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Lecture 9

Sociology 2266A/B Lecture 9: Fina lecture criminology

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Western University
Sociology 2266A/B
Jennifer Reynolds

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 White Collar Crime, Organized Crime & Course Conclusions White Collar Crime ‣ Public perceptions of white collar crime tend to be more conflicted and confused than are perceptions of conventional forms of crime ‣ Cause the most social crime and we are at more risk to be victims of this 4 things these situations have in common ‣ • Not typical crime • These people are not poor and have respect from public • These crimes are not the focus of traditional criminal law • All considered white collar crime under the overarching concept Edwin H. Sutherland ‣ Given credit for introducing the term white collar crime in literature in 1939 • When he became the president of sociology Ideas stemmed from E.A. Ross ‣ • Criminaloid was used by him -> was somebody that was business people that cheat in someway for their own gain Said this type of criminal was particularly dangerous because they hid behind mask and respect Sutherland alluded to ‘crime in the upper or white-collar class, composed of ‣ respectable or at least respected business and professional men” • Important to study because these people write our criminal law Definitions White Collar Crime ‣ 1 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 • Sutherland (1940): ‘a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation’ • New Definition: ‘ White collar crime consists of the illegal or unethical acts that violate fiduciary responsibility or public trust, committed by an individual of organization, usually during the course of legitimate occupational activity by persons of high or respectable social status for personal or organizational gain’ Defining White Collar Crime ‣ Criminologists who study WCC Generally Agree: • It occurs in a legitimate occupational context • It is motivated by economic gain or occupational success • It is not characterized by direct, intentional violence Youdon’t feel the ramifications of the crime until much later Types of White Collar Crime ‣ Corporate Crime Occupational Crime ‣ ‣ Governmental Crime (war crimes, anything that violates rights - exercising powers not ought to have) ‣ State-Corporate crime/Globalization (State corporations getting together for mutual benefits, illegal or cause harm to general population ..socially injurious) Ponze scheme (triangle)* • ‣ Finance Crime • Insider trading Enterprise crime ‣ • Business the same way as normal business but goods are illegal • Similar ways to corporations - twist the rules for criminal purposes 2 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Categories of WCC ‣ Wheeler and Rothmans (1982) • 1) Individual Offenders Alone or with small group of others using neither an occupational or organizational role ๏ Like Tax evasion • 2) Occupational offenders Alone or with others using occupational role and access to resources to be able to facilitate/carry their crime • 3) Organizational offenders This is where the occupation is important but so is the organization Try to advance organization/corporate goals Crime and Corporation: Executive Disengagement ‣ The organization of the corporation is crucial to understanding most corporate crime • Happens behind closed doors - hard to track ‣ For white-collar criminals, the corporation is a tool for obtaining money from victims • Embezzlement, stealing from investors, giving customers sketchy shit The law treats corporations as a juristic person ‣ • In Canada different policy than the state • US -> give corporations personhood Giving them rights and treat them like a person In Canada we have not done this Taking Walmart to court ๏ Finding someone who committed the offence, not the whole corporation 3 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 ‣ Executive Disengagement is when it is believed that the corporation cannot control the actions of every employee or staff Occupational Crime 1) Unprofessional conduct and malpractice ‣ • People protected by association they work for • 2 Issues: Misconduct Failure of organizations to deal with misconduct Often invisible as it is hidden by professional associations • EG Catholic Church and sexual abuse ‣ 2) Investment and Securities Fraud • Breach of trust • Insider trading Pump and Dump scams (eg Bre-X) • ‣ 3) Internet Fraud • Hacking into websites ‣ 4) Tax Fraud • People that don’t work honestly 5) Political Corruption ‣ • Bribery, Influence peddling • Misusing government funds • Repressing dissent (G20) • Denying human rights Post 9/11 - citizens spied on ‣ 6) Blue Collar Crime 4 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 • Defrauding consumers • Misconduct in the auto repair industry Ex. Sears brought in a brand new car with a worn out breaks // on average auto dealers overcharge money because they add unnecessary issues with your car • Pharmaceutical industry • Oil industry too ‣ 7) Employee Fraud • Stealing from the till • Losses from internal theft equal the losses from shop lifting ‣ Why are trust and respectability such a key component to understanding white collar crime? • Not gonna suspect someone is going to be doing something illegal We pay our trust and respect for them • • You don't think these people are trying to swindle people Organization and WCC ‣ Positions of ownership and authority in modern corporations carry freedom from control that may be criminogenic Criminogenic market structure: An economic market that is structured in such a • way that it tends to produce criminal behaviour ‣ Corporate structures diffuses responsibility ‣ In a capitalistic society sometimes you make decisions that are unethical or immoral Lululemon for example • Went from paying employees well to outsourcing company Corporate Accounting Scandals ‣ The financial collapse of 2008 5 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 US financial institutions resisted increased regulations • • A culture of greed ensued Extractive capitalism ๏ Corporations focused on making profits rather than social responsibilities ๏ Wantimmediate gratification • Ratings agencies defaulted on their responsibility Pushing people applications through saying they qualify for a mortgage when a lot didn’t No corporations were sued Global economy collapsed, trillions in capital were wiped out, millions were • affected, government (Taxpayer) bailouts ensued • Found people that didn't make enough money and offered them mortgages which they couldn’t pay and ended up collapsing Costs of White Collar Crime ‣ Far exceed cost of ‘street’ crime ‣ Causes death/injury • Eg. Asbestos, workplace health and safety regulations Many offences not dealt with under criminal law ‣ • Because money goes to state Risk and White Collar Crime ‣ The things we fear will harm us most often pose the least actual risk and vice versa ‣ Accident versus criminal negligence? In earthquake the company that built the buildings could have avoided damage • with better construction 6 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Mine explosions / company not doing anything to ensure safety - not investigated - • > rather than shutting down for 24 to ensure safety they took the risk rather than ensuring safety of the workers — who had been complaining for weeks West Trade bill - bosses can be held criminally responsible if they do something, • omit to do something or ought to have known there was a risk Who is to blame? ‣ ‣ Why are criminal charges uncommon in these sorts of cases? Victimless Crimes?* ‣ The public as a victim • Wealth and status under law • Environmental problems (pollution) etc ‣ Crime against consumers • Unsafe products Demographic Factors Street%Crime WCC Age Younger Middle3aged%and% Older Class Lower3class%and% Upper%class%and% those%living%in% more%affluent% poverty populations Race People%of%colour% Proportionally% more%Caucasian% Gender Male% Male% 7 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 ‣ reason why they do is arrogance, sense of entitlement, competitive spirit** Other demographic Variables and Differences ‣ Employed ‣ Be better educated ‣ Married with families ‣ Be involved in the community Have church affiliations ‣ Exposing White Collar Crime ‣ WCC as less visible • As a result of the lack of visibility key figures become most important to exposing WCC: Informers ๏ Sometimes in exchange for lenience ๏ Both give criminal justice personnel crucial information (Whistleblowers too) ๏ Are also criminally implicated -> they are telling you about the illegal act or behaviour but they were themselves involved in it — do it to get immunity or decrease their sentences Whistleblowers ๏ Not criminally implicated — someone on the outside that sees a group of their colleagues doing sketchy stuff and blowing their whistle on them ๏ Arguably do it for the greater good -> altruistic purposes 8 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 White-Collar Crime and Legal sanctions White-Collar Crime and Legal Sanctions ‣ How effective are legal sanctions in combating white collar crime? ‣ Often dealt with through civil courts rather than as criminal matters • Stone (1975): the people who call the shots do not have to bear the risks or pay for any settlements • Thus, corporations take higher risks suggested by the ‘rational economic corporation / free market’ ‣ What about the impact of criminal sanctions? • Historically, lenient sentencing of WC criminals • White-collar offenders exp
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