White Collar Crime

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In this paper the exciting criminal phenomenon known as white-collar crime will be discussed. Corporate Crime and Computer Crime will be discussed in detail. Crime preventative agencies such as the NCPC (National Crime Prevention Council) will also be researched. White Collar Crime The late Professor Edwin Sutherland coined the term white-collar crime about 1941. Sutherland defined white-collar crime as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (Siegel 337) White-collar crime includes, by way of example, such acts as promulgating false or misleading advertising, illegal exploitation of employees, mislabeling of goods, violation of weights and measures statutes, conspiring to fix prices, evading corporate taxes, computer crimes, and so on. White-collar crime is most distinctively defined in terms of attitudes toward those who commit it. These crimes are punishable by law; however it is generally regarded by the courts and by sections of the general public as much less reprehensible than crimes usually punished by the courts. The other types of crime are blue-collar offenses, which are predominately crimes of the under-privileged. White-collar crimes are punished far less harshly than blue-collar crimes, which shows societies attitudes towards the two sections of society. White-collar crime is attractive to criminals because it brings material rewards with little or no loss of status. (Taft & England 201) For some, white-collar crime is not viewed as a "crime" at all, because of its non-violent nature. Violent crime has an immediate and observable impact on its victim which raises the ire of the public, whereas white-collar crime frequently goes undetected or is viewed as a bending of the rules. Yet white-collar crime can create the greater havoc. The victim of an assault will recover; however, the impact of a fraud can last a lifetime. This is especially true when the elderly are victimized, as they have little or no hope of re-establishing themselves in financial terms. Contrary to the popular belief, white-collar criminals are thieves and the methods used to conceal their offenses are both artful and ingenious. Concealment of the crime is always an objective of the offender, and it becomes an element of the crime itself. Because it is an artful form of deceit, which is skillfully disguised, the investigation itself is often long and laborious as far as proving criminal intent is concerned. The offence itself may be disguised in a maze of legitimate transactions, which are quite proper if viewed in isolation; however, the cumulative effect is the commission of a criminal offence. From the standpoint of the criminal, the ideal white- collar crime is one that will never be recognized or detected as a criminal act. (Radzinowicz 325-335) Corporate Crime Corporate crime is the type of crime that is engaged in by individuals and groups of individuals who become involved in criminal conspiracies designed to improve the market share or profitability of their corporations. ( Siegel 338) Corporations are legal entities, which can be and are subjected to criminal processes. There is today little restriction on the range of crimes for which corporations may be held responsible, though a corporation cannot be imprisoned. The most controversial issue in regard to the study of corporate crime revolves around the question of whether corporate crime is "really crime." Corporate officials, politicians, and many criminologists object to the criminological study of corporate criminality on the strictest sense of the word. The conventional and strictly legal definition of crime is that it is an act, which violates the criminal law and is thereby punishable by a criminal court. From this perspective a criminal is one who has been convicted in a criminal court. Given these widely accepted notions of crime and criminals, it is argued that what is called corporate crime is not really...
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