The Gray Area of White-Collar Crime: It Isn’t Black or White


  • Stephan G. Schneider


White-collar crime is an issue that enthralls society. It has been the topic of many successful television shows, books, and movies. Society received one of its most revered movie quotes when Gordon Gekko told a room full of investors that “Greed is good.”1 Politicians like Elizabeth Warren base entire platforms on it and situations like the Trump investigation, the Iran-Contra scandal, and the Enron fraud dominate news headlines. It is most curious though that although society finds itself constantly entertained at white-collar crime, the study of it is quite lacking. To be fair, this lack of understanding is not for lack of trying. The study of this societal phenomenon has come a long way since the term was introduced by Sutherland in the 1940s.2 Criminologists and other social scientists have presented a broad spectrum of literature that narrowly present theories that explain white collar crime.