What Are White Collar Crimes

Violent crime isn’t the only form of crime. When high-flying corporate executives in expensive custom suits commit elaborate schemes for financial gain or a harmless-looking deliveryman charms the old man next door out of his retirement money, they’re guilty of nonviolent but equally serious crimes called “white collar crimes.”

The term “white-collar crime” was reportedly coined in 1939 and has since become synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. White-collar crime is generally non-violent in nature and includes public corruption, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering, to name a few. White-collar scams can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three). Today’s fraud schemes are more sophisticated than ever, and the FBI is dedicated to using its skills to track down the culprits and stop scams before they start.

Common Types of White Collar Crimes

There are many types of white collar crimes, but the following are the most common:

Corporate Fraud

According to the FBI, the majority of the cases of corporate fraud they pursue involve falsification of financial information, insider trading, and schemes designed to conceal corporate fraud activities and impede the regulating bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission from conducting their inquiries.


Embezzlement happens when a person entrusted to handle money or property uses their position to misappropriate funds. An example of embezzlement is when an employee finds ways to funnel company money into their own bank account. Another is when a politician spends campaign funds for their personal expenses.

Ponzi Schemes

Named after Charles Ponzi, a con man who reportedly made $250,000 a day via his mail coupon fraud in the 1920s, a Ponzi scheme is a type of investment scam that promises high returns for little to no risk. People or organizations engaged in Ponzi schemes focus their efforts on attracting new investors to pay the older ones. The scheme falls apart when new customers stop coming in and the flow of new investments dry out.


Extortion is when a person convinces someone into giving up property, money, or services. An example is when gangs force store owners to pay “protection” money or when a blackmail victim pays money to keep someone from divulging information that can harm their reputation.

Bankruptcy Fraud

A person burdened by mounds of debt can find relief by filing for bankruptcy. This relief, however, comes at the expense of creditors who can only receive a portion of the debtor’s nonessential assets (or assets not necessary to maintain a household and a job). If a filer intentionally hides property when filling out bankruptcy paperwork, they can be accused of bankruptcy fraud.

Defense with Davis, Ermis & Roberts

White-collar crimes are treated a bit differently than some other crimes. Importantly, many white-collar crimes are prosecuted by the United States government instead of the state of Texas. Not all attorneys in Texas have experience dealing with federal prosecutions. Rest assured that the attorneys at Davis, Ermis & Roberts  do have this experience and are comfortable with the processes. If you’ve been charged with one of these crimes, retain an attorney as soon as possible to defend your liberties. Call to schedule a consultation with an attorney.