The government defines white-collar crime as crimes committed through deceit and motivated by personal and financial gain. They may involve deception and violate trust. The offenses need not involve a threat of physical force or violence.
White-collar crimes are not victimless crimes. They may devastate the lives of individuals by wiping out a victim’s life savings, and a single crime may cost investors millions of dollars. Such crimes may involve:
- Public corruption
Public corruption covers a range of threats that may cause harm to national security. This federal crime includes the following categories:
- Prison corruption
- Border corruption
- Election crimes
These types of corruption may involve the use of bribery. The payout of money to officials or others included in the scheme may result in the smuggling of drugs, guns or election interference.
- Health care fraud
Health care fraud involves filing false health care claims to gain a profit. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association states that organized crime groups, along with a minority of dishonest health care providers, commit this crime. The NHCAA estimates money lost due to health care fraud runs in the billions of dollars each year. Common types of health care fraud are:
- Billing for services never rendered
- Falsely billing for higher-priced treatments
- Performing medically unnecessary services
- Falsifying a patient’s diagnosis
- Accepting kickbacks
- Securities and commodities fraud
Securities and commodities fraud covers illegal activities involving deceiving investors or manipulating the financial market. The typical scheme may include a low- or no-risk investment, guaranteed returns or unregistered securities. These crimes may involve:
- Ponzi schemes
- Foreign currency fraud
- Broker embezzlement
- Pyramid schemes
The United States Department of Justice’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force investigates and prosecutes these crimes. The task force works with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prosecute these crimes, such as the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission.