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What is White Collar Crime?

Updated on February 27, 2013

Everyone has heard the term, white collar crime, but for some it may not still be clear as to what this means. Often, when you think about criminals and the crimes they commit you think of bank robberies, murders, rapes, arson and many other low and dirty crimes. The difference between these crimes and what is known as white collar crimes is that these criminals wear a suit and a tie to their corporate jobs.

A white collar crime is often committed by someone who maintains a high and respected business-like position and high positions in the social world as well. Although it may seem that the crimes such as robberies and murders are far more devastating than anything a business person could commit, this could not be further from the truth. Lives are often devastated by white collar crimes and this is all that matters. Some of the different types of white collar crimes can include:

  • Money laundering
  • Insider trading
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bribery
  • Blackmail
  • Extortion
  • Insurance fraud
  • Racketeering
  • Tax evasion

This is by no means the full list of white collar crimes but only a sample to provide an idea as to what these white collar crimes are referring to. You may have been more aware of white collar crimes than you were aware of. As you can now see we hear a great deal of white collar criminal offenses on the news nightly and in today’s economy people become more desperate and more crimes are committed.

Although people are not losing their lives, they can essentially lose everything in it from a white collar crime. Corporations can go bankrupt, identities can be lost or stolen, and individuals can lose great sums of money and even all the money a group of people have invested. These crimes are more often than not harmful to not only one person but to large groups of people who make them that much more devastating. These crimes are just as selfish and just as greedy as any other type of crime; they are simply presented in a different way.

There are many people today who rise to the top of large corporations with their own greedy agendas in mind. It often takes large groups of people to pull of these schemes that are so well calculated and formulated. It is not rare for these schemes and crimes to ride under the radar of the police for many years before some suspicious behaviour is ever detected. As you can imagine this is what makes white collar crime so different from other aspects of illegal activities. A great deal of thought and time are spent planning these white collar crimes where other criminal activities are often spur of the moment and unplanned in comparison.

Now that you have a better idea as to what white collar crime is, you now have the ability to spot these schemes for yourself and label them properly when you hear them in the news. Don’t be fooled that these types of upscale crimes are not near you because as we stated above, these crimes are too well organized to be spotted easily.


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    • TheLawyerLink profile image


      10 years ago

      just curious why you put this under "ethics and responsibility"? Crime is crime, no matter the color of the collar, so it's more than a matter of ethics, don't you think?


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