White-collar crime is a non-violent crime where the primary motive is typically financial in nature. White-collar criminals usually occupy a professional position of power and or prestige, and one that commands well above average compensation.
“The practitioners of evil, hoarders, the profiteers, the black marketeers, and speculators are the worst enemy of our society. They have to be dealt with sternly. However well placed important and influential they maybe, if we acquiesce in wrongdoing, people will lose faith in us.” -Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
The most prominent sociologist of the 20th century and also a criminologist, Edwin Hardin Sutherland, for the first time in 1939, defined white collar crimes as “crimes committed by people who enjoy the high social status, great repute, and respectability in their occupation”. The five attributes of the given definition are:
- It is a crime.
- That is committed by an important person of the company.
- Who enjoys a high social status in the company.
- And has committed it in the course of his profession or occupation.
- There may be a violation of trust.
White Collar Crime may be commit by individual or at corporate level. Due to advance technology now available, however, even white-collar crimes committed by an individual may result in millions of losses for the victims.
Blue-Collar v. White-Collar Crimes
The difference between blue-collar crime and white-collar crime stems from the different types of criminal activity that the criminal has engage in.
Blue-collar crime, because of the more limited means of the people committing it, tends to be more straight on – robbery, burglary, etc. and white-collar criminals are more often in a position – such as being a loan officer in a bank – to commit widespread and complex fraud schemes.
The difference between White-collar crime and Blue-collar crime(Which are crime of general nature) was laid my supreme court in one of his judgment in Mohanlal Jitmalji Porwal and Anr v. State of Gujarat Hon’ble Justice Thakker observed that one person can murder another person in the heat of the moment, but causing financial loss or say committing economic offences requires planning. It involves calculations, knowledge and strategy making in order to gain personal profits.
|Characteristics||White-Collar Crime||Blue-Collar Crime|
|Meaning||Blue-collar crimes refer to people who work physically, using their hands.||White collar crimes refer to knowledgeable works, who use their knowledge to commit crimes.|
|New v/s Traditional||The concept of white collar crimes has recently developed. So it’s a new species of crime.||Blue-collar crimes refer to traditional crimes that have been committed since ages|
|Mens Rea||It is not a necessary in this type of crime||It is an essential element|
|Veiled offenders||One does not have to come face to face with the victim and so their identity remains veiled.||One has to come face to face in order to inflict injury upon others.|
|Direct access to the targets||The offenders who commit white collar crimes are people at a higher position in a company they have easy, direct and valid access to their targets. One can have direct access to their target making use of one’s higher position and power.||The case is different with blue-collar crimes. For example, if A decides to commit theft in the house of B, he will first have to break the door or make a passage of entrance to get inside B house and thereafter commit theft. So, before actually committing theft, A will first have to get access to B’s house.|
|Greater Harm||The harm caused by white collar crimes are much more difficult to bear than those inflicted by blue collar crimes. Also, the harm caused by white collar crimes could cause great harm, not only to the public, but to the other institutions and organizations as well.||The harm caused by Blue Collar crimes are not much difficult to bear than those are in White collar crimes.|
Types of White-collar Crimes
White-collar crime compromise a wide range of offences which includes :-
Fraud is a broad term that surround several different schemes used to defraud people of their money. One of the most common and simplest is the offer to send someone a lot of money 10,00,000 if they will simply send the fraudster a little money 1,00,000 the fraudster may represent the smaller sum as being a processing or finder’s fee. Of course, the fraudster gets the money that is sent to him but never sends out the money he promised to send.
- Ponzi scheme
Named after Charles Ponzi, the original culprit of such a scheme, a Ponzi scheme is an investment scam that offers investors extremely high returns. It pays such returns to the initial investors with the newly deposited funds of new investors. When the scammer is no longer able to attract a sufficient number of new clients to pay off the old ones, the scheme collapses like a house of cards, leaving many investors with huge losses.
In November, 2018, Gaylen Rust of Utah was accused by the Government for running ponzi scheme and generating huge wealth, like that if 25-40% per year,which is about 47 to 200 million of money. It was found that more than 200 people had become a victim of this scheme.
Embezzlement is a crime of larceny,or theft, that can range from an employee taking a few rupees out of a cash drawer to a complex scheme to transfer millions from a company’s accounts to the embezzler’s accounts.
4. Money laundering
Money laundering is a service essential to the needs of criminals who deal with large amounts of cash. It involves move the cash through several accounts and eventually into legitimate businesses, where it becomes intermingled with the genuine revenues of the legitimate business and is no longer identifiable as having originally come from the commission of a crime.
Espionage, or spying, is typically a white-collar crime. For example, an agent of a foreign government that wants to obtain part of Apple Inc. technology might approach an employee at Apple and offer to pay them 10 crore rupees if they will provide a copy of the desired technology.
Our money has become more colorful and expanded in detail because it had to in order to combat counterfeiting. With today’s computers and advanced laser printers, the old currency was just too easy to copy. However, it’s questionable how successful the government’s efforts in this area have been. It that very high-quality copies.
As the use of computer and internet is increasing, so is the crime related to it. The crimes which involves the use of computer, coupled with the use of internet are called cybercrime. It is where the computer is used as the object of the crime or as a tool to commit an offence.
The only legislation which deals with the offences related to cybercrime is Information Technology Act, 2000. The exact definition of cybercrime hasn’t been provided in any of the acts or laws as it is not possible to define such a nature of crime where computer and internet is involved.
Categories of Cybercrime
This sort is similar to a real-life instance where a person illegally possess someone’s bank account or credit card details. Here the hacker interfere into the personal details related to the account or credit card to gain access to the funds, to make purchases or to run phishing scams. Also by using malicious software one gains access to the confidential information.
Where a person illegally distributes that information which the law prohibits from publishing, like, distributing pornography. This sort also includes trafficking and stalking.
A crime against the government is called cyber terrorism. This includes crimes like hacking government websites, military websites or distributing propaganda. These criminals are usually terrorists or enemies from different nations. This crime is the most serious one, and its rate is presently very low in India.
Classifying White-Collar Crime
White-collar crime is commonly subdivided into two broad, general categories:
- Individual crimes
Individual crimes are financial crimes committed by an individual or a group of individuals. An example of an individual white-collar crime is a Ponzi scheme, such as the one run by Bernie Madoff. Other individual crimes in this category include identity theft, hacking, counterfeiting, and any of dozens of fraud schemes.
- Corporate crimes
Some white-collar crime occurs on a corporate level. For example, a brokerage firm may let its trading desk employees engage in an insider trading scheme. Money laundering may also be conducted on a corporate level.
 AIR 1987 SC 1321.