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White Collar Crime


With the recent economic issues affecting large populations, there have been greater efforts to locate and eliminate white collar crime. Much of the problems that have affected global markets stem from behaviors and techniques enacted by people with unethical approached to gaining wealth. The rising prevalence of individuals committing acts against corporations and financial markets have been detrimental to the investments of many people. Various schemes and scandals have gained the attention of legislators and new methods are being devised to detect these illegal actions. The rise of using technology to aid criminal behavior requires added protection to safeguard people’s savings.

The formal definition of white collar crime is credited to Edwin Sutherland. In 1939, he stated that this form of illegal behavior is conducted by a person is a high social status while performing the duties of their job. Many of the common types of illegal activity are closely connected to the everyday operations of corporations. Incidents including fraud, the theft of identity, using the computer to perform illegal actions and stealing ideas are thought to be developed by interacting with others. These more comprehensive forms of criminal behavior are thought to be learned from others engaged in the same activity.

Many of these forms of criminal activities involve the use of the computer. Sophisticated schemes such as the Ponzi scheme and racketeering take years to develop. Working with others to scam unknowing investors is a common way to bilk these consumers out of their hard earned funds. While the perpetrators of the crime benefit from the unsuspecting nature of their victims, many innocent people find themselves unknowingly involved in the schemes. Using common sense and investigating the history of the investment opportunity is recommended before undertaking a new endeavor. Another form of white collar crime is insider trading. This is an illegal trade due to a person with insider knowledge gaining an unfair advantage and using it in an illegal transaction. Any trades using the information gained from the insider are also illegal.

When the mortgage crisis struck and the stock market tumbled, many respected professionals found themselves in the middle of a scandal. People such as Bernie Madoff, Tom Petters and Lou Pearlman are all examples of recent while collar crime incidents that have brought greater awareness to these illegal activities. With greater oversight and closer examination of the activities, law enforcement officials have been able to detect patterns in their behavior. While the perpetrators have been caught in the act of their illegal schemes, the money lost by investors is gone. The greed of these few individuals has been harmful to many individuals. With more knowledge of the practices used in Ponzi schemes, people can be more cautious in their investments.