White-collar crime is a nonviolent offense involving deceit, gaining advantages, and concealing actions to obtain or avoid losing money or property. Although not physically harmful, these crimes can significantly impact individuals, draining savings, costing thousands of dollars, and eroding trust. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) notes that while these crimes don’t involve violence, they can lead to financial deception and create various personal or business problems.

Types of white collar crimes

White-collar crimes encompass a range of nonviolent offenses committed by individuals, businesses, or government officials for financial gain. Some common types include:

  • Fraud: Deceptive practices to gain an unfair advantage or cause financial loss.
  • Embezzlement: Misappropriation of funds entrusted to someone, often an employee stealing from an employer.
  • Insider Trading: Illegally trading stocks based on confidential information.
  • Identity Theft: Unauthorized use of someone’s personal information for financial gain.
  • Money Laundering: Concealing the origins of illegally obtained money.
  • Bribery: Offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something of value to influence the actions of an official or other person.
  • Cybercrime: Criminal activities carried out using computers or the internet.

These crimes typically involve financial deception, manipulation, or abuse of trust for illicit gains. An experienced white-collar crime lawyer may defend you if you are involved in such crimes.

What percentage of crime is white-collar?

Zippa reports that these crimes make up 3% of federal prosecutions. Interestingly, there has been a significant reduction of 53.5% in these crimes since 2011. However, it’s worth noting that nearly 90% of such crimes go unnoticed. A notable example of a significant white-collar crime is Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi Scheme, considered one of the largest financial frauds in American history.

Distribution of white-collar crimes

White-collar crimes exhibit a diverse distribution across various types, each with unique characteristics and consequences. Fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, and identity theft are standard categories. 

The percentage distribution can vary based on economic landscape, technological advancements, and regulatory changes. While there is no fixed percentage for each type, understanding the prevalence of these crimes helps individuals, businesses, and law enforcement agencies address specific challenges associated with different categories of white-collar offenses.

What are the penalties for white-collar crimes?

Penalties for white-collar crimes can vary depending on the offense’s severity and the jurisdiction’s specific laws. Individuals convicted of white-collar crimes may face fines, restitution, probation, or imprisonment. Sometimes, sentences can be substantial, especially for financial fraud or corporate crimes. 

Moreover, individuals may be subject to asset forfeiture, where ill-gotten gains are seized. Penalties may also include court-ordered supervision, community service, or other forms of punishment. The legal consequences aim to deter such offenses and ensure accountability for those engaging in fraudulent or deceptive practices.

Need Legal Help? Contact a lawyer

An experienced criminal lawyer can provide essential assistance when facing legal charges. They can assess your case, explain your rights, and guide you through the legal process. Furthermore, they can negotiate with prosecutors, represent you in court, and provide legal advice tailored to your situation.