by SS Simpson — integrate diverse existing databases into a single system of accounting. This From this brief review, it is clear that the design and structure of a.
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The author(s) shown below used Federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and prepared the following final report: Document Title: Building a Comprehensive White – Collar Violations Data System, Final Technical Report Author(s): Sally S. Simpson, Peter Cleary Yeager Document No.: 248667 Date Received: March 2015 Award Number: 2012 – R2 – CX – K016 This report has not been published by the U.S. Department of Justice. To provide better customer service, NCJRS has ma de this federally funded grant report available electronically. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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Page | 2 Contents .3 I. Overview of the White- ..5 II. Conceptualizi III. Prior Efforts to Measure White- ..19 IV. Design Elements for Anticipated Data Series. .45 V. Assessing Available Data.. ..70 VI. Criminal and Civil Case Data : Strengths and Weaknesses 99 VII. Lessons learn 9 VIII. Conclusio 2 Bibliography .121 5 Appendix: Agency 127
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Page | 3 ABSTRACT Despite its voluminous collections of data on conventional crimes and the legal responses to them, the Nation has long lacked systematic data on white-collar offenses and the sanctions employed against them. Because this void hampers research on and policy development for such offenses, scholars and political leaders have advocated the development of an ongoing data system that would systematically capture, measure, and describe these violations and the legal repository for the collection, analysis and dissemination of data on crime and justice processing, is uniquely situated to develop a data series on white collar offenses. This BJS-funded project proposes a design for such a series at the federal level and assesses opportunities and challenges in its implementation. The design elements for the data system include a definition of white-collar offenses that distinguishes them clearly from other forms of offending and that corresponds to both professional and popular conceptions of such violations. To achieve these goals we use a role- centered definition that locates the motivations and opportunities for violations in legitimate occupational and organizational roles. The data system comprises all violations of federal laws those sanctioned by regulatory/administrative, civil or criminal procedures to represent accurately the array of offenses and sanctions employed against them. From the federal agencies and departments that enforce laws against white-collar offenses, it would systematically and regularly collect enforcement case data on key factors: sources of identification of cases of offenses, characteristics of offenses and offenders, and case outcomes. Project staff assessed enforcement data characteristics, quality and availability in two ways: through meetings and interviews with enforcement and data management personnel from selected departments and agencies, and through examination of criminal and civil data held by BJS as well as data made publicly available on a sample of agency web sites. Among the findings and conclusions from these approaches are that (1) currently available data held by the series, but the data vary in terms of completeness and ease of accessibility across agencies; (2) some agency personnel see the effort to build the data system as valuable to their own efforts to improve the quality of their enforcement data; (3) the two agencies from which the project sought agreements to share data with BJS to initiate the series both demonstrated early reluctance to share the data; (4) agency web sites with publicly available enforcement data are a promising source of information for the data series; (5) with current data sources we are commonly not able to identify individuals who offend in legitimate occupations because role often cannot be determined unless persons are listed as co-defendants with organizations; even then distinguishing white-collar civil and criminal cases (as defined herein) from conventional offenses can be uncertain because the available data do not clearly differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate organizations; (6) demonstration projects between Department of Justice enforcement divisions and agencies that share jurisdiction with them have promise for both assessing data quality and completeness and promoting ongoing data-sharing for the white- collar offenses data system; (7) BJS should continue its efforts to develop the data system. Among other steps it should seek to form an ongoing working group that includes relevant personnel from key enforcement units and agencies to share information on enforcement data management challenges, needs and goals, to discuss the purposes and goals of a white-collar
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Page | 5 I. Overview of the White-Collar Crime Data Series A. Framing the Issue Since its inception the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has collected, analyzed, published, and disseminated information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government . A notable exception to this comprehensive coverage is the lack of information about white-collar offenses, offenders, and justice system responses, even though the collection of such data was one of the original tasks outlined for the agency. 2 Although the United States has long had annual accounting systems for conventional crimes (including data collected and held by BJS) that have underwritten countless research investigations and informed public policy deliberations, the data landscape for white-collar offending is significantly more constrained. There is no systematic accounting of white-collar offenses and available data are substantially limited in scope and content. BJS does hold some case and defendant-level criminal and civil enforcement data 3 – crime from which it has issued select reports on Federal Enforcement of Environmental Laws (Scalia, 1999) and white-collar offending at the state- and federal-level (BJS, 1986; Mason, 1987), but the information is not organized in 2 tasks, to co white- (emphasis added). 3 The civil data have not been explored or used to the same extent as the criminal case processing data.
