There is not a true consensus regarding the definition of white-collar crime.
It is a relatively broad term that can represent a wide range of fraud committed by business and/or government professionals. In general, these crimes are defined by deceit, concealment or a violation of trust motivated by finances and usually do not involve physical violence or force.
Due to this relatively vague definition, it can be difficult to determine what exactly white-collar crime is and who is committing it. However, there are a few types of criminal acts that are commonly classified as white-collar crime.
Common white-collar crimes
Most white-collar crime involves either corporate or government fraud and has financial motivations. A few examples of this include:
- Falsification of finances such as false accounting, fraudulent trade or misrepresentation of financial conditions
- Insider trading
- Misuse of corporate entities for personal gain
- Tax violations
These are not the only forms of white-collar crime, however. Other types of criminal activities may involve but are not limited to:
- Money laundering
- Health care fraud
- Investment fraud such as Ponzi schemes
In some cases, computer crimes, blackmail and bribery can also be considered white-collar crime and most instances of white-collar crime are considered crimes of opportunity. Many white-collar criminals go undetected for years and are difficult to track.
Statistics show these types of crimes are at their lowest in years, though they are still serious offenses. While these illegal acts are generally non-violent, they can still be prosecuted as a severe legal matter. Anyone being investigated for an offense considered to be a white-collar crime will need experienced and skilled representation.