Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 32, Issue 3/4, Fall 2013

Randi L. Sims
Pages 145-182

Antecedents and Consequences of Collective Fraud
A Study of the United States Residential Real Estate Market Boom and Bust

This paper examines the collective fraudulent behaviors taking place during the residential real estate bubble in the United States from 2002 to 2006 and the influence of others’ choices on decision making leading to a herd mentality. The antecedents of collective fraud are discussed in terms of the sociological theory behind human herding and the fraudulent behaviors during the real estate bubble are examined. Using archival witness testimony as a primary basis for analysis, this paper argues that without widespread collective fraud, the bubble may not have developed and the herd mentality may have dissipated without the consequences of financial disaster. The aim of an analysis of this nature is to offer a plausible explanation of some of the preconditions to the event under study.