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A bright green Lamborghini

Bright cars and fraud: any link?


In this second set of activities you will first focus on the way Hengist uses citation of sources to build his argument structure. After that you will look at the language used in key sentences of the text and match them to the key points of Hengist’s argument.


• To better understand the relationship between citation of authorities and the structure of an argument/discussion
• To gain a greater understanding of the sequencing of citations to best support the structure of an argument

Activity 1: Reasons for citing authorities

Citation is used by an author to lend authority to their writing and to evidence a point in their argument/discussion.

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Read the text again paying close attention to the cited authorities.

"Brightly Coloured Luxury Cars and White Collar Crime: Yet Another Dead End?" (1)

by Alan Hengist
Professor of Crime and Social Trends, the London School of Demographics

Previous studies (Cheney et al., 2004 Bush et al., 2006,) have argued for a
marked correlation between the increase in the number of brightly coloured,
high performance cars on the City of London’s roads and a recent rise in
the incidence of City banking fraud. This research article calls this view into question.

Leading criminologists (Cheney et al., 2004, Bush et al., 2006) have claimed a marked correlation between the increasing popularity of the brightly coloured cars being driven by the City of London’s wealthy élites and the recent collapse of the Capital’s fraud-hit financial sector. It was their seminal analysis of luxury car ownership in the United States (Bush & Cheney, 2001) that definitively established pink Ferraris, day-glo green Porsches and flame-orange Rolls Royces as the vehicles of choice for the Wall Street hedge fund élite by early 1999. Recent work on banking malfeasance (Jodrell, 2005, Trouserd & Goodwin, 2007) has sought to link these unconventional colour preferences to the marked recorded increase in the level of fraudulent activity by City traders, but without conclusively demonstrating any quantifiable causal relationship.

It is clearly the case that the causes of recent City banking fraud are many and complex (see Mandelström, 2008). Indeed, psychologists have been arguing over the motives for such crime for many years and have yet to come to any firm conclusions. Broadly, authorities in the literature divide into two camps. On the one hand, the environmental and occupational position (Workhouse et al., 2003) argues that such criminal behaviour results from social factors. According to this view, such fraud is simply a by-product of the bonus culture that has pervaded the City since 1997. This bonus culture, it is argued, constrains young male traders (statistically the majority of the perpetrators are both young and male) to commit high risk, fraudulent acts in order to enrich themselves as rapidly as possible. In short, it is suggested that any rise in questionable trading practices is almost entirely fuelled by well and less well-paid financial operatives competing to buy these brightly coloured, luxury models. On the other hand, the behavioural perspective (see Cue & Dole 1998, Skint et al., 2001) has long held that such crime is in fact genetic in origin. In other words, there are identifiable, highly acquisitive character types that appear to be inherently predisposed to defraud in all contexts, regardless of the risks, to get possession of highly prized and exclusive status symbols, such as these cars.

However, all the studies cited above manifest a common flaw - they crucially ignore the psycho-social profiles of existing owners of these unusually luminous, high prestige vehicles. By contrast, our research demonstrates that although some of these luxury models may indeed be owned by traders in sophisticated financial products, this is not exclusively the case. Furthermore, as will be shown, such vehicles are also demonstrably the car of choice for other high achievers, such as well remunerated practitioners of law or medicine. This specific stratum of professionals in society has been decisively proven in a recent longitudinal study (Blunkettle et al., 2007) to be among those least likely to commit fraudulent acts, lending even greater weight to the case against any obvious correlation.

Our results suggest, therefore, that it is unhelpful to attempt to relate the number of brightly coloured cars on London’s roads to any perceived increase in fraudulent City dealings. Whilst accepting that the causes of fraud may indeed be social or genetic, our findings set out below, based on both the most comprehensive literature review and exhaustive programme of field research undertaken to date, demonstrate that, in practice, there is little, if any, substantial evidence to suggest that strikingly coloured, high-end luxury vehicles on the Capital’s streets are in any meaningful way connected with the car ownership patterns of perpetrators of the most notorious cases of City fraud. We conclude, rather, that any quantifiable increase in the number of brightly coloured, high performance cars on London’s roads is a wholly predictable outcome of the exponential increase in buying power resulting from the financial sector’s total deregulation from 1997-2007. The broader question of the social distribution of the ownership of these particular cars, and any plausible relationship to, and impact on, City fraud, is beyond the scope of this study and would fruitfully be the object of further research.
(1) Phil Vellender acknowledges with thanks Peter Hopes’ inspirational paper ‘It has been suggested that the increase in the number of white cars on the roads has led to an increase in crime. How far do you agree?’ (Available in New Directions in Fraud: Proceedings of the Royal Psycho-Environics Society (Hotter and Struttin) London, 2000)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

1.) (Mandelström, 2008)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

2.) (Workhouse et al., 2003)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

3.) (Cue & Dole 1998, Skint et al., 2001)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

4.) (Bush & Cheney, 2001)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

5.) (Blunkettle et al., 2007)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

6.) (Cheney et al., 2004 Bush et al., 2006)

Select a reason for citing each authority from the dropdown list:

7.) (Jodrell, 2005, Trouserd & Goodwin, 2007)

Would you like to review the main points?

© Phil Vellender, Queen Mary University of London, photo used under the terms of an attributive CC license: courtesy of DeusXFlorida