A white-collar crime is a non-violent crime committed for personal benefits, usually for financial gains. These forms of crimes are characterized by deceit, concealments, and violation of trust. The major motivation of white-collar crimes is financial gains either to fraudulently obtain or avoid losing money/properties or services or secure a personal advantage in business. But while they are not violent in nature, white-collar crimes are still extremely serious because they can result in huge losses that can trigger emotional and mental distress to the victims.
Common forms of white-collar crimes include:
Embezzlement occurs when an employee entrusted by their employer to handle the financial transactions on their behalf manipulates the trust for their personal gains. Embezzlement can occur at any level and involves stealing directly or misappropriating funds. A good example of an embezzlement crime is when an employer secretly transfers money into their bank accounts or when a politician uses campaign funds to finance their personal expenses.
Extortion happens when a person uses either force or coercion to convince the other party into giving up their money, property, or services. A classic example of extortion is blackmail, where a person is forced to pay some money or do something to prevent some private information from being divulged to the public, or when a person or business is forced to pay money for protection against certain gangs.
Corporate fraud entails a wide range of crimes that include falsification of financial information, fraud against the government, mortgage fraud, public corruption, money laundering, and schemes used to conceal corporate fraud and prevent the FBI and other regulating bodies from conducting their investigations.
Most white-collar crimes are due to increased use of the internet. Cybercrime happens when a person accesses credit card numbers and classified information through deception like hacking and uses it to generate funds.
Bribery occurs when one party uses something of value like money to influence the other party’s decision. It is common for people in high power positions in the government or an organization to receive money to order or make other arrangements that will benefit the perpetrator financially. Other white-collar crimes include Ponzi schemes, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, and securities frauds such as insider trading.
Prosecution of white-collar crimes
Due to the increase in white-collar crimes in the past decade, the US government has made major adjustments and numerous regulations to curtail these events. Most white-collar crimes are prosecuted at the federal level, but others are handled at the state level. Prosecution of white-collar offenses often take months or even years as investigators purpose to obtain thorough evidence and information to uncover and prove the crimes.