When someone says white collar crime, your mind might think of either Bernie Madoff or Martha Stewart.
It’s likely you’ve heard of Stewart’s insider trading scandal back in the early 2000s. You also know that while she did go to prison, she wasn’t sent to the same one as someone who committed a domestic violence crime.
Why? Because she committed a white collar crime, which is a whole other beast.
White collar crime came into existence in 1939, however, these types of crimes have been around since the 19th century. In this article, we’re breaking down not only what white-collar crime is, but also the top seven white collar crime statistics in USA history.
Let’s get started.
What Are White Collar Crimes?
White collar crime is technically categorized as a non-violent crime. This encompasses crime based on financial motivation or the purpose of a personal or business advantage. Essentially it’s anything that’s not considered a street crime.
Many people think white collar crime is minuscule when compared to a large amount of violence in the world. And that it has no victims. This is incorrect. White collar crime can potentially devastate companies, families, and reputations.
Types of White-Collar Crime
Let’s talk about the types of white-collar crime that most people might be familiar with.
- Fraud (insurance, tax, check, business, etc)
- Cyber Crime
- Insider Trading
- Ponzi Schemes
- Money Laundering
- Labor Racketeering
- Copyright infringement
- Identify Theft
Note that this isn’t the full, comprehensive list but some of the most common or widely known white-collar crimes.
The Top 7 White Collar Crime Statistics in USA History
Interested in the history of white collar crime and what it costs society? Want to know how much it’s affecting society? Read on and get the facts.
1. Which Pays Out More? Bank Robbery VS. Cyber Crime
Times are indeed changing. A few decades ago, if you wanted to steal, you’d have to rob a bank at gunpoint. Nowadays you don’t even need to leave your home; all you need is a computer and cyber skills.
According to white collar crime statistics in USA history, the average computer-based crime pays out a lot higher than your average bank robbery, $500,000 vs. $3,137, respectively.
2. White Collar Crime Is Rising
Now that more people have access to computers, the rate of white collar crime is rising. The internet opens doors for people but unfortunately, some of those doors lead to criminal actions.
The percentage of people in management positions and a corporate environment is rising which brings the opportunity to access trade secrets and company accounts. This presents a lot of temptation and the potential to make a quick buck.
These people are often caught once an audit or other standard security check reveals anomalies.
The National Fraud Center reported that white collar crime rose from $5 billion in 1970 to $100 billion in 1990 and is continually rising.
3. White Collar Crime Is Very Prevalent in Today’s Society
Did you know that for every 100,000 people in America, there are over 5,000 arrests directly relating to white-collar crime?
It could possibly be happening in your inner circle, but everyone from politicians and celebrities are getting charged with white collar crime. It’s estimated that 25% of American households will fall victim to a white collar crime such as identify theft, occupational hazards, data breaches, investment scandals, etc.
Financial crime has no age limit or economic boundaries. And it all comes down to just one thing: money.
4. It Doesn’t Affect Just the Middle Class
All to often you’ll hear huge scandals erupting from the elite class. We all know about Martha Stewart and Bernie Madoff when it comes to white collar crime statistics in USA history, but here are some cases you might not have heard of in the news.
Charles Ponzi: Made infamous from the “Ponzi” scheme, this sweet-talking dropout swindled millions of dollars from investors, keeping the profit for himself in the 1920s. He was finally found out and sentenced to 14 years in prison and died poor.
Bernard Ebbers: This Canadian businessman is most famously known as the fraudulent CEO of WorldCom. When WorldCom started failing, he edited the books and artificially inflated stock prices, landing him a 25-year jail sentence.
Kenneth Lay: You might not know this white collar criminal by name but maybe you know his company, Enron, a fast-growing energy company in the early 2000s. The business’ shady dealings left employes and investors bankrupt. Lay died before a court could decide his fate.
John Rigas: If you’ve heard of Adelphia Communications, one of the largest cable companies in the US, you’ve heard of its CEO John Rigas. He made headlines when he stole $3.1 billion from the company. Adelphia soon went belly up and a court found Rigas guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
5. Which Is Costlier? Street Crime Vs. White Collar Crime
You might think that street crime is more prevalent therefore costing the US more, but it’s not so. The FBI stated that violent street crime costs society $15 billion a year compared to the whopping $1 trillion a year that’s costing society for white-collar crime.
6. White Collar Crime Takes Awhile to Prosecute
The investigation of these crimes, often well covered up, can take months, even years to unravel, meaning those who have been accused can go awhile before they have their day in court.
Unlike violent crimes, jail time isn’t always handed out as the final sentence. Many convicted white collar criminals leave the courtroom with a slap on the wrist in the form of probation and restitution.
7. Fraud Is the Most Popular White Collar Crime
According to white collar crime statistics in USA history, the most common crime that occurs is fraud, specifically insurance and financial fraud. This includes automotive, medical and homeowner insurance fraud; wire, computer, and mail fraud; hedge fund, bank, and stock fraud.
The overall goal in these crimes is to receive an economic or financial gain.
Accused of a White Collar Crime? We Can Help.
Now you’ve learned all about the white collar crime statistics in USA history, but do you know who can help with defending you? Here at the Iyer Law Office, we specialize in defending all types of people in all types of situations. If you’ve been accused of a white collar crime, we will develop a strategy to vigorously defend you in court.
To see how we can help you, contact us today to schedule your consultation.