Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 1: The characteristics of economic crime and criminals
Economic crime is a relatively loose term, covering a wide variety of phenomena. All property crime and acquisitive crime is economic crime in the sense that it is crime aimed at making the perpetrator wealthier, but robbery and burglary are not normally included in the concept. Barry Rider’s overview of 1988 reviews the problems in a way that could be republished today with very little change. Looking at contemporary practitioners, the Economic Crime Command of the National Crime Agency include fraud, intellectual property crime, identity theft and counterfeit currency in their remit. But a list does not amount to a definition. The City of London Economic Crime Directorate, policing lead for fraud investigation in the UK, has fraud teams that target boiler room frauds, mortgage fraud, insider and illegal trading, ticketing fraud and identity crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) white collar crime website pulls no punches in defining white collar crime as “Lying, cheating and stealing”. It goes on to say, more calmly, that “the term is now applied to the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals”. The list of crimes that follow, however, widens the focus beyond this group. The Swedish Economic Crime Authority concentrates on accounting crime, tax crime, bankruptcy related crime, crime under the Swedish Companies Act, market abuse crime and crime against the EU’s financial interests. In Sweden, fraud is dealt with by the police and corruption by the National Anti-Corruption Unit.