What is white collar crime?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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White collar crimes typically refer to a type of crime committed by business people, entrepreneurs, public officials, and professionals through deception, as opposed to street crimes which tend to involve force and violence (see the section on “Violent Crimes”). Examples of white-collar crimes include embezzlement, bribery, extortion, larceny, fraud (e.g., health care, tax), bankruptcy, telemarketing, insurance, mail, securities and commodities law violations, environmental law violations, price fixing, racketeering, loan sharking, black market operations, obstruction of justice and perjury, identity theft, perjury and computer fraud.

Depending on whether federal or state law has been violated, white collar crimes can be prosecuted at the federal or state level. Penalties vary, but in some cases can result in large fines, restitution, and jail time.

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