It is important to note that white-collar crime is as destructive and damaging as any other form of criminal activity. However, its treatment and public perception are less visceral and emotional due to its inherent racial and socioeconomic elements. White-collar crime is persecuted, sentenced, and perceived less harshly because the criminals have positively perceived labels, and they use their resources to endorse manipulative tactics to affect the law.
White-collar crime is best explained within the context of the subculture theory and labeling theory. The labeling theory can explain why such criminals are treated less harshly, and it is likely because they have positively perceived labels. These include being wealthy, men, and white, which enable lesser sentences as a result (Pierpoint par. 6). The subcultural theory is about membership and encouragement of deviant behavior, where manipulative strategies are used to manipulate the law. This is noticeable since “Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that ‘justice isn’t blind; it’s bought’ in reaction to the sentencing” (Pierpoint par. 4). The latter is substantiated by the FBI data on the jurisdiction of state attorneys, which differs massively from state to state (Strong 1). The lack of universal legal principles of jurisdiction for the persecution of white-collar crime is an indicator of subculture influence.
In conclusion, the justice system has a soft spot for white-collar crime because the offenders tend to have positively perceived labels of wealth and whiteness, and their subculture can influence the law. In other words, its treatment and public perception are less visceral and emotional due to its inherent racial and socioeconomic elements. Such treatment of the criminal is wrong since white-collar crime is as destructive and damaging as any other form.
Pierpoint, George. “Is White-Collar Crime Treated More Leniently in The US?” BBC News, 2019.
Strong, S. M. “Jurisdiction of State Attorneys General Offices over White-Collar Crime, 2014.” U.S. Department of Justice, 2020.