White collar crime seems to be making the news world wide. As a US citizen, it’s hard to determine if the proliferation of white collar crime is largely an American phenomenon or if it is as wide spread in other countries. Articles from around the world would indicate that this type of crime certainly in not restricted to the shores between the Atlantic and Pacific.
Early this month an article was featured in the New Zealand Herald that questioned what would be done country wide to crack down on white collar crime. Seems that the “Serious Fraud Office” was being disbanded in that country in favor of a new organized crime agency.
The odd part of that announcement is any one working for the “Serious Fraud Office” would have to be “seriously” thinking about their career and next employment move. As a result, many have sought opportunities elsewhere. And, since white collar crime is often complicated and not easily understood by those less sophisticated in financial affairs, one might assume that with no seemingly clear plan – opportunities to exploit the system would be ripe in New Zealand.
According to the report, The SFO itself is a small, highly specialised government department with wide-ranging powers. Its core staff are made up of a team of investigators, forensic accountants, prosecutors and lawyers.
The office has just begun investigating complex property business Blue Chip but staff are wondering if they will still have jobs by the time they make any real progress. Many investors who poured money into finance companies had also hoped the SFO would look into the affairs of the string of failed businesses.
But instead, talented staff at the only office with the power to bring charges against those involved are about to be absorbed into the larger police force.
By coincidence, next week the Australians are shining the spotlight on the issue. Fraud Awareness Week – an initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce – is scheduled to start on Monday.
A New Zealand Side Note: As an American writer and white collar crime speaker, it was interesting to see that it was reported that Donald Eugene Allen, an American evangelist, defrauded investors out of $8.5 million and was jailed for six years. The minister, preacher and motivational speaker was convicted of a scam that left more than 154 people out of pocket. Allen worked with Paul Eugene Palmer – who is serving nine years for tax fraud in the US – to mount a South Pacific swindle.
NOW…it’s folks like that who give motivational speakers (like me) a bad name. Shame on Mr. Allen!
Another Part of the World: Likewise, earlier this month – thisismoney.co.uk – reported a new war on white collar crime. Unlike, New Zealand which is disbanding their special fraud unit, the UK is launching a nationwide anti-fraud body.
According to the article, the National Fraud Strategic Authority will take form overseeing the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and National Fraud Reporting Centre. Under this new authority, special courts would sit without juries and deal with all aspects of financial crimes.
The article states: The powerful courts would hear both the criminal and civil aspects of a case and would have the power to force a convicted fraudster to pay compensation, as well as decide on any disciplinary action on behalf of a professional or other regulatory body. The move comes after jurors were confused by major fraud cases such as the Blue Arrow and the Maxwell trials.
As reported on often in my blogs – Every choice has a consequence. Having had the opportunity to experience the consequences of poor choices, today as a Senior Sales Executive in a public company and ethics – white collar crime speaker, I hope to impress on folks the importance of making ethical choices – choices that can further good – thereby achieving positive results.
Is White Collar Crime Booming? I can’t say for sure, but certainly there is plenty to report on and many organizations to speak to and consult with. Here hoping that your choices are positive!
Business ethics and white collar crime speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off.