If you buy something advertised to do specific things and then find out that it is completely different to your expectations that would not necessarily be a crime. But if the advertisement targets a specific need, such as a cure for something, but it did not cure it that would that be a crime. It is misrepresentation and many suffer the consequences of such frauds every day. For example if crimes against individuals or countries during war are not attributable to the sitting Head of State and if he or she is not aware of the crime there is a case for exemption.
Thieving is an easily recognizable crime. But what if something was stolen a long time ago? Is it still a crime? Yes, and the perpetrators face penalties if caught. The same applies to murder, rape, or any other crime against society. Those associated with crime or who assist criminals in any way may be equally as guilty unless they know nothing of it. Protecting criminals is aiding and abetting. Earning money from crime, whether it was committed by them or not, and covering up the deed while denying knowledge of it is likewise a crime.
There are few if any exceptions to these laws.
This has been brought to the fore during the Iraq war whereby torture and such performed by military personnel saw soldiers jailed or punished but the President of the United State and his Secretary for Defense are innocent or outside of the legal process. War crimes, however, could once go unpunished because of circumstances. Some heads of State could be exempt under certain conditions. Under those circumstances no crime has an expiry date when it continues to affect people. So a crime, once identified as such, is always a crime.
South Africa.info carries a report on this type of behavior under the heading Social Development, sub headed Tackling the social causes of crime. They note that social crimes are difficult to investigate because “the relationships between the victims and the perpetrators, where levels of intimidation and family pressure are very high,” Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula told journalists in Pretoria recently. Crime has an extensive reach, however, and even history cannot erase such acts from their consequences. Whilst the criminals may die their established businesses may be run by their heirs.