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White Collar Crimes

Updated: Nov 9, 2020


Subha Lakshmi K, III Year of B.A.,LL.B.


The White Collar Crime commonly means the crime which is committed by the educated and rich people who belong to the higher class of the society during the occupation. White Collar Crimes are the crime which causes injury or damage caused as a consequence of them is so widely diffused in the large body of citizens that their enormity as regards personage in the victim is almost trifling. An American criminologist, Edwin Sutherland, associated the term White-Collar Crime. He is the one who challenged the perception. He says that this behaviour is exhibited by the people from the higher social standing. It is the type of criminal activity which is drawn by the persons who are not from the low level of society and it is not the crime of physical violence of the criminal to the victim. It is said to be the crime of educated and wealthy people. This article speaks about what are all the White Collar Crimes and to discuss from which profession they are.

History of White Collar Crime

White Collar Crimes have been happening for thousands of years, but the term itself was coined in 1939. This term ‘White Collar’ refers to the collared shirts of such professionals. It was coined by Edwin Sutherland. He says that this crime is committed by the person of high social status which compared to the people committing other crimes. And in 1934, Morris tried to change in emphasis regarding crime. He said that anti-social activities of persons in the higher class of the society committed from their profession should be brought under the category of crime and should be punished. At last E.H Sutherland says these types of crimes which are committed by the higher class people and the persons of upper socio-economic groups who are violating trust should be termed as White Collar Crime. This concept found a place in criminology for the first time in 1941.

Types of White Collar Crime

1. Bank Fraud

2. Bribery

3. Cyber Crime

4. Money Laundering

5. Tax Evasion

6. Identity Theft

7. Embezzlement

8. Welfare Fraud

9. Counterfeiting

Bank Fraud

Bank Frauds are mostly considered as the White-Collar Offence being probed by the police. Compared to ordinary robbery and theft, the amount misappropriated in these crimes extends from lakhs and crores of rupees. The number is substantial in India. Nowadays, it is increasing a lot with time. Bank Fraud is a big increasing business in today’s world. It is the business with educated and qualified people and it is becoming impersonal and gave a big rise to White Collar Crimes. There was a survey made till 1997 which says bank frauds in the nationalized bank was of Rs.497.60 crore.


It is also a very common type of White Collar Crime. Bribery means giving money or goods to a person in a high position. It simply means when one man gives money to another who is in a greater position of authority. It is done for insisting one for doing something for him or preventing him from doing something. It constitutes a crime and it is defined by the black’s law dictionary. The payment of cash, goods or services to a person who is in an authority in exchange for some special service, or product or behaviour.

Cyber Crime

It is also called computer crime. An important character of cybercrime is non-local. It is the biggest cause of crime in India. It is the latest problem prevailing in the technological world. Usually, this type of crime is done by people who are experts in computer technology. It threatens the nation and the financial security of an individual. Nowadays Cyber Crime against women is also increasing rapidly. Cybercrime is a crime which is done with the use of the computer as an instrument to illegal ends, such as:

· committing fraud

· trafficking in child pornography and

· intellectual property,

· stealing identities

· violating privacy

· cybercrime

Money Laundering

It is the crime which is said to be the illegal process of criminal activities for making a larger amount of money. The money from this crime is dirty; the process launders to make them look clean. It is the serious White Collar Crime and street-level criminals. The process of which criminally derived property laundered is very extensive. Many may be generated by activities such as: Trafficking or terrorist funding.

Tax Evasion

Tax Evasion applies for both the legal and the illegal nonpayment of taxes. This is the crime that occurs when a person or business illegally refuses to pay the tax liability. Those caught in evading taxes are subjected to criminal charges and substantial penalties.

Causes for White Collar Crime

There are many reasons for a person to commit White Collar Crime. Most people do not come out as a criminal by birth. Some of the White Collar Crimes are also committed by normal people who are struggling financially and economically. In simple words, it is said that it is a criminal offence in bigger corporations to steal in a poor community. Most of the people started to think that committing these crimes is acceptable because they have been around corruption for a longer time. The fact says that almost no police effort is stopping it and the crime is rarely convicted. Greedy is another biggest influence of this crime. Many people with higher-ranking jobs tend to desire wealth and will do anything to obtain it. People committing this crime will do without any fear because they may have power. After all, they have friends in politics and they may have money to get the best lawyer, or they may also have friends in the law-enforcement agencies.

Some of the Laws to Control White Collar Crimes:

1. Compliance strategies: Involve cooperation and self-policing among businesses(SEC and FDA)

2. Sarbanes-Oxley legislation (SOX) limits non-audit services that auditing firms can perform publicly.

Remedies to Control White Collar Crimes

There has been an increase in the number of White Collar Crimes in India over the last two decades. Some of the measures should be taken to control such crimes such as:

1. White Collar Crimes can be controlled by creating public awareness through the media, press and other audiovisual aids.

2. Giving severe laws and imperative punishments for white-collar criminals may reduce these crimes.

3. Punishments should increase and they should be clearly defined under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 regarding White Collar Crimes.


White Collar Crimes are which cause harm to society economically and financially and even to the individual. Such type of crime not only affects the financial status of the country but also threatens the country economically. The criminals of white-collar crimes are very intelligent, smart and will be a person of a higher class than the other criminals. Criminals in such types of crimes are not afraid of any law agencies. These crimes are very difficult to detect because these crimes don’t require a gun or a knife, in such cases, the criminal may not be seen. It is covered up easily. Thus, I conclude that such type of crimes should not be taken leniently by the government. The government should impose strict provisions to control such types of crime. And most importantly people must be aware of most of these crimes.


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