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Fraud presents a unique challenge to criminologists

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Introduction

'FRAUD PRESENTS A UNIQUE CHALLENGE TO CRIMINOLOGISTS' ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN THE CAUSES OF CRIME.' DISCUSS IN RELATION TO AT LEAST ONE MAJOR CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY This paper will discuss how the issue of fraud presents a unique challenge to criminologists' attempts to explain the causes of crime. It will examine issues surrounding the criminological research into fraud and discuss relevant theories, including the motivational behaviour of offenders. It will conclude that fraud does not lend itself well to a universal criminological theory due to its wide ranging and hidden nature, complicated legal position and spread of offender types and motivations. However, further criminological research is justified to study the behaviour exhibited and its cost to society. The focus of existing criminological research relevant to fraud has revolved around the term 'white collar crime' and its acts and actors. This is because they share many characteristics and can be classified as "economic offences committed through the use of some combination of fraud, deception or collusion" (Weisburd et al. 1991, cited by Smith, 2007a, p. 11), as well as an element of the betrayal of trust. The term white collar crime has itself caused debate, with various ambiguous definitions attempting to encompass crimes relating to the employment or occupation of individuals. ...read more.

Middle

However, as criminology is focussed on law, criminalisation, prevention and control, fraud should be considered for further study beyond the usual range of poverty or social exclusion-based criminological theories. When considering traditional criminological research into the causes of any specific criminal activity or behaviour such as fraud, the starting point may be largely based on the principles of two criminological schools of thought. Firstly, 'classicism' (McLaughlin & Muncie, 2001, p. 32-33) assumes that individuals are rational calculators acting upon their own free will and being aware of the consequences when they choose whether to commit a crime, with the idea that the punishment for a criminal act should be proportionate and based upon society's interests. Secondly, 'positivism' (McLaughlin & Muncie, 2001, p. 212) attempts to explain and predict criminal behaviour by identifying the key underlying genetic, psychological, social or economic causes of crime which are thought to lie largely outside of each individual's control. Both schools of thought and their respective theories should be considered when attempting to explain the causes of fraud as a crime. When looking at fraud committed by individuals, a relevant area may be that of strain theories (McLaughlin & Muncie, 2001, p. 293), which argue that individuals are more likely to engage in crime when they cannot get what they want through legitimate channels. ...read more.

Conclusion

Reference List Countering Fraud in the NHS: identifying the nature and scale of the problem. (2001). Retrieved October 23, 2007, from NHS Counter Fraud & Security Management Service Division website: http://www.cfsms.nhs.uk/doc/cfs.general/identify.nature.scale.pdf Croall, H. (2001). Understanding White Collar Crime. Buckingham: Open University Press. Dittenhoffer, M. A. (1995). The Behavioural Aspects of Fraud and Embezzlement. Public Money and Management, January-March 1995, 9-14. Doig, A. (2006). Fraud. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing. Fraud Review Final Report. (2006). Retrieved October 23, 2007, from Attorney General website: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/Fraud%20Review/Fraud%20Review%20Final%20Report%20July%202006.pdf. McLaughlin, E., & Muncie, J. (Eds.). (2001). The Sage Dictionary of Criminology [Electronic version]. London: SAGE Publications. Nelkin, D. (1997) 'White Collar Crime' in Maguire, M., Morgan, R. & Reiner, R. (Eds). (2002). The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (3rd ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press. NHS CFS Performance Report 06/07. (2007). Retrieved October 23, 2007, from NHS Counter Fraud & Security Management Service Division website: http://www.cfsms.nhs.uk/doc/cfs.general/Performance_Report.pdf Norman, P. & Smith, G. (2005). Public Sector Fraud (3rd ed.). Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth. Smith, G. (2007a). The Fraud Problem (2nd ed. version 2). Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth. Smith, G. (2007). Countering Fraud against the Department of Work and Pensions: A case study in Risk Management [Electronic version]. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 9, 74-91. Zahra, S. A., Priem, R. L., & Rasheed, A. A. (2005). The Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management Fraud [Electronic version]. Journal of Management, 31(6), 803-828. ?? ?? ?? ?? Student number 376393 ...read more.

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