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White collar crime is a coined word that refers to the type of crime, which public figures in high social positions perpetrate in the course of their duty. It is categorized under criminal law in the United States. There is no commonly agreed definition of this type of crime but it is characterized by non violence in fraudulent activities within the public and private sectors of the economy. According to the Department of Justice, white collar crime is defined as any illegal activity that does not involve violence and which majorly entails employment of conventional methods of deception, disguise and manipulation (Conklin, 2010). Other criminal activities categorised under white collar crime include bribery, corruption, and misappropriation of public resources, illegal trades as well as dealings among others.
Enforcement of white collar crime in the United States of America is done at the state level. Nevertheless, the federal law also offers its authority over these types of scandalous offenses. In addition to the authorities by individual state governments, the federal criminal justice system handles a wide range of white collar crimes especially when these offences cover across various nations and are within the international scene (Conklin, 2010). If individuals within an institution are noted or suspected to be involved in white collar crime, the right channels are followed in investigation and prosecution processes (Schmiege, 2011). For instance, in the United States, the investigations and prosecution are done by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the office of the Attorney General.
White collar crimes appear non detrimental to some people since there is no substantial hurt that occurs. However, individual states in the United States such as Minnesota in collaboration with the federal authorities impose heavy punishment on those convicted and found guilty of the offence. People convicted of this crime usually serve long sentences, or are imposed with heavy fines (Schmiege, 2011).
No one is allowed to blackmail another person, be exempted from paying taxes or engage in any other form of white collar crime. One of the common characteristics of white collar crime is the involvement in fraudulent activities (Conklin, 2010). Every person can fall victim of this offence but the most vulnerable ones are those that have expressed contact to resources and opportunities that are needed to propel such activities. This is the reason why such people usually take advantage of their positions and defraud private and public institutions that they work in.
The federal as well as state governments attach a lot of weight to white collar crimes. This is because such activity leads to big economic losses within the federal, state and local government institutions. There are many impacts of white collar crime on the. When an organization suffers from fraudulent activities, it ends up increasing prices of its products and consequently, the end user bears almost all the burden (Rowley & Sherman, 2007). On the other hand, the company can decide to downsize or reduce the amount of salary given to the employees in order to adjust to the effect of the fraud. In case this occurs in the energy sector, it implies that the ripple effect will be great since once prices for fuels and electric energy are increased, third party companies will raise the cost of their products as well (Schmiege, 2011).
Even after fraud is noted, sometimes it becomes hard to trace the culprits due to lack of tangible evidence. There is no DNA evidence, neither witness from bystanders. Moreover, with the great advancement in technology, especially growth of internet, cyber crime is now more prevalent than ever before (Schmiege, 2011). At the same time, it has turned out more difficult to hunt criminals who have resorted to using sophisticated ways of executing their offences and therefore it becomes very hard eliminate this problem from the society.