White collar crime is a term that generally applies to a crime that is of a financial nature. The FBI explains that it is generally fraud committed against the government or businesses. It typically will involve money.
The term comes from the fact that these crimes usually have offenders who are quite different from your typical criminal offender.
About white collar offenders
Many people who commit white collar crimes have no former criminal history. They are often financially well off. Many hold important positions in the organization or business against which they commit the crime.
The motivation behind the crime is to take advantage of their position and to have a financial gain. They do not want to physically harm someone but rather take advantage of them.
About white collar crimes
White collar crimes usually do not involve violence. The victim in these cases is most often a company or government agency. There are sometimes individuals who suffer due to the crime, but the initial offense is against a larger entity. This leads people to think white collar crime is victimless. The aftereffects, though, often harm many people.
Some examples of crimes that fit into this category include mortgage fraud, election fraud, money laundering, bribery, embezzlement and bank fraud. It is often difficult for law enforcement to discover these crimes. The effects of the act are often not apparent until long after the person commits the offense.
White collar crimes are often tried in federal court, but they also can be at the state level. Such crimes generally require seizing your assets if you are under accusation. After conviction, you will likely lose all seized assets and have to do time in prison.