Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Have you ever heard the term pink collar crime? Think of it as a white collar crime only it is perpetrated by women and the most common pink collar crime is embezzlement. It is statistically proven that men who embezzle money usually steal more at one time than women do, women steal more over a period of time than their male counterparts. The average embezzlement theft by men is 232,000 dollars compared to the 100,000 dollar median theft by women. Another statistic shows that while women generally make 81 cents on the dollar compared to men, they (women) only steal about 43 cents on the dollar compared to their male embezzling counterparts. Women also steal mostly from small businesses or charity groups and organizations like the PTA.
The term “Pink collar crime” was coined by a criminologist named Kathy Daly in the 1980’s and according to her definition, in an article she wrote in 1989, for a peer-reviewed journal called “Criminology”, Kathy Daly refers the term to female office workers in low to mid-level positions such as bookkeepers, clerks, and managers, who steal money from their employers.
Most pink collar criminals do not have a criminal history. What they do have though is trust and opportunity. Some women involved in pink collar crimes are women who gamble, women who need bills paid off, and women who like to live up to the status quo. Pink collar crime is not just embezzlement either. It also refers to forgery where the criminal may write a check out of company funds for herself or for whomever but also are able to cover it up in the books. This is called “check kiting”.
Rita Crundwell is probably the most famous woman arrested for pink collar crime when she was caught embezzling over 53 million dollars between 1983 and 2012 as the comptroller for a small city called Dixon, in Illinois. The city had a typical yearly operating budget of between 6 and 7 million dollars a year and Crundwell used the money to build a quarter-horse empire. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013 and in November of 2015, police and officials were still trying to auction off her horses and property. One of her quarter horses was sold to a Canadian man for 775,000 dollars. Frozen semen and even trophies and medals are/were being auctioned off. Rita Crundwell was a very successful horse breeder and very well known in the circle. As a matter of fact, in 2012, hundreds of her quarter horses were sold in a large auction that drew thousands of visitors from all over the country and jammed up hotels for miles.
Rita Crundwell was finally caught when a co-worker noticed some unusual bank activity while filling in for her. When the FBI was notified, they watched Crundwell for the next three years funnel money from the city into her personal accounts, which she had been doing since the 1990’s. By the time she was arrested, Rita Crundwell had put the city of Dixon 22 million dollars in debt.
Pink collar crime is definitely not a “victimless crime”.