White Collar Crime
White collar crime is non-violent and refers to financial crimes such as fraud, bribery, cybercrime, insider trading, identity theft, forgery, embezzlement and money laundering, that are committed by businesses and governments.
What Does White Collar Crime Law Involve?
Lawyers who specialise in white collar crime will see themselves defending clients through an investigation, including civil and criminal litigation. Clients typically range from large corporations and banks, to individuals prominent in business and politics.
Lawyers will need to be in-the-know about regulations affecting these types of organisations, as well as having a vast and in-depth knowledge surrounding the business operations of their clients. Only then can they come up with strategies and resolutions.
Lawyers in this area can offer their clients top-notch legal advice on how to comply with complex governmental legislation and with investigations carried out by enforcement agencies. Lawyers will assist the client in resolving critical concerns, which can include disclosing potentially jeopardising findings or waiving privileges. Obviously, the main aim is always to resolve issues before charges are brought and to avoid future liability.
White collar crime is the term associated with a range of different crimes
Fraud boils down to deceiving someone for monetary gain. A common type of white collar fraud is securities fraud, which comes in all shapes and sizes. However, ‘insider trading’ is where someone with a nugget of confidential inside knowledge about a company (such as upcoming earnings) trades on that information. Therefore, if an earnings report is set to hurt the company and an executive sells their stocks before this is made public, this would be securities fraud. Another type of white collar fraud is where someone or a company gains money based on knowingly false information, such as prospects or finances.
Embezzlement is where money is improperly taken from someone whom you owe some type of duty. For example, lawyers who improperly use client funds can be guilty of embezzlement.
Tax evasion is also a common white collar crime. This one does exactly what it says on the tin and involves an individual or company evading taxes. They could transfer properties in order to avoid tax, or they could knowingly provide false information to the taxman.
Finally, money laundering is the means of filtering illegally obtained money through transactions to make it appear legitimate. Just think about Walter White’s car wash, where he funnels illegal drug money through his bonnet and windscreen shining side-business.
Modern criminology generally rejects a limitation of the term by reference, rather classifies the type of crime and the topic:
By the type of offense, e.g., property crime, economic crime, and other corporate crimes like environmental and health and safety law violations. Some crime is only possible because of the identity of the offender, e.g., transnational money laundering requires the participation of senior officers employed in banks. But the FBI has adopted the narrow approach, defining white-collar crime as “those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence” (1989, 3). While the true extent and cost of white-collar crime are unknown, the FBI and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimate the annual cost to the United States to fall between $300 and $660 billion.
By the type of offender, e.g., by social class or high socioeconomic status, the occupation of positions of trust or profession, or academic qualification, researching the motivations for criminal behavior, e.g., greed or fear of loss of face if economic difficulties become obvious. Shover and Wright (2000) point to the essential neutrality of a crime as enacted in a statute. It almost inevitably describes conduct in the abstract, not by reference to the character of the persons performing it. Thus, the only way that one crime differs from another is in the backgrounds and characteristics of its perpetrators.
By organizational culture rather than the offender or offense which overlaps with organized crime. Appelbaum and Chambliss offer a twofold definition:
Occupational crime which occurs when crimes are committed to promote personal interests, say, by altering records and overcharging, or by the cheating of clients by professionals.
Organizational or corporate crime which occurs when corporate executives commit criminal acts to benefit their company by overcharging or price fixing, false advertising, etc.