Can Financial Crimes Be Punished

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Can Financial Crimes be Punished?
Throughout the course of the “Great Recession,” there have been numerous calls for more transparency and accountability for financial institutions. The question that has arisen in the past, and must be seriously considered, is how to make financial crimes less enticing to potential white-collar criminals. Whether through more severe punishments or stricter regulations, the country must understand that there is no clear solution in the short-term. Recent calls for stricter punishments of white-collar crimes may not result in less financial crimes. Throughout history, financial crimes have been punished with severity, at times including capital punishment. The Code of Hammurabi, utilized 3700 years ago, called for anyone who violated a financial contract “shall be put to death as a thief” whereas in Medieval Catalonia, a failed banker was required to live on bread and water until they paid back their depositors. Despite this, financial crimes of varying degrees still occurred.
In today’s financial world, it is increasingly difficult to prosecute financial crimes. The issue that routinely arises is whether or not the suspect’s conduct was illegal as opposed to simply greedy. Federal prosecutors have consistently explained that they need to prove intent in order to convict financial crimes. In order to facilitate a more consistent prosecution rate of financial criminals, it is essential that federal attorneys utilize creative thinking in reference to the web of federal statutes that can be brought against financial institutions that violate regulations in their quest for more money.In order to better identify illegal activity, it is essential that the country enact legislation in line with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to clearly outline what is considered illegal. Thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, board executives must sign-off on…...

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