Undetected white-collar crimes Lack of strict laws.

White-collar crimes have been going under the radar for a while now. Since there aren’t a lot of strict laws on this crime it allows embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery. The study of this subject will bring to life the darkness of this crime and how it affects all of us and it will show you why I think the penalties should be harsher than what they are. Some people would argue that it shouldn’t have harsh penalties because it ruins families and impact the persons life to the point it will be hard to fit back in society.

But I think if you do the crime you should be held accountable for what you did.

Should White Collar Crimes Have Stricter Penalties? Over the years white collar crimes have been tried in so many ways and the outcome are either they get let off easy or a few years in jail. I will be arguing that white collar crimes need harsher penalties than what they already have.

The points I will be arguing are, without harsh penalties white collar crimes walk all-over hard-working individuals, White collar crimes allow for more system exploit, these special laws for business make the high class feel invincible, stricter laws will make sure money is accounted for and new laws will make sure business play by the rules. Some of the cons to having harsher penalties are, people won’t be able to get out of debt, businesses won’t be able to advance to the top, more ways could be found to cheat the system and resources would be stretched.

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We must know the history and what the crime is in order to assume if we should change the laws on it. According to Michelle Penn writer of History of White-Collar Crime. She states “White collar crime goes back thousands of years, although the term itself was only coined in 1939. White collar refers to crimes committed by business and government professionals in their capacity as professionals. The actual term ‘white collar’ refers to the collared shirts that such professionals typically wear, (i.e. a suit), in contrast to how many people imagine criminals, as perhaps being less wealthy and elite members of society. White collar crimes include things like: embezzlement (stealing money from your business, client, or employer) fraud (false representation meant to deceive others), and environmental crimes (like businesses violating environmental laws and poisoning water and land)” (Penn).

When we look at counter fit money and how it relates to white collar crimes we must figure how much went missing. A study from WRSP states “Today, 60% of organizations worldwide have a fraud reporting hotline, up about 9% from 2010. Likewise, 52% of organizations now provide employees with fraud training and 50% have a formal antifraud policy. Both of these measures have increased by roughly 7% since 2010. Consistent with the previous biennial study, the 2016 report estimates that the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues each year to fraud. Based on the latest Commerce Department estimate of 2015 U.S. gross domestic product ($17.9 trillion), U.S. organizations lost about $895 billion to fraud last year. In other words, for every $1 million of revenues your business earned last year, a baseline estimates for how much you might have lost to occupational fraud is $50,000 (or 5% of $1 million) in the same period. That calculation can be sobering for many small business owners who think they’re immune to fraud — it happens to organizations of all sizes and in all types of industries”.

$895 billion in one year is a lot of money lost so if we had stricter laws it would make sure money income is fully counted for and all transactions would be monitored. When white collar crimes happen it usually trickles down to the people in society because the more money taken from business means the prices goes up on product and people have to pay more than usual. So, the more we make the more gets taken. And this problem keeps affecting people because it makes it harder to live, more poor people, more thefts going on so it’s an endless cycle of stealing going on. White collar crimes are walking all-over hard-working individuals an article written by Jorgen Wouters of AOL.com stated “Nearly 1 in 4 households experienced at least one form of white-collar crime in 2010 and 17% of individual respondents reported experiencing at least one form of white-collar crime” (Wouters 2016). These stats were measured for credit card fraud, mortgage fraud and identity theft. Brandon Gaille states that “White collar crime has been moving away from stealing money from companies to stealing money from people.

The most frequently cited charge that leads a prosecution attempt is aggravated identity theft. This charge accounts for 18.6% of the total charges that were filed within the last month. Mail fraud or conspiracy charges to commit offenses that defraud the country are also popular charges that are filed. In total, however, bank fraud and wire fraud are still the most popular white-collar offenses that are investigated”. Forbs magazine came out with an article and said there are environmental cues that can create white collar misbehavior and one of them is “Poorly designed job incentives: Finance professionals are compensated and rewarded for short-term superlative profits. To maximize their performance-based compensations, some proceed to circumvent the existing laws. Bradley Birkenfeld, a federal co-operator in the UBS tax fraud case, stated to the Judge at his plea hearing,” I was incentivized to do this.”

In the Enron case, Executive Stock Options Plans (ESOP) intended to ‘maximize shareholder wealth,’ in fact motivated employees to create the massive accounting fraud. In the Wells Fargo scandal, CEO Tim Sloan stated, “we had an incentive plan in our retail banking group that drove inappropriate behavior” (Forbs). So, as we can see this crime effects jobs and how people function day to day. If there were changes to the laws on white collar there wouldn’t be any room for system exploits. An article written by Walter Pavlo on the Forbs website says that there are a few things we can do to prevent these exploits one of the reasons are “Corporate Tax to Fund Investigative Journalism – Investigative journalism is dying. Journalists were once known for uncovering fraud and misconduct.

