As most people understand it, the term “white collar job” refers to a specific subset of occupations. These are the jobs that typically require individuals to attain college degrees, and sometimes advanced degrees, to perform. White collar crimes are no different. These are offenses that not just anybody can commit, because not everyone has the specialized knowledge or professional access to information or funds to commit these offenses. White collar crimes can go unnoticed for months, or even years, because they often do not leave victims physically harmed or create a commotion around sudden, violent actions. This does not mean they are any less serious than other types of charges.
Defining White Collar Crimes
There are two factors that separate a white collar crime from other types of crimes: who commits the crime and how he or she commits it. In order to commit a white collar crime, an individual must typically be in a professional or governmental position to access certain funds and information. For example, a financial advisor might lie about how he or she invested a client’s money or about the investments’ returns, taking a cut for him- or herself. Making personal purchases with corporate or government accounts is another type of white collar crime.
A white collar crime is not a violent crime or one that can be detected immediately. Instead, white collar crimes are defined by how the funds or critical information used to commit an offense are accessed. In most cases, individuals who are charged with white collar crimes have authorized access to the information they use, like clients’ bank account numbers and social security numbers. Identity theft, the act of stealing this type of information, may be deemed a white collar crime in certain instances....