White-collar offenses are more prevalent in our society than many people think. The FBI tells us that the annual cost of white-collar misbehavior is more than $500 billion.

Insider trading is one example of an illegal activity that is nonviolent in nature. In fact, to some, it may appear to harm no one

What it is

Insider trading is an activity that involves the buying or selling of the securities of a publicly traded company using material information that is not yet available to the general public. Material information is that which an investor might use in making the decision to buy or sell the security.

A famous example

Martha Stewart was forced to resign as CEO of her company after she received insider information about shares of stock she owned in a company that was working on a new cancer drug. The FDA rejected the drug and the stock took a dive, but not before Ms. Stewart received a warning that this was about to happen. She sold her shares at a profit, received a conviction of insider trading and spent six months in prison.

The penalties

According to the SEC, a conviction could result in fines up to $5 million and prison time of up to 20 years. In fact, the fine for an insider trading deal can be as high as three times the profit that the trader made. The position of the government is that someone, somewhere, will suffer the consequences of this kind of white-collar crime.

Not everyone is guilty

Some people face false accusations of insider trading offenses. Every case that comes under the heading of white-collar crime is unique, and the defendant has rights. Ideal representation comes from professionals who have thorough knowledge about, and experience with, the securities industry and who understand the importance of protecting the defendant’s integrity and career.