White-collar crime is a term used to describe illegal acts made by employees, corporations and business professionals. These non-violent crimes will typically involve deceit, secrecy and abuse of power and are usually motivated by financial gain or personal advantages.
Coined in 1939 by sociologist Edwin Sutherland, the name refers to “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.” This can include fraud, insider trading, embezzlement, money laundering and wage theft amongst others.
Although these crimes may not be violent, that is not to say they are victimless. In fact, a single scam can bring a company to its knees, rob investors and bankrupt families. While a direct victim may not be hurt, these types of crimes can affect many people in different ways.
Various agencies work together to ensure white-collar crime is policed effectively. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) usually rely on organizations like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to identify evidence and track investigations.
One major example of white-collar crime is the infamous Ponzi scheme. Charles Ponzi started out as a poor immigrant in the 1920s, working odd jobs and doing two stints in jail before creating his multimillion-dollar scam.
Ponzi realized he could make a generous living by taking on ‘investors’. He would promise lucrative annual returns of 50 to 100 percent which encouraged many to part with their cash. However instead of investing the funds, Ponzi pocketed the money and only paid ‘returns’ to give the illusion of growth.
His scheme soon began to unravel when too many investors requested to withdraw their funds that the fraudster had already spent.
If you have any suspicions about colleagues or employees, ICFECI can help. We are experts in computer and cell phone forensics, while founder Dan James has been a Certified Fraud Examiner for over 25 years. We have decades of experience dealing with corporate crimes and fraud, with a track record of success in uncovering schemes and compiling evidence that will stand up in court.