When good people do bad things: the psychology of a white collar criminal
22 November 2021
There has always been a fascination about what drives someone to commit white-collar crime, and the motives behind law-abiding citizens making the conscious decision to steal from their place of business to methodically, repeatedly and purposefully misappropriate funds for their own personal gain.
As part of International Fraud Awareness Week 2021, the McGrathNicol FCX hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion on the psychology of a white-collar criminal. The discussion commenced with Dr David Curnow, a forensic psychologist, presenting an overview of his new book, The Psychology of Embezzlement. Dr Curnow spoke to his evidence-based insights into the complex mind of an occupational fraud offender, through his ‘Offender Mindset Model’.
Dr Curnow was then joined by Professor Clinton Free, Deputy Dean at the University of Sydney, Chris Hill, convicted insider trading offender and focus of The Sure Thing podcast, and Sara Deady, McGrathNicol Director. The panel explored Professor Free’s research into the areas of offender rationalisations and coping strategies, Chris Hill’s personal experience and decision making processes as he found himself charged and convicted for insider trading, and Sara Deady’s insights on investigating matters of workplace fraud.
The panel spoke to the importance of considering the offender’s mindset when designing and implementing strategies to mitigate against workplace fraud but acknowledged that this is just one element that must form part of a broader framework to manage the risk. The panel also explored factors that motivate a person to commit workplace fraud, risks of re-offending, sentencing for such crimes and the importance of rehabilitation for offenders.