Soltes, a university business school professor, began to think about a different type of criminal — the white-collar variety — none of whom lived the harsh lives of the incarcerated who were profiled on “Lockup.” Many of these fraudsters lived extraordinarily comfortable lives, but their crimes adversely affected themselves, their families, employees, investors and companies. Driven by curiosity, Soltes began to write to several former executives who were serving sentences for fraud.
He asked them the first dozen questions that came to mind.
The results of the prison correspondence and visits plus Soltes’ research on white-collar criminology resulted in his 2016 book, “Why They Do it: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal” (Public Affairs).
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As global head of sales, Richards helped backdate contracts that clients signed after the quarters officially ended, Soltes says.
Richards’ actions inflated quarterly earnings and temporarily propped up the firm’s stock price.
Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff “is the ultimate rationalizer,” says Eugene Soltes, the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of “Why They Do it: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal.” Soltes has interviewed Madoff for several years — and continues to interview him — to try to answer the question in the title of Soltes’ book.
“Madoff is different from really anyone else of the executive white-collar criminals that I spent time with in writing this book,” Soltes says in a recent interview with Fraud Magazine. These were prominent charities that he got to know over time,” Soltes says.
“The smaller — or less-wealthy investors — who were wiped out because of him, he saw as people that were just simply foolish to put all their eggs in one basket and give him all the money.