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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines white-collar crime as an area of criminal law and the long-standing problem associated with its definition, mainly due to the difficulty of setting it apart and extracting it through clearly specified ex ante rules of law. It first outlines the definition of white-collar crime and the problem it presents due to issues of demography, economic activity, the offenses it encompasses, legal specification, and economic theory. It then describes the field’s enforcement landscape, especially in the United States, with emphasis on fraud. The chapter goes on to discuss the persistent public debate about punishment and considers a variety of responses to the problem of legal specification, namely, legislation and prosecution. It also highlights the ambivalence in the United States about how to treat white-collar criminals, citing the area of sentencing law and practice and instability in the law of white-collar crime.

Keywords: white-collar crime, criminal law, legal specification, enforcement, United States, fraud, punishment, legislation, prosecution, sentencing

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