White Collar Crime.

White Collar Crime    

Author: Geet Jain from a final year Law student from Indore Institute of Law



The most heinous and the cruelest crime of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives. Despite Delhi Police having a specialized unit under the (EOW) and the Crime Branch to investigate white-collar crimes, cases of online fraud are on the rise in the capital. Last year, the EOW handled 7,338 complaints and investigated 975 cases of these, 1,290 complaints were disposed of and cases registered in 253 complaints. However, the number of cyber crime cases registered in 2016 was just 49. According to sources, the increase in cheating cases is an alarming indication of how, in the changing socio-economic scenario, an increasing number of educated people are entering the world of cybercrime to earn a quick buck. A senior police officer said that there has been a sudden rise in white-collar crimes, especially property and bank fraud, in the last three years. “Profits from fraud cases in the capital would be equivalent to the value of all stolen goods in a year,” he added. He added that until a few years ago, victims of online fraud were often not aware of the legal means they could pursue against fraudsters. “Now, people are alert and are approaching the investigation agency concerned. Cases are registered under sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (fraud).”



White Collar Crimes owes its inception to Edwin Sutherland, who drew the attention of criminologists to crimes other than conventional crimes and he popularised the term in 1939 by defining it as crimes committed by persons of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation and he also included crimes committed by corporations and other legal entities within his definition. White collar crimes include such injury or damage caused which results in huge loss which is almost negligible if measured in terms of individual loss. White collar crimes are estimated to cost society many times more than crimes such as robbery and burglary. Law enforcement is sometimes reluctant to pursue these cases because they are so hard to track and investigate. It is very difficult to detect as white collar crimes always committed in the privacy of an office or home and usually, there is no eyewitness. He didn’t stick to his definition and included even the thefts and frauds committed by middle and lower class workers during the course of their work. It includes even those violations which are not committed in the course of occupation or profession and not committed by people of upper strata only: Tax Evasion. The Concept of white collar crime found its place in criminology for the first time in 1941 when Sutherland published his research paper on white collar criminality in the American Sociological Review. He defined white-collar crime as a Crime Committed by persons of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.


Evolution of White collar crime

White collar crimes are criminal acts that are performed by people in the course of business committed for financial gain. These types of crimes can cost citizens millions of dollars, these crimes are difficult to prosecute because they often involve sophisticated systems and even many different people. Frauds typically committed are Bribery, Extortion, Fraud, Embezzlement, and Cybercrime. The government can prosecute both the individual committing the crime and the corporation for which he works. Sutherland further pointed out that white collar crime differs from the crime committed by criminal syndicates. Thus, if a person who belongs to a respectable class of society and possesses some degree of good reputation, sells shoddy goods, that would not be a white-collar crime.


Consequences of White Collar Crime:

  • Individual Economic Loss
  • Social Economic Loss
  • Physical Harm
  • Economic Consequences

Dimensions of White Collar Crime:

  • Ethical Violation
  • Violation of Trust
  • Violation of Civil Law
  • Violation of Criminal Law
  • Social Harm


White Collar Crime in India

White Collar crimes in the 21st century have become global phenomena with the advancement of technology, industrialization, and globalization. India, without being an exception is equally in the grip of white-collar criminality and the Santhanam Committee 1964 has given a vivid illustration of white collar crimes being committed by industrialists, businessmen, contractors, suppliers, and corrupt public officials. The commission classified white collar crimes into 8 categories and suggested for the insertion of a new chapter on white collar crimes in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 but the law Commission rejected that fact. The inability of all sections of society to appreciate this need in full results in the emergence and growth of white collar crimes renders enforcement of the laws, themselves not sufficiently deterrent, more difficulties. Tax evasion and avoidance, share pushing, malpractices in the share market, evasion of economic laws, bribery and corruption, election offences, malpractices are some examples of white-collar crime.



Hoarding connotes the practice of holding the practice of obtaining and holding scarce resources, possibly so that they can be sold to customers for profit. Capitalists believe that it is done so that the resource can be transferred to the customer or improved upon, and then it is a standard business practice, however, if the sole intent is to hold an otherwise unavailable resource it is considered hoarding. Violation of foreign exchange regulations and import and export laws are frequently resorted to for the sake of huge profits.  That apart, adulteration of Foodstuffs, edibles, and drugs which causes irreparable danger to public health is yet another white collar crime common in India.


Black Marketing

  • An illegal market which flourishes in economies where consumer goods are scarce or heavily taxed.
  • In the first kind, black market prices are higher than official or controlled prices.
  • In the second kind, prices are lower than the legitimate or taxed prices, due to tax evasion.
  • Black market and black money go hand in hand.


  • Legally it connotes that when a food product fails to meet the required standards of health and safety and non-compliance of the same results in punishment.
  • In India, The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 prescribes punishment for adulteration in foodstuffs.
  • Law Commission has suggested drastic measures against the offenders of such crimes.
  • Tedious prosecution process involved in the trial of such cases often results in unjustified acquittal which frustrates the end of justice and such menace must be curbed.

Entail the total amount of losses incurred by society from white-collar crime. White-collar crime costs the United States between $300 and $600 billion a year in financial losses. These costs are increased when considering the secondary societal economic costs such as business failures and recovery costs. In terms of business failures, one estimate suggests that one third to one-half of business failures are attributed to employee theft. Attorney costs in white-collar crime cases are believed to be particularly exorbitant.


On January 18, 2016: U. K Sinha appointed as SEBI chief, U. K. Sinha currently heads UTI Assets Management Company Sinha will succeed CB behave whose term ends on February 17, Madras high Court orders closure of all dyeing units in Tirupur. High Court orders to effect 720 dyeing unit’s Tirupur, Madras High Court order to affect 50,000 workers in Tirupur to recover 400 crores.

On August 22, 2018[1]: Finance Ministry asks Public Sector bank CEOs to check frauds in Non Performing Assets or face penal action, over a dozen undergoing bankruptcy process are being reviewed by probe agencies for frauds.

On July 16, 2018[2]: ICICI banks launch external probe into Non-performing assets ‘irregularities’, the bank has hired white-collar crime specialist law firm Panag and Babu to investigate the matter.

On April 24, 2018[3]: 50 IITIans give up their cushy, white collar jobs to form a political party; BAP has been formed to fight for the rights of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other backward classes.

On May 24, 2017[4]:  To detect criminality in white-collar crime is tough: Court, Deliberating on white collar criminals, the judge said they are persons of the upper-socio economic class who violates the criminal law.



According to my perspective, some remedial measures taken by the government of India for combating white collar community may be stated as follows Creating public awareness against these crimes through media, press and other platforms and established special tribunals should be constituted to award sentence of imprisonment up to 10 years and make Stringent regulatory laws and drastic punishments for white collar criminals will help in crime reduction and Separate chapter on white collar crimes and socioeconomic offences to be incorporated under IPC ( Indian Penal Code) 1861, and urgent need for establishment of  National Crime Commission which tackles the problem of crime and criminality.


[1] 22 August 2018, by Indian Express,04.43 PM

[2] July 16, 2018, by Economic times, 07.32 PM

[3] April 24, 2018, by Times of India,05.27 PM

[4] Ma24,2017, by The Hindu,04.06 PM

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