Crime and Deviance in the Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
- Book was created during the 2008-2009 when college funds and savings were devastated by
- There is not effective legislation to prevent large scale frauds such as these
Rationales for Studying White Collar Crime:
- White collar crime is the illegal, unethical or deviant activity of respectable institutions and
- Study of white collar crime has been relatively neglected when crime has been studied in the
last few years as criminologists study more of the street crime sector and not suit crime
- White collar crime is more pervasive and costly to society, attention to white collar crime is
expected to rise in years to come
- White collar crime involved human behavior in its most devious and diabolical forms
- Law in white collar crime is very complex , corporate liability posses special difficulties, fine
line between it being criminal law or civil law, makes it hard to try. Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
The Discovery of White Collar Crime:
- Mainly trusted institutions and respected professionals engage in fraudulent activity resulting in
financial gains for them and financial loss for the consumer.
- These people do not fit the traditional image of a criminal
- Examples of white collar crime are things such as pharmacists who dilute drugs to enhance
profits and CEO who embezzle money from their own or other companies they deal with
- These crimes mentioned all involve the very powerful and the powerless, large scale
organizations and isolated individuals, enormous or modest sums of money
- Some common aspects of white collar crime are that they don’t involve types of crime which
commonly come to mind such as rape, murder or assault. Second the offenders have a relatively
high trust, and are respectable individuals especially when compared to other street criminals and
third white collar crime situations have not been a traditional focus when it comes to law and the
- White collar crime is everywhere, example during hurricane Katrina… engineers found there
was a high level of malfeasance during the construction of the levees which could have
prevented much of the damage caused by the disaster or the rivots while making the titanic
- Most white collar crime is economically motivated
Edwin H. Sutherland and the Discovery of White Collar Crime:
- He is given recognition for coining the term white collar crime but looking back into history
shows that it was looked into way before his time.
- In history Cesare Beccaria recognized that the great and rich commit acts that cause great
public injury and that this should be kept in check by law.
- Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles also recognized that the powerful and privileged commit crimes
- Edwin was most directly inspired by E.A. Ross’s Sin ans Society
- Ross promoted the notion of the criminaloid, who is the business man who committed
exploitative acts of criminality to maximize profit while hiding behind his respectability
- Ross regarded these types of criminals as guilty of insensibility
- Sutherlands last major contribution before his death was called White Collar Crime where he
focused on the 70 largest US manufacturing, mining and mercantile corporations concerning
allegations against them of wrong doing. This research led him to conclude that 97% of these
companies were criminal recidivists.
- Sutherland also looked at white collar crime as a form of organized crime.
Defining White Collar Crime: Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
- Many terms to identify white collar crime or the actions which are characterized as white collar
crime. These include ones such as Suite crime or crime at the top.
- All of these different ways of characterizing something as while collar crime contribute to the
confusion which surrounds it
- Use crime and not deviance because crime is more so associated with doing harm on to others.
- All criminologist agree on three key factors of White collar crime… a) Occurs in a legitimate
occupational context b) motivated by the objective of economic gain c) not characterized by
direct intentional violence.
A Multistage Approach to Defining White Collar Crime:
- Three stages to defining white collar crime:
- The concept of occupational crime was first identified by Quinney as a violation of the legal
codes in the course of activity in a legitimate occupation. They found this more effective then
Sutherlands definition because his focused and was limited too high-status offenders. They
recognized that these crimes could be committed by any business individual, even farmers
illegally watering down milk. Can even be non-white-collar workers who commit crimes.
Two types of White Collar crime Exist:
- Determining the type of white collar crime depends on things such as the illegal activity that
occurs and the setting, the status position of the offender, the primary victims, the principal form
of harm and the legal classification.
Types of Crime which Relate to White Collar Crime:
1. Corporate Crime:
- illegal or harmful acts committed by officers to promote corporate interest, example, corporate
2. Occupational Crime: Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
- Illegal or harmful financially driven committed by a respectable occupation, example, retail
3. Governmental Crime:
- Government itself or government agencies engage in crime, Example, state crime or political
white collar crime.
4. State corporate crime, globalization crime and high finance crime:
- Forms of crime which involve a combination of a synthesis of governmental, corporate or
5 Enterprise crime, contrepreneurial crime, technocrime and avocational crime:
- “Residual” Forms of white collar crime or a variety of miscellaneous illegal activities that
include more marginal forms of white collar crime. Technocrime involves the use of computers
and other forms of high technology with white collar crime.Avocational crimes are illegal but
non-conventional criminal acts committed by white collar workers outside of their organizational
context. For example tax evasion or insurance fraud.
