The topic for the day is white-collar crime statistics for 2023.
Before we dive into the facts, figures, and statistics surrounding white-collar crimes, we’ll define it to help our readers have a solid understanding of what white-collar crime involves.
Historically, the term “white-collar crime” was created in 1939 by a man named Edwin Sutherland.
The phrase was coined because most of the people committing these crimes wore white shirts, like government officials (local, state, etc.) and business executives.
You will also hear them called “suits’, though not all men or women in suits are criminals.
The Investopedia definition of white-collar crime describes this category of crime as “a nonviolent crime committed for financial gain.”
These crimes relate to the financial realm of criminal activities.
That includes money laundering, racketeering, embezzlement, insider trading, corporate fraud, insurance fraud, securities fraud, etc.
The FBI says, “These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust.”
The motivation for such criminal activity is to either prevent losing or to gain money, services, property, or to otherwise secure a business or personal advantage.
We can tell you that there is no shortage of statistics to discuss.
However, we have researched and gathered some of the most interesting and pertinent in the United States from 2019 to 2023.
Key White-Collar Crime Statistics 2023
- On average, white-collar criminals are middle-aged men.
- 63.33% of white-collar crimes involve fraud.
- Roughly 15 million Americans have been impacted by identity theft.
- 91.4% of Income tax offenses are committed by men, and 89.1% are white.
- Statistics reveal that 35.3% of white collar felons have assets of over $10,000.
- Only 9% of fraudulent crimes occur within nonprofits.
- Roughly 6.1% of corporate criminals are from an unhealthy family structure.
- 28% of corporate crimes are committed by women.
- Asset misappropriation accounted for 86% of the cases studied.
- As of 2021, prosecutions for white-collar offenses are down by 24.4% from just five years ago.
Detailed White-Collar Crime Statistics 2023
Let’s start with a few general statistics about white-collar crimes in this first section of the article.
You will get an idea of just how widespread these crimes are in America.
1. According to the FBI, White-Collar Crime Was Defined in 1939, when The Phrase Itself Was Created.
In the introduction, we explained how Edwin Sutherland coined the phrase, “white-collar crime.”
This term has stood the test of time, defining a wide range of financial crimes primarily committed by government and business professionals.
White-collar crimes can financially destroy and have destroyed companies, families, and individuals for hundreds or even thousands of years.
After all, before the phrase “white-collar crime” was a thing, these crimes were happening.
2. On Average, White-Collar Criminals Are Middle-Aged Men.
If you consider men in their mid-40s to be middle-aged, this is the average age of white-collar criminals.
This data comes from 2019 but is still the average in the United States.
Going by appearances, these men are the last kinds of people to be suspected of criminal activities, especially financial crimes.
Also, these middle-aged men are also white, middle-class, married men with at least a bachelor’s degree or higher.
They also have solid ties to their communities, religion, and their families.
The motivation for these criminals is more about convenience, willingness, greed, and opportunity rather than need. These criminals are at least consistent.
3. 63.33% of White-Collar Crimes Involve Fraud.
Out of all white-collar crimes, fraud made the top of the offenses at 63.33%.
One of the reasons that fraud is the most common of these crimes, according to white collar crime statistics is because of the wide range of fraud types.
Under the umbrella of fraud, there are types such as corporate, insurance, securities, mortgage, health care, and other forms of fraud.
After fraud, embezzlement is the next most common type of white-collar crime at 8.59%, followed closely by theft/larceny at 7.80%.
Money laundering (5.71%), tax evasion (4.79%), forgery (4.36%), racketeering/extortion (2.92%, bribery (1.85%), and gambling and lottery (0.66%) fraud types are included in the distribution of white-collar crimes.
4. Roughly 15 Million Americans Have Been Impacted by Identity Theft.
Identity theft falls under white-collar crimes, whether it happens online or offline.
Around 15 million Americans have their identities taken and fraudulently used each year. The losses account for roughly $50 billion.
According to statistics, identity thieves have several methods they use to steal identities.
