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Assessing the Federal Government's 'War' on White-collar Crime

NCJ Number
Temple Law Quarterly Volume: 53 Issue: 4 Dated: (1980) Pages: 984-1008
N Abrams
Date Published
25 pages
This article examines the nature, scope, impact, and rationale of the Federal Government's 'war' on white-collar crime.
Steps have recently been taken to expand the Federal role in combating white-collar crime. This includes the shifting of more Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personnel into white-collar law enforcement, including the hiring of more investigators with accounting backgrounds. Although numerous older statutes can be used to prosecute white-collar crime, new laws are being used in the increased Federal effort. In an effort to coordinate Federal activities against white-collar crime, particularly fraud against the Government, a Federal interagency group has been established to achieve interagency cooperation in addressing white-collar crime. Further, the Justice Department plans to establish Economic Crime Enforcement Units in 27 U.S. attorneys' offices. Still, there are uncertainties regarding the scope of the Federal 'war' on white-collar crime. There appears to be uncertainty about the definition of white-collar crime, the magnitude of the effort, and the kinds of cases to be investigated and prosecuted. Effects of the Federal white-collar crime emphasis are likely to be experienced in other Federal law enforcement efforts, in Federal law enforcement tactics (because of the unique nature of white-collar crime), and in State and local law enforcement. There has yet to be a clear articulation of the rationale for the increased Federal focus on white-collar crime. Possible rationales are considered. A total of 79 footnotes are provided.