What is white-collar crime and how serious is it?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Whether you face a criminal charge or not, understanding legal definitions of crimes remains helpful. While you may have heard the term white-collar crime before, what does it really mean?

White-collar crimes have a serious impact on those who face legal charges.

What is white-collar crime?

Many illegal activities fall under the white-collar crime umbrella but they all have a few things in common. White-collar crimes involve nonviolent activities often related to money or scams with the purpose of financial gain. Some examples include:

  • Fraud
  • Intellectual theft
  • Money Laundering

These general categories further encompass specific charges a person may face. For example, the term fraud could refer to corporate fraud, mortgage fraud or other more specific activities.

What are the punishments for white-collar crime?

As with other types of crime, the specific penalties for white-collar crimes vary depending on the unique charges and the outcome of the deciding court case. The consequences for those charged range from fines to imprisonment. The defendant may also need to forfeit any illegally-gained assets and compensate those impacted by illegal actions.

Fines for these types of crimes may reach incredibly high amounts. Likewise, prison sentences vary from a few years to a large portion of a person’s life depending on the scope and severity of the crimes they get charged with.

Even though white-collar crime generally excludes violent acts, the penalties might still seem severe. When facing any kind of criminal charge, you should understand your rights and what the charges might mean for your future.