White Collar Crime
White collar crime is prevalent and brought to our attention more and more by the media since the mid to late 1990s. With the downfall of companies such as Enron, Tyco Toys and WorldCom MCI white collar criminals are facing lengthy prison sentences. Greed and personal vendettas are what have led our country to understand and gain more knowledge about these corporations and the corrupt CEOs that have brought them to their demise. “White collar crime is defined as various crimes, as embezzlement, fraud, or stealing office equipment, committed by business or professional people while working. Generally the person accused of a white collar crime is someone of high prestige. White-collar crime is a broad term that encompasses many types of nonviolent criminal offenses involving fraud and illegal financial transactions. White-collar crimes include bank fraud, bribery, blackmail, counterfeiting, embezzlement, forgery, insider trading, money laundering tax evasion and antitrust violations.” (Lehman, white-Collar Crime, 358) White collar crime is not a crime all in itself it consists of numerous crimes wrapped together. In 1939 the term was coined by Professor Edwin Sutherland. The term is based on different types of fraud and has become synonymous with CEOs, CFOs and accountants across many industries. (Garcia)
During the late 1990s, a number of corporations manipulated financial information and made improper financial transactions. Accounting firms helped conceal the illegal nature of these actions, which undermined investor confidence in the stock market and corporate governance in general. The corporate scandals that emerged in 2001 involved Enron, WorldCom, and the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen and were of national importance. Congress responded to these elaborate white-collar crimes by enacting the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, also known as the SARBANES-OXLEY ACT (Pub.L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745,...
Cited: Fraud." West 's Encyclopedia of American Law. Ed. Shirelle Phelps and Jeffrey Lehman. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 487-489. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 8 Aug. 2010.
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