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Building a Comprehensive White-Collar Violations Data System, Final Technical Report

NCJ Number
Sally S. Simpson; Peter C. Yeager
Date Published
March 2015
174 pages
The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) commissioned this project, which produced recommendations for the development of a data system on white-collar offenses and the sanctions used against them.
The absence of such a system has impeded research on and policy development for such offenses. The design elements for this data system include a definition of white-collar offenses that distinguishes them from other types of offending and corresponds to both professional and popular concepts of such violations. The role-centered definition developed places the motivations and opportunities for such offenses in legitimate occupational and organizational roles. The data system consists of all violations of Federal laws - including violations of regulatory/administrative, civil, or criminal mandates - so as to accurately represent offenses and sanctions used against various types of violations. The data system would systematically and regularly collect enforcement case data from Federal agencies and departments that enforce laws against white-collar offenses. Data would encompass sources of identification of offenses, offense and offender characteristics, and case outcomes. The project also assessed currently available data, the strengths and weaknesses of such data, and lessons learned from agency briefs. The project reached an impasses with focal agencies (the Environmental Projection Agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission) in seeking to negotiate memoranda of understanding for their data-sharing with BJS. This resistance may be overcome as these agencies recognize that participation in such a data system has benefits and minimal risks for them. Project leaders believe that the "proof-of-concept" project on environmental offenses being planned will provide an opportunity for agencies to see the value of cooperating in building a comprehensive data system on white-collar crime. 7 figures, 6 tables, and a 37-item bibliography