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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Apr 7, 2014

wolf of wall streetWhen most people think of crime violence and theft usually come to mind but in the past couple of years there has been a rash of white collar crime perpetrated by individuals with high social status.

Several movies and television shows have been made about white collar crimes including Catch Me If You Can and the aptly named White Collar.

So what is white collar crime?

White collar crime was first defined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.”

Typically perpetrated by individuals who are high up the corporate ladder typical white collar crimes include fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, and embezzlement among other crimes.

Punishment for white collar crimes can include a combination of imprisonment, fines, restitution and community service.

White collar crime can be devastating to families you put their trust in perpetrators. There have been some high profile white collar crimes in the past couple of years that when individuals swindled billions of dollars from shareholders and investors.

Perhaps the most well-known white collar crime was perpetrated by Bernie Madoff you defrauded investors out of a staggering 65 billion dollars by running a Ponzi scheme.

The way a Ponzi scheme works is an operator, in this case Madoff, pays returns to its investors by utilizing the new capital paid to the operators by new investors.

Madoff’s scheme fell apart during the financial crash of 2008 when multiple investors chose to withdraw all their funds at the same time only to discover that all of their money was missing.

Other high profile white collar crimes include the collapse of Enron in 2004, Martha Stewart’s insider trading, and Jordan Belfort’s stock market manipulation which was chronicled in the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street.