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What is white-collar crime?

On Behalf of | Jan 1, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

White-collar crimes are categorized as nonviolent, deceitful forms of wrongdoing. There are various reasons why people commit these kinds of crimes. At times, it’s an effort to conceal financial losses. In other cases, an offender may be trying to sustain a lifestyle that is beyond their means.

Executives from the middle to higher classes are often perpetrators of white-collar crimes. The CIA, the FBI or a company’s internal crime prevention team will generally be tasked with looking into these offenses. If warranted, state government and/or the federal government will bring charges against the person or people who commit white-collar crimes.

Three factors that identify many common white-collar criminal activities

White-collar crime is usually – although not always – characterized by three factors:

  1. The person committing the crime is an employee of a targeted organization.
  2. The perpetrator goes to great lengths to give the impression that they are behaving acceptably in the workplace. The other employees trust them, which allows their crimes to go unnoticed.
  3. Finally, in some common scenarios, the perpetrator does not know the victim. They commit the crime from a distance, perhaps through digital means. This type of crime may go unnoticed for a while because it is committed outside of a targeted company.

Data collected between 2021 and 2022 shows $56 billion was lost due to white-collar crimes. However, only 3% of these crimes resulted in punishment. After President Biden took office in January 2021, the Department of Justice altered its approach to prosecuting white-collar crimes, taking cues from the Obama administration’s previous initiatives. The administration now focuses on the harm caused by these crimes rather than the specific type of crime committed.

When someone commits fraud, embezzlement or is involved with insider trading they may face serious consequences. To fight the charges, the offender must seek legal assistance to build their defense.