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White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

Sample Answer 

White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

Compare organized crime and white collar crime, and then identify the interactivity between the two.

A workshop was organized by the National White Collar Crime Center in 1996, where a conceptual debate reached its climax. The workshop aimed to create the definition of white collar crime (WCC). A definition was agreed upon by those attending as “illegal or unethical acts that violate fiduciary responsibility or public trust, committed by an individual or organization, usually during the course of legitimate occupational activity, by persons of high or respectable social status for personal or organizational gain (Reurink, 2016: Helmkamp, Ball & Townsend 1996). Today there still exists some disagreements in the misbehaviors that are considered part of a white-collar crime.

White collar crime, as most experts in the area agree, is one of the most difficult concepts to define. However, some of the different categories of offenses that fall in the realm of white-collar crime include manufacturing violations, unfair business practices, fraud, abuse of authority, administrative and regulatory violations, and labor violations. There is no doubt that the WCC cause far greater financial damage to society than all other crimes combined. A crime report by the FBI in 2002 estimated that street crime combined resulted in a cost of close to $17 billion. (Schram & Tibbetts, 2017). An estimate of the economic losses that WCC caused resulted in economic costs of approximately $500 billion. There is scientific evidence that compared to all the street crimes combined, the WCC injures, maims, and kills a larger number of innocent people. During the industrial revolution, crimes against the environment were prevalent and resulted in a lot of damage.

When defining organized crime, the difficulty is with the term organized, not the word crime. One approach that can be used is to bring in a typology such as a way of obtaining some goals (for example, theft and violence) and a reason for participating in the activities: political or economic objective. Organized crime can be categorized into a variety of criminal organizations, such as prison gangs, motorcycle gangs, the Mafia, and urban street gangs. Organized Crime Control Act of the United States defines organized crime as “the unlawful activities of a highly organized disciplined association.” The United States Department of Justice characterized the drug cartels of the Mexicans as the largest organized crime threat. This was primarily due to Mexico’s drug war escalating violence.

Organized crimes and white collar crimes are similar due to the fact that both utilized ongoing business enterprises to make gains. The literature about criminology treated as distinct concepts the organized crimes and the WCC. The former was said to involve the crime in streets while the other, crime in suites. White collar crime researchers have challenged this notion by arguing that the differences between the two are minor, if not nonexistent (Gerber, 2000). The line between legitimate and illegitimate has become so blurred that trying to ascertain where gangsterism ends and the government begins is impossible.

Explain how governmental entities fit within this relationship

The government mostly comes in to minimize the occurrence of white collar and organized crime. This can be seen in the waste disposal during the industrial revolution. Up until the 1970s, hazardous waste disposal was not regulated. For decades organized crime dominated states like New Jersey, which were the garbage hauling sites. The success of the criminals was based on the concept of respect and property rights. The contracts for Municipal waste hauling were given to the haulers illegally (Szasz, 1998). The organized crime authorities recognized property rights and enforced them. They enforced the decisions of the Municipal Contractors Association by threats and violence, if necessary. When RCRA mandated the licensing of firms that were fit to transport hazardous waste, it was easy for the haulers to get state permits. Figures of organized crime had influence or possession of the disposal sites. They also owned the landfills wholly or partly. Since the system was not getting monitored sufficiently, the Interim hauling and disposal licenses were given out easily.

Congress extended the period during which the disposal firms and transporters could operate using temporary permits. This was done due to inadequate waste facilities. If the less-than-adequate disposal means were not allowed, America would have been harmed by its waste. The interim licensing was managed poorly (Szasz, 1998). Getting interim disposal permits was a walk in the park for existing landfills and even for bogus firms. A significant roadblock to ending organized crime is the lack of enough waste disposal facilities.

RCRA was later passed to ensure regulation of waste disposal. The companies that generated hazardous waste were now required to document the amount of waste signed to disposers and haulers. Of most of the firms, 62% contacted other parties to handle their waste. Due to the high prices of treating wastes, most of the hazardous waste is disposed of illegally or landfilled. The regulations governing hazardous waste disposal were not carefully written, making it easy for organized crimes to enter the waste handling industry: both the disposal and hauling phases.

