The term white collar crime refers to a nonviolent crime that includes deceit, gaining personal or business advantage, and concealment to obtain or avoid losing any money or property. White-collar crimes will lay an impact on the company, drain out your savings, can cost you thousands of dollars, and can cause you to have trust issues. 

According to the federal bureau of investigation (FBI), these types of crimes do not involve any violence where a party only thinks of financial deception. They do not cause any harm to anyone yet there can be many personal or business problems that can arise due to them. 

Types of white collar crimes

White Collar CrimeEdwin Sutherland coined the term white-collar crime in the year 1949. According to him, people who have respect and social status commit these types of crimes. The workers who committed these crimes occupied other office positions apart from labor grade. 

White-collar crime includes fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, identity theft, insider trading, money laundering, cybercrime, bribery, scams, corporation, extortion, and more. Some of the most common white-collar crimes are as follows:


White-collar fraud happens when someone is committing a dishonest act for financial gain. Many people try specific techniques on other people to make them fall for their trap. Some of the different types of fraud schemes include securities fraud, insurance fraud, and business fraud. In these kinds of frauds, people provide false and misleading information.  

Corporate Fraud

When you commit large-scale fraud in a government institution or a corporate organization, a significant financial crisis can occur. It can even lay a negative impact on the US economy.


Embezzlement is one of the most common corporate crimes. It refers to actions when a trusted individual handling monetary and property matters illegally uses their power to steal the funds. It happens when employees illegally transfer the company’s funds without the knowledge of any company’s officials.

Ponzi scheme

The name came from its original perpetrator Charles Ponzi. The scammer builds some investment scheme that is lucrative and promises to return the money. New investors get attracted and then when a white-collar criminal receives the entire money, they will run away. Ponzi scheme is also known as pyramid scamming.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is earning money through illegal activities such as drug trafficking and others. Furthermore, earnings are shown as if the individual is making profits legitimately.

It does not matter whether white-collar crime does not harm anyone, the scammer will face charges and other severe consequences. The penalty will entirely depend on the severity of the crime. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission uses various techniques to help prevent any fraud. Therefore, if you have an involvement in any of the such crimes and are searching for rescue, consult a white collar crime lawyer to act in your defense.

What percentage of crime is white-collar?

Everyone will be in shock about the prevalence of these crimes. According to Zippa, 3% of federal prosecutions make up such crimes. In comparison to 2011, these crimes have been reduced by a percentage of 53.5%. Furthermore, nearly 90% of such crimes do not get noticed. One of the biggest white-collar crimes in the history of America is Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme.

White-collar crime prosecutions (2011-2021)

Fiscal Year Total federal prosecutions for white-collar crimes
2021 4,727
2020 4,200
2019 5,702
2018 5,932
2017 5,825
2016 6,253
2015 6,935
2014 7,864
2013 8,373
2012 8,433
2011 10,162

Distribution of white-collar crimes

White-collar crime Percentage
Theft 7.80%
Fraud 63.33%
Embezzlement 2.92%
Forgery 4.36%
Bribery 1.85%
Tax Evasion 4.79%
Money laundering 5.71%
Extortion 8.59%
Gambling 0.66%

Identity theft and fraud complaints

Years Identity theft complaints  Other consumer complaints Fraud complaints 
2016 398K 1436K 1229K
2017 371K 1240K 1309K
2018 444K 1177K 1504K
2019 651K 912K 1723K
2020 1388K 1201K 2185K

If we analyze white-collar criminal activity, more than half of white-collar criminals are between the ages of 41 and 60. Less than 10% of females in the United States have an involvement in these crimes. These crimes have been dropping by 53.05% from 2011 to 2020. 

What are the penalties for white-collar crimes?

Penalties for white crime offenses may include fines, community confinement, home detention, forfeitures, restitution, imprisonment, paying the cost of prosecution, and supervised release. 

According to federal sentencing guidelines, prison time may extend when someone experiences substantial financial harm. A Philadelphia criminal lawyer will prepare criminal defense strategies that will help in your case. Call us now at 215-355-9105 or schedule an appointment today by filling out our contact form.