Villains, Victims and Bystanders in Financial Crime

Bruce Baer Arnold, Wendy Bonython

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


White collar crime causes more pain to national economies, employees and investors than blue collar theft involving violence. Perhaps unsurprisingly, because that financial crime is often undertaken by well-educated, charming, softly spoken and socially adroit peers rather than by people who fit stereotypes about violent offenders, it has received less attention from psychologists and criminologists. This chapter considers the psychology of financial crime in terms of the criminals, their victims and bystanders such as government regulators and auditors who might be expected to prevent harms associated with figures such as Madoff, Maxwell and Stanford. It offers an overview of theories of what motivates the criminals, why some people are receptive to exploitation, and why systems of belief in gatekeeper institutions result in regulatory incapacity that inhibits effective risk identification and action to minimise that crime. The chapter highlights particular incidents since the 1880s, arguing that financial crime is a systemic problem that requires active management. It also argues that the psychology of financial crime is diverse, inducing caution about explanations purportedly enabling systematic prediction and prevention of large-scale offences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFinancial Crimes: Psychological, Technological, and Ethical Issues
EditorsMichel Dion, David Weisstub, Jean-Loup Richet
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9783319324197
ISBN (Print)9783319324180
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameInternational Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine
ISSN (Print)1567-8008
ISSN (Electronic)2351-955X


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