The State of Mind of a White Collar Criminal

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3 Responses

  1. Steven says:

    Managed systems determine performance more than individuals. I am not a legal professional, but have experience in quality management. The key is to develop auditable/verifiable processes. White collar criminals, perhaps more so than street criminals, do not think they will be caught. Often this is because they see weaknesses in the systems and exploit them. I would submit that many white collar crimes involved complicity or negligence by co-workers. Corrupt individuals are easy to detect when there are different checks/gate keepers of their behaviors. Most corruption is an abuse of power where rules are disregarded or side-stepped. In this respect, COOs are actually often aligned with the corruption rather than actively trying to stop it.

  2. Lisa Lawler says:

    As a long time advocate and mentor for white collar wives and families, I have had the opportunity to get up close and personal and collect data on over 75 white collar criminals regarding their personas and especially, their behaviors in the aftermath of their crimes. I respectfully disagree with Steven’s post that these persons are easily detected. They are not. I am currently working on a lecture titled “Thieves Among Us” that profiles the average white collar criminal. The following is an excerpt:
    Although it is unfair to paint all white collar criminals with a broad brush, the similarities between them is astounding and as such, a profile can indeed be drawn. Unfortunately, this profile provides no warning signs as first and foremost, although wolves in sheep’s clothing, white collar criminals are usually in good standing with their employers, co-workers, communities and family members. This is what makes detection nearly impossible. However, just beneath this illusive facade lurks a covert bravado and duality that affords them the capability to rob blind, individuals, corporations and even countries. This is in contrast to the CEO who throws his weight around because he is insecure and has deep rooted fears about his place in the world. Those personalities are usually bullies with low self worth and not inclined to criminal behavior because they are cowardly. White collar criminals are cunning and usually seen as good guys. While they are by no means “Ted Bundys”, it is chilling that they cannot be easily detected due to their extremely charming traits. As for remorse, it only occurs when and because they are caught. White collar criminals rarely, if ever, stop their criminal behavior of their own accord as their inflated sense of entitlement urges them on. It appears to be compulsive. There is good and bad in all people but white collar criminals are a breed all their own. Although I am not a clinician, it has not been difficult to connect personality traits within my “control group” that are similar across the board. The majority appear to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder with varying degrees of sociopathic tendencies. Their ability to compartmentalize and co-mingle their criminal behavior with their personal and professional interactions is astonishing. This is what makes them so dangerous and why their crimes are so egregious. Is it possible to rehabilitate a white collar criminal? Hard to say as how could we tell? They are master manipulators who in some cases evoke our sympathy, (this is their trick), but mostly make us question who they really are. Deterrence in the form of company compliance programs/expectations are ineffective and a waste of time on these individuals. Remember, the rules do not apply to white collar criminals. While most people are innately self-controlled, those that would perform illegally are without conscious and will easily walk through any controls. To penetrate the workings of a narcissist is no easy task. The only chance of deterrence is to confront them with overt cautionary tales of capture and loss of free will, standing in ones community and most heartbreaking of all, loss of family. Scared straight tactics have always been a last resort deterrent but an effective one. It is not the 99.9% of compliant employees a corporation must worry about but the 1% of lone actors that can bring down the entire house. In addition to my advocacy work on behalf of white collar wives and families I have developed a lecture series on ethics in the workplace and urge all who are serious about compliance and risk to contact me for a compelling hour of “Truth and Consequences: Easy Money Isn’t Easy” from a new voice with a new perspective on enforcement. As a former white collar wife I know all too well the massive debris path white collar crime leaves behind. Until the whole of society stops measuring success in terms of financial status and our proclivity for more abates, the terrible epidemic of white collar crime will continue to become more widespread. Please contact me at for more information or visit The White Collar Wives Club blog. Thank you for the platform.

  1. May 18, 2017

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