White Collar Crime Essay

2574 words - 11 pages

White-Collar Crime
White-collar crime is not a crime that is easy to define. There are many different crimes that are all considered to be white-collar crimes. In other words, white-collar crime is a big bubble that has all kinds of other crimes inside of it. The crimes that are in the category of white-collar crime vary in severity and jail time, but all of them essentially have to do with personal or corporate financial gain. White-collar crime is not necessarily easy to define or even commit, but it has become a lot easier over the course of history for certain offenders to commit these crimes. Many individuals believe that white-collar crimes are victimless, but this ...view middle of the document...

However, Sutherland examines the idea that other classes also experience some type of strain that may drive them to commit a crime. This is not a normal thought, because middle to upper class individuals are seen as “perfect” or untouchable when it comes to crimes. This definition helps to show the public that there are crimes happening in the upper class of society.
Some of the crimes within the white-collar crime bubble are fraud (credit card, bank account, etc.), embezzlement, price lie, corporate crime, organizational crime, occupational crime, securities fraud and many others. The most common form of white-collar crime is securities fraud, which is a larger group made up of stock fraud, Ponzi schemes, high yield investment fraud and advanced fee schemes, and identity theft. The securities fraud crimes seen most often are stock fraud and Ponzi schemes.
The term white-collar crime was coined by Sutherland in 1939. Sutherland was originally a history major, but he changed his focus of study to sociology when he went to Chicago for graduate studies. While in Chicago, he was around the teachings of the Chicago school. Sutherland was mainly concerned with “who the alleged perpetrator was, rather than what that person might have done” (Baker 2004). He was focused on redefining the definition of crime by examining the social class of the individuals committing crimes. When talking about social class and white-collar crime we can go back to what Sutherland’s definition was. He mentions social class within the definition, stating that the crime is committed by a person of high social status within their occupation. The history of white-collar crime shows that many of these types of crimes are committed by individuals who are in the upper social classes of society.
White-collar crime has always been around; it just has not always been illegal or even necessarily recognized by the public. The first time it was recognized and the name was coined was in 1939, by Sutherland. White-collar crime is very hard to define simply because it is hard to detect and catch the offenders that are engaging in the activity. Technology has become readily available to anyone who wants it, and the usage of the technology has expanded to the point where it can virtually be used for anything and everything. This makes engaging in counterfeiting, identity fraud, and embezzlement so much easier than it may have been in the past, before Sutherland coined the term in 1939.
Current Data
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2010 a number of 6,437 cases of white-collar crime were filed against a total of 9,525 defendants. This was an eight percent increase from the previous year (USDOJ 2010). Certain white-collar crimes are very hard to monitor and even catch people doing them. Thus, making the current data for white-collar crimes skewed and misrepresented. There are a lot of white-collar crimes that go undetected because a company goes...

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