The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, formerly of Tyco, were sentenced yesterday to 8-25 years in prison, probably maximum security since New York doesn't have any Martha Stewart type prisons. I doubt anyone (myself included) would forgive them of their crimes - they were convicted of stealing $150 million from Tyco in free loans and unapproved bonuses.

A NYT editorial today argues that the sentences are fair. But I think it's way too harsh. Here's why:

1st - I think there must be a difference between time served for violent and non-violent offenses. Not even necessarily in longevity, but I don't think non-violent offenders should be put in the same facility, or have any contact with, violent offenders. New York should be required to have minimum security facilities for people like this, and non-violent drug offenders, etc.

2nd - Frankly, laws are grey in the corporate environment. The executive of a public company has a fiduciary obligation to the company's shareholders to maximize the company's earning potential. Of course this does not permit violations of law, but, frankly, things like what these two did were not aggressively prosecuted in the past. Murder, rape, etc. has always been prosecuted. Corporate malfeasance has not.

3rd - One could argue in this case that repaying the money stolen more or less erases the impact of the crime. Tyco is not like Enron or Worldcom - it never went bankrupt, and it's still a working company today... in fact, it's in pretty good shape. So lots of employees and/or retirees did not get screwed in this case.
posted by CB @ 10:11 AM  
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