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White Collar Crime And Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2904 words Published: 9th May 2017

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“Theres no such thing as white-collar crime. And theres definitely no such thing as black-on-black crime. Crime is crime. Let me explain something to you. I dont care if you have a white collar or a tank top. If you rob me, Im gonna whup your ass.” -Mitch Gilliam, Head of State, 2003

Many people dismiss White Collar Crime as a criminal offence, for many reasons they feel they do not fit the category and therefore do not view them as illegal. They are in all respects criminal offences, just like any other offence. Gilliam states that he does not care what your wearing, whether it be a ‘white collar’ or ‘tank top’, you are still a criminal regardless if you are stealing something that is not rightfully yours to take.

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White Collar Crime has been newly introduced into society within the past one-hundred years. The first major case happened around the mid-1920s, and has continued to escalate from then on1. As society has slowly become more fixated on money, greed begins to overpower civilian’s views on honesty and hard work. People are now dismissing White Collared Crime as a criminal offence due to difficult issues surrounding it, due to the fact that it is less hazardous to society compared to violent, Blue Collar Crimes.


As society slowly begins to revolve around money, the honesty of the business world has slowly been degenerating, which in forth has lead to White Collar Crime. The Canadian Government and the Criminal Code of Canada are frequently faced with these types of ‘criminal’ cases, they continuously either respond to the crime too leniently or too extremely. Due to the unmodified laws, society does not acknowledge White Collar Crime to be a serious criminal offence.

SUBTOPIC 1: Area of discussion 1 – What are White Collar Crimes

Society usually does not acknowledge or underestimates the severity white collar crimes have on the population as a whole. They do not grasp the effect a sum of money can have an individual’s life or on a communities economy. Usually these types of offences are non-violent, but that does not mean they do not have a detrimental impact on the people victimised. White Collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his/her occupation.”2 Sutherland also mentions that the dollar loss to specifically white collar crime is greater that the dollar lost from all other types of crime. The American business community lost fifty-billion dollars in 1980 to white collar crime which is almost ten times more than the fiscal value of all forms of street crimes.3 According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); White Collar Crime has continued to cost the country excessive amounts of money. Today in the United States, more than three-hundred billion dollars is wasted on white collar crime each year. The FBI defines these types of crimes as, “those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence.”4 White collar crimes closely parallel corporate crime, as the opportunities to commit criminal offences of fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, identity theft and forgery are all available and the possibility for success is significantly higher for employees already working within the company. White collar offences typically involve some form of mistrust, and result in momentary gain for the perpetrators. The punishment for white-collar crime is often less severe than for crimes of violence. However, an allegation of fraud, embezzlement, and so on, is often embarrassing and can carry a lasting social stigma enabling/rendering the perpetrator to continue their previous legitimate career. Through their criminal offense they have lost trust in all their clients and their credibility is deemed meaningless within the business world. White collar crimes go largely undetected, as it is very difficult to identify as they are low-profile and it is usually not reported.

White Collar Crime is non-violent crimes, usually performed by members of the upper classes. They differentiate from “blue-collar crimes” because they lack physical violence or threat of violence towards the victim. Blue Collar Crime is any crime committed by an individual typically from a lower social class, as opposed to White Collar Crime which is associated with crimes committed by individuals of a higher social class. People employed in relatively unskilled environments and living in poor, inner-city areas have fewer opportunities to develop compared to those who, work in situations where large financial transactions occur and live in areas where there is relative prosperity. Due to lack of opportunity available which correlates with location, most crimes occur in poor, inner-city areas and are not linked with their occupation. Usually areas of high crime rate are immigrant areas or low income housing areas, where the people are un-educated, unemployed and have nothing to do with their time, thus resorting to crime. Blue collar crime tends to be more obvious and attracts more police attention. Blue Collar Crimes of violence include; murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and rape, while property Blue Collar Crimes include; vandalism, burglary, motor vehicle theft or shoplifting, where physical property is damaged and violent demeanour is often involved.5 In Blue Collar Crime, there tends to be fewer chances to use skill and thus, force and violence is usually used in order to assure the task is completed. Since more people end up getting injured, the victim is more likely to report it to the police.

