The years 2008 shined a light on a group of people who were considered high society. When the stock market crashed in September 2008, the world shines a spotlight on the financial corporation. Words such as hedge fund manager and financial instrument such as credit default swaps are not words not known to everyday citizens. The economic downturn forced society to ask question not normally asked.
The reality that there are criminal who has assessed too many people retirement and investment is a shocking and alarming to the non-professional investor. When someone is in a legitimate occupation and committing, an illegal act is a white-collar crime. “To be more concise white - collar crime is define as any illegal act, punishable by a criminal sanction, that is committed in the courses of a legitimate occupation or pursuit by a corporation or by an otherwise respectable individual of high social standing” (Conklin, 2007, Criminology, p. 69).
This is not to say that all white-collar crime is committed by upper income or affluent persons. The Sociologist Edwin Sutherland, who is responsible for the term white-collar crime around, classified some lesser affluent crimes as white-collar crime. The next section of this paper examines the different type of white-collar crime and the law that regulate them. Moreover, the social impact of the white-collar crimes will be analyzed as well.
“The laws that governed many of the offenses considered white collar fall under the scope of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which regulate trading of certain financial instrument like bonds , stocks and debentures”(www.sec.gov). Another law governing white-collar crimes is the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. The Sherman Act limits monopolies, or the merging of companies that would limit competition (www.stolaf.edu). Clean Water Act of 1972 establish the structure for companies discharging pollutants into the water, the law establish the water quality standard for contaminants in surface waters” (www.epa.gov). Truth in Lending Act or Consumer Credit Protection Act is a law established to promote informed use of consumer credit by disclosures about terms and interests.
The Act further governs certain credit transaction such as lien credit card and mortgage loans. (FDIC.gov). The False Claim Act protect consumer from companies who knowingly submit, or cause another person or entity to submit, false claim for payment of government funds. (www. taf.org) “The Federal Food, Drug Act prevent companies from manufacturing, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes”(fda.gov).
Many of these regulatory agencies have been under attack by special interest groups who want less oversight in their business endeavors. However, less oversight is one way that white-collar crimes are overlook. For example,...