Friday, June 20, 2008
The 2008 Report to the President of the Corporate Fraud Task Force is now available (see here). And reading the many prosecutions with guilty pleas and convictions after trial, one would certainly think that this task force has been an incredible success. After all the Report says that the DOJ "has obtained nearly 1,300 corporate fraud convictions." It states that "[t]hese figures include convictions of more than 200 chief executive officers and corporate presidents, more than 120 corporate vice presidents, and more than 50 chief financial officers." The Report even goes so far as to supply successes with civil enforcement.
But there is something noticeably missing from this report. How about the not guilty verdicts? Shouldn't a report of this nature present a fair assessment of what really happened with this Corporate Fraud Task Force? Back when they issued their 5 year report I wrote (here) -
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.
The closest the latest Report comes to presenting a true picture of what happened, is on page 1.11 when discussing KPMG they say that "the Government is currently appealing an adverse ruling in connection with the remaining 13 individuals."
This Report should be sent back for a rewrite. Lets see a Report that presents a true picture of what has been accomplished by the Task Force. That picture may show that the government has been successful in many cases. But it will allow the President to see exactly what has or has not been accomplished by this Task Force.