise of position/rank).
Corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one’s private gain. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.
Corruption can occur on different scales, corruption ranges from small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption), to corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime. Corruption and crime are endemic sociological occurrences which appear with regular frequency in virtually all countries on a global scale in varying degree and proportion. Individual nations each allocate domestic resources for the control and regulation of corruption and crime. Strategies to counter corruption are often summarized under the umbrella term anti-corruption.
Market abuse may arise in circumstances where financial market investors have been unreasonably disadvantaged, directly or indirectly, by others who:
- have used information which is not publicly available (insider dealing)
- have distorted the price-setting mechanism of financial instruments
- have disseminated false or misleading information
Market Abuse is split into two different aspects (under EU definitions):
- Insider dealing: where a person who has information not available to other investors (for example, a director with knowledge of a takeover bid) makes use of that information for personal gain
- Market manipulation: where a person knowingly gives out false or misleading information (for instance, about a company’s financial circumstances) in order to influence the price of a share for personal gain
Phishing (Information security scams):
Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Typically carried out by email spoofing, instant messaging, and text messaging, phishing often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.
Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users. Users are lured by communications purporting to be from trusted parties such as social web sites, auction sites, banks, colleagues/executives, online payment processors or IT administrators.
Market manipulation is a type of market abuse where there is a deliberate attempt to interfere with the free and fair operation of the market and create artificial, false or misleading appearances with respect to the price of, or market for, a product, security, commodity or currency. A type of manipulation possible when financial instruments are settled based on benchmarks set by the trading of physical commodities, for example in United States Natural Gas Markets. The manipulator takes a large long (short) financial position that will benefit from the benchmark settling at a higher (lower) price, then trades in the physical commodity markets at such a large volume as to influence the benchmark price in the direction that will benefit their financial position.
Tax evasion is the illegal evasion of taxes by individuals, corporations, and trusts. Tax evasion often entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability and includes dishonest tax reporting, such as declaring less income, profits or gains than the amounts actually earned, or overstating deductions.
Tax evasion is an activity commonly associated with the informal economy. One measure of the extent of tax evasion (the “tax gap”) is the amount of unreported income, which is the difference between the amount of income that should be reported to the tax authorities and the actual amount reported.
In contrast, tax avoidance is the legal use of tax laws to reduce one’s tax burden. Both tax evasion and avoidance can be viewed as forms of tax noncompliance, as they describe a range of activities that intend to subvert a state’s tax system, although such classification of tax avoidance is not indisputable, given that avoidance is lawful, within self-creating systems.