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Factors That Make Up a White Collar Crime


If you watch enough television dramas or head to the movies frequently, you have probably seen plenty of depictions of white collar crime. Businessmen at the top of a corporation scheme to take profits from shareholders, a clever computer hacker gets past government firewalls to evade his taxes, roguish thieves counterfeit money to trick a casino, and so on. With all of these romanticized ideas of white collar crime, it has become clear that the actual definition of white collar crime is now unclear.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a white collar crime is one that is committed through a fraudulent action for nothing more than financial gain. Although the definition does not explicitly state it, a white collar crime is also usually nonviolent and not carried out in person. This category of crime was labeled “white collar” due to the fact that businessmen and businesswomen who wear button-up shirts and blazers to work are generally the only ones who will use nonviolent fraud to make a monetary gain. In other words, the term white collar crime is based on stereotypes.

What Sort of White Collar Crimes Are There?

The two roots of white collar crime – fraud and financial gain – limit the number of crimes that can fit into this category. An armed burglar who steals a wallet is not a white collar criminal because they did not use fraud for the financial gain; someone who uses another’s private information to access and alter their social media posts is not a white collar criminal because they used fraud for something other than financial gain.

Instead, a white collar criminal will usually be arrested for:

  • Identity theft
  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Embezzlement
  • Counterfeiting
  • Insider trading
  • Tax evasion

Are There Defenses to White Collar Crimes?

Absolutely. There is no criminal charge that has no defense. By their very nature, white collar crimes are difficult to trace and prove with hard evidence. The prosecution will be hard-pressed to show the jury that you were the one who committed the alleged acts.

You should not rely on their uphill battle alone, though, or else you will be gambling with your future. Most white collar crimes can be felonies or federal offenses so a conviction may lock you up for years. Start being proactive about your defense by contacting our Milwaukee criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today. You can call 414.882.8382 for a free initial consutlation to begin.

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