4 Common Types of White-Collar Crimes

When someone commits a nonviolent crime for the purpose of financial gain, this is a white-collar crime. Generally speaking, the main characteristics of these crimes are a violation of trust, concealment or deceit.

The FBI defines a white-collar crime as a range of frauds committed by either a business or government professional. There are many types of white-collar crimes, with these four commonly occurring.

1. Corporate fraud

When an individual or company engages in dishonest or illegal activity to secure an advantageous financial outcome, corporate fraud occurs. These crimes are often disguised as legitimate business processes.

2. Embezzlement

The misappropriation of assets or funds entrusted to someone is known as embezzlement. In most embezzlement cases, the person embezzling has the right to possess the assets or funds but uses them for inappropriate purposes.

3. Ponzi schemes

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam that promises high rates of return with minimal risk. These scams involve generating returns for initial investors by taking money from investors who commit later on.

4. Extortion

When an individual threatens violence or reveals damaging information about another person to obtain money or property, extortion occurs. Extortion crimes must involve a threat and the intent to acquire something of value.

Although white-collar crimes are nonviolent, they still carry serious penalties that could impact the accused’s finances and reputation. These consequences can include home detention, imprisonment, restitution, supervised release and forfeitures.