You went into business with honest intentions, such as to innovate within your field, create a legacy for yourself and your family, and increase your wealth. Whatever your motivations, you certainly did not intend to break the law.
But the U.S. white-collar criminal code is complex. It is easier than you think to commit a crime like tax evasion or securities fraud. And federal prosecutors are unlikely to be impressed if you tell them you did not mean to do it.
Three examples of accidental criminal violations businesses can commit
Having an LLC or similar business structure can shield you from liability in a lawsuit, but it cannot stop you from being arrested and convicted of a crime. Here are a few examples of how Guam business owners and executives can inadvertently expose themselves to criminal charges:
- Failing to make payroll tax deposits. You are required to make these deposits, but many small or new companies don’t in order to maintain cash flow. Owners might think they will only face fines or other financial penalties, but criminal charges are a possibility.
- Destruction of evidence. If your business is involved in a lawsuit, you are obligated to preserve all potentially relevant documents. This usually includes emails, text messages and other electronic communications — things that employees might delete off their company computers and phones without thinking if there is not a documentation policy in place.
- Improper billing for Medicare and other government services. This applies most often to healthcare companies that bill Medicare for services provided to seniors. Whether due to a deliberate fraud scheme or inaccurate record-keeping, the government takes these errors very seriously.
The first thing you should do when you discover you or someone in your organization might have broken the law is to contact a white-collar defense attorney. Your lawyer can go over your concerns and advise you on what to do next.