Wednesday, February 10, 2010
White-Collar Crime (Short Note)
Edwin Sutherland noted that certain crimes are committed by the affluent, “respectable” people in the course of their daily business activities. Sutherland likened these crimes to organized crimes because they are often perpetuated through the role of one’s occupation. Sutherland referred to such crimes as white-collar crimes. More recently, the term white-collar crime has been broadened to include offences by business and corporations as well as by individuals. A wide variety of crimes are now classified as white-collar crimes such as income tax evasion, stock manipulation, consumer fraud, bribery, and extraction of “kickbacks,” embezzlement, and misrepresentation of corporate information.
A new type of white-collar crime has emerged since Sutherland first wrote on this topic: computer crime or “backing.” The use of such high technology allows one to carry out embezzlement or electronic fraud without leaving a trace, or to gain access to a company’s inventory without leaving one’s home.
In addition to the financial costs of this form of crime, that run into billions of rupees per year (stuck-up loans, for example), white-collar crimes have distinctive social costs, including a decline in the quality of life, inflation for general public, and weakening of the social order. If those at the top of the nation’s economic, power and social structure feel free to violate the law, less privileged citizens can certainly be expected to follow suit.
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