Every country has a legal system that is responsible for managing and keeping the law and order in place. Law and order also keep crimes in check. However, nowadays, there is an increased number of crimes in India. 

You must have heard of crimes like violence, burglary, theft, molestation, and more, but there are many types of crimes that have emerged in recent times. One of them is white-collar crime. Here’s all you need to know about white-collar crimes and their changing picture in the country.

What Are White Collar Crimes?

A white-collar crime is a non-violent crime wherein the main motive is financial in nature. Usually, white-collar criminals take up a professional position of power and take an average commission. 

The term ‘white-collar crime’ was first used in the 1930s by criminologist and sociologist Edwin Sutherland. He coined the term to describe the types of crime committed by people of power/ respectability/ prestige or people who have a high social status. 

A white-collar crime may be committed by individuals or corporations. The rate of white-collar crimes has increased because of the sophisticated technology that is available and is being heavily used by all companies and organizations now. 

Types Of White Collar Crimes

Like there are types of crimes, similarly, there are types of white collar crimes too. These are as follows:

  • Insider Trading 

When a trader is trading with the benefit of possessing the material, and non-public information that gives them an advantage in the financial market. For example- an employee works at an investment bank and may know that a company is expected to acquire another company. The employee can buy stocks of the other company, expecting its share price will rise once it is acquired and comes into public knowledge. 

  • Fraud

Fraud is an umbrella term for various fraudulent schemes used by people for money. This is the most common white collar crime. For example- a person may offer to pay Rs. 5000, but asks for Rs. 500 as a registration fee, and never pays the promised amount. 

  • Identity Theft

Identity theft is another common white collar crime accompanied by system hacking. These two crimes have recorded the highest number of cases in India. Herein, an individual may impersonate a banker or investment broker and offer luring schemes to the customer and make them pay the desired amount and vanish. 

  • Ponzi Scheme  

A Ponzi scheme is an investment scam that lures customers by offering them extremely high returns. This scheme pays the returns to the initial investors with the newly deposited funds of the new investors. This scheme was named after Charles Ponzi who was the original perpetrator of such a scheme. When the scammer is unable to get a sufficient number of new clients to pay off for the old ones, the scheme collapses, leaving a majority of investors with huge losses. 

  • Counterfeiting 

There is a reason behind designing a currency. Today’s computers and laser printers are advanced, and therefore, the old currency was very easy to copy. The government has updated the design of the currency notes to eliminate counterfeiting, which introduces fake notes to the market and puts many people into huge losses due to lack of the ability to differentiate between the real ones and the fake ones.

  • Embezzlement

This is another type of white-collar crime wherein an employee may take some cash out of the company’s cash drawer or transfer huge amounts of money to their account from the company’s account.

  • Espionage

Espionage is a white-collar crime, which can be called spying as well. For example- a member of another country’s government wants to obtain the technology of a well-known company and offers one of the employees a handsome amount if they leak it to them.

Classification Of White Collar Crime

White-collar crime is usually divided into two categories, which are as follows:

  • Corporate Crime

These are the white-collar crimes that occur at the corporate level. For example- an investment bank may allow its employees at the trading desk to do insider trading or money laundering with the client firm or individual. 

  • Individual Crime

This type of white collar crime is committed by an individual or a group of individuals. For example- the Ponzi scheme is a good example of this type of white collar crime. Other individual crimes can be hacking, identity theft, counterfeiting, and more.  

The Changing Picture Of White Collar Crimes In India

There is a huge difference between white collar crime and other crimes. Here’s an overview of the nature of white collar crimes:

  • White collar criminals are literate. They commit crimes using the internet and latest technologies used by almost all companies. Therefore, they are not much afraid of the law.
  • They are comparatively smarter and intelligent than the other criminals, and they also belong to the high class society.
  • White collar crimes are committed indirectly, and therefore, they are hard to detect.
  • Because white collar crimes can be committed online, they can be committed with a large number of people at the same time, resulting in bigger losses. 

Identifying this type of crime, the government of India has been effectively taking measures to fight it. Many laws have been introduced to tame this type of crime. Some laws introduced by the Government of India are as follows:

  • The Income Tax Act, 1961
  • The Companies Act, 1960
  • The Commodities Act, 1955
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • The Prevention of Money laundering Act, 2002
  • The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881
  • The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
  • The Information Technology Act, 2005
  • The Imports and Exports (control) Act, 1950
  • The Special Court (Trial of offenses relation to Transactions in Securities) Act, 1992

The most common white collar crimes like money laundering, hacking, and fraud, are being tackled by the Government of India. Here’s how:

Section 447 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides the punishment for the commission of fraud. It states that if a person is found guilty of an offense of fraud, they would be imprisoned for a period of less than 6 months, which may extend to 10 years.

Punishment for false statement: Section 448 of the Companies Act, 2013 states that: if a person deliberately makes a false statement, knowing it to be false, he would be held liable for their wrongful act.

Punishment for furnishing false evidence: Section 449 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides for punishment for furnishing false evidence. It states that if any person gives false evidence in a court of law:

  • Either upon an examination on oath or solemn affirmation; or
  • When any company is about to dissolve or otherwise also in case of any matter arising under this Act, in any affidavit, deposition or solemn affirmation,
  • He shall be punished with imprisonment and fine both. The imprisonment will not be less than 3 years and may extend to 7 years and fine may extend to 10 lakh rupees.

If an individual is a victim of such a crime, they can contact white-collar crime lawyers. If you are a resident of Chandigarh, you can find the best lawyers here. You can also hire an advocate in Chandigarh if you are facing white-collar crime. If a corporate white-collar crime has been committed, one can hire corporate lawyers to fight the case. 

Conclusion

Law and order are present in every country to fight different crimes. While many think that crimes are committed by illiterate people, white-collar crimes are something that has changed the scenario. Such crimes are committed by individuals or corporations belonging to high-class society. 

There are many types of white-collar crimes, like identity theft, embezzlement, espionage, Ponzi scheme, fraud, counterfeiting, and more. Looking at the broader picture, white-collar crimes are divided mainly into two parts, namely individual crime and corporate crime. 

If someone faces white-collar crime in India, they can always hire lawyers to fight the same. If you are a resident of Chandigarh, you can opt for advocates and lawyers who can help you resist such a crime.