Notable White Collar Crime Cases of 2023

While white collar crime only accounts for 3% of yearly criminal prosecutions in the United States, it is a costly crime to all citizens. Although labeled as a “victimless” crime, many people suffer and pay the price for white collar crimes that occur in society. Keep reading to learn about some noteworthy white collar crime cases that came to light this year. 

White Collar Crime in the United States

White collar crimes are usually non-violent in nature and are committed by people with a high ranking in society, like a business or government professional. White collar crimes include money laundering, health care fraud, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and public corruption, to name a few. 

White collar crimes are detrimental to those involved. Families can be destroyed by having their savings wiped out, companies can go out of business, and investors can be bilked out of billions of dollars. The cost of white collar crime on society is also of concern as the public’s trust in government and institutions is erased, and the costs of many services and goods are affected by this type of crime. 

While many white collar crimes go unreported, it is estimated that in the United States, white collar crimes cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars a year, by one estimate nearly $1 trillion. The complexity of these crimes continues to advance, as does the attention of law enforcement to stop it. The FBI even has a white collar crime program that focuses on analyzing intelligence and solving complex investigations. 

Memorable White Collar Cases of 2023

While white collar crime only makes up a small portion of overall prosecutions in the United States, the cases are usually newsworthy because of the amount of money that is involved in each case. Per month in the US, there are between 300-500 white collar cases prosecuted. Here are some more significant cases of 2023: 

Healthcare Fraud Scheme 

After a two-week operation earlier this year, the Justice Department announced two convictions and a national enforcement action involving charges against 78 individuals and over $2.5 billion in alleged fraud. The 78 people charged include 24 medical professionals who face state and federal charges across 16 states. The alleged crimes include efforts to defraud Medicare by billing for supplies that were not medically necessary, compounding drugs to maximize reimbursement from TRICARE, as well as health care fraud, telemedicine fraud, and opioid abuse-related schemes.

One case involved a software company facilitating kickbacks for doctors and telemarketers selling unnecessary medical equipment, resulting in fraudulent Medicare orders and $1.9 billion in reimbursement claims. Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as the Justice Department has vowed to prosecute criminals defrauding Americans and stealing from taxpayer-funded programs. 

Lottery Lawyer 

In a less prolific case, but nonetheless interesting, a lawyer in Florida was charged with fraud for participating in a scheme to rip off his lottery winning clients. Jason Kurland labeled himself as “the lottery lawyer” and secured in 2018 three clients who had won major lottery payouts. His clients were winners of a $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery, a $245 million Powerball jackpot, and another $150 million jackpot. 

Kurland was hired by his clients to provide investment advice, but Kurland steered them towards investing in companies he, and other defendants owned. He invested their money in other high-risk deals as well, and his plan basically morphed into a Ponzi-scheme. In total, Kurland was held responsible for losing $62 million, and sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for his actions. 

Cryptocurrency Disaster 

In a very high profile case, Sam Bankman-Fried, a co-founder of the digital currency exchange FTX, was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering that swindled customers of FTX and lenders to its affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research. The overall cost to his investors was upwards of $26 billion. 

When Bankman-Fried’s companies FTX and Alameda revealed some financial liabilities, those companies crashed and many investors tried to pull their money out. Alameda’s investments were depleted and FTX couldn’t return clients’ money because most of it had been given to Alameda. Bankman-Fried faces 110 years in prison and is set to be sentenced on March 28, 2024. 

Southern Nightmare 

The Murdaugh family tragedy is one of 2023’s most notable crime sagas; there is even a Netflix documentary following the downfall of this once respected family. Disgraced and disbarred, South Carolina lawyer, Alex Murdaugh, who was already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and son, pleaded guilty to 22 state charges for stealing millions of dollars from personal injury clients. One of his victims was the family of his own housekeeper who died in a fall at the Murdaugh family’s home in 2018. 

The charges against him included money laundering, breach of trust, forgery, criminal conspiracy, wire fraud, and tax evasion. He allegedly committed the murders to distract attention from all of his hundreds of financial crimes. Murdaugh was sentenced to an additional 27 years for these financial crimes. 

White collar crimes are serious, and therefore treated very seriously by the Justice Department. If you or someone you know has been charged with a white-collar crime, reach out to the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot. Our experienced attorneys can help you with sound advice and a plan based on knowledge and skill.