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Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime

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How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful break the law to get richer and more powerful--and how we can stop it. There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top 1%. But if you're rich and c How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful break the law to get richer and more powerful--and how we can stop it. There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top 1%. But if you're rich and commit mail, wire, or bank fraud, embezzle pension funds, lie in court, obstruct justice, bribe a public official, launder money, or cheat on your taxes, you're likely to get off scot-free (or even win an election). When caught and convicted, such as for bribing their kids' way into college, high-class criminals make brief stops in minimum security "Club Fed" camps. Operate the scam from the executive suite of a giant corporation, and you can prosper with impunity. Consider Wells Fargo & Co. Pressured by management, employees at the bank opened more than three million bank and credit card accounts without customer consent, and charged late fees and penalties to account holders. When CEO John Stumpf resigned in "shame," the board of directors granted him a $134 million golden parachute. This is not victimless crime. Big Dirty Money details the scandalously common and concrete ways that ordinary Americans suffer when the well-heeled use white collar crime to gain and sustain wealth, social status, and political influence. Profiteers caused the mortgage meltdown and the prescription opioid crisis, they've evaded taxes and deprived communities of public funds for education, public health, and infrastructure. Taub goes beyond the headlines (of which there is no shortage) to track how we got here (essentially a post-Enron failure of prosecutorial muscle, the growth of "too big to jail" syndrome, and a developing implicit immunity of the upper class) and pose solutions that can help catch and convict offenders.


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How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful break the law to get richer and more powerful--and how we can stop it. There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top 1%. But if you're rich and c How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful break the law to get richer and more powerful--and how we can stop it. There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top 1%. But if you're rich and commit mail, wire, or bank fraud, embezzle pension funds, lie in court, obstruct justice, bribe a public official, launder money, or cheat on your taxes, you're likely to get off scot-free (or even win an election). When caught and convicted, such as for bribing their kids' way into college, high-class criminals make brief stops in minimum security "Club Fed" camps. Operate the scam from the executive suite of a giant corporation, and you can prosper with impunity. Consider Wells Fargo & Co. Pressured by management, employees at the bank opened more than three million bank and credit card accounts without customer consent, and charged late fees and penalties to account holders. When CEO John Stumpf resigned in "shame," the board of directors granted him a $134 million golden parachute. This is not victimless crime. Big Dirty Money details the scandalously common and concrete ways that ordinary Americans suffer when the well-heeled use white collar crime to gain and sustain wealth, social status, and political influence. Profiteers caused the mortgage meltdown and the prescription opioid crisis, they've evaded taxes and deprived communities of public funds for education, public health, and infrastructure. Taub goes beyond the headlines (of which there is no shortage) to track how we got here (essentially a post-Enron failure of prosecutorial muscle, the growth of "too big to jail" syndrome, and a developing implicit immunity of the upper class) and pose solutions that can help catch and convict offenders.

