occupational crime | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Occupational crime is illegal activity committed within the context of a legitimate occupation, typically for personal gain.

Understanding Occupational Crime

To start with, let’s understand what an occupational crime is. Sometimes known as white-collar crime, this type of crime occurs when someone commits illegal acts in the course of their job. This could be a variety of offenses, like embezzlement, fraud, or bribery. These crimes are not violent. Instead, they typically involve some form of deceit or violation of trust.

Types of Occupational Crime

There are many types, and each can occur in a different context or for different reasons. Here are a few examples:

  1. Embezzlement: This is when an employee misuses company funds for personal use. An employee might take money directly or shift funds from one account to another.
  2. Fraud: Fraud involves deception for personal or financial gain. For example, an insurance agent might sell policies but pocket the premiums instead of passing them to the company.
  3. Bribery: This is when a person offers, gives, receives, or solicits something of value as a means to influence the actions of an individual in the discharge of public or legal duties.

Why Occupational Crimes Happen

The motivation behind these crimes is typically personal gain. However, it can also be driven by pressure to meet company targets or individual job stress. No matter the reason, the act of committing such an offense breaks the law and trust within the workplace.

The Impact of Occupational Crime

The impact of occupational crime can be significant. Companies lose billions of dollars each year to these types of crimes. But it’s not only the companies that suffer. When companies lose money, they might have to lay off workers or raise prices for customers.

Additionally, occupational crime can severely damage a company’s reputation. Customers might lose faith in the company if they find out about fraudulent activities, and this could lead to a loss of business.

Dealing with Occupational Crime

To deal with occupational crime, companies often have internal controls in place. These are rules and procedures that help prevent and detect fraudulent activity. Companies might also conduct regular audits to check their financial records.

When occupational crimes are discovered, it’s important to take action. This might involve firing the person involved, recovering lost funds, and reporting the crime to the authorities.

The Role of the Legal System

The legal system plays a critical role in addressing these. The law provides penalties for these, which can include fines and imprisonment. By holding people accountable for these crimes, the legal system aims to deter others from committing similar acts.


In conclusion, these crimes involve illegal acts committed in the context of a legitimate occupation. These crimes, which include embezzlement, fraud, and bribery, can have a significant impact on companies, workers, and customers. However, through the combination of internal controls, legal action, and the enforcement of penalties, society can work to prevent and punish it.

Learn More

On Other Site

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 07/01/2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.