Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is "White Collar Crime?"

How do you define "white collar crime?" In 1939, famous Professor Edwin Sutherland defined white collar crime as "crimes committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." However, as a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia, I have always believed that Professor Sutherland's definition of white collar crime is too narrow. In my opinion, white collar criminals are not necessarily just people "of high social status." For instance, in my opinion, even an 18 year old bank teller who pockets a little bit of the bank's cash may not have "high social status," but she still is a "white collar criminal." In short, I would define "white collar crime" more broadly than Sutherland as any crime related to business or one's occupation. And one more point: in Sutherland's day, only men were considered in the discussion about white collar crime, but today, as we all know, women are as equally devoted as men to the task of committing white collar crime! What do you think?

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