Like most people, you have likely heard the term “white collar crime” used before; however, what is a white collar crime exactly? Is a white collar crime a true crime? Are the punishments for a white collar crime the same as they are for other types of crimes? Although people tend to equate white collar crimes with less serious crimes, the reality is that a white collar crime can be a serious criminal offense, conviction of which can subject a defendant to a lengthy term of imprisonment in some cases.
Interestingly, the term “white collar crime” was originally coined in 1939 during a speech given by Edwin Sutherland to the American Sociological Society. The term was used to describe crimes committed by individuals who are respectable members of society, typically educated, and are generally not viewed as the criminal type. In other words, those who wear “white collars” to work every day. Although the term has no official legal meaning, it continues to be widely used today by law enforcement and the public in general to describe non-violent, financially motivated crimes. Just a few examples of white collar crimes include:
- Cyber crimes
- Identity Theft
- Insurance Fraud
- SEC violations
- Mail Fraud
- Tax Fraud
- Copyright Infringement
- Money Laundering
Many white collar crimes can be charged as either a state or a federal offense. In fact, several federal law enforcement agencies devote a good portion of their time and budget going after white collar crimes because of the massive amounts of money involved. SEC violations, for example, can potentially involve millions of dollars of investor funds while money laundering schemes can be just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger criminal operation. In the 21st century, cybercrimes are becoming increasingly common crimes that collectively cost consumers and businesses billions of dollars each year. Not surprisingly, these crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by state and federal prosecutors. Many white collar crimes are major felonies, meaning they carry potential prison sentences that could land a defendant in prison for decades.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, or you are under investigation for one, you should consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney.