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Commercial crimes

Georgetown University Law Center

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The Impact On Director And Officer Behavior: Reflective Essays, Donald C. Langevoort Jan 2007

The Impact On Director And Officer Behavior: Reflective Essays, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

I fall on the side of the skeptics about whether criminal liability in financial reporting cases is a healthy tool because I have doubts about whether judgments are likely to be proportionate. And proportionality is a very important measure in criminal law for two reasons. First, we expect the punishment to fit the crime as a matter of justice. Secondly, if we have disproportionately harsh treatment, then the behavior of officers and directors in response to over-deterrence is that they will pay too much attention to matters that are precautionary as opposed to profit-generating. And the point of a business …


Technological Evolution And The Devolution Of Corporate Financial Reporting, Donald C. Langevoort Jan 2004

Technological Evolution And The Devolution Of Corporate Financial Reporting, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

My claim is that the technology link to the recent disclosure scandals is no coincidence. To be sure, cheating tempts all who seek wealth, in whatever line of business they find themselves. I want to show, however, how the rapid pace of innovation at a number of levels offered motive, opportunity, and rationalization for a downshift in financial reporting norms, which in turn made outright fraud more probable.


The Organizational Psychology Of Hyper-Competition: Corporate Irresponsibility And The Lessons Of Enron, Donald C. Langevoort Jan 2002

The Organizational Psychology Of Hyper-Competition: Corporate Irresponsibility And The Lessons Of Enron, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What I want to do here is first explain my fears and then explore the Enron story from the standpoint of both social psychology and organizational behavior. My sense going in, at least, is that the social forces and selfish norms that emerge fairly naturally in highly competitive settings such as these dominate as behavioral influences over anything but high-powered legal controls. The kind of firm that I want to concentrate on is the "new economy" sort that requires a high rate of creative productivity from a large number of key managers and employees. Thus, I will put to the …