When you think of “crime,” you might picture violent acts or outright theft. But there is another category called “white collar crimes.”
These non-violent crimes often revolve around deceit, concealment or violation of trust and usually aim for financial gain. Knowing the nature of white collar crimes can help you recognize and understand their consequences.
Fraud means deceiving someone for monetary gain. This category includes bank, credit card and healthcare fraud. For instance, if someone manipulates banking systems to take funds or uses someone else’s credit card information without permission, they commit fraud.
Embezzlement takes place when someone takes funds that others have entrusted to them. Think of an employee who diverts company funds into their personal account, abusing their position of trust.
With the rise of the digital age, identity theft has become a frequent concern. Individuals who acquire and use another person’s personal data, like Social Security numbers or bank account details, for financial gain or fraud, engage in identity theft.
Money laundering involves the act of making illegally-gained money appear legal. Individuals might funnel this tainted money through legitimate business channels to hide its origin.
Those who intentionally avoid paying taxes that they owe commit tax evasion. They might underreport income, inflate deductions or conceal money and its source. The United States Sentencing Commission reported that tax evasion has gone down over 20% since 2018, with courts sentencing only 401 people for tax fraud in 2022.
Bribery involves the act of offering, giving or receiving something valuable to influence an action of an official or another person responsible for a public or legal duty.
If someone steals trade secrets or sensitive information from a company to benefit a different entity, they engage in corporate espionage. Such actions can harm the competitive standing of businesses and the overall market.
White collar crimes might not inflict physical harm, but they can ruin individuals, damage reputations and destabilize businesses and the economy. Even though these crimes might seem indirect in their harm, they can impact countless people and organizations, and it is important to understand how they can happen.