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Although American sociologists during the midtwentieth century originally defined and used the concept of white-collar crime, it has long since entered into a more general public consciousness. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys view white-collar crime as a significant category of criminal activity. The subject is taught in most American law schools. The term has appeared in substantive criminal law legislation, and journalists and politicians refer to it regularly. In addition, the phrase and its equivalents are increasingly used outside the United States, both in English and in translation.

As use of the term has proliferated, however, so too has the range of its meanings. While social scientists, in general, have tended to emphasize the social status of the offender, lawyers and legal academics have ...

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