Elizabeth Warren introduced the Ending Too Big to Jail Act on Wednesday that would make it easier for the government to send business leaders to jail. To be clear, Warren doesn’t want to jail CEOs for running successful businesses. However, should a business leader commit a crime, Warren wants them to do the time.
Warren’s legislation would expand criminal liability to executives who are found guilty or enter non-prosecution agreements with prosecutors for any crime. Also, executives who are found liable in any civil suit and whose violations affect one percent of the population of the U.S. or a state could likewise be sent to jail.
CEOs could face up to one year in jail under Warren’s legislation.
“For far too long, CEOs of giant corporations that break the law have been able to walk away, while consumers who are harmed are left picking up the pieces,” said Senator Warren.
During the 2008 financial crisis, it seemed that chief executive officers (CEOs) and other high-ranking officials simply got off the hook for wrecking the economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes. The government was forced to step in and provide bailouts. Who knows how many small businesses and livelihoods were lost. Even suicide rates climbed.
Yet when it came time to dole out punishments, most business leaders got a slap on the wrist or less. Just one person, Kareem Serageldin, was forced to serve time, and he only served 30 months. Serageldin had been found guilty of falsifying books and records.
Yet numerous other business leaders seemed to have been engaged in fraudulent activities. Instead of going to jail, many got golden parachutes. While millions of Americans were pushed into poverty and lost their homes, the elites got to cash big checks. If Warren has her way, however, criminal executives might soon see the inside of a cell.