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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Friday, August 24, 2012

Goldman Sachs and "The Cost of Doing Business"

The costs of fraud for Goldman is far less than the costs to society, just witness the unemployment caused by the financial crisis of 2008.

What we need is a "Three Strikes and You Are Out" law where the bank that commits fraud three times is prosecuted for its crime, not just with a measly fine, but with a criminal prosecution and judge and jury.

It would be a guarantee that banks would pay closer attention to the law.

Sad But True:  Corporate Crime Does Pay
By David Morris - Alternet

Almost daily we read about another apparently stiff financial penalty meted out for corporate malfeasance. This year corporations are on track to pay as much as $8 billion to resolve charges of defrauding the government, a record sum, according to the Department of Justice.  Last year big business paid the SEC $2.8 billion to settle disputes. 

Sounds like an awful lot of money. And it is, for you and me.  But is it a lot of money for corporate lawbreakers?  The best way to determine that is to see whether the penalties have deterred them from further wrongdoing. 

The empirical evidence argues they don’t. A 2011 New York Times analysis [3] of enforcement actions during the last 15 years found at least 51 cases in which 19 Wall Street firms had broken antifraud laws they had agreed never to breach.  Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others, have settled fraud cases by stipulating they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to do so again and again and again.  Bank of America’s securities unit has agreed four times since 2005 not to violate a major antifraud statute, and another four times not to violate a separate law. Merrill Lynch, which Bank of America acquired in 2008, has separately agreed not to violate the same two statutes seven times since 1999.

Outside the financial sector the story is similar. Erika Kelton at Forbes reports [4] that Pfizer paid $152 million in 2008; $49 million a few months later; a record-setting $2.3 billion in 2009 [5] and $14.5 million last year. Each time it legally promised to adhere to federal law in the future.  Each time it broke that promise.

Read the full article here


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