Moving Up The Criminal Ladder: Network Features of Promotees in An Online Community Of Financial Fraudsters
Illicit Networks Workshop, Adelaide, Australia
Many researchers have argued that criminal markets and organizations are by nature adverse to bureaucracy and formal hierarchy. Haller (1992: p5) is one of the many who state that when organized crime participants invest in illicit activities, they do so “largely [as] independent entrepreneurs”. Still, many criminal organizations like the Hells Angels and street gangs in Chicago operate within a vertical structure where members earn titles through promotions. This structure is not meant to ensure the submission of lower classes but rather to facilitate recruitment and promote loyalty. A well-defined structure with strong competition to reach the higher echelons is likely to increase the success of a criminal organization.
Past research has been hindered by the fact that promotions and official titles are seldom publicized outside of organizations. This study plans to build on past research and develop a model that uses social capital to explain promotions in an online community of financial fraudsters. Its virtual setting means that traces of each promotion is available which enables us to compare the features of the ego network of participants who receive promotions and those who do not. Our findings will be discussed within the framework of strategic positioning in criminal networks.
This content has been updated on 8 August 2016 at 17 h 58 min.