In 1953, Donald R. Cressey theorized that there were two components needed to commit a crime: general information and technical skill. According to Cressey, general information is the knowledge that fraud could be committed. In a mortgage fraud circumstance, the information could be derived from hearing that other mortgage brokers (either in the same mortgage entity or another mortgage entity) are committing fraud. It could also come from observing fraudulent behavior or even supervisors, managers and employers. Even the newspapers provide information on fraudulent behavior by mortgage brokers.
With technical skill, it is the abilities needed in order to commit fraud. Dishonest mortgage brokers have many cohorts. These individuals can include colleagues, mangers and lender’s account representatives. They are then abusing the trust that is placed in them.
In Cressey’s theory, the three components of fraud then form a triangle made up of opportunity, means and motive. Here, the points of the fraud triangle consist of a perceived financial need (pressure), perceived opportunity and rationalization. It was his belief that these three issues are present to some extent in all white collar criminal cases.