Dispel the Myth Fraud is Victimless

By: Tonya Mead, CFE, PI, MBA,MA Educational Psychology

Judges have been quick to exercise discretion to show leniency to white collar criminals, often reducing and striking jail time altogether. See social security fraud, tax cheaters, insurance fraud, and pharmaceuticals fraud.

The reason?  The shared misperception of  a crime committed without harm to a victim to which the judge, perpetrator and defense attorney agree. “Fraudsters view their crimes as being victimless, not dangerous to society and causing no visual or physical damage to anyone or anything” [1, p. 44].  Some theorists argue against the imposition of any punishment against wrongdoers. “In part, there is a trade-off between punishment and other methods of social control. To the extent that this is so, non-penalty methods are preferable as long as they do not have other significant drawbacks” [2, p.92].

To be exact, victimless crime is one of the five types of crime:  (1) violent, (2) property, (3) white collar, (4) organized and (5) victimless. Criminologists consider consensual crime like prostitution, illicit sex in some states and gambling as victimless crimes. This term “refers to behaviors in which people engage  voluntarily and willingly even though these behaviors violate the law” [3].  It is unfathomable that US taxpayers, consumers of pharmaceuticals, educational services and insurance are knowingly consenting to higher taxes, increased costs of OTC/prescription medications, and insurance related to fraud, data-related, white collar and computer assisted crime in said industries.

Tonya J. Mead, CFE, PI, MBA, MA, Certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC https://ishareknowledge.com


  1. F.S. Perri, “White Collar Crime Punishment: Too Much or Not Enough,” Fraud Magazine, January/February 2011.
  2. D. Golash, D. The Case Against Punishment: Retribution, Crime Prevention, and the Law, New York, NY: NYU  Press, 2006.
  3. S.E. Barkan, “Social Problems: Continuity and Change v.1.0,” Flat World Education, Inc, 2015. Available: http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/3064?e=barkansoc_1.0-ch08_s02#barkansoc_1.0-ch00about