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The criminologist Edwin Sutherland defined white-collar crime as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." That was in 1939.
Though the category is still distinguished by activities such as fraud and embezzlement, the perpetrators no longer come only from the executive suite or other well-placed ranks.
What follows is a list of 10 white-collar criminals who are all still at large. Some defrauded financial institutions. Others pocketed company funds. And still others preyed on individuals, robbing them of their life savings.
Read ahead to see CNBC.com's list of some of the most notorious white collar criminals. All information comes from the FBI database.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 06 Nov. 2013
CNBC follows the money trail in search of the most wanted white-collar fugitives. "American Greed: The Fugitives" Thursdays, at 10 p.m. ET.
Dennis A. Bjorkland is a former lawyer who ran a charity—at least that's what he told his clients facing drunken driving charges. According to the FBI, clients would give money to the bogus charity in the hope that the donation would lead the court to deal with them favorably.
In reality, the money allegedly went directly to Bjorkland, which led to a a fraud indictment by a federal grand jury in July 2010. The FBI said that he is likely to be in the company of his girlfriend, Rochelle Theroux, who is not a fugitive from law enforcement.
In 2003, Jie Dong auctioned goods online and collected money from about 5,000 winning bidders. According to the FBI, the "winners" got exactly nothing, however, and in August 2004 a federal arrest warrant was issued charging him with mail and wire fraud.
Dong allegedly bilked the users of Web auction sites out of about $800,000. He is believed to have fled to China, and the FBI was receiving reports of his possible criminal activity as recently as January.
As the controller of a Cincinnati-based company's Lexington, Ky., unit, James T. Hammes allegedly deposited corporate funds into a bank account purportedly belonging to a company doing business with his division. According to the FBI, it actually had nothing to do with his business.
Between 2004 and 2009, Hammes allegedly deposited some $8.7 million of his employer's money into that account, over which he had signatory control.
He was charged with wire fraud and money laundering, and a federal arrest warrant was issued. Though he's in the wind, the FBI describes him as "an avid scuba diver and a licensed pilot," so perhaps he's eluding the authorities in some tropical location.
Jorge Iglesias owned the Affordable Medical Services Group, a durable medical equipment company with an office in Puerto Rico. According to the FBI, it received over $1 million in Medicare reimbursements for oxygen tents, catheters and 354 prosthetic limbs, none of which were medically necessary for anyone.
Iglesias, who submitted the claims to Medicare and had signature authority over the bank account that received the disbursements, was indicted for crimes related to health-care fraud. A federal warrant for his arrest was issued in September 2008.
A part-time disc jockey, David Richard Kaup victimized working-class families attempting to refinance their homes. He admitted in a plea agreement to participating in three schemes over five years that defrauded more than 50 families out of over $11 million, according to the FBI.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in April 2012 and was to be sentenced at U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in December 2012. Kaup failed to appear at sentencing, and the FBI has sought him ever since.
Aviv Mizrahi owned and operated a number of electronic wholesaling businesses worth millions of dollars. With that kind of portfolio, banks were happy to lend him money, but Mizrahi allegedly submitted documents with information about his assets that ranged from exaggerated to fictional.
The FBI estimates that he defrauded banks out of about $33 million. A federal arrest warrant was issued in May 2012 after he was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a federally insured financial institution and "aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done," according to the FBI.
Phet Loi Naovarath preyed on members of his own Laotian community in Nevada, offering them the chance to invest in properties in Las Vegas. According to the FBI, it was just a ploy to hijack their identities to buy and then flip properties. He sometimes used the same identity multiple times.
That wasn't all. Naovarath incurred millions of dollars in mortgage debt, ultimately caused foreclosures and losses exceeding $10 million in value.
He pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 33 months in prison, but he took off in May 2012, just before he was to begin serving it. A federal warrant for his arrest was issued June 15, 2012.
The FBI's record of Chaim Yehuda Reich's criminal history dates to 1990, when he and an associate allegedly took out a $500,000 loan from an Omaha bank to invest in turkey farming.
The loan went into default, but when the bank tried to collect the money, representatives discovered that the men had falsified their identities on the loan application and provided financial information that was either inaccurate or outright false.
Though the associate was apprehended, Reich remains at large, wanted for allegedly making false statements on loan applications to a federal credit bank. He was last seen in Union City, N.J., in 1994, and the FBI said that he may be living in Israel with his wife and children.
Alex Spirikaitis, the subject of a federal arrest warrant issued in July, is charged with false credit institution entries. According to the FBI, he was last seen in the Cleveland area.
The bureau is offering a reward for any information leading to his capture and prosecution. It warns that he is considered armed and dangerous, however, so if you see him please contact your local FBI office and let the professionals do the heavy lifting.
ATM "skimming" is a practice that involves placing a small device in the slot where an ATM card is swiped. The device records the cardholder's personal information, thereby allowing unauthorized access to that checking account.
Alin Velcu is wanted by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a skimming operation, along with accomplices Antonio Dumitru and Neamtu Vaduva.
The three men allegedly stole information from cardholders' magnetic strips and recorded them via hidden camera as they entered PIN numbers. According to the FBI, this purportedly gave them everything they needed to create counterfeit ATM cards and to withdraw from victims' accounts.
Velcu and his accomplices are alleged to have stolen the data of more than 400 people over just four months ending in February 2013. A federal arrest warrant was issued after they were charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
A new spin-off series that focuses on active cases of alleged white-collar criminals who are accused of orchestrating elaborate scams to dupe investors and ultimately evade capture. Each episode features interviews with law enforcement, prosecutors and victims—all sharing the goal of bringing these fugitives to justice.