• Nic Ryder
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


The objective of this edited collection is to critically appraise the association and relationship between white collar crime and risk. The term “white collar crime” was famously used by Professor Edwin Sutherland, who in his seminal 1939 presidential lecture to the American Sociological Society offered the following definition of white collar crime “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”. The term white collar crime is often used in common parlance and thus is one of which we assume we know its meaning, despite the fact that there is no internationally accepted definition of it. In England and Wales, financial crime can be said to include “any offence involving fraud or dishonesty; misconduct in, or misuse of information relating to, a financial market; or handling the proceeds of crime”. The Financial Services Authority, now the Financial Conduct Authority, offered a similar definition, stating that it is “any offence involving money laundering, fraud or dishonesty, or market abuse”. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines financial crime as including the criminal activities of corporate fraud, commodities and securities fraud, mortgage fraud, healthcare fraud, financial institution fraud, insurance fraud, mass marketing fraud and money laundering. More recently, the term has been referred to as “financial crime”, “economic crime” and even “illicit finance”. The most obvious examples of white collar crime include fraud, money laundering, insider dealing, insider trading, terrorist financing, market abuse and more recently market manipulation. Other examples of white collar crime include, for example, “embezzlement, fraud and insider trading, on one hand, and market manipulation, profit exaggeration, and product misrepresentation”. These types of white collar crimes have gained significant notoriety in the last 30 years via a plethora of high profile incidents including, for example, Enron, WorldCom, Bernard Madoff, Alan Stanford, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Jérôme Kerviel, Martha Stewart, Azil Nadir, Nick Leeson, John Rigas, Bernard Madoff and the Libor scandal. Furthermore, in response to the threat and risk posed by white collar crime, which costs the UK economy in excess of £70bn per year, the government has implemented an unprecedented number of white collar crime legislative amendments. Examples include the Fraud Act 2006, the publication of the Fraud Review, the creation of the National Crime Agency and the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010. Furthermore, the threat and risk posed by white collar crime to the global economy has been has been graphically illustrated during the most recent financial crisis due to large-scale instances of market manipulation, fraud and abuse of the financial system.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nic Ryder
    • 1
  1. 1.Bristol Law SchoolUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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