White-collar crime is a general term covering crimes that are not committed against people, but instead are usually financial crimes such as fraud, forgery, embezzlement, corporate corruption, tax evasion, or employee crimes. Increasingly, computer crimes are receiving attention from crime-prevention authorities, and the federal government and many states have task forces specializing in countering this type of criminal behavior. White-collar crimes involving forgery, the falsification of securities, or other investment frauds are frequently investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Insider fraud, or the willful manipulation of the stock market, is a serious white-collar crime. In recent years, the misuse of information available on the Internet has led to an increase in so-called 'cybercrimes', and federal and state authorities are taking steps to prevent crimes of this nature, including identity theft. The theft of trade secrets, also classified as a white-collar crime, is a federal offense under the Economic Espionage Act. A business or corporation can also be found guilty of a crime, and corrupt business practices can be punishable by fines equivalent to the total assets of the convicted business.
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