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Letter: Congress must battle white-collar crime

The white collar crimes are rarely prosecuted (due to lack of staff, poorly written regulations and political pressure), and the penalties are minimal considering the gains from the crime.

Letter to the editor FSA

A massive leak of secret financial documents known as the Pandora Papers was published on March 10, 2021, about five years after a similar leak called the Panama Papers was published. These documents were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

These documents show how the rich and powerful hide their money to avoid taxes and accountability. Read “Big Dirty Money,” by Jennifer Taub, to learn more about how the rich and powerful not only hide their money but also engage in white collar crime, which costs the hard working American tax paper far, far, more than the common street crimes of bank robberies and auto thefts. Yet, the white collar crimes are rarely prosecuted (due to lack of staff, poorly written regulations and political pressure), and the penalties are minimal considering the gains from the crime.

Taub has suggested six steps to help fix the problem, as Congress has done little or nothing to combat it. In fact, the penalties assessed for white collar crime have declined 72% during the Trump years. In addition, Congress has failed to provide sufficient funds for the IRS to employ the staff needed to audit the tax returns of the rich and powerful. Clearly, white collar crime continues to flourish as the people in power have done little or nothing to abolish it. The cost to victims of fraud and embezzlement alone is as much as $800 billion per year. The Valdez oil spill destroyed the livelihoods of some 32,000 people; the Enron mess robbed many, many people of their lifetime pensions; the S&L scandal wiped out the savings of many; and the list goes on and on.

We cannot wait for another Upton Sinclair to write a book. We need to bombard our president and members of Congress to stop attacking each other and get busy doing something for all of the people, such as passing significant legislation designed to abolish while collar crime.

Monroe Pederson, Hatton, N.D.

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