|Main Entry:||white-collar crime|
|Part of Speech:||n|
|Definition:||any illegal act, such as embezzlement, fraud, or theft, that capitalizes on a person's high status in their business or workplace|
crime committed by persons who, often by virtue of their occupations, exploit social, economic, or technological power for personal or corporate gain. The term, coined in 1949 by the American criminologist Edwin Sutherland, drew attention to the typical attire of the perpetrators, who were generally businesspeople, high-ranking professionals, and politicians. Since Sutherland's time, however, such crimes have ceased to be the exclusive domain of these groups. Moreover, developments in commerce and technology have broadened the scope of white-collar crime to include cybercrime (computer crime), health-care fraud, and intellectual property crimes, in addition to more-traditional crimes involving embezzlement, bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, money laundering, antitrust violations, tax crimes, and regulatory violations.
Learn more about white-collar crime with a free trial on Britannica.com.