What is White Collar Crime?
The term “white-collar crime” comes from a speech given in 1939 by Sociologist Edwin H. Sutherland, who defined white collar crime as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Mr. Sutherland was a sociologist, and tried to define the crime by identifying the motivations of different classes of people, and his definition made a distinction between the motivations of the “upper crust” (money, social status, greed) with the motivations of “blue-collar” poor people (survival, psychological problems, etc.).
The modern definition is nowhere near Mr. Sutherland’s definition. Social status has almost nothing to do with white collar crime today. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines white collar crime today 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.” They also call it “lying, cheating, and stealing” in a nutshell. The term white collar typically refers to certain types of theft and deceit crimes involving the taking of money, property or services through the use of cons, swindles, and fraudulent conduct. There can be a significant amount of money involved. White collar crime is hard to prosecute, and hard to defend. White collar crime cases are usually complex, with many victims, many locations, many co-conspirators, and wide-ranging effects.
Some typical white collar crimes:
- Antitrust Violations – Price fixing, monopolies and other infractions of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act
- Bank Fraud – Fraud against a banking institution, including check fraud, commercial loan fraud, check kiting, and mortgage fraud
- Bankruptcy Fraud – lying to creditors or bankruptcy officials about assets or debts
- Bribery – attempting to influence others with money
- Computer/Internet Fraud – using the Internet or computers to defraud others, such a hacking or identity theft
- Copyright Infringement – unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, including infringement
- Credit Card Fraud – use of credit cards to purchase goods illegally
- Counterfeiting – not just money, but also copying goods (such as designer merchandise), and passing them off as real
- Theft of trade secrets – economic espionage
- Embezzlement – using someone else’s money entrusted to you for your own benefit
- Extortion – taking money through force, coercion or threats
- Forgery – manipulation of documents for monetary gain
- Money Laundering – making money obtained illegally difficult to trace
- Mortgage Fraud – misrepresenting information on mortgage loan documents for monetary gain through favorable credit terms, kickbacks, or higher loan amounts
- Securities Fraud – insider trading, market manipulation, investment schemes, etc.
- Tax evasion – inaccurate returns, underreporting income, failure to file
Contact Attorney Clarence T. Guthrie III
To speak with a Mississippi white collar criminal defense lawyer about state or federal criminal charges, or an investigation, contact The Guthrie Firm, PLLC in Ridgeland, Mississippi, on County Line Road very close to Jackson. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Clarence T. Guthrie III, call 601-991-1099 or toll-free at 866-991-1055. Feel free to contact us by email as well. We are here to help.