However, newsrooms around the country are shrinking and with-it stories on corruption. Divert some of the money from the billions in fines that companies pay for their sins to grants that fund investigative journalism. We might find that journalists will look for more stories on corruption rather than their current reliance on the press releases they are fed by law enforcement.” (pavlo 2016). I feel that might help if journalists were able to get involved because everything would be out in newspapers and online, so people would be exposed to it more and learn how to deal with is better. Another idea that could help would be “Prosecutors Need to Tell A More Complete Story About the Cases They Bring – Federal criminal indictments grossly overstate the actions of many of the accused to such an extreme that it makes defendants seem like the mythical Autolycus, the Greek God of trickery (yes there is one). Prosecutors should stick to the law that was broken and leave out the ancillary commentary of ‘driven by greed’ or ‘confederates bent on financial mischief.’

Making the defendants more empathetic sends a more powerful message than the discovery of a rogue (unicorn)” (pavlo 2016). All the information that is withheld from the cases and the people really can have a negative impact where as guilty people could ne free if all that info isn’t presented or an innocent person could go to jail for no reason. When it comes to harsh law and penalties it might be a good way to deter crimes. An article written by Toby and Jamie states “The researchers concluded that prison was particularly effective in reducing property crime when targeted at serious and repeat offenders. They concluded that an increase of just one month in the average sentence length for burglaries – from 15.4 to 16.4 months – would reduce burglaries in the following year by 4,800.” “For fraud, an increase in sentences from 9.7 to 10.7 months would result in a reduction of 4,700 offences a year, out of 242,400. The report declares this to be a substantial effect, especially when we consider that the length of sentence usually corresponds to approximately half the actual time spent in custody”. Even though this has never been a sure way of deterring harsh laws it’s a good place to start.

White collar crime laws make it seem like the individual is invincible from the law. An article written by Scott A. Bonn he states “Wealthy elite criminals such as Madoff or Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom can hire the finest defense attorneys in the world to represent them in court, as well as prestigious public relations firms to spin their criminality into acts of charity and goodwill. Poor street criminals cannot afford such luxuries” (Bonn 2017). He also state “The higher immorality of the power elite is also possible because the elites do not have to win the moral consent of those over whom they hold power. Instead, according to Mills, a passive society simply trusts that the elites will act on behalf of the so-called public interest” (Bonn 2017).

When it comes to white collar crimes it allows for people to get out of the debt that they are in which is called embezzlement when they steal from a business. According to an article written by Charles James called “Embezzling: why do people steal?” he states that people often steal because of “Pressure/Incentive—The embezzler has to be under some type of financial pressure or incentive. It could be gambling, a drug or shopping addiction, or simply having taken on too much debt. It could also be that they are living a lifestyle beyond their means and accumulating material goods that they cannot afford. And then there are the employees seeking payback or an employer is not treating them with respect or fairly.” (James 2016). He also states “found that most people who commit fraud in the workplace have no criminal past and are first-time offenders. Despite stealing from their companies, they still believe themselves to be “honest and decent people,” i.e. “good people.”

As part of their denial, they find ways to justify (rationalize) their crimes to themselves.” (James 2016). When it comes to men vs woman he states “The motivation for men who embezzle seems to be that they typically needed money as a result of individual problems brought on by their own behavior, often money spent on women, cars, and attempts to impress others. According to Cressey, here again, male subjects often rationalized their crimes by telling themselves that they “were only borrowing” the money. Women on the other hand were more likely to justify their conduct in terms of the needs of their children or spouse” (James 2016). So, with this crime we can see how it would help people to get out of the debt they are in but at what cost.yu

When it comes to pursuing white-collar crimes, it would stretch resources and other crimes would go unsolved. An article written by Patricia Hurtado she states the amount of white-collar crimes that come this year was “A total of 3,249 cases were brought during the first seven months of the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year” (Hurtado 2018). Also a article by Adam Brandolph he states “judges usually don’t send white-collar criminals to jail because it’s harder for them to repay money they stole from behind bars. By sentencing them to a period of probation, they can continue to work, pay off their obligation and become productive members of society, they said.” (BRANDOLPH 2014). If they were to send all the white-collar criminals to jail there would be no space for real criminals that comment real crimes like murders, drunk driving, drugs related crimes, and sexual offenses. Also, since the judges are making them pay back the money they stole white-collar crime should be less stressed and the focus should move to bigger problems.

