|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||11||Style||APA|
Literature Exploring Fraud and White Collar Crime with reference to contemporary cases
Module Code: NX0328/LD0328
Module Title: Contemporary Issues in Business
Assignment (5,000 words):
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Accounting and Finance
You are required to write, in the form of an essay, a 5,000 word critical literature review based on a synthesis of business practice and academic theory on an individual topic of your choice. Your essay should include:
• An appropriate title
• An abstract (maximum 300 words) and a set of related keywords.
• An introduction justifying the contemporary nature (importance) of the topic selected.
• A coherent and sectionalized structure covering the chosen topic (and title) and associated sub-themes.
• A summary/conclusion section including linkages between business practice and academic theory.
• A reference list and associate application using the APA referencing convention.
The marking scheme for the assessment is provided in grid form indicating the weighting for the respective components of the assignment presented. In short, this comprises:
• Essay structure and general presentation (10%).
• Abstract and keywords (10%).
• References (10%).
• Body of the paper (50%).
• Summary/Conclusions (20%).
Goals: Knowledgeable about the theory and practice of international business management
1. Acquire knowledge of functional areas of business and management
2. Acquire knowledge of specialist areas of business
3. Apply their knowledge to business and management contexts
4. Conduct contemporary research into business and management
Fraud and White Collar Crime with Reference to Contemporary Cases
The world has seen an increased wave of fraud and white collar crime in recent times and no country seems to be left out. While there are a number of individuals and organisations who are scammed and defrauded on a daily basis, fraud and white collar crime is a problem for the entire society. Combating fraud and white collar crime has proven to be an uphill task due to the nature of its culprits who are often educated, ingenious, well reputed and highly resourceful.
Scholars and researchers have been unable to agree on one specific definition of fraud and white collar crime but several things appear to be in harmony. One; that fraud and white collar crime are typically economic crimes committed for personal financial gain or profit. Two; that the perpetrators of these crimes are typically members of the upper middle class. Three; that white collar crime is very different from traditional crime both in terms of its nature and its victims. Four; that the recent increase in fraud and white collar crime can be blamed on globalization and technological advancements that have made it easier for the perpetrators of these crimes to commit them from anywhere in the world with little risk of getting caught.
This paper discusses the meaning of fraud and white collar crime, the causes of such fraudulent activities and the measures for eliminating fraud and white collar crime. As such, this paper conducts an in depth literature review on fraud and white collar crime with reference to contemporary cases. This paper found that there are three issues with the existing material on fraud and white collar crime: the material is difficult to obtain, there are gaps in the knowledge and the material is inadequate to influence necessary policy change.
Keywords: fraud, white collar crime, white collar criminals, corruption, regulations
Fraud and White Collar Crime with Reference to Contemporary Cases
According to Walsh (2012), crime is “an international act in violation of the criminal law committed without defense or excuse, and penalized by the state”. Fraud and white collar crime are non-violent crimes that are committed with the goal of acquiring money illegally. Fraud and white collar crime occur every day in the corporate world and are potentially one of the world’s most serious crimes. Thanks to improved technology, the 21st century has been hit by the biggest wave of fraud and white collar crime. It is estimated that America alone loses close to $ 1 trillion yearly to fraud and white collar crime. Swindling, blackmail, insider trading, forgery, bribery, securities fraud, advanced fee scams, embezzlement, counterfeiting, investment schemes, credit card fraud, service and repair scams, cheating, tax evasion, extortion and bank fraud all fall under white collar crime (Walsh, 2012).
While both traditional and white collar criminals typically have a specific objective and a modus operandi, the white collar criminal is more advanced. This advancement lies in the fact that the white criminal not only has the technology but also the ability and the knowledge to execute it (Nevis, 2012). Since the perpetrators of white collar crime are typically educated and the nature of the crime itself is nonviolent, white collar crime may take time to notice. This is not to say white collar criminals do not leave victims in their wake. Companies such as WorldCom MCI, Enron and Tyco are but a few of past victims of fraud and white collar crime (Nevis 2012). Studying fraud and white collar crime poses a challenge to the researcher because white collar crime is complex in nature and relies on different factors. This paper therefore analyzes the existing literature on fraud and white collar crime with reference to contemporary cases.
