White Collar Crime Abstract

Crime is a concept that generates negative attitude and people who are
associated with crime are seen as social misfits. People who break the
law are perceived as individuals who are not supposed to live with other
people, in the society, but belong in jails or other correctional
facilities. However, the most common crimes that people talk about are
the violent crimes that involve direct confrontations as shootings or
robbery with violence. Arguably, it is crucial to note that the
incidence of white-collar jobs in the last couple of decades has gone
up, and the perception of the society towards this category of crime has
changed substantially as the criminal justice systems continue to
increase penalties on white-collar crimes. This brief write up will
present a detailed research on the media and white-collar crime
including the methodology and the findings that were involved, in the
research. Further, the paper will analyze a couple of theories that are
employed to explain crime and factors that affect crime, in the society.
Crime is a concept that generates negative attitude and people who are
associated with crime are seen as social misfits. People who break the
law are perceived as individuals who are not supposed to live with other
people, in the society, but belong in jails or other correctional
facilities. White collar crime is a nonviolent crime that is financially
motivated, and this category of crime comprised monetary gains that
illegal. Sutherland described white-collar crime as a crime that is
committed by high ranking people who are respectable, in the course of
their occupation. People who engage in white collar crimes are of high
status in the society and their actions results to loss of vast amounts
of public funds (Anon, 2000). White collar crime is resembles corporate
crime as corporate employees are likely to commit money laundering,
bribery, embezzlement, fraud, identity theft and inside trading among
Notably, symbolic internationalism theory provides vivid explanation of
how white-collar crime is committed and the possible explanations of the
reasons that people have when they indulge in white collar crime (Anon,
2000). Essentially, white-collar crime was not taken seriously in the
past due to the possible reputation of the high ranking, social figures
who were engrossed, in the crime. However, the society began shunning
white collar crime and today people receive strict penalties for white
collar crime (Schrager & Short, 1978).
The evolution of the criminal justice system and society, in the US, has
facilitated the understanding of white collar crime as the
criminalization of the same has taken effect over the recent past
(Schrager & Short, 1978). Evidently, white-collar criminals have enjoyed
their substantial share of harsh penalties for their crimes, and this
development has emanated from the notion that the society comprehended
the detrimental effect of white collar-crimes to the wellbeing of the
society (Anon, 2000). The society responded to the problem of
white-collar crime with an unusually high tone, and criminals continue
to receive harsher penalties than before.
Therefore, this is had evidence that revel critical changes of social
attitudes with regard to white-collar crime. The notion that social
attitudes can impact the results and persecutions are essential for
comprehending the how society influences the development of institutions
(social) like the justice system. Though many people believe that the
justice system is superior to social reproach, the concept that
white-collar crimes have started receiving a new look suggests that the
justice system is not immune to social influence (Anon, 2000).
Therefore, there is an integral relationship between the society and
justice system, which must be maintained at a balanced state for proper
The consequences of developing a link between society and the justice
system and white-collar crime are significantly extensive (Anon, 2000).
There were a number of scholars who believed that the justice system was
lenient on some people based on status, race or gender biases, but the
justice system defended itself by arguing that it does not grant blind
justice to the citizens. However, close studies on previous cases of
white-collar crimes and the remedies that were passed for the crimes
proved that the justice system was not giving justice to all people
(Benson & Elizabeth, 1992). An integral understanding of the of
alterations in the social attitudes and prosecution of white
collar-crimes provide vital insights into examining the social effects
of the changes, as well as reexamine the present status of the justice
system. Therefore, extensive studies are essential in investigating the
existence of blind justice and biases with regard to white collar crimes
(Schrager & Short, 1978).
Background and Motivation
White-collar crime is becoming a serious problem, in America with more
and more workers becoming engaged in fraudulent activities and schemes.
The increasing rates of white have been reported, by several studies,
which reveal that white collar crime happens with the knowledge of other
workers, but they do not report (Anon, 2000). The global survey of
economic crime established that white collar-crimes has escalated over
the last couple of decades, though measure to combat the crimes has
developed and taken effect to control the menace (Sutherland, 1940).
