Corporate Criminal Liability Adn White-Collar Crime

Topics: Theft, Criminology, White-collar crime Pages: 9 (3093 words) Published: August 20, 2011
Corporate Criminal Liability and White-Collar Crime
Glory Finley
Nur Kanburoglu
Patrina Mohabir
Rebecca Saxon
Julie Stoltz
Suzanne Witkowski
University of Phoenix
BUS 421: Business Law
Mark Goodman
June 1, 2009

Corporate Criminal Liability and White-Collar Crime
White-collar crimes are non-violent criminal actions done through a business operation. These types of crimes usually do not affect one particular person, but a large number of individuals such as employees and investors. This paper will show the history of white-collar crimes. There are different forms of white-collar crimes. We will illustrate the forms and characteristics of white-collar crimes as well as different legal positions focused in white- collar crimes. Definition and History of White-Collar Crime

During a speech to the American Sociological Society in 1939, Edwin Sutherland coined the phrase “white-collar crime” and defined the term as: “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” (Legal Information Institute, N.D.). The term white-collar crime refers to non-violent crimes committed by business organizations and business people (Mallor, Barnes, Bower, and Langvardt, 2007). White-collar crimes take many forms. They include fraud, bribery, insider trading, identity theft, tax evasion, embezzlement, pension fund thefts, and securities fraud. These forms of white-collar crimes along with other white-collar crimes cost the American public more than $300 billion a year (Burns, 1994 – 2006). One cannot pick up a newspaper, news magazine, watch television news or go on the internet without reading about a crime of this sort. The more ways found to prevent white-collar crime, the more ways criminals find to commit the crimes. The people who commit white-collar crimes often believe no one is being hurt. An employee who gives away a few corporate secrets may believe his or her corporation will not be hurt by a competitor having the inside information. However, this is not the case. One famous case of insider trading is the Martha Stewart/Peter Bacanovic case in which Stewart and the ex-Merrill Lynch broker spent time in jail for their participation in insider trading. Martha Stewart avoided losing $45,673 by selling her stock in ImClone, a biopharmaceutical company; based on information from Bacanovic, a stock broker who based the information given to Stewart on the fact that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Samuel Waksal and his daughter were selling all the shares of ImClone they held (from SEC charges Martha Stewart, 2003). White-collar crimes share common traits such as being deliberate acts which are motivated by profit, diffuse victims, have big payoffs with small fines, while investigations are hampered by limited resources and technology which is becoming increasingly sophisticated, the criminals use rationalization and neutralization, and there is a general lack of reporting and defining of the crimes (Keel, 2008). Some victims of white-collar crimes are often hesitant to report the crimes. Part of this hesitation comes from the embarrassment of admitting a crime has been committed and what has been taken in the process of the commission of the crime. Whether the crime has been carried out by an individual or a business entity, the victim of the crime can feel powerless in bringing the criminals to justice. Responsibility and Punishments

White-collar crime is described as a non-violent criminal activity committed by either an individual or corporation that takes place within a business for financial gain. Considering that the crime does not directly affect a person like a crime of murder or rape, the victims still experience many effects that can cause them negative health, along with emotional and financial problems. Can a corporation, as a fictitious person, be liable for the acts of people it employs? This question has been a popular subject of discussion....

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FBI Strategic Plan (N.D.) retrieved May 20, 2009 from
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Iwanowski, D. (September 13, 2007). Business law: Commercial transactions (a summary). Retrieved May 20, 2009 from the JWILT Website:
Keel, R
Sutherland, E. H. (1940). The white-collar criminal. American Sociological Review 5, 1-15.
US v. Park, 42 US 658 (US Sup. Ct. 1975)
Vold, G.and Bernard, T.J
Weinberg, N. and Egan, M.E. (2004, April 24). White-collar crime sentencing goes overboard?. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from MSNBC/ Web site:
White-collar crime, an overview
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