Home > Publications > Offenders or Victims? Convenient Self-Portraits of White-Collar Criminals in their Autobiographies

Offenders or Victims? Convenient Self-Portraits of White-Collar Criminals in their Autobiographies

Petter Gottschalk1

It is often argued that the guilty mind seems more absent among whitecollar criminals than street criminals. This article presents self-portraits of six
white-collar criminals in their autobiographies from Germany, Norway, and the
United States. We apply the theory of convenience to find a variety of financial
motives, organizational opportunities, and reasons for personal willingness to
commit and conceal financial crime benefitting the organizations or themselves.
We use a scale from offender to victim, where some convicts present themselves
as offenders, while most portrait themselves as victims of crime for which they
were convicted to incarceration. Autobiographies are a unique source of
information for research to study reasons for deviant behaviors. Unfortunately,
some very few white-collar criminals write books about themselves while in
prison or afterwards.

Keywords: Victim; offender; white-collar crime; convenience theory;
autobiography; neutralization; self-portrait.