Reviews | The corporate murderous psychopaths who never go to jail

Alfred Ruf poisoned his wife as part of a scheme to get rich off her life insurance. So does Dr Gregory “Brent” Dennis, which envisioned a payment of $ 2 million. Joshua Hunsucker poisoned his wife for only $ 250,000 in life insurance money, including $ 80,000 to buy a boat. David L. Pettis poisoned his wife for $ 150,000.

I don’t know the names of the men who poisoned and killed my father and brother Stan, who died last Thursday, but I do know where they worked and why they did it: just like Ruf, Dennis, Hunsucker and Pettis, they have intentionally and knowingly took action they knew would result in death when they sold asbestos to my father’s employer and made my brother addicted to tobacco.

Hundreds of Americans have been killed and thousands left homeless as a result of climate change that men in the fossil fuel industry knew would happen fifty years ago as a result of the sale of their products.

The asbestos industry knew as early as the 1890s and got definitive confirmation in the 1940s that their product caused mesothelioma, a particularly brutal lung cancer that killed my father. Even today, their leaders try to shirk their responsibility: Johnson & Johnson is playing bankruptcy games to avoid paying for cancers caused by their talcum powder mixed with asbestos, and not a single executive is even a little worried about going to jail for all these deaths.

Same deal with the tobacco industry whose top CEOs lied to the faces of members of Congress in 1994, around the same time, their industry was killing over 400,000 Americans a year every year of my life.

Like those four wife killers, they all did it for the money. Much more money than Ruf, Dennis, Hunsucker and Pettis could ever imagine.

Ruf, Dennis, Hunsucker and Pettis are all in jail. Policymakers who still promote tobacco today and use bankruptcy laws to avoid paying for asbestos-related deaths are profiting from the pandemic from their mansions and yachts.

And that only scratches the surface. In the past few weeks alone, hundreds of Americans have been killed and thousands made homeless as a result of climate change that men in the fossil fuel industry knew would happen fifty years ago. as a result of the sale of their products. For money.

And then there is the American “Medicare” industry, like no other in the world, which kills tens of thousands of Americans every year by destroying their lives with debts (over $ 1 trillion). dollars currently) or denying them services when they are uninsured and cannot afford to pay for them.

Since the founding of our nation, capitalism in America has been played out in a way that protects cold killers. Psychopaths in costume. But it’s gotten particularly bad since Big Tobacco came out in the 1990s.

There was a time when we pursued them.

In the 1980s, Reagan deregulated the savings and loan industry; As you might expect, within a few years a handful of executives had made themselves multimillionaires while hundreds of thousands of families across America were wiped out. The Ministry of Justice intervened and sued 1,100 bankers, 839 were sentenced, and over a hundred went to jail.

When the so-called “dot-com bubble” burst at the turn of the century, dozens of executives from Enron, WorldCom, Qwest, and Tyco, among others, were prosecuted, convicted and jailed. We still occasionally sent executives to prison until 2005.

No more.

After Glass-Steagal was repealed in 1999, bankers spent the next decade lying to investors around the world about the value of their “secured debt obligations” and other recently legalized “exotic” financial instruments that were teeming with cash. “Liar loans” and bad mortgages.

This led directly to the Bush Crash of 2008, when guys like Steve Mnuchin (who kicked over 30,000 California families out of their homes) and Jamie Dimon got fabulously richer. America bailed out Wall Street bankers to the tune of more than a trillion dollars.

But only one guy went to jail for the thousands of lies, frauds, and outright crimes that happened during the Bush years and led to the Bush crash. He was an Egyptian-born mid-level banker (who grew up in Michigan), has brown skin and his name was Kareem Serageldin.

The judge in his case said aloud that Serageldin’s role in concealing just $ 37 million of the $ 2.1 billion in bad mortgages his employer, Credit Suisse, had hidden from d ‘other banks and regulators was “only a small part of a general bad climate within the bank and with many other banks.

But Bush spoke to his Justice Department and federal prosecutors, and California Attorney General Harris decided to give Mnuchin and the other bankers a pass. Dozens of banks and hundreds of banksters had done much worse than Serageldin, but none were even charged. Serageldin spent almost 3 years in federal prison hell.

When Ralph Nader revealed in 1966 that automakers knowingly sold faulty cars and trucks, but repairing them would have reduced profits more than paying death benefits to settle lawsuits, America was outraged and Congress acted, creating the NTSB and establishing federal regulations.

The following decades saw hundreds of white-collar criminals imprisoned in dozens of industries: between 1995 and 1997, white-collar crime was 17.6 percent federal prosecutions. But in 2012, it was at 9.4 percent and, while the numbers are difficult to pin down with certainty due to the obstruction and incompetence of the Trump administration, they appear to have collapsed considerably since then.

This is in part due to Supreme Court rulings after 1980 which allowed prosecutors to ignore sentencing guidelines for white collar crimes (unless they’re committed by Brown executives, apparently).

In part, every major American industry has profited from the Citizens United court’s decision to legally buy and own politicians from both sides, ensuring political pressure on prosecutors who might even think about prosecuting corporate criminals.

In part, this was a relentless focus by multiple administrations on street crime (“super predators” and “stop and frisk”), removing resources from prosecutors’ offices that might otherwise have been directed at the costumed snakes.

And part of it was a massive lobbying campaign by some of America’s most powerful CEOs to insert mens rea“(Latin for” state of mind “) in the recent law on criminal justice reform, it would therefore become nearly impossible to convict a senior executive for a crime he ordered his company to commit.

This new law now requires prosecutors to prove that not only did the CEO know he could cause the death of a particular John Doe in Wheeling, West Virginia, because of the proceeds, but that he intended to specifically kill this man or someone like him. In other words, suing CEOs is now virtually impossible.

The morbidly rich in America are tax-sheltered: most pay less than 3% in income tax. They are also immune from prosecution for very real life-destroying criminal decisions that regularly kill very real human beings.

In America today, if you poison and kill your wife to earn $ 150,000 in life insurance money, you will likely end up in jail. But if you poison and kill hundreds of thousands of people so that you can bring home a multi-million dollar salary, you can buy a new yacht.

It must end.

This article first appeared on The Hartmann Report.

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