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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Some white-collar offenders receive very long prison sentences. However, many others are able to cut deals, especially if there is the risk of serious collateral damage to employees or customers or if they can portray their conduct as unintended. The low chance of conviction and the high chance of a “light” sentence for complex, multiple-jurisdiction frauds involving sums of money that are vast compared with other types of crime for gain should make us reflect on the effectiveness, dissuasiveness, and proportionality of existing sentencing practices. The criminal careers of fraudsters and their stakes in respectability vary, and we cannot make clear evidence-based decisions on how sentencing will affect them. If conviction and formal censure alone were sufficient to put an end to offending (as for some professionals who lose their licenses), then the only reasons for tougher sentences would be retribution and a social demand for equality of suffering.

Keywords: white-collar offenders, fraud, deterrence, retribution, sentence

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