White Collar Crimes
This is a guest blog by Natasha Sharma.
White Collar Crimes are the crimes committed by persons of high social status and respectability during the course of their occupation. It is a crime that is committed by salaried professional workers or persons in business and that usually involves a form of financial theft or fraud.
These crimes are non-violent crimes committed by business people through deceptive activities who are able to access large amounts of money for the purpose of financial gain.
There are different types of white collar crimes. Some of them are as follows:
- Bank Fraud: Bank fraud means to engage in such activities in order to defraud a bank or using illegal means to obtain assets held by financial institutions.
- Blackmail: Blackmail means demand for money by threatening some person to cause physical injury or exposing his secrets.
- Bribery: Bribery means offering money, goods or any gift to someone in order to have control over his actions. It is a crime whether someone offers or accepts a bribe.
- Computer Fraud: Computer frauds are such frauds which involve hacking or stealing information of some other person.
- Embezzlement: When someone entrusted with money or property uses it for his own use, it is embezzlement.
- Extortion: When a person illegally obtains someone’s property by actual or threatened force.
- Insider-Trading: When someone uses the confidential information to trade in shares of publicly held corporations.
- Money-Laundering: Money laundering means the concealment of origin of illegally obtained money.
- Tax fraud: Tax fraud means evading tax by providing wrong information in tax forms or illegally transferring property in order to avoid tax.
White Collar Crime is pervasive in almost all the professions and occupations in the society. These crimes are common to the business world and Indian trade and violation of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and export and import laws are resorted to make huge profits.
White Collar Crimes in India
White Collar Crimes are rapidly increasing in our country with the advancement of commerce and technology. The recent developments in technology have given new dimensions to computer related crimes known as cyber crimes. As such, the white collar crimes are increasing with the development of new websites. The areas affected by these crimes are banking and financial institutions, industry, business etc.
Thus crime is an act or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable under the law. As the white collar crimes are increasing on daily basis, it injures the society on a large scale because the laws are not properly administered and therefore there is a need to curb the factors that are helping in the commission of such crimes.
Professional White Collar Criminality:
Medical Profession: The various crimes in this field include issuance of false medical certificate, helping illegal abortions, selling sample-drugs and medicines to patients or chemists in India.
Engineering: The various crimes include underhand dealing with contractors and suppliers, passing of sub standard works and material and maintenance of bogus records of work-charged labour.
Legal Profession crimes include incidences of false fabrication of evidence, violating the ethical standards of legal profession and engaging professional witnesses.
Educational Institutions crimes include the following: The governing bodies of these institutions manage to secure large sums by the way of government grants or financial aid by submitting fictitious and fake details about their institutions.
Laws relating to White Collar Crimes
The government of India has introduced various regulatory legislation, the breach of which will amount to white-collar criminality. Some of these legislation are Essential Commodities Act 1955, the Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.,The Import and Exports (Control) Act, 1947, the Foreign Exchange (Regulation) Act, 1974, Companies Act, 1956, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The Indian Penal Code contains provisions to check crimes such as bank fraud, insurance fraud, credit card fraud etc. To tackle money laundering several steps have been taken by the government. The Reserve Bank of India has issued directions to be strictly followed by the banks under KYC (Know Your Customer) guidelines. The banks and financial institutions are required to maintain the records of transactions for a period of ten years.
In order to tackle cyber-crimes, Information Technology Act, 2000 has been enacted to provide legal recognition to the authentication of information exchanged in respect of commercial transactions.
Major White Collar Crimes:
The recent cases of money laundering by Nirav Modi ,Vijay Mallaya,Lalit Modi, Satyam , the Security scam by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh Mehta are just few cases that we are aware of. There are many more that the society practices on a daily bases. It has become a deep rooted problem and can be removed only if people work with good conscience and there are stringent laws to punish the law breakers.
There are some measures to deal with white-collar crimes. Some of them are, creating public awareness of crimes through media or press and other audio-visual aids and legal literacy programmes. Special tribunals should be constituted with power to sentence the offenders for at least 5 years and conviction should result in heavy fines rather than arrest and detention of criminals. Unless people strongly detest such crimes, it is not possible to control this growing menace. The Indian government must improve governance and take strict action against the offenders. Comptroller Auditor General is showing the way forward, the need of the hour is for political parties to have the spirit to clean up the mess. The private sector must implement fraud prevention measures and focus on ethics to reduce frauds. Both sectors have to collaborate to minimize fraud risks in India.