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Former White-Collar Criminal Provides Valuable Business Ethics Advice

Former white collar criminals who have already repaid their debts to society find it difficult to access new employment opportunities and to repair their professional reputations. However, Walter Pavlo, a former white collar criminal, has used his past experiences in order to provide valuable business ethics advice to a broad range of public and private actors. In the 1990s, Pavlo was convicted of obstruction of justice and money laundering. Today he is an ethics and finance professor at the Ithaca College MBA program, and counts the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and an assortment of other private organizations as his clients. The beginning of Pavlo’s story mirrors that of many white collar criminals and his study and analysis of other white-collar criminals has provided invaluable advice for law enforcement, employers and would-be white collar criminals.

Pavlo’s Story

After graduating from college, Pavlo was employed as a collections manager at MCI. Early into his job he became aware of negative earnings trends, and began cooking the books to make the numbers look more favorable. After falsifying earnings, and also transferring money into his own personal bank account, Palvo had embezzled over $6 million before he was apprehended by the authorities and forced to serve a prison sentence. After leaving prison, Pavlo found it difficult to rebuild his reputation and career. At this point he began to pursue an alternative career path by developing specialized courses geared towards both white collar crime and business ethics considerations and practices.

In his studies, Pavlo learned quite a few lessons, which he then imparted on his clients. Pavlo initially worked to determine a specific definition of what a white collar criminal is. What Pavlo discovered was that often times white collar criminals did not have a specific personality type and that white collar criminals come from a wide array of religious, racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Specifically, Pavlo found that:

“We have a misperception about what white collar crime is…Many people believe it is just bad people, greedy people and unethical people. I’m not saying their acts do not reflect that; I am just saying a lot of times, they are just good people who make really bad choices.”

Pavlo believes that many white collar criminals underestimate the actual repercussions of their actions, and wrongly assume that their theft, fraud, and other illegal acts will not hurt anybody. When explaining this sentiment, Pavlo references the practice of insider training, stating that:

“If someone obtains information on a stock, what I have seen is that they tend to share that with their closest friends as a favor. This is a risk that nobody sees at that moment.”

Ultimately, what Pavlo believes most white collar criminals fail to understand is both the brevity of the crime they are committing, but also the risks involved in the decisions they are making. Pavlo’s primary goal is to shed a light on these risks, while also illustrating that white collar criminals are just regular citizens who have failed to fully anticipate the repercussions of their actions. By emphasizing the humanity of white collar criminals, Pavlo wants businesses and employers to understand that almost any employee can be tempted to steal and embezzle funds from their employers.

Do You Need Representation?

Are you facing white collar criminal charges in Florida? Contact criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner P.A. in South Miami, Florida if you require legal representation in a fraud, embezzlement or any other white-collar crime suit.

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