Defining white-collar and economic crime can be difficult at first. In many cases, such as frauds, money is not stolen by force; it is given willingly as a result of deception. Let us start our course by considering where the line exists between “buyers beware” and “fraud, read each scenario given below and answer the following questions:
•A telephone marketer promises a solar-powered clothes dryer for $500 and then sends the buyer only a clothesline and clothes pins.
◦What is the buyer’s responsibility in a situation like this?
◦Would this be a crime in your state? Why?
◦What is the boundary between caveat emptor and aggressive advertising?
•There are several instances of companies knowingly selling defective or unsafe products. Clearly, a car company that knowingly sells cars with defective air bags is committing a crime. But what if the product in question is legal, such as cigarettes or fatty fast food? Analyze the following situations and explain where responsibility should lie in each case:
◦A store selling cigarettes to a customer with emphysema.
◦A casino allowing a person with a gambling addiction to gamble.
◦A fast-food restaurant selling cheeseburgers to an obese customer.
◦A bar serving alcohol to a habitual drunkard.
•Which of the above situations should be illegal?