White collar crimes are the crimes of the rich- committed by the rich in order to defraud others out of their money. Today, the methods of corruption and white collar crimes have altered and become more sophisticated than ever which makes it more difficult to catch the culprits. Although non-violent in nature, white collar crime is still damaging for the financial set up of society as it involves the top-most officials, government professionals, and business experts to carry out illegal activities involving money. In 1939, it was Edwin Sutherland who defined the crime as one which was committed by a person holding respect and high social acceptability in his circle and occupation (Wall Street Journal, 2008). White collar crimes have been prevalent for a long time in society, and they continue to grow because they are at times, hard to detect. However, it is up to the society’s check and balance and accountability system to reckon the need to control white collar crimes.
There are several kinds of white collar crimes that are committed by individuals. These include personal crimes which a person commits for personal gains which occur out of a business context. They also include an abuse of trust, where the trust and confidentiality of a person working in business, government and other institution or establishment in a professional environment violate their loyalty to the client or the employer. The next category is of business crimes where a person commits a crime which is included in the business operations but is not completely legal and honest. Lastly, it is con games where the white collar crime or the business was undertaken is the focal point of the business, and it is the fraud which is the mainstay of the business. Therefore, concealment of actions, deceit in business activities and transactions, all are done by persons or organizations to obtain money or services (Price and Norris, 2009).
In return for these crimes, individuals are liable to get freed from paying money to others, acquiring land and property, and being able to secure their businesses and gaining huge profits through these enactments. White collar crimes occur largely in corporations and multinationals, and the affected victims are the organizations these people have targeted. It is not rare that white collar crimes occur on a large scale because Europe has seen over 42.5% of its companies being victimized by white collar crimes (Price and Norris, 2009. The various approaches used are embezzlement, violating trust and or getting involved in a Ponzi scheme which bankrupts an investor or organization.
The problem with regular crimes and white collar crimes is that it is more likely to catch street criminals, robbers, and murderers but it is more difficult to catch a person who commits a white collar crime (Price and Norris, 2009). White collar criminals are not sanctioned at such rates as the other criminals convicted of ordinary crimes. There are various factors which can influence this point, the most common being that white collar crimes are usually acts of the rich which might easily get off the chain as compared to a needy robber or thief. This is definitely an eye opener for the public because the ordinary public might even be unaware of white collar crimes which occur at a very high rate and there is nothing they can also do about it. Also, there is not enough about white collar criminals in the news, probably because they are not caught and sanctioned strict penalties which can prevent other people from the following suit and committing such crimes.
The public needs to be informed of the reasons which influence people to commit such crimes. Firstly, these crimes are committed out of greed and treachery which force a person to jump the gun and betray the trust of the company or business they represent. It may also be influenced and caused by the strict and sturdy competition which baffles companies and leaders
and they might turn to illegal approaches to make more money against their competitor. Companies also need to realize that a hostility and disconnection within a company can influence a top level employee or employer or commit such a crime where he might be thinking of his own benefit instead of thinking the better of the organization. Also, if an organization is not under scrutiny by auditors and law enforcement companies, then it is easier for the person handling the finances and major financial matters to commit fraud and make illegal money (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 2008).
In spite of the various theories of why people commit white collar crimes and why they get entangled in these processes, it eventually boils down to the fact that the responsibility still lies in the hands of the individual who comes up with the idea of committing the crime in the first place. Rich people are usually literate and have the know-how of the law and are precisely aware of business ethics and rules. However if they still plan to go ahead with their intentions of disloyalty to the firm or the people they are working with, then it is more of an individual responsibility than a collaborated action of an organization (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 2008). The rich are the most privileged of the society, and if greed gets in their veins, then it is most difficult to eliminate it. Young people seek to advance their way in life, so they are most likely to commit a white collar crime. Older people are also vulnerable but might not be very keen on doing such a thing. The punishments for committing and proven guilty of white collar crimes may lead a person to lifetime imprisonment or return of their assets to the government or individuals they have embezzled (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 2008).
Conclusively, white collar crimes are the non-violent category of crimes committed by the rich or the organizations which plan to defraud or deceive other people and gather profits and interest. However, it is difficult to catch white collar criminals because of the lesser chances of being caught. However, the public needs to be more aware of white collar criminals, and they need to be accountable for their actions.
Hirschi, Travis, and Gottfredson, Michael. (2006). “Causes of white collar crime.” Wiley Online
Library. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00827.x/abstract
Price, Marilyn, and Norris, M. Donna. (2009). “White collar crime: corporate and securities and
commodities fraud.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law online. Retrieved from http://www.jaapl.org/content/37/4/538.full
Wall Street Journal. (2008). “What causes white collar crime.” Retrieved from