Telemarketing Fraud: Illegitimate Offspring of the American Market Economy

Glenn S. Coffey, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

This paper examines the individual, organizational and cultural aspects of telemarketing fraud. It begins with a description of the current exchange system in the U.S. economic model and the concomitant opportunity for criminal enterprise, more specifically fraud. After a statement of the problem, to wit, the proliferation of fraudulent telemarketing operations, the qualitative methods utilized to investigate the phenomenon is discussed. A detailed expose on the criminal backgrounds and careers of those that participate in telemarketing fraud follows. Next, an analysis of the organizational components and the reaction of the criminal justice apparatus at the individual and organizational levels is provided. The failings of the government to appropriately investigate and respond to the cultural components are revealed. The paper concludes with suggestions for the development of policy and implementation toward a more effective societal response.

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Updated 05/20/2006