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Too Big to Jail

Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations

Brandon L. Garrett
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Harvard University Press,
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Too Big to Jail
    Book Description:

    American courts routinely hand down harsh sentences to individuals, but a very different standard of justice applies to corporations.Too Big to Jailtakes readers into a complex, compromised world of backroom deals, for an unprecedented look at what happens when criminal charges are brought against a major company in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-73571-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 United States vs. Goliath
    (pp. 1-18)

    “I know what this is about. I have been expecting you.”¹

    It was not until 2006 that The Banker finally got the knock on his door. Six police officers and a prosecutor were standing there with an arrest warrant. He later recalled, “I was a true Siemens man, for sure. I was known as the keeper of the slush fund. We all knew what we were doing was illegal.” The Banker was in charge of just some of the multinational bribery operations at Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, a German multinational firm, ranked in the top 50 of the Fortune Global 500 list...

  5. 2 The Company in the Courtroom
    (pp. 19-44)

    “I obstructed justice,” admitted David Duncan, a former senior managing partner for Arthur Andersen, as he testified in federal court on May 13, 2002.

    Andersen was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world, and Duncan had led a large team doing accounting work for the Enron Corporation both in Houston, where Enron was based, and around the globe.¹ An energy, commodities, and services company, Enron had ambitious ventures in electricity, natural gas, communications, and even water. It had been named “America’s Most Innovative Company” byFortunefor several years running and was one of the largest corporations...

  6. 3 What Happens to a Prosecution Deferred?
    (pp. 45-80)

    According to Google, “Don’t be evil,” its famous unofficial motto, is about “much more than” treating customers well.¹ Within the company, Google explains that “trust” and “mutual respect” among workers are keys to success, as is maintaining “the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct.” When Google signed a non-prosecution agreement in Rhode Island in 2011, forfeiting $500 million for accepting illegal Canadian pharmaceutical advertisements, did that mean Google had violated its motto and done something “evil”? When prosecutors began investigating, Google promptly adopted new practices to require screening and certification of online pharmacies.² Prosecutors also required Google to hire...

  7. 4 The Ostriches
    (pp. 81-116)

    Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder described the ostrich as the greatest of the birds, with incredible speed, height, and strength. Yet Pliny also accused ostriches of having a stupidity “no less remarkable,” famously explaining that “high as the rest of their Body is, if they hide their Head and Neck . . . they think themselves altogether concealed.”¹ But ostriches do not really hide their heads in the sand. They defend themselves with their powerful beak and legs, and when confronted by their largest predators, they can run away at speeds over forty miles per hour. ² The...

  8. 5 The Victims
    (pp. 117-146)

    The Foreman was driving a forklift early in the morning on March 23, 2005, at a refinery complex in Texas City, Texas. The facility was owned by BP, the British multinational oil and gas company. A hundred yards away was a double-wide office trailer where his wife and father-in-law, who both also worked at the refinery, were in a meeting. Suddenly he heard an explosion behind him, in the direction of the trailer. He recalled:

    I turned and looked around in time to see, hear and feel two more explosions, much larger than the first. There was a giant fireball...

  9. 6 The Carrot and the Stick
    (pp. 147-171)

    “We will go to our grave saying we are not guilty.”

    This statement, according to the lawyer for Arthur Andersen who made it at the company’s sentencing hearing, “is not defiant . . . We truly believe our people were not guilty.” By this time, in October 2002, Andersen had just about gone to its grave. It was a shell of the Big Five accounting firm it had been a year before, with only 1,000 employees and no remaining auditing work for public companies. The prosecutor argued Andersen should receive the maximum penalty of a $500,000 fine and five years...

  10. 7 Enter the Monitors
    (pp. 172-195)

    The mythological Greek hero Theseus sailed from Athens to the island of Crete to slay the fabled Minotaur, who was half bull and half man. As the Greek historian Plutarch told the tale, after Theseus returned from his adventures, Athenians preserved his ship as a monument: “they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place.” The classic philosophical puzzle about this ship asked: if every plank and piece of it was gradually replaced over time, was it still the Ship of Theseus? This question generated much debate among the thinkers for...

  11. 8 The Constitutional Rights of Corporations
    (pp. 196-217)

    Liquid mercury might seem as though it would be interesting to play with, since it looks like silver but accumulates into pools and scatters into little balls. This characteristic has given it another popular name, quicksilver. But liquid mercury, which evaporates rapidly and has no detectable odor, is very poisonous. Ingesting it, inhaling it, or absorbing it through the skin can result in hypertension, kidney disease, and a potentially fatal condition known as “pink disease.” It also causes brain damage; in the past, milliners, who were exposed to mercury compounds during the production of felt for their products, were often...

  12. 9 Foreign Corporate Criminals
    (pp. 218-249)

    British Airways Flight 195 landed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, for a brief layover on its way to the United Kingdom. The feds were waiting.

    On the plane were the CEO and directors of BAE Systems plc, the third-largest defense contractor in the world and the largest military contractor in Eu rope. When they disembarked, armed federal officers took the CEO to an interrogation room. For twenty minutes, he and the others were searched, their documents copied, and their laptops and cell phones downloaded. They got served with subpoenas to appear before federal grand juries.¹

    These searches...

  13. 10 The Future of Corporate Prosecutions
    (pp. 250-288)

    “It could potentially cost a fortune. Would really appreciate any help . . .”

    During the previous week, a trader at a major international bank had emailed a coworker who submitted interest rate estimates, telling him, “We have an unbelievably large set on Monday . . . We need a really low fix.”

    When Monday came, the trader sent a reminder that “the big day has arrived” and his New York counterparts “were screaming at me about an unchanged” rate. The submitter duly altered his estimate, acknowledging that it wasn’t “what I should be posting.”

    The trader was appreciative: “I...

    (pp. 291-306)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 307-356)
    (pp. 357-360)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 361-365)