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Why has white-collar crime prosecution declined?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

The term “white-collar crime” includes a wide range of crimes within the state of California. Typically, these crimes lack violence against other people, but still cause a financial gain to the perpetrator. The years between 2001 and 2021 saw a decline in white-collar crime prosecutions. What is causing the decline in prosecution? Are fewer crimes being committed, or are there other factors influencing the statistics?

Decline of white-collar crime

Between 2001 and 2021, the number of white-collar crime prosecutions declined from 9,507 to 4,727. These figures take into consideration the small increase in white-collar crimes that occurred following relaxed pandemic protocols. Even factoring in this increase, the overall trend was a downward spiral.

Investigating agencies

White-collar crimes are investigated by multiple agencies, including the following:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Secret Service
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Postal Service
  • Social Security Administration
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Local and state authorities
  • Shifting federal government priorities

In 2001, the United States experienced a domestic terror attack that resulted in the creation and expansion of anti-terrorism units within the federal government. Additionally, immigration agencies have shifted their focus to potential terrorist acts. With so much focus on terrorism, the government budget and personnel have been unable to focus on the different types of white-collar crimes.


Changing government priorities have resulted in a new focus on more aggressive crimes, such as terrorism. As a result, many white-collar crimes go undetected and unprosecuted. However, many agencies are still working toward pursuing these crimes, and people who are facing these types of charges need to mount an effective defense.