June 9, 2017

New check list of corporate crimes

Washington Post - Crimes committed by corporations are often overlooked or undercovered by the news media. Though the dollar amounts and number of victims can be astronomical, corporate crimes — including areas such as securities fraud, money laundering and bribery — can be complicated, drawn-out matters which get lost in the daily blur of street crime and terrorism. But the need to hold large companies accountable remains, and a new way to understand and contextualize those crimes launches today — a vast database of corporate prosecutions dating back to 1992, showing how the government did, or didn’t, resolve criminal cases with fines, prison terms or, sometimes, nothing.

The Corporate Prosecution Registry was created at the University of Virginia Law School by Professor Brandon L. Garrett and librarian Jon Ashley. It is searchable, sortable and downloadable. It features categories from antitrust violations to wildlife and workplace law violations. You can see that in 2007, a company called Great Cats of the World pleaded guilty in Oregon to selling endangered ocelots, with a link to the actual plea agreement. You can also see a 2006 agreement not to prosecute Hitachi for antitrust violations in the computer memory business in exchange for their cooperation with a federal investigation into that business.

There are more than 3,000 convictions of corporations and out-of-court prosecution deals with corporations, and it’s an immense, highly useful database all in one place. There are also a number of fascinating Justice Department internal documents, including memos from various attorneys general providing guidance on prosecuting businesses, and the U.S. attorneys’ manual on Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations. All of these are public documents, but never before gathered in one place as a resource for academics, lawyers, journalists and the public. Documents and dockets mined from the federal court database PACER as well as news releases and other records are available for immediate review.

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