There are millions of Americans who care about morality in the marketplace. A decade ago, Corporate Crime Reporter compiled a database and produced a report entitled "The Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s." They used the most narrow and conservative of definitions -- corporations that pled guilty or 'no contest' to crimes and were criminally fined. See http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/top100.html
The top 100 corporate criminals fell into the following major categories of crime: Environmental, Antitrust, Fraud, Campaign Finance, Food & Drug, Financial Crimes, False Statements, Illegal Exports, Worker Death, Bribery, Obstruction of Justice, Public Corruption, and Tax Evasion. Corporate crime easily runs into hundreds of billion dollars, far outstripping street crime, e.g. robbery, burglary.
Big corporations that are criminally prosecuted represent only the tip of a very large iceberg of corporate wrongdoing.
- For every company convicted of health care fraud, there are hundreds of others who get away with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid, or face only mild slap-on-the-wrist fines and civil penalties when caught.
- For every company convicted of polluting the nation's waterways, there are many others who are not prosecuted because their corporate defense lawyers are able to offer up a low-level employee to go to jail in exchange for a promise from prosecutors not to touch the company or its high-level executives.
- For every corporation convicted of bribery or of giving money directly to a public official in violation of federal law, there are thousands who give money legally through political action committees to candidates and political parties. They profit from a political system that effectively has legalized bribery.
- For every corporation convicted of reckless homicide in the death of a worker, there are hundreds of others that don't even get investigated for reckless homicide when a worker is killed on the job.
The government just can't stay on top of corporate crime anymore. It's just gotten too big for any government office to handle. Citizens are just going to have to step up to the task and help tackle the problem of keeping an eye on major corporations and bringing their actions to light. If you want to know more about corporate crime and help collaborate in the fight against it, check out the following organizations, web sites, and online databases:
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
- Center for Corporate Policy – Crime Data
- Citizen Works
- Corporate Crime Reporter
- Crocodyl – Collaborative Research on Corporations
- Endgame.org Corporate Fines & Settlements
- EPA Enforcement & Compliance History Online (ECHO)
- Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (POGO)
- National White Collar Crime Center
- Transparency International – Coalition Against Corruption
- Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse
It's time to generate and publish an updated 'open' report on the "The Top 100 Corporate Criminals: 2000-2010."
Citizens need to get more involved! Let's hold major corporations publically accountable for their criminal behavior and help build a better America. We can do better!