30 review for Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Need another book for your post-November 2016 rage reading list? Looking for a companion to Sarah Kendzior's Hiding in Plain Sight? [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...] Shopping for books to give to your neighbors and relatives who swear that everything's OK, and, gee, there's no reason to get upset about politics or the election or policing or law enforcement or wealth distribution (and concentration) or taxation or...? Scouring the bookstore shelves for heavily researched explanations fo Need another book for your post-November 2016 rage reading list? Looking for a companion to Sarah Kendzior's Hiding in Plain Sight? [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...] Shopping for books to give to your neighbors and relatives who swear that everything's OK, and, gee, there's no reason to get upset about politics or the election or policing or law enforcement or wealth distribution (and concentration) or taxation or...? Scouring the bookstore shelves for heavily researched explanations for how, in the law few years, the word kleptocracy wormed its way into the common vernacular? Looking for more reasons to be angry that the rules don't apply to the wealthy, and, in the last few years, they seem more confident about what used to be more of a secret, and thus, it sure seems like there's more pigs at the trough behavior these days than there used to be? Finding yourself scratching your head and getting angry that your social media feed increasingly features coverage of poor people and black people going to jail for, say, asking for equal rights while CEO's and senior officials (in nice clothes, getting in/out of nice cars) at banks who got rich while crashing the economy and causing millions (yes, millions) of Americans to lose their homes ... or accelerated global warming ... or spawned the opioid crisis ... achieved staggering wealth, avoided jail time, and, more often than not, received multi-million dollar golden parachutes? Trying to understand how anyone believed that the recent tax cuts for the wealthy would pay for themselves (... oh, that's rich ... no, not sorry, that pun was absolutely intended) or how or why Congress thought the tax cuts were a good idea (not-a-secret: they didn't, and they didn't care, because they could get away with it, and it's what their rich donors wanted and, well, paid handsomely for)... In any event, if any of this stuff speaks to you, well, this book is for you. Sure, the author is a legal academic, but the book is entirely, easily accessible - and my sense is that it was written for the mass market. Wanna geek out? Read the voluminous end notes! Not interested in all that research? Well, fine: because the book reads like long-form journalism and commentary (and you can ignore the end notes). Heck, if you're sufficiently angry these days (like so many of us), you could easily plow through the book in one day of (at this point, unnecessary) coronavirus pandemic induced quarantine! Read it. Enjoy it. (That is, if you're into the whole rage reading thing.) And share it with a friend. Talk about it. That's the only way things are going to change. And, yes, they need to change. For a longer review (not mine), see: https://newrepublic.com/article/15936... Note: Thanks to the publisher for an electronic ARC. It's nice to be ahead of the curve, particularly since my pre-ordered hardback isn't due to arrive at my local independent bookstore until later this week.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I got to know about this book because I think I saw the author comment on Twitter about it during some conversation about 45’s corruption and if they’ll ever face consequences. I immediately decided to get it from the library and it was so eye opening. The one overarching feeling you are left with after reading this book is rage. Rage at the wealthy corporate executives who use corrupt and unethical practices to maximize their profits while screwing over the lives of millions of normal people, w I got to know about this book because I think I saw the author comment on Twitter about it during some conversation about 45’s corruption and if they’ll ever face consequences. I immediately decided to get it from the library and it was so eye opening. The one overarching feeling you are left with after reading this book is rage. Rage at the wealthy corporate executives who use corrupt and unethical practices to maximize their profits while screwing over the lives of millions of normal people, while also getting away with a slap on the wrist or no consequences at all. The other feeling of rage is against the politicians who create such laws favoring corporates and prevent them from being punished, just to preserve their donor class. It’s absolutely horrifying to read and after seeing so many instances of powerful people getting away with just about anything, the chances of any convictions for the corrupt members of the outgoing administration seem very bleak. But the book ends on a small hope. The author lists down the things that even we normal and usually powerless people can do to nudge our politicians to write better laws and ensure that the existing ones treat everyone equally before it. It doesn’t seem like an easy path forward but unless something is done to get money out of politics and to reduce the influence of corporate lobbyists on the writing of new laws, the situation is only gonna get worse. In conclusion, this was a very interesting book to read and you should especially pick it up when you are ready to read something that’ll make you angry. I think what also works in its favor is that the author never shies away from giving her opinion about how despicable these massive frauds by powerful people are, and this natural outrage of the author is even more evident in the audiobook. I learnt a lot and I hope you will too... highly recommend.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wilson

