September 22, 2007

Tough on Crime? Hardly!

Russell Mokhiber, the editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, has a few comparisons he wants to share with the class.
The FBI estimates that burglary and robbery—street crimes—costs the nation $3.8 billion a year.

[In contrast,] health care fraud costs Americans $100 billion $400 billion a year. And then you have your lesser frauds: auto repair fraud, $40 billion a year, securities fraud, $15 billion a year—and on down the list. ...
Here's one more comparison:
The FBI estimates that 16,000 Americans are murdered every year.

Compare this to the 56,000 Americans who die every year on the job or from occupational diseases such as black lung and asbestos... These deaths are often the result of criminal recklessness. Yet, they are rarely prosecuted as homicides or as criminal violations of federal laws.
That's from "Twenty Things You Should Know About Corporate Crime." The most interesting tidbits come near the end: Over the years, Mokhiber has been tracking the sharp rise in deferred-prosecution agreements (in which the Justice Department files criminal charges against a corporation, but then agrees to drop them completely if the company behaves for the next two years), as well as non-prosecution agreements (where companies just pay a fine and avoid criminal charges). Actual punishments that run the risk of spurring structural reforms, such as "corporate probation," have fallen into disfavor.
-- Brad Plumer 3:28 PM || ||