What are the most common white-collar crimes?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2020 | White Collar Crime

When most people think of crime, violence comes to mind. However, there are illegal acts you may become accused of committing in America, which involve no violence or threats at all. Called white-collar crimes, these acts generally involve manipulating one or several financial systems for illegal profits.

Embezzlement remains one of the most common white-collar crimes people discuss. However, there are other common white-collar crimes you may find yourself accused of after authorities investigate your business or colleagues.

Corporate Fraud

Northcentral University identifies corporate fraud cases as those involving insider trading, falsifying documents or actions meant to hide illegal corporate activities. Actions that impede the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ability to conduct investigations may also become classified as white-collar crimes.


The misappropriation of funds happens when someone uses business or government funds for personal use. Common accusations in this area include inflating business expenses and paying “ghost” employees.

Ponzi schemes

Also known as pyramid schemes, this is another common white-collar crime that gets a lot of attention in the media. In these systems, someone or an organization attracts investors but may not actually invest the money. Instead, the person or organization uses new investors to pay returns to older ones.

Bankruptcy fraud

When filing for bankruptcy, a desperate attempt to preserve some sentimental items may lead to accusations of white-collar crime. Governments allow attempts to hide assets while filing for bankruptcy. There are, however, legitimate ways to protect specific assets from bankruptcy filings, especially for married couples where only one person files.

One form of crime that straddles both violent and white-collar crime is extortion. While it may not begin with violence, the persons behind the extortion might resort to violence when individuals refuse to pay the price.

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