Tuesday, July 17, 2007
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.