Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Which Cities Top The List For Corporate Crime? Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments

The Corporate Crime Reporter, a print weekly legal newsletter based in Washington, D.C., released a report on November 27th, 2007 naming Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Newark are the corporate crime capitals of the United States.

“Every year, the FBI releases its Crime in the United States report,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter. “This report is misnamed. It is actually a report on street crime in the United States. It ignores corporate crime. So, while the Crime in the United States report documents rape, robbery, murder, robbery and assault – it ignores health care fraud, bribery, environmental crimes, and other major corporate crime prosecutions.”

“We believe that America deserves to know not only where most of the street crime is – but also where most of the corporate crime is being prosecuted,” Mokhiber said.

The Corporate Crime Reporter conducted a survey of 2006 prosecutions, settlements and sentences and the results identified the top six corporate crime capitals of the US.

“These are the cities where most of the corporate crimes are being prosecuted,” Mokhiber said. “New York is an obvious hub – that’s where Wall Street is and that’s where the money is. Washington is also an obvious contender – corporations rip off the government and government prosecutors act to recover the defrauded funds.”

“Federal prosecutors in Boston have developed perhaps the premiere health care fraud prosecution team in the country – outside of Washington,” Mokhiber said. “The U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Los Angeles and Philadelphia have both developed white collar and corporate crime expertise.”

Several interesting facts arose from the study. What is most obvious is that corporate crime is centered in our largest cities and money hubs. It would be no surprise that New York, Los Angeles and Washington are there based on their sheer size and the consolidation of business and power. What I don't see is a relationship between number of cases (prosecuted or settled) and size of the location. It would be interesting to see the top areas as a percentage not just by number.

Another issue is location and interest of federal prosecutors. As stated in the report, Mokhiber acknowledges that Boston and Washington focus on health care fraud while L.A. and Philly have developed white collar expertise. Again, is crime in these cities higher or is it that the prosecution effort is more focused?

As a business ethics speaker, I know, from presentations nationwide, that issues with ethics breeches and crime don't seem to be strongly centered in one geographic region or another. I fully recognize that larger metropolitan areas have more, just by the sheer numbers, but where people are gathered, when the components for crime exist (need, opportunity and rationalization) - there will be crime.

Do you believe that crime is centered in these cities (predominately) or do you think that corporate crime is alive and well where you are. Feel free to respond with your thoughts.

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