*Full Definition of White collar crime Highlighted on Page 8 of the Textbook*
Social Harm and White Collar Crime:
- Criminology focuses on conventional forms of harm such as homicide and rape
- Many forms of law remain outside of the scope of criminal law
- Harm principle is adopted when deciding what should and shouldn’t be criminalized while
some criminologists are calling for a shift from focusing on the crime to focusing on the harm
- Herman and Julia Schwendinger introduced a humanistic definition of crime that focused on
objectively identifiable harm to human beings and violations of human rights as a criteria for
labeling an activity as a crime.
- Larry Tifft and Dennis Sullivan believe that the definition of crime should be based on a needs-
based social harm inflicted by the powerful onto the powerless.
- Zemiology = the study of harm as opposed to the study of crime
Trust and White Collar Crime:
- Trust in the context of crime and white collar crime refers to having confidence that the other
party will act honorably and fulfill legitimate expectations Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
- The diffusion of impersonal trust into a broad range of relationships creates opportunities for
corruption, misrepresentation and fraud.
- Trust and its violation are certainly key elements of white collar crime
- Sutherland characterized white collar crime as the violation of delegated or implied trust
- This violation of trust by people and companies of high status raises the distrust felt by the
public and therefore cooperative and productive relationships are diminished.
Respectability and White Collar Crime:
- The word respectability can be used in many different ways
- 3 different ways of explaining the word must be understood
A. Normative: assessment of moral integrity
B. Status- Related: a legitimate position or occupation
C. Symptomatic- outward appearance of acceptable or superior status
- The successful con artist projects an appearance of respectability but lacks the required moral
Risk and White Collar Crime:
- Originally associated with a wager or the probability of the event occurring.
- Now it is associated with great danger and alludes to negative outcome
- In white collar crime risk refers to both of these
- The gamble taken, the chance of being caught and being punished
- In this case this book proves the risk to be in favor of the offender because detection and
persecution of white collar crime is extremely low
- One major part of white collar crime is the specific intent to cause harm. Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
- The accidents complex modern technological systems inevitably produce
Comparing White Collar and conventional Crime Offenders:
- Conventional crime offenders are very young
- White collar offenders are middle- aged or older and began offending later in life.
- Conventional criminal are disproportionately lower class individuals
- White collar criminals are usually of a higher class, high status individuals
- Conventional criminals are overly represented as racial minorities
- White collar criminals are overly represented as Caucasian white males.
- Both types of crimes have an overrepresentation of male offenders as women uncommonly
hold enough power to commit either type of crime. Crime and Deviance in The Workplace: Reading 09/09/2013
Other Demographic Variables and Differences:
- White Collar criminals are more likely to be employed
- More likely to be better educated
- More likely to be married and have stable family situations
- More likely to be involved in the community and have affiliations with the church
- Conventional criminals often age out of crime, as they grow up they grow out o their criminal
- With white collar crime the incidence are commonly isolated ,the crime wouldn’t be repeated
after the criminal has been caught.
Social Movement against white collar Crime:
- Biggest most influential social movement against white collar crime occurred in the USA
according to Jack Katz in the early 20 century
- Movement was a response to the declining faith and confidence in the political and business
leadership arising from the Vietnam way protests and Watergate crimes of the Nixon White
house. Crime and Deviance in the Workplace 09/09/2013
Studying white Collar Crime and Assessing its Costs:
Complex Nature if white Collar Crime:
- Lack of consensus on things such as definitions and core concepts pertaining to white collar
crime cause for it to be a difficult area to study.
- Unit of analysis since the 70’s has shifted from the individual to the business or organization.
- Often a complex network of people, big corporations working with other big corporations
- having said this researchers need to be able to understand many different fields of businesses as
many different businesses may be involved in the criminal activity.
Scholarly Research in White collar Crime:
- In depth study of a single case or set of related cases including drawing on court records, news
reports and interviews.
- Relatively comprehensive exploration of the chose case going beyond the specific sequence of
events involved in the case to identify the most convincing form of explanation for it as well
- Most commonly preformed by the Chicago school
- Edwin Sutherland produced a classical criminological case called the professional thief about a
professional, non- white collar thief
- a method of study exemplifying a positivistic or scientific approach
- Effects of an independent variable on a dependent variable.
