You’ve probably heard of a few major “white collar” criminals in the media, such as Martha Stewart and Jordan Belfort. For many, white-collar crime has a reputation for being the least serious type of crime and is often synonymous with well-heeled defendants who commit minor corporate infractions and, at worst, might have to spend a few months in a minimum-security prison. However, this is not the case in reality.

White-collar crime encompasses the full range of fraud committed by business and government professionals. These types of crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust, even though they are not dependent on the application or threat of physical violence. The motivation behind white-collar crimes is largely financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage. 

The Most Common Types of White Collar Crime

Generally speaking, white-collar crime encompasses any financially motivated crime committed by individuals, businesses, or government entities that use deceptive practices for financial gain. As such, this umbrella term includes a wide range of actions and behaviors. Some of the most common types of white-collar crime include:

The Act of Fraud

A person commits the crime of fraud when he or she misrepresents facts in order to gain something in return. The crime of fraud requires four elements:

  • The perpetrator made a statement of fact that he knew to be false
  • The perpetrator intended to deceive the victim y making the false statement
  • The victim believed the statement to be true and relied on it, and
  • The victim suffered actual loss

Insider Trading

Insider trading is the buying or selling of a security by someone who has access to material nonpublic information about the security. This often includes employees and top-level executives who work at the company represented by the security. Insider trading can be illegal or legal depending on when the insider makes the trade. It is illegal when the material information is still nonpublic. However, it can be legal when directors of the company purchase or sell shares, but they disclose their transactions legally.

Bribery

Bribery occurs when a person uses something of value to tempt or influence someone to act in a specific way, to make certain decisions, or to express certain opinions. This is most commonly seen in one person offering to pay money to another person, who is in a position of authority, for the purpose of persuading him to do something, or to refrain from doing something. Offering bribes and accepting bribes are both illegal.

Forgery

Forgery is the altering, making, possession, or use of falsified documents (such as checks, contracts, or wills) with the intent to defraud or injure the recipient of the document. People who commit forgery are also often charged with fraud. One of the most common types of forgery is signing someone else’s name to a check.

Contact a West Chester, PA White Collar Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with any white-collar crime, contact the attorneys at The Skinner Law Firm for a free consultation by calling 610-436-1410.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

Recent Blog Posts

By Michael Skinner |

West Chester Crime Stats Released

Read Now >

By Michael Skinner |

Employee Theft or Accounting Mistake?

Read Now >

By Michael Skinner |

Are BAC Tests Reliable?

Read Now >

By Michael Skinner |

How Long Will it Take to Resolve A DUI in Chester County?

Read Now >

By Michael Skinner |

DUI Consequences for Licensed Professionals: Doctors, Engineers, & CPAs

Read Now >

By Michael Skinner |

What Happens if the Police Don’t Read My Miranda Rights

Read Now >