Author: Janice Goldstraw-White
ISBN No: 978-0-230-5818
Review date: 09/12/2023
No of pages: 218
Year of publication: 11/09/2012
While a consultant’s book on ‘white-collar crime’ does not have the big themes and names of the other books reviewed this month, readers might find it most of use to their work. From the February 2012 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
Janice Goldstraw-White, described as an ‘independent scholar’, in my opinion manages the best of both worlds – she has the rigourous evidence of an academic, without getting bogged down by theory or seduced into showing off. She’s talked to men, and women – as the editor Prof Martin Gill points out, an under-researched area – about their ‘white-collar’ crime, fraud. She’s found that women are just as adept at fraud as men. Interviewing criminals is ground already usefully covered by Martin Gill, but few others. And as Gill has told many security audiences, by talking to the criminals, the ones testing security systems and control regimes, security people can learn. How do offenders do it? Why? If they stop (or do more and bigger frauds), what prompts them? What might deter people like them? The author’s work is timely in part because, as she says, ever more women are in the workforce; her evidence suggests that women are just as prepared to take advantages of opportunities to do fraud. Women, like men, may not plan to do fraud; they drift into it. Business associates may influence men to turn to fraud; friends or husbands may push women (but men too will do frauds to keep up their family’s lifestyle). To sum up, in Goldstraw-White’s words: “White-collar offenders are not a homongenous group, and although most in the sample tried to give reasons for committing their crimes, many struggled to explain fully to themselves, and to me, what had happened and why.” Some readily admitted their guilt; some not. She closes with the implications for fraud prevention: she too, stresses a clear anti-fraud culture, and good internal controls, to deter. “However, in a climate of scarce resources available for security, we have to acknowledge that we cannot do everything, all the time,” she concludes wisely. “Even if we could, we have observed that there are some individuals who may be willing to accept the risk of punishment and even imprisonment for what they believe will be the proceeds of their crime.” Goldstraw-White has not written a ‘how to’ fraud prevention or investigation guide: for that, you can turn to works, reviewed here over the years, by Nigel Iyer, Mike Comer, and others. Her book – her achievement – is to offer evidence of what fraudsters do, and why. As it’s human stories, it might not make neat categories, but it adds up to a most useful and thought-provoking book, that I hope will be picked up (and the contents re-used!?) widely.