The economic downturn has spawned a new type of criminal justice career, one which was not previously thought of: that of profiling the Wall Street Banker. The past decade has witnessed many of these upper-society bankers who have been forced into white-collar prisons for their immense crimes which undoubtedly contributed to the financial mess we now find ourselves in. It is hard to feel sorry for someone who has lived in the lap of luxury for decades by fraudulently ripping off many ordinary citizens, resulting in one the largest financial botch-ups of the century. The market alone is not responsible for the lost jobs and the lost homes, but these white-collar criminals such as Bernie Madoff, the Enron boys, and Alan Stanford have greatly contributed to the mess we now find ourselves in. The economy tried to blame many of us for this mess due to our shotty credit card skills, but in fact we are only a slight piece of the puzzle compared to these criminals.
Criminologists have jumped to the forefront of this discussion of fraud in large corporations like Enron and have taken the place of economists who previously foresaw that this would not affect the national economy. Criminal justice itself has a new beast to tackle, that of “control fraud”, as William Black refers to it (professor at Missouri and author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One). Control fraud, according to Black, is when people use a legitimate organization to defraud the rest of us, much like many of the top tiered banks have done in recent years. This has sparked a new division within the criminal justice system, one which we were obviously not prepared for as the Enron scandal began to slowly leak out and the Madoff scandal joined it years later.
Criminologists are now trained to identify environments which can spawn this type of corporate fraud and control fraud and can effectively attempt to disperse attempts at another recession-type of disaster hitting the country. This is a new type of criminal, one who does not use a weapon of choice like a gun, but instead uses their knowledge of the company as their weapon. Criminologists were previously unprepared to deal with this type of criminal, but new entrees into the criminal justice field are heavily trained in corporate finances and the maneuvers many of the top CEOs take in order to cover their trails and hide their extra funds. This new realm of criminal justice is just now coming into existence and will continue to grow as top level executives continue to want more out of life.