From the beginning of the historical records, the crime has been committed by members of all the different segments of society. This includes people well in respected and powerful professions. However, it was not until 1939 that the term white collar crime was officially coined to refer to crimes committed by professionals or government employees in the course of their work.
What is a White Collar Crime?
There are different definitions of white collar crime. Many experts agree that the term white collar crime describes non-violent crimes committed by business or government employees. Some definitions demand that the alleged offender be found in the middle or upper socioeconomic classes, in order for a crime to be considered a white-collar crime. These definitions come from different schools that study crime and from government agencies that investigate crimes. However, there is nothing in the federal or state law that defines a white collar crime.
State and federal laws refer to specific criminal activities. Some common examples of crimes referred to by law enforcement officials as white collar crimes include: embezzlement, health care fraud, securities fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud and crimes against the environment.
How is the White Collar Crime Investigated?
If the alleged crime is a matter of federal law, then the FBI will investigate it. The FBI has, in writing, a strategic goal to reduce the amount of white collar crime by actively investigating this class of crime.
If a person’s actions allegedly violate state law, then it is likely that the state police and the district attorney’s office are the ones investigating that crime.
How are White Collar Crimes punished?
Some argue that white-collar crime is not vigorously enforced in the United States. They argue that investigators, lawyers and judges are less willing to impose the full weight of the law on those who are considered like themselves and who have not committed a violent crime.
That argument may be accurate and may be based partly on the fact that potential sentences for white collar crimes are lower than in most violent crimes. Potential sentences are lower because no one gets hurt since many white-collar criminals are hurt for the first time and there is no risk of recidivism.
However, some white-collar criminals have developed and executed elaborate schemes that have resulted in the theft of large amounts of money. These offenders may have violated more than one law and will probably be treated more harshly than another class of white-collar criminals.
It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a crime without a victim. Many experts agree that white collar crimes are not violent, but that does not mean that there are no victims in their commission. Every time a doctor overbills Medicare for procedures that were not performed or that a stock broker embarks on the illegal practice of selling or buying stock on the stock market with privileged information, members of the public are financially affected. As a result, the government actively investigates and persecutes those who commit these and other types of white collar crimes.
Speak Today with a White Collar Crime Qualified Lawyer
This article aims to be useful and informative. But legal issues can be complicated and stressful. A qualified white collar crime attorney can address your particular legal needs, explain the law and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified white collar crime lawyer near you to discuss your specific legal situation.