Why do corporations get away with illegal practices WAY easier than individuals?

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The average joe would be in jail or face a heavy fine if they are caught doing illegal activities like tax evasion or stealing. Corporations on the other hand perform illegal activities like tax evasion, fraud, wage theft or price fixing on a MUCH larger scale, MUCH higher impact to the society, and higher frequency, yet they almost always get away with barely a slap on the wrist (i.e. a laughably small fine which is less than pocket change, and zero consequences for the c-suite). Is it because it’s easier to prosecute individual average joe’s as opposed to multiple billionaires who probably has connections with the justice system and government?

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24 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Individuals are relatively easy to catch and prosecute. Big corporations have huge amounts of transactions with teams of accountants and lawyers to obscure their activity and fight prosecution. With big corporations, it’s not as simple as not paying the tax. It looks more like abusing loopholes in laws or bending interpretation of a law.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People are small, and so government tends to regulate them individually. Corporations are large, so government regulation seems to focus on their “average” action. Government relies of whistle-blower workers to call out wage crimes and whistle-blower retailers to call out price fixing. These might be isolated incidents that would be hard to regulate across the whole corporation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

> Is it because it’s easier to prosecute individual average joe’s as opposed to multiple billionaires who probably has connections with the justice system and government?

Bingo. Its actually very difficult to actually get a criminal conviction for a company (or the people in it) with a large crime like tax evasion or anti-consumer laws. And many companies have enormous teams of lawyers, tax experts, legal accountants, and more that they pay a ton of money to to make sure they they stay JUST inside the law to where a prosecution would be extremely difficult, drawn out, and expensive to where it isn’t worth pursuing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

MONEY! They don’t get away with it. They just balance the risk. If I do X, and I get caught, what will it cost me vs if I don’t do X. Risk management is a major player when it comes to what a business will and won’t do. I should also mention, it depends on the level of illegal. If they were caught money laundering then a lot of execs are going to prison. But crimes like price gouging are just not punishable enough to sway big companies.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They don’t necessarily get away with it, sometimes they’ve just decided the fine is worth the amount of money they will make.

Its essentially cheaper to get caught than it is to legally do things in the first place. This isn’t true for the normal person.

[https://medium.com/thing-a-day/huge-government-fines-are-just-the-cost-of-business-14d3ef10bc63](https://medium.com/thing-a-day/huge-government-fines-are-just-the-cost-of-business-14d3ef10bc63)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most likely, government officials are making money from them so it’s in their greedy interest to not rock the boat.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Unless the corporation or executives *really* screw up, there will be a level of disconnect, and thus plausible deniability, between the actions and the executives. That is, the executive will make unreasonable demands, such as budget constraints, on their subordinates, which eventually get translated to illegal actions to meet the demands. The executive, however, never actually ordered anybody to commit a crime, but its a natural fallout of the orders given. As such, you cannot really prove that the executives actually committed a crime – there is nothing illegal about demanding increasing profits on a reducing budget. Oddly enough, they is pretty much the same reason why mob bosses are hard to prosecute.

Combine that with corporations and the executives having enough resources to hire good lawyers to legally fight back against penalties that might be accessed, and its often cost prohibitive to get any real punishments dealt out. This generally leads to even easy cases getting settled for smaller amounts as its not worth spending years fighting it out in the courts.

Lobbying often leads to fixed value penalties, which may be severe for a small business or individual but trivial for a large corporation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Individuals & small businesses get away with tax evasion more easily than corporations and billionaires. How many small businesses are “cash only”? And do waiters report all their tips to IRS?

Corporations & Billionaires have massive legal teams whose sole job is to go through each letter of the law and find legal ways to make money. They often succeed, find loopholes (means legal) and use their resources to lobby the government to not close those loopholes. So it takes a lot of activism to convince the government to close such loopholes, and closing them is also pretty hard to do without affecting legitimate business practices. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

It depends on the crime. An individual can spend their entire lives getting free music, free books, free movies, etc; all through piracy. If a company started selling pirated movies, games, etc, you bet people would have a problem with that.