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Why did good people do bad things (commit white-collar crimes) - Essay Example

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Why did good people do bad things (commit white-collar crimes)

Some of the white collar crimes include misrepresentation of investor information, insider trading, corporate fraud, money laundering and misrepresentation of corporate financial statements (Goldmann 2). Some individuals that have been convicted of white-collar crimes Jeffrey Skilling and Russell Wasendorf. Jeffrey Skilling was a former Enron Chief Executive officer who was convicted of several counts of conspiracy and actual fraud. Russell Wasendorf was the CEO of the bankrupt Peregrine Financial group. Jeffrey Skilling was convicted of making false financial statements, wire fraud and securities fraud and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He was accused of committing a series of frauds that were geared at misleading investors and business analysts (Friedrichs 325). On his part, Russell Wasendorf admitted to stealing millions from about 13,000 investors who had entrusted him with their investment through his Peregrine Financial group. The judge sentenced him to 50 years jail imprisonment depending on the huge financial loss and sophistication of the fraud. Jeffrey Skilling and Russell Wasendorf were both not born criminals. Jeffrey Smilling was born in Pennsylvani and graduated from West Aurora High school. He attained a Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Methodist University in 1975 and after an MBA from Harvard Business School. Jeffrey was smart in class and in his early career since he was the youngest partner at Mckinsey consulting. There is no evidence that shows that Jeffrey Smilling had negative behaviours in his early childhood. On the other hand, Russell Wasendorf was born in 1948 and never displayed any signs of criminal behaviour in his early childhood. In the case of Jeffery Skilling, it was a case of a good person doing the bad things. According to his previous employment records, he displayed financial discipline and intense management qualities that helped McKinsey attain higher profitability and customer satisfaction. Russell Wasendorf is also a case of a good person doing the wrong thing. This is evidenced by his ability to stand the best direct online trading system that could connect the traders with the CME’s Globex in 1998 (Friedrichs 325). The two fraudulent crimes can be explained by the fraud triangle theory that asserts that an opportunity, motivation and rationalization must be present for individuals to commit white-collar crimes. According to fraud triangle model, criminologist Donald Cressey asserts that there are certain elements of fraud that must be present in order for employees to access the assets and information that enables them to commit and conceal the fraud from detection (Wells 29). The elements include opportunity, motivation and rationalization. Opportunity refers to the ability to commit the white-collar crime without any thoughts of being detected. Opportunity is related with the ability to access the assets, financial records and information that allows the individual to perpetrate and conceal the crime (Wells 32). The access to systems, records, assets and information that is necessary for the crime is a major factor that contributes to fraud in financial organisations. Some opportunities are created by the weak internal control systems, lack of management oversight and poor audit functions that make it difficult for the fraud to be detected once it has been committed. The second element is the motivation to commit fraud. Motivation is an incentive or a need to commit the white-collar crime. The motivation may be a financial need such as the desire to pay children school fees or settle mortgage loans. Some non-monetary motivators increased the need to report impressive company ...Show more


White - collar crime is a monetary-motivated crime that is committed for financial gain without any violence. It is an example of economic crime that is committed by an individual in a high social status or one who occupies a high position in an organisation…
Author : jackelinelynch
Why did good people do bad things (commit white-collar crimes) essay example
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