Реферат: Crimes of the business world


 Crime is recognized widely as aserious problem in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>, but there is little agreement overhow to cope with it. It is important to understand that most of the specificcrimes discussed inthis text are not new or unique.

~The discussion of property crimes noted that historically, under alaissez-faire attitude of «let the buyer beware,» individuals wereexpected to examine carefully every business deal. Today, with a much morecomplicated social and business system, criminal law has become more realisticand more protective of businesspeople and other consumers. Changing technologyhas altered the nature of criminality, too, bringing new possibilities forcommitting crimes and thus creating the need for new statutes.

Various terms have been used to describe the crimes. The term white-collarcrime is used frequently to refer to business crimes, and it defined as«a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status inthe course of his occupation.»

Under today's federal law, white-collar crime is defined as «anillegal act or series of illegal acts committed by nonphysical means and byconcealment or guile, to obtain money or property, to avoid the payment or lossof money or property, or to obtain business or personal advantage

White-collar crimes are illegal acts that use deceit andconcealment—rather than the application or threat of physical force orviolence—to obtain money, property, or service; to avoid the payment or loss ofmoney; or to secure a business or personal advantage. White-collar criminalsoccupy positions of responsibility and trust in government, industry, theprofessions, and civil organizations.                                                                                            

Corporate crime is another term used in reference tobusiness crimes. It is a narrower term than white-collar crime, focusing onorganizational crime. The terms have been distinguished as follows:

If a policymaking corporate executive is acting in the name of thecorporationand the individual's decision to violate thelaw is for the benefit of the corporation, as in price-fixing violations, theviolation would constitute corporate crime.                                                                                                

If on the other hand, the corporate official acts against thecorporation, asin the case of embezzlement, and benefits ina personal way from his official connections with the corporation, his actswould constitute white-collar or occupational crime.                                                                                         

Individual liability for any of the crimes committed by people in thecourse of business may be determined by the same principles discussed earlierregard­ing criminal liability. Some crimes have special elements that must beproved in each case. When individuals are charged with bribery, extortion,employee theft, fraud, false pretense, tax evasion, or any other businesscrime, any elements peculiar to that crime must be proved along with therequired act mental element, and causation. The same is true whenseveral people are-charged, as in conspiracy.

The rules change when a corporation is charged with a crime or when acorporate executive is charged with a crime committed by an employee. Isaddition, a distinction must be made between allegations of criminal andton liability. That discussion noted that there arethree types of liability without fault orareas in which an individual may be held liable for a crime without a criminalintent or without even having knowledge that a crime is being committed.

Under a strict liability theory, a person may be held criminally liablefor such acts as statutory rape or selling liquor to a minor even if thatperson did not know the victim or buyer was under the legal age. Undervicarious liability theory, individuals may be held criminally liable for thecrimes of those who work for them; for example, employers may be held liablefor employees who sell food or drugs that are in violation of pure food anddrug laws and that result in the injury or death of consumers.

<st1:City w:st=»on"><st1:place w:st=«on»>Enterprise</st1:place></st1:City>liability theory, also called corporate liability, provides that under somecircumstances corporate officers and officials may be held crimi­nally liablefor the acts of their employees. Historically corporations were not held liablefor homicide, although as far back as 1909 the Supreme Court upheld theconstitutionality of holding a corporation criminally liable for the acts andomissions of its agents. In New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Co. v.<st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>,the Court permitted imputing the criminal intent of a corporate agent tothe corporation. This case was a break with the traditional common law approachthat corporations could not be held criminally liable, although their agentscould. As corporations became more powerful and more dangerous, legislaturesand courts began to recognize corporate criminal liability.

In recent years there have been an increasing number of indictments andprosecutions against corporations for violent crimes such as homicide.

Corporate agents may be held criminally liable for the acts of otheremployees within the corporation, but the corporate agent may not be convictedif he or she can prove a lack of power to control the situation. When criminalliability is imposed on corporate agents for the acts of their employ­ees, mostcourts limit punishment to penalties such as a fine.

The Model Penal Code (MPC) provides for corporate liability in threeareas, with the broadest base of liability «incurred as a consequence ofconduct by an agent of the corporation acting on behalf of the corporation andwithin the scope of his employment.» That liability is «limited toviolations and to offenses defined by statutes outside the criminal code thatplainly evidence a legislative purpose to impose liability on a corporation.

Because many business crimes are prosecuted under federal law, federalstatutes are used to illustrate most of the crimes discussed here. Statesprosecute these crimes, too, but their statutes vary. Furthermore, there isconsiderable overlap among criminal, civil, and administrative laws coveringbusiness crimes.