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White-Collar Crime

Defining white-collar and economic crime can be difficult at first. In many cases, such as frauds, money is not stolen by force; it is given willingly as a result of deception. Let us start our course by considering where the line exists between “buyers beware” and “fraud.”

After completing this week’s assigned readings, read each scenario given below and answer the following questions:

  • A telephone marketer promises a solar-powered clothes dryer for $500 and then sends the buyer only a clothesline and clothes pins.
    • What is the buyer’s responsibility in a situation like this?
    • Would this be a crime in your state? Why?
    • What is the boundary between caveat emptor and aggressive advertising?
  • There are several instances of companies knowingly selling defective or unsafe products. Clearly, a car company that knowingly sells cars with defective air bags is committing a crime. But what if the product in question is legal, such as cigarettes or fatty fast food? Analyze the following situations and explain where responsibility should lie in each case:
    • A store selling cigarettes to a customer with emphysema.
    • A casino allowing a person with a gambling addiction to gamble.
    • A fast-food restaurant selling cheeseburgers to an obese customer.
    • A bar serving alcohol to a habitual drunkard.
  • Which of the above situations should be illegal? Justify your answers using research and reasoning

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