Businesses have to deal with the verity that most of the perpetrators of
economic crimes are the junior and senior mangers, in these corporations
(Colbert & Alderman, 1995). The menace economic crime does not receive
serious attention in the world, despite the detrimental repercussions
that the crime has in the society. Evidently, fraud is the chief concern
for businesses, in the entire planet, and corporations that are not
aware of the intensity of this problem fall behind the schedule of
fighting white-collar crime (Agnew, 1996).
Study Motivation
The point of this investigate is to identify and investigate the
different pattern of white collar crimes that are encountered, in
diverse fractions of the planet. It is imperative that corporate
organizations comprehend the frequency of fraud, cause of fraud and the
measure, which should be adopted to combat the problem. By amassing, a
silhouette of white collar criminals and crimes in US, the public will
have an elevated awareness around activities that are fraudulent, in the
workplaces (Anon, 2000). The rate of fraudulent cases has risen, in the
recent past the study aims at heightening the significance of flushing
out fraud and white collar crime, in US.
The questionnaire was designed to provide vital guidelines on the
current trends of white collar crime, as well as the best way of
mitigating the risks of the risks of frauds and preventing the frauds
from happening (Colbert & Alderman, 1995). Further, the study strives to
inform auditors and provide them with exact comprehension of what
entails white collar crimes. Evidence proves that most cases of fraud
and white-collar crimes are detected by the employment if internal
control, as well as investigations by top managers (Anon, 2000). The
entire stakeholders should be enlightened with the necessary information
that can help them detect any signs of fraud and raise alarm whenever
need arises, and this step will avoid potential frauds from being
actualized (Eitle, 2002).
Loses that emerge from white collar crimes are detrimental to the
running of organizations, and these issues require serious monitoring
and evaluation to curb the problem (Colbert & Alderman, 1995). Fraud
detection is an investigation of the facts, which identify the fraud
indicators. Therefore, any organization should elevate the security
awareness level and ensure that concerted efforts are facilitated to
fight white-collar criminal and crime (Eitle, 2002). The key motivation
of this study developed from the fact that social problems of such high
magnitude as white-collar crime should be studied regularly to
facilitate the development of effective ways of dealing with the problem
(Benson & Elizabeth, 1992). Further, the research seeks to uncover the
new and emerging trends of white collar crimes, as well make it clear to
everyone that the modern society is civilized, and there is no room for
fraudulent behavior and activities (Sutherland, 1940).
Study Objectives
The fundamental intent of the investigate was to comprehend and
investigate the levels of white-collar crime (current) that the American
corporate organizations encounter. The study was combining both the
private and public sector with key attention and dedicated to causes and
types of frauds that occur under the blanket of white-collar jobs
(Colbert & Alderman, 1995). Further, the measures that are undertaken to
stop any potential and occurring frauds will also be given substantial
attention, in the study. The final intent of the investigate was to
offer the entire stakeholders with essential information concerning
white-collar crime, which should facilitate detection and prevention of
the same (Benson & Elizabeth, 1992).
Problem Statement
The cost of detecting and preventing white-collar crimes is prohibitive,
and many corporations opt to ignore the problem, instead of tackling it
(Colbert & Alderman, 1995). This notion is cultivated on the grounds of
belief where many corporation perceive their organizations as having
superb traditions and culture thus immune from frauds (Schrager &
Short, 1978). Therefore, such corporations do not find it logical to
invest heavily on fraud deterrence. The belief of fraud immunity and
invincibility to white-collar crime is reinforced by the fact that some
companies have never encountered white-collar crime (Anon, 2000).
However, reality studies prove that most corporations lose a substantial
ratio of their turnover to white-collar frauds.
