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Essay on White-Collar Crime Vs. Street Crime

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Most everyone goes home after a long day of work and watches the news. Think, what is usually reported? The weather, local activities, headline news, or daily criminal activity. Shootings, stabbings, homicides, etc. are all discussed by media anchors these days. This causes most everyone in our society to become familiar with crimes that are considered street crimes. What most people don’t hear about on the news is what is considered white-collar crime, sometimes known as corporate crime. White-collar crime not only is less reported in the media but also receives weaker punishments than street crime. This paper will first discuss the similarities between the two types of crime and then explain why their punishments are strongly…show more content…
Organizational crime is criminal actions taken by large groups such as companies, businesses, or organizations. White-collar criminals are responsible for more deaths per year than all murderers combined (Barkan, 2012). Overall, white-collar criminals are less easily detected by law enforcement than street criminals. There are, in fact, similarities between street crime and white-collar crime. Both commit criminal acts (usually in this case it involves stealing or some type of fraud) and they both commit these acts of violence when the opportunity presents itself (Barkan, 2012). But it is the differences that make these two types of crime so distinct.
The following case is one of the most famous white-collar crime cases known to date. Enron Corporation was an American energy company based out of Houston, Texas. Kenneth Lay formed Enron in 1985 after a huge merger. Over time Enron’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and other corporate executives misled auditors and the board of directors in major financial transactions. Thus, $11 million dollars was lost by shareholders after Enron’s stocks dramatically fell in the end of 2001. Enron was then bankrupt. In this case, many Enron executives were sentenced to prison, a rare punishment for white-collar crime. As a result of this incident, the Sarbanes- Oxley Act was enacted. This act ensured that there would be
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