White-Collar Criminals: The ‘Kinder, Gentler’ Offender?


Frank S. Perri, Purdue University Calumet, Indiana, USA.

E-mail: frankperri@hotmail.com


Even though white-collar criminals (WCCs) cause financial damage and, at times, emotional and physical harm to individuals, organisations, and consumers, their crimes are viewed as being less harmful than street-level crimes. Misperceptions that WCCs commit financial crimes because of a temporary moral lapse that represents an ‘out of character’ act for the offender still permeate the criminal justice system and academic venues. Yet, research shows that WCCs may display a pattern of criminal thinking that parallels street-level offenders coupled with the same behavioural traits that serve as risk factors for offences to occur. Furthermore, the belief that WCCs are non-violent is misguided, as there is a subgroup of WCCs who are willing to resort to violence, namely homicide, to prevent their fraud schemes from being discovered and revealed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.