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  1. 1. National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research Vol. 3, No. 1 THE 1999 NATIONAL PUBLIC SURVEY ON WHITE COLLAR CRIME COMPLETED by Don Rebovich and Jenny Layne National White Collar Crime Center The National White Collar Crime Center's Training Eleven people including 3 NCWCCR members and Research Institute has recently completed its first participated in the exchange of ideas. national public survey on white collar crime. The SME’s included: national telephone survey was administered between January and April to over 1,000 U.S. citizens to Jay Albanese- Va. Commonwealth Univ. determine public attitudes regarding the commission John Boyle- Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas of white collar crimes and their experiences with Laura Carter- National Analysts white collar crime. Those interviewed were asked Bruce Keith- U.S. Military Academy at West Point questions about how serious they believe white collar Phil Parrott- Denver District Attorney’s Office crime to be, particularly in comparison to “street Debra Ross- Buffalo State College crime.” Besides presenting information on the public’s Michael Rand- Bureau of Justice Statistics perception of white collar crime severity, the survey Daniel Skelly- Insurance Fraud Bureau of MA results describe the extent of white collar crime Donna Spencer- Research Triangle Institute victimization, reporting patterns of those victimized, Elizabeth Szockyj- Southern Illinois Univ. how safe the public feels from white collar crime Richard Titus- National Institute of Justice victimization and the general image the public has of white collar crime victims. A special section of the The survey was administered to 1,169 randomly survey focused on the public’s perception of work selected citizens representing a demographic cross- place theft. section of the U.S. There is a margin of error of ± 2.8 Data are undergoing rigorous analysis at present. at a 95% confidence level. A preliminary analysis of However, some general findings can be released at results has revealed the following response patterns: this time, findings that we think the Consortium will find quite interesting, maybe even surprising, with ü The public is viewing white collar crime as a regard to how the public views white collar crime. serious crime problem. Many believe that certain types of white collar crimes are as serious or The focus and the questionnaire for this survey were more serious than certain types of “street formulated with the assistance of a panel of Subject crimes” involving theft. The following four charts Matter Experts (SME) which met in Morgantown, describe how the sample responded to some of WV September 27-28, 1997. the comparison scenarios on seriousness.
  2. 2. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 Which is more serious? Which is more serious? Robbery vs. Fraud Armed Robbery vs. Defective Product Product Robbery 41% Armed Robbery/Injury 46% Fraud 40% Defective Product/Injury 40% Equal 20% Equal 14% Someone steals $100 on the street or a contractor Person robs someone at gunpoint or auto maker fails cheats someone out of $100. to recall a vehicle with a known defective part. Which is more serious? Robbery vs. Embezzlement Which is more serious? Armed Robbery vs. Tainted Product Armed Robbery/Injury 39% Robbery 27% Tainted Product/Injury 42% Embezzlement 54% Equal Equal 19% 18% Someone steals $100 on the street or a bank teller Person robs someone at gunpoint or a store owner sells embezzles $100 from his employer. a shipment of meat he knows is bad. Further analysis of seriousness scenario results 3 Engaging in certain “high risk” behaviors revealed that being from a household where someone appeared to increase the chances of victimization experienced a white collar crime victimization in the in most of the categories of white collar crime last 12 months had little effect on perceptions of white victimizations explored. collar crime seriousness. ü Those living in households that have been ü Based on the results of seriousness scenarios on victimized by white collar crime tend to feel less bribery and health care fraud, perceptions of the safe from future white collar crime victimizations seriousness of an act of white collar crime can (36%) than those who had not been victimized vary based on the “status” of the offender. (53%). Violations by those in positions of authority or public trust were treated as more serious offenses ü The plurality of respondents (46%) believed that than if they were committed by ordinary citizens. the average consumer fraud victim is over 60 years of age and makes less than $20,000 in ü Nearly 4 out of 10 respondents (38%) reported annual income. that a member of their household had been victimized by white collar crime during the last ü Half of the respondents knew someone who had year. stolen property from their employer. Only 22% these respondents indicated that the individual had ü Nearly all respondents (95%) reported that they been apprehended for the theft. would report a white collar crime if victimized. However, responses to survey questions on actual ü “Greed” and “use of drugs” were seen as the reporting patterns revealed that only half of the most common reasons for committing theft in the household victimizations in the survey were work place. (continued on page 3) reported. ‚
