As a Wave of Corporate Crime Sweeps the Country, a Law Professor Proposes Using a Civil War-Era Law to Empower Whistle-Blowers, and Debates a Leading White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

The Sunday New York Times reported that white-collar crime is soaring.

Federal and state officials say that murder, robbery, assault rates have declined in the last decade. But, in the words of the editor of White Collar Crime Reporter Peter Goldmann, white-collar crime is spinning through the roof. He says, “It’s spinning new varieties daily and the incidence and amounts of money being stolen are incredible.”

A week does not go by without news of new scandals breaking and investigations getting underway, including Enron, Arthur Anderson, Merrill-Lynch, Qwest Communications, and Xerox. Just yesterday, headlines around the world blared that the former chairman and chief executive of Tyco International has been indicted on charges of over $1 million in tax evasion. Also yesterday, the CEO of Goldman Sachs made a rare public appearance at the national press club, urging reform in corporate management.

The phenomenon last occurred during the savings and loan crisis a decade ago, and to some extent during the Great Depression. But this wave is different. Some statistics indicate fraud cases ware actually on the rise during the 1990s boom. Analysts generally attribute the recession that followed to the over-valuing of the dot-com industry. But it’s starting to emerge that white collar crime may also have contributed to the recession.

All of this is happening as the FBI has announced an overhaul of the agency. The FBI is shifting nearly 500 agents from drug and criminal investigations into the so-called war on terrorism.

Today, we’re going to have a debate about what to do about white-collar crime. But first we turn to Corporate Crime Reporter Russell Mokhiber to give us an overview of this new wave of corporate crime.


  • Russell Mokhiber, Editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter and host of Pacifica Radio’s new program, “Challenging Corporate Power,” which airs every Tuesday at 11 am on WPFW.
  • Pam Bucy, Bainbridge Professor of Law at the University of Alabama and author of White Collar Crime: Cases and Materials, and Health Care Fraud: Enforcement and Compliance.
  • John T. Boese, partner at Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson in Washington DC. His firm is one of the leading law defense firms in white-collar crime cases. He is also the author of ??Civil False Claims and Qui Tam Actions.

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