How Bad is White Collar Crime in America?

With all of the movies and television shows dedicated to white collar crime, it makes sense that it’s a subject that many people are interested in. From the appropriately named White Collar which we’ve discussed on our blog previously which is about an art thief who works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Catch Me If You Can which also features a likeable thief who is caught by the FBI and subsequently ends up working with them, there is no shortage of media on the subject of white collar crime.

As a matter of fact, you can take a look at articles out there like this one from The Clever that highlights fifteen different white collar crimes that shocked the world. You might notice while perusing their list that a handful of the people mentioned served as inspiration for various movies such as Wall Street, The Wolf of Wall Street, and others.

What Does That Mean?

Well, Harvard Business Review sums it all up quite nicely:

“Our attitude toward white-collar crime is a little different [than it is towards violent crime]. On the one hand, it fascinates us: Why do well-paid professionals commit it—on their own, with colleagues, or as part of an organization-wide collaboration? On the other hand, it bores us: Complicated financial schemes are difficult to understand, and the perpetrators and victims are often unclear. Who suffers when a company shifts numbers around on a spreadsheet? Who’s to blame when it has thousands of employees and layers of bureaucracy?”

In other words, white collar crime is often something that the public doesn’t have a huge understanding of when it is reported in the media. Take for example the infamous story about what has been going on with Wells Fargo. It seems that every day leads to a new revelation about what has allegedly been going on and it’s all a little difficult to understand. At the end of the day, people are also fascinated by what’s going on. How could a company that’s been around for so long employ tactics that dupe regular people out of their hard-earned money?

We’re Drawn to Movies

What is it about real life situations that cause us to get angry and upset? Similarly, what is it about the movies and television shows that we watch that causes us to identify with and even root for the people that we know are committing crimes? In the case of the former, perhaps it’s because all we see is corporate greed running rampant in an attempt to make as much money as possible by any means necessary. For the latter, perhaps we enjoy these fictionalized stories because we know that they aren’t real and because we can see that even though these thieves are swindling others, they have hearts of gold. Perhaps it’s because we sometimes see these people as modern day Robin Hoods.

Back to the Question at Hand

So how bad is white collar crime in America? The answer seems to be that it’s always been around, but the ease of getting our news delivered to us means that we simply hear about it more often and that the scale has only grown over time. Take the information from the previously mentioned article in The Clever again. The article mentions a scam by Albert H. Wiggin that goes all the way back to the early 1900s. In this story, Wiggin scammed people out of nearly $4 million during the Great Depression.

Or take the infamous Charles Ponzi, for example. The Ponzi Scheme (also commonly referred to as a pyramid scheme) has been around since the 1920s. Ponzi himself made $20 million for himself, which is no small amount of money nowadays, but is an unimaginable amount for a person to have had nearly 100 years ago.

Are You In Need of a White Collar Lawyer?

Being accused of having committed a white collar crime–such as tax fraud, bank fraud, or healthcare fraud–can be incredibly scary. The previously referenced piece from Harvard Business Review also notes that “given that much of [white collar crime] is committed without criminal intent…the best solution is for executives to surround themselves with people who aren’t afraid to question their decisions.”

While this move may work for executives, we would also advise that individuals should retain the services of an experienced lawyer as early on as possible. No matter what you’re up against, our team is here to help unravel the facts in your case and help to present you with a defense that works for you. Our goal is to help you secure a positive resolution for your situation and we’ll go above and beyond to work hard for you.

With over four decades of experience, Robert J. DeGroot is the right choice. Schedule a free initial consultation today.