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White-Collar Crimes: Consequences and Circumstances

White-collar crime can be interpreted as an illegal act, committed by a person or group of people in the position of authority during their business activities (Savelsberg & Bruhl, 1994). The range of the offenses that may fall under this definition is very wide: for instance, we can point out bribery, fraud, forgery, violation of antitrust acts, and so forth. There are several principal sources of lawmaking concerning this category of felonies: they usually include the Constitution of the United States, case or common law, administrative regulations set by various governmental organizations, and statutes (Zander, 2004). A very important part is played by common law or a set of legislative acts developed through trials and court decisions. Several laws were worked out in this way: Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Exchange act. However, the largest part belongs to statutes and regulations (Salinger, 2004).

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Such type of crimes usually involves criminal and civil response. But normally the consequences significantly depend on exact circumstances. For example, if embezzlement has been done by a private body, it will usually entail only criminal responsibility such as imprisonment, suspended sentence, fines, etc. But if it is committed by a federal agent or any other public official, this illegal behavior may entail both criminal and civil punishment. In particular, this individual will not be permitted to occupy any position in federal service (Savelsberg & Bruhl, 1994). Of course, this is not the only possible scenario because the verdict is determined by the seriousness of the misdeed.

State and federal enforcement agencies are those organizations that are supposed to investigate and prevent white-collar crimes. They are very numerous, we may enumerate only some of the FBI, IRS (Internal Revenue Service), Postal Inspection Service. In turn, federal regulatory agencies like Federal Trade, Securities and Exchange Commissions create rules and statutes. They provide a legal basis for averting any violations of the law in the workplace (Salinger; 2004). Furthermore, they need to ensure that law is neither misrepresented nor misunderstood so that no one could bribe or evade taxes with impunity. To do it, they have to take into consideration the peculiarities of different companies, institutions, etc. Their statutes have to apply to a particular enterprise or public organization. Enforcement and regulatory agencies have to work hand in hand with one another. Their coordination is the major factor that shapes the outcome of their collaboration. On the one hand, regulatory organizations need to adopt policies that would incapacitate the authorities to commit white-collar crimes. On the other hand, enforcement institutions need to inform about those cases when legal prosecution is impossible though the actions of the suspect can be classified as illegal. We can argue that flow of information is one of the most crucial variables that influence the net result.

Self-regulation and internal control may be very conducive to stopping those individuals who try to abuse their position and authority. Many enterprises often establish audit committees, conduct inside investigations of an alleged felony. There are several reasons for such an approach: first, the management wants to eliminate the possibility of any information leakage, as it may immensely tarnish the reputation of this firm or corporation. It is much more profitable for them to settle such problems on their own without any external intervention.

White-collar crimes have become the problem of both private and private organizations. They are subjects to penal and civil law. Their effects are long-term and detrimental; therefore, to decrease their rate, regulatory and enforcement agencies need to cooperate closely so that there is no chance or loophole to commit them.


Salinger. L (2004). Encyclopedia of white-collar & corporate crime. SAGE Savelsberg. J. Bruhl S (1994). Constructing white-collar crime: rationalities, communication, power. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Zander. M (2004). The Law-making Process. Cambridge University Press.

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