White-collar crime is crime committed by a person of responsibility and high social status in the course of his or her occupation. It differs from conventional crime in that the victims may be unaware of the crime and the offender may not view himself as a criminal. White-collar crimes are committed by the affluent, “respectable” people in the course of their daily business activities. These are organized crimes because they are often perpetuated through the role of one’s occupation.
A wide variety of crimes are now classified as white-collar crimes such as income tax evasion, stock manipulation, consumer fraud, bribery, and extraction of kickbacks, embezzlement, and misrepresentation of corporate information.
A newer type of white-collar crime is computer crime. The use of such high technology allows one to carry out embezzlement or electronic fraud without leaving a trace, or to gain access to a company’s inventory without leaving one’s home.
In addition to the financial costs of this form of crime, that run into billions of rupees per year, white-collar crimes have distinctive social costs, including a decline in the quality of life, inflation for general public, and weakening of the social order. If those at the top of the nation’s economic, power and social structure feel free to violate the law, less privileged citizens can certainly be expected to follow suit.
Given the economic and social costs of white-collar crimes, one might expect this problem to be taken quite seriously by the criminal justice system of Pakistan. Yet white-collar offenders are more likely to be very leniently treated than any other class of criminals. They are not arrested because bails-before-arrest are granted to them quite readily, hearings against them proceed with much delays in the courts, and eventually only financial penalties are imposed upon them. Moreover, convictions for such illegal acts do not generally harm a person’s reputation and career aspirations nearly so much as conviction for a petty everyday crime would. Thus, if an offender holds a position of status and influence in Pakistani society, his or her crime is treated as less serious and the sanction is much more lenient.
What is White-collar Crime?
White-collar crime is a financially motivated, nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary defines the term White-collar crime as: A variety of nonviolent financial crimes, generally committed by businesspeople or public officials, involving commercial fraud, consumer fraud, swindles, insider trading on the stock market, embezzlement, bribery, or other dishonest schemes.
The phrase "white-collar crime" was coined in 1939 during a speech given by Edwin Sutherland to the American Sociological Society. Sutherland defined the term as "crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." Sutherland was a proponent of symbolic interactionism and believed that criminal behavior was learned from interpersonal interactions. White-collar crime is similar to corporate crime as white-collar employees are more likely to commit fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery.
Edwin Sutherland defined the term as a "crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" in a speech entitled "The White Collar Criminal" delivered to the American Sociological Society. Sutherland hypothesized that white-collar criminals had different attributions and motives than typical street criminals. His theory was the result of his attempt to study two fields, crime and high society, which had previously lacked empirical correlation. His goal was to demonstrate a correlation between money and social status and the...