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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Thursday, May 21, 2020

What is a White Collar Crime?

Crimes fall into subcategories and sometimes multiple subcategories. There are felonies. There are misdemeanors. There are violent crimes. There are nonviolent crimes. There are also a set of crimes commonly referred to as “white collar crimes.” While you may have heard this phrase before, you may not be aware of what it actually means.

What is a White Collar Crime?

White collar crimes are nonviolent crimes that are committed for financial gain. The term “white collar” refers to the type of individual that is generally found to engage in these often more sophisticated crimes. White collar workers, such as those in the financial industry or in the government, are often targeted as potential suspects in nonviolent financial crimes. While this usually means that corporate boardroom members and government officials are commonly associated with white collar crimes, anyone can be prosecuted for a white collar crime.

A white collar crime may be a violation of either state law, federal law, or both. The potential penalties for a white collar crime conviction may include jail or prison time. Additionally, a person convicted of a white collar crime may be subjected to large fines. A court may also choose to make the convicted party make huge restitution payments to those harmed by the financial crime.

Certain theft offenses are also considered white collar crimes. Theft involves taking money or something of value from another person. With theft offenses that are considered white collar crimes, there is not threat or use of force. White collar theft crimes are often associated with organized crime. Blackmail and embezzlement are frequently the subject of white collar crime prosecutions. Embezzlement usually involves abusing a position of trust in order to illegally obtain money. This often occurs when an employer funnels money away from an employer for personal benefit.

Fraud offenses are also common in the category of white collar crimes. With fraud, there is a scheme to take something of value that belongs to someone else through use of false pretenses or misrepresentation. It differs from theft in the way that, with theft, a person is directly and wrongfully compelled to give something of value up to another person. With fraud, the person is deceived into voluntarily giving up something of value to another person. There are a wide variety of fraud offenses. Identity theft and document forgery are both fraud offenses. There is also bank fraud and credit card fraud. Ponzi schemes and investment scams are fraud offenses involving the direct solicitation of funds from people. Additionally, tax fraud and welfare fraud, among other fraud committed against the government, fall into the fraud category of white collar crimes.

Other crimes that are classified as white collar, include:

  • Public corruption
  • Bribery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Mail fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Money laundering mortgage fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Mail fraud

Criminal Defense Attorneys

The trusted criminal defense attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C. are committed to aggressively advocating on behalf of our clients. If you are being investigated for or accused of committing a white collar crime, we can help. The sooner you reach out to us, the better. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.


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Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C. is located in Midland, Texas and serves the surrounding cities and counties, including: Odessa in Ector County, Andrews County, Martin County, Howard County, Winkler County and Crane County.



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