Because numerous high profile individuals have been convicted of white collar crimes in recent years, many people believe you must be a celebrity or a Wall Street tycoon to face these types of charges. In reality, white collar crime is a catch-all term for a variety of criminal offenses that typically involve ordinary people.
The phrase “white collar crime” was created to describe a range of criminal acts that involve fraud and deceit. Because most of these charges involve non-violent crimes committed by office workers in a business setting, the term refers to the type of white dress shirt that was historically worn by corporate employees to distinguish themselves from laborers in the working class. In most cases, as with credit card fraud, embezzlement, tax fraud, securities violations, and identity theft, white collar crimes involve the mishandling of money.