How is Fraud and Embezzlement defined as?
Fraud is defined “the abuse of a position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone’s rights for personal gain (Serious Fraud Office, 2013). In Moore v. United States, (1895), the Supreme Court defined embezzlement in the following terms: Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come. It differs from larceny in the fact that the original taking was lawful, or with the consent of the owner, while in larceny the felonious intent must have existed at the time of the taking (United States Attorney, 2013).
Positivist School of Thought
According to the Positivist School of Thought people commit crimes because of their biology, crimes was caused because of features in the person. The positivist school believed in rehabilitation and crime prevention. People do not have a choice in the matter they are genetically bound to commit crimes and they have no control over it. This means that according to the basic assumptions people are born evil and it is societies job to make them good. To change the ways they are set in. Positivists would believe that this is in the persons DNA to embezzle money. They never really had a choice it is something that they have to do it was something they needed to do . Ceaser Lombroso believed that crimes was not caused because of free malicious intent, he believed it was caused because of a persons biology or their environment (Wilson and Herrnstein, 2005, p.74). Classical School of Thought
On the other side of the schools of thought is the Classical School of Thought the people who belong to this group believes that people commit crimes at their own free will. That people are born good and society corrupts them and makes them do bad things. In the case of embezzlement the Classicalists would believe that people commit this crimes because they just feel they desire that they want more and they have to have it. No one is deciding for them the crime is done at their own free will. The supreme court has had a number of different rulings on what embezzlement actually is and it was determined that even if a person does not intend to keep the property they took it is still considered embezzlement no matter how short term it is. This was seen in the United States v. Powell case. The Classical School of Thought was the first way people tried to explain crimes. Ceaser Beccaria had the idea that people were in control of their own actions (Moyer, 2000, p. 14-15). It was thought that as humans, rational people, would calculate the pleasure they would feel when they did a certain act and also the pain of the punishment. People would weigh the option and decide if it was worth it (Moyer, 2000, p. 14-15) According to Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishment people will do what gives the most people happiness. Classicalist believes that some crimes directly destroy society and the people who live in the society (Moyer, 2000, p.17). People and Society
If people are born good then does society cause them to commit crimes like embezzlement? Is it society that makes everyone think they need more then they have and they will be happy or are people born greedy or is it in their genes to commit crimes like embezzlement. People ignore their instincts all the time. They push it aside and figure that its just a feeling and nothing will come of it, but as humans do we have a certain instinct that makes us commit crimes and do things that other people normally would not. This goes back to de Becker talking about human nature because people choose to ignore it, but if people listened to their instinct it would be reasonable to say that people might realize what’s going on and be able to stop it before it happens. When de Becker talks about Kelly he says that she knew something was not right with this man but she ignored it. This could be the same for all criminals. They just give off a vibe people know is not right and everyone ignores it because nothing bad could ever happen to them. Everyone believes they are untouchable until something bad happens which makes them come back to earth and realize that and things happen to everybody. Embezzlement is a crime based on greed, does society make people greedy or by nature do people always want more than they can have. B.F Schumacher came to the conclusion that society makes people become more greedy and envyious of what people have by studying less populated places and places that have a heavier population and it was found that people who commit fraud and even narrower embezzlement are in heavily populated places areas because people see what they can not have and try to get it by doing the least amount of work (Schumacher, 2010, p.317). This is a crime that is mostly committed by people or corporations that have more than enough resources. If the answer to the question is society does it to be then people see what they cannot and people become envious of others and will do anything and everything in their power to get on the same level. People like to stick with the norms and they do not like to stay to far from what is considered normal, this means that when everyone is surrounded by things they can not have it just makes them want it more and they wont stop until they get it. If people are born greedy then according to Ceaser Lombroso they are called “Atavism”(Moyer, 2000, p.32). People who embezzle money are usually in a high social class. Lombroso came to the conclusion that people in a higher social class commit crimes this type of crime to suppress the wealth of others (Moyer, 2000, (p. 33). The penalty for embezzlement is usually a fine or imprisonment, but it could also result in both is relates back to the Posivists who believe that people should be rehabilitated. You are who you surround yourself with, people who are already on the wealthier side tend to stick with people who are like them and try to have the same things and it ends up becoming a competition as to who has the most stuff and what belongings are better. This is seen in the classical school do people act on their own free will when they commit this crime. In most cases it is solely because they wanted more than they could have and took matters into their own hands to get what they wanted—without having to do much work to get it.According to Grace Duffield and Peter Grabodky people commit fraud to help their ego. If this is true then people commit the act of fraud on their own free will and it does not have anything to do with their biology (Duffield and Grabosky, 2001). The act of fraud is based on a number of different things such as: personality, environment, and situational variables, this also supports the idea that the criminal act is done because a person wants to do it. People can change their personality because just like Duffield and Grabodky said people become like the people they are around a lot. A situational variable is that people who commit the act are just trying to take the easy way out of doing work. Most people want what they cannot have and that makes the desire or urge to get it much more intense. By nature people are taught that in order to get what they want they have to have the money to do it. As humans we learn at such a young age that everything comes with a price and people who commit the act of fraud weigh the options and decide if it is worth the risk.