White Collar employees can easily perpetrate criminal behaviours due to their supposed integrity within the business world, thus making themselves less obvious when committing the crime. Blue Collar Crime usually involves repeat offenders with a questionable background, whereas in the business world, it usually involves people who have not previously been involved in criminal history. The identification of the

-corporate confidence- victim is reluctant to report

-share holder value- crime hard to prove and unproven allegation can be highly damaging to a company.

Area of Discussion 2: Types of White-Collar Crime

White Collar Crime is a broad term that overlooks many types of non-violent criminal offences; it is associated with acts of dishonesty, manipulation and negligence. It usually involves fraud and illegal financial transactions that occur within a company by unreliable employees.

White-collar crime is usually performed by those with particular admittance to information or resources, making their non-violent crime possible. These crimes are usually performed electronically by the computer, but can also be done through paperwork. White-collar crimes normally occur within the superior positions in government and business’ as leverage is necessary in order to gain access to even commit these crimes. White Collar Crime refers to the category of crime that usually is committed by professionals, the crimes most often recognized as White Collar include: fraud, bankruptcy fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, medical crime, public corruption, environmental crime, pension fund crime, RICO crimes, occupational crime.

White Collar Crime has been significantly influenced by the arrival of new technologies, such as the internet and cell phones, which has in turn brought upon more opportunities for crime. It has also changed the manner in which the crimes are committed, their frequency, and has increased the difficulty in order to arrest perpetrators. Fortunately, these technological advances can also be used by law enforcement officials to aid in tracking illegal activities. However, the elimination of this type of crime depends morally on an individual’s attitude and relationship of loyalty, friendship, and trust that one human being inflicts upon another human being, instead of the legal provision and work of law enforcement made by the Government or Police.

Most White Collar Crimes are committed with the goal to attain a financial gain. The perpetrators’ issuing these crimes tend to not have a criminal background, but when presented with the opportunity for simple enrichment through some action that appears morally indefinite at the beginning, quickly turns into a crime. White Collar crime is crimes committed by respectable people, during the course of their occupation, and therefore defeats the notion that poverty breads crime.

Fraud is the most popular white collar crime out of the list of offences. It is the intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. Fraud is not only a crime, but also a civil law violation. Defrauding people of money or valuables is the most common purpose; it can also include the sale of fraudulent goods, false advertising, filing false insurance claims and false billing. It can be committed through many different outlets such as, mail, phone, and internet. It is difficult to check the identity and legitimacy online, the simplicity for the hackers to divert browsers to dishonest sites and steal credit card details like pin numbers is unbelieveable. Some examples of fraud are; counterfeit, false advertising, forgery, identity theft, securities, and tax evasion. When looking for fraudulent activities they can easily be identified by nine elements being; representation of an existing fact, its materiality, its falsity, the speaker’s knowledge of its falsity, the speakers intent that is shall be acted upon by the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s ignorance of its falsity, their reliance on the truth of the representation, their right to rely upon it and their damages suffered because of it.

– Fraud can include the sale of fraudulent goods, false advertising, filing false insurance claims, or false billing

Bribery – Though often seen as the price of doing business in some countries, the practice of bribery gives unfair advantages to certain individuals and distorts the efficacy of markets

Insider trading – Like bribery, insider trading gives an unfair advantage to certain individuals who are privy to private information that affects the value of stocks or bonds

Embezzlement – Embezzlement occurs when someone with access to company or government funds siphons some for their personal use. This crime is a prime example of white collar crime as usually it is only privileged members of society or a company who even have access to company funds to begin with

Forgery – Forgery is most threatening when considering the sale of counterfeit goods, but is also relevant to the production of false insurance claims

Most of these crimes are committed with the goal of financial gain. The people who commit these crimes do not necessarily have a history of crime, but are usually presented with some opportunity for enrichment through some action that appears morally indefinite at the beginning, but quickly transgress into a crime. The initial gain of money presents an unavoidable attraction to those who commit these crimes. Though normally carried out for money, white-collar crime can also be committed as an act of sabotage.http://dw.com.com/redir?tag=rbxira.2.a.10&destUrl=http://www.cnet.com/b.gif

White-collar crimes come in many different forms, including money laundering; credit card, health care, insurance, securities, and/or telecommunications fraud; intellectual property and computer crimes; and identity theft.

