White Collar Crime
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White collar crime refers to nonviolent offenses fraud and illegitimate financial transactions (Croall, 2009). Some of the criminal offenses that constitute white collar crimes include bribery, bank fraud, counterfeiting, blackmail, insider trading, embezzlement, money laundering, forgery, antitrust violations, and tax evasion. It has been cumbersome to document the degree of white collar crimes, since the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) can gather data on only embezzlement, fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting (Spindlove & Simonsen, 2013). Nevertheless, the law enforcement officials accept that white collar crimes are among the most significant problems facing individuals and organizations across the world. This paper will consider the white collar criminals, potential victims, causes, as well as the current law enforcement issues regarding the white-collar criminal offences.
In most cases, white-collar criminals possess high socioeconomic statuses, because they occupy high ranks within large corporations. However, some individuals may possess low economic statuses but become white-collar criminals upon gaining enough computer and internet skills (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelrod, 2010). In the contemporary society, the computer technology has been the most significant foundation for white-collar crimes. Therefore, most of the white-collar criminals are extremely intelligent regarding the application of computer and the Internet skills to fraud people or steal people’s identities. Some white-collar crimes can only take place when the offenders occupy high occupational ranks. For instance, senior bank officers may participate in transnational money laundering successfully (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelrod, 2010). This approach has been pervasive within the United States. Therefore, white-collar criminals may include office workers, business managers, fund managers, and executives among others. White-collar victims may include non-person victims and the Internet users. The non-person white-collar victims include financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, society organizations, and religious organizations. Businesses have a high likelihood of experiencing embezzlement, fraud, and counterfeiting.
People have used other terms, such as abuse of power and economic crime, to represent white-collar crimes. These crimes may include violence, because many individuals lose their lives each year due to unnecessary surgery and illegal working conditions, which are not safe (Krause, 2006). In the contemporary society, white-collar criminals swindle unwitting consumers and customers. White-collar criminals plan and organize their actions together with fraudulent representation. The countries that report white-collar crimes, such as fraud, most frequently include Russia, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, and the United States (Perri, 2011). This may imply that the countries with high frequencies of white-collar crimes inhabit the white-collar criminals. However, white-collar criminals may attack victims in foreign countries, because some of the white collar crimes involve the application of the Internet. Therefore, many clients may become victims of the white-collar crimes when attempting to do transactions over the Internet. This may take place when the white collar criminals steal the Internet users’ credit card identities. It has been evident that globalization has increased the frequency of white collar crimes internationally due to the use of technology.
When countries fail to recognize and prevent the white-collar crimes, the entire world will feel the effects. This happens owing to unrestrained trading practices and business, which may lead to international catastrophes. For instance, the white-collar crimes sell the electronic waste to the developing countries for refurbishment or remanufacture (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelrod, 2010). In the developing countries, the recycling facilities fail to handle adequately, thereby dumping much of the electronic wastes in the local villages. This leads to pollution of the environment, including water bodies, soil, and air. The exporters of the electronic wastes generate substantial profits, while the clients in the destination countries face the negative effects unknowingly. Therefore, the exporters take advantage of the illiteracy that exists among many people within the countries of destination. Innocent people become victims of the harmful effects of the electronic wastes, while the exporters make profits (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelod, 2010). Some of the countries that export electronic wastes include the United States and Great Britain.
Health care fraud is another white-collar crime that has been common in various countries across the world. The white-collar criminals and victims may include health care professionals, managed care companies and health insurers, health care institutions, prescription drug manufacturers, and patients (Krause, 2006). Highly trained executives and physicians misuse their professional skills and positions for financial gains. For instance, executives and physicians may falsify bills for various services. The federal government and patients experience the negative effects of the fraudulent activities that take place in health care institutions. In most cases, the patients experience physical harm while the federal government financial experiences financial harm due to the misuse of money. Patients may experience the physical harm when health care providers become incompetent due to fraudulent activities (Krause, 2006). Medical malpractices, including performance of unnecessary procedures to raise billing, are likely to harm patients physically.
It has been evident that the tactics and weapons that the white-collar crime employs include deceitfulness and the Internet (Croall, 2009). Deceitfulness has been common in financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, society organizations, and religious organizations. The white-collar criminals include the executives and other individuals, who occupy the highest rank within an organization. Therefore, the white-crimes may appear as the misuse of power among the top officials. Computer and the Internet technology serve as the most sophisticated weapons for the execution of white-collar crimes across the international borders (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelrod, 2010). Computer hackers can steal passwords that belong to the databases of organizations abroad. This can enable the hackers to make false updates, such as a diversion of financial resources, to the databases. White-collar criminals can also steal people’s credit card numbers and divert the money to their bank accounts. Computer and the Internet can enable a white-collar criminal to steal from both the citizens in the home country and citizens in foreign countries. It may be difficult to identify the white-collar criminals who use computers and the Internet to execute their criminal activities.
Individuals have not been considering the white-collar crimes as serious as such crimes as robbery, burglary, murder, and shoplifting, which take place in the streets (Krause, 2006). The reality is that the white-collar crimes are extremely serious and may lead to a loss of millions of money in a very brief moment of a time. In most cases, the victims of white-collar crimes realize in advance that the white-collar criminals have attacked them. Governments have not given enough attention to the identification and prevention of the white-collar crimes across the world. Public perception of the violent crimes, which take place in the streets, disproportionately fuels the reactions of the criminal justice agencies and researchers toward violent crimes, thereby ignoring the white-collar criminal offences and white-collar criminals (Gibbs, McGarrell, & Axelrod, 2010). Academics, as well as courts, have been considering the white-collar crimes as victimless, indicating that the white-collar crimes do not injure people or that many people share the effects of the white-collar crime. Countries have enforced laws targeting the white-collar criminals due to the losses that the latter cause to individuals, private organizations, and local, state, and federal governments. The United States Supreme Court has considered that the white-collar crimes are among the severe problems facing law enforcement authorities.
The white-collar crimes have remained widespread owing to the difficulty to detect the criminal offenses. This is because the white-collar criminals can commit crimes from private places, such as home or office. Therefore, the white-collar criminals avoid eyewitness by executing their activities from the private places. Moreover, many governments do not have the expertise and resources for the identification of the white-collar crimes (Bucy et al., 2010). With regard to the white-collar crimes like money laundering and tax fraud, prosecutors may need technical from various government entities. In the United States, adoption and enforcement of criminal law ttakes primarily at the state level. The federal government deals with few white-collar criminal offenses. Many states have embraced numerous white-collar criminal statutes, which are similar to the statutes that the federal government has adopted (Bucy et al., 2010). Therefore, prosecution of the white-criminal activities can take place at the federal level or state level. The federal level deals with the most complex and large white-collar criminal cases due to various reasons. One of the reasons is that many state law enforcement agencies lack the resources which the complex white-collar criminal cases require for successful investigation and prosecution.
Complementing the ability of the federal government in fighting white-collar crimes are the specialized administrative divisions which investigate the cases. The divisions include the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the United States Department of Justice, and the Internal Revenue Service and Customs Agency (Hefendehl, 2010). The Internal Revenue Service and Customs Agency allow for the investigation of the money laundering and other sophisticated financial crimes. In the 1980s, the Congress started to adopt laws like money-laundering statutes and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which criminalized numerous white-collar crimes. For instance, the RICO deals with white-collar crimes, including mail fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, extortion, and bribery. Federal prosecutors may use wire and mail fraud statutes that are useful in both local political corruption and ordinary fraud cases (Bucy et al., 2010). The local, state, and federal levels should cooperate when dealing with the white-collar crimes through law enforcement. Investigation of simple criminal activities and prosecution of the offenders should take place at the local and state level. On the other hand, investigation of complex white-collar crimes and prosecution of white-collar criminals should take place at the federal level (Hefendehl, 2010). This is because the federal facilities possess enough resources, which increase the chances of addressing the white-collar crimes successfully. Therefore, the cooperative efforts of the law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels are extremely necessary.
Technology has had a significant impact on the criminal and law enforcement activities. People have engaged in sophisticated criminal activities due to the development of the computer and Internet technologies, which many individuals can afford. It has been difficult for law enforcement activities to deal with the white-collar criminals who engage in their criminal activities over the Internet. This is because the criminals may hide their IP addresses before any attempt to hack into a company’s database or steal people’s credit card identities. Therefore, advanced technology has enabled individuals to participate in white-collar crimes without the knowledge of law enforcement agencies. In the contemporary society, advanced technology can enable the information technology scientists to identify the location of the white-collar crimes (Bucy et al., 2010). For instance, IP address trackers can track the computer hackers. However, some criminals can be able to hide the IP address of the nodes from which they are attacking their victims. Technology has also allowed people to be aware of white-collar criminal activities. Individuals acquire enough information over the Internet regarding the white-collar crimes taking place across the world (Bucy et al., 2010). Therefore, many people have been aware on how to hide their identities from the white-collar criminals.
In conclusion, many white-collar crimes do not involve the application of force but can lead to the loss of a tremendous amount of money within a short time. White-collar criminals may include individuals who occupy high ranks within an organization or just computer hackers. Some of the most common white-white collar crimes include bribery, bank fraud, counterfeiting, blackmail, insider trading, embezzlement, money laundering, forgery, antitrust violations, and tax evasion. The cooperative efforts of law enforcement at the local, states, and federal levels will deal with white-collar criminals effectively (Hefendehl, 2010). The advanced computer technology has enabled the white collar criminals to engage in criminal activities from private places, such as home and office. On the other hand, advanced computer technology and the Internet have helped track white-collar criminals (Bucy et al., 2010).
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