White Collar Crimes

Powerful Essays
Zero in on a 45 year-old mother of 13. A man comes to her with a proposal. Invest in his company, and he can guarantee 100%, 200%, possibly even 300% returns on what she gives in mere months. For her this means taking out a second mortgage on her house; the same house she hopes to pay off entirely with the promised large return on her investment. Two years later, the windows of the house are boarded up and the woman recounts to reporters the chilling details behind the reason her family has no place to spend Thanksgiving this year. Her money is gone, along with her hopes of ever retiring from the two jobs she works. Stories like this are heard all too often from victims of white-collar crime. “Lying, cheating, and stealing. That’s white-collar crime in a nutshell. The term- reportedly coined in 1939- is now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals” (FBI, n.d.). White-collar criminals are not holding a gun to anyone’s back demanding wallets and valuables. Instead, they gain the trust of those they prey on. Worse, they use their status in society to build comfort in their victims’ minds. A few of the best-known schemes in U.S. history are Enron, WorldCom, and the massive Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. These three cases alone amount to losses upwards of 70 billion dollars. The victims in each case are the same, American citizens. White-collar crime in America is insufficiently controlled due to weak laws, a broad pool of victims, and the enormous power scale of those involved.
Some in the business world would argue that the recently intensified sentencing guidelines for white-collar crime provide sufficient punishment for the criminals involved. However, with the increase if the promi...

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...tter. White-collar crime must stop being seen as a nonviolent, gentle class of crime. Programs, laws, and guidelines must be put into place to protect the citizens these seemingly trustworthy, high-class criminals prey on.

Works Cited

Carbonara, P. (2007). Takes One To Know One. Fortune, 156(13), 108-116.
Ettore, B. (1994). Crime and punishment: A hard look at white-collar crime. (cover story). Management Review, 83(5), 10.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.) White-Collar Crime. Retrieved from
Holtfreter, K., Van Slyke, S., Bratton, J., & Gertz, M. (2008). Public perceptions of white-collar crime and punishment. Journal Of Criminal Justice, 36(1), 50-60. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2007.12.006
Podgor, E. S. (2007). The Challenge of White Collar Sentencing. Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology, 97(3), 731-759.
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