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White Collar Crime


Welcome to the age of white collar crime. A time when the
words thieves and businessmen go hand in hand. White collar
criminals don't get their hands dirty in their work. They
use their heads to get what they want instead of using a
little muscle. These criminals are just as dangerous as the
rapists and murderers.
In these times, even the most seemingly respectable people
are suspected of white collar crimes. President Clinton and
the first lady Hillary Clinton have been tangled up in the
Whitewater and Travelgate business ventures. Although the
two have not been formally charged with any wrongdoing,
there is a committee currently investigating their dealings
and charges are not out of the question for either of them.
In Michael Isikoff's and Mark Hosenball's Newsweek article
"Cracks in the Wall," they describe the Clintons' dealings
with Whitewater and the possible consequences of them: "The
Senate Whitewater committee is considering asking for
perjury charges against Susan Thomas and Maggie Williams,
Mrs. Clintons' chief of staff, in connection with her
testimony about the removal of documents from Vince
Foster's office" (Isikoff 29). This case goes to show that
there presently a growing problem with our country, and it
is called white collar crime. White collar crimes are very
numerous in kind. New ones are always being invented by
someone with a good scam. Embezzlement, tax evasion, and
fraud are some of the more popular kinds. A person who has
the power of controlling money in a business is most likely

A shortened definition of embezzlement is "to steal money
that is entrusted to Phillips 2 one." This is one of the
fastest rising crimes in the nation. According to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, embezzlement rose thirty
eight percent from 1984 to 1993 (U.S. Dept. of Justice
239). Forgery is another growing form of white collar
crime. This is defined as the act of imitating or
counterfeiting documents or signatures for the purpose of
deceiving someone. Forgery also shows the same growth
trends as embezzlement. From 1984 to 1993 forgery and
counterfeiting increased twenty-one percent (U.S. Dept. of
Justice 240). Bogus ads, job scams, and telephone scams
are all examples of fraud. Basically these scams ask you to
send money for something that is non-existent. An example
of a telephone scam would be if someone called to ask for
donations for a phony organization or charity. If you
donated the money, it would either not get to the
organization or charity you wanted, or the charity simply
did not exist in the first place. The most obvious way
these crimes differ from other crimes is that they don't
require any "dirty work." When people think of crimes, they
think of get away cars and bank heists, but many criminals
never even touch a gun. Their weapon of choice is a
computer or a telephone. They are just as deadly with these
as the man with the gun in the bank. White collar crimes
are committed out of greed. The people who usually commit
these crimes are financially secure. A lot of crimes are
committed out of greed, but virtually all white collar
crimes are committed out of greed.
 Statistics show that the majority of white collar crimes
are committed by certain groups of people. Using the
Federal Bureau of Investigation's findings, White collar
crimes are definitely committed by certain people. nine
thousand five-hundred and six people, who were all over
eighteen, were arrested for embezzlement in nine-teen
ninety three. Only five hundred and eighty- Phillips 3 six
people under eighteen were arrested for the same crime, in
the same year. The findings were nearly the same although
for men and women. Men were one and a half times more
likely than women to embezzle money. The statistics for
fraud and forgery were nearly the same (U.S. Dept. of
Justice 239) From these findings, men over eighteen are
most likely to be charged with embezzlement, fraud or
forgery. Women over the age of eighteen are a little less
likely to commit one of the specified white collar crimes.
People in authority positions are also more likely to
commit these crimes. These people have more opportunities
to commit a white collar crime than a person with little
authority. Peter Michelmore, a journalist for Readers
Digest describes this situation well in his article, "On
the Trail of a Scam" He describes a savings and loan scam
and the man behind it all. "Meyer learned that New Era was
run by John G. Bennet, Jr., a 57 year old evangelical
Christian." (112) New Era was a getting money from a
private university, in which he promised huge returns on
their investment. New Era did show them huge profits, but
only to gain their trust and invest more money. The private
university was gaining trust in New Era and investing more
money. Finally, when They had invested a large sum of
money, New Era collapsed and John Bennet walked away with
the university's money. Mr. Bennet is a prime example of
our findings. He is a man over the age of eighteen and he
is in a position of power. People have entrusted him with
their money. To commit his crime, he needed to be in a
position where he was trusted, or in authority. After he
won their trust, he took their money. White collar crimes
are growing at an alarming rate and must be curbed. There
are many things that the nation can do to slow the growth
of these crimes. The white collar crime that affects the
most people is the scam. For that reason, scam prevention
will be emphasized more than embezzlement. I feel that the
most effective weapon against these crimes is to inform the
Phillips 4 public. If the general population knew more
about these scams they could protect themselves much
better. Alison Young, a Detroit Free Press journalist, has
a few tips. Take a look at the what the person is offering
or trying to sell you. Make sure that it is plausible. If
the person or organization you are dealing with has an
eight hundred number, call it and request information. Be
very weary of anyone who will not comply. Use caution
around people who try to do quick deals or say that you
must act now. Do not give out your credit card number by
phone to someone whom you are not comfortable with. If you
discover a scam being run with a legitimate company's name,
let the company know so they can fix the problem. (from
Young A1+) These tips, along with using old fashioned
common sense should help keep anyone out of the grips of a
scam or any other sort of fraudulent business encounter.
The most obvious way to help stop these crimes is to impose
stricter penalties for committing them. This would scare
off anyone considering committing a white collar crime. If
someone knows that if they get caught, they will face a
long prison sentence, it would make them less likely to
even consider it. A couple of problems with this possible
solution is that sentences for white collar crimes are
already strict and prisons in our country are beginning to
become overcrowded. Taking those two factors into
consideration, harsher sentences on white collar crimes
does not seem to be the answer. Possibly the answer to
slowing down the growth of white collar crimes is to make
them harder to commit. In the case of embezzlement, if
everyone at a particular business or company would keep a
an eye out for anything suspicious, that alone would detour
potential thieves. The real solution to this problem is
going to have to come from the people who are being
affected by it. They are the most likely to stop it. They
cannot let anyone take advantage of them anymore. Keep
Phillips 5 an eye out for yourself, and let everyone know
that you are keeping an eye out. A person with this
attitude will be a less likely target. White collar crimes
are a rapidly growing problem concerning our nation and
need to be controlled. They are growing at such an alarming
rate that soon they could be on the top of our country's
list of problems. The growth of these crimes is comparable
to growth of this nation's drug problem. Drugs were once a
isolated problem in this country. Most did not give them
much thought because it didn't have much of an effect on
them. Most do not give white collar crimes much thought
because they are only things that they read about in
newspapers and hear on the news. If these crimes continue
to grow at the present rate, they will be out of control
before we know it.



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