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Lecture Two September 26, 2013
The White Collar Criminal
Two central questions:
Who is the white collar criminal?
How do they account for their crimes?
What characteristics come to mind?
High status
Wealthy
Men
Middle aged/older
Weisburd et al. (1991): Crimes of the Middle Classes
Yale studies 4 th installment
US Federal court system
Focus on 8 offenses:
oSecurities fraud
oAntitrust violations
oBribery
oBank embezzlement
oPostal and wire fraud
oFalse claims and statements
oCredit and lending institution fraud
oTax fraud
Yale Studies Continued…
7 federal districts: Central California, Northern Georgia, Northern Illinois, Maryland,
Southern New York, Northern Texas and Western Washington
Sample: 1,094
Comparison group: 210 postal theft and postal forgery
Data: pre-sentence investigation report
Information pertaining to: offense, defendant
Wide array of characteristics covered
Four critiques:
oNumber of federal districts
Only chose 8 out of 190+
oNumber of offenses
Doesn’t cover all types of white collar crime
oOnly looked at convictions in federal criminal court
A lot of white collar crimes are prosecuted in civil proceedings or
regulatory claims
oThose who avoid conviction/detection not included
Weisburd et al. (1991)
Who is the white collar criminal?
Characteristics of offender
3 tiered hierarchy of offenders: organizational complexity and victimization
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Comparisons among White Collar Crimes: Organizational Complexity
Offences with high organizational complexity
oAntitrust
oSecurities fraud
Moderate organizational complexity
oMail fraud
oFalse claims
oBribery
Low organizational complexity
oTax fraud
oCredit fraud
oBank embezzlement
Weisberg argues this should be in its own separate category
Comparisons among White Collar Crimes: Victimization
Offences with high victimization
oAntitrust
oSecurities fraud
Moderate Victimization
oMail fraud
Low Victimization
oFalse claims
oCredit fraud
oBribery
oTax fraud
oBank embezzlement
A statistical portrait of the Higherarchy of white-collar criminals
The vast majority of white collar criminals are male
oBank Embezzlement is about 45% female
More serious crimes seem to be committed by older aged people
The people who are committing the worst crimes seem to be the richest, most educated,
have the highest paying jobs, etc
People who commit the more serious crimes are more often married than those who
commit less serious crimes like bank embezzlement
Only 7.2% of white collar criminals are unemployed
How do White Collar criminals account for their crimes?
Benson (1985)
Denying the Guilty Mind: Accounting for the involvement in White Collar Crime
Interviewed 30 white collar offenders
Looked at antitrust violators, tax violators, violations of financial trust, fraud and false
statements
Denying the Guilty Mind
An account is a statement made to explain unanticipated or untoward behaviour
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