Analyze the interrelationships and networks that exist between government employees, legitimate business professionals, and organized crime groups.

Criminal organizations and governments around the world are coupling to the degree that has never been seen before. As a result, the distinction between what suits gangsters and national interests is becoming blurred. Mafia states are enjoying their hybrid status’ unhealthy advantages. They are both well-protected governments and gangs, making them more dangerous than either. The global economic crisis has made it easy for transnational criminals to acquire financially dressed but valuable companies at low prices. After acquiring the companies, many employees are laid off, making the remaining ones to be easily tempted to break the law. The jobless experts in logistics, law, information technology and finance has made it easier for the criminal cartels to access world-class talent (Naím, 2012).

The criminals penetrate the governments to an unprecedented degree. Instead of flushing out the powerful gangs, some governments have, on the other hand, taken over their unlawful activities. Government officials are able to acquire wealth for themselves and their families while leveraging the muscle, political influence, money, and criminal syndicates’ global connections to make further expansions. Most of the illicit enterprises’ top positions are not filled by professional criminals. Government officials now fill these positions instead. Government agencies now use criminals to smuggle weapons to agents in different countries; they may even use the criminal network to assassinate enemies abroad (Naím, 2012). Perhaps the best-known example is the assassination of Fidel Castro in 1960 when the CIA enlisted the mafia figures to execute it.

Recommend specific policy measures to be adopted to encourage exposure of white-collar crime.

Creating reporting avenues in every company

Research by ACFE shows that tips are the most common way of detecting fraud or white collar crime. However, most companies might view the auditors, compliance staff, and security professionals as the persons responsible for detecting fraudulent activities. In truth, the staff-level employees are the first defense line to spotting WCC that their peers might commit. This is because they work side-by-side with the perpetrators and are familiar with the company’s legitimate operations. They are, therefore, in the best position to notice abnormalities. Every organization should consequently have a whistle-blower program that is effective and that provides different mechanisms for reporting suspicious activity. The program must also clearly, openly, and adequately protect and support those who report irregularities.

Compulsory Data examination

Most WCCs affect the accounts in some way. For example, false entries in the systems to cover fraud or inventory theft from books are left out of balance. Proactively closely examining the financial records can shed light on areas that need further investigation. According to ACFE, external and internal auditors detect approximately 18 % of all frauds. Automated tools can be used to notify of any accounting data that do not meet the set criteria such as payment of a vendor absent on the approved list. The organizations do not have to wait for the auditors. Email and text-based data should also be monitored for WCC signs.


Reurink, A. (2016). “White-Collar Crime”: The concept and its potential for the analysis of financial crime. European Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 57(3), 385-415.

Schram, P. J., & Tibbetts, S. G. (2017). Introduction to criminology: why do they do it?. Chapter 14: White-Collar Crime, Organized Crime, and Cybercrime. SAGE Publications.

Gerber, J. (2000). On the relationship between organized and white-collar crime: Government, business, and criminal enterprise in post-communist Russia. European Journal of Crime Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 8(4), 327-342.

Henry, S., & Einstadter, W. (Eds.). (1998). The criminology theory reader. NYU Press.

Naím, M. (2012). Mafia states: Organized crime takes office. Foreign Aff., 91, 100.


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Week 3 – Assignment: Differentiate Organized Crime from White-Collar Crime


Prepare a response memo to distinguish between organized crime and white-collar crime. Assume the organization’s ethics manager asked you to clarify issues on the topic. In your response, be sure to address the following:

White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

  • Compare organized crime and white collar crime, and then identify the interactivity between the two.
  • Explain how governmental entities fit within this relationship.
  • Analyze the interrelationships and networks that exist between government employees, legitimate business professionals, and organized crime groups.
  • Recommend specific policy measures to be adopted to encourage exposure of white collar crime.
  • Provide specific examples where appropriate to support and illustrate your analysis.

Support your memo with a minimum of three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.

Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages

Your memo should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

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