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Corporate crime refers to criminal actions perpetrated by a company or by a person or people acting on behalf of a corporation.

Criminal Classification of Corporate Crime

1. Corporate Fraud

Corporate crime refers to criminal actions perpetrated by a company or by a person or people acting on behalf of a corporation. Corporate crime and white-collar crime, state-corporate crime, and organised crime often intersect (a common practise among criminal organisations is to set up “shell” corporations for the purposes of committing crimes or for laundering the proceeds of crime.)

Corporate Crime Types

In most cases, corporate crime takes one of two forms. First, a company may be formed solely to serve as a vehicle for criminal activity. This is most common in short-term operations, in which the corporation’s founders put on the guise of a real firm, enticing naive investors in and then stealing their money. The second and all-too-common kind of corporate crime happens in previously established organisations, merging into ordinary company activities in a manner that skillfully conceals unlawful conduct. Profitable yet ecologically hazardous actions (e.g., illegally dumping toxic waste), exploitation of employees, and fraud of any type, generally at the cost of customers, are examples of this.

Corporate Crime Prosecution

Corporate crime may be difficult to adequately prosecute. To begin with, a 19th century Supreme Court decision (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad 118 U.S. 394 (1886)) has been referenced in several instances to suggest that a corporation may lawfully be classified as a “person,” allowing companies to claim Bill of Rights protections in Court. Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment states that no state may “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction.” The fact that corporate criminality is often well-hidden, and that businesses can, on average, afford to engage the greatest legal counsel, complicates criminal process, impedes justice, and makes it extraordinarily difficult for public prosecutors to demonstrate guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Furthermore, the health of the various enterprises that operate under its control, especially the big ones, contributes significantly to the state’s stability. The income provided by successful firms contributes greatly to the government’s health and power. Imposing a serious penalty for a corporation’s wrongdoing, such as a $100 million fine, might cripple many huge firms, harming the government and, maybe, society as a whole. This presents a major conflict of interest in pursuing corporate crime, since the state’s role is to protect its people while also ensuring the financial health of the firms that operate inside it.