Criminal Law Paper on White collar crime and Bribery vs. Extortion

White collar crime and Bribery vs. Extortion

White collar crimes are criminal activities that perpetrators design to produce financial gain through deception (Ferguson, 2010). Perpetrators of white collar crimes are often respectable people who hold a top position in the society. The two elements that investigators use to identify white collar crimes are intent and knowledge (Ferguson, 2010). In regards to intent, a wrongdoer must commit to a wrongdoing to achieve financial gain through unlawful means. In regards to knowledge, a perpetrator must be aware of his wrongful and unlawful acts. Examples of federal criminal statutes that government agencies use to convict white collar criminals include The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Ferguson, 2010). The Government uses the money laundering act to prevent people from ‘cleaning’ fraud money while the securities exchange act to prevent people from conducting insider trading. The government uses the white collar laws to prevent people from committing wrongful acts without detection.

The primary difference between bribery and extortion is that the federal bribery statute defines bribery as directly or indirectly offering value promises to public officials and in return, the public official will give something of value in return. The federal extortion statute (18 U.S. Code 872) defines extortion as an act by an employee or officer who claims to act under the pretense of his office, to get financial gain (Ferguson, 2010). Furthermore, there is a significant difference between embezzlement and larceny. While both crimes involve the change of ownership of property, both crimes have a significant difference. In larceny, the ownership of property changes, but the perpetrator does not possess the property. However, in embezzlement, a perpetrator has full possession of stolen property. It is important to distinguish between embezzlement and larceny because they carry different penalties in a court of Law. (Ferguson, 2010).


Ferguson, J. E. (2010). White-collar crime. New York: Chelsea House.