Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Leighton

Second Advisor

Dr. Liza Cerroni-Long


Control fraud, defined as a criminal in control of a company using it as a weapon and shield to defraud others and makes it difficult to detect and punish the fraud, has become a social epidemic (Black, 2005, 1); (Wheeler & Rothman, 1982, 1403). Since the savings and loans scandal of the 1980's, control frauds have been looting and manipulating others virtually unchallenged by any government regulatory agencies. White collar control frauds cause billions of dollars in damage to the public annually, while that of street crime causes far less damage in the range of millions. Despite the disparity in damage, control fraud seems to be on the back burner in terms of priority for government regulatory agencies. In a day and age of a prison driven nation, petty street offenders are being incarcerated with regularity while white collar control frauds continue to fraud unquestioned which creates a clear social class bias favoring white collar criminals.

White collar control frauds are able to persist in fraud and looting due to several factors which structurally create a criminogenic environment that encourages fraud. Specifically, control frauds are able to continue looting because of laxity in sanctioning, deregulated markets, and the maintaining of the capitalist status quo in a greed driven economy. To combat these factors, we must create a greater awareness of control fraud followed by effective and tough sanctioning for control frauds regardless of social class. Further, a serious need for intense regulation is necessary to confront control frauds, coupled with providing adequate funding and resources to regulatory agencies to effectively combat control fraud. If these changes can be made, a final elimination of white collar crime, specifically control fraud, can be attained.

Included in

Criminology Commons