Understanding White-Collar Crime

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PROVE OR DISPROVE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT

‘WHITE COLLAR CRIME IS COMMITTED ONLY BY PERSONS OF HIGH SOCIAL STATUS OR PERSONS IN POLICY MAKING OR IN POWERFUL POSITIONS’ -

Submitted to :-
Prof. Santosh Aghav

Submitted by:
SUDARSHAN C. ADGOKAR
ROLL NO. 67
LLM II YEAR
INTRODUCTION & CONCEPT:
The concept of white collar crime was first introduced in the social sciences by Edwin Sutherland in a 1939 presidential address to the American Sociological Association. Defining white collar crime as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” (Sutherland, 1940), his address was important in that it was the first major statement on white collar crime in academic criminology. Sutherland was of opinion that the “white collar criminal should be differentiated, on one hand, from the person of lower socio- economic status who violates the regular penal code or the special trade regulations which apply to him; and, on the other hand, from the person of high socio- economic status who violates the regular penal in ways not connected to his occupation.” OFFENDER BASED APPROACHES TO DEFINE WHITE COLLLAR CRIMES:-

Sutherland’s definition is most well known and influential example of what has been called as offender based approach of defining white collar crime. Offender based definitions emphasize as an essential characteristic of white collar crime the high social status, power and respectability of the actor. Sutherland’s definition has been acutely criticized for his over emphasis on the high social status of the actor. Despite its criticism Sutherland’s offender based approach has remained popular. Numerous attempts have been made to clarify the views given by Sutherland by various scholars. Albert J. Reiss and Albert D. Biderman proposed that “white collar violations are those violations of law to which penalties are attached that involve the use of a violator’s position of significant power, influence, or trust in the legitimate economic and political institutional order for the purpose of illegal gain, or to commit an illegal act for personal or organizational gain” ( Reiss and .Biderman 1981) At a 1996 workshop sponsored by the National White Collar Crime Center’s Research and Training Institute, a consortium of white collar crime scholars proposed an operational definition of to which Sutherland probably would not have objected. The group defined white collar crime as “illegal or unethical act that violate fiduciary responsibility or public trust, committed by an individual or organization , usually during the course of legitimate occupational activity, by persons of high or respectable social status for personal or organizational gain.”

But from the some past example it is quite evident that this definition is wrong in many respects as: - * Many white-collar criminals are not of “high social status.” * Many are not otherwise respected people.

* It fails to distinguish between crimes committed by individuals acting for personal gain and crimes committed on behalf of the employer with the employer’s blessing and support.
ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING WHITE COLLAR CRIME - OFFENCE –BASED DEFINITIONS
Another way to defining white collar crime is called offence –based, because the definition is based nature of the illegal act. In 1970, Herbert Edelhertz, then an official at the U.S. Department of Justice proposed a highly influential offence based definition of white –collar crime. He defined white collar crime as “an illegal act or series of illegal acts committed by non-physical means and by concealment or guile, to obtain money or property, to avoid the payment or loss of money or property, or to obtain business or personal advantage.”

This definition defines white collar crime according to the means by which the offence is carried out – specially, non-physical means that involve concealment or guile. Any illegal act or series of...
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