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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-26-07 04:27 PM
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2. Here's a reason why its not busy ...
Bush Fraud Probes Jail Corporate Criminals Less Than Two Years

Sixty-one percent of defendants sentenced in the Bush administration's crackdown on corporate fraud spent no more than two years in jail, escaping the stiff penalties given WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. executives.

In the past five years, 28 percent of those sentenced got no prison time and 6 percent received 10 years or more, according to a review of 1,236 white-collar convictions. Former WorldCom Chief Executive Officer Bernard Ebbers is serving 25 years and ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling 24.

``Sentencing white-collar defendants to two years or less does not send a strong deterrent message,'' says Joshua Hochberg, who ran the U.S. Justice Department's criminal fraud section from 1998 to 2005. ``On the other hand, convicting a lot of defendants sends the message that you will be caught and there are consequences.''

A wave of corporate corruption marked by Enron's collapse in 2001 and an accounting scandal at WorldCom led Congress to enact harsher penalties. President George W. Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to reform governance and named a Corporate Fraud Task Force to push ``significant'' prosecutions.

Lighter Sentences

Defendants got reduced jail time when they helped prosecutors investigate frauds, served as low- or mid-level executives, or committed crimes that were less sophisticated than complex accounting conspiracies, the review by Bloomberg News found. The list includes embezzlers such as a credit union teller who stole less than $20,000.

Of the 1,236 convictions from 2002 to 2007 in the review, 1,133 defendants were sentenced. Forty-seven percent of those got a year or less in prison.

Direct comparisons of sentences before and after 2002 can't be made because the Justice Department added a corporate fraud category in 2003 and the U.S. Sentencing Commission stiffened advisory guidelines.

Bush Fraud Probes Jail Corporate Criminals Less Than Two Years
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