White Collar Crime: The Effects and Punishments

Topics: Criminology, Fraud, Theft Pages: 13 (5099 words) Published: November 1, 2010
White Collar crime has been a hot topic since the 20th century. Edwin Sutherland introduced the term at the fourth annual meeting of the Sociological Association. At this meeting he explained who this type of criminal is and what the criminal does for a living. Sutherland developed a theory to try and fit this type of criminal. The theory is differential association. There are four different pieces of evidence to understand the theory. White collar crime ranges from Embezzlement to Mortgage Fraud. This paper will explain several incidents which are involved with white collar crime and how it hurts many individuals from families to businesses. The sentencing guidelines help convict criminals. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act helped add on top of the sentencing guidelines to help convict white collar criminals since they fall into a different category from a violent criminal. Different Variations of White Collar Crime

Everyone has their own interpretation of what white collar crime is defined as. There has not been a steady meaning to interpret these illegal acts. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has defined white-collar crime 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. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage.” (USDOJ, 1989, p. 3.) (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/whitecollarforweb.pdf) Black’s Law Dictionary defines white collar crime as a nonviolent crime involving cheating or dishonesty in commercial matters. Currently, the definition of white-collar crime is still hotly contested within the community of experts. Although there is a multitude of variations, there appears to be three major orientations: those that define white-collar crime by the type of offender (e.g., high socioeconomic status and/or occupation of trust); those that define it in terms of the type of offense (e.g., economic crime); and those that study it in terms of the organizational culture rather than the offender or offense. Additionally, there are also those that confine the definition mainly to economic crime, as well as others that include other corporate crimes like environmental law violations and health and safety law violations. * UCR White Collar Crime Measurement, 2008

One can say that the theory of white-collar crime formulated from Edwin H. Sutherland. He was a criminologist who defined white-collar crime in a presidential address at the thirty-fourth annual meeting of the American Sociological Society. The meeting was held at the state of Philadelphia in December 1939. He claimed that, “conventional generalizations about crime and criminality were invalid because they explain only the crime of the lower classes” (White Collar Crime: The Uncut Version, 1983) and that official statistics should include white-collar crimes. Sutherland defined white-collar crime as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” (White Collar Crime: The Uncut Version, 1983). He believed white collar crime was among the most dangerous types of crime in the modern world (newworldencyclopedia.org). Edward Sutherland and the Theory of White Collar Crime

Why is white collar crime the most dangerous type of crime? According to Sutherland, white collar criminals are more suave and less forth-right but not less criminal (White Collar Crime: The Uncut Version, 1983). Throughout Sutherland’s research he provides numerous reasons why white collar crime is the most dangerous type of crime in modern society, for example: 1. The financial cost of white collar crime is probably several times as great as the financial cost of all the crimes which are customarily regarded as the “crime problem.” An Officer of a chain store in one...
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