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August 8, 2012

NYT: Corporate Fraud Cases Often Spare Individuals

” Dozens of individuals have been charged in financial cases. The S.E.C. says it has charged 55 chief executives and other senior officers with violating securities law in relation to the financial crisis. The commission has collected $2.2 billion in penalties, disgorgement and other monetary relief from cases related to the crisis.

In particular, cases of fraud against the government, brought under the False Claims Act, have been rising in recent years. The trend began after a realignment of enforcement resources three years ago, Mr. West said, and the increase in settlements has resulted in even more whistle-blower accusations being reported to the department.

Critics remain, however, arguing that the practice of settling fraud cases with companies while not charging any employees might be giving executives an incentive to push the limits of the law. “If you are an executive, you know that the chances of getting caught are infinitely small, and the chances of getting caught and prosecuted are even smaller,” said Dennis M. Kelleher, president of Better Markets, which advocates financial regulatory reform. “

Read Michael Schmidt’s full New York Times story here

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