What is white collar crime?

You often hear the phrase “white collar crime,” but do you know what it means? If law enforcement officers charge you with having allegedly committed a white collar crime in Maryland, you will need to know exactly what charges you face and what proof is necessary to convict you.


FindLaw explains that a white collar crime usually consists of one where the defendant allegedly defrauds someone through some type of deceit in order to gain his or her own financial advantage. The term stems from the fact that most white-collar criminals are those who work in offices and wear white shirts or blouses underneath their suit jackets.


Typical white collar crimes

While white collar crimes cover an almost infinite variety of illegal endeavors, you most likely will hear this phrase attached to the following types of crimes:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion



Fraud itself comes in a variety of forms, one of the most common of which is that of securities fraud involving insider trading. Here someone, such as a highly-placed executive of a company, has access to confidential information about the company that (s)he trades to someone else for his or her own advantages. Or (s)he invests heavily in the company’s stock knowing ahead of time that (s)he will make a killing. Or conversely, (s)he sells off a large block of his or her stock so as to take his or her profits prior to the devaluation of the company’s stock (s)he knows will occur in the near future.


Other types of fraud include things like the infamous Ponzi schemes of the past that involved hundreds, if not thousands, of defrauded investors, or even something as small and personal as someone filing a fraudulent insurance claim.


Money laundering

Money laundering represents an all too common form of white-collar crime today. If charged with this crime, it means that officials have reasonable cause to believe that you did the following:

  • Deposited funds into a bank or other financial institution
  • Separated those funds from their true origins by means of an often highly complicated series of transactions that makes them difficult to trace
  • Mixed these now “clean” funds with others that were “clean” from the beginning, often through using them to partially pay for legal assets

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.



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