Our society has been and is continuing to be soft on white collar crime. With government resources being white they are precedence is being given to violent crime, leaving little resources to fight and prosecute white collar crime. Unless you have been a victim of white collar crime, the attitude seems to be “well nobody got hurt, really”. Really? Then you have never experienced the mental anguish and psychological pain that is associated with being the victim of a white collar crime. What is white collar crime?
When it is so pervasive and so placed on the “back burner” of today’s enforcement and judicial system that we are going to try to raise public consciousness by devoting a separate category for it here and perhaps awareness may lead to prevention.
So what constitutes a white collar crime? Just about any crime which doesn’t involve violence or threat of violence in the commission of the criminal act.
White-collar crime refers to financially motivated nonviolent crime committed by business and government professionals. Within criminology, it was first defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Typical white-collar crimes include fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, embezzlement, cyber-crime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery.
White collar crime is so pervasive in our society today that often we don’t even recognize it and sometimes we actively commit it without thinking twice about it. “Not me!”, you say. Oh yeah? Have you ever walked out of your place of employment with a pen or pencil that belong to your employer? Well, that’s theft in the legal sense, although we call it “pilfering” and think it’s hardly worth talking about.
Let’s get down to it. Here is a list of White collar crimes. Many of us are familiar with most of them.
TYPES OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME
- Bank Fraud: To engage in an act or pattern of activity where the purpose is to defraud a bank of funds.
- Blackmail: A demand for money or other consideration under threat to do bodily harm, to injure property, to accuse of a crime, or to expose secrets.
- Bribery: When money, goods, services, information or anything else of value is offered with intent to influence the actions, opinions, or decisions of the taker. You may be charged with bribery whether you offer the bribe or accept it.
- Cellular Phone Fraud: The unauthorized use, tampering, or manipulation of a cellular phone or service. This can be accomplished by either use of a stolen phone, or where an perpetrator signs up for service under false identification or where the perpetrator clones a valid electronic serial number (ESN) by using an ESN reader and reprograms another cellular phone with a valid ESN number.
- Computer fraud: Where computer hackers steal information sources contained on computers such as: bank information, credit cards, and proprietary information.
- Copyright infringement: Occurs where someone pirates television signal, or downloads from the internet illegally obtained movies, applications or music.
- Counterfeiting: Occurs when someone copies or imitates an item without having been authorized to do so and passes the copy off for the genuine or original item. Counterfeiting is most often associated with money however can also be associated with designer clothing, handbags and watches.
- Credit Card Fraud: The unauthorized use of a credit card to obtain goods of value.
- Currency Schemes: The practice of speculating on the future value of currencies.
- Embezzlement: When a person who has been entrusted with money or property appropriates it for his or her own use and benefit.
- Environmental Schemes: The over-billing and fraudulent practices exercised by corporations which purport to clean up the environment.
- Extortion: Occurs when one person illegally obtains property from another by actual or threatened force, fear, or violence, or under cover of official right.
- Forgery: When a person passes a false or worthless instrument such as a check or counterfeit security with the intent to defraud or injure the recipient.
- Health Care Fraud: Where an unlicensed health care provider provides services under the guise of being licensed and obtains monetary benefit for the service.
- Insider Trading: When a person uses inside, confidential, or advance information to trade in shares of publicly held corporations.
- Insurance Fraud: To engage in an act or pattern of activity wherein one obtains proceeds from an insurance company through deception.
- Investment Schemes: Where an unsuspecting victim is contacted by the perpetrator who promises to provide a large return on a small investment.
- Kickback: Occurs when a person who sells an item pays back a portion of the purchase price to the buyer.
- Larceny/Theft: When a person wrongfully takes another person’s money or property with the intent to appropriate, convert or steal it.
- Money Laundering: The investment or transfer of money from racketeering, drug transactions or other embezzlement schemes so that it appears that its original source either cannot be traced or is legitimate.
- Racketeering: The operation of an illegal business for personal profit.
- Securities Fraud: The act of artificially inflating the price of stocks by brokers so that buyers can purchase a stock on the rise.
- Tax Evasion: When a person commits fraud in filing or paying taxes.
- Telemarketing Fraud: Perpetrators operate out of boiler rooms and place telephone calls to residences and corporations where the perpetrator requests a donation to an alleged charitable organization or where the perpetrator requests money up front or a credit card number up front, and does not use the donation for the stated purpose.
- Welfare Fraud: To engage in an act or acts where the purpose is to obtain benefits (i.e. Public Assistance, Food Stamps, or Medicaid) from the State or Federal Government.
- Weights and Measures: The act of placing an item for sale at one price yet charging a higher price at the time of sale or short weighing an item when the label reflects a higher weight.
We have all been victims and many of us have been perpetrators of one or more of these crimes. In this category we are going to explore in more detail each of these white collar crimes.