White Collar Crime

Published 11 May 2017

Whenever we hear the phrase ‘white collar’, the first thing that comes to mind is working in an office environment. However, as we shall see later in this discussion, there is more than one meaning to this phrase White collar crime refers to an act or omission which contravenes or goes against certain stipulated laws which is committed by people who hold high position or big offices. Edwin Sutherland, a professor of criminology was the first person to come up with this term and argued that white collar crime has a direct link with cooperate crime as the former involves fraud, embezzlement and computer related crimes which white collar employees are more exposed to. This discussion takes a look at this kind of crime and the various impacts that it has on the society (Edwin. 1983).

Reports released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicate that on average, the United States of America spends slightly above 300 billion every year in fighting white collar crimes. This goes to show how rampant this type of crime has become especially with the advancement of technology in today’s society. Some of the crimes that have been classified as white collar crimes include embezzlement of funds while in office, fraud, using computers to commit crimes, theft of identity, corruption, forgery and all other forms of fraud (David, 1994).

According to the FBI it has proven difficult over the years to prosecute persons found guilty of white collar crimes. This is because the means and methods used to commit these crimes are always sophisticated, and in most cases evidence of commission of such crimes is normally concealed and unearthing such evidence requires experts. Currently the laws that govern this type of crime are the Commerce Clause and the constitution of the United States of America. Although white collar crimes are non-violent in nature the kind of harm they cause could be immense (Edwin. 1983).

Due to the non-violent nature of white collar crimes, the punishment meted on offenders of such crimes is normally lighter in comparison to violent offender. In addition, statistics indicate that there is a less likelihood for a white collar criminal to re-offend one punished. This stand has been heavily contested with some people arguing that persons found guilty of white-collar crimes should be punished heavily as their actions could cause great harm than imagined. For example, a person who embezzles people’s savings in a bank could be more dangerous than a person who mugged a passerby on the road (Jerod. 2009).

Law enforcers have admitted that the nature of this type of crime poses quite a challenge in curbing the crime. The first challenge is that the manner in which this crime is omitted is quite technical and presentation of evidence to prove commission of crime can be difficult. Secondly since this type of crime is done by high profile people, who are bale to hire good lawyers, proper prosecution of such person has not been quite realized. If found guilty offenders of white collar crimes are not incarcerated in the same jails as the rest of the criminals. Instead they are put in minimum security prisons where the freedom is greater (Jerod. 2009).

It is rather obvious that curbing this form of crime has been a challenge for many law enforcers in the world. It may require the government to train the law enforcers in technical matters to make prosecutions easier. It is only by so doing that white-collar crimes will be put at bay.


  • Edwin. H. Sutherland. (1983). White-Collar Crime: The Uncut Version, New York: Yale University Press.
  • David. N. (1994). White Collar Crimes. New York: Dartmouth Publishing Company.
  • Jerod. H. Israel et al. (2009). White Collar Crime, New York: United States of America.
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