This includes email phishing and vishing, database hacks, devices placed on ATMs, and even less sophisticated methods that still work.
(Identity Theft Info)
5. The FBI’s Primary Focus in Fraud Investigations Involve False Accounting and Illicit Transactions.
In the corporate fraud white-collar crime realm, the FBI’s main focus is on accounting and the misrepresentation of financial conditions.
Also, they focus on fraudulent trades that hide monetary losses or inflate gains. Illicit transactions that aid in escaping regulatory oversight play a major role in FBI investigations.
Even corporate fraud features multiple infractions in the statistical arena. Moreover, self-dealing aspects of corporate insiders fall under FBI scrutiny.
The FBI puts its energy into cases that involve self-dealing and accounting by executives in the corporate world.
Furthermore, obstruction of justice is also investigated because it’s used to conceal these kinds of crimes.
6. 91.4% of Income Tax Offenses Are Committed by Men, and 89.1% Are White.
Remember that we discussed most white-collar criminals as white males in their mid-40s? The mean age of those who have committed tax fraud or offenses is 49, 91.4% of them are male, and 89.1% are white.
In contrast, street crimes are a bit different. For instance, the statistics for robberies show that street crime robbers on average are 28-year-old white (46.3%) males (93.4%).
7. 35.3% of White Collar Felons Have Assets of Over $10,000.
A study from the University of Cincinnati called “Life Course Theory and White-Collar Crime”, 35.3% of white-collar felons own over $10,000 in assets.
This same paper cites that these criminals are also well-established in their communities. Another 63.5% enjoy residential stability, and of that figure, 50.3% own their homes.
They are commonly high-ranking executives in their careers and usually have managerial positions. Unlike what you would expect from a “criminal”, 65.8% of them are steadily employed.
8. Only 9% of Fraudulent Crimes Occur Within Nonprofits.
Nonprofit organizations don’t often experience high rates of fraud, but at least 9% of the investigated cases from a 2020 report shows nonprofits were affected.
Damages in fraud cases amount to $75,000 per incident, which is a hefty number for small nonprofits, or any small organization.
PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey from 2020 revealed that private institutions made up 44% of corporate fraud cases.
Another 26% occurred in public organizations, and 16% within government agencies. The other 5-6% of fraud cases occurred in other types of businesses.
9. In 2020, 755 Instances of Money Laundering Occurred in The United States, According to Statistics.
The highest number of money laundering crimes occured in the Southern District of Florida (42) in the 2020 fiscal year.
After Florida, the Southern District of New York showed 33 offenses, and the Southern District of Texas tied New York’s figures.
The Northern District of Ohio had 31 money laundering cases, and the Western District of Missouri accounted for 26.
Those are the top five spots in the United States for money laundering offenses. According to further statistics, 79.9% of money laundering perpetrators were male.
Of these figures, 34.8% were White/Caucasian, 34.7% were Hispanic/Latino, 20.8% were African American/Black, and other races accounted for 9.7%. How many of these offenders had a previous criminal history?
A whopping 69.8% of the 2020 money laundering offenders had no priors.
(United States Sentencing Committee)
10. In 2015, 3,923 White-Collar Crimes Were Reported by Whistleblowers Alone.
Whistleblowers were responsible for tipping off the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015 with 3.923 tips related to bribes, corruption, and overall white-collar crimes in the workplace.
Since then, whistleblowing has steadily grown and brought more white-collar crimes into view.
Without these whistleblowers, most sophisticated white-collar offenses would either go unnoticed, or at least unprosecuted due to lack of evidence.
These criminals know how to conceal their illicit dealings through a series of complicated transactions.
(Cornell Law School)
White-Collar Crime Demographics 2023
You now have some general, fundamental statistics to peruse, but what about some demographic statistics related to these nonviolent, but not victim-free statistics?
11. Roughly 6.1% of Corporate Criminals Are from An Unhealthy Family Structure.
We already know that most white-collar perpetrators are pretty average people with happy lifestyles that no one would suspect of any form of criminal activity.
However, we also learned that motivation isn’t always about need, but it is more about greed and convenience.
