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The Defining Factors of a White Collar Crime


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s own definition, white collar crime is an act of fraud committed by a business, corporate executives, or government professionals for the purpose of financial gain. Due to the usual attire of businessmen and women, which is comprised of button-up shirts and blazers, the term “white collar crime” was coined back in 1939. Do not be mistaken, though – attire really has nothing to do with the criminal acts and many white collar criminals today operate on a smaller and less formal scale.

What Crimes are White Collar?

Due to the fact that a white collar crime needs to A) be for financial gain and B) be committed by a professional in a business or government position, there are only so many crimes that can be considered white collar. However, there are numerous ways a white collar crime can be conducted, each one slightly different from the next.

Some of the most common forms of white collar crimes are:

  • Identity theft: Stealing peoples’ identity is easier than ever now that everyone has multiple online profiles. Companies have an even easier time than “street level” criminals since those profiles are often willingly made and supplied to their companies.
  • Intellectual property theft: Many businesses rely on their intellectual property and trade secrets to get ahead of the competition. When one of their competitors is tired of them having an edge, they may use dishonest or illegitimate means to steal their intellectual property, either to use for themselves or to distribute to the entire market.
  • Fraud: A generic term for any criminal act that involves an outright lie to either gain finances from another or prevent the loss of one’s own finances. Types of white collar fraud include health care fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, and more.
  • Bribery: Company executives and government officials are often entrusted with valuable information that cannot be shared openly. Bribery is the act of using monetary gain or professional business favors to gain access to otherwise inaccessible information.
  • Money laundering: Large businesses may hide illegally obtained resources through legal channels, such as foreign banks or smaller businesses.

What to Do If You Are Accused

Business professionals of all sorts can be blindsided by a white collar crime accusation and arrest. If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you could be imprisoned for years, lose all of your profits and finances, and your business could collapse. To protect yourself and your future, contact our Mesa criminal defense attorneys from Naegle & Crider today.

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