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3 Things You Didn't Know About White Collar Crimes


Whether they appear in movies, television shows, and popular culture, white-collar crime has been glamorized in a variety of mediums. However, these offenses are punished harshly both at the state and federal level, resulting in severe penalties such as long prison sentences and costly fines. If you are ever accused of or charged with a white collar crime, it is imperative to seek legal representation from an experienced attorney who will protect your rights and future.

The following are three facts about these types of crimes:

  • The term "white collar" originated from actual white collars. In many cases, people are curious as to why crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, extortion, bribery, and blackmail are referred to as "white collar crimes." While the term was first documented in 1910, it became more prevalent in the beginning of World War II. In a speech given to the American Sociological Society by Edwin Sutherland in 1939, he defined white-collar crime as a "crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of occupation." Office workers often wear white-collared shirts because there are less opportunities to make them dirty in the office setting. And, if their shirt did get dirty, they are able to afford taking them to the cleaners.
  • White collar crimes are not victimless crimes. When we think of crimes involving victims, we think of murder, sexual assault, burglary, etc. People often claim white collar crimes really don't have victims, in a sense. However, the U.S. economy is often the victim of white collar crimes—costing American citizens over $200 billion annually. White collar crimes are at least 14 times more financially costly than violent crimes.
  • The greater the loss, the more severe the penalties will be. If you are found guilty of committing a white collar crime, sentencing will vary according to the amount of money in question, the number of victims that have been harmed from the fraudulent conduct, and the defendant's role in the illegal conduct. Typically, the more money involved in the crime, the greater the punishment.

If you have been accused of a white-collar crime in South Carolina, contact our Columbia criminal defense attorney at Masella Law Firm, P.A. today.

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