White Collar Crimes Defined

White Collar Crimes Defined

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the term “white collar crime” was reportedly coined in 1939. Today, white collar crime is associated with a wide range of fraudulent crimes, which are often committed by businessmen, corporate officers, and government professionals.

Sometimes they’re also committed by everyday individuals who engage in complex scams.

White collar crimes involve concealment, lying, cheating, stealing, and deceit, and violations of trust, however, they are not dependent on threats of force or physical violence.

With white collar crimes, the motivation is always financial – the purpose is to obtain goods or services, or money, to avoid losing money, or to secure some kind of a personal or financial advantage.

The FBI makes it clear that white collar crimes are not victimless. One scam for example, can wipe out a couple’s entire life savings, it can cause investors to lose billions, and it can destroy a company.

With advances in technology, today’s fraud scams have reached the highest level of sophistication, and that’s one of the reasons why the FBI has dedicated entire teams to tracking down white collar criminals and prosecuting them in federal court.

FBI agents don’t work alone to hunt down fraudsters; they team up with various agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and others to target the scam artists that are trying to harm individuals and the American economy.

Some of the major threats include:

Are all white collar crimes prosecuted in federal court?

Many white collar crimes are criminalized under both state and federal law, while others are solely illegal under federal law. For example, identity theft is criminalized under both state and federal law.

If a crime violates state and federal legislation, the state and federal prosecutors will decide whether to prosecute in state or federal court.

As a general rule, if a crime violates state and federal law, the penalties for the federal offense are significantly higher than the penalties for the same offense on the state level.

Are you facing state or federal charges for a white collar crime, such as identity theft or healthcare fraud? If so, contact our Plano and Dallas criminal defense firm today!