White Collar Crime: Embezzlement and Price Fixing
White Collar Crime Fall 2012
November 19th 2012
This paper will discuss White Collar crime and the crime of price fixing, antitrust, and embezzlement. There are many different types of white collar crime. White Collar crime is a crime that is not too often viewed as harmful. A White Collar crime is an illegal act committed for monetary gain. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opted to approach white-collar crime in terms of the offense. The Bureau has defined white-collar crime as “. . . those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage.” (USDOJ, 1989, p. 3.)
According to the F.B.I. White Collar crime is not a victimless crime. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three, as in the Enron case). Today’s fraud schemes are more sophisticated than ever. Edwin Sutherland coined the term White Collar crime. In 1939 Sutherland coined White Collar as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation".
People that commit White Collar crime are ordinary people who got into financial difficulty and believe that illegal and fraudulent actions will help them out. A familiar characteristic of people who commit white collar crimes are business people. Business people can be anyone from a banker to a CEO of a company. The working class is normally the ones who commit white collar crimes. Many white collar criminals are wealthy and they still feel the need to commit fraud and criminal activities. The NIBRS data for 1997 through 1999 show white-collar crime offenders5 are, on average, in their late-twenties to early-thirties, which is only slightly older than most other offenders captured in NIBRS. The majority of white-collar crime offenders are white males, except for those who committed embezzlement. However, in comparison to offenders committing property crimes, there are a higher proportion of females committing these white-collar offenses. Pg5
Price fixing can fall into the category as a White Collar crime because of it devastating effects it can have on the society as a whole. Price-fixing agreements include agreements among sellers to establish maximum or minimum prices on certain goods or services. This is a very difficult form of White Collar due to the fact that no one really knows whether the accused caused inflation, deflation, or normal pricing for the merchandise.
Price fixing requires a conspiracy between sellers or buyers. An example of this would be the LCD price fixing conspiracy. According to the F.B.I. AU Optronics Corporation—the largest Taiwanese producer and seller of LCD panels—and two of its former top executives were sentenced for their roles in this conspiracy. The company was ordered to pay a $500 million criminal fine, and the executives each received three years in federal prison. AU Optronics is the eighth company convicted as a result of a joint FBI-Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division effort to uncover this worldwide price-fixing conspiracy. Eight companies have been convicted of charges arising out of the department’s ongoing investigation and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totaling $1.39 billion. Altogether, 22 executives have been charged.
The crime of price fixing is a very sensitive one, simply because no one really knows if the price was fixed for the greater good. Not many people view price fixing as a major crime but it is. The mere fact that companies can come together and fix a price is outrageous. Fixing a price can