Notably, there is no corporation that can go public about her
vulnerability to frauds as this would damage the reputation of the
company (Eitle, 2002). Therefore, the malpractice has gained roots in
corporations and slowly by slowly the vice is being integrated together
with business ethos of the current century, and most people regard
white-collar crime as a business cost, which is inevitable (Agnew,
2001). Corporations suffer a lot of expense and pain due to their
failure to acknowledge the existence of frauds and develop strategies of
stopping these frauds, and the most significant damage that a company is
loss of reputation, which cannot be regained easily. While business
executive demand for concrete evidence that prove that frauds are taking
place, and this make the work and duties of ant-fraudster to encounter
significant challenges in their jobs (Anon, 2000).
Further, executives compare the amount of money that was saved from
theft and frau by the deterrence investigation and should the cost of
investigation exceeds the benefits and the money saved, the
investigation will not be accepted again (Colbert & Alderman, 1995).
Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to convince corporate leaders
to finance anti-fraud investigation, and the fraudster community
enlarges as the perpetrators compare heir heroic stories as they give
their friends tips on potential and vulnerable victims that can be
subjected to utter frauds (Agnew, 2001). Interestingly, fraudsters do
not like organizations that are difficult to commit crime, and this
expels fraudsters through all means.
Therefore, corporate leaders should cultivate an honest culture in their
employees and ensure that their organizations are not attractive and
appealing to white-collar criminals (Colbert & Alderman, 1995). This
strategy can only work if organization maintain a well organized and
updated plan for fraud deterrence, which can be implemented anytime need
arises. Organizations should be keen to detecting frauds through the
employment of internal controls, which are always effective, in dealing
with crime (Sutherland, 1940). However, should internal controls of
whit-collar crime fail to work the organization should reprogram the
available options and perhaps find alternative ways of dealing with
their problem of fraud (Wells, 2004).
It is note worth that internal controls and fraud prevention are two
different things as an organization with internal controls can
encounter numerous cases of fraud (Agnew, 1996). Managers of
corporations should engage into more and more research on fraud
prevention and deterrence of whit-collar crimes, which is evidently the
vital missing link in corporations.
What is the magnitude of white collar crimes, in the modern society?
Is it possible to combat white-collar crime through appropriate tools
and structures, in the corporate world?
Research Methodology
The methodology or research that was adopted was intended to fulfill the
research objectives, which integrated various aspects including a
literature study to gain and understand the subject matter and
theoretical knowledge of the same (Hillison et al, 1999). Further,
research will entail an empirical study to gain practical and empirical
field based knowledge of the white-collar crime. Furthermore, the
research will combine both empirical and literature results to figure
out the best comprehension of white-collar crime (Agnew, 1996).
Literature study will discuss the different theoretical assumptions that
underpin white-collar crime, as well as the cause of this category of
crime (Anon, 2000). Empirical studies will examine the history and
incidence of white collar crime, in the US, as well as trends that this
crime adopt every time. Lastly, empirical studies will examine the
current methodologies that can be employed to combat workplace crime
(Colbert & Alderman, 1995). The analysis and collation of a
questionnaire of fraud facilitate the achievement of empirical
objectives, and the questionnaire will be sent to more than 100
companies in America. Therefore, the study will be grounded on a survey,
which will be delivered to various corporate leaders who will be
responding to question of white-collar crime in the organizations
(Wells, 2004).
The questionnaire will address questions that include the following:
The overall awareness of white-collar crime, by the company
Has the organization encountered white-collar crime within the last one
What is the category of white-collar crimes was encountered in the last
one year?
What caused the crime or fraud?
What steps has the company adopted to combat white-collar crime, in the
What is the level of susceptibility of the company to global fraud?
These questionnaires would be distributed, filled and collected with a
period of sixty days and the date obtained would late be analyzed, and
tabulations of the responses will be availed for further studies
(Colbert & Alderman, 1995). The initial questionnaire (draft) would be
taken to the fraudster specialists and forensics department for
verification and finality. The distribution of questionnaires will be
done through the mail to respective companies that were sampled to
participate in the study.