POSS PUT IN 3*The major difference between White collar Crime and Blue Collar Crime is that, very rarely white collar criminals occupy prison cells. Although White Collar crimes inflicted the most harm to the United States and Canada, the justice systems still continue to treat them with more lenience and less consistency than street criminals.*

Area of Discussion 3:

Society does not feel these types of offences are criminal, statistics prove that one in three American households are victims of white-collar crime, yet only 41% actually report it. Out of the vast majority of reports, only a low of 21% has actually made it safely into the hands of a law enforcement or consumer protection agency. This means that approximately less than 8% of white collar crimes have had the opportunity to reach proper authorities according to the National Public Survey on White Collar Crime, conducted by the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), a non-profit, federally funded organization that supports local and state police in their efforts to prevent, investigate and prosecute economic and high-technological crime. According to the National Fraud Center statistics, economic crime cost the nation $5,000,000,000 in 1970, $20,000,000,000 in 1980, and $100,000,000,000 in 1990. As businesses and financial transactions become more and more computer and Internet automated, the reality of increased economic crime grows exponentially, fueled by the rapid growth of technology. As of 2010, white collar crimes continue to invade our new, high-tech society faster than we are able to stop it. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2680_130/ai_82012998/

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Statistics conclude that one in three Americans fail to report these crimes that are costing the nation hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Reasoning for not reporting the offences can be seen by; not initially considering the offenses toward themselves as being criminal acts, they may have been uncertain about which agency to contact for assistance and guidance, or they may have a lack of faith that the offender would be apprehended. Most times, offenders get off with very little punishment if any at all.

White Collared offences tend to usually be pushed under the table and hidden from the public through a variety of opportunities available to hide the evidence of the crime committed. Society and the Canadian Justice System feel White Collar offences are not a priority in the legal system, as their attention is directed to dangerous criminals that are going to harm/injure and kill people. Murderers do seem to be more dangerous in society compared to a few business men stealing company profit, but in fact, manufacturing companies that sells a faulty item or product before the safety check is mandated are just as guilty of manslaughter or injury occurs due to their product fault. The company may be aware of this ‘impurity’ but are willing to risk the safety and well-being of their costumers to avoid their product being put on recall.

At what point do these everyday businessmen become criminals?

*Do they fit the criminal attributes? Are they truly criminal or are they just greedy.

-talk about personal life, how people would never expect them. Hence the reason why white collar crime is not taken as seriously as it should be

-handout of criminal personality (lack of quilt, lier, etc.)

Sutherland embraced the Interactionist Theory of Deviance, focusing on how people learn to be criminals. He believes criminal behaviour is learned from interpersonal interaction with others.

*Family difficulties or financial debt would increase the chance of them getting involved in fraud.

The characteristics of the criminal mind are;

Self-Centeredness- greed of wanting more money to themselves, don’t care who they hurt in order to achieve it (movie in class, MR. GETKO)

Resentment of Authority – don’t care about anyone above or below them, they want money and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Usually they are of higher authority, which makes it easier for them to steal large sums of money without being caught

Search for Power – want all the modern technology, new house, new car. Want to rise up in the business so they can make money. They fall into the pressures of crime trying to achieve their goal life; rich and luxurious.

Lying – will cheat there accomplices, business associates, etc. Feed them lies or promises that they will never keep in order to get money out of them

Lack of Guilt – with money on their mind and all the perks it gives you, they do not have time to care that what they are doing at achieve all of that is wrong and criminal

Poor Ability for Love – their love becomes money, they usually loose their family or have multiple wives because they are married to their job. Money and their business position overrides their family. Hence why most marriages fail

Excitement- the joy of all the new things the extra money can buy them

Bad, but good- although they are lying and cheating (doing bad), they are making money and living the good life (good). The good usually tends to override the bad

Non-arrestable Criminality – businessmen of superiority, friendly to family friends and neighbours, do not seem like the type to be involved in criminal offences


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