Imagine this: You’re a trusted employee or highly-placed executive with access to your company’s financial accounts. You also have a secret addiction.
Could the temptation to finance that addiction lead to criminal charges? It might.
Gambling, compulsive shopping, prostitutes and drugs are all common addictions — and it takes money to feed those habits. It can take even more money to hide the addiction from friends and relatives.
That’s why addictions are so often behind financial crimes like fraud and embezzlement. Studies have indicated that roughly 10% of white-collar professionals in finance or management have problems with addiction. It’s probably no surprise that roughly 10% of financial reporting crimes can also be traced back to addiction.
When someone compulsively spends on their habit, they have to get that money from somewhere — but they also have to maintain the facade of their lifestyle. Few people, even among the affluent, can afford both an addiction and the trappings of wealth. People with families, in particular, may be desperate to hide their problems from their spouses and children.
Addiction often comes from underlying mental health problems. Seeking help for both your mental health issues and your addiction can not only help you handle the situation better if you’re charged with embezzlement or fraud, it could encourage a judge to show some leniency.
You also need an experienced white-collar defense attorney by your side. Your past mistakes shouldn’t be allowed to destroy your future, but it may take a lot of work to mitigate the damage.