White-collar crime is a term that is usually applied to crimes associated with business that do not involve violence or bodily injury to another person. Examples of so-called white-collar crimes are those crimes generally associated with lending institutions which involve bank fraud, such as making false statements to obtain a loan, filing false reports or returns with government agencies, embezzlement, using the mail or wire communications to defraud, and paying or accepting bribes.

White-collar crimes may be prosecuted in state or federal courts, depending upon whether state or federal laws have been violated. The penalties for committing white-collar crimes vary, but in some cases they may be as severe as those prescribed for violent crimes. If you are questioned by a law enforcement officer or another governmental agent about possible criminal conduct, it is wise to talk with an attorney before answering any questions. What you tell your attorney is confidential, and the fact that you decline to answer questions may not be used against you in a criminal proceeding.

These are types of white-collar crimes: Fraud, forgery, extortion and tax evasion.

Fraud: The act of obtaining money or property by deceit, trick or a dishonest act. Most acts of fraud are felonies. Criminal fraud is commonly perpetrated against the aged and infirm. Fraud commonly involves a misrepresentation of a material fact upon which the victim relies. In most cases, the defense to fraud involves establishing evidence that negates the defendant's specific intent to defraud. Often fraud involves more then one person involved in the scheme each of which can be held criminally responsible under the theory of joint criminal liability and the crime of conspiracy. Fraud can also be involved in the purchase and sale of securities. The enforcement divisions of the state and the federal government through the SEC have jurisdiction to prosecute defendants that engage in security law violations including fraud.

Forgery: The making of false documents by alteration or by false signature. There must be the specific intent to deceive for economic or personal gain. In most cases, the defense to forgery involves presenting evidence, which negates the defendant's intent. In the world of electronic signatures and e-commerce, the courts have been struggling with expanding the crime of forgery to electronic mediums. The term counterfeiting is also used to describe the crime of forging or creating the paper image of money.

Extortion: The act of obtaining money or gaining some form of personal advantage by threat of force and or intimidation of the victim or the victim's family. In most cases, the defendant has a preexisting relationship with the victim and is motivated by retribution or greed. In almost all states extortion is a felony.