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Introduction: The phrase “White Collar Crime� points to the criminal activities in a corporate setting which are nonviolent and are motivated either by financial or economic gains. These activities are mostly intended at making easy money through deception. The term white-collar crime was first used by Edwin Sutherland in 1939. According to him, if a person of respectable and high social status commits a crime whilst on the job, the crime is called white-collar crime. Sutherland is a distinguished name in criminology and has also been quoted by Tim Newburn at several places in his book Criminology. He also states that individuals often learn to commit such acts through interaction with other people within or outside the organization. Moreover, people outside that particular corporate setting will face hindrances and might take time to understand the process of that white-collar crime. White-collar crimes include money laundering, computer crime, bribery and insider-information trading, etc. All these crimes are more easily accessible to people working in the corporate sector and therefore only white-collar people dare commit these crimes.

History of White Collar Crimes: The history of white-collar crimes dates back to mid-90s. Professor Edwin Hardin Sutherland was also the one to suggest that the white-collar criminals have conflicting motives, and varying characteristics as compared to the street criminals. Considering that the crime is not a physical theft of items, tracking these crimes can also become difficult, keeping in view the tracking capability of the system and the level to which the crime has been in cahoots. Sutherland presented his latest ideas in front of American Sociological Society, and attempted to describe the link between high society and crimes. As mentioned earlier, there was no concept of the elite or the educated and professional individuals committing the crimes—the crimes were present there but never hit the screen. Some argue that the statement presented by Sutherland had a link with the explosion observed in the US business, in the years that followed the Great Depression. Regardless of the prevalence of white-collar crime, early criminologists largely ignored it. They saw crime as a form of harsh and violent behavior which itself was seen as a bi-product of poverty. The white-collar acts were not even deviant. Marxist scholars suggested that crime was produced by an outgrowth of class conflict. White-collar crime did not exist at this time, but the types of crimes it encompassed were theorized under the same thought as the typical crimes of those times.

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Prevalence: Today, white collar crime is considered to be the crime of choice for a businessperson. Corporate corruption has been around ever since businesses have been there but lately there has been a swell in business fraud and corruption prosecutions and investigations. Experts to demographic shifts and economic forces have accredited the changing character of crime. One problem with today's crimes is the advances in technology. The Internet is a major contributing factor to the proportion of financial crime cases. Since the birth of the Internet, the rate of financial crime has risen considerably, from identity theft to software privacy and e-mail schemes. In response, federal and state officials have allocated teams of investigators and prosecutors to combat this exploitation. In Canada, The Criminal Justice System, in general, lacks sufficient resources to detect and prosecute white-collar crimes. Moreover, the defendants in white-collar cases tend to put up a much stronger legal defense, since they usually have far more financial resources to hire experienced attorneys. An alternative means of regulating white-collar crime in Canada is for the state to impose certain duties of care on people, and to allow the plaintiff to seek damages from the defendant for the wrongdoing. Corporate crimes are usually dealt outside the criminal law and regulated by separate federal, provincial and municipal laws.


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History of White Collar Crime and Prevalence