Corporate or executive malfeasance is an illegal act or illegal acts by a company or its employees that use the resources of the company to achieve illegal goals. Corporate malfeasance can arise through many different means and actions. For instance, the fraud and embezzlement committed by Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay at Enron could constitute intentional malfeasance. Corporate malfeasance can also arise through inaction, for example, by failing to monitor important performance metrics: income, expenses, debt to asset ratio and more. Certain corporate positions require mandatory reporting of crimes and improprieties. For instance, corporate boards typically have a fiduciary duty to shareholders to perform due diligence and make thoroughly considered investments. For 35 years, Steve Kardell, attorney, has protected managers and executives from director liability.
The penalties for corporate malfeasance can vary significantly based on the crime and the actual act. Typically, penalties are greater for intentional malfeasance than they are for those arising through inaction. What is important to note, however, is that penalties can apply to the individual employee and the company. For instance, in the Enron scandal, Skilling and Lay were both sentenced to lengthy prison terms for multiple federal felony charges, including conspiracy, insider trading, making false statements to auditors and security fraud. In terms of corporate board inaction leading to improprieties, legal penalties are less serious, but could involve the loss of a related professional license — or your personal tax refund may be frozen until the IRS claim against your organization is resolved.
The corporate internal investigation has become ubiquitous when issues of corporate malfeasance are involved. Assuming the issues raised are significant, any executive whistleblower will likely be subjected to this process even if he or she did not commit any fraud, embezzlement or other bad act. The standard procedures implemented in the corporate internal investigation will likely be stressful to the whistleblower because of their personal and professional nature — and their potential impact on the whistleblower’s career. In fact, compliance attorneys, officers and others in the field routinely term executives caught in this process and terminated as “roadkill.”
Corporate malfeasance inquiries are particularly dangerous due to the potential criminal penalties connected with them. Furthermore, even inaction can result in legal culpability. Attorney Steve Kardell can protect your career and freedom and pursue damages. Please contact our office today at 214-306-8045 or online .