Case study 1
In September 2015, nine defendants to a multimillion Identity tax refund fraud ring were sentenced to 180 months in prison. The ring leader Keisha Lanier was charged over 5 million dollars for her role in the stolen identity tax refund fraud that took part between 2011 and 2013. Lanier and her co-conspirator Tracy Mitchell led an enormous scale ring of over 9,00 false individual federal; income tax returns claiming more than 24 million dollars in the fraudulent claims. The stolen identities were from government offices and agencies such as the Army, several organizations in Alabama and also employee records in some institutions. The defendants went ahead to acquire several IRS electronic filing Numbers in the name of some sham businesses so as to file the online tax returns. They went further to direct the IRs to pay the anticipated tax refunds to certain prepaid tax businesses, bought some US Treasury checks and also sent some money to some financial institutions. The fraud also involved a large chain of their players and also money laundering and they cashed several tax refund checks at several businesses located in Alabama, Kentucky and also Georgia.
Case study 2
On August 11, 2015, nine individuals were charged with the largest reported computer hacking and securities fraud scheme in New York. The defendants accused of hacking into three business newswires and then stole some press releases that were yet to be published. They then used the unreleased press releases to make trading ahead of the public announcements by the public companies affected. As a result, the businesspeople that used the information made over 30 million dollars in illegal profits as a consequence of the market trades made under the influence of the stolen press releases. The charges against the individuals in found guilty the individuals may be punished with a penalty of 20 years in prison a fine of 250,000 dollars or a fine of twice the amount of gains or losses made.
White collar crimes are rampant in the contemporary society. The word white collar was coined from the perception that business executive that wears white shirts and ties engage in crimes that are majorly non-violent in nature (Friedrichs, 2003). The term is also meant to separate these types of criminal from those that commit the physical crimes. The white collar crimes are primarily motivated by the financial gains that may result from them. They are majorly civil and criminal violations that also include some other individuals in most cases. Many white collar crimes go without anyone noticing or reporting in most cases, and when such crimes are revealed to the public, they tend to be huge news (Leap, 2007). Such news headlines for days and if they involve a big company or if they affect many people could be one the headlines even weeks. They are usually very impactful because they typically have an impact on a lot of people, involve the changing or alteration of a public culture and also involve massive amounts of money. The cases that involve white collar crimes are difficult to prosecute because they may often be very sophisticated involving a very large number of people (Friedrichs, 2003). Regular people also commit them in the course of conducting business and in most cases individuals least expect such an occurrence to be going (Leap, 2007). The internet has even made the legislation of such situations even further difficult since tracing the criminals through the online platforms may be difficult because they may be using aliases instead of the real names or information. The white collar crimes may involve bribery, fraud, embezzlement, extortion and also cybercrime (Green, 2006).
The internet over the years has become an ideal system used by government agencies, companies, and other systems not only nationally but also globally (Green, 2006). However, the internet has become an ideal leeway to engage in white collar crimes. It has become the tool for the majority of white collar criminals. It is because; it is the easiest and fastest way to reach a large number of people (Green, 2006). Because nearly all the household in the country is collected to the internet either through their personal computers or their mobile phones, it present t the ideal platform for white collar criminal to reach a large niche or group of people that are potential victims to their antiques. The internet crimes have also in the recent past included large scale theft and fraud that involve pyramid schemes that may be advanced such as the fee fraud, spoofing, and the phishing (Leap, 2007).
There is increased white collar financial, cyber crime and political crimes being observed in society today. The greater use of technology more so the internet for trading and also doing the business operations has been the principal instigation for the cybercrime activities witnessed today (Green, 2006). There are numerous risks that cone with the use of technology to all the individuals that use them and therefore the victims could be anyone. There i9s no unique niche or demographic that may be subject to an internet related white collar crime. There is, therefore, the need to improve and also enhance the laws and legislations aimed at reducing the number and also the effects of white collar crimes (Koller, 2012). These laws should also institute mechanisms that individuals may be able to recover the losses that they may be making in the case of a white collar crime in all cases. At the present, the process of recouping any losses incurred in the event of an internet white collar crime is every long with high bureaucracy and also complicated. It is also very time consuming and at times expensive due to the long legal process that it takes to get to the ultimate goal of getting the money back. It is because of the compound nature of the cases. The complexity of the crimes could be seen in the case studies especially in case study one above whereby the defendants were defrauding the IRS on tax refunds (Green, 2006). The process that they took to steal the identities of the victims file the tax returns and even receive the checks involve a lot of layers of individuals including corrupt postal officers that made it possible for them to receive the checks and cash them.
From the case studies, it is clear that several white collar crimes are existent under the use of the internet in the offence. The crimes defined in the cases include wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, computer fraud, identity theft and also refund fraud (Koller, 2012). In both cases, there are fines that those found guilty of the crimes may attract and these fines are usually payable by the defendant. Moreover, all the assets of such an individual are also frozen, and their banks account taken over if there is the need to recoup the losses made by the victims. These are the effort by the legislations to ensure that the victims can recover the losses made and also to make sure that the crimes are sufficiently discouraged to make sure that other individuals are not engaged in similar actions in the future (Friedrichs, 2003).
The obvious thing about the possibility of recouping losses by a person or victim is that it any prove to be virtually impossible to do in some circumstances. For example, in the case of the nine defendants that benefited from the hacking to trade in advance and made profits, the money may not be present anymore in their accounts by the time the case is heard and determined. The majority of the defendants are aware that there is the possibility of such an individual to be caught and therefore their bank accounts to offshore banks that the federal government may not be in a position to reach. As a result, there may be the presence of the prison sentences may not deter an individual that is determined to make more money than ever. If a person commits fraud and makes millions of dollars and is sentenced to 10 years, they may prefer to serve their prison sentence and keep their money (Koller, 2012). It is, therefore, imperative that the legislations come up with other techniques to address the issue and ensure that individually can recoup their losses. It can be done so by making sure that one and individual raise suspicion of being involved in any form of white collar crimes, their accounts should be frozen as well as their assets with speed before they can act. The Federal Bureau of Investigations that majorly deals with the cases should have the mandate to work and isolate the individual’s property without spending so much time in courts while trying to get a court order. It is the frozen assets and money that the victims may recoup their losses from once the individuals are found guilty (Koller, 2012).
Another strategy to ensure that victims recover the damages is to make sure that all the individual involved in the scheme or fraud at all levels despite their minimal role as long as they shared in the financial gains of the crime, should also be part of paying the victims (Stewart, 2013). For example, in the first case study, all the people involved including the postal service officers hold to participate in paying off the damages accrued to the government in the scheme that defrauded the IRS millions of dollars through tax refunds. In the second case study, all the individuals including then hackers and the businesspeople that profited from the cyber crime and fraudulent trading should also share in repaying the losses made as a result of their actions.
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