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White-collar crime refers to financially motivated, nonviolent crime usually committed by individuals, businesses, or government officials in professional or managerial positions. The term “white-collar” is derived from the attire typically worn by professionals who engage in these kinds of occupations. Here are some of the most common white-collar crimes and the types of individuals or entities that typically commit them:
Who Commits It: This can involve individuals within organizations, such as employees, managers, or executives who engage in deception for personal gain. It also includes those outside of corporate structures, like con artists.
Who Commits It: Employees or executives who divert funds from their employer or clients into their own accounts. It’s usually committed by individuals in positions of trust and responsibility over financial resources.
3. Money Laundering
Who Commits It: Individuals, criminal organizations, financial institutions, and even some corporate entities that seek to conceal the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses.
4. Tax Evasion
Who Commits It: Taxpayers ranging from individuals to corporate entities who illegally avoid paying taxes. They may underreport income, inflate deductions, or hide money and interest in offshore accounts.
5. Securities Fraud
Who Commits It: Brokers, investment advisors, corporations, and investors engaging in deceptive practices in the stock or commodities markets, including insider trading, stock manipulation, and misrepresentation of information to investors.
6. Identity Theft
Who Commits It: Individuals or organized groups who illegally obtain and use another person’s private information for economic gain, such as accessing financial resources or acquiring credit.
7. Bankruptcy Fraud
Who Commits It: Individuals or business entities that conceal assets or make false claims during the bankruptcy process to exploit the system for financial gain.
8. Insurance Fraud
Who Commits It: Policyholders, claimants, or sometimes even insurance agents or adjusters who exaggerate claims, fabricate accidents or damage, or submit false medical records to obtain payment from insurers.
9. Corporate Fraud
Who Commits It: Executives and corporations engaged in dishonest activities to satisfy regulatory requirements, mislead investors, or gain an advantage over competitors. This can include falsifying financial information or violating corporate governance regulations.
10. Bribery and Public Corruption
Who Commits It: Public officials who accept bribes, and individuals or businesses that offer those bribes. Corruption can involve kickbacks, influence peddling, and illegal gratuities.
11. Healthcare Fraud
Who Commits It: Healthcare providers, suppliers, and sometimes patients who submit false claims, upcode services, bill for services not rendered, or otherwise extract funds from healthcare programs or private insurers.
12. Ponzi Schemes and Investment Scams
Who Commits It: Financial managers, advisors, or entities that use money from new investors to pay returns to earlier investors, creating the semblance of a profitable business while no legitimate business activity is occurring.
13. Intellectual Property Theft
Who Commits It: Individuals or businesses engaged in the illegal use, distribution, or reproduction of intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents without the owner’s consent.
Who Commits It: Tech-savvy individuals or groups that commit crimes such as hacking, phishing, ransomware attacks, or other computer-based frauds to steal data, funds, or intellectual property.
Demographics and Motivations
White-collar criminals are often characterized by their socio-economic status, professional occupation, and the trust they are accorded. These crimes are driven by various motives, including greed, financial pressure, opportunity, or the belief they can avoid detection. White-collar criminals may rationalize their illegal activities as harmless or justified within their business or financial context. Due to the nature of these crimes, they are sometimes difficult to detect and prosecute, often requiring specialized investigative expertise.