The 2014 paper “Fraud Detection in cards not present transactions based on behavioral pattern” by Renuga et al. found that technological advancement comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. According to Renuga et al. (2014) millions of people use credit cards to complete credit cards every single day. This plus the fact that there are people who use credit cards to shop online has increased the chances for credit card related fraud. They further found that there is an increase in white collar crime which has made it difficult for lawmakers and regulators to track fraudulent credit card activities.
According to Thakur (2012), “The concept of globalization has put the life on fast track in all aspects, may it be a trade, social networking, industrialization, medicines and medical treatment, science and technological development, travelling and transportation and many such other areas not even leaving behind the crime (Thakur, 2012). In “Performance Appraisal of Economic Offence Wing of Chandigarh Police: An Analytical Study”, Thakur found that there has been an increase in crime in recent times and the worst culprit seems to be white collar crime which he refers to as the silent crime (Thakur, 2012).
Yadav et al. (2011) found that handwriting analysis is the most effective tool in identifying white collar criminals. They argued that every person has a unique handwriting and each person adds his/her own flair to it. Yadav et al. argued that for this reason, handwriting is quite difficult to imitate accurately and therefore proposed that Forensic Experts should use linguistic tools in monitoring white collar criminal activities (Yadav, 2012). To that effect, Yadav et al. suggests that the best cases for handwriting analysis are those cases that involve counterfeiting, forgery, identity thefts and anonymous threats (Yadav, 2012).
. Dr. Upadhyav (2014) stated that white collar crimes make up a substantial portion of all the crimes in the world. In the paper “White collar crimes in India”, Dr. Upadhyav suggests that white collar crimes far surpass traditional crimes like burglary and theft. Furthermore, white collar crimes cause far greater losses than traditional crimes (Upadhyav, 2014). Dr. Upadhyav concludes that the sudden influx of white collar crime can be attributed to insufficient government control and in some cases, the involvement of government officials in the same crimes.
Rohra (2013) proposed that in order to effectively combat fraud and white collar crime particularly over the internet, it is necessary for nations to work together. Anti fraud techniques and regulations are upgraded every daily but this is not sufficient to combat fraud. This is because as new technology is developed and the internet grows, white collar criminals are getting access to better ways to defraud their victims online with minimal chance of getting caught (Rohra, 2013). Therefore Rohra (2013) concludes that the best way to deal with fraud and white collar crime is to hold stakeholders accountable. That is, regulators must track down every individual who stands to benefit from a particular fraudulent activity.
The exponential rise in incidences of bribery and corruption is discussed by Bianco et al. (2012) in “International Comparative legal guide to Business Crime”. This book also suggests possible alternative measures for controlling fraud and white collar crime which causes the government huge financial losses (Bianco et al. 2012). The recommendations of Bianco et al. are focused on measures for tackling bribery in BRIC countries.
Dhami (2015) published a paper on “Forensic Accounting: Signaling Practicing Accountants to Improve Skillset and Forming Regulatory Body For Forensic Accountants in India.” In this paper, Dhami (2015) that forensic accountants must exhibit traits such as fairness, transparency and honesty while making financial reports. Dhami further states that is imperative that forensic accountants possess skills such as law, finance, accounting and research so as to be able to adequately identify and prevent fraud and white collar crime. Dhami (2015) concludes that statements of accounts should be monitored regularly in order to identify fraudulent activities in time (Dhami, 2015).
Shekhar et al. (2014) defined fraud and white collar as ethical violations that are ingrained within natural law. White collar crimes are criminal activities perpetrated by members of the upper class while in employment. This paper gives an in depth analysis of the consequences of fraud and white collar crime. Shekhar et al. (2014) noted that fraud and white collar crimes are on the rise.
According to Wadhwa et al. (2012), in countries such as India the government neither has the time nor the resources to curb fraud and international fraud. Wadhwa et al. (2012) concluded that while such countries are only just beginning to examine fraud and white collar crime, there are a number of techniques at the disposal of law enforces for detecting and curbing fraud (Wadhwa et al. 2012).
