What words do you associate with white collar crime?
Maybe: Fraud? Finances? Business? Government? Justice?
The FBI describes white collar crime as “characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.”
So if there’s no physical force and no violence, are there are no victims?
Of course there are.
White collar crimes include:
- Money laundering
- Accounting schemes
- Ponzi schemes
- Trading program fraud
- Broker embezzlement
- And more
So, to the white collar criminal, the victims are often anonymous. The crime seems indirect and impersonal perhaps. But financial schemes affect not only those swindled, but also creditors, competitors, employees, and customers.
And the effect isn’t limited to a blow to the wallet. According to Sam Antar, a convicted felon, former CPA, and forensic accountant, white collar crimes stop looking so abstract and faceless when we realize that you and I are perfectly capable of becoming victims. As Antar puts it:
“Everybody has an exploitable weakness. The fraudster’s job is to find the people who have an exploitable weakness that he/she can take advantage of.”
Forbes published an article arguing that some of the most directly affected victims of white collar crimes are the families of the criminal. For example, a woman we’ll call Josephina and her two children were left penniless when Josephina’s husband was arrested for a large financial crime. She had assets, but they were frozen when her husband’s were frozen. Meaning she couldn’t even afford to get a divorce. Josephina went to great lengths to eventually prove which assets were hers and convince the government that she should have them returned.
Jeff Grant, Director of The Progressive Prison Project, helped with the case and writes about the fact that spouses and children of financial criminals are victims.
“There are innocent mothers and children suffering in silence in this country. In hiding places you are least likely to suspect. Their family names have been blazoned across headlines. Their children have been taunted, ridiculed and bullied at school. Their friends have abandoned them. They are whispered about, pointed at and disdained. They have been shunned in their churches, synagogues, and civic organizations. They cannot afford to feed themselves without food stamps, or to heat their homes without state aid. They sit with the blinds and curtains drawn – waiting for the day their homes will be sold out from under them.”
Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Founding Director, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., Innocent Spouse & Children Project
In the wake of financial crimes are not only real victims, but real feelings. And oftentimes, that feeling is anger. Do you wonder if a victim’s anger ever turns into revenge?
If so, you might enjoy my latest thriller, Fatal Game. You can find it and learn more about it HERE.