The 3 Biggest White-Collar Crimes in History

Oct 26, 2016

“White-collar crime is a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” ~ Edwin Sutherland, a 1939 sociologist

While poverty, drugs, and gang affiliation influences most crime today, what makes someone turn to a life of white-collar crime? According to Eugene Soltes, author of “Why They Do It; Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal,” these criminals “put little effort into these decisions because they never deeply felt that the decisions were harmful to themselves or others. And because they didn’t perceive this harm, they had little reason to pause and reconsider their course of action.”

This is something you see with the top 3 biggest white-collar crimes in history, which include:

  • Nick Leeson started by making very successful speculative trades for Barings, but when his luck ran out he started hiding his losses eventually costing the bank twice its trading capital ($1.4 billion) and eventually causing it to declare itself insolvent.

  • WorldCom CEO, Bernard Ebbers grew wealthy from the rising price of his holding in the company's stock. However, in 2000 the industry entered a downturn, which forced it to abandon its proposed merger with Sprint. Banks began putting greater pressure on Ebbers to cover the stock margins, which he'd used to finance his other businesses. Instead, he had his executives use fraudulent accounting methods to paint a picture of financial growth, keeping the company's stock prices artificially high.

  • Allen Stanford, owner of Stanford International Bank sold $8 billion worth of “certificates of deposit” to investors by promising them improbable and unsubstantiated high returns, which never materialized. This is similar to what Bernard Madoff did with the huge Ponzi scheme he created.

Even the newly legalized marijuana industry is susceptible to white-collar crime. This demonstrates that regardless what industry you're in, you may still get charged with such a crime and find yourself in need of a white-collar crime attorney. If and when that time comes, make sure you contact us. We're here to help!

Category: White Collar Crime

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.

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