For the sampling of participant companies, the companies were
pre-selected before a random sampling design was employed to pick the
participant companies (Benson & Elizabeth, 1992). The random method of
sampling was essential to ensure that all the pre-selected companies
were given equal chances of being picked to participate, in the study
(Anon, 2000). The sample that was chosen was substantially
representative of the population as leading corporations were included,
in the study, as well as small businesses.
Theoretical Perspectives
White-collar crime was developed by Sutherland who argued that this
category of crime involves trust betrayal associated with holding
positions of trust or office (Hillison et al, 1999). Further, Sutherland
asserted that white-collar crimes are committed by reputable people as
they go through their occupation. Arguably, white-collar crime is worse
than street crimes as the former upholds distrust and cynicism of
fundamental social institutions (Colbert & Alderman, 1995). Sutherland
noticed shortcomings with crime theory, which talked of social pathology
a being the key cause of criminal behavior.
Notably, symbolic internationalism theory can also be employed to the
understanding of criminal behavior. Arguably, criminals exchange a well
coded set, of symbols to communicate with their colleagues on issues
concerning plots to commit frauds. Communication, in any society,
depends on exchange of information, which should be preceded by shared
meaning in the messages. White collar criminals employ symbolism theory
to develop complicated codes of communication, which an outsider cannot
understand. It is imperative to note that functionalism theory can also
be utilized to facilitate the understanding of white collar crimes as
the theory focuses on the social structures and system, which should
function appropriately, in the society to guarantee social harmony. In
the event that crucial social systems and structures break down, then
social crime sets in and people exploit the disorganization to steal
from unsuspecting victims.
White-collar evils prove that crime is not necessarily associated with
poverty Sutherland pointed out that highly privileged members of the
society had equal chances of committing a crime as the poor members of
the society (Sutherland, 1940). Further, the theory of differential
association describes the learning and incidence of criminal activities
as individuals learn evil conduct as they interact with criminals.
Essentially, human beings learn from the social models, and they imitate
the behavior of the role models (Agnew, 2001).
Data Analysis (statistical)
The analysis of the outcomes was developed using SPSS software to handle
quantitative data for easy manipulation and computation. The results
proved the incidence of white-collar crimes is high in America and every
institution, which was studied, indicated at least one case of fraud and
white-collar crime from their workers.
Discussion of Findings and Outcomes
White-collar crime is a serious corporate evil which can cause grave
consequences to organizations due to lose of turnover. A lot of people
suffer from white-collar crimes and the perpetrator can easily get away
with their evil deeds (Colbert & Alderman, 1995). Therefore, mangers and
other corporate leaders should be careful and keen with internal
controls and fraud deterrent strategies, which ensure that every
transaction and activity of are accounted for by the people concerned
(Wells, 2004). Further, corporate leaders should develop educative and
informative workshops to educate the entire shareholders of the common
sighs, which can suggest potential or an active white-collar crime
(Hillison et al, 1999).
The baseline of this research is to establish the depth and level of
distributions and incidences of white-collar crime (Schrager & Short,
1978). A proper understanding of the trends and patterns of white-collar
crime is vital in the development of measure, as well as control
strategies that can facilitate organizations combat fraud and
white-collar crime (Wells, 2004). Notably, most companies fear damaging
their reputation to the public should they expose their vulnerability to
white-collar crime. On the contrary, shy corporations about the
possibility of fraud and other economic crimes spoil their public
reputation and such lost reputation cannot be rebuilt overnight (Anon,
The most effective method and strategy, for combating white-collar crime
are for the manager and other corporate leaders to develop a fraud fee
culture, in their workers and ensure that white-collar criminals keep
away from the organization due to the difficulties, in committing any
crimes, in such companies (Hillison et al, 1999). Notably, organizations
can confuse absence of white-collar crime or inability to detect such
crimes, in their organizations with immunity and invincibility to
white-collar crime. However, every corporate entity is susceptible to
white-collar crime with the top ranking officials of the company
(Sutherland, 1940). Therefore, every organization should be well
equipped with tools and strategies, which can be employed to handle
current problems of white-collar crime, as well as prevent any potential
chances for such crimes to occur.
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