Savarese et al.’s book entitled “White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement: What to Expect In 2015” looks at the regulatory issues surrounding fraud and white collar crime (Savarese et al., 2015). The book points readers to the high number of legal settlements due to financial crisis and highlights several settlements involving financial institutions. Savarese et al. (2015) that increased government intervention would go a long way in curbing white collar crimes. They recommended that tougher penalties be meted out to help discourage fraud and white collar crimes.
Spalek (2001) studied trust relationships between victims, perpetrators and regulators of fraud and white collar crime. He found that what is perceived as trust or distrust depends largely on victimization. He concluded that who different people consider as reliable or trustworthy varies greatly.
Bednorova (2011) analyzed the criminal justice system with particular focus on the victims of white collar crimes. Bednorova (2011) gives readers insight into how these crimes affect their victims and provides understanding on how best to assist these victims. Politics plays a great role in the justice system and holds the power to shift judicial focus to the victims. It is therefore necessary to push for political reforms that would put the victims of these crimes at the very heart of the judicial system. For now however, there seems to be more attention on white collar criminals than on the people who are most affected by these crimes.
Hotz et al. (2012) published an article on “Search Warrants in White collar crime cases”. They shed light on the fairness and appropriateness of using search warrants as a tool for gathering white collar evidence from an operating enterprise. Their study found that the use of search warrants in itself is penal regardless of whether the enterprise is found culpable or not. It is therefore important that the use of search warrants be reviewed to ensure fairness and to avoid causing unnecessary damage to an enterprise or its proprietors.
Pangaria et al (2013) looked into ethical hacking. They studied such issues such as security challenges, information security, security breaches and their impact, the need for ethical hacking, the limitations of ethical hacking and finally looked at the desirable characteristics of an ethical hacker. They found that information security is riddled with so many challenges that require strategy that is tested and proven to be applicable to a majority of scenarios. They concluded that in developing strategy the parties involved must consider the possibility that a present solution may become a future problem.
Varma et al. (2014) analyzed issues in cyber security and gave recommendations on how best to handle fraud and white collar crime. He found that cyber security crimes are typically as a result of inadequate information security systems. He also stated that a lot of information, computers, devices and network resources are vulnerable for this reason. His sentiments are echoed by the National White Collar Crime Centre which has reported a rise in the number of online white collar crimes.
Barnett (2012) argued that socioeconomic attributes of the perpetrator are acceptable but not sufficient in describing white collar crime. This is because white collar crime is not only complex but also committed by the upper middle class; that is people with reputable careers or businesses. Furthermore, white collar criminals neither behave nor look like criminals. Their fraudulent activities are masked by good careers and reputations (Barnett, 2012).
Jayamala (2008) analyzed the behavioral nature of white collar criminals. Yayamala (2008) found that white collar criminals are often unable or unwilling to satisfy their desires within the law and therefore seek alternative means with which to achieve this satisfaction. The white collar criminal therefore engages in criminal activity because he is unable to find an acceptable way of meeting his needs. This means that white collar criminals are typically driven by selfishness which is displayed in the desire to increase business profits at whatever cost. White collar criminals also find false security in the belief that they will not get caught because they hide behind the internet as they commit these crimes. White collar criminals are smart and educated and rarely behave on impulse. Their criminal activities are planned well in advance and executed carefully with the intent of avoiding legal reproach (Jayamala, 2008).
Jaishankar (2009) acknowledged that globalization and technology have given countries access to innovative ways of doing transactions. While technology such as the internet and wireless communication has generally made life easier for everyone, they have also made it easier for criminals to do their fraudulent activities from any part of the world. The internet in particular has increased the reach of white collar criminals who continue to upgrade their fraudulent skills remotely and use them to commit cyber space crimes. Globalization is also another culprit in creating a breeding ground for fraud and white collar criminals who now operate internationally.
The book “White collar crime Detection, prevention, and strategy in business enterprises” studied white collar crime with reference to major business transactions (Gottschalk, 2010). Gottschalk (2010) noted that white collar varies from crimes committed by the lower classes. For instance, the crimes may include offences committed by lawyers on behalf of their criminal clients such as bribery, avoiding taxes and money laundering. He further noted that it may be difficult to distinguish white collar criminals because they do not lead openly criminal lifestyles unlike street criminals.
