And suppose the authorities get you cornered and dead to rights. You face indictment and certain conviction and the possibility of years in jail. (No! I told you this wasn't about the members of the Bush administrations, dammit!)
Now suppose you could just say to the authorities, "Hey. Wait a minute! I get a choice about things right? Like:
A. Whether I even get punished or not. Can't I just 'defer' it - if I don't break any more laws for a while, we can drop all this nuisance altogether, right?
B. Hey! I'll get to choose what my punishment will be anyway, right?
C. Look, sure, I may be GUILTY of all kinds of felonies and all, but let's just keep all this just between us, OK?
D. Absolutely no jail time for me,right? Let's save that and maybe bag some dummy working for me, OK?
E. And, hey. All that malarky about prohibiting criminals from doing business with the government - we can get around that by assigning blame to one of my defunct companies, right?
F. This shouldn't affect my doing business with you later, right?"
Well, hold on to your bippy, because, incredibly, that's exactly what the US Department of Justice offers to all criminal corporations as a matter of current FEDERAL POLICY!
Under GW Bush et al, Congress - and the Department of Justice came up with something they call 'Deferred Prosecution'. In their own words the US Department of Justice says:
OK, so it's not a level playing field. Corporations are officially classed as 'Persons' for the sake of their 'Freedom of Speech rights' - (Read that as: So they can funnel large amounts of money to politicians to buy legislative favors - otherwise how would they ever have gotten such an unfair official policy in place in the first place?). But when it comes to criminal activities - why they are something entirely else again, and in fact in a favored class all by themselves. Personally I think it's very unfair to have it both ways, but hey, I don't have the money to force my opinions like they do.
Meanwhile, Congress gets itself all exercised over isolated acts by employees of a grassroots group like ACORN - which exists for poor people and the little guy - and cut off all federal funding. No ifs, ands or buts, just WHAMO! "Yer outta here"! (THOSE SANTIMONIOUS SONS OF BITCHES!)
Yet corporate criminals, who are conservtively estimated to be behind well over 60% of all economic crimes in this great country are allowed to pay some inconsequential fines - to them - and keep merrily on their way, overcharging and ripping off people right and left - and welcomed to our national treasury with open arms. It is very good business in fact - for the investment of comparatively very small sums they are allowed to have their way with impunity - and the blessings of Congress.
So, who are the real criminals here? Could it be these corporate 'persons' (below), who have actually PLEADED GUILTY - yet are still at the public trough apparently unscathed? This list includes only those who's fines have exceeded TEN MILLION DOLLARS - and some which exceed half a billion:
- Banker's Trust - falsification of records -PLED GUILTY;
- Daiwa Bank Ltd. - FRAUD - PLED GUILTY;
- Banker's Trust - false bookkeeping, theft of unclaimed funds - PLED GUILTY;
- Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) - laundering illegal drug money - PLED GUILTY.
- Northrop - False statements regarding Air Launched Cruise Missile and Navy Harrier jet - PLED GUILTY;
- Teledyne Industries Inc. - Fraud - submitted false test claims on military equipment - PLED GUILTY;
- Litton Applied Technology Division (ATD) and Litton Systems Canada (LSL) - conspiracy, mail fraud & false statements - PLED GUILTY.
- Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping - POLLUTION - PLED GUILTY;
- Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company - criminal violations of Clean Water Act - PLED GUILTY;
- ENRON Corporation - too many transgressions to list - PLED GUILTY.
- Boeing Aircraft - data THEFT -PLED GUILTY;
- Archer Daniels Midland - antitrust, price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- UCAR International, Inc. - PRICE FIXING - PLED GUILTY;
- Lucas Western Inc. (Defense contractor) - false statements, faulty gearboxes for naval aircraft (which resulted in DEATH for American servicemen - PLED GUILTY;
- Rockwell International Corporation - felonious illegal storage of nuclear hazardous wastes - PLED GUILTY;
- Eastman Chemical Company - international price fixing, food products - PLED GUILTY;
- Ajinomoto Co. Inc. - suppressing competition - PLED GUILTY;
- Louisiana-Pacific Corporation -tampering with pollution control equipment, lying, falsifying quality assurance testing - PLED GUILTY;
- Haarman & Reimer Corp. - international price fixing - PLED GUILTY
- UCAR International - international price fixing - PLED GUILTY
- Mitsubishi Corp. - international price fixing - PLED GUILTY
- SGL Carbon AG - price fixing - pled GUILTY
- C.R. Bard Inc. - selling unaproved medical devices leading to injury and death - PLED GUILTY;
- Damon Clinical Laboratories, Inc.- Fraud - submitting false medicare claims - PLED GUILTY;
- Genentech Inc. - selling unaproved drugs PLED GUILTY;
- Kimberly Home Health Care Inc. - Medicare fraud - PLED GUILTY.
- Summitville Consolidated Mining Co. Inc. - conspiracy, false staements - PLED GUILTY;
- BASF - price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- Haarman & Reimer Corp. - price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. - Price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- Hoechst AG - Price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- Pfizer Inc. - international price fixing - PLED GUILTY;
- Copley Pharmaceutical, Inc. - conspiracy to defraud - PLED GUILTY;
- Warner-Lambert Company - Fraudulent nonreporting of drug problems - PLED GUILTY;
- Purdue Pharma - false claims - 'non-prosecution acgreement' by lesser owned company
- Merck Pharmaceuticals - international price fixing - PLED GUILTY
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. - deliberately planned and executed environmental crimes ("replumbed' iping aboard ships to surreptisiously dump dumped hazardous chemincals in US harbors - PLED GUILTY
- Sears Roebuck & Co (Bankruptcy Recovery Management Service)s - bankruptcy fraud - PLED GUILTY.
Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Serono, Takeda-Abbott Pharmaceutical, Lilly, Abbott Labs, Cephalon, National Medical Enterprises, HCA, Gambro Health Care, Schering-Plough, Astra-Zeneca, Bayer.
Back in 2003, California Senator Gloria Romero introduced a bill that would hold California's law-breaking corporations to the same standard to which the state holds its law-breaking citizens (California SB 335). Three strikes and you're out. If a corporation commits three major violations that result in a fine of at least $1 million or a death, the California Attorney General will revoke the corporation's charter. For companies incorporated in other states, three strikes means that they will lose their right to transact business in California.
But corporate criminals need not worry. Two democrats joined with the California Republican majority to kill the irritating bill. It was opposed by the business lobbies after all.
In the end though, we the people elect the bozos who sell us down the river every chance they get. We can unelect them too. But unless we raise enough hell about the abuse of our 'capitalistic system' we deserve what we get. I don't know about you, but I just faxed my indignation to all my federal representatives.