Benson and Simpson (2009,.67) argue that rational theory justifies the opportunity perspective of white-collar crimes. It is one of the few theories that acknowledge the importance of opportunity as a motive for committing a crime. Hence, to fully understand the patterns of such type of crime, organizations belonging to the legitimate business world should limit the opportunities in paths that may lead to white-collar crimes. Through expansion of government programs, transformation of banking and financial services, and the rapid growth of communications technology, new opportunities for white collar crimes have developed too. Hence, there is a need to restructure some processes to limit the foreseen opportunities brought by white collar crimes. Integrated Theories, based on an integrated criminal behavior theory, a perfect culture that encourages a crime is that of which promotes competition, materialism, justification, and rationalization of criminal act and removes unified sociological values and attitudes. Moreover, a structure of a perfect crime opportunity is composed of a possibility to control formal sanctions and attractive possibilities.
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This theory was furthered developed when Hirschi and kindle Gottfredson proposed self-controlled theory. They asserted that lack of self-control plus crime opportunity equate to crime. This statement self-control is achieved in the earlier life and is assumed to remain relatively constant. However, some argue that these may not be applicable to white-collar crimes because people with low self-control may have lower chances to qualify to white-collar jobs (Benson and Simpson, 2009). This theory originated from the writings of significant criminology philosophers Beccaria and Bentham. Among their important contribution to the course of criminology includes the assertion that people and naturally rational and that each individual is a product of free will. Their approach towards criminal behavior is purely of rational justifications and even suggest that punishment should be considered equal to the damaged caused (Gerber and Jensen, 2007). This theory suggests that self-interest, including the costs and benefits, is the motivation to commit a crime. If the benefits of the criminal acts are higher than that of the non-criminal act, one will likely to choose to commit the crime. Moreover, objective pros and cons (formal sanctions and higher profit gain) and subjective pros and cons (lower self-respect, conscience, and convenience) are also weighted and examined carefully (Benson and Simpson, 2009).
Hence, in order to lessen the incidence of white-collar crime in a for-profit organization, the organization should be open to displace their goals so as not to exert overwhelming pressure to its employees. If adjusting goal will be unfavorable, it can devise subjective performance assessment methods and should not rely mainly to objective methods. Travis Hirschi's Social Bond Theory, travis Hirschi proposed that an individual will tend to break rules when his or her bond to the society is weak. For him, deviance is a natural characteristic of an individual but it can be influenced by outside forces and personal dispositions. The elements of the criminal behavior under this theory are centered on attachment to others, commitment to predetermined lines of action, exposure to criminal behaviors, and personal belief and compliance of society's common laws and values (Benson and Simpson, 2009). While this is originally devised for juvenile delinquency, james Lasley converted it to the practice of white-collar crimes. He asserted that strong bond with the corporation can make managers and executives resist committing white-collar crimes. Hence, the following theorems were devised: 1) strong bond of executives to co-workers will lessen occurrence of white-collar crimes, 2) firm compliance to the organization's principle, mission and vision can also lessen white-collar crime tendencies, 3) the more employees are involved in corporate activity, the. A survey he conducted with 521 executives and managers supported these theorems (Benson and Simpson, 2009).
In the case of for-profit organizations, profit is the goal and this may be the only basis for judging one member's achievement. Non-achievement of the expected profit is automatically considered as non compliance and poor performance regardless of the effort and time exerted towards the achievement of the goal. This pressure leads to fraudulent deals made by the members of the organization in order to be labeled with good performance (Benson and Simpson, 2009). Meanwhile, the presence of goal displacement can lessen tendencies for rule breaking. However, this may only be true for non-profit organizations for their counterpart organizations will always have profit as their end goal. Another factor is the presence of the subunits within the organization. Subunits that have more interaction tend to face more motivation to break rules. For example, the sales department, which is more likely to interact with external entities, is more prone to criminal acts than that of the engineering department (Benson and Simpson, 2009). In summary, the aspects of the organization that affects the occurrence of white-collar crimes include: accountability of the members to achieve the common paper goal, objectivity of performance evaluation, work environment interaction, and flexibility or adjustability of the goal (Benson and Simpson, 2009).
This theory is more concerned of the psychological rather than social aspects of criminal behavior. However, sociological conditions such as difficult family situations and personal relationships may take effect too (Gaines and Miller, 2009). Edward Gross' corporate deviance, by explaining criminal behavior, Gross pointed at the structure of the organization rather than the society as a whole. An organization that is structured as a goal-oriented entity and competition object and subject can be a sole source of a crime. Simply put, goal plus competition is a perfect breeding ground for motivations to break rules and to achieve a goal at all cost. An organization that put high remarks on their goals has more tendencies for rule breaking (Benson and Simpson, 2009). Moreover, it can deepen the criminal tendencies if achievement of these goals is the objective and may be only basis of good performance.
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Moreover, this interaction and learning takes place with intimate groups such online as family members, peers and co workers, and friends regardless of the status quo one belongs to (Vito., 2007). Sutherland added that criminal techniques are even learned directly or indirectly. Learning crimes can be as direct as having mentors and learning through experience. Hence, the mass media can also create a pro crime environment by showing alike situations in programs that are available to children and even older counterparts. Other methods of learning can be made by taking drugs or alcohol so as to facilitate their criminal acts.
