Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Five Year Anniversary of the Corporate Fraud Task Force

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the Corporate Fraud Task Force and the DOJ celebrated by releasing its report card.  And by reading their press release it looks like they received "A"s in every course. Statistically they report:

"1,236 total corporate fraud convictions to date, including:

    • 214 chief executive officers and presidents;
    • 53 chief financial officers;
    • 23 corporate counsels or attorneys; and
    • 129 vice presidents."

They note that "the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section has obtained more than one billion dollars in fraud-related forfeitures and has distributed that money to the victims of corporate fraud."  The DOJ Press Release provides numerous examples of prosecutions by highlighting the investigations and the convictions resulting from particular investigations.  For example, with respect to WorldCom it states, "The former WorldCom CEO was convicted on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, and making false statements in SEC filings, and was sentenced to 25 years’ incarceration."

But omitted from the list of companies and employees are numbers of those found "not guilty."  The report does not speak about the death sentence given to Arthur Andersen, LLP, a conviction that was later reversed by the Supreme Court.

It is important to remember that prosecutors are to be "ministers of justice."  And "win" or conviction records are not what counts.  What matters is whether the prosecutor has proceeded against criminality in a fair and professional matter. 

(esp) 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/2007/07/five-year-anniv.html

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Get a load of this press release (hat tip Ellen Podger) from the Department of Justice heralding the five year anniversary of the DOJ's Corporate Fraud Task Force. Here is the press release's description of the Task Force's accomplishments in... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 18, 2007 8:29:20 PM

Comments

And what about how many of these "convictions" were the result of guilty pleas, and how many of those got seriously reduced sentences because of assistance they provided in obtaining other "convictions"? Seems we might have a quality control problem here.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 18, 2007 5:23:18 AM

Typically in fraud cases there are three factors that seem to almost always be present: Need - Opportunity and Rationalization. With so many convictions for corporate fraud, wonder if there's ever been a study to determine any common threads that seem to weave through the fraudulent actions?

As a former inmate in Federal prison I understand what my issues were and today speak to young people and business executives about choices and consequences. (www.chuckgallagher.com) Afterall, every choice has a consequence as we can see from the number of convictions above.

Posted by: Chuck Gallagher | Jul 21, 2007 8:15:39 PM

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