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White-collar crime

23 February 2011

Professor Mike LeviProfessor Mike Levi

A Cardiff Professor has become the first person in Britain and the latest in a line of distinguished scholars to lead an American society dedicated to researching and raising awareness of white collar crime.

Professor Mike Levi, School of Social Sciences and Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, has been elected as Vice-President of the US White-Collar Crime Research Consortium (WCCRC).

The Consortium promotes increased public awareness of the impact and burden of white collar crime on society through dedicated research. It supports researchers in the field of white collar crime – mainly in America - and engages with the practitioner community including state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In accepting the post, Professor Levi said: "I may be the last elderly white male to occupy this post, judging from the excellent alternatives this time, and I am delighted that a number of younger scholars are coming through to form the next generation of white-collar criminologists."

Professor Levi has been conducting national and transnational research on white-collar and organised crime, money laundering and proceeds of crime confiscation since 1972. Along with Dr Matt Williams of the School, he is currently undertaking a preliminary assessment of e-crime, funded by the Nominet Trust, which will feed into the e-Crime Reduction Partnership.

He is the only British academic to be appointed to the new World Economic Forum Organised Crime Council. The Council had its first meeting in Dubai as part of the Global Agenda 2010 before Davos, reflecting the growing perception in the business world that some aspects of organised crime are a threat to development and prosperity.

"Although white-collar crime has never been seen as a core part of the criminological project, official bodies are realising the links between some frauds and more traditional organised crime networks," said Professor Levi. "Recent work by WCCRC members in the US has demonstrated that mortgage origination frauds (and slack controls by banks of falsified data on borrowers) were a significant influence in generating the financial crisis. Consumer fraud issues such as identity theft and telemarketing scams have also attained increasing prominence in the media and the political environment in developed countries, so there are many research tasks to be enhanced via the WCCRC network in the years to come."

Professor Levi will take up the post of Vice-President in two years, succeeding Peter Yeager from Boston University.

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