    It's hard to say anymore how mad a given chronicle of political, governmental or corporate greed and malfeasance is even supposed to make you, this deep into our cruel, stupid new century — especially this benighted year. I'd say this blandly titled but sharp and convincing primer aims to heat the reader somewhere between fed-up community manager and nuclear core. The writing is newspaper-y and rushed in places, but that seems very fair given that Taub manages to mention things that happened thro It's hard to say anymore how mad a given chronicle of political, governmental or corporate greed and malfeasance is even supposed to make you, this deep into our cruel, stupid new century — especially this benighted year. I'd say this blandly titled but sharp and convincing primer aims to heat the reader somewhere between fed-up community manager and nuclear core. The writing is newspaper-y and rushed in places, but that seems very fair given that Taub manages to mention things that happened through June of this year. The rhythm invites fast reading, and the last section, which lays out some broad reform ideas, is a fairly soft landing given what's come before. What makes it more than just good is that Taub is flatly and sometimes amusingly dismissive throughout of the political excuses and legal defenses she recounts. Also, it's far from technical, so the structure tends to be: Here's a big-ass corruption issue (names and cases cited), this is a thumbnail history of how we got here and why it has always sucked, here's an egregious recent example that is indeed labeled "egregious" and calls out the players by name, and here's why it's going to keep being a problem unless/until X. Which makes it almost fun to rage-sprint through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    It was a good read! Very heavy on American companies and Trump (GMC, CITI Bank, Russia). It didn't go into too much detail on things really affecting life in Canada (money laundering, fentanyl, housing crisis, etc.). However, it did make great cases for increased regulation, task forces, and accountability/enforcement. It also was great at outlining how all forms of corruption affect everyday citizens. 3.5/5 It was a good read! Very heavy on American companies and Trump (GMC, CITI Bank, Russia). It didn't go into too much detail on things really affecting life in Canada (money laundering, fentanyl, housing crisis, etc.). However, it did make great cases for increased regulation, task forces, and accountability/enforcement. It also was great at outlining how all forms of corruption affect everyday citizens. 3.5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    There’s a simple statistic at the beginning of this book that “White Collar” crime costs victims between $300B to $800B per year, dwarfing all other street level crime. And yet Americans arm themselves to the teeth apparently to protect themselves for the latter, while not giving too much care for the former. In this book Taub outlines many instances of this type of crime mainly at the corporate level and outlines six key recommendations intended to combat this. The book itself is a bit like one There’s a simple statistic at the beginning of this book that “White Collar” crime costs victims between $300B to $800B per year, dwarfing all other street level crime. And yet Americans arm themselves to the teeth apparently to protect themselves for the latter, while not giving too much care for the former. In this book Taub outlines many instances of this type of crime mainly at the corporate level and outlines six key recommendations intended to combat this. The book itself is a bit like one that she references (Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club”) in documenting both many instances of corporate malfeasance and listing the many reasons that they are not being actively prosecuted. Like that book, it’s quite interesting but not necessarily what one would describe as a page turner. That’s a bit sad considering the negative effect this has on our lives. The recommendations given are admirable, but as Taub says the fact that these are viewed as victimless crimes will continue to hamper having these needed fixes becoming implemented.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Writemoves

    Pacific Gas and Electric, General Motors, Governor Robert MacDonnell of Virginia, Wells Fargo, Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos, WeWork, Enron, Sandy Weill, Countrywide Mortgage, Ivan Boesky, Sackler's and OxyContin, Donald Trump’s tax evasion and the Subprime Mortgage Collapse... The list above are just a few of the latest examples of corporate and individual greed that have largely gone unpunished. Companies may get fined and they may receive a slap on their wrists but few executives go to jail. Tau Pacific Gas and Electric, General Motors, Governor Robert MacDonnell of Virginia, Wells Fargo, Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos, WeWork, Enron, Sandy Weill, Countrywide Mortgage, Ivan Boesky, Sackler's and OxyContin, Donald Trump’s tax evasion and the Subprime Mortgage Collapse... The list above are just a few of the latest examples of corporate and individual greed that have largely gone unpunished. Companies may get fined and they may receive a slap on their wrists but few executives go to jail. Taub provides an overview of various scandals and its effect on consumers, taxpayers and the public in general. She also offers some suggestions on how to better enforce regulations and laws. However given the greed of American businesses, the indifference of the American public and the soullessness of the Republican Party, I don’t think much will happen. Well written book---makes a number of great points but she’s preaching to the choir to this reader.. My notes from the book below: Just day after Valentine's Day in 2020, President Donald Trump granted clemency to a slew of affluent felons. Their offenses? Bribery, investment fraud, tax evasion, Medicare fraud, public corruption, computer hacking, and extortion cover-up, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud. White-collar crime in America , such as fraud and embezzlement , cost victims and estimated three hundred billion to eight hundred billion dollars per year yet street level property crimes including burglary , larceny and theft cost us far less – – around sixteen billion dollars annually , according to the FBI . In 2018, the Wells Fargo Board of Directors authorized paying shareholders billions of dollars in dividends and stock buybacks, but the bank still announced layoffs of more than 26,000 employees. When powerful people plunder with impunity, they grow even wealthier. And they can use this wealth to change the laws and their enforcement so that they favored those at the top like themselves. This is not a theory. It's reality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "From 1999 to 2017, almost 218,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. That was more than half of the nearly 400,000 opioid deaths during that time period.” The IRS was busy trying to survive budget cut after budget cut. Its 2019 budget was around $2 billion lower than in 2009. Along came layoffs, with 30,000 fewer employees at the IRS by 2020. Fewer auditors meant fewer audits. The agency lost out on collecting at least $18 billion per year. The 2017 tax giveaway was expected to cost around $1.9 trillion by 2027, according to the Congressional budget office. Imagine if we had directed that money to where the greatest need is, not the greatest greed. We could have provided affordable childcare and pre-K to all families for a decade. But that's not all. Child poverty would have been eliminated during that period of time. After doing both, we could've raise teachers wages in a low income area schools by $10,000, doubled the amount of government funding for climate science, invested $100 billion fighting the opioid epidemic, and directed $60 billion towards community colleges.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Holly Dolezalek

