What Is White-Collar Crime?

What Is White-Collar Crime?

White-collar crime is a term that many people know about, but few understand. However, Hager & Schwartz is here to help explain what white-collar crime is and to give specific examples of these kinds of charges.

Defining White-Collar Crime

White-collar crime is defined as money-making frauds typically committed by business or government employees. White-collar crime is always financially motivated and is typically carried out by someone who works for the target of the crime.

When most people think about white-collar crime, they picture giant money-making schemes where people are stealing millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. While these schemes are prime examples of white-collar crime, a majority of white-collar crimes look nothing like this.

A majority of white-collar crimes are carried out by one or two people, and the payoff of these crimes is much less than millions of dollars. To further this point, let’s look at some of the most common forms of white-collar crime.


Bribery is when someone offers gifts or monetary compensation to a third party to elicit the desired outcome. Here is an example of bribery: suppose someone works for the government and has control over a vote that will impact a business. Once the business finds out about the vote, they send a “gift” to the third party in hopes that they will vote positively towards the business.

It should be noted that attempted bribery is charged in the same way as bribery. Therefore, even if the intended recipient does not accept the bribe, the party that offered the bribe chould be charged.


Embezzlement is when someone entrusted with assets (money, an estate, etc.) steals a part of all of what was entrusted to their care. Embezzlement only refers to situations where the thief has lawful possession of the property. Therefore, someone only managing a property would not be charged with embezzlement for stealing the property.

Typically speaking, embezzlement is performed by money managers within a business corporation. Other common embezzlers include:

  • Investors,
  • Bank tellers, and
  • Account managers.


Extortion is when someone threatens violence unless he or she receives monetary compensation. Extortion is similar to blackmail in that the offender uses force to guarantee the desired outcome. In typical extortion scenarios, an employee may extort from another employee, or an outsider may extort a specific employee.


Forgery is when someone falsifies or imitates information and presents it as the original. Forgery is often used to obtain access to documents or assets that would otherwise be inaccessible to the perpetrator.

Common examples of forgery include:

  • Falsified signatures;
  • Falsified documents;
  • Counterfeiting.

Accounting Fraud

Accounting fraud is when an employee of a company tampers with company financial records to conceal the theft of funds. While accounting fraud is similar to embezzlement, embezzlement does not include an act of fraud concealment after the fact. Therefore, accounting fraud is in some ways a more severe crime than embezzlement.

Healthcare Fraud

Healthcare fraud can be committed by one or both of the following parties, the patient and the caregiver. When patients commit healthcare fraud, they may lie about certain aspects of their lives to receive treatments that they don’t deserve. On the other side of healthcare fraud, caregivers may lie about treatments performed to receive funds for procedures that were never accomplished. 

Investment Fraud

Also commonly referred to as securities fraud, investment fraud is when a stockbroker, brokerage firm, or financial professional makes false promises to clients and fraudulently sells proprietary investments. In other words, an investor tells people to invest in something that isn’t real or is different than advertised.

Insider Trading

Insider trading is when an employee of a company buys or sells stocks as guided by internal information that is not available to the public. Insider trading is a serious problem because it can drastically influence the public market.

As you can see, there are many kinds of white-collar crimes, and each one can result in severe penalties for the accused. If you are facing criminal penalties, Hager & Schwartz is here to help you!

Have You Been Accused of a White-Collar Crime?

If you or a loved one has been accused of white-collar crime, it’s essential that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for your case. An accusation of committing white-collar crimes can instantly impact your job, your family, and your friends. Additionally, most white-collar crimes are felony offenses, which means that the accused may face a year or more in jail if they are convicted of their crimes.

However, Hager & Schwartz can help you fight for your rights.

Our award-winning law firm is known for assisting clients through some of the toughest times in their lives. Our aggressive and tenacious approach to criminal defense has won clients freedom from baseless charges that have no legs to stand on.

Are you looking for experienced representation? Call (305) 330-1360 now for a free consultation for your case!