Embezzlement, insider trading and other financially motivated crimes are often viewed as nonviolent offenses committed by individuals against financial institutions or organizations or employees against their employers. But sometimes, these crimes may involve violence.
A red collar crime is a subgroup of white-collar crimes where the offender engages in violence to avoid being prosecuted or detected. Perpetrators may use violent methods to prevent the punishment of white-collar crimes. These typically include an admission of guilt and, depending on the crime’s severity, a prison sentence, financial settlement or disciplinary action.
An early example of red collar crimes occurred in 1982 when an owner of a Manhattan business contacted a hitman to kill two employees. He suspected one employee of reporting multi-million-dollar fraud to federal prosecutors and that the other employee would testify against him.
In another case, an insurance company owner murdered an agency examiner with the North Carolina Department of insurance. That examiner uncovered evidence of insurance fraud.
Organizations and employers try to prevent red-collar crime by having anonymous methods to report fraud or other misconduct. An employee safety app is also being used.
White-collar crime itself costs American businesses over $300 billion each year. However, not all of these crimes are detected.
Only 54% of white-collar crimes are reported to law enforcement according to a 2020 report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. That organization also reported that business, on average, suffers a 5% loss of revenue each year because of fraud. Forty-three percent of white-collar offenses are identified by a tip instead of an investigation or internal audit.
There have been 50 recorded cases over the last 30 years where the offender murdered the person who disclosed their crime or paid someone to do it on their behalf. However, many red-collar crimes could be undetected because authorities may not have uncovered evidence of white-collar crimes in the violent crimes that they investigated.
Attorneys can assist individuals accused of financial or violent crimes. They can help assure that their rights are protected.