The term “white-collar crime” was first coined in 1939 to describe non-violent fraudulent activities that swindled companies, customers, and individuals out of money using organizational resources. The practice, however, stretches back much further; to a time when the white-collar itself wasn’t even invented!
The first instance of recorded white-collar crime occurred in ancient Greece in 300 BC when a merchant by the name of Hegestratos tried to defraud lenders out of a loan by sinking his ship. His plan, however, backfired when his crew found out what he was planning to do and drowned him.
Today, white-collar crime involves many different activities. One of the biggest is money laundering, where people take funds from criminal sources and attempt to clean them up, “laundering them in the process.”
Company bosses, however, need to fight back. If white-collar crime is allowed to continue unabated, it can put the reputation of an entire organization at risk.
Fortunately, there are a number of strategies in the works to put a stop to it. White-collar criminals are now looking at longer prison terms, thanks to changes in the law. Government agencies are also instituting new policies that will make it easier for them to find out what is really going on inside companies. Random inspections may become more common.
Are you interested in white-collar crime? If so, take a look at the following infographic. It shows how it has developed throughout the course of history and the strategies that people are using to prevent it from occurring.
Infographic by USC