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The White Collar Crimes: Definition and Examples


Theoretically, the authorities who have power over others are supposed to protect the rights and freedoms of their inferiors, although this is not always the case. Today there are a number of crimes that are referred to as white collar crimes and include government frauds, waste and abuse. White collar crimes are committed by the authorities at power and even though these crimes are generally characterized as nonviolent, in the long term they end up targeting and victimizing the average citizens and taxpayers.

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The power in our society is distributed unevenly. There is a hierarchy of power that has the political authorities at the top and average citizens and tax payers at the bottom. Theoretically, such a division was established to provide order. In a democratic society, the citizens have their freedoms and rights protected by the authorities they assign. Unfortunately, the authorities do not always follow the duties they are initially assigned for. As a result, such government crimes as government frauds, abuse and waste may occur. They are not rare in modern society. This paper will explore the concepts and examples of government frauds, waste and abuse also known as white collar crimes.

White Collar Crime

White collar crime can be defined as a non-violent crime committed by government authorities. The term “white collar crime” was suggested in 1939 by a criminologist Edwin Sutherland (White Collar Crime, n. d.). This kind of crime is characterized as non-violent which means that it most cases it does not involve direct aggression, violence or weapons. Yet, white collar crime certainly is not victimless. In essence, scamming, cheating and stealing committed by the government authorities is recognized as white collar crime. Such actions can be extremely harmful and devastating in reference to the average taxpayers who are influenced by it. White collar criminals are very scheming and may engage into cheating, scamming and stealing right under the nose of their victims of the services assigned to prevent this kind of crime. Government fraud, waste and abuse are ones of the most known kinds of white collar crimes.

Government Fraud

In a nutshell, the actions that deprive the government of funds by means of scamming, cheating and stealing committed by the government authorities is referred to as government fraud. Such actions may include cybercrime, embezzlement, bribery, deliberate data misrepresentation or extortion. Government frauds are characterized as directed against the government, yet when a government gets scammed, the taxpayers are to cover the damage, so the actual victims of government frauds are the citizens. The most frequent and harmful types of government fraud include procurement and contractor frauds, false statement frauds and Madeicare/ Medicaid fraud. The data of FBI show that the latter type of frauds costs about sixty billion dollars to the United States of America (Types of Government Fraud, 2015). It is expressed in overcharging committed by the medical professionals. Procurement and contractor frauds refer to the cases of bribery committed by the companies in order to receive a contract without assigning the best bid or overcharging the government for the flawed or incomplete project. False Statement fraud occurs when an individual makes a false claim against a government organization in order to receive the funds covering for the false damage. Such actions are prevented by the False Claims Act that involves a severe punishment in the form of large fine for the individual making a false statement. An example of government fraud is a well-known Enron case when the company authorities committed deliberate data misrepresentation in order to increase their revenues, which as a result led to a bankruptcy of a large organization and financially devastated a great number of citizens.

Government Abuse

Government abuse mainly refers to the abuse of power assigned to the government authorities and services. Government abuse results in the violation of the Constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens. Government abuse of power may be committed with different purposes, some of which are crime prevention, security provision, monitoring and control of harmful and dangerous activities, and manipulations of various kinds. Unfortunately, government power abuse is not a rare phenomenon in contemporary society. Some of the loudest government power abuse cases in the United States occurred after the events of 9/11. Shocked by the sudden attack, the government services engaged into power abuse in order to prevent further dangers. For example, in 2005 the National Security Agency committed an act of power abuse known as warrantless wiretapping when it monitored the telephone calls of the average Americans without permission (Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11, 2015). This action violated the rights of the average citizens protected by the federal statues and the American Constitution. The telecommunication infrastructure was fully and directly accessed by the National Security Agency through the largest telecommunication companies, the actions were confirmed by President who characterized them as completely legal (Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11, 2015).

Government Waste

Currently, the United States of America has an outstandingly large national debt which estimates 18 trillion dollars and is growing by the day. In order to minimize the debt the government of the country urgently needs to cut its spending, especially the ones that can be referred to as waste. Government waste is recognized as a type of white collar crime which refers to unreasonable or irrational spending of the taxpayer dollars by the national government. The rates of government waste continued to grow rapidly ever since 2012. Generally, tax money is crucial for any state. Taxes are necessary because they cover for such public goods as the construction of roads, bridges and highways, or educational facilities such as schools and kindergartens (Nitti, 2014). A good example of government waste are the expensive grants for various basically useless projects that do not carry any essential good for the American society. Often such grants account for hundreds thousands of dollars. Besides, often the government authorities waste taxpayer money for luxury pleasures in forms of parties, gatherings and entertainments. For example, in 2013 the State Department spent around five and a half millions of dollars for the meeting before the shut down. It is reported that most of the money was used to buy exclusive glass ware (Boccia, 2013).


White collar frauds affect every sphere that is connected to the government and its management of funds. White collar crime is generally characterized as a non-violent kind of crime but it is not victimless. Besides, white collar crime is said to be directed against the government but in the long run the actual victims of it are the average citizens and taxpayers.

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Reference List

Boccia, R. Booze, Pole Dancing, and Luxurious Hotels: Top 10 Examples of Government Waste in 2013. Web.

Nitti, T. (2014). How Did The Government Waste Your Tax Dollars In 2014? Separating Fact from Fiction. Web.

Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11. (2015). ACLU. Web.

Types of Government Fraud, (2015). Moran Morgan. Web.

White Collar Crime. (n. d.). FBI. Web.

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