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Institute for Fraud Prevention (IFP) at West Virginia University


In this paper we use a primarily “behavioral lens” (cf. Ramamoorti, 2008; Ramamoorti & Olsen, 2007) to try to understand the state-of-mind and motivations of the C-level suite/white collar offender before, during, and after the perpetration of management fraud. We offer a useful conceptual approach called “A-B-C Analysis” to understand the incidence of fraud from individual and group perspectives, as well as more macro-oriented, cultural/contextual levels. It is our hypothesis that fraud occurs either because of an individual criminal’s calculated/intentional betrayal of trust, a duo or team of “bad boys” who push ethical envelopes, and/or an organizational/social/national culture of passivity, indifference or accommodation that is tantamount to condoning such behaviors. We have called it the Bad Apple, Bad Bushel, or Bad Crop Syndrome: the so-called ABCs of white collar crime. Our interdisciplinary review of the literature, spanning (social) psychology, sociology and criminology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry, and anthropology, as well as our collective experience as practicing fraud examiners, investigators and consultants, have yielded some rich insights.

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Institute for Fraud Prevention (IFP) at West Virginia University