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Order of the Pen and Sword - Mythologies of White Collar Crime

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Benjamin Civiletti addresses the difficulties of defining, enforcing, and punishing the varied forms of white collar crime.
Among the obstacles to dealing effectively with white collar crime is the fact that empirical data on its incidence is lacking. Furthermore, 'white collar crime' is a meaningless phrase without precise definition. 'White collar' refers to the social status of offenders in relation to their occupations. The offenses committed under this rubric include not only criminal but also regulatory offenses. Frequently this form of crime is called 'nonviolent.' This ignores the destructive effects of this crime form on entire groups of citizens victimized indirectly. The law enforcement and correctional systems are unprepared for white collar offenders, who do not fit the stereotyped violent offender profile. Increased and improved apprehension of white collar offenders requires knowing what to look for when searching for fraud. Inspectors general have been given this responsibility in departmental agencies of the Federal Government. In addition, economic crime units at the Department of Justice have been assigned to detect, investigate, and prosecute white collar criminals more promptly. Essential in this effort is cooperation between the investigation and prosecution efforts that can be achieved only through the team approach. A question and answer period follows the talk.


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