According to studies, white-collar criminals come from stable, happy households.
However, there are those few who are raised by families with criminal records, reports of abuse/neglect in their childhoods, and other very dysfunctional settings.
Most criminals who are raised in less healthy and poverty-stricken homes commit blue-collar or street crimes.
12. According to Results from White-Collar Crime Data, 28% of Corporate Crimes Are Committed by Women.
We have the data on the predominantly male white-collar crime statistics, but women account for a smaller, but significant percentage of these crimes at 28%.
Women in the corporate world are even less likely to be suspected of white-collar crimes than men because they are also astute at covering their tracks, and they are often seen as upstanding members of their community.
To be fair, women are rarely the offenders in white-collar crimes in the corporate arena. Out of the whole 28% who are involved in these corporate crimes, 27% involve fraud.
Losses among women are significantly lower at $85,000 on average than men who committed frauds at $150,000 on average.
(2020 Report to the Nations Fraud and Abuse Study)
13. Tenured, Highly Educated, Older Fraud Offenders Cause the Highest Losses Within an Organization.
From the same 2020 report, tenured fraudsters (habitual, occupational) account for double the losses of those with less tenure in a company.
To break it down, fraud offenders that have been with a company at least six years will cost a median amount of $200,000 per incident.
In contrast, fraud offenders with five years or less invested in a firm cost a median amount of $100,000 per incident.
Likewise. Fraudsters over 55 years old cost companies $425,000 on average, compared to those between 40 and 54 ($150,000) and under 40 ($75,000).
Moreover, 64% occupational fraudsters have high university degrees and cost companies $195,000 on average.
For those without a university degree, the median number is $100,000 in losses.
(2020 Report to the Nations Fraud and Abuse Study)
14. Most White-Collar Criminals Live Beyond Their Means.
If you’re seeking a solid motivational factor for committing white-collar crimes, the data shows that these upstanding corporate executives are already living beyond their means, so they want more “streams of income”.
Heads of households are the ones bringing home the bacon, so when more is needed, some of them will do just about anything to make more money, even if it’s a crime.
This is pretty obvious based on the demographic data on men between 40 and 61, without a criminal record, and who lead what appears to be upstanding lives who are the main focus of statistics.
(Sivin, Miller & Roche LLP)
The Price of White-Collar Crimes in 2023
We have come to the portion of the article that will address the price of white-collar crime. In other words, the monetary costs of these nonviolent crimes.
Remember, nonviolent doesn’t equal victimless because many families, businesses, and people have lost money from these crimes.
15. The Average White-Collar Crime Can Incur Losses of More than $500,000.
In contrast to statistics on related crime costing losses of more than $500,000, armed robbery street crimes average a little more than $3,000.
Research shows that if check fraud and forgeries were included with white-collar crimes, these figures would be much higher.
Another interesting fact about white-collar crimes is that until the losses become astronomical, they go virtually unnoticed.
It’s less noticeable for coworkers to be noticed or suspected of crimes simply by paying for personal items.
The problem is, they are commonly repeat offenders, which eventually gets them caught.
16. Asset Misappropriation Accounted for 86% of The Cases Studied.
Between January 2020 and September 2021, research studies looked into fraud trends and white-collar crimes.
Asset misappropriation made of 86% of the cases researched. However, even with this massive percentage of ill doings, they were the least costly to companies.
The average loss for asset misappropriation within organizations was $100,000 per incident within the time frame they were studied.
Corruption cases were second at 50%, and cost and average of $150,000 per occurrence.
Only 9% of the studied cases involved financial statement fraud but were discovered to be the costliest at $593,000 per occurrence.
17. $300 Billion Is the Estimated Cost in The United States for White-Collar Crimes, According to The FBI.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States reported that an estimated annual cost of $300 billion is incurred from white-collar crimes.
The takeaway isn’t just this exorbitant amount of money. It’s also about the fact that statistics are showing a rise in these crimes.
Besides the penalties and fines, the costs also account for paying for prosecutors, loss or forfeiture of homes and properties, community confinement, family disruptions and divorces, supervised releases, and the potential for imprisonment.
