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Criminal Law

criminal Law

Criminal law differs from civil law in that it is an act prohibited by law for the protection of the public at large. Criminal violations in business occur when individuals, in a position of authority, commit criminal actions either against individuals, the company, or the consumer.

“Under the doctrine of respondent superior, a corporation may be held criminally liable for the illegal acts of its directors, officers, employees, and agents. To hold a corporation liable for these actions, the government must establish that the corporate agent’s actions were within the scope of his/her duties and were intended, at least in part, to benefit the corporation” (Michel, 2003, p.1).

These types of criminal acts are often referred to as white collar crimes. This catch-all phrase was originally coined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939. Sutherland defined it as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” White-collar crimes usually involve fraud, bankruptcy fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, medical crime, public corruption, identity theft, environmental crime, pension fund crime, RICO crimes, consumer fraud, occupational crime, securities fraud, financial fraud, and forgery.