Corporate Criminal Liability
Ronald L. Dixon
Legislation enacted since 1984 significantly expanded the federal statutory boundaries of corporate criminal liability. The line between corporate criminal liability, corporate fraud, and corporate misconduct -- civil or administrative -- is now blurred. This criminal legislation can be categorized into four general areas -- statutes affecting all businesses, statutes affecting government contractors, statutes affecting the financial services industries, and statutes affecting the securities industry.
This chapter will provide a brief overview of federal corporate criminal liability in each of these four areas. The discussion of federal criminal offenses includes a description of several statutes that have been the basis of the majority of criminal prosecutions against corporations and their executives. This material answers what types of federal crimes can be committed by corporations, corporate officers, and directors and why the corporation should be criminally or civilly liable for its conduct and for the conduct of its officers and directors.
Two major criminal statutes that address corporate misconduct generally are the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 19841 and the