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Focus On White-Collar Crime: Accounting Fraud and Computer Crimes Creates Need; Qualified Investing

An epidemic of white-collar financial crime has resulted in the development of specialized education programs focused on economic crime investigation and fraud management. These college-level degree programs attract students who are interested in law enforcement and are attracted by the very unique nature of these types of crimes and the special investigative techniques required to solve them.

There seems to be no end to the greed in the hearts of some professional business people. It isn't enough to have fancy cars, vacation homes and other lavish perks of the highly successful. Many selfish individuals have decided to play a risky game of "milk-the-company-for-all-it's-worth" to fuel an unhealthy appetite to acquire more "things" for no other reason than to have them. As a result, books are cooked, balance sheets become unbalanced and finally, as in the case of Enron, there is nothing left to share with the shareholders.

Economic crime is a broad category encompassing a variety of offenses all of which are focused on bilking a private company, government agency or other professional institution out of their financial resources. Individuals at any level of an organization including, as we have seen in recent years, the most senior management, may perpetrate these crimes. And the methods that they use may be highly sophisticated including manipulating computer systems or fudging accounting records.

A fraud investigator must be highly educated and well versed in the financial and technological systems and practices that may have been altered or doctored in some way. Terms like "computer forensics and "accounting forensics" have entered the lexicon of crime investigators as they begin probing a crime scene that does not contain blood evidence, signs of violence or even an obvious victim. But these are certainly not victimless crimes.

Hundreds of major corporations, government institutions and law enforcement agencies are staffing up with economic crime specialists, fraud investigators and fraud management specialists. The need for qualified investigators has prompted colleges to develop specialized curricula devoted to the study of economic crime prevention. Some schools feature Bachelor's and Master's Degree programs in Economic Crime. The courses are usually instructed by faculty members experienced in economic crime investigation and computer crime control. Right now, more than 90% of their Bachelor's in Economic Crime Investigation graduates are working in professional positions relevant to their career interests.

Graduates with these unique, highly specialized degrees are in great demand. A number of colleges are now making these programs available for online study. That means that, no matter what your current commitments or time constraints, these very attractive and potentially lucrative and rewarding degree programs are available to almost anyone. Who knows, at some point in the not-too-distant future you may be instrumental in finding, apprehending and convicting economic criminals that are stealing from us all.

Terry McDermott is the author and administrator of a portfolio of specialized websites with a primary focus on the category of online education including Access Online Degrees at http://www.accessonlinedegrees.com


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