White Collar Crimes During COVID

Suspicious looking man with mask on
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

We have previously spoken about criminal activity in general. Now we are going to delve deeper into the different types of crimes committed and how the coronavirus pandemic has become part of ongoing criminal activity.

The legal definition describes white-collar crime as a “crime that is committed by salaried professional workers or persons in business and that usually involves a form of financial theft or fraud (as in securities dealing)”. Hundreds and thousands of white-collar crimes are performed every year. In some cases, the double-crossing executor is caught and in other times, they go undetected or undetected for years.  

Even more scandalous are the situations in which the con artists frame someone for the crimes they have committed. It’s deceit within deceit. Even more dangerous is the fact that these crimes are usually committed by well-to-do and respectable people. They snatch money right under everyone’s noses with none the wiser.

But not all of these crimes are based on money (although a large percentage are). Take a look at former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. He is currently serving time not for fraudulent financial activity, but for perjury. 

Perhaps the only redeeming quality of white-collar criminals is that they don’t use violence. They only use the weapon they know best, their Machiavellian minds.   

COVID and Crime

Regardless of how they occur, the COVID pandemic has opened the doors for criminals to expand. According to the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, organized criminal activity has diminished, but other white-collar crimes have been initiated. From selling fake masks to calling potential victims to give up their investments to get a vaccine.

The federal government is on its tracks though and they have been focusing on people who are illegitimately using money from the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, which is being used to help businesses suffering from financial losses due to the pandemic.

Specifically, the feds are going after those who steal or try to steal money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which are loans given to businesses to keep them ‘alive’ and give them financial funding so that employees do not have to be laid off.

Recently in Texas, a man was trying to fraud the government of $24 million via fraudulent PPP loans. He used 11 different business names, each filing for a loan. He succeeded in obtaining about $17 million in forgivable loans before he was caught and brought to justice.


Bribery is a common crime among the nefarious workforce. This entails accepting gifts, money, or other favors to treat the bribee differently from other individuals and there’s no doubt that some unscrupulous individuals are taking bribes to stay silent about some criminal workings regarding fake masks and other PPE essentials that society needs. 

Our suggestion is to research the store (brick and mortar or online) to see their reviews and background. Also, check if the items are FDA insured.

Ponzi Schemes

Ponzi schemes are one of the most favorite criminal activities among criminals and the worst nightmare for ordinary people like you and me. The crime itself is named after the notorious swindler and con artist who was known by many names, the most famous one being Charles Ponzi. 

A Ponzi scheme is an illegal investment where the embezzler gathers a pool of investors and builds their trust enough to convince them to invest their money, sometimes their entire retirement. Promises of high profits and exceptional rewards are made. Once the swindler succeeds, the criminal disappears without leaving any traces behind.    

Most of the time, white-collar criminals resort to a Ponzi scheme to acquire money from new investors to pay off the “profits” to the old ones. Sometimes, it is done just to earn quick and easy money, but if caught they could get hefty prison time.

The losses from this type of scheme could be as small as a few dollars or as large as billions of dollars. One of the most famous scandals in the history of white-collar crimes is that of Bernie Madoff. The estimated size of his fraud was $64.8 billion. Regardless, he got caught and is currently serving his time at the age of 80. He was sentenced to 150 years of imprisonment. 

Don’t get caught up in phone calls or emails that ask you to invest in their products, specifically PPE products before doing thorough research, but even better, why bother? Just hang up! 


Embezzlement involves the illegal theft of money through tampering with documents and entries. Since it is a white-collar crime, it is done in secret and often involves cases where trusted employees embezzle their employers. In embezzlement cases, employees are accused of stealing money from their employer by slyly diverting funds from their company’s account to their personal bank accounts. 

Except for people in certain positions in their company, not everyone can manage that. Mostly, embezzlement is done by accountants who are managing their company’s funds or by investment advisors who can misuse their client’s money behind their backs. 

Embezzlement cases on a small level are considered a misdemeanor. However, when a specified amount of money or property value is exceeded, it becomes a major felony. 

Tax Evasion

Individuals and businesses of every country are obliged to pay taxes under their state or federal law taxes. Deliberate tax evasion is a white-collar crime in which the felon illegally avoids taxes either by tampering with their tax documents or through the illegal transference of properties. There are endless tactics that criminals use to achieve their goals.

Tax evasion is one of the most common types of white-collar crime and anyone from an average middle-class worker to a billionaire tycoon may commit it. On a lower level, people might simply enter a false amount on their tax forms, whereas on a higher level, a felon might go as far as changing the will of a dead relative to avoid estate taxes by moving the property around. If or when caught, it could lead to some severe criminal charges.  

The effects of these crimes are substantial and often trigger a butterfly effect. To curtail them, countries have introduced numerous regulations on the federal and state level.

If a person is caught in any of the above white-collar crimes, the case would be prosecuted in federal court. Some people become a victim of these crimes and others get caught up in it for being so close to it. In either case, it is advisable to hire a lawyer to protect your rights, and if possible, get back the embezzled money.