FBI and Understanding White Collar Criminals

As part of my visit to the FBI Headquarters for the FBI Corporate Compliance Officer Outreach Event, Supervisory Special Agent Susan Kossler discussed her work in the Behavior Analysis division of the FBI.  The Silence of the Lambs and  “Criminal Minds” have glamorized the work of FBI profilers, making them seem like real life versions of Sherlock Holmes who always get their man.

Of course, reality is much more complex. And according to SSA Kossler, much less glamorous.

In applying the analysis to financial crimes, the research unfortunately shows that many of the traits that are indicative of a white collar criminal are also the traits most companies seek in their top executives.

The other complexity is the division in criminal behavior between the leaders and the followers. Take the case of Bernie Madoff. Clearly, he was the leader of the crime. Others convicted, under indictment, or under investigation were mostly followers. They believed in their leader and followed him into the dark cave of blatant fraud. Their motivations and behavioral traits are likely much different than those of Mr. Madoff.

SSA Kossler provided an extensive bibliography if you are interested in further study.

Sources:

Bibliography: (Bold indicates the article is available online.)

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