What is White Collar Crime

White collar crime
white collar crimes » What is White Collar Crime

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White-collar crime is a subjugated term for crimes committed by people belonging to a higher class during the course of their occupation. White-collar crimes are considered to be committed by people who know better and are trying to cover up or water down an irregularity in the field. These types of crimes are common in the fields of education, health, and commerce. Mostly every country, including India, follows the purview of influential criminologist Edwin Harding Sutherland to define white-collar crimes, which goes as “crimes committed by people who enjoy the high social status, great repute, and respectability in their occupation”. As per the corporate definition, white-collar crimes are non-violent crimes, committed by professionals and businessmen who wish to acquire more wealth or status by carrying out unlawful activities or breaking the law.

White-collar crimes are on a rise in India. As per a recent statistic, more than INR 4,000 crores worth of trading was done using fake PAN cards in the last couple of years. Other grave acts such as cybercrime have seen a spike in affluent states of the country, with Maharashtra registering more than 900 cases of online fraud within a year.

Also Read: A Study on Top white-collar crimes in India.

Types of white-collar crime in India

Fraud, bribery, and corruption are some of the most common white-collar crimes in India. As per an investigation by the Business Standard, a total of 6,533 cases of corruption alone were registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the last decade.

Here are the basic types of white-collar crimes in India: 

NameDefinitionGoverning Statute
Bank FraudA fraud committed to gain the undue advantage of the money lending/credit system through a bank, including fraudulent representation, document manipulation, breach of trust, and credit fault.Indian Penal Code, 1860
Bribery Offering/giving money to a person in an influential position or a designated authority in return for a favor.The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act)
CybercrimeCrime related to the hacking/breaching/disruption of a computer network committed to cause harm in a mental/physical using the internet or technology. Includes pornography, copyright infringement, cyberstalking, and malicious hackingIT Act, 2000
Money LaunderingThe process of switching the identity of large amounts of money obtained from crimes such as drug trafficking into legitimately sourced income.1. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
2. Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005
Tax Evasion Concealing the actual taxable income from authorities in lieu of filing lesser taxable income to escape higher taxation.Income Tax Act, 1961
Identity TheftCriminally accessing the identity through name, address, bank information of another person to gain money or commit fraud.1. Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 2. Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000.

Examples of white-collar crime

There are different white-collar crimes for each profession, as they are committed by
professionals entrenched in their fields who are trying to harm someone or escape something
by using their position.

1. Law

● Fabricating documents/forging fake documents
● Threatening the victims or witnesses in an ongoing trial
● Violating the standards of the legal profession and defrauding the rule of law

2. Education

● Collecting money in lieu of donations or courting unfair privileges in exchange for admission
● Replacing merit-based admissions with donations
● Collecting huge amounts of money through government grants and not processing it further

3. Medical

● Falsifying medical certificates
● Enlisting fake treatments to increase hospital bills
● Discriminating on the basis of child gender at the time of birth
● Delaying treatment to pump up the hospital bills
● Selling chemist samples to customers for money

Blue-collar vs White-collar crime

There are some technical and literal differences between white-collar and blue-collar crime. The terminology of a blue-collar crime is attached to those belonging to the underprivileged section of society; whereas a white-collar criminal belongs to a high class and privileged background. Another difference is that a white-collar criminal commits a crime in a rather organized manner, and can put a bail/afford excellent legal representation. As per the corporate law firms of
Chandigarh, more factors play into the division of both of these crimes, such as veiled offenders, and direct access to targets.

The term ‘blue-collar crime’ has been prevalent since the late 1920s when crimes related to Americans performing manual labour and working on an hourly basis were frequently relegated to the colour of their working uniform, which was often blue. The Supreme Court of India laid down the general nature of blue-collar and white-collar crimes in the case of the State of Gujurat v. Mohanlal Jitamalji Porwal and Anr, wherein a murder in cold blood is referred to as a blue-collar crime since it is committed in the heat of the moment. Whereas committing financial fraud or other economic offences requires strategic planning, hence it is considered to be a white-collar crime.

Also Read: Introduction to the Indian Judicial System and Court Hierarchy

Criminal Charges for White-collar Crimes

White-collar criminals use the power of their position resulting in financial fraud, harm, and damage to the community. The impact of a white-collar crime is far more than that of a blue-collar crime. But white-collar criminals are rarely if ever, punished for their deeds. There are many reasons behind this statistic. Firstly, most of the general public does not see white-collar crime as a serious detriment to society. Secondly, for the majority of the public, it is hard to fully absorb the wrongdoing and hence there is lesser public outrage about it. This translates directly to the lack of collective action from the courts regarding the very serious increase in white-collar crimes in the country. Corporate lawyers in Chandigarh have taken up multiple cases on this front.

Wrapping Up

There is no exact definition of a white-collar crime as per Indian laws. Most of the white-collar crimes are socio-economic that impact many people outside the primary circle of the criminal. Crimes like hacking, tax evasion, and money laundering frauds the general public and has thousands of victims. White-collar crimes are committed on a large scale that can have a severe impact on hundreds or thousands of people At Lex Solutions, there is a team of experienced lawyers to competently handle White Collar Crime cases and make the process as easy as possible.