Cressey's Fraud Triangle

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1. Discuss (1) the evolution of the term “white-collar crime and (2) the advantages and disadvantages of using an offense-based definition of white-collar crime

White-collar crime refers to crimes committed by persons of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation (Sutherland, 1940). Unlike ordinary crimes, white-collar crimes are illegal acts that violate the public trust, committed individuals or organizations by nonphysical means and by concealment to obtain money, and property, or to obtain business or personal advantage. Edwin H. Sutherland, an American sociologist, constructed the term white-collar crime in the late 1930s. According to Sutherland, white-collar criminality occurs frequently in the form of misrepresentation
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Explain the components of Cressey’s Fraud Triangle: motivation (pressures/rewards), opportunity, and rationalization. Apply these components to explain the identity theft crimes discussed in the article “The Great …show more content…
His fraud triangle is composed of three categorized stages. The stages are categorized by their effect on the individual. The three stages are as follows: Motivation/pressure, opportunity, and rationalization. The first stage in the triangle is motivation or pressure. According to Cressey, pressure on the individual is the driving force/motivation to commit crime. Motivation can stem from financial goals, and may occur on the individual or corporate level. Examples of pressure include debt, shortfall in revenue, or a company’s financial success. The second step or stage is the opportunity to commit fraud. In order for a crime (fraud) to be committed, one must first recognize the opportunity and the means to defraud the company or organization. The opportunity to commit fraud involves having a clear and untraceable course of action or plan that is not likely to be detected or discovered. Trust by the public or organization often gives rise to opportunities. If people trust you, they are not likely to monitor or question what you do. The third and final stage in Cressey’s fraud triangle is rationalization, or the ability to rationalize crime. This stage includes a great degree of cognition. Fraud, especially for first time criminals, can create cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to feelings of discomfort one might experience that result from holding

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