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White Collar Crime - Essay Example

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White collar crimes are a major threat to economic development in any country or society,as they are much more difficult to track and prevent.This is due to the fact that they are perpetrated by men and women of high social status and integrity,who use positions entrusted to them to facilitate criminal activities either for personal or corporate gains…
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Download file to see previous pages White collar crimes are a major threat to economic development in any country or society, as they are much more difficult to track and prevent. This is due to the fact that they are perpetrated by men and women of high social status and integrity, who use positions entrusted to them to facilitate criminal activities either for personal or corporate gains. Such crimes include and not limited to corruption, identity theft, tax evasion and embezzlement among others such as money laundering (Simon & Eitzen, 2000). This paper is a critical evaluation of white collar crimes as compared to conventional crimes. White Collar Crimes White-collar crime is a terminology which was first used by Edwin Sutherland to define criminal activities perpetrated by men and women of high social status, whose occupations facilitate them with an avenue to commit crime (Friedrichs, 2003). In this context, these people use their positions and influence to attain financial gains at the expense of their employers. For example, a government minister may use his position to influence the awarding of tenders in his or her ministry, so as to favor certain individuals who would be willing to reward the minister for doing so. This may be done at the expense of other more deserving and experienced contractors. In such a circumstance, the minister will have committed a serious white-collar crime punishable by law i.e. corruption. One of the major characteristics of this type of crime is that it is nonviolent. This is due to the fact that it occurs in a legitimate environment in which the perpetrator will seem to be conducting normal business (Pontell, 2002). For example, a traffic police officer carries out the duties of ensuring that road users obey and observe traffic rules. In the course of performing his duties, he may be forced to arrest a driver for breaking one of the rules. In this context, the officer by virtue of his position as a law enforcer has two choices which he can make i.e. either to arrest and detain the driver or to come to an agreement which may entail accepting money in exchange with the driver’s freedom i.e. accepting bribery. This is as opposed to conventional crimes, such as robbery, murder, rape among others, which are committed with a sense of violence in them. This is due to the fact that in such crimes, perpetrators have to contest with their victims so as to benefit from the process. A bank robber for example will have to use a gun so as to scare his victims and if he feels threatened, he may be forced to shoot. The same case happens to rapists and carjackers, who must use force so as to subdue their victims. Based on these issues, it becomes much easier for these crimes to be detected as they will always involve witnesses, who in turn will report to the authorities (Reiman, 1998). On the contrary, white collar crimes are difficult to detect and therefore will mostly go unreported maybe until when it is too late. For example, a person may not have to appear physically in a bank so as to commit robbery. In this computer era, one may use his technical knowledge to access accounts online by the way of hacking, mostly on credit cards, and make purchases without the knowledge of the card holder (Newman & Clarke, 2003). This makes it difficult for the police to arrest the culprits unlike when they are confronted with a hostage situation. In this context, white collar crimes are perpetrated by people with opportunity and technical knowhow, thus making them much more complex as compared to other conventional crimes. As the rate of white collar crimes continue to increase, the society at large continues to suffer the consequences. For example, it is estimated that the US government loses more than $300 billion, on annual basis, to these crimes, which include tax evasion by wealthy individuals (Pontell, 2002). Such money could be used to improve the lives of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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