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Victims of Fraud: Comparing Victims of White Collar and Violent Crime

NCJ Number
Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: (1990) Pages: 55-62
L Ganzini; B McFarland; J Bloom
Date Published
8 pages
This analysis of the experiences of crime victims compares victims of white collar and violent crimes on victimization risks and psychiatric outcomes with emphasis on data from interviews with 77 victims of a fraudulent financial scheme.
The victims were among 450 investors who lost their money to a fraudulent bank. The analysis showed that victims of white collar crime tend to be older and more affluent and are more likely to be female than are victims of violent crimes. However, they did not have greater rates of mental disorders than did controls. In contrast, mental disorders, cognitive impairment, and alcohol abuse are all risk factors for violent criminal victimization. Generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder are the most common psychiatric complications of both types of victimization. Results indicated that previous history of depression, a large financial loss, and a decreased disorder and suicidality among fraud victims. After violent victimization, adequate social support is an important predictor of good recovery and reduction of psychiatric symptoms. However, victims of Ponzi schemes usually have strong social networks before and after victimization, yet these networks do not appear to protect them from depressive disorders. Tables and 32 references