White-collar crime is a broad-spectrum term that refers to a non-violent, financially motivated crime usually committed by government officials and businessmen. It refers to many criminal activities occurring in the upper class of society, specifically big businesses and well-established companies.
Traditionally, crimes involving people employed in industries exercising manual labor (such as construction, manufacturing, and other unskilled trades) have been referred to as “blue-collar” crimes; On the other hand, “white collar” crimes are those which involve professionals employed in learned professions such as medicine, law, banking, business management or finance.
Criminologist Edwin Sutherland was the first to give a formal definition of white-collar crime in 1939, as:
“A crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.”
It can best be described as a wide variety of crimes which have two things in common:
- Deceit and fraud as the nature of the crime
- Financial gain as the motivational factor
Even though there are many types of white-collar crimes committed all around the world, the most common are:
Most white-collar crimes deal with an insider taking wrongful advantage of his or her own company’s financial assets. Embezzlement, a specific type of white-collar crime, is a financial fraud committed by an employee or any other insider to the company, who had access to financial documentation and assets. The person involved in embezzlement manipulates the situation; an employee in charge of payroll, for instance, may covertly increase his/her own salary. This is an example of white-collar embezzlement.
Attempting to somehow dodge the taxes you are required to pay is called Tax Evasion. It is a type of white-collar crime that can range from simply filing tax forms with false information to transferring property illegally so as to avoid tax obligations. Failure to pay proper taxes can lead to criminal charges. In order for charges to be levied, it must be determined that the avoidance of taxes was a willful act on the part of the taxpayer.
Fraud: Insider Trading
Fraud in the domain of white-collar crimes deals specifically with ‘securities fraud’; it can further be divided into a number of categories; however, the most common one is “insider trading”. When someone trades confidential, company information with an outsider, all while being in obvious violation of duty, the act is considered insider trading (fraud). This concept can be better explained by the example of a company executive who had access to highly sensitive data; if he/she knows about upcoming company earnings and decides to sell a portion of his/her personal stock in the company, it would be considered securities fraud.
Filtering illegally obtained ‘black money’ to make it legitimate is a criminal act called money laundering. It is done by passing it through an extensive series of transactions; the first step involves depositing the money into a bank account. After that, perpetrators usually separate the money from their original source to make the money almost impossible to be traced. Criminals make sure that the transactions are kept as complex and widespread as possible. Finally, the money ‘cleaned’ is mixed with originally legal money so as to avoid any suspicion; the process of the aforementioned mixing is the purchase or sale of assets.
If you are facing embezzlement, tax evasion, or any other charges related to white-collar crime, contact the experienced criminal lawyers near you immediately. They usually have a team of experienced Criminal Defense lawyers who can defend white-collar criminal offenses. You can discuss the situation with them or visit a website of trusted lawyers for complete legal help!