Imagine the emotional costs in stress, anxiety, and societal stigma.
(Cornell Law School)
Prosecution and Sentencing White-Collar Crimes in 2023
We’ve already covered a lot of ground for white-collar crimes, but there is one more section to discuss. This involves the prosecution and sentencing of white-collar offenders.
18. As Of 2021, Prosecutions for White-Collar Offenses Are Down by 24.4% from Just Five Years Ago.
Five years ago, white-collar crime prosecutions accounted for 6,253 cases. The 2021 number for white-collar crimes was 4,727.
The change from 20 years ago is -50%, and the change from 2020 is 11%.
One reason for the downturn in prosecutions between 2020 and 2021 was the pandemic. During the COVID-19 ordeal, prosecutions were temporarily depressed.
However, when looking at long-term trends, it appears that white-collar crime prosecutions are still declining.
19. The Most Famous and Biggest White-Collar Crime Created Losses of $65 Billion.
Do you remember the Bernie Madoff arrest from 2011? Well, you need to know that this scam was the most successful white-collar infraction ever committed.
It was designed as a Ponzi scheme and was run through Madoff’s “business”, Madoff Investment Securities, LLC. He was convicted of multiple white-collar crimes.
Madoff’s prosecution and sentencing cost him 150 years in prison where he died in 2021.
If you need to understand what a Ponzi scheme is, it’s defined as an investment fraud that pays investors with money from new investors.
Essentially, it can be kept going by getting new investors and paying the existing investors.
20. The Eastern District of North Carolina Was the Most Active State for Prosecutions in 2020.
North Carolina takes white-collar crime very seriously, as should all states. In 2020, 18 prosecutions for these types of crimes occurred in Raleigh (the Eastern District).
Second to Raleigh New Orleans, the Eastern District of Louisiana with 13 prosecutions.
More white-collar facts show that in August 2020, the Justice Department of the United States recorded 95.5 white-collar crime prosecutions for every 10 million individuals in the country.
Are White-Collar Crimes Worse than Blue-Collar Crimes?
The only thing that could be considered worse in any type of crime is the addition of violence, injuries, or deaths. That said, blue-collar crimes involve more violent crimes such as murder and physical abuse.
However, white-collar crimes cost the country more money and damage the overall economy of a nation. Therefore, it depends on what you mean by worse.
What’s the Most Common Punishment for White-Collar Criminals?
Home detentions and fines are reported to be the most-used punishments, according to statistics on white-collar crime.
Along with these consequences, the offender may also have to pay restitution, do community service, and pay the costs of prosecution.
Prison is reserved for white-collar crimes that cause the most financial and emotional damage.
Consider 150 years for Bernie Madoff, which was the most successful of white-collar crimes ever.
Why Do White-Collar Crimes Often Go Unreported?
First, white-collar crimes go unnoticed in the beginning, so no one sees anything to report.
Second, when a company gets tipped off to a crime within its organization, they prefer to handle it internally.
Why do they want to handle it internally instead of contacting law enforcement?
Organizations desire to protect their interests and their reputations by steering clear of the press.
Hopefully, you have learned something new and interesting from these white-collar crime statistics we researched and shared with you.
You should have a better understanding of what this category of crime is and what kinds of crimes are involved.
The numbers may show there is a decline in reporting and prosecuting white-collar offenses, but does that really mean the actual crimes are declining?
Do you think the pandemic made it easier for these criminals to slip past the system?
We may never know the real numbers for white-collar crimes, but what we do have is enough to tell us that it’s a big problem in corporate America.
It’s doubtful that any corporation is completely immune to white-collar crimes.
While we have discussed some of the most major statistics about white-collar crimes, there are those sneaky transactions like a corporate executive trying to use a personal restaurant check as a business expense.
So, we cannot possibly account for every instance of white-collar crime.
Do you know anyone who has ever been caught and punished for a white-collar crime?
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article about white collar crime statistics in 2023. Hopefully, you have never seen such infractions committed in your workplace.