What is a White Collar Crime?

By David Hammond

White collar crimes are named because they are often related to the realms of white collar workers such as finances, politics, or business. It is not, however, necessarily restricted to these kinds of workers. A white collar crime is considered to be a non-violent criminal act committed with the intention of unlawful financial gain. White collar crimes are typically more sophisticated and require a complex legal analysis. Due to their complex nature, white collar crimes can be difficult to prosecute, but this does not stop prosecutors from attempting to throw everything they’ve got at an alleged offender.

What is a White Collar Crime?

The fact that a white collar crime is defined as a non-violent criminal act that is committed with the intention of unlawful financial gain means that it is a rather broad category including a variety of potential criminal charges. White collar crime is a broad category that includes a long list of specific crimes. Such crimes that are considered to be of the white collar nature include:

  • Embezzlement
  • Identity theft
  • Blackmail
  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Forgery
  • Racketeering
  • Insider trading
  • Money laundering
  • Public corruption
  • Grand larceny
  • Tax evasion
  • Piracy (intellectual property theft)

White collar crimes also frequently involve fraud charges such as:

  • Financial fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Business fraud
  • Medicare fraud
  • Social security fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Mass marketing fraud

Being convicted of any of these white collar crimes can have a huge impact on your personal and professional life. Your reputation is at risk of being tainted indefinitely. The more specific penalties will, of course, depend on the nature of the crime. White collar crimes range from Class B misdemeanors up to Class C felonies. Each category of crime carries its own potential penalties, such as:

  • Class B misdemeanor: a conviction can result in three months of prison and $500 in fines.
  • Class A misdemeanor: a conviction can result in one year of prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Class E felony: a conviction can result in four years of prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Class D felony: a conviction can result in up to seven years of prison and up to $5,000 in fine
  • Class C felony: a conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

While there are certain guidelines that the court must observe when assessing penalties for the crime, there is some discretion involved. For instance, a court may opt to assess a fine equal to or double the amount that the defendant gained as a result of the crime in lieu of assessing the maximum penalty for the crime. There may also be mitigating circumstances or remedial factors that would lead the court to take the lower potential penalties prescribed by the sentencing guidelines.

Dedicating Criminal Defense Counsel Fighting White Collar Crime Charges

Facing a white collar crime means that you face severe potential penalties. Prison time and large fines may await you. Additionally, a white collar criminal conviction on your record will follow you the rest of your career. These kinds of crimes tend to have serious negative impacts on the social and financial lives of those who are convicted. The dedicated, experienced white collar crime attorneys at CDH Law will fight to help prevent that white collar criminal charge from turning into a criminal conviction. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.