Why tougher penalties are long overdue

Famous white collar crimes that made headlines internationally

Some of the most high profile stories over the last decade involve both individuals and corporations engaged in extremely deceptive practices. From Bernie Madoff’s infamous ponzi scheme to the downfall of Enron, we are no strangers to the gross misconduct and abuse of power. Even in our own backyard, Alan Bond heralded a new type of criminal. Labeled as the “biggest fraudster in Australian history”, Mr Bond attained his vast fortune, through a “secretive web of shelf companies and trusts”.

White collar criminals help solidify the notion that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s simply bad for society at large and yet for too long, these fraudulent practices have not felt the weight of the law. It’s highly understandable that individuals and corporations in positions of power should be held accountable for their crimes.

Why were tougher penalties being sought for Australian perpetrators?

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Chairman, Mr Greg Medcraft suggested that “Australia was a ‘paradise’ for white-collar criminals”. He argued that jail time would act as a great deterrent and stated that the penalties were “not strong enough, not tough enough”. In a Q&A in 2014, he told a business audience that currently “all you’re doing is giving them a slap on the wrist [and] that is not deterring people”.

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