White Collar Crime Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of White Collar Crime, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is White Collar Crime?

(n) In any crime it will be apparent that someone is doing a crime like beating, killing or pick pocketing etc. When a normal act with no apparent reason to believe there is an element of a crime involved in it, is done with a motive to do crime, such acts are called white collar crime. For example selling some item which he knows is going to be banned immediately. Such activities are generally done by upper class, supposed to be wearing unstained cloths hence the name white collar crime

History and Meaning of White Collar Crime

The term "white collar crime" was first coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939 to describe crimes committed by individuals in a professional or business setting, such as fraud, embezzlement, and insider trading. The term has since come to encompass a range of non-violent crimes committed by people in positions of power or trust, often for financial gain.

White collar crime is unique in that it often involves manipulation of the systems and structures of businesses and institutions, rather than physical force or violence. The perpetrators of these crimes are typically individuals who hold positions of authority or trust, such as executives, bankers, and politicians.

Examples of White Collar Crime

  1. Insider trading - the illegal practice of trading on the stock market using confidential information not available to the public.

  2. Embezzlement - the theft or misappropriation of funds from a business or organization by an employee.

  3. Ponzi schemes - an investment scam in which returns are paid to earlier investors using funds contributed by newer investors.

  4. Accounting fraud - the manipulation of financial records and reports to misrepresent the financial health of a company.

Related Terms

  1. Corporate crime - crimes committed by corporations or other business entities, often with the complicity of employees or executives.

  2. Financial crime - a broad category of crimes that involve financial gain through illegal means.

  3. Cybercrime - crimes committed using computer networks, including hacking, identity theft, and fraud.

  4. Racketeering - the operation of illegal businesses or organized criminal activities for profit.

  5. Corruption - the misuse of public power for private gain, often involving bribery or extortion.