Criminalizing the Boardroom
“Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”
Raymond Donovan, former Secretary of Labor
Corporate criminalization is no longer an anomaly; it’s an increasingly common event that’s happening across the US. And while there are, unfortunately, no shortage of corporate executives that have committed crimes and deserve punishment, there is a growing trend of “normal” corporate behavior being criminalized. No C-suite executives should be jailed for following the advice of counsel and abiding by the letter and spirit of the law, and yet increasingly we see former executives jailed through a combination of post-facto judgment and ambitious prosecutors.
Corporate officers, directors and managers are finding themselves the focus of draconian inquiries and the potential consequences are real: prison time, high fines, unjustified indictments and the complete loss of livelihood. Unfortunately, the very nature of these inquiries means that even a decision not to prosecute or a strategic settlement carries its own reputational risks.