White-Collar Crimes: Criminal Defense

It is possible to suggest that, when hearing the term ‘crime,’ most people imagine homicides, robberies, physical or sexual abuse, and some other examples. However, crimes are not limited to the listed unlawful deeds and sometimes can be not violent. For instance, some illegal activities can be classified as white-collar crimes, and while they do not involve violence, they are not victimless (Schaefer, 2022). Numerous unlawful deeds are included in the group of white-collar crimes, and it is of vital importance to prevent and eliminate such cases because they are extremely negative for companies and individuals.

Defining White-Collar Crimes

Before providing some types and examples of white-collar crimes, it is essential to define these illegal activities. Overall, “white-collar criminals usually occupy a professional position of power and/or prestige, and one that commands well above average compensation” (Corporate Finance Institute, 2022, para. 1). As mentioned above, such crimes are not violent in their nature, and the primary interest of white-collar crimes is financial (Schaefer, 2022). These unlawful schemes can be perpetrated at a corporate level or by individuals, and the outcomes are usually extremely adverse and severe. Thus, as stated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (n.d.), these crimes “can destroy a company, wipe out a person’s life savings, cost investors billions of dollars, and erode the public’s trust in institutions” (para. 1). Unfortunately, it is often quite difficult to track and investigate such cases because white-collar criminals use numerous “sophisticated technological means to conceal their often complex transactions” (Israel, n.d., para. 1). As a result, it is significant to raise people’s and organization’s awareness of such illegal activities and their consequences in order to reduce their rates.

White-Collar Crime Types: Cybercrimes

The first example of white-collar crime to be discussed in detail is classified as cybercrimes. Indeed, with the rapid development of various information technologies, organizations received access to their benefits. At the same time, white-collar criminals also got an opportunity to expand their sophisticated methods and implement their illegal schemes at the computer level as well (Schaefer, 2022). As noticed by researchers, various unlawful deeds may be considered cybercrimes, including computer ‘hacking’ and identity theft (Corporate Finance Institute, 2022). Researchers also estimate that “losses from identity theft in the United States alone totaled nearly $2 billion in 2019” (Corporate Finance Institute, 2022, para. 6.4). Thus, it is reasonable to say that, while not being violent, white-collar crimes still involve victims and have rather adverse consequences.

Further, it is essential to discuss crimes related to computer ‘hacking.’ As stated by Israel (n.d.), they can be further divided into phishing, hacking, and cracking, so all these schemes are used by white-collar criminals to steal money or valuable private information. Phishing refers to the creation of bogus websites in order to obtain users’ personal information and then use it illicitly (Israel, n.d.). Further, hacking and cracking are the different processes of invasion into restricted systems or software to disrupt government or business operations or remove copy protections, respectively.

Various cases of white-collar cybercrimes can be found on the FBI’s website. For instance, in Quincy, a person was arrested several days ago for defrauding victims utilizing online schemes (U.S. Attorney’s Office, 2022c). The man used faked identities, faked passports, and fishing websites to deceive his victims. According to the authorities, he took part in online “romance, advance fee and business email compromise (BEC) schemes – designed to defraud victims into sending money to accounts controlled by him and his co-conspirators” (U.S. Attorney’s Office, 2022c, para. 3). This example may allow for the better understanding of white-collar cybercrimes.

White-Collar Crime Types: Counterfeiting

Another type of unlawful activity that can result in negative outcomes is counterfeiting. Overall, “counterfeiting is considered a white collar crime, and these activities are taken quite serious by federal agents and prosecutors” because they can have adverse consequences for organizations, society, and individuals (“Counterfeiting,” n.d., para. 1). It is interesting that cybercrimes can often be connected with counterfeiting – some white-collar criminals use online schemes to counterfeit currency (Schaefer, 2022). Researchers indicate that this crime type refers not only to money but also to numerous other falsified items (Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.). Precisely this is the primary goal of counterfeiting: white-collar criminals want to imitate or replicate something to present it as original and gain profit or take advantage of the high value and worth of the original item.

Apart from currency, criminals can falsify documentation, forged checks, equipment, fake identification cards and driver’s license, contracts, official signatures, consumer goods, and blank prescription slips. As noticed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (n.d.), their “investigations focus on the theft of trade secrets and copyright infringement on products that can impact people’s health and safety, like counterfeit parts for cars and electronics” (para. 15). For instance, recently, three persons pleaded guilty for being involved into international traffic of counterfeit iPads and iPhones (U.S. Attorney’s Office, 2022a). It is challenging to imagine how many people have become victims of these white-collar scammers who have been operating for eight years.

White-Collar Crime Types: Money Laundering

Finally, the last type of white-collar crime to be discussed in this paper is money laundering. An extended section is dedicated to this type on the official website of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (n.d.). Thus, the process of making illegal or ‘dirty’ money from crimes look like they actually are from legitimate activities and sources is defined as money laundering (Schaefer, 2022). In order to derive their proceeds, white-collar criminals can engage in terrorism, drug trafficking, domestic or international public corruption, human trafficking, healthcare fraud, and complex financial crimes (Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.). Generally, their schemes may involve tools like virtual currency, third-party service providers, real estate, precious metals, international trade, and financial institutions. Finally, such operations allow criminals to avoid taxes and prosecution, hide wealth, fund additional criminal activity, and increase their profit (Corporate Finance Institute, 2022). Recently, three men were accused of taking part in a money laundering scheme (U.S. Attorney’s Office, 2022b). They wanted to obtain Ecuadorian state-owned insurance firms’ business and used illegal, ‘dirty’ money to make the bribe payments and receive profit.


To draw a conclusion, one may say that crimes that have severe and adverse consequences are not limited to violent acts like homicide or abuse. What is more, even wealthy and influential people who hold high positions and have good income and prospects can be involved in various fraud schemes. White-collar criminals have numerous tools and methods to deceive their companies and authorities, which is why it is more challenging for the FBI to track their crimes. Overall, it is of vital importance to reduce white-collar crime rates to save organizations, individuals, and society from negative outcomes.


Corporate Finance Institute. (2022). White-collar crime.

Counterfeiting. (n.d.). Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Attorneys.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). White-collar crime.

Israel, S. (n.d.). White collar crimes. National Juris University.

Schaefer, R. T. (2022). Sociology: A brief introduction (14th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

U.S. Attorney’s Office. (2022a). Leaders of international organization that trafficked in counterfeit Apple products plead guilty. United States Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney’s Office. (2022b). Three men charged in Ecuadorian bribery and money laundering scheme. United States Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney’s Office. (2022c). Quincy man arrested for defrauding victims using various online schemes. United States Department of Justice.