A corporate scandal involves allegations of unethical behavior by those acting within or on behalf of a corporation. These types of scandals affect people on all levels; local, regional, state and national, sometimes even on international levels. A new year hardly goes by in which there is not some political, government or corporate scandal that gets uncovered or lands in a courtroom.
One of the most infamous cases of the modern decade was the 2004 Enron Corporation "cooked books" scandal that cost millions of people their life savings, jobs, and put quite a few corporate executives in federal prison for Securities & Exchange law violations.
Since then, former Ronald Reagan budget director David Stockman has been accused of and exonerated from overseeing fraud at an auto parts supplier that ended up filing bankruptcy. Stockman was charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud by making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), falsification of records, lying to auditors, committing wire and bank fraud, and attempting to obstruct justice.
In 2008, a three-year investigation into an investment scandal at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation ended in a 12-year prison sentence for investment adviser Mark Lay. Lay cost the state of Ohio millions while investing in a Bermuda hedge fund. The scandal, known in Ohio as "Coingate," also cost Lay more than half a million dollars in salary made while working on a scam deal that involved $50 million in rare coins.
William Lerach, former attorney with a firm called Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, made more than $200 million filing legal actions and paid out kickbacks of more than $10 million to winning plaintiffs in lawsuits that targeted large corporations like AT&T, WorldCom, Lucent, Microsoft and The Prudential. Lerach, who once won a $7 billion judgment against defunct energy giant Enron, pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison, two years on probation, fined a quarter of a million dollars and ordered to work 1,000 hours of community service after his release.
All corporate scandals don't necessarily involve finances or prison sentences. Well Point, Inc. Chief Financial Officer David Colby became what was known as the "corporate Casanova" of Wall Street. He was fired. HBO's chief executive was forced out after being charged with abuse. Also, a Boeing CEO lost his job after admitting to an affair with a female co-worker.
It's easy to find out about these and other corporate scandals - simply visit the websites for CNN, MSNBC, or any other national news service. You may also check out the BBC's or the CBC's international news pages: they often cover corporate scandals in-depth in a way that the American media doesn't.