- This method is used quite extensively in the behavioral sciences and has proven to be especially
useful in the learning, memory and perception research
- Laboratory experiments not commonly used when studying white collar crime.
- White collar crime and what we study in white collar crime doesn’t lend itself to such highly
controlled specific settings.
- Another major research method
- Studies most readily opinions attitudes and beliefs but can also be used to explore experiences
- Challenge is obtaining a response rate and truthfulness
- Third challenge is not creating loaded questions guiding respondents to an answer 09/09/2013 09/09/2013
The corporation in Modern Crime:
- In many respects corporations are viewed in a positive way
- Powerful manifestation of entrepreneurial initiative
- Viewed as the centerpiece of a free market
- Millions are employed by corporations and view them as their providers
- Corporations are also sponsors for many of the things we enjoy most such as television
- Also big benefactors of things such as charities, public vents, institutions or higher learning and
- These things listed above causing corporations to be disconcerting to the public… how can they
do so much good an do bad?
- Survey shows thatAmerican societies negative view of corporations is wide spread.
- Dark side of corporations has been long recognized.
- Karl Marx said that corporations as one of the instruments of a capitalist society that cause
workers to be exploited and under appreciated to receive a fair return for their labor.
- Marx and Engles believed that it was capitalist corporations who were responsible for willful
homicide and assault through the operation and industrialization of enterprises that maximized
the pursuit of profit and minimized the preservation of human life.
- Marx saw that investors and stock holders lost most of the control of their capital and most of
the power was in the hands of the managers of their capital, managers are in positions where
advancing their own interests is very easy at the expense of small time stock holders like those
mentioned above and ordinary workers.
- many corporations have been accused of being guilty of committing the pathological pursuit of
- corporate ownership and profits have commonly been held in the hands of few, with about 1
percent of the population holding half of the outstanding stocks and two thirds of the financial
- Wealthiest one percent of the united states owns about 1/3 of the wealth.
- in early 21 century big corporations are know known as the new sovereigns where profit
maximization is held above all other considerations
- Enormous amount of resources give corporations great influence over political institutions and
therefore have a great part in shaping public policy, this is why we see public policy mainly
looking out for the best interest of powerful mega corporations. 09/09/2013
- Power elite of all the top corporations, military groups and government officials have a
complex network of ties that enabled them to advance their interrelated interests and move quite
easily between high level private and public sector positions.
- Adam smith didn’t envision capitalism to be a world dominated by huge, vastly powerful
corporations, but by small independent entrepreneurs.
- Corporations are increasingly controlled by paper Entrepreneurs; or investors who are only
interested in the short term profit of the business.
ATypology of Corporate Crime:
- Way to categorize the many types of corporate crime is by categorizing them by victims for
example general public, consumers etc.
- Asecond way to categorize the number of corporate crimes is to focus on the nature of the
harmful activity for example, corporate violence, corruption etc.
- Athird approach to categorizing corporate crime would be to look at the size or scope of the
corporate entity. For example, crimes of transitional corporations or crime of major domestic
- Afourth approach to categorizing corporate crime would be classifying corporate crime
according to the type of product or service involved, for example, crimes of the automotive
industry or crimes of the pharmaceutical industry.
- The typology we use is usually dictated by what we are trying to explain or understand in the
particular situation, for this course the major distinction is the type of activity.
- Different from conventional interpersonal violence
- This violence is indirect, victims no assaulted by another person
- Effects of corporate violence are typically quite removed in time from the implementation of
the corporate policy or action which caused them harm
- Typically in corporate violence a large number of individuals acting collectively rather then a
single or very few individuals
- Corporate violence is motivated by the desire to maximize profits and maximize corporate
Corporate violence against the public: Unsafe environmental practices
- Most common form of corporate violence would have to be these corporations poisoning the
environment though this type of crime has received little attention from criminologists. 09/09/2013
- Corporations account for a disproportionately large share of most dangerous pollution put into
- Even as far back as King Edward the first of England, air pollution was recognized as bad when
the king banned the burning of coal since it filled the air with acrid smoke.
- Most evidence indicates the corporations either know or should have known the risk of their
dumping of toxic wastes
- Corporations have adopted highly dangerous low cost methods of getting rid of such toxic
wastes,, and have not been forthcoming with information on the dangers concerning waste and
pollution and therefore have engaged in deliberate deception.
