As a small business owner, you are directly responsible for the legal infractions your company may commit. While many infractions, if they cause damages, result in civil litigation, more serious infractions can result in criminal prosecution.  And, you may be creating an atmosphere of illegal activity within your business, especially if you are unaware of the criminal statutes affecting your business. Additionally, you may suffer extensive financial losses if your employees commit crimes while in your employ or if they commit crimes against your company.

Avoid Crimes that can be Committed by Employees

One of the most common types of while collar crimes committed against small businesses are financial crimes. Embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion can cost business owners millions of dollars each year in losses.  To prevent these types of activities from occurring by your employees, speak with your business attorney about incorporating oversight policies and implementing software that will require all employees to have accountability and be responsible for the financial activities that occur within the organization. If your company has or holds the financial information of your clients or if they handle or have access to the money of your business, in any way, hire an independent auditing firm to monitor your accounting activities. You can also put in place policies that ensure all payments and checks written, required dual signatures. Doing so will greatly eliminate the possibility that one employee can routinely have control of the corporate finances.

Environmental Crimes

State and federal environmental crimes have become more and more strict in recent years. As a result, business owners are often held fiscally and criminally responsible for an environmental infractions, regardless of the guilty party.  It is essential, therefore, to create internal policies that strictly adhere to environmental regulations on both the state and federal levels and to follow those policies.  A qualified business attorney can also assist you with ensuring your business remains compliant with state and federal regulations.


Unfortunately, business owners can be held criminally responsible for the activity of their employees or for committing a crime with another person. This is especially true for issues related to tax fraud, evasion and environmental infractions. Even if you were not directly involved, you may be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime, if you had direct control over the company and should have known what was happening.  Work with your business attorney to help you draft professional employment agreements within the company.  These agreements will help ensure that the professionals you hire adhere to company and other ethical standards. 

If you need a business attorney who can help you understand your rights as to white collar crimes, contact one of our legal representatives at Goldstein & Scopellite, PC in Dallas, TX by emailing us or by calling us at 214-351-9100. Thank you.

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