The term "white collar crime" is used to describe a non-violent crime involving some sort of financial transaction committed. White collar crimes can include a whole host of fraudulent activities committed by business or government employees, including tax fraud, ponzi schemes and embezzlement. Many see those suspected of white collar crimes as greedy corporate and banking executives, which is why the public is so adamant about securing a conviction. However, this perception is not always accurate.
In a recent matter involving a California government employee accused of embezzling nearly $400,000, the accused was a welfare worker. The 58-year-old childcare eligibility worker allegedly authorized payments to families seeking assistance for childcare services, but did not actually provide the services.
A grand jury indicted the woman and her husband, as well as her father and daughter, on 90 felony counts last year.
The felony counts filed against the woman and her family included grand theft and misappropriation of public funds. The woman's husband was able to reach an agreement with prosecutors. He pled guilty to seven felony charges and received a 10-year prison sentence. The woman's daughter claimed she did not know she was breaking the law and received five years probation.
The welfare worker herself was sentenced to 18 years in prison. She pleaded guilty to 15 felony counts and has also been ordered to pay restitution. The district attorney made it clear that their office takes these matters very seriously, and prosecutes the cases as such.
Source: The Republic, "Ex-California welfare worker gets 18 years in prison for embezzling $400K meant for needy," July 25, 2012