All white-collar crimes share two distinct traits – they are not violent, and they resemble, in one form or another, theft. Some types of white-collar crimes are money laundering, corporate fraud, and embezzlement. Most of the time, white-collar crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI, the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and the National Association of Securities Dealers, or NASD. Though not always in the spotlight, white-collar crimes come into massive public scrutiny especially when high-profile personalities are involved, such as Bernie Madoff and Bernard Ebbers.
If it wasn’t clear enough, white-collar crimes are named after the kinds of people who commit these violations. Most of the people convicted of white-collar crimes are in the league of business and fund managers, as well as corporate executives. A lot of times, when convicted, these white-collar workers face incarceration and huge financial penalties.
However, white-collar crimes are not only exclusive to individuals. Financial institutions such as banks and other corporations may also be charged by the federal government.
One the most famous white-collar crimes committed in recent history involved Bernie Madoff, back in 2009. Money lost by investors amounted to $65 billion. He was given a lengthy prison sentence, one of the longest, in fact, in recorded history – 150 years. His Ponzi scheme allowed him to use money from new investors to pay previous investors. The whole set-up inevitably fell apart.