Crime does not have to involve physical harm to another person. In the case of white collar crime, it involves the victimization or defrauding of people, businesses, and other entities.
However, the advent of the Internet has led to the creation of a new kind of offense known as cybercrime. Because of the damage that white collar cybercrime can inflict on victims, this type of offense is investigated and punished just as rigorously as violent crimes.
What is White Collar Cybercrime?
White collar cybercrime is defined as the carrying out of white collar crimes committed through virtual means like the Internet. It is the fastest growing type of cybercrime today. It fits the traditional definition of white collar crime because it is a non-violent criminal activity that is committed for financial gain.
White collar crimes themselves are often committed by people who are in respectable or high positions in society. Since white collar crime’s inception in the 1930s, this segment of criminal activity has grown in volume and complexity.
Further, white collar cybercrimes are often committed within the business or commercial arena. Industries that are most affected by this unique type of criminal activity include:
Like other white collar crimes, white collar cybercrimes are investigated by states’ Attorneys General, the FBI, and the SEC.
Examples of White Collar Cybercrimes
Some of the most common examples of white collar cybercrimes today are:
- Tax evasion
- Money laundering
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Bank fraud
It can also include offenses like antitrust violations and bribery as well as numerous types of fraud like:
- Computer and Internet fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Government fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Mail fraud
- Phone and telemarketing fraud
Finally, white collar cybercrimes can be defined as:
- Economic espionage
- Theft of trade secrets
- Environmental law violations
- Intellectual property theft and piracy
- Public corruption
Any of these offenses can lead to the investigation, charging, prosecution, and punishment of white collar cybercrime.
Legal Consequences for White Collar Cybercrime
White collar cybercrime does not involve the physical harm or violence to another person or people. However, it still inflicts considerable damage, many times monetary, to its victims. With that in mind, judges and juries often mete out punishment that takes into consideration the amount of harm that people suffer at the hands of the white collar cybercriminal that committed the offense.
Moreover, the severity of the punishment will depend on the individual case of white collar cybercrime. Someone who is a first-time offender may receive a lighter punishment than someone who is a repeat cybercriminal or who has inflicted thousands of dollars in damages to the victim or victims.
Still, courts across the country typically use a variety of penalties to discourage future white collar cybercriminal activity from offenders. Some of the most common legal consequence for this type of crime include:
- Prison sentences
- Supervised release from prison
- House arrest
- Electronic monitoring
Further, white collar cybercriminals also may be ordered to pay restitution or forfeit assets like bank accounts and real estate to their victims. The consequences of their actions can have years’ long ramifications not only on their personal lives but also their finances and ability to earn an income.
As such, people accused of white collar cybercrimes are encouraged to hire a skilled defense attorney to represent them. They should hire an attorney who is experienced in defending cases like theirs. Having legal representation by their side during their cases can help people accused of these crimes avoid the fullest punishment allowed under state and federal cybercrime laws.
White collar cybercrime is on the rise in society today. People accused and found guilty of these crimes face severe punishments like jail time and harsh fines. They could minimize or avoid prosecution by hiring an experienced defense lawyer to represent them.
Brett A. Podolsky is a Criminal Legal Specialist certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the former Assistant Criminal District Attorney for the State of Texas. As a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Texas, Mr. Podolsky dedicates his entire practice to litigation. He accepts a wide variety of cases, including drug charges, federal crimes, white-collar crimes, and sex crimes.