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Page | 7 Confounding the development of a comprehensive data collection and management system is the lack of conceptual clarity surrounding the definition of white-collar crime. Because white-collar crime is not a legal category, definitions abound. Criminologists and legal scholars have defined and classified white-collar crime in a variety of ways. Some definitions focus on offenses committed by companies and their managers to achieve the goals of the business, while others emphasize offenses committed by individuals that may or may not involve organizational or business resources but tend to be tied more to self-interest and guile (e.g., embezzlement or tax fraud). Consistent with Sutherland (1949), social scientists often prefer offender-based definitions of white-collar crime which call attention to the social position of the actor. For Sutherland, white-collar crime was even typically) pursued, prosecuted, and punished in the criminal justice system. Instead they were handled commonly through civil and administrative justice processes. But they met the general criteria of criminal behavior, i.e., offenses legal definition emphasized individual-level characteristics, his empirical research focused on the offenses of corporations an inconsistency that caused definitional
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Page | 8 confusion and the subsequent parsing of white-collar crime into criminal behavior systems that helped to organize, classify, and make sense of the extensive range of 1994). In contrast, offense-based definitions of white-collar crime focus on the means through which the offense is perpetrated and its characteristics, as in by nonphysical means and by concealment or guile to obtain money or property, to avoid the payment or loss of money or property, or to obtain personal or business -collar offending within this broad definition, including personal crimes (individuals who act by themselves for personal gain in a non-business setting); abuses of trust (people operating within legitimate businesses and other organizations or professions who violate their duties to an employer or client); business crimes (crimes that further business interests but are not the primary focus of the firm); and con games (illegal acts by an illicit organization whose business is white-collar crime) (Edelhertz, 1970: 19- 20). This focus on the offense itself rather than the social position of the actor emphasized the diverse and extensive nature of fraudulent behavior. The Bureau of Justice Statistics originally incorporated both offender- and offense-based approaches into a single definition of white-collar crime. The
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Page | 9 second edition of the Dictionary of Criminal Justice Data Terminology (1981: 215), for instance, described white- gain committed by means of deception by persons whose occupational status is entrepreneurial, professional or semi-professional and utilizing their special occupational skills and opportunities; also nonviolent crime for financial gain utilizing deceptions and committed by anyone having special technical and professional knowledge of business and governm knowledge utilized to commit the offense. This reality ultimately restricted the operational definition of white- committed by means of Mason, 1986: 2) and produced a classification scheme in which forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, and embezzlement constituted white-collar crime. Notably, the classification of white-collar crimes in this manner was not driven not by conceptual considerations but rather by data limitations. B. Justification for the Series Recognizing existing data deficiencies and the need for research and development on the topic, BJS contracted with Professor Sally S. Simpson (University of Maryland) and Professor Peter C. Yeager (Boston University) to
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Page | 10 assess the feasibility of developing a statistical series that would integrate criminal and civil data that BJS receives from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) with enforcement data from federal regulatory agencies. The ultimate goal of this effort is to describe comprehensively the federal response to white-collar violations and offer recommendations for series design and content. This Technical Report summarizes the conceptual and methodological approach adopted by Simpson and Yeager to map the data landscape. It also utilizes and assesses data from specific agencies to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. II. Conceptualizing the Series A. Principles and Aims The conceptual basis for the data series comprises a number of key principles and aims. A data series on white collar violations of federal laws should, of course, meet the standards of reliability and validity. In practice these translate to the requirements that the measurement schema being employed are comprehensive, clear and replicable, and that what is being measured comports with a concise, analytically-based and clear definition of the phenomenon of interest.
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