Irwin Margolies

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Red-Collar Crime and the “CBS Murders”

This paper outlines the case of a typical white-collar criminal who transitioned into what is known as “red-collar” crime. Irwin Margolies, owner of Candor Diamond Corporation, perpetrated a fraud that would ultimately lead to the homicides of five individuals. This paper will compare white-collar and red-collar crime and discuss Margolies’ evolvement from one sector to the other. The detail of the fraud will be examined and decomposed as it relates to the principles of the fraud triangle. Red-collar crime goes beyond the fraud triangle as it involves violent acts by the perpetrator that are aimed at witnesses to conceal the fraud. These criminals possess certain psychopathic traits that differentiate them from other types of criminals. What started off as simple “get rich quick” schemes quickly elevated into a much larger scheme that spiraled out of control and led to tragedy.

Red-Collar Crime and the “CBS Murders”
In many cases, perpetrators of what is considered “white-collar” crime can easily be motivated to commit acts of violence depending on the pressures of fraud concealment. This movement into the violent realm of crime creates what are known as “red-collar” criminals. Irwin Margolies, a capitalist in the diamond industry of New York, began his career as a non-violent perpetrator of fraud. Ultimately, however, Margolies ended up in a murder for hire scheme that resulted in the deaths of two of his employees as well as three CBS employees. This case would come to be known as “The CBS Murders”. White-Collar vs. Red-Collar

Most fraud cases are perpetrated by what are known as white-collar criminals. In 1939, the term “white-collar crime” was coined by Edwin Sutherland, a criminologist and sociologist. Sutherland defined white-collar crime as crime perpetrated by individuals of high social status within their field of work. Alternatively, in 1981, the United States Justice Department broadened Sutherland’s definition by focusing on the use of deception as a means for criminal behavior, diminishing the assumption that only socialites are capable of this type of crime (Stader, 2002). White-collar crime is generally accepted as non-violent and not harmful. White-collar criminals, however, are able to and do act on violent tendencies (Brody & Kiehl, 2010). According to Brody & Kiehl (2010), “anyone is capable of becoming violent when the right amount of pressure is applied to the perpetrator and the circumstances as a whole” (p. 353). According to Roleff (2000), traces of “criminogenic” traits are found in all criminals. These traits can be genetic or factors of society. Societal factors include the education system, job market, political system and laws, social institutions, family, friends, or significant events that have occurred. In addition to these traits, psychological dysfunction is another trait common in perpetrators of crime. Although not all criminals reach a degree of pathological behavior, psychological dysfunctional traits prevent them from rationalizing and understanding the unlawfulness of crime (Roleff, 2000). Within the group of white-collar criminals lies a subgroup know as “red-collar” criminals. The transition from white-collar to red-collar crime is motivated by the desire to silence those who have detected or have the potential to detect acts of fraud. White-collar criminals simply want to redirect the attention from the fraud, whereas red-collar criminals take it one step further to include the elimination any victim of or witness to the crime (Perri & Lichtenwald, 2007). Perri & Lichtenwald (2007) relate fraudulent behavior to the “devil’s prongs”. The first prong represents emotional damage, the second prong represents financial harm, and the third prong represents physical harm to a victim. White-collar criminals use only the emotional prong, financial prong, or a combination of both to...
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