WHAT ARE WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES?
Edwin Sutherland, a great sociologist was the first person to define white-collar crimes in 1939. He defined it as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.’ In other words, it refers to a crime committed by people in course of their business. It includes bribery, fraud, money laundering, insider training, copyright infringement, etc.
Corruption, bribery is the most common types of white-collar crimes in India. Cybercrime is also one of these crimes. Such crimes are increasing so much as there are very few chances of these crimes getting caught. Due to these crimes, India is lacking behind in development and still it is at a developing stage.
REASONS BEHIND INCREASING WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES
There are several reasons behind a steep increase in white-collar crimes namely-
- Lenient Laws
- Growing competition
- Modern technology
- Lack of awareness
Because of the growing competition, people often find wrong paths to reach the path of success, and the person who leaves behind everyone and adapts to the circumstances survives.
Modern technology has led to an increase in white-collar crimes which have allowed them to reach out to a larger number of people and commit large-scale crimes without being noticed by the law. Like online banking scams ie. taking a person’s bank details fraudulently and taking out all their money. During the covid times also, many scams took place, when the second wave came in India there was seen a spike in these scams like illegal injections.
Various laws have been passed in India, but they are not implemented properly due to which these crimes are increasing recklessly day by day.
Lack of awareness can also be considered as the biggest reason behind these crimes as people are not so aware and educated due to which they get looted by greedy people and get stuck in cyber scams.
TYPES OF WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES
- BLACKMAIL:- Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code as ‘Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation’. Like Mr. X threatening to Mr. Y for disclosing the secrets of his company if he doesn’t pay him Rs. 1 crore.
- Credit card/Debit Card scams-Another type of scam is banking scam. People often fraudulently procure bank details from people by giving them greed of some offers and run away with their money.
- Insider Trading-More often people buy stocks of the company if they the inside information of the company to earn profits which is also a type of crime. Most famous example of such scam is Harshad Mehta 1992 Scam.
- Money Laundering-It refers to the process of converting money obtained from illegal work like drug trafficking or arms trafficking into legitimate one.
WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
Even in the field of law, such crimes take place. Various legal practitioners often take money to present false cases or manipulate the case in their client’s favor. Fake witness, evidence is presented in court to make the case in their favor.
There are various legal provisions in various statutes against these white-collar crimes.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860-Section 420 of the IPC which deals with cheating and inducing someone to deliver property with false intentions.
-Section 464 of IPC talks about making false documents.
- The companies Act of 1960
- The Income Tax Act, 1961.
- Prevention of money laundering act and rules 2002.
- The information technology act, 2005
- The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
- The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881
- The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
- Investigation Process have been set up to keep a check on companies. Internal investigations are also done which acts as a watchdog for companies.
- Private investigators can also hired to keep information of the required companies or banks to keep a check on them.
To conclude, the revolution in technology whitecollar crimes are increasing and its disadvantage is that they can’t be caught. Therefore, to ensure safety from these crimes, laws should be enforced strictly and investigation should be done regularly to avoid any big scams in near future.