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What are Ponzi schemes?

Most residents in Pennsylvania have heard references to white collar crime but may not always understand what types of acts fall under this label. The term refers to a range of things involving lying, stealing and cheating. White collar crimes involve professional people operating in their professional arena. Alleged lawyer malpractice or any other form of professional malpractice can be an example. Anything that can be classified as fraud, essentially, can be considered a form of white collar crime.

Some examples include forgery, insurance fraud, Internet crimes, identify theft and mail fraud. As noted on the website of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Ponzi scheme is one unique type of these crimes. A Ponzi scheme involves people soliciting investments from others and promising them higher than normal return rates. In some cases, it can be difficult to know what is too high of a return rate to be considered normal. That can make the determination of fraud difficult at times.

People operating Ponzi schemes may not always be appropriately licensed for business in their alleged areas of expertise. They may also fail to register investments to provide the security that investors need. The lack of a resolution path for issues or questions can also raise the flag and make an operation appear as a Ponzi scheme. Entrepreneurs should be aware of these potential problems when initiating their business efforts to avoid unnecessary criminal allegations.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about white collar crimes in Philadelphia.


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