Sociology Index

RED-COLLAR CRIME

Red-collar Crime theory examines the phenomenon of white-collar criminals becoming violent toward their victims. It is wrongly believed by most that these types of crimes are isolated incidents. Although many write these crimes off as crimes of passion, the real motive behind these violent and heinous acts is concealment of fraud. Perri and Lichtenwald (2007, p. 18) have linked and examined this type of violent behavior and have coined the term red-collar crime. They describe Red-collar Criminal as a violent sub-group of the traditional white-collar criminal and explain that the threat of fraud detection serves as the motive for these violent crimes. They are red-collar criminals because they straddle both the white-collar crime arena and, eventually, the violent crime arena. When there is threat of detection, red-collar criminals commit acts of violence to silence the people who have detected their fraud so as to prevent any further disclosure.

The term Fraud-detection homicide is also used to describe Red-collar Crime.
Perri and Lichtenwald (2008, p. 28) point out that White-collar criminals thrive on being able to avoid detection in order to carry out their fraud schemes.
Perri and Lichtenwald (2007, pp. 24-5) argue that red-collar criminals perceive the fraud detection as an existential threat, a blow to their self-concept, and, consequently, as an act of “self” preservation, they are willing to resort to violence. Red-collar criminals do not reject violence as a solution to a perceived problem, so killing is just as viable a solution as using deceptive and manipulative characteristics to satisfy their needs.

Cases with Red-collar crime characteristics

These cases involve those who would be considered by most as the “typical” white-collar criminal attempting to conceal the crime through the act of murder.

The Reginald J. Robinson case was a classic case of Red-collar Crime.

On April 27, 2008 a man by the name of Kashmir Billon was found in his car shot to death. Firefighters when they arrived they found a man, shot numerous times in the chest, lying outside the burning BMW. Billon was 42 years old and worked as a mortgage lender operating Billon Enterprises. Law enforcement officers received a tip from an individual claiming that he was solicited by a Reginald J. Robinson to kill his business partner the Friday before Billon was murdered. The informant told authorities Robinson offered to pay them $50,000 to kill a business associate before Monday, April 28. (Fraley, 2008, para. 5). Investigated discovered that Robinson in fact was Billon's business partner. They also discovered that Robinson had met with Billon a half an hour before the shooting at a gas station nearby. Robinson was later arrested by police and was arraigned on charges of murder, solicitation of murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the fatal shooting of Kashmir Billon.