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Accounting for Identity Theft: The Roles of Lifestyle and Enactment

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 29 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2013 Pages: 351-368
Date Published
August 2013
18 pages

This study explored the various justifications and excuses given by identity thieves.


White-collar offenders are thought to be particularly adept at excusing and justifying their crimes. Whether this is due to their personal backgrounds or the characteristics of their crimes is, as of yet, unknown. To shed light on this issue the authors explore the various justifications and excuses given by identity thieves. Using data from semistructured interviews with 49 federally convicted identity thieves the authors show that they all provided numerous accounts for their crimes, with denial of injury being the most common. The authors also found that the use of accounts varied by the lifestyles these offenders live. That is, those seeking to live as conventional citizens call forth different accounts than those who have a criminal lifestyle. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.

Date Published: August 1, 2013