Americana Criminologist Edwin Sutherlands


Edwin Sutherlands, an American criminologist, is well known for his various connections to the growth of crime. Due to the fact that criminology bears his name, his impact in the Americana Society is primarily recognized and highly regarded. The books he penned about criminology have been published in a variety of editions, but the majority of them are important works from the past. Sutherland continues to hold that crime is a behavior that is taught from regular society despite psychological explanations and the dominance of biology. He further asserts that peers teach people how to behave because a delinquent friend will likely exhibit normal behavior. Such characters as he elaborated are adapted through nonverbal and verbal communications which assist in determining how the attitude of that person internalizes and whether they are unfavorable or favorable to the law violations. The conventional learning process disposes of those individuals who decide to break the law by developing rationalizations and motivations to engage in criminal activities. Sutherland also describes the existence of a criminal cycle as a way which determines an individual’s attitude by variations of the intensity and content throughout their life (Johansen, 2016). Therefore the question that touched on the normal learned behaviors were known to be of crime while those that were legal directed to the author to explore more about white collar crime which gave him credit.

Revisiting Sutherland's Argument

Later, different criminologist updated and revised Sutherland’s argument about the process and content that retained the focus on traditional learning. Sutherland had two distinct elements that were used to apply the exact meaning of white collar crime. For instance, the social status of a person who has offended and the occupational mechanism that was attached to the offense committed. This mechanism described the position of this individual and the status he has in the society. It also explained the position of a person who holds in an establishment and the type of employment.

Consumer Fraud

Consumer frauds, on the other hand, are deceptive practices which result in losses of finances for the customers in the process of a legitimate business transaction. Consumer fraud can be conducted with a telephone, take place in person or through the use of emails over the Internet. The growth of technology has diversified internet fraud at breakneck pace. However, with or without technology, consumers can prevent fraud from happening through measures such as hiding the identity of an individual’s information (Miller, 2012). In normal circumstances, people fraud others through income tax, identity theft, the internet and telephone. A good example that can be used is when Ken Stalcup fell a victim to debit card fraud. As he had taken a meal in a particular restaurant, the waitress who served her managed to take his card as he was paying his bill. Out of his sight, the girl managed to sell his account information to the third party through one swipe; as a result, his money in the bank was stolen.

Environmental Crime

Environmental crime is an act that is conducted illegally by directly causing harm to the environment. International bodies like the Interpol, G8, United Nations, European Union, Justice Research institutes and the United Nations Integration have recognized that environmental crimes as activities like, dumping illicit hazardous waste and destroying the Ozone with depleting substances. Also unregulated and unreported fishing, illegal wildlife trade, and illegal logging were known to be part of the environmental crime (Brown, 2012). The primary and most dangerous environmental crime is deforestation. Environmental crime is also known as the destruction of the Amazon because about 29% of deforestation happened in 2013 according to the Brazilian Government. This happened because the majority of the self-acting people wanted to get wood through logging for furniture or other goods. Others also wanted to grab the lands for the purpose of farming which was also seen as the most dangerous environmental crime.

Religious Crime

The religious crime was in other words known as the criminal or civil fraud that took place within the same religion. A good example is when someone is said to be Kosher or tax evasion. For instance, in the church of Jesus Christ, Bishop Julius Black-welder used his position to scam his followers by making them buy bad real estate (Twist, 2014). His promises were that they would get good returns and long-term contracts, but it was all in vain because he had used the funds to buy a private waterfront, as well as to pay his debts. When the truth was finally discovered by one of the church goers, the bishop had already cheated his flock almost on $500,000 million.

Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud is a situation where illegal activities are conducted by the company or an individual who have the intentions of taking advantage of the perpetrating in the company. This type of fraud sometimes goes beyond a person to the point that there is an economic and complexity impact on the business. It may also involve a collaboration of the employees and other outside parties. A good example is the waste management fraud that happened in 1998 where a public waste management company was reported to have about 1.7 billion fake dollars through fraudulent earnings by false increasing the length of their property. They did this by depreciating their equipment on the balance sheet (Wells, 2011).

Associated Cost

Associated cost is mostly found in research, production, accounting and retail of the value of money that has been spent to produce something. In business, the cost of acquisition (or expenditure) is money that was used and did not return. This acquisition may also be the amount of money that was used to produce something by the owner of the company. It can also be incurred when a certain product is charged above the standard cost of production which in normal circumstances consists of the markup profit that is usually included in the cost of production (Newman, 2011). Therefore if the salaries of the employees come from activities that generate unallowable costs, they are treated as the directly associated cost because of the time they spent to proscribe the activity and the cost of material they acquired. According to Sutherlands, employees are only allowed to receive their salaries, but other expenses are unallowable. Consequently, the time that was spent on prescribing this activity is usually compared to the amount of time the company spent to determine the cost of the materials.


Sutherlands has put together the original concepts of the white collar crime giving it a renewed possibilities and vigor. After he had finished the reconceptualization, Sutherland was left with a historical landmark that described best criminology. His essentials were to make people understand the journey through conceptual development as seen in his debate of organizational criminality. He elaborated that high and wealthy crimes should have different treatment by various criminologists. What we have here then is different sets of theories, concepts, literature, and methodology of the types of crime that can be committed.


Brown, M. (2012). Environmental Crime and Justice: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide. Oxford University Press.

Johansen, A. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice. Oxford University Press.

Miller, W. R. (2012). Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime, Volume 1. SAGE.

Newman, D. M. (2010). Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life, Brief Edition. Pine Forge Press.

Twist, D. A. (2014). Minority Religions and Fraud: In Good Faith. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Wells, J. T. (2011). Corporate Fraud Handbook: Prevention and Detection. John Wiley & Sons.

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