In a 2002 study, the Washington D.C. consumer advocacy group Public Citizen revealed that the price tag of corporate fraud had reached $236 billion.
According to the study, when billions of dollars are lost each year following business scandals, "the public is left to pick up the tab" through federal corporate welfare programs and lost stock value.
That same year, President George W. Bush introduced the Corporate Fraud Task Force, a group under the U.S. Federal Government dedicated to "restoring the integrity of the market and the confidence of the nation," according to Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.
Since its inception, the task force has gained success each year with 1,236 fraud convictions as of July 2007, according to PR Newswire.
But whether the growing number of convictions is indicative of the effectiveness of the law in curbing this behavior or merely a sign of growth in white-collar crimes is yet to be determined.
"We haven't seen a downturn yet," said Mark Shurtleff, attorney general of the State of Utah, who has held seminars for corporate counselors, carefully advising about what they shouldn't be doing and encouraging them to persuade their clients to avoid "lawyering up" and work with law enforcement to deal with their problems.
His hopes are that the success of federal prosecutors will result in people realizing they can't get away with fraud.
Meanwhile, the public continues to pay for the wrong decisions of a growing few whose wrong decisions and perfidious attitudes may continue to hurt the public, not only financially but also morally in ways that can't be measured.