Cultural differences in legal code can also influence pursuance of a crime. A perception that such act is not punishable by law in other cultures justifies intentions of committing the same on the other side of the globe where it is unacceptable. Likewise, exposure to justification of the criminal behavior such as the belief of "End justifies the means" can also provide impetus for rule breaking (Vito., 2007). Social disorganization theory, on the other hand, state that criminal behavior is a product of unfavorable conditions in a disorganized zone. Such disorganized zones have difficult situations that force individuals to break rules and commit crimes.
He argued that white-collar crimes are violations of criminal law; hence should be under the scope of criminology. Second, he acknowledged the administrative differences between lower class criminality and white collar ones. Judiciary processes of the two types of crimes should be segregated. Third, criminal behavior is not limited within the boundaries of poverty and inadequacy like other criminal behavior theories suggest. This leads to the fifth proposition that criminal behavior is not limited to members of the lower class.
Lastly, he suggested that differential association and social disorganization theories will be the best criminal behavior theories particularly applicable to white collar crimes (Crutchfield and weis, 2000). Sutherland's theory of differential association asserts that criminal behavior is not just solely a by product of poverty and inadequacy. It neither takes root from individual traits nor socioeconomic condition. Rather, it is a function of learning process. He supported this claim by stating that acquiring behavior is neither political nor legal in nature. Criminal behavior is a learned result achieved from exposure to pro crime values and attitude which leads to such behavior (Vito., 2007). According to sutherland, criminal behavior is a product of the learning process. It is mainly a product of interaction and socialization and not from low iq and family problems as stated by other criminology theories to pinpoint members of the lower class of society as the only offenders of law.
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The centers of jurisdiction were the properties lost and neither the offenders nor the act. Seldom were the offenders convicted for this type of crime compared to convicted offenders of lower class crimes such as long violent crimes. Sutherland stated that white collar crimes occurs in the business and industry world (manipulation of stock exchange, bribery of and to public officials to achieve favorable contracts, embezzlement) and in other professions such as abortion as administered by a licensed doctor. He also delineated the boundaries of criminal behavior to be attributed solely to the members of the lower classes of the society. He pioneered the belief that criminal behavior does not regard status quo (Siegel, 2009). The main propositions of Sutherland may be summarized presentation as follows. First, white collar crimes are indeed a criminality.
Theories and History of White-collar Crimes. This paper discusses five common criminology theories applied to principles of white-collar crimes which includes: Edwin Sutherland's theories, Anomie and Corporate deviation, control Theory, rational Choice Theory, and Integrated Theories. Each suggests different roots of white-collar criminal behavior such as the society, individuality, and culture. The motivations for rule breaking and committing such crimes are also presented in different perspectives. Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association and Social Disorganization. The original idea was to give a name to crimes or conspiracies committed by members of wealthy classes who use their influence in commerce and industry for personal gain without being held responsible to the law. Sutherland observed that often times, grubbs such cases were held under civil courts because the subjects were the properties lost and not the act itself. Offended parties were only concerned of their lost properties rather than filing a formal case to penalize the offenders. Hence, during these times, the law was rather passive to such contempt (Siegel, 2009).
Sociological Society, debates have risen. In general and ambiguous terms, non violent crimes for financial gain were considered to be under this category. Some of the most common activities under white collar crimes include antitrust violations, different types of fraud (computer and Internet, credit card, bankruptcy, mail, financial and healthcare frauds insider trading and environmental law violations. Powers of the members of the government, through another means of checks and balances, are also limited by including public corruption and money laundering under white-collar crimes as well (Cornell University, 2010). In the modern judicial systems, common sanctions given to white-collar crimes offenders include house arrest, fines and financial penalties, sentences of up to 30 years, and offenders of economic crimes can be sentenced as much as that of offenders for violent street crime. The sentencing guidelines are particularly applied by computing the effects or loss caused by the fraudulent acts. Some of the famous white-collar offenders that were prosecuted were bernard Ebbers of WorldCom, jeffrey skilling of Enron, and John Rigas and son Timothy rigas of Adelphia (Podgor, 2007). Despite the continuous development of the concept of white-collar crimes, no consensus has been made about a criminology theory that explains white-collar crimes. Experts of the sociology, legal, and criminology areas have clashing theories.
This paper gives run down of these definitions and opinions and discusses one by one thoroughly. By searching the literature, this paper aims to bring front the roots and history of this controversial branch of the law and judicial system. It showcases its revolution in terms of scope, sentences and sanctions, and specific cases through the years, from its conceptualization, formal introduction, and inclusion in the law. Moreover, it looks closely on the specific types of white collar crimes, taking into account their scope, grounds, sanction for the offenders with details about current judicial system. Lastly, it narrates and discussed specific cases that give white-collar crime popularity and ample attention from people of the law, the media, and the public. In the end section, this paper gives concluding remarks about the white- collar crimes. White-collar Crime: An Introduction.
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Print, reference this, published: 23rd March, 2015, it is not everyday that we hear about white-collar crimes but these non-violent crimes are on the rise too. Federal Bureau of Investigation states that usa, for example recorded white collar crimes amounting 300 billion every year (Cornell University, 2010). White-collar crime is relatively a new idea. It has been present in courtyards for quite a long time but the idea may still be ambiguous for some. Lawyers and law assignment practitioners continue their dispute regarding the grounds and scope for white-collar crimes. It has many aspects that are viable for scrutiny and further interpretation to clear some of its gray areas. This paper explores the definition and scope of white-collar crimes. Conflicting definitions and opinions from law experts heighten the ambiguity of the idea.