Between 2001 and 2004, six high-status women were charged with crimes in connection with corporate criminal cases. The public is familiar with some of them, although not all of their cases have been covered equally in the press. With the exception of an occasional article now and then mentioning the exploding rates of female incarceration, women's crime tends to be invisible to the public eye. The statistical data the government collects and analyzes on women and crime will be discussed. This article will focus on the prosecution of the individual cases of Lea Fastow, Betty Vinson, and Martha Stewart. Their cases, and where relevant, their life circumstances, and the issue of whether loyalty played a role in their offending, will be examined and contrasted with the experiences of female offenders who are not of high status. Rapper Lil' Kim's prosecution will highlight the problems of a female offender of color who has high status but whose acts are deemed to be street crimes. The article concludes by suggesting that although the high-status female white-collar offender does not share the personal characteristics of the regular female offender, the two groups of women share a common pathway to crime— loyalty to a man engaged in wrongdoing. Moreover, white-collar female offenders do not differ significantly from many women who are incarcerated for street crimes. Lil' Kim's case offers an example of how strikingly close a street crime offender can be to a white-collar offender.
Michelle S. Jacobs, Loyalty's Reward -- A Felony Conviction: Recent Prosecutions of High-Status Female Offenders, 33 Fordham Urb. L. J. (2006), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/184