In “Crime and punishment: An economic approach” Becker (2000) as the rate of traditional crimes increases so does the rate of white collar crimes. He notes that the government has taken strides in white collar legislation such as the antitrust regulation. His research focused on the economic impact of fraud and white collar crime such as the financial losses typically suffered by countries due to fraud and white collar crime.
Sharma (2014) discussed the rise in the number of fraudulent activities and the inability of regulators to curb these crimes. Sharma (2014) argued that only forensic accounting can help regulators to identify and prevent white collar crimes. Sharma (2014) also pointed out that forensic tools have in the past been used to successfully deal with white collar crime. Economies are suffering significant blows everyday due to fraud and white collar crime and therefore any tool (such as forensic accounting) that has the potential to control these crimes must be given attention. Forensic accounting is in itself a powerful ant fraud tool because it combines various techniques to meet its objectives.
In “Media role in creating awareness about cyber crime” Pratap (2013) argues that cyber crime is looming over us because of our overdependence on computers. Pratap (2013) notes that India only experienced basic email crimes but today the country is grappling with major crimes such as hacking. In India, hacking email fraud and other white collar crimes are becoming more common even after the government enforced the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the India’s Cyber Law. Pratap also noted that the biggest problem lies in the fact that white collar crimes are reported as the victims are uninformed. White collar crimes including cyber terrorism is attributed to technological developments.
Papageorge et al (2014) in “California White Collar Crime and Business Litigation” studied state laws regarding white collar crime. The book focuses on the procedural issues that arise in white collar crime investigations and attempts to reduce the occurrence of major white collar crimes. The book points out the fact that a majority of white collar crimes are committed using high tech communication and computer systems.
Carmen’s “Crime victims: An introduction to victimology” (2013) discusses white collar crimes perpetrated by employees against their bosses or by citizens against their governments or government programs. Carmen (2013) states that these crimes; which may include embezzlement; lead to greater financial losses than street crimes. He further posits that organized crime such as counterfeiting and extortion generate a lot of money that not only affects the life of the average citizen but is also used to pay bribes to law enforcers. This brings attention to the link between white collar crime and traditional crime both of which impair a country’s financial capacity.
Lewis (2012) discusses the increase of fraud which he terms as a notorious crime that is not easy to trace in the article “White Collar Crime and Mediation: A Discussion Document”. He notes that both private and public organizations have tried to curb fraud albeit unsuccessfully. In 2010, the UK enacted the Bribery Act which is perhaps one of the toughest anti corruption laws in the world. Still, regulations only serve to broaden the scope of prosecution rather than to prevent the occurrence of these very serious crimes which is what a majority of organizations are after. Organizations are more interested in developing an anti-fraud culture while the government seems to be more interested in netting the criminals. The disadvantage of all this is that while collar crimes are increasing yet the legal system is bent on using its age-old procedures of fighting white collar crimes. Consequently the legal costs on the taxpayer remain high with little results to boot.
The “White Collar Crime Report” shows readers how government officials are sometimes part of the white collar crime syndicate that is misusing resources meant for innocent citizens (Asner et al., 2011). The report also shows that there is need for the government to improve its enforcement systems due to the exponential increase in illegal trade internationally.
In “Is it possible to eliminate financial accounting frauds?” Reddy (2014) discusses the economic impact of globalization on different countries. Due to the rise of white collar crime, financial accounting has become an integral part of academics and research. Reddy (2014) therefore focuses on the financial auditor’s role in detecting and eradicating fraud. Reddy echoes the sentiments of other scholars and researchers who argued that transparency and ethics are crucial when it comes to the preparation of financial statements. Reddy (2014) concludes that preventive measures are best in handling fraud.
Ranga (2014) proposes that there is need to ensure justice is served fairly and equally despite the social and economic standing of the persons involved in fraud and white collar crimes. He describes white collar crimes as those crimes which involve the violation of the economic interests of the society or state as a whole. Industrial and commercial developments have transformed the economic intentions of people such that people are ruled by the thirst for power and success. As a result, people are more inclined to fraud and white collar crime because they are interested in satisfying certain desires. Ranga (2014) also studied how mens rea is related to white collar crimes.
