Ever since Michael Douglas rocked the world with his portrayal as Gordon Gecko in the cult film, Wall Street, the world has been fascinated by white collar true crime. The movie and Douglas’s portrayal of a wealthy corporate raider is seen as the archetype stockbroker, coining the famous phrase "Greed is good".
Since then Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wall Street), Bernie Maddof (world’s biggest Ponzi scheme) Allen Stanford (Ponzi scheme), Bruno Iksil (JPMorgan Chase), Jeffery Epstein (convicted sex offender), Albert H. Wiggin (Chase National Bank) and Jeff Skilling (Enron) have hit the headlines fleecing billions dollars from the market and investors. Even famous American sweetheart Martha Stewart did time for insider trading.
The global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008 saw multiple long-standing powerhouses hit rock bottom or require billion-dollar bailouts with very few people prosecuted. With the rise of high frequency algorithm trading and regulators racing to catch up, fraud on Wall Street and in markets around the world continue.
Find out more about the Wall Street 'white whales', the billions involved and how they got away with it - as well as famous swindlers such as Australia’s own Belle Gibson and Catch Me if You Can’s Frank Abagnale Jr.
Typical white-collar crimes can include wage theft, fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, labour racketeering, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery. (Source)
Sunshine Coast Libraries members have loaned fraud themed titles 16,865 times!
Top 5 Books
To get the full true crime experience head to the library catalogue to reserve these white-collar crime items:
- Billion dollar whale: the man who fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the world by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.
- Flash crash: a trading savant, a global manhunt and the most mysterious market crash in history by Liam Vaughan.
- Black edge: inside information, dirty money and the quest to bring down the most wanted man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar.
- Rigged: exposing the largest financial fraud in history by Stuart Englert. The biggest fraud in history is a financial scheme perpetrated by the U.S. government and its banking accomplices. Over the last century, they've used coercion, deception and market manipulation to convince Americans the U.S. dollar is as good as gold and silver. The truth is, it's not.
- Chasing Phil: the adventures of two undercover FBI agents with the world’s most charming con man by David Howard. A thrilling true crime caper, that spotlights the FBI's first white-collar undercover sting in 1977. Phil Kitzer swindled millions of dollars, but the FBI was slow to pivot toward a new type of financial crime that is now all too familiar.
Top 5 DVDs
Reserve these white-collar crime docos and movies on DVD:
- Wall Street: riveting behind-the-scenes look at big business in the 1980's, an ambitious young broker (Charlie Sheen) is lured into the illegal, lucrative world of corporate espionage when he is seduced by the power, status and financial wizardry of Wall Street legend Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in his Oscar-winning performance.
- The Wizard of Lies: the headline-making true story about the deceptions, lies and betrayals of Bernie Madoff, the man who masterminded the most heinous financial swindle of our generation.
- The Wolf of Wall Street: based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. Revered filmmaker Martin Scorsese directs the true story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).
- Equity: a female investment banker, fighting to rise to the top of the corporate ladder at a competitive Wall Street firm, navigates a controversial tech IPO in the post-financial crisis world, where loyalties are suspect, regulations are tight, but pressure to bring in big money remains high.
- The Big Short: the financial meltdown from Michael Burry, a bizarre autistic-like stock-picking genius, Mark Baum, self-loathing fictional character whose firm picks up insider trading information from a wrong number phone call; Jared Vennet, a smart-aleck broker who confirms the ominous suspicion; and Charlie Gellar and Jamie Shipley, small-time players who hit it big.
Top 5 eBooks
Libraries love these white-collar true crime eBooks:
- A convenient death: the mysterious demise of Jeffery Epstein by Alana Goodman.
- Bad blood: secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup by John Carreyrou.
- The woman who fooled the world: Belle Gibson’s cancer con and the darkness at the heart of the wellness industry by Beau Donelly
- All the devils are here: unmasking the men who bankrupted the world by Bethany McLean
- The King of Con: how a smooth-talking Jersey boy made and lost billions, baffled the FBI, excluded the mob and lived to tell the crooked tale by Thomas Giacomaro
Borrow up to 30 eBooks on your device. To get started download the ePlatform by Wheelers, RBDigital and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and passwords.
Top 5 podcasts
Listen on the go with these white-collar true crime podcasts:
- Swindled: podcast about white-collar criminals, con artists and corporate evil.
- Ponzi Supanova: investigative series on Bernie Maddof and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme drawn from hours of conversations with Bernie himself from prison.
- Popping the White Collar: weekly episodes featuring high profile white-collar crimes. Both hosts have a military background and experience in finance, gaming, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity.
- American Scandal: from the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
- WeCrashed: the rise and fall of WeWork. The company was valued at $47 billion dollars. Charismatic CEO Adam Neumann had a prophet-like vision for WeWork that he sold to some of the world’s savviest investors - but did his vision ever match the company's reality? Hosted by David Brown of the hit podcast Business Wars.
On the web
Spot a scammer and keep your cash stash safe. Check out these great resources to help get you started:
- Introduction to myGov How it works, what you can do.
- Scamwatch.gov.au Stay up to date with the latest news and alerts from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- Learn all about creating safe passwords.
- Protect against identity theft and get help from IDcare – Australia’s national identity and cyber support.
- Take a look at these top ten tips for online safety.
- Choice.com.au offer this resource for online assistants acting for an older family member or friend.
- Ransomware – what it is and how to prevent an attack.
- Betting on Zero: the ultimate shakedown and the crusade to expose the largest pyramid scheme in history. Follows controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman as he puts a billion dollars on the line to expose Herbalife.
- Plunder – the crime of our time: exposes the forces responsible for the loss of trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, massive foreclosures and the disappearance of retirement funds. An investigation into the unregulated fraud and theft that led to the market’s collapse in 2008.
- Chasing Madoff: documentary feature based on the arrest of Bernie Madoff and how Securities Analyst Harry Markopolis discovered the Ponzi scheme a decade before the public.
Love the program? Complete the online survey.