White-collar crimes (also referred to as corporate crimes) generally encompass those crimes that occur in the course of a person’s employment duties (usually a person of relatively high social status), or where a company or corporation has committed a crime against the public or the environment.
They may also refer to crimes against a large company or organisation, with crimes such as embezzlement and computer hacking offences being examples of this.
White-collar crimes may be intentional, and may involve more than one participant. An example of a deliberate corporate crime would be the illegal dumping of waste products from a factory, or tax evasion. These crimes may also be unintentional, caused by negligence or recklessness, such as the production of a dangerous product due to cutting production costs.
Investigations into white-collar crimes may be undertaken by the police, but are more likely to involve regulatory or governing bodies, such as the Australian Taxation Offence (ATO), the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the NSW Department of Fair Trading. Penalties for crimes under this category are usually very serious, and may involve huge fines or imprisonment.
This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice.