White Collar Crime Essay

Writing a research paper on any topic is a daunting task and it becomes more so when you have to create your own topic from the subject matter provided by your teacher as well as set the creative direction of the paper. Therefore, this article was written to provide direction on choosing research topics on white collar crime. Also the sample essay below should serve as your manual or tutorial guide on developing a selected topic in such a way that ensures your paper turns out well structured, coherent and rewards you the best mark for your effort.

Today’s guide will contain a couple of things which include: 20 topics on white collar crime and its effects on society that you can use for your own paper, and a sample essay on how to structure the contents of your chosen topic:

  1. Crimes of Privilege: White Collar Crime and the 1 Percent
  2. Corporate Crime, Law and Social Control
  3. Drawing Parallels between Corporate Crime and Organized Crime
  4. Corporate Crime and the Criminal Liabilities of Corporate Entities
  5. White Collar Crime and the Major Financial Debacles in the United States
  6. Corporate Crime and It’s Role in Economic Depressions
  7. Pursuing Accountability: How Prosecutors Should Punish White Collar Crime Offenders
  8. Corporate Crime and Sentencing in the United States
  9. Economics and Organized Crime: Challenges for Criminal Justice
  10. Impact of Corporate Crime on Developing Capital Markets
  11. The Sociological Origins of White Collar Crime
  12. Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes
  13. Gender and the Part it Plays in White Collar Crimes
  14. The Global implications of White Collar Crimes
  15. Exploring White Collar Crimes and its Causes
  16. Analyzing White Collar Crimes in Wall Street
  17. Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society
  18. The Social Acceptability of White Collar Crime in the United States
  19. The Governments Role in White Collar Crime
  20. The Department of Justice’s culpability in White Collar Crimes

So here are the 20 topics we believe should inspire and get you started on developing your custom research paper on corporate crime. These topics which are obviously controversial in nature have enough information that can be found online or in your local library, to make developing them relatively easy. To back them up, as always we’ve also prepared 10 facts on white collar crime for a research essay as well as our guide on how to write one step by step.

As stated earlier, a sample paper which should serve as a template for anyone planning to write about white collar crimes will be provided in this guide. The topic to be explored and used in this sample research paper has been picked from the above list and it is, ‘Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes’.

Sample Research Paper: Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes

To clarify the sentencing issues that arise, it is important to first understand the distinction between white collar crime and street crime according to the United States Department of Justice system. According to Edwin Sutherland, a prominent 1939 criminologist, white collar crimes or corporate crimes are financially motivated nonviolent crimes committed by business and government professionals. Street crimes on the other hand, are criminal offences that occur in public places and perpetrated for quick financial gain.

In both situations, the underlying cause for perpetrating criminal activities is financial gain although the means of erring against the law may vary. According to the FBI, in white collar crimes perpetrators make use of deceit, concealment and violation of trust to accomplish the crime while perpetrators of street crime employ violence, threats and the inspiration of fear for financial gain.

Although both cases the white collar and street crimes are driven by financial gain, statistics from the Department of Justice show that while perpetrators of white collar crimes make up approximately 3% of arrests and street crimes make up for 70% of arrests in the United States, the sentencing proportion is highly skewed in the favor of white collar crimes. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons show that only 0.3% of those incarcerated were involved in white collar crimes while 93.7% of incarcerations were due to street crimes.

Further analysis of the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) guidelines show a pattern of less severe sentencing pattern for white collar crimes, namely perpetrators of financial fraud such as insider trading simply receiving fines, community service or in more severe cases suspended jail time. In contrast, perpetrators of non-violent street crimes do not evade prison and are pushed to serve a prison sentence. Jet Rakoff, a federal senior judge of Southern New York were Wall Street crimes had occurred, termed the Federal sentencing guides as too simplistic, leading to no incarceration of high-level executives charged with corporate crime.

Various reasons have been given for these sentencing disparities and they include: the non-violent nature of corporate crimes, the lack of adequate media coverage and conspiracy theories on the power and reach of high level executives.  In terms of non-violence, the widely accepted belief that corporate crime is non-violent has been disproven due to the high number of suicides and work related accidents that occur as a byproduct of financial recklessness and the 2015 USSC guidelines has finally taken this into consideration.

The media has been accused of hypocrisy in its coverage of corporate crime on the diverse channels of news dispersion platforms available to them. This is in part due to securing their best interest, for most news outlets are owned or part-owned by big corporations. An example was the lack of media coverage on JPMorgan Chase’s criminal securities fraud case  were Jamie Dimon,  its CEO,  paid approximately $9 billion to evade scrutiny.

Encouragingly, steps have been taken to ensure that perpetrators of white collar crimes pay for their actions as can be seen from the 2015 USSC guidelines which encourage increased sentences for individuals involved in cases of large scale fraud. The 9 years prison sentence given to Matthew Martoma for insider trading while working at SAC Capital Advisors has created a precedence for longer jail terms and it could serve as a deterrence to others.

Russel, M. (2008). Soft on Crime. http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1995/05/mm0595_09.html
Wikipedia: The Savings and Loan Crisis.
Rebekah, D. (2011). US White Collar Crime Policy too Soft.

US white-collar crime policy too soft

Gale Research. (2008). Crime, Prisons and Jails.
Nicel, A. (2013). When the Gender Gap is a Good Thing: Women and Corporate Crime.
FBI National Press Office. (2002). The Measurement of White Collar Crime Using Uniform Crime Reporting Data. https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/white-collar-crime-study
Understanding White Collar Crime: Definitions, Extents and Consequences. http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/43839_2.pdf

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Essay on the concept of White Collar Crime !

The concept of White collar crime’ was introduced for the first time in the field of criminology by Prof. Edwin Sutherland in 1941. He defined white collar crime as “crime committed by persons of respectability and high social status in course of their occupation”.

Thus misrepresentation thought fraudulent advertisements, infringement of patents, copy-rights and trade-marks, etc. are frequently resorted to by manufactures, industrialists and other persons of repute in course of their business with a view to team huge profits.

Other illustrations of white collar criminality include publication of falsified balance sheets of business.

Passing of goods, concealment of defects in the commodity for sale etc. These white collar crimes by nature are such that the injury or the damage caused as a result of them is so widely diffused in the large body of citizens that their gravity as regards individual victim is almost negligible.

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White collar criminality has a closer affinity with the attitudes and values of culture in a particular society.

This is evident from the fact that white collar criminals are intelligent, stable, and successful and men of high social status as compared to the ordinary criminals. They are farsighted persons belonging to the prestige group of society.

The white collar crimes which are committed in business-world are indirect, anonymous, impersonal and difficult to detect.

As against this, ordinary criminals commit crimes which are direct and involve physical action like beating, removal of property of use of force, etc.

These may also be called ‘blue collar crime’ and are more common with the under-privileged class while the white collar crimes are committed by the members of privileged group who belong to upper strata of society.

Prof. Sutherland, however, suggests that class position by itself is no determinant of the white collar or blue collar crime.

This contention finds support in the fact that even the most privileged and prestige persons may commit heinous crime such as murder, rape or kidnapping for which they are liable to be severely punished while on the other hand, most under privileged persons may be involved in a white collar crime, like embezzlement, corruption or misrepresentation which may not entail them severe penalty.

It is, however, erroneous to think that white collar crimes are petty offences because they do not carry major punishment.

Undoubtedly the penologists hitherto confined their attention to prevention of ordinary predatory crimes but the recent penal programmes sufficiently indicate that emphasis has not shifted suppression of white collar criminality with equal vigour and strength.

The recent amendments introduced in the Indian Company Law, Insurance and Banking Laws, the appointment of Lokpal and tightening of governmental control over private business groups sufficiently reflect upon the Government’s firm determination to suppress white collar criminality in India.

The problem of white collar criminality has its roots in the competitive attitude of the business community to oust their rival competitors in order to earn huge profits. It may, however, be suggested that such crimes are sometimes committed merely for the sake of necessity.

Thus most of the private educational institutions in India which receive public-aid furnish false accounts only for the sake of retaining their existence.

In spite of the prescribed code of ethics. Set for the practising lawyers, the very nature of their profession involves the spirit of combat and necessitates them to resort to concealment or misrepresentation of facts, which, if detected entail severe punishment.

The members of privileged class or high social status have a tendency to furnish, false and fabricated accounts of their income of property to avoid payment of heavy taxes or to claim tax-exemptions.

White collar criminality is also rampant in insurance business where both the insured as well as the insured make considerable profit by making false and fabricated claims.

Instances are not wanting where intentional house burning, automobile destruction and even murders are planned by the persons of respectable community for the sake of making good fortunes for themselves.

Other areas of white collar crime are malpractices in the medical or engineering profession, adulteration of food and drugs, hoarding, black marketing monopoly and breach of trust etc.

It must be noted that Sutherland limits the concept of white collar crime only to those unlawful activities by persons of prestigious group which they undertake for financial gains in course of their legitimate business or occupation and the crime committed by these persons for other purpose do not fall within this category.

No distinction in terms of social status, occupational activity, attitude or gravity of consequences can separate white collar crimes from those of traditional crimes.

The only distinguishing feature of this type of crime is the temptation for considerable material gain with little or no loss of status.

This gain gives a misleading impression that the executive and judicial authorities who are concerned with the prevention of crime react favourable to the upper and middle class society and dispose of white collar criminals with mere censures or admonition white other criminal are subjected to severe penal sanctions under the law without being given any pre-warning.

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