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Introduction Janice Goldstraw Motivation of White-Collar Crime Offenders 19th June 2001.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Janice Goldstraw Motivation of White-Collar Crime Offenders 19th June 2001."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction Janice Goldstraw Motivation of White-Collar Crime Offenders 19th June 2001

2 Background to Research Finance and Audit background of researcher Masters dissertation based on rational choice of white-collar crime offenders Conclusion that rational choice did not normally exist, but the research did reveal some interesting motivational aspects of white-collar crime offenders

3 The Research Problem What really motivates white-collar crime offenders? Does this reveal anything about white- collar crime to warrant its own theory or can one general theory, as put forward by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) be used?

4 White Collar Crime Sutherland first to address the issue of white-collar crime Problems of defining white-collar crime White-collar crimes or white-collar offenders? Unique factors of white-collar crime Little work on motivation Research to date easily categorised Lack of researcher expertise in this area

5 Search for a Theory Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) ‘General Theory of Crime’ White-collar crime was not distinguished from ordinary street crime Claim that motivation was not important Theory based on the concept of low self- control and wrecklessness A number of criticisms of their theory

6 Distribution of Offences Burglary Fraud Homicide % By Age Age Source: 1985 UCR Data in Steffensmeier (1989: 403) 1985 Age Curves for Fraud, Burglary and Homicide

7 Methodology Face to face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with convicted offenders Sample selection Definition of a white-collar crime offender Access difficulties

8 Preliminary Findings General Observations Predominantly male offenders Average age of sample to date 40 years old Mixture of marital status, often lost after conviction Nearly all offences committed through occupation, few had jobs on release Few with previous sentences of any kind Hardly any crimes linked with drugs or alcohol Inconsistency of sentencing

9 Analysis of Offence Value Per Month Sentenced £ Sample Men Women

10 Preliminary Findings Influences Most did not weigh up the costs beforehand Men did not think about the possibility of a custodial sentence, whereas women did Women in particular were unaware of the amounts of money involved Age not so important as life changes and stages

11 Preliminary Findings Motivation Only one third stated that greed was a factor One third committed the offence(s) through financial concerns, either of their own or associated businesses Where multiple acts were committed, nearly half saw this initially as a ‘one-off’ Fear of failure, business and personal were major factors to nearly all offenders

12 Preliminary Findings Rationalisations High proportion gave some rationalisation of their action(s), however few said they deserved the benefits ‘Roller-coaster effect’ Evidence of blackmail in some instances Blame on organisation allowing it to happen or ‘deserving’ it View of crimes as victimless & differential treatment of organisation types

13 Use of work Inform criminological research Add to theoretical perspectives Contribute practically to business Raise questions about white-collar crime and the criminal justice system


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