White Collar Crime
White collar crime, a term that was coined in 1939, is not victimless, despite how this area of the law is viewed by the general public. The crimes committed under this umbrella are nonviolent, financial crimes, perpetrated by public officials or business people. The schemes include, but are not limited to: swindles, insider trading, consumer fraud, commercial fraud, bribery, and embezzlement. White-collar crime is often summed up as lying, stealing and cheating others out of their money.
Fraud schemes today are complex, edgy, innovative, and have the potential to wipe out businesses and family savings, or cost investors billions. The Enron case was one example. Even thought the crooks have gotten more sophisticated, the means to track them have also kept pace to detect, track, capture, and bring them to justice.
Fraud schemes in the 21st century include mass marketing fraud, real estate fraud, and a whole laundry list of other devious and clever scams. There are usually two factors that indicate a scheme is a fraud: dishonesty relating to conduct and/or not telling the truth, or taking someone’s property away from them or putting their property (life savings) at risk.
Lately, the government has indicated it wants tougher sentencing for white-collar crimes. For example, it is considering mandatory jail time, additional statutory aggravating factors, the impact on the victim (financially, psychologically), whether or not the offender hid or destroyed records or failed to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional ethics and standards, and the scope of the plan of the fraud scheme.
Having the white-collar criminal make restitution is another issue of great concern, as many criminals have spent all the money before they get caught. Nonetheless, there are some measures being considered that would be more inclusive of the victims