Crime and Punishment
Business fraud consists of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or companies in order to provide an advantageous financial outcome. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners annual report, nearly half of all small businesses experience fraud at some point in their business lifecycle. It will cost these organizations an average of $114,000 per occurrence. Worse, such fraud is usually committed by a “loyal” employee.
How is it that big money people can commit the crime and not face punishment. Of course, I know the answer to this question. However, I would like to draw attention to this issue and the government of the day. Let’s empower the Judicial System to do what it is designed to do.
Where is integrity in business practices? I used to believe that “a man’s word is his bond.” I still believe that “real” men have integrity and that people who are fraudulent should face appropriate justice. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening in business or government.
Sears—A payment of $7.6 million in bonuses to 43 executives when 2,900 employees are laid off with no severance. While it may be a pivotal move for the company given its financial woes and ongoing restructuring, it definitely is not a shining example of good corporate values and compassion.
Food Fraud— In the June 2017 issue of Canadian Grocer, it was reported that: “the highly publicized U.K. horsemeat scandal in 2013, food fraud has continued to make headlines: criminal gangs in Italy are exporting fake extra-virgin olive oil; less expensive honey is being sold as Manuka honey; and ground coffee is being tested by researchers in Brazil for fillers like corn, soybeans and starch syrup.”
According to Food Fraud News, “Almost one in five seafood products coming from Brazil are mislabelled.” It is difficult at best to trust anything coming from Asian countries and especially China which has little to know checks on any products, let alone foods. Some estimates suggest food fraud represents a nearly $70-billion problem worldwide.
Pharmaceuticals—In a Revolution For Choice, states that there is evidence that the Pharmaceutical Companies have been funding and “faking” science for years. They would provide the funds for research and limit the research results to prove what is financially good for their products. They have been faking the science for years. “Over 50% of their research has been altered and are producing inaccurate results.
The diabetic results for metformin and their alternatives have exaggerated the benefits and played down the negative side effects of diarrhea and the corollary damage to the liver and kidneys. The funding of research on cancer is focussed only on what chemicals can be used for pharmaceutical profit and not on what alternatives may be cures for cancer.
The pharmaceutical giant behind the blockbuster pain pill that triggered Canada’s deadly opioid crisis has agreed to pay $20-million to settle a long-standing class-action lawsuit. No jail time.
The proposed national settlement caps a legal battle that began a decade ago between Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and lawyers representing as many as 2,000 Canadians who got hooked on the drug after their doctors prescribed it. The country’s opioid epidemic traces its roots to the introduction of the prescription painkiller 21 years ago. From 2000 to 2015, more than 6,300 died in Ontario alone from overdoses related to opioids.
Senators—It is a fact that Hillary Clinton as a Senator was placed as the Chairperson of the committee to oversea the integrity of the Pharmaceutical Industry, all the while, her greatest funding for her campaign ($ 4.1 million in 2016) was coming from the Pharmaceutical Companies. Big business and government are clearly involved in large scale fraud with no charges pending. Mike Duffy, our Canadian Senator, even though his spending was way in excess of Senators from our north and west (whose expenses should have been higher), was released from the thirteen charges of fraud against him.
Banks—John Varley, the former boss of Barclays, will stand trial alongside three former colleagues and they are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the fundraising in June 2008 and for providing illegal loans. They are the first senior bankers to face criminal charges in relation to events dating back to the banking crisis almost a decade ago, when Barclays raised £11.8bn in emergency funds from a number of big investors, including Qatar (a highly suspect nation in the promotion and funding of radicalization).
Corporations—Online [http://www.accounting-degree.org/scandals/] you will find ten of the worst accounting scandals in history that were caught embezzling millions of dollars. And, you can read about the five biggest corporate scandals at [http://fortune.com/2015/12/27/biggest-corporate-scandals-2015/]. These are only the ones that have been revealed.
Politicians—We all are aware of the Canadian Senate expenses scandal. There are 85 members in the Canadian Senate. Of that number, two are at trial, another is awaiting trial, nine have had their expenses flagged to the attention of the RCMP, one is suspended while her expenses are studied and one has been kicked out of caucus over allegations of personal misconduct.
Wikipedia lists thirteen American politicians at the federal level who have been convicted of crimes and two Canadian politicians this year alone. And, nothing more needs to be said about “the fake news” from Fox News and the American Media and from “The Donald’s Tweets.”
Who do you trust? Where is integrity?—What I have noticed about the above scenarios is that the “little” guys get jail time and yet the “big” guys do not. Oftentimes, the big guys get a slap on the wrist, they might be forced to leave a company with a sizeable payout and politicians hardly ever get a penalty at all. Few to none receive jail time.
It is profound that people with money and the power get away with much more because they have the resources and influence. What we really need is a government with integrity and a judicial system with the “chutzpah” to do what is right.
In an idealistic world, it would be awesome to see leadership with integrity. We need to penalize those people who conduct fraud as a part of the daily business regardless of their position and capital. The penalties need to be high enough to cause pain. Otherwise, we will continue down this slippery slope and all trust goes out the window.
For me personally, I am most cognizant about how I would like to be remembered by my children. I am a firm believer in the statement: “Say what you mean; mean what you say; and, do what you say you are going to do.” A person should be accountable for everything that he/she says and does. There should be “natural and logical consequences” for those who act without integrity. The purpose of our judicial system is to hold people accountable to do what is right for the common good. And, I expect that judicial system to meet out justice fairly without prejudice or political bias.
We, as a collective society, need to get back to that sense of integrity so that our children can be proud of who we are as people and as a nation.