Criminals Cash Flow Strategies in Financial Crime on the Example of Online and Offline Fraud


Financial aspects of crime are in many cases not evident and the criminal’s motivation to commit a specific crime is sometimes very individual, i.e. not driven by common sense. Those financial aspects are - also in cybercrime - related to motivational aspects, the type of crime, modus operandi and legal alternatives. In our work, we investigated the question what happens with money gained from cyber-crime in contrast to traditional criminal activities. To do so, we interviewed prisoners in Germany from different crime categories (e.g. drug-trafficking, online- and offline-fraud) using a semi-structured interview including narrative excurses and analysed factors like expected and actual financial profit, the risk estimation and strategies to manage (i.e. launder, hide, invest) the money. Although interesting connections between the type of crime and financial strategies were revealed, the majority of criminals interviewed tend to use classical money managing strategies, that are characterised by a high immunity to loss (e.g. during imprisonment). Furthermore, we analysed the connection between repeated offences (multiple sentences) and financial aspects and identified factors strengthening and weakening the tendency to commit specific crimes. Our results indicate, that the type of crime and the modus operandi are rarely replaced but the strategies are iteratively refined, often using lessons learned from errors made in previous criminal activities that lead to their uncovering. In the paper, we describe the study, the types of crimes covered (incl. financial issues), the results regarding the comparison between online- and offline-fraud, the strategies to money management and effectiveness of preventive counter-measures.

Author Information
Sven Kuhlmann, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Ronny Merkel, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Jana Dittmann, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Barbara Colette Zitturi, University of Graz, Austria
Martin Griesbacher, University of Graz, Austria

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2016
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

This paper is part of the ECP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon