White Collar Crime: Cases, Materials, and Problems - Chapter 1 (Overview of White Collar Crime)
Carolina Academic Press
23 Pages Posted:
Date Written: January 5, 2021
It is hard to overstate the impact that white collar crime has on the United States. According to recent estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the annual economic loss attributable to white collar crime is at least twenty times greater than the economic loss attributable to every other sort of crime combined: $300 billion/year (minimum) versus $15 billion/year. In an effort to curb its effects, governmental and private parties dedicate massive resources to detection, prevention, and sanction. Corporations collectively spend as much on internal compliance as the entire nation spends on municipal policing.
We will see throughout this text how white collar crime bends and occasionally breaks the usual logic of criminal justice. Ordinarily, criminal conduct that causes more harm should be punished more harshly, whether for reasons of retribution or deterrence. Despite the outsized effects of white collar misconduct, many commentators question whether it really should count as crime at all. Individual white collar defendants who are convicted routinely receive more lenient sentences than street criminals, the effects of whose wrongs are often much smaller and much more contained. As to the largest corporate criminal defendants, criminal justice mechanisms often ensure an extrajudicial resolution that limits the reputational impact of authorities’ suspicions.
This chapter highlights some of the principal issues of law and policy that arise in white collar investigations and prosecutions.
Keywords: White Collar Crime, Federal Criminal Law, Accounting Fraud, Insider Trading, Corruption, Corporate Fraud
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