Abstract Title

Is White-Collar Crime A Serious Threat and Does Public Perception Affect Penalization?

Faculty Mentor Name

Thomas Foley, Karen Meunier, and Geoffrey Jensen

Format Preference

Oral Presentation

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to determine if public perception of white-collar crimes influences the sentencing of the convicted offenders. The earliest definition of this type of crime was “crime committed by a person of…high social status in the course of his occupation.” Today, the meaning has expanded to include a variety of nonviolent crimes usually committed in commercial situations for financial gain.1 Although white-collar crimes have taken place for years, it is relatively recent that it has received public attention. Research commissioned by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, found that the cost of white-collar crimes in 2014 totaled in the trillions of dollars.2 Offenders often evade prosecution because their crimes are less likely to be detected. Various case studies presented show sentencing for white-collar crime is more forgiving than street crime. Not until high-profile cases such as Enron and AIG did offenders receive harsher penalties. However, even those penalties are light considering the impact they had on the economy and personal finances of many. White-collar crime is continuous. When these criminals are caught, the penalties are significantly marginal relative to their impact. A number of factors that may contribute to this disparity: public perception, reporting standards, awareness, victim blaming, and lack of harsher penalties. This combination continues to spearhead the progression of white-collar crime and manifests the façade that it is more socially acceptable to be a white-collar criminal than a street criminal. Oral and Poster Presentation

Location

AC1-114

Start Date

4-10-2015 12:45 PM

End Date

4-10-2015 1:00 PM

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Apr 10th, 12:45 PM Apr 10th, 1:00 PM

Is White-Collar Crime A Serious Threat and Does Public Perception Affect Penalization?

AC1-114

The purpose of this research is to determine if public perception of white-collar crimes influences the sentencing of the convicted offenders. The earliest definition of this type of crime was “crime committed by a person of…high social status in the course of his occupation.” Today, the meaning has expanded to include a variety of nonviolent crimes usually committed in commercial situations for financial gain.1 Although white-collar crimes have taken place for years, it is relatively recent that it has received public attention. Research commissioned by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, found that the cost of white-collar crimes in 2014 totaled in the trillions of dollars.2 Offenders often evade prosecution because their crimes are less likely to be detected. Various case studies presented show sentencing for white-collar crime is more forgiving than street crime. Not until high-profile cases such as Enron and AIG did offenders receive harsher penalties. However, even those penalties are light considering the impact they had on the economy and personal finances of many. White-collar crime is continuous. When these criminals are caught, the penalties are significantly marginal relative to their impact. A number of factors that may contribute to this disparity: public perception, reporting standards, awareness, victim blaming, and lack of harsher penalties. This combination continues to spearhead the progression of white-collar crime and manifests the façade that it is more socially acceptable to be a white-collar criminal than a street criminal. Oral and Poster Presentation