White-Collar Crime

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In relationship to white collar crime, David Friedrich has written myriad articles and books on the topic. Friedrich is currently a professor at the University of Scranton. In his book entitled, Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society, offenses involving money and cover-ups are discussed. One of the most important facets discussed in the book stems from chapter one, using an example of massive embezzlement and deceit. Friedrich states that “two investment brokers associated with Bear Steams were charged in 2008 with nine counts of securities, mail, and wire fraud” (2018, p. 1).  During this crisis, other banks incurred problems, causing a 750-billion-dollar bailout from the government (Friedrich, 2018). The most unsettling issue in white collar crime is that most times, large sums of money are hidden before apprehended by regulatory officials either internal or external. The problem is a huge concern because of the deceit and exaggerated truths. 

Accounting and business regulations require intense oversight by internal and external officials related to an organization. Often times with white collar crime, only a few are punished when there are more involved. In most entities, there have to be several channels adhered to before money, purchases, or transfers are made. This usually involves several people in the accounting department, the Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Executive Officer. With all this oversight, embezzlement and deceit involving funds should not be as prevalent, but if accountability is not taking place because of lax punishment, then the problem will continue to ensue. Edwin H. Sutherland is considered the father of white-collar crime because of his studies on the matter. Sutherland was “deeply angered by those behaviors and actions of Big Businesses that corrupted and threatened the laudable aspects of the American economic system” (Friedrich, 2018, p. 3). More enforcement is needed, as well as those like Sutherland who have a low tolerance for the offense, to combat white-collar crime. 

In the article entitled Corporate Crime and Abuse, there is startling data. The United States Department of Justice explains that “precise financial losses resulting from White Collar Crime for consumers, government, and businesses are unknown since no systematic data collection exists” (Center for Corporate Policy, 2004, p. 1). The article also suggests that corporate crime is confused with white collar crime. White collar crime involves crimes by individuals whereas corporate crime involves organizational crime (Center for Corporate Policy, 2004). This information was very important and enlightening. Corporate crime has been documented to cause greater damage than street crime, and the following example adds emphasis to this point. Approximately “17.2 billion was estimated from the nation’s total loss from burglary, larceny, theft, and vehicle possession”, but the Enron embezzlement case cost investors less a third of that figure (Center for Corporate Policy, 2004, p. 2). 

In the YouTube video entitled Unsettling, there are also many startling facts about the media as it relates to cover-ups and white-collar crime. Monsanto is an agricultural company that grows crops and was accused of causing cancer because one of its products was linked to the disease (The Corporation, 2007). The product was posilac, which was used in milk. When former Fox News reporters, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, found out about this, they began reporting the information until Fox News was threatened with several lawsuits. The unethical problem arose because the company was aware of the facts but continued to produce the product because of profits. Fox News decided to suppress the facts because of intimidation. One of the managers at Fox News threatened to fire Wilson and Akre if they refused to either stop discussing the topic or edit the information about Monsanto’s product link to cancer. Monsanto was earning millions in profits, and although there were links to cancer, the company continued the use of the product because of investments and profits. This is a crime, but yet it continued. Akre and Wilson sued Fox News because the network suppressed and lied about Monsanto and then continued to fire them. One of the court findings was that it is not against the law for the media to lie. The media too is unethical as it controls and deceives the mind. The video contends that power and information can destroy if allowed to proliferate with no true filters or control.

References

Center for Corporate Policy. (2003). Corporate crime and abuse. Retrieved from http://www.corporatepolicy.org/issues/crime.htm

Friedrichs, D. O. (2009). Trusted criminals: White collar crime in contemporary society. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from www.scholar.google.com

The Corporation. (2007). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+unsettling+monsanto&view=detail&mid=DABF71DDF8269EA2BCA0DABF71DDF8269EA2BCA0&FORM=VTIRE