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Gender and Serious Fraud in Australia and New Zealand

NCJ Number
Janice Goldstraw; Russell G. Smith; Yuka Sakurai
Date Published
January 2005
6 pages
This paper examines gender differences in the commission of serious fraud offenses in Australia and New Zealand and how offenders’ experiences within the criminal justice system may differ depending on their gender.
Recently, a sample of serious fraud cases handled within Australian and New Zealand higher criminal courts during 1998 and 1999 were examined, specifically why offenses were committed and how those convicted were dealt with in the courts. One particular variable of concern was the gender of those convicted. This paper attempts to challenge the traditional welfarist stereotype of female fraud offending in Australia and New Zealand. Cases were chosen which had resulted in a court determination during 1998 and 1999 and fulfilled the criteria of seriousness, such as a financial loss of generally over $100,000 per file, sophistication in the planning and/or execution of the offense, some degree of organization of the offenders, and whether the offenses were committed by professionals. The sample was comprised of 155 separate files on cases of serious fraud, 39 of which involved women. The study found that serious and large-scale frauds were not purely the domain of men. Some of the women in the sample had committed very premeditated and complex frauds, involving substantial amounts of money. In summation, there is an apparent increase in the involvement of women due to a number of complex relationships between women’s position in society and their participation in the workforce. References