These are offenses which are widely categorized, and not always easy to definitively pinpoint on any one individual or business entity. As such, if you have been accused of a crime of this nature, then it is imperative that you understand the allegations which have been made against you and take immediate action to obtain sound legal defense for the criminal proceedings to come.
Business and government officials alike are those who are susceptible to being slammed with an accusation of committing a white collar offense. In 1939, Edwin Sutherland defined white collar offenses as fraudulent behaviors with a financial backing. Since then, the term has been used nationwide to describe an array of behaviors, from embezzlement to identity theft, and everything in between. These types of crimes very often overlap with corporate crimes as the opportunity to commit actions of copyright, forgery, bribery, and the like are much more prevalent within the business/ corporate sectors of society. It is important to recognize, however, that just because the opportunity to commit these types of actions exists does not mean that those who have been accused are necessarily guilty.
Types of White Collar Crimes
- Embezzlement – the taking of someone’s property by a person with whom it is entrusted.
- Bribery – occurs when someone gives or takes a bribe.
- Larceny – involves taking someone’s property without paying for or returning it.
- Extortion – also known as blackmail.
- Fraud – this often includes but is not limited to health care fraud and tax fraud.
- Price Fixing – an agreement between two parties to set prices for a certain product, thereby violating free market operations.
- Racketeering – the extortion of money by force or a pattern of criminal activity committed to further the interests of a criminal syndicate.
- Computer Fraud – using a computer to commit a crime.
- Obstruction of Justice – interfering with the criminal process by impeding an investigation.
- Perjury – lying while under oath in a judicial proceeding.
- Securities and Commodities Law Violations
- Environmental Law Violations
Classifications of this type of crime are also often dependent on the type of offender. Unlike other illegal behaviors which are capable of being committed by any person, of any class, white collar crimes are almost always associated with individuals of a high socioeconomic status or social class. Business professionals, computer gurus, and government officials are persons in positions of power, thereby making them the ones most likely to have the means to commit these types of crimes. Unfortunately, these positions often land the persons in them in deep trouble with the law if they are the ones accused of a white collar crime. Although it may be unfair, it is often quickly assumed that behaviors of this nature are ones which were committed by those in the positions of the most power. Strong legal defense will need to be obtained in order to prove that this is not necessarily the case.