Hegan (2010) discussed insider trading and the online trading system as a whole in his book “White Collar Crime: Occupational and corporate”. He discussed the impact of insider trading on the online trading industry noting that the use of privileged information to make trades is an unfair business practice. Hegan (2010) looks at several kinds of frauds. He however puts a lot of focus on corporate fraud. Hegan (2010) notes that corporate fraud leads people to sacrifice their morals and ethics for the sake of making personal financial gain from while collar crimes. He concludes that it is impossible to eradicate any evil from society (including white collar crime) without first establishing the root cause of the same.
In “Understanding white collar crime”, Croall (2001) provides an in depth discussion of white collar crimes and their impact. According to Croall, white collar crime refers to ‘a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation’. In this analysis, Croall (2001) steers away from traditional criminology and focuses on the environment, consumer affairs, financial regulation, food regulation and workplace health and safety. Croall (2011) also looks into the adverse effects of engaging in white collar crimes. Croall concluded that white collar as a concept is quite complex and raises a number of questions both in terms of its definition and analysis.
Akshatkhare (2010) in “White Collar Crimes” argues that white collar criminals hail from the upper class and typically break the law as they go about their usual corporate duties. In this regard, people of reputation are often pushed to break the law so as to increase their profits fraudulently. White collar crimes are planned and executed thoughtfully by people in top positions such as reputable businessmen, technocrats and other highly qualified individuals who are often the masterminds behind frauds and scams. Even though, the government has put in place special laws and empowered independent enforces to handle these crimes, there seems to be no end in sight. If anything, the crimes are only getting worse. This poses a major concern for the criminal justice system.
Bang (2012) conducted a critical study of white collar crimes and found that white collar crimes are thriving. He noted that even though white collar crime, like all others, is a crime against the society it still differs from traditional crime. Unlike traditional crimes, the victim is not an individual but the society as a whole. Social and technical complications in the business environment are making it easy for people to behave unethically.
The book “The Investigation and Prosecution of White-Collar Crime: International Challenges and the Legal Tools Available to Address Them” states that it is crucial to first understand white collar crime before any attempts are made to investigate or prosecute (Snow, 2002). A critical understanding of white collar crime and criminals gives regulators the upper hand in dealing with white collar crime. This understanding would also empower regulators to better utilize international legal resources in combating the international criminal activities of these perpetrators. Snow (2002) focuses on global white collar crime and posits that it is not a problem for one nation alone but the world as a whole. The book concludes that prosecutors play a very chief role in eliminating white collar crime because it is their responsibility to gather sufficient evidence to put while collar criminals in prison.
In his article “The year in White collar crime”, Henning (2014) notes that a majority of high profile cases are often thrown out because of settlements between the high status individuals and the prosecutors. As a result, these people get to maintain their social status and continue to commit these serious crimes. Henning (2014) also found that insider trading was the most common malpractice in international trading. Whistle blowing is therefore encouraged because it is important that the people with information come out and speak about the unfair business practices of high placed individuals in companies and the government.
Menon (2011) found that white collar crimes are becoming more pronounced in the corporate scene. Corporate scams and frauds are being reported every other day these scams are incriminating housing, telecommunications, banking, finance and infrastructural institutions alike. It is not strange then that a majority of corporations and wealthy individuals have put white collar criminal defense lawyers on retainer. The responsibility of ethics and conscience, in such cases, therefore lies with the lawyers as they are the ones who provide specialist advice to their clients.
Jaymala (2008) studied white collar crime concentrating on the meaning and causes of white collar crime. Jaymala (2008) found that the perception of crime and in particular white collar crime varies from country to country. Nonetheless, Jaymala points out, white collar crimes are a source of great concern in contemporary organizations. Like many others before him, Jaymala (2008) opines that white collar crimes are occupational in nature and are committed by people of the upper class. White collar crimes are the brainchild of a greedy, ingenious and rich lot that have some degree of political backing.