- Some of the most serious toxic waste cases have occurred outside of the united states
- Example, the Japanese petroleum company that was dumping toxic waste into the sea and then
the village people on the island developed serious brain and liver damage.
- Within the USAthe love canal case is of the most notorious of corporate pollution
- Hooker chemical bought the canal near Niagra falls drained it and started dumping barrels of
highly toxic chemical waste into the canal, eventually the land was sold to a school board where
a neighborhood and school were built ontop of it, this area had an inproportionatly high level of
birth defects, miscarriages, liver issues, and emotional disorders all which can be attributed to
them being exposed to constant chemical toxic waste.
- From the start of the chemical companies acquisitions they tried to limit their liability and try to
shut up the families but after over several hundred families were evacuated from the area Hooker
chemical was compelled to pay 20 million to former love canal residents.
- Cruise ships also have be accused and found guilty of dumping toxic waste into the sea
- Companies have long made decisions to produce and illegally dump despite the new safer
alternatives because illegal dumping proves to be far more profitable and those who are
victimized are small minority groups with no voice who live in close proximity to dumping sites.
- Automobile emissions constitute a significant portion of the air pollution that exists.
- For at least half a century the automobile industry opposed the imposition of a clean air
standard and the development of successful startgies to reduce smog
- GM bought out the electrical street car system in LA and replaced it with buses
- Companies got charged for this only received token fines (Ex. $5000) and no one went to jail
- Only a handful of business men were sent to jail for pollution, one example being Russell
Mahler the president of Hudson oil Refining 09/09/2013
Corporate Violence against Consumers:
- Book called the jungle exposing Chicago meat market conditions helped the food inspection act
of 1906 come into existence.
- Much of the public thought that food and meat production looked out in the best interest of the
consumer but with the use of bribery and deception it didn’t.
- Common to have mislabeled food with unhealthy sugar or fat content
Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices:
- Pharmaceutical producers can also be viewed as drug pushers
They spend millions of dollars advertising the use of psychoactive drugs and encourage their
sales representatives to use various inducements to persuade physicians to prescribe new drugs
and other pharmaceutical products
- High level of trust between doctor and patient… we don’t expect that there is an ulterior motive
to them prescribing us a certain drug, we just feel our best interest is their main concern.
- Pharmaceutical companies also charged for the unsanitary and unsafe production of its
- Aggressively promotes its products which are overprescribed and often have bad side effects on
- Example is Thalmomide, a tranquilizer prescribed to pregnant women which caused their
babies to be seriously deformed. Company aware early of the drugs dangers but they continued
to prescribe and produce it
- DES prescribed as a drug to help prevent miscarriage, ended up causing cancer in womens
daughters vaginal areas which in turn caused inability to conceive and even some malfunction in
the testicular area
- There was considerable evidence that the company knew that these issues could occur
beforehand, FDAdepended on the drug companies evaluations of the drug and not their own
- Dalkon Shield, type of birth control that caused women to be sterile and give birth to either still
born or deformed babies. Robin’s had early indication of the defect and complications this may
cause but did not warn women
- When pharmaceutical companies run into problems with marketing in the western world they
turn to third world countries where safety standards are lax and non existent, example of this was
the nestle baby formula
Corporate Abuse of power, fraud and economic exploitation: 09/09/2013
- Much of corporate crime wreaks no violence but has political or economical consequences.
- Sutherlands study of corporate crime was focused completely on corporate fraud that had
economic rather than violent consequences.
- Things such as patent, trademark and copyright violations, misrepresentation in advertising
unfair labor practices and war crimes.
- Sutherland states that large corporations profits took precedence over patriotism
- Corporate abuses of power such as corruption of the political process has economic
consequences for ordinary citizens
- Corporations obtain favorable treatment on matters such as reducing their tax liability and
increasing their freedom to raise prices for society or underpay its laborers
- Corporations also commonly known for bribing governmental officials
Crimes Against Citizens and Tax Payers: Defrauding the government and Corporate Tax
- Corporations with contracts to provide goods and services to the government have defrauded
them of billions of dollars annually and taxpayers ultimately foot the bill for these frauds.
Defense Contract Fraud:
- Government spends most of its budget on defense… high number of contracts going to a small
number of contractors
- Corporate contractors charge unreasonable prices because of a lack of competitiv