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PSYC39H3 (177)

Psychology and the Law chapter 6.docx

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David Nussbaum

Psychology and the LawChapter 6 Economic Crime IntroductionCanada is viewed as soft on whitecollar crime with few prosecutions and even fewer convictions This chapter will focus on crimes that occur with a primary goal of financial profit we will examine various types of economic crime and their offendersViolence may not occur during the commission of these crimes although most often if violence does occur it is when the financial gain is in jeopardy DefinitionEconomic CrimeDefined as criminal offences where the primary motivation is for economic gain Often to combat economic crime a partnership must be formed across various levels of government law enforcement business and private sectorsFor other types of economic crime such as prostitution and drug trafficking the RCMP andor provincial police and international agencies may be involvedTYPES OF ECONOMIC CRIME WhiteCollar CrimeWhite collar crime is partitioned into occupational crime versus corporate crimeOccupational Crimes Are offences committed against business and government byThese include expense account fraud and tax evasion perpetrators with a higher social status Corporate CrimesAre offences committed by organizations to advance their own interestsCorporate crime offences include price fixing ie companies that all sell the same product decide on a price preventing price variability for the consumer and the payment of kickbacks to manufacturers or retailers who use the organizations productDistinction between occupational and corporate crime can be thought of crime focused onindividuals versus crime focused on organizations White collar criminals tend to work for the institutions they are stealing from this theft may be ongoing due to lack of detection and also organizations may avoid it to avoid publicity White collar criminals may be fired or requested to pay back equivalent what they have stolenCorporate crime can cause far greater financial harm and personal injurysometimes leading to death more than traditional crimes and assaultProfiling the Typical Offender of WhiteCollar CrimeHistorically whitecollared criminals were viewed as high status and respectable often male highly educated and in an upper management positionAfter the work of Sutherland it was seen that occupational fraudsters were thought to beprimarily middle classHoltfreter provides the following review of characteristics of offenders of white collar crime Age Race and Gender Unlike traditional offenders the common whitecollar offender is a White male approximately 40 years old in contrast to the common street offender as described as black male and approximately 30 years old Male offenders seem to outnumber female offenders when it comes to whitecollar crime Historically women ended to occupy lower level positions such as clerical positions compared to males who tended to have higher level positions making it more likely that males would be in a position to commit whitecollar or economic crimesEducation whitecollar criminals tend to have greater educational attainment compared to other types of offenders Once again higher level corporate positions require a particular level of education whereas more traditional offenders may have histories of low academic achievement and be high school dropouts for example Position Often whitecollar criminals will have knowledge and are involved in the financial aspects of the organization that would facilitate occupational crime such as embezzlement Managerial or executive positions may have greater opportunities to commit whitecollar crime It should be noted that for most crime including whitecollar crime male offenders outnumber female offenders an exception being prostitution Organizational Type Positive association between the size and level of bureaucracy of the organization and the willingness to approve of stealing from the organization Corporations with large bureaucracies can receive little sympathy from the public often perceived as making large profits Organizational Size Larger organizations are associated with greater crime than smaller organizationsInternal controls Organizations that have greater internal controls such as audits and anonymous reporting systems are less likely to be victimized In a recent study Holtfreter examined 1142 occupational fraud cases to differentiate between individual offender characteristics and organization victim characteristics Three types of occupational fraud were assessed asset misappropriation corruption and fraudulent statements Individuals who made Fraudulent statements tended to behigh status And those involved in asset misappropriation or corruption were consideredmiddle class offenders Corruption were large profitgenerating corporations asset misappropriation was committed in smaller organizations and fraudulent statements were primarily made in smaller organizationResearch found that whitecollar criminals were more hedonisticie of giving more supportive of the pursuit of pleasure and life enjoyment and had a greater likelihood of giving into temptation where they had the opportunity to make money illegally
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