In Criminology, the term ‘White Collar Crime’ was defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939. It is a non violent form of crime which include large amount of theft and fraud. These crimes involve a huge amount of money for the purpose personal financial gain.
White Collar Crimes are those crimes which are committed by people holding high status and reputed posts in a business set up. These people are mostly high skilled business or government professionals. White Collar Crimes are generally committed out of greed, economic instability, necessity etc.
There are different types of white collar crimes. Some of them are as follows:
- Bank Fraud: Bank fraud is the use of potentially illegal means to obtain money, assets, or other property owned or held by a financial institution, or to obtain money from depositors by fraudulently posing as a bank or other financial institution.
- Blackmail: Blackmail means demand for money by threatening some person to cause physical injury or exposing his secrets with intention to use received information for personal profit or gain.
- Computer Fraud: Computer frauds are such frauds which involve hacking or stealing information of some other person.
- Embezzlement: When someone entrusted with money or property uses it for his own use, or theft or misappropriation of the same money or property.
- Insider-Trading: When someone uses the confidential information to trade in shares of publicly held corporations.
- Money-Laundering: Money Laundering means the concealment of origin of illegally obtained money. 1. Placement which involves introducing cash into the financial system by some means. 2. Layering which involves carrying out complex financial transactions to camouflage the illegal source of the cash and 3. Integration which is acquiring wealth generated from the transactions of the illicit funds.
- Tax fraud: Tax fraud means evading tax by providing wrong information in tax forms or illegally transferring property in order to avoid tax.
Law Related to White Collar Crimes in India
- Essential Commodities Act 1955
- The Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.
- The Import and Exports (Control) Act, 1947,
- the Foreign Exchange (Regulation) Act, 1974,
- Companies Act, 1956,
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The Indian Penal Code contains provisions to check crimes such as Bank Fraud, Insurance fraud, credit card fraud etc.
Information Technology Act, 2000 has been enacted to provide legal recognition to the authentication of information exchanged in respect of commercial transactions.
Section 43 and 44 of Information Technology Act prescribes the penalty for the offences related to these crimes.
There are various measures to deal with white-collar crimes. Some of them are; creating public awareness of crimes through media or press and other audio-visual aids and legal literacy programs.