When you have heard of someone being taken in by a con artist, or losing their
life savings to
someone they trusted, you usually have the perception of the victim being
elderly or poorly
educated. Society tends to view these two segments of our population as the most
fraudulent crimes. The fact of the matter is that fraud claims many victims,
without regard for a
victim’s age, gender, race, or income. There is no typical fraud victim.
What is typical is that once a person is victimized, their life will never be
the same. Victims of
white-collar crime, such as fraud, experience the same pain and torturous
feelings as victims of
violent crime; however, they experience this hurt internally rather than in a
manner. Fraud involves tangible loss (financial), in addition to an emotional
loss (a violation of
oneself). Fraud victims and those around them are often surprised by the depth
and severity of
their emotional reaction to victimization. Regardless of the type of crime or
its degree of impact,
all victims experience a loss of personal control over their lives. A victim who
has not been
physically harmed may find that his or her friends consider the crime a minor
only money"), no matter how the victim feels about it. Because the violation of
self is invisible,
it’s hard for the victim (and those involved in the victim’s life) to accept the
degree of upheaval
presenting itself in their lives.
Often fraud victims feel humiliated and are blamed for their victimization. This
adds a whole
new dimension to the crime and victim experience. Victims must deal with this
identity. This may partially explain why such a small percentage of fraud
incidents are actually
reported to authorities.
A third dimension with which fraud victims contend is that when a crimes occurs,
it is treated by
the criminal justice system as essentially one against the state. Many victims,
as a result of crime,
are suddenly immersed in the complexities of a two-party criminal justice system
EMOTIONAL STAGES EXPERIENCED BY VICTIMS OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME.
• HOPE: Without hanging on to hope, victims are left with nothing and must face
• DENIAL: By denying what has happened, victims do not have to again face the
fact that they
were deceived by a person they trusted.
• BLAMING OTHERS: Victims may try to make the problem disappear by shifting the
to a third person.
• RATIONALIZATION: Victims may rationalize as a last effort to avoid acceptance
violation of trust and loss of money.
• ANGER/RETALIATION: Victims finally realize and accept what has happened. They
display anger and decide to strike back.
• STRESS: Victims begin to feel the stress from the significant loss of funds
• DEPRESSION: Victims are unable to deal with the loss. They may be unable to
clearly, have difficulty focusing, give up on life, question their judgment,
and ask why they allowed this to happen.
• AFRAID TO FACE OTHERS: Victims of white collar crime have difficulty speaking
regarding their victimization because they face a judicial system and a society
that feel there
no victims of this type of crime.
• GUILT: Eventually the victims will blame themselves for allowing the situation
• ACCEPTANCE: Victims understand and recognize that they are in fact victims of
They find inner peace and go on with their lives.
Being actively involved as the case is being prosecuted may provide an
opportunity to regain
some sense of control. It is the prosecutor’s office, most of which have a
program, that keeps victims informed regarding court dates and activities. The
program may also be able to suggest appropriate resources and referrals to
assist victims in
coping with their victimization
ARE THERE WAYS TO RECOVER FINANCIAL LOSS?
Restitution: If fraudulent activity results in a criminal conviction, victims of
crime will receive a
Victim Impact Statement (VIS) along with the name of the presentence
investigator (PSI) who
will be making recommendations to the court regarding sentencing and
restitution. Victims are
encouraged to complete their Impact Statement and be as clear and accurate as
speaking with the PSI regarding the effect the crime has had on them
and physically. The judge will determine any restitution amount owed to the
victims and the
method of payment. Keep in mind that restitution payments may be divided among
victims. Recovering financial loss through restitution payments will depend on
ability to pay as well as his or her cooperation in making the restitution
payments. If victims are
aware that the defendant may possess substantial assets, it may be worth filing
Lien. Victims may contact the prosecutor’s office to see if he or she has
defendant’s assets and if a lien has been filed. Keep in mind that a lien is
only helpful if the
defendant chooses to sell his or her assets named in the lien. If a defendant
does not pay
restitution and court supervision is ending, victims have a right to convert
restitution to a civil
judgment. If restitution is converted to a civil judgment, civil rule of the law
then applies. For
more information, you may contact the Attorney General’s Office at 602-542-4911.
Civil Litigation: Another option victims have is naming the defendant in a civil
suit. A monetary
judgment may be awarded in suit if liability is proven and the defendant has the
there are other costs involved in pursuing civil remedies, it is best to contact
an attorney to have
him or her review the case.
Arizona Corporation Commission
1300 W. Washington, 3rd Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Victims of fraud - emotional harm
Why you're never too old to be defrauded
a wealth of informative anti-fraud resources here: