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What are white collar crimes?


Readers of the Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog may have become familiar with the terms "fraud," "embezzlement" and "identity theft." However, they may not know that all these crimes, including a variety of other ones, all fall broadly under the head of "white collar crimes." White collar crimes are typically motivated by financial gain and involve crimes that are committed through deceit. Many of the common crimes touched upon on in this blog are encompassed by this term.

Fraud, the crime of deceiving someone for monetary gain, is perhaps the most common type of white collar crimes, but even fraud has many different categories, including securities fraud, mortgage fraud and insurance fraud. If an executive knows some confidential information about the company he works and takes advantage of this knowledge, like selling his stock, he may be guilty of insider trading, a type of securities fraud. If someone lies on their insurance application for the purpose of illegally collecting on an insurance policy, this may be considered insurance fraud.

Embezzlement, where someone improperly takes money from someone they owe a legal duty to, such as an employee depositing company money into their own account, may be considered a type of white collar crime. According to FindLaw, someone can be charged with tax evasion, even if they filed an incorrect tax form by filling in false information.

There are many elements to each of these white collar crimes, intention to deceive being one of the main ingredients of the crime. White collar crimes carry severe penalties in some cases and should not be taken lightly. Charges can affect the accused's personal and professional life, and a conviction may have even more serious effects. Understanding the crime that an individual is accused of is the first step to preparing an aggressive defense to fight the charges.

Source:, "White Collar Crime," accessed on Aug. 26, 2014

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