  3. 3. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 As the following charts indicate, the public tends to believe that those committing fraud are not likely to be Rebovich on May 11 at the 1999 Economic Crime apprehended and if they are, they are not likely to Summit held in Orlando, Florida. Survey results receive the punishment they "deserve." on victimization were also reported in the New York Times on May 25th as part of the article White Collar Crime Control “Assault with a Fiscal Weapon: As Swindlers Who is more likely to be caught? Branch Out, Victims Want to Be Heard.” Reactions to the results presented at the Summit were Robber 75% encouraging, particularly those from white collar Fraudster 22% crime investigators and prosecutors. Equal 3% Discussion during and after the presentation centered on what the results actually tell us about public Comparison of someone who commits a robbery and steals $1,000 with someone who commits a fraud and perceptions of and experiences with white collar steals $1,000. crime. Some were surprised by the results on perceived seriousness and white collar crime control. White Collar Crime Control Audience questions posed included - "Do the results mean that the public is more aware of the personal Who would be punished more severely? and social consequences of white collar crime?" "Do Robber 82% they feel that the criminal justice system is ignoring Fraudster 16% white collar crime?” What do these preliminary Equal 2% results mean to you? We're interested in what the Who should be punished more severely? Consortium members think of the implications and Robber 31% Fraudster 31% value of these early findings. We welcome your Equal 38% comments. Please contact either Don Rebovich (877-693-2874, extension 249, e-mail or Jenny Layne (at extension 262, e-mail at . This project was supported by grant No. 96-WC-CX-001 as awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. These and other preliminary results of the survey Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not were presented by Research Director Don necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. šššššššššššššššššš GROUP MEETS TO DISCUSS TELEMARKETING FRAUD INITIATIVES Association, American Association of Retired Over the past several years, many agencies and Persons, American Telemarketing Association, US consumer groups formed solid partnerships that have Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of led to significant strides in addressing the issue of Investigation. telemarketing fraud. Many key players in these efforts gathered in Orlando, FL on May 8th and 9th to The two day forum centered on the exchange of begin discussion on how to continue to address the ideas, discussions on what fraud control initiatives problem in the 21st century. Participants represented have been effective and which ones could be organizations such as National Consumers League, improved upon. The weekend culminated in National Association of Attorneys General, National recommendations on how future telemarketing fraud District Attorneys should be addressed by the (continued on page 6) ®
  4. 4. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 PLANS FOR NCWCCR WORKSHOP The National White Collar Crime Center is in the process of arranging a one-day workshop for NCWCCR members. We are planning to dedicate the first half of the workshop to the discussion of the implications of the results of the 1999 National Public Survey on White Collar Crime. The second half will consist of a discussion of future research projects that could be jointly pursued by the National White Collar Crime Center and the NCWCCR. We hope to hold the and availability. We will keep NCWCCR workshop in Toronto on Tuesday, members updated on the status of this November 16 just prior to the start of the proposed workshop. If you have any annual American Society of Criminology comments or suggestions, please conference. Research Director Don contact Don Rebovich at 877-693-2874, Rebovich has been contacting NCWCCR ext. 249 or e-mail him at members to determine levels of interest šššššššššššššššššš REQUEST FOR ABSTRACTS FOR WHITE COLLAR CRIME READER Neal Shover and John P. Wright are preparing papers also will be included. Anyone who has an anthology of work on white-collar crime to a completed or nearly completed paper that be published by Oxford University Press in conceivably would fit a rational-choice 2000. The book is organized using a rational- interpretation of white-collar crime is invited choice theoretical approach. It will emphasize to send it to the editors for consideration. the distribution of white-collar criminal Send papers to Neal Shover, Department of opportunities and controls and criminal Sociology, University of Tennessee, decision making. Most papers included in the Knoxville, TN 37996-0490. book will be reprinted, but some original „
  5. 5. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 FBI TO CREATE AN INTERNET FRAUD COMPLAINT CENTER The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has agencies often receive complaints in a piecemeal announced a plan to create an Internet Fraud fashion. The new NFCMC - IFCC center is designed Complaint Center (IFCC) later this summer. The to address these problems. operation will be located in Morgantown, WV and will be housed with the National White Collar Crime IFCC will collect Internet fraud complaints through Center’s (NW3C) National Fraud Complaint their web-site via e-mail. In addition, this web-site Management Center (NFCMC). These two will allow the public access to notification of fraud operations will enable victims around the country to activities and it will be linked with law enforcement report fraud while simultaneously providing fraud sites across the nation. The FBI will be able to complaint information to enhance the investigations of analyze victimization trends and notify local law law enforcement and regulatory agencies. enforcement to take action. The implementation of the NFCMC-IFCC project will play a major role in The widespread nature of fraudulent activities creates building public awareness. The project will develop a challenge for those striving to control and prevent it. real-time prevention and education programs. The arrival of sophisticated technology, like the Training programs for law enforcement will also be Internet, enables criminals to victimize people around developed. the world. Many traditional scams are now wrapped in the flashy, impressive technology of the World Another important part of the NFCMC-IFCC project Wide Web. Fraudulent offerings of securities are is the mutual involvement of local, state, and federal commonplace on the Web. Ponzi schemes, pyramid law enforcement and regulatory agencies in fraud scams, and multi-level marketing frauds are becoming prevention, investigation, and prosecution. During the more common as criminals realize the potential victim early stages of development, the FBI and NW3C will populations that are available through the Internet. be reaching out to federal, state, and local The traditional methods of detecting, reporting, and enforcement and regulatory agencies to maximize investigating fraud fail when law enforcement resources, reduce duplicative efforts, and ensure that resources are not coordinated or equipped to address criminal offenders are restricted from further these issues. victimizing citizens and businesses. NFCMC-IFCC will facilitate the sharing of complaint data between Victims of fraud are often unsure of how and where enforcement organizations. The NFCMC-IFCC to report what they have experienced. project is the first of many partnerships being formed Complaints can get stuck in the early to combat the ever growing threat of economic crime. stages of the reporting process and never advance to the point of investigation because law enforcement šššššššššššššššššš …
