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Crime and the Abuse of Power - Offenses and Offenders Beyond the Reach of Law?

NCJ Number
B Auchter; J Katz; M Graham
Date Published
49 pages
In this discussion paper prepared for the Sixth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, white-collar crime and its prevention are examined.
A simple definition of the abuse of power is the misuse of a position of power to take unjust advantage of individuals, organizations, or governments. Abuses of power have been variously described as white-collar crime, economic crime, organizational crime, occupational crime, public corruption, organized crime, and governmental and corporate deviance. The common element of these crimes is deceit. Although such acts have been perpetrated since earliest history, recent technological and social changes have created a climate more conducive to them. Efforts in the United States to understand and combat white-collar crime have included data collection, enactment of legislation, proposals for additional legislation, designation of white-collar crime as one of the four priority areas in the Department of Justice, efforts by Federal regulatory agencies, and expanded State and local agency efforts. Training programs have been set up to develop the skills needed to investigate these crimes. In the current economic climate, careful spending of available funds is essential to maintain the emphasis on improving prevention, enforcement, and prosecution. Internationally, information should be shared on commmon problems, and cooperative approaches to combating transnational crimes should be sought. Endnotes are provided.