Corporate Liability for Criminal Acts
A corporation is an entity, something that exists only through its employees. However, a corporation can be vicariously liable for criminal activity unless it is a limited liability corporation (LLC). For example, a corporation can be criminally liable under these circumstances:
- The criminal act by the employee or agent was within the "scope of employment"
- A statute(s) defines what crimes a corporation is liable for
- Failure to perform an affirmative duty -Corporations must perform certain duties under the law. Failure to perform such duties can result in criminal liability. For example, a corporation will be guilty of tax evasion if it doesn't pay taxes.
How Can a Corporation Be Liable for Criminal Acts?
Obviously, a corporation cannot be imprisoned or punished like individuals. However, there are ways to punish a corporation, such as:
- Heavy fines
- Loss of business license(s)
- Regulation by government agencies
If a Corporation is Criminally Liable, are Individuals Punished as Well?
When a corporation is criminally liable, the responsibility also falls on individuals. The board of directors, officers, and other high-ranking officials will almost always be criminally liable as well (just look at the Enron fiasco).
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Laws governing corporate responsibility are different in every state. Which state laws are applied depends on where the company was incorporated. An experienced attorney can inform you of the local laws, your rights and defenses, and the best way to proceed in a criminal trial. If you were a victim of a corporation's actions, contact an experienced attorney to get compensation for your loss.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 10-19-2012 11:17 AM PDT
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