The phrase “white-collar crime” has become more and more prominent since Edwin Sutherland first
used it in a speech delivered to the American Sociological Association in 1939. Sutherland was referring to financially motivated, non-violent crimes. These offences were often committed by people of high social status, such as business and government professionals. The causes of these crimes differed from more traditional criminal offences, which Sutherland classified as blue collar crime.
Famous white-collar crimes include the scheme invented by Charles Ponzi in the 1920s, which afterwards was named after him and became known as a “Ponzi” scheme. Ponzi used funds from investors to pay off returns for earlier investors, and he made a tidy profit in the process. He was eventually caught and served 14 years in prison. Almost a century later, Bernie Madoff was caught and punished for doing the same thing. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Kenneth Lay and other Enron executives committed a huge number of white-collar crimes, and investors lost huge sums of money.
Lay passed away before he could be convicted. The most common white-collar crime is fraud. The punishment for a large-scale fraud can be significant. The financial punishment meted out by a court, whether a fine or a restitution order, can be crippling. If you are charged with a white-collar crime, it is important to hire the right attorney who understands and can navigate complicated financial transactions. If you require assistance with a financial crime or any other white-collar offence, contact Lockyer Posner Craig.