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Top White-Collar Crimes and Where They Originated

White-collar crime is more common than one might think. It affects over 35 percent of all U.S. businesses and 75 percent of all employees steal from their employers at least once, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reported by Forbes. But before we jump into the nitty-gritty, it’s crucial to have a baseline understanding of what white-collar crime actually is.

The FBI states, “white-collar crime is generally non-violent in nature and includes public corruption, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering, to name a few. White-collar scams can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three).” With the advanced technology of today, these crimes are becoming more and more sophisticated by the day.

It’s clearly a prevalent issue our society struggles to deal with, as despite arrests and prosecution and convictions for these crimes have been on a decline for the past 20 years, “plummeting from 9,507 prosecutions in 2001 to a projected 4,727 prosecutions in 2021,” a 50.3 percent drop in prosecution, according to The Crime Report

So, despite the consistent continuance of white-collar crime, the prosecution is on the decline, with wire fraud being the most prosecuted type of white-collar crime. This leaves one to wonder what the actual top white-collar crimes are — and where they’re happening the most or originating out of, at the very least. 

Let’s take a look.

The Top White Collar Crimes—and Where They Originated

Now, there is a slew of crimes people can commit that fall under the white-collar bracket. However, the top five (in terms of how common they’re committed) are listed below with definitions, descriptors, and explanations as to why they might steal the show in white-collar crime.

Corporate Fraud

In terms of white-collar crime, corporate fraud refers to illegal activities performed by a person, group entity, or company wherein dishonest and unethical actions are committed concerning a business’s finances. And it comes in as a lead ringer for white-collar crime, according to research done at Northcentral University. Corporate fraud is one of the highest criminal priorities for the FBI, too, as it has the potential to seriously disrupt the U.S. economy and investor confidence.

Now, if we’re trying to go way, way back, the first case of financial fraud occurred in 300 B.C. It was when, according to Investopedia and various other sources, “a Greek merchant named Hegestratos took out a large insurance policy known as bottomry. The merchant borrowed money and agreed to pay it back with interest when the cargo—in this case, corn—was delivered. If the merchant refused to pay back the loan, the lender could claim the cargo and the boat used for its transportation. Hegestratos planned to sink his empty boat, keep the loan, and sell the corn. The plan failed, and he drowned trying to escape his crew and passengers when they caught him in the act.”

The origin of corporate fraud varies from source to source, but it’s noted by the FBI and others that the Enron scandal was one of the biggest corporate fraud cases in history.


Northcentral University identified this as a runner-up to the top white-collar crime in their report. For those unfamiliar, embezzlement happens “when a person entrusted by an employer or another person to handle money or property uses their position to misappropriate funds.”

The first reported case of embezzlement occurred in 1473, according to Business Forensics, when a “Flemish merchant hired an English carrier to transport bales of wool. The English carrier instead took the wool for himself. He was arrested for larceny but not convicted. The bales of wool were in his possession, willingly supplied to him by the Flemish merchant. The judge found that even though the law didn’t recognize the defendant’s actions specifically as theft, it was still against the laws of nature.” And as a result, embezzlement was born.

Ponzi Schemes (Investment Scam)

Ponzi Schemes are another monster entirely. The crime itself was named after Chalres Ponzi, a criminal who “reportedly made $250,000 a day via his mail coupon fraud in the 1920s.” A ponzi scheme is defined by the FBI as an investment scam involving “the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.” 


Next up on the white-collar list is extortion. Now, this is a word thrown around a lot in heated exchanges, but let’s take a closer look at what the word actually means. Cambridge Dictionary defines extortion as “the act of getting something, especially money, by force or threats.” It’s kind of like blackmail, in that respect.

The origin of extortion is a bit more difficult to pinpoint, as corruption in the case of bribery is almost a condition of the human experience. Perhaps the best note of origin is The First Dynasty (3100–2700 BC) of ancient Egypt, which was noted to engage in corruption in its judiciary.

Bankruptcy Fraud

And last but definitely not least on this list is bankruptcy fraud, which Cornell Law defines as “a white-collar crime that commonly takes four general forms: A debtor conceals assets to avoid having to forfeit them. An individual intentionally files false or incomplete forms. Including false information on a bankruptcy form may also constitute perjury.”

The origin of bankruptcy fraud was also difficult to pinpoint, but Britannica notes one of the most famous cases in the United States involved Robert Brennan, a suspect of numerous other financial crimes. He was eventually convicted of bankruptcy fraud after becoming involved in a mid-1990s scheme “where it became apparent that he was going to owe the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approximately $75,000,000. To avoid losing everything, Brennan secured a large number of liquid assets, including several million dollars worth of New York state bearer bonds and several hundred thousands of dollars worth of casino chips from the Mirage Casino. Eventually, investigators were able to track down Brennan’s accounts, and he was charged and convicted of bankruptcy fraud.”

Top White Collar Crimes in Texas

  1. Tax evasion
  2. Corporate fraud
  3. Embezzlement
  4. Money laundering
  5. Healthcare fraud

How Bail Bonds Can Help in White Collar Crime Situations

Just like other crimes, being arrested for a white-collar crime doesn’t guarantee your stay at a police station or jail. You can get bail bonds from a bail bond company to start the process of getting a loved one out of jail while they await their court date. And not to toot our own horn, but A-EZ Out Bail Bonds, a Dallas bail bond company, is known to handle bail bonds for white-collar crime particularly well. We also have services in Dallas, Plano, Denton, Irving, Fort Worth, Arlington, and McKinney, Texas, too! 

And since our headquarters are close to the center of the municipal jail, the Dallas bail bonds company can start the process of getting your loved one out of jail much quicker than other bail bond companies in the local area.
Pick the easy way out with A-EZ Out Bail Bonds today.

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