One trend in recent years that has been impossible for anyone following the business pages to miss has been the steadily increasing numbers of huge monetary settlements that companies have reached with U.S. regulators and prosecutors. These settlements often involve staggeringly large amounts of money, often funded by shareholders. The Bank of America’s recent $17 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice is merely the latest example. Yet the bases for these settlements and the justifications for the massive payments often are obscure. The settlements often arise because the companies must settle to avoid the potentially ruinous consequences of a trial; the settlements also allow enforcement authorities a basis from which to assert their regulatory effectiveness.
Thinking About The Criminalization of American Business
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