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Arrogant Chameleons: Exposing Fraud-Detection Homicides

NCJ Number
Forensic Examiner Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2008 Pages: 26-33
Date Published
8 pages

This second in a series of articles on "red-collar" criminals (criminals who commit murder in order to prevent detection of "white-collar" fraud) uses case studies to show the psychological profile of the red-collar criminal and suggests interview/interrogation procedures tailored to this profile.


Case data on red-collar murders reveal behavioral traits that explain why red-collar criminals think their skill set suited to white-collar crime can be duplicated in the crime of murder. The behavior traits that lead to both fraud and murder are the result of their psychopathic characteristics. These traits include grandiosity and poor impulse control, which hinder their ability to foresee accurately the consequences of their behavior. Psychopaths have difficulty projecting into the future, which means they have trouble understanding how their actions play out in real life. They also have deficits in reflecting upon their past. The red-collar criminal's inability to think through a plan that would take into account the potential risks of being caught and the evidence trail left behind is another hallmark of their behavior. Given this behavioral profile of the red-collar criminal, this article advises that the Hare Psychopathic Checklist is an essential tool for an interviewer of the red-collar criminal. Investigators armed with Hare's findings can focus on both the tangible aspects of murder investigations and the intangible qualities of psychopathic behavior that may surface during an interview. During the first interview, an interviewer may not have the time to explore the following psychopathic traits: the need for stimulation, shallow affect, callousness, poor behavioral controls, early behavioral problems, and juvenile delinquency. Therefore, this article recommends the use of an Identification Grid as a tool for assessing whether the interviewer is in the presence of a psychopath by revealing those traits that are most crucial. 20 references

Date Published: January 1, 2008