As you may have gathered, I hate criminals. I loathe them all, but I reserve particular punishments in my imagination (perhaps being made to watch “Crossroads” on endless loop while sitting in a vat of slowly boiling treacle alongside Boyzone) for white collar criminals. These are the ones who use their understanding of finance to steal from others. I don’t even like the term “white collar crime” very much, as it suggests a less grubby endeavour than, say, drug trafficking or people smuggling. Less grubby, maybe, but definitely more sneaky and just as damaging – and very much on the increase.
A report published recently by the FBI (they of the large-lettered bomber jackets) on the threat from gangs says that these organised crime groups are moving wholesale into white collar crime because “the likelihood of being caught is less, the sentences once you are caught are less, and the actual monetary gain is much higher”. Members of the Bloods, the Crips, the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods and the Armenian Powers (is it just me, or are you also humming show tunes from “West Side Story”?) are raking in profits from identity theft, counterfeiting, kidnapping, extortion and every flavour of fraud. The little devils are even joining the army to learn skills to teach their fellow gang-members.
I welcome this report because it shows readers that white collar criminals are not nice people – they’re just scummy crooks looking for the least-risky way to make a buck. And I am sure that you, like me, are shedding hot tears to read that Bernie Madoff and his wife considered suicide “because what was happening was so horrendous”. For their victims too, I’m guessing.