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White-collar crime poses major threat, expert says

The real threat to America comes not from street crime but from white-collar criminals who cheat government and business out of more than $40 billion a year, an expert said.

Washington attorney August Bequai, a specialist in law and technology, said consumer frauds alone represent about $21 billion annually - and embezzlements, bribery, kickbacks, payoffs, and stock and insurance frauds cost billions more.

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Mr. Bequai said a Senate study found that some of the secret federal agencies have not been able to secure their own computers from theft and fraud. He said the Soviet secret police is believed to be moving into this lucrative area.