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Another Look at the "Corporate Advantage" in Routine Criminal Proceedings

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 47 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2005 Pages: 685-707
Jean-Luc Bacher; Martin Bouchard; Pierre Tremblay; Julie Paquin
Date Published
October 2005
23 pages
This study examined whether the criminal justice advantage of corporations both as offenders and as victims increases as the size of the corporation increases.
Previous research has established that corporate actors are both more likely to evade punishment as offenders and more likely to obtain punishment as victims for those who offend against them. Research has also suggested that the larger the corporation, the more successful they are in obtaining convictions when they are victimized. The current research analyzed all fraud cases against businesses that were investigated by police in Montreal from January to June 1991 in order to examine whether the size of the organization and the use of private security agencies impacted the outcomes of criminal proceedings. Data were drawn from police files on 775 credit card (79 percent) and check fraud (21 percent) cases against retail (57 percent) and financial (43 percent) institutions. Under investigation was the relative ability of the organizations to mobilize law enforcement resources, the relative responsiveness of law enforcement agencies, the use of outside security agencies, and punishment outcomes for the 85 cases with known outcomes. Results of statistical analyses indicated that fraud against large businesses did not receive preferential response by law enforcement agencies and that organization use of private security agencies did not improve the likelihood of obtaining punishment for offenders who had victimized them. In fact, contrary to previous research findings, larger organizations were less likely than smaller organizations to gain prosecution and prison sentences for offenders. Future research should focus on the offense’s impact on third parties as an aggravating factor influencing corporate case outcomes. Tables, notes, references, appendixes