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JSPES, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring 2006 )
pp. 75-105

Criminalization as Policy: Using Federal Criminal Law as Regulatory Device

William L. Anderson
Candice E. Jackson


Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Department of Justice has increasingly used criminal charges as a means to affect regulatory policy. From the Wall Street prosecutions by Rudy Guiliani to the current indictments, convictions, and investigation of Enron executives, the seeming recent legal trend has been for federal prosecutors to interpret some business activity in areas either loosely regulated or where regulatory boundaries are fuzzy or sometimes non-existent as being criminal in nature. The authors attempt to determine whether the focus of prosecution on so-called white-collar crime has changed from the way it was conducted in the past. Their research finds that much of current white-collar prosecution reflects a different interpretation of what is considered criminal behavior in business activity and reflects an alternative path of government regulation of business.