What are the most common white collar crimes?

If you find yourself facing white collar crime charges in California, the first thing you need to do is contact an attorney experienced in defending such charges. The next thing you need to do is determine precisely what crime(s) law enforcement officers and prosecutors allege you committed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation explains that the term “white collar crime” covers a wide range of specific crimes, all of which have fraud as their common denominator. Some of the most common white collar crimes consist of the following:

  • Securities and commodities fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Financial institution or mortgage fraud
  • Corporate fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Intellectual property theft

Fraud methodologies

White collar crimes seldom, if ever, include the threat of physical harm to the victims. Instead, the prosecutor likely will allege that you used one or more of the following methods to obtain the illegal financial gains you sought:

  • Deceit
  • Deception
  • Violation of trust
  • Concealment
  • Illegal business practices

Coining the term

While people and businesses have engaged in white collar crime probably since the beginning of civilization, no one actually used the term until about 80 years ago. Supposedly sociologist Edwin Sutherland coined and defined the term in 1939. Per his definition, a white collar crime consists of one “committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.” While white collar criminals no longer necessarily wear white shirts or blouses as part of their professional attire, the term nevertheless stuck and always refers to a financially-motivated crime.