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What is considered a white collar crime?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2021 | Federal Crimes

The antiquated terms “white collar” and “blue collar” are outdated, misleading and possibly classist. One does not need to be a power broker on Wall Street to commit a white collar crime. White collar crimes happen at every level of socio-economic strata.

So, what is white collar crime? The term “white collar crime” began in 1939 and has become to refer to a full range of frauds that professional individuals and businesses commit. These types of crimes have, at their core, a factor of concealment, deceit and the abuse of someone’s trust. 

3 types of white collar crimes everyone should recognize

Here are the three most common types of white-collar crimes according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI): 

  • Corporate fraud: The majority of FBI corporate fraud cases involve accounting schemes designed to defraud or deceive.
  • Money laundering: Illegal activities produce a lot of money that must be accounted for. The process of “cleaning” dirty money that resulted from illegal activity by running it through legitimate businesses is known as money laundering.
  • Investment fraud: Many investment schemes have been developed, such as the famous Ponzi scheme. Investment fraud can have many faces, such as when a person or corporation is involved with market manipulation, broker embezzlement, securities and commodities fraud and more.

The government is usually quite aggressive about white collar crime. The problem is that they may actually be too aggressive. People who have very little understanding or knowledge of a crime can get swept up in the wake of an investigation and end up in dark legal waters.

When charged with a white collar crime, there are often strategies and options available that do not include prison time and criminal convictions. It is important to have a solid defense that takes into consideration all the legal options to resolve the matter.