The label “criminal” often brings to mind a very specific type of person: a masked bandit, perhaps, or a man storming into a bank with a gun. But the biggest, most spectacular types of crime rarely fit these molds. The really big crimes are often perpetrated by men in expensive suits, exploiting shaky laws and wriggling through loopholes to satisfy their own bottomless greed. Even more infuriating, they have the power and legal clout to get away with it… most of the time.
These true crime books focus on white collar crime—in other words, crimes committed by the rich. They may make you grind your teeth in outrage, or they may simply fascinate you. Either way, they are an intriguing glimpse into the criminal history of the world’s wealthiest.
by Tom Wright
by Bradley Hope
At first glance, Jho Low didn't seem like the type of person who would scam an investment fund out of more than five billion dollars. And yet, from 2009 to 2019, that is exactly what he did. His extravagant lifestyle ended when the Department of Justice belatedly came knocking, forcing Low to go on the run. Authors Tom Wright and Bradley Hope dive deep into the world of high finance, obscene wealth, and men who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
by John Connolly
With Tim Malloy
It seems Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire pedophile and friend of presidents, has hardly left the news since he killed himself in his jail cell in 2019. But there is much more to his story than its end. How did Epstein obtain his wealth, and how did he get away with his heinous crimes for so many years after law enforcement knew about them? Popular thriller writer James Patterson, John Connolly, and Tim Malloy explore these questions and many others, piecing together the disturbing life story of the man behind the headlines.
This is the biography of a most unconventional white collar criminal, "Diamond" Doris Payne. She started out as an impoverished shoplifter in her segregated southern town. It turned out Payne had quite the knack for jewel robbery. Decades later, she was a wealthy woman at the height of her career. She pulled off heists that would make a lesser criminal cringe... until the betrayal of someone close to her brought her career to a screeching halt.
Palm Beach resident Laurence Leamer pulls back the curtain on Palm Beach, a Florida island which has long been a haven for America's wealthiest and most unscrupulous. Look beyond its scenic beauty and expensive shops, and you encounter a world of sumptuous parties and royal visits, of selfish millionaires and horrible crimes. Leamer describes all of this with an insider's eye, as well as how scammer Bernie Madoff inadvertently blew the lid off their private, privileged world.
Speaking of Bernie Madoff, this book by journalist Laurie Sandell takes a more intimate look at the notorious con artist and the damage he left behind him. After Madoff was imprisoned for running the world's largest Ponzi scheme, his astonished family was left to pick up the pieces and deal with their sudden infamy. By speaking directly with Madoff's surviving family, Sandell is able to offer an unprecedented look at the personal consequences of white collar crime.
"Black edge" is an industry term for insider information, an illegal but potentially lucrative method of making money. SAC Capital, a successful hedge fund, made its fortune through inside information and was ultimately brought down by the federal government for that very reason. Several of its traders were charged, but not its founder, Steven Cohen. Author and former hedge fund analyst Sheelah Kolhatkar chronicles the rise and fall of SAC Capital, and how Cohen got away scot-free.
Part of the Federal Reserve Bank's job is to monitor financial institutions and make sure they play by the rules. That is what Carmen Segarra believed when the Fed hired her and told her to oversee Goldman Sachs, one of the firms that profited off the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, she was compelled to become a whistleblower and expose the frightening lack of regulations that still allows white collar criminals to get away with almost anything.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.