What makes a white-collar crime?

According to the FBI, the term was coined in 1939 and refers to a wide variety of fraud and theft committed by purported professionals.

Usually non-violent, white-collar crimes include public corruption, embezzlement, fraud or tax fraud, money laundering, bribery, and extortion, among other offenses.

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"White-collar crimes can destroy a company, wipe out a person's life savings, cost investors billions of dollars, and erode the public's trust in institutions," the federal law enforcement agency notes on its website.

Although SouthCoast communities are often said to have high crime rates — New Bedford is listed as having the third-highest violent crime rate in the state, with Fall River not far behind at number seven — it's not all gangs, drugs, and shootings.

In one of the best-known cases, a former SouthCoast mayor is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for a host of corruption charges (after delaying reporting to prison several times.)

Another high-profile case saw a local businessman and former Dartmouth select board member go to prison for embezzling funds from a SouthCoast bus company — and for hiding $2.5 million in cash from the feds.

And a Middleboro shoe company executive was sentenced to five and a half years in prison after stealing $30 million from the firm and failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes.

Federal agents even seized his house in Duxbury as restitution.

Check out the full list of the most memorable white-collar crimes in Southeastern Massachusetts:

The SouthCoast's Most Memorable White-Collar Crimes

On the SouthCoast, it's not always drug dealing or catalytic converter thefts. White-collar crimes like fraud, embezzlement, wage theft, and bribery can cost hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

These locals thought they hit the jackpot....until they were caught. Here are some of the biggest or most memorable recent cases of people siphoning money from places they shouldn't.

Need Something More Exciting? How About These Crazy SouthCoast Police Chases

Here's a list of some of the wildest police pursuits around the SouthCoast in recent memory.

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