Islam (2015) also discussed the attributes of white collar crime in his article titled “White Collar Criminality”. Islam (2015) traces white collar crime from its initial stages of development to full blown status. The researcher also discusses the various types of white collar crime all of which cripple a country’s economic status bit by bit. Islam also posits that white collar crimes are committed by high standing citizens within their occupations. The researcher states that the rise in the occurrence of white collar crimes in recent times can be attributes to economic and industrial growth witnessed by most countries in the last century. The researcher provides a detailed report which shows clearly the white collar crimes which are perpetrated by respected members of the society from contractors and suppliers to businessmen and even public officials.
Pal (2014) found that there is need to give fraud and white collar crime more attention if we are ever to succeed in mitigating the consequences of fraud and white collar crime. The challenge lies in the fact that white collar criminals often go away scot free despite the far-reaching consequences of their criminal activities on the society. It has been found that this is caused by the fact that there are gaps in the administration of laws and regulations regarding white collar crime. Apathy is seen as another culprit in the increase of white collar crimes in the recent past. The researcher recommends that we must “take the bulls by the horns in order to fight the menace that is fraud and white collar crime (Pal, 2014).
Dalal (2005) studied white collar crimes in terms of judicial response. Dalal found that there are many innocent individuals who are serving jail time for crimes they did not commit because of the need to prove the existence of legal proceedings. It was established that there are cases where judicial officers lock up people without evidence or blatantly tamper with the evidence to for their own selfish gains. As a result, the prisons are full of innocent people while the real criminals walk free and commit more offences.
Datta (2013) studied corruption and bribery and concluded that the Supreme Court must take a keen interest in anti-corruption so as to stimulate legislation that would adequately control corruption in the private sector. Datta (2013) however notes that this is yet to happen and that it is now up to UK businessmen to operate within the confines of the Bribery Act of 2010. He further opines that the legislation regarding corruption in the private sector is not sufficient, particularly in developing countries such as India.
Academic and non-academic literature on fraud and white collar crime is of significant value to business practitioners because it provides the required body of knowledge for preventing and eliminating fraud and white collar crime. However, it is clear that this literature cannot be found in one place. It is in fact scattered across books, journals and reports. Accessing this information therefore requires a lot of time as the researcher has to study a multitude of fields such as accounting, business, criminal justice and law, sociology, accounting and information technology. This data is so diverse and dispersed that the researcher or business entity would have a difficult time making the most of it. A properly funded study would at least have the resources for this kind of endeavor but would still consume a lot of time. This makes it impractical for organizations to undertake this kind of research on their own.
Where relevant material is available, it is not ready for the consumption of the business community as is. Most of the information is of highly technical nature. Still it is important to note that the existing literature on fraud and white collar crime does hold significant value to private security institutions. This information could be of great use if adequately edited and analyzed.
There is a significant lack of dissemination mechanism for the existing literature on fraud and white collar crime which could be justify the inadequate application of this knowledge to decision making. A lot of information is available but there seems to be a challenge in getting it to the individuals or entities that can best make use of it. For instance, there is a manual on “Security and the Small Business Retailer” which was prepared by the MITRE Corporation but there are a number of small business retailers who are probably not aware of the existence of this document.
From the above literature review three important questions arise that must be explored further. The first issue is in the difficulty of identifying and acquiring literature on fraud and white collar crime. The issue is that this difficulty points to the fact that business stakeholders are likely to encounter the same issues in acquiring information which is clearly of great significance to decision making. The literature review has shed light on the fact that there is no central source where researcher, organizations or regulators can access this information. The second issue that arises from this literature review is the gaps in the available literature. For instance, a number of researchers agree that fraud and white collar crime is too complex a concept to adequately define. There therefore exists a problem in the fact that there is no agreed upon definition for white collar crime. The final issue is that the existing material on fraud and white collar crime seems to have little influence on the economic crime decisions. This implies that this literature has either not reached the policy makers or is insufficient to influence any significant action. In conclusion, this literature review shows that there is need to improve the understanding of fraud and white collar crime knowledge so as to be able to develop the appropriate measures to combat this phenomenon.
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