“Barbara Bateman padded her salary with $11,000 she took from Allegheny County employees. Tammie Lazzara stole nearly $60,000 in fines from traffic tickets and citations from a North Hills judge’s office. Ira Johnson gambled away the $700,000 he stole from West Penn Allegheny Health System. All three were prosecuted and convicted within the past three years. Each was ordered to pay back the money they stole. None saw the inside of a jail cell”. (BRANDOLPH 2014). Nigel Barber also states “White collar criminals recently brought the world economy to its knees. and our complex criminal justice system is almost powerless to deal with them. Why? They escape justice mainly because it is so difficult to establish that a crime has taken place, or even to distinguish between criminals and victims.” (Barber 2010)

If there were no white-collar crime, then other crimes involving money theft would accrue. Like red collar crime this is when the person steals money with deadly force and intends to hurt the victim. A case example of this is “Christopher Porco, who murdered his father and severely injured his mother with an ax after they discovered that Christopher took out $31,000 worth of loans, using his father as a cosignatory, to pay for his tuition at the University of Rochester and finance a new Jeep Wrangler. Christopher struck his father 16 times in the head with the ax.” (Townsend, Rasmussen 2017). she also stated, “When their victims, who can include colleagues, friends, and even family members, hold a mirror up to expose the con, the red-collar criminal will often not hesitate to kill” (Townsend, Rasmussen 2017). White collar crimes might be stealing from others but the people doing aren’t killing anyone or hurting anyone with force.

When it comes to harsh penalties it doesn’t allow people to advance to the top. “Rodrigues claimed she had a gambling problem. However, the deputy city prosecutor said the problem was ‘purely greed.’ Rodrigues wrote checks to purchase chemicals for the business but then cashed the checks herself. Company owner Shawn Murray said he considered Rodrigues a dear friend; she was godmother to his firstborn child. ‘She would always show me the numbers, and they looked OK. She was paying the bills, and she assured me not to worry, that we would get through these tough [economic] times, and we would get through them together. All the while, she was pocketing every penny she could” (Kauppila 2007). This shows that Rodrigues was trying to better herself while using the company. When we try and eliminate white collar crimes it opens another door like arson fraud. A case tide to this is. “The Chens reportedly recruited a family member, a co-worker, and another local business owner to take part in the scheme even using the same smoke-damaged goods identified in the other fires. The damages claimed in all of the fires total $5.6 million and $4 million was paid out by five insurance companies” (insurance journal 2018). White collar crimes compared to arson crimes is not as deadly as arson crimes would be.


In the long run white collar crime should be pursued so everyone is playing by the rules and not getting an unfair advantage in life. Even though it’s a trade off with the pros and cons in the end harsher laws and penalties will benefit everyone.


  1. Barber, N. (2010, March 5). Why white collar criminals rarely go to prison. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201003/why-white-collar-criminals-rarely-go-prison
  2. Bonn, S. A. (2017, April 9). Why Elite White-Collar Criminals Are Rarely Punished. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/wicked-deeds/201704/why-elite-white-collar-criminals-are-rarely-punished
  3. Brandolph, A. (2014, January 19). White-collar criminals often avoid prison terms. Retrieved from https://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5431279-74/collar-jail-criminals
  4. Gaille, B. (2017, May 23). 35 Surprising White Collar Crimes Statistics. Retrieved from https://brandongaille.com/34-surprising-white-collar-crimes-statistics/
  5. Helm, T., & Doward, J. (2012, July 07). Longer prison terms really do cut crime, study shows. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jul/07/longer-prison-sentences-cut-crime
  6. Hurtado, P. (2018, May 25). White-Collar Prosecutions Fall to 20-Year Low Under Trump. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-25/white-collar-prosecutions-fall-to-20-year-low-under-trump
  7. James, C. (2016, January 15). Embezzling: Why do people steal? Retrieved from http://thesheetnews.com/2016/01/15/embezzling-why-do-people-steal/
  8. Journal, J. (2018, June 01). California Family Arson Ring Arraigned in $4M Insurance Fraud Case. Retrieved from https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/06/01/490980.htm
  9. Kauppila, W. R. (2007, January). Case in Point: Employee Embezzlement. Retrieved from https://www.fraud-magazine.com/article.aspx?id=580
  10. Pavlo, W. (2016, December 22). 10 Ideas To Curb White Collar Crime. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2016/12/22/10-ideas-to-curb-white-collar-crime/#20079cc22a62
  11. Penn, M. (n.d.). History of White Collar Crime: Developments & Examples. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/history-of-white-collar-crime-developments-examples.html
  12. RP, W. (2016, May 31). New Study Confirms the Prevalence and Cost of White Collar Crime. Retrieved from https://www.wsrp.com/new-study-confirms-prevalence-cost-white-collar-crime/
  13. Townsend, C., & Rasmussen, A. (2017, April 18). Real-Life American Psychos Who Murder For Money: The Rise Of The Red-Collar Criminal. Retrieved from http://crimefeed.com/2017/04/red-collar-crime/
  14. Wouters, J. (2016, July 15). One in Four Households Victim of White Collar Crime: Report. Retrieved from https://www.aol.com/2010/12/13/one-in-4-households-victim-of-white-collar-crime-report/

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Undetected white-collar crimes Lack of strict laws.. (2022, Feb 08). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/the-white-collar-crime-2/

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