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White Collar Crimes Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

Zero in on a 45 year-old mother of 13. A man comes to her with a proposal. Invest in his company, and he can guarantee 100%, 200%, possibly even 300% returns on what she gives in mere months. For her this means taking out a second mortgage on her house; the same house she hopes to pay off entirely with the promised large return on her investment. Two years later, the windows of the house are boarded up and the woman recounts to reporters the chilling details behind the reason her family has no place to spend Thanksgiving this year. Her money is gone, along with her hopes of ever retiring from the two jobs she works. Stories like this are heard all too often from victims of white-collar crime. “Lying, cheating, and stealing. That’s white-collar crime in a nutshell. The term- reportedly coined in 1939- is now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals” (FBI, n.d.). White-collar criminals are not holding a gun to anyone’s back demanding wallets and valuables. Instead, they gain the trust of those they prey on. Worse, they use their status in society to build comfort in their victims’ minds. A few of the best-known schemes in U.S. history are Enron, WorldCom, and the massive Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. These three cases alone amount to losses upwards of 70 billion dollars. The victims in each case are the same, American citizens. White-collar crime in America is insufficiently controlled due to weak laws, a broad pool of victims, and the enormous power scale of those involved.
Some in the business world would argue that the recently intensified sentencing guidelines for white-collar crime provide sufficient punishment for the criminals involved. However, with the increase if the prominence of technology in society in the last ten years, there has been a directly related increase in the opportunity for business professionals to commit crimes. This correlation was brought to the attention of Congress by the increasing amounts of money involved with the schemes white-collar criminals were being convicted for. Seeing that a clean reputation was not motivation enough for these business professionals to conduct themselves in an ethical way and in accordance with the law, Congress set out to tighten sentencing guidelines. Previously, an average sentence expected for the most common white-collar transgressions was five to ten years. Presently, that average was practically doubled, with the most heinous crimes receiving what could only be seen as a life sentence.
Though Congress has tightened federal sentencing guidelines regarding white-collar criminals, the problem lies in the fact that the majority of state laws have been the same for decades. This means an individual can be tried at the state level for certain crimes and receive an outdated, much lesser sentence. These different tiers of sentencing provide loopholes for criminals to slip through. The flaws in the justice system must be eliminated and a...

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