    This book is great. It's depressing, because it shows just how thoroughly the Supreme Court and Congress have created an environment that's thoroughly hospitable to white-collar crime. But it's encouraging, because one major change she advocates for has already been implemented: the Corporate Transparency Act, which Congress passed in December 2020. I don't know if her other recommendations can possibly be implemented, because (a) Republicans don't think Democrats should be allowed to govern and This book is great. It's depressing, because it shows just how thoroughly the Supreme Court and Congress have created an environment that's thoroughly hospitable to white-collar crime. But it's encouraging, because one major change she advocates for has already been implemented: the Corporate Transparency Act, which Congress passed in December 2020. I don't know if her other recommendations can possibly be implemented, because (a) Republicans don't think Democrats should be allowed to govern and (b) Republicans have been actively pushing, for decades, for the very conditions she thinks should be rolled back.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Flowergarden24

    This was thankfully not very long and rather boring at times however, it very importantly displays the huge levels of corruption in government and business. There are many specific examples and some details which I wouldn't remember anyway so I hurried through them. Reading about the inequity of justice between the wealthy criminals and the regular people is exasperating. She has good suggestions on how to help clean things up. I think this is good to read to be informed about why some decision This was thankfully not very long and rather boring at times however, it very importantly displays the huge levels of corruption in government and business. There are many specific examples and some details which I wouldn't remember anyway so I hurried through them. Reading about the inequity of justice between the wealthy criminals and the regular people is exasperating. She has good suggestions on how to help clean things up. I think this is good to read to be informed about why some decisions are made at top levels and who makes them. This book should get people to pay attention, stay informed and write to politicians when red flags are up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    Another great book to get mad at the system in which we live. Unlike groceries, this one is easily fixable and the only ones holding us back are the ones with the money. We live with rampant white collar crime that is not prosecuted, not fully investigated, and not even fully known in scope. The most shocking thing is this book is the estimated cost of white collar crime vs "street level" property crime. Astonishing and easily fixable with the proper education and funding. We can't keep letting Another great book to get mad at the system in which we live. Unlike groceries, this one is easily fixable and the only ones holding us back are the ones with the money. We live with rampant white collar crime that is not prosecuted, not fully investigated, and not even fully known in scope. The most shocking thing is this book is the estimated cost of white collar crime vs "street level" property crime. Astonishing and easily fixable with the proper education and funding. We can't keep letting them get away with it

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Ellis

    This is the criminal justice angle that gets no attention! But why would it since it affects those at the top who just want to take more from the rest of us with impunity? Taub raises the point that no statistics are done on white collar crime, criminal convictions are not attempted because courts have made intent harder to prove, and definitions of corruption more strict. Why? The rich are held to a different standard than you or me - none.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    This took awhile to read because it makes me so mad, greed and illegal maneuvering dominate our society, lots of examples. She does have a short prescription at end of book to addrsss some of the worst offenses but somehow I am left feeling even more hopeless about any kind of justice.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debra Robert

    White collar crime is costing us trillions of dollars. Reality strikes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristyn Snyder

    A wonderfully written book about greedy, disgusting people.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Drag all of those white collar criminals through here. They should be prosecuted beyond the current extent of the law!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tadas Talaikis

    Success = to steal big.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Anyone that reads a newspaper would already know all this . The author appears to have lifted headlines then raged against them Made it through 2 chapters and then got too bored to continue.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jrwren

    Difficult to read because of the injustice. Excellent start to remedies.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Hampton

    Region fvbg by crunch fyi egg th th th fyi fyi you you fyi hi you hi hi hi hi hi hi boom hi h

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fran Caparrelli

    Clearly written with problem solving suggestions at the end.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Infuriating. Not all information is new to me but reading it all in one place makes you very mad.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I was more outraged at the lawyers defending these scum than the scum themselves.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helynn Wicker

  24. 4 out of 5

    Larry Roos

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paulette Kennedy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Fachner

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rich

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