  6. 6. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 1999 ECONOMIC CRIME SUMMIT A HUGE SUCCESS Over 700 participants helped make the 1999 moneylaundering, is the author of several books Economic Crime Summit, a huge success. The including Economic Crime in the Ukraine. His Summit, titled “Focusing on the Future,” convened at scientific interests include economic and organized the Wyndham Palace Resort in Walt Disney World, crime, corruption, and moneylaundering. Dr. Streltsov Orlando, FL May 9th through 12th. The Summit was has spent the last year collaborating with researchers developed in order to bring public and private sector at the Office of International Criminal Justice at the economic crime experts together to network, University of Illinois in Chicago. He will be returning brainstorm, and exchange ideas on seemingly to the Ukraine this summer. unsolvable problems. The three and a half days Forty exhibitors from economic enforcement and consisted of 20 panel sessions on topics such as prevention markets demonstrated the latest products economic crime data, money laundering, computer and services designed to assist in solving economic crime, telemarketing fraud, federal sentencing crimes. Exhibitors included American Association of guidelines, healthcare fraud, privacy rights, and fraud Retired Persons, Regional Organized Crime prevention techniques. Luncheon keynote speakers, Information Center, National Center for Victims of Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Clifford Crime, TRIAD, Lexis-Nexis, and the Association of Stohl, author of Silicon Snake Oil: Second Certified Fraud Examiners. Thoughts On The Information Highway were well received. Please join us for the 2000 Economic Crime Summit in Austin, TX on May 9th through 12th. Registration Also present at the Summit was Dr. Evgeniy L. information will be available later this year or you can Streltsov, Ph.D., a professor of law at Mechnikov visit the Summit website State University in the Ukraine. Dr. Streltsov, who participated on a panel session about šššššššššššššššššš Telemarketing Fraud Initiatives (continued from page 3) enforcement agencies. The recommendation also law enforcement, consumer advocacy and education called for proactive methods of prevention sectors. including aggressive marketing and outreach programs. One recommendation was for the development of a “one stop” consumer reporting center where a The Roundtable participants agreed to continue the telemarketing fraud victim could not only report the dialogue at a similar forum to be held later this year. crime but also receive a thorough range of services to The NW3C is currently compiling a report on the prevent future victimizations. In most recent Roundtable. To receive a copy, contact addition, such a consumer center would share the Kathryn Malbon at (877) 693-2874, extension 228. complaint information with all essential ±
  7. 7. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 Professor Seeking Individuals Interested in Pursuing Research on Undue Influence Dr. Anthony Pratkanis is a professor of Psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz where he studies social psychology, social influence, and prejudice reduction. His research has investigated such topics as delayed effects of persuasion, attitudes and memory, and influence tactics. Dr. Pratkanis is interested in studying the use of undue influence on the commission of economic fraud and has developed some preliminary research ideas. He feels that economic crimes are like physical crimes with one exception, the criminal uses undue influence to commit economic crime as opposed to a knife, gun, or other traditionally used weapon. He is interested in working with individuals and organizations to conduct research in the following areas: • Conducting seminars, lectures, and media presentations on the power of social influence, particularly in the commission of economic crime • Developing procedures and programs for limiting the power of social influence in economic fraud crimes • Empirically evaluating current fraud prevention programs • Conducting case analyses of economic fraud cases to identify the underlying influence tactics • Conducting basic research into the tactics used in economic fraud crimes • Conducting basic research into the prevention of undue influence If you are interested in discussing these ideas further, Dr. Pratkanis can be reached at: Department of Psychology University of California Santa Cruz, CA 95064 email: phone and fax: (831) 440-1104 šššššššššššššššššš National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research The NCWCCR Focus is a publication of the National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research. It welcomes articles and announcements relevant to individuals and organizations involved in white collar crime or related research. The National White Collar Crime Center sponsors, funds, and coordinates the activities of the NCWCCR. Editor: Jenny Sundra Layne E-mail: Telephone: 877-693-2874, ext. 262 Fax: 304-291-2282 304-291-2080 ‡
  8. 8. NCWCCR FOCUS Spring 1999 Vol.3, No.1 Research Section Personnel E-mail Telephone Director Don Rebovich (877)693-2874 ext. 249 Personnel § Scott Hage (Research Technician) (877)693-2874 ext. 280 § Jenny Layne (Research Associate) (877)693-2874 ext. 262 § Don Mason (Senior Legal Researcher) (877)693-2874 ext. 255 § April Min (Legal Researcher) (877)693-2874 ext. 252 § Jason Jiandani (Research Assistant) (877)693-2874 ext. 271 § Cheryl Johnson (Intern) ˆ