Key Concepts from the Book “The Informant” by Kurt Eichenwald
Corporate crimes or white collar crimes are highly organized by key officials in an organization. For example, the crime carried out by Archer Daniels Midland Company and other top organizations domestically and internationally in fixing a minimum price for commodities in the agricultural industry. In this book various key concepts such as greediness, deception and arrogance are displayed as behavior that human beings adapt which lead to commit of crime (Varese, 2010). These concepts emerge in trying to explain some of the reasons as to why corporate crimes take place. The executives in Archer Daniels Midland Company would have got away with the crime had Mark Whitacre not tipped of the federal agents and an investigation was launched.
The concept of greed has clearly been displayed when the whistle blower, Mark Whitacre decides to embezzle funds worth 9 million dollars from the Archer Daniels Midland company. This was a big company which dealt with agricultural products and was widely known for its expertise. Mark Whitacre had been granted immunity for working together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Greed made him not realize the ethical implications of the crime that he had committed and as a result he went to jail for eight years and a half (Eichenwald, 2001). Also this concept is explained when Archer Daniels Midland Company plays part in the price fixing scheme deal that was to steal millions of money from their customers. The price to be fixed was for an additive known as lysine which was used in the livestock industry.
The concept of deceit normally leads to crimes and deceit has been used to conduct a corporate crime in this book and we find that the scandal by Archer Daniels Midland Company with some of its competitors internationally was a plot to deceive the public so that they can steal from them. Mark Whitacre deceives the company by working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He gives out information about the illegal activities and meetings being conducted by his company but leaves information about out his own illegal dealings. He did this by taping their conversations during business meetings in various parts of the world which include Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong among other locations.
When carrying out his fraudulent dealings of stealing money from the company, Mark Whitacre deceived his friends and even his family and this put his life and his family’s in great danger, not forgetting that his career was going to be at risk. He also did not inform the federal agents and even his lawyer. The prosecutors at one point after he was discovered were not able to determine when he was telling the truth or lies and this posed to be very dangerous for him. While he did this he hoped that he would eventually get elected to be the chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company after the other corrupt executive members of the company had been arrested.
The Concept of arrogance is displayed When Mark Whitacre was discovered by the federal agents that he had stolen money from his company against the deal that they had agreed on, where he would receive immunity for his participation in the price fixing scheme. He decided to turn the case against the federal agents. He started taping the federal agents in trying to play the hero but all that was in vain. Having violated the immunity that had been granted to him, Mark Whitacre is also charged with the offence of price fixing.
The government also displayed arrogance and this is brought by Mark Whitacres attorney because he told the government that Whitacre had acted in that manner because he was inexperienced in carrying undercover investigations and also because they had put him in that position. He showed them that even without experience; Mark Whitacre did a commendable job even though he made a big mistake in embezzling the funds. Even though he managed to get a light sentence for Mark Whitacre, he was fired and we see Mark Whitacre displaying another instance of arrogance simply because he did not want to go to jail.
We find that even though he managed to get another attorney for his case, they worked separately with the government and he was not used as a witness considering his arrogant behavior. It is after this that he receives a 10 year jail term but was reduced to 8 years and half due to good behavior.
Crime has been shown to happen due to the three concepts discussed in this essay which are deceit, greediness and arrogance. The truth however has a way of coming out even when a conspiracy has been carried out. Heavy fines are charged for this kind of behavior displayed by top officials to companies and in the end they end up losing more than what they were trying to gain. The informant is a good book because it is based on a true story and I love the work that Kurt Eichenwald has done in this book.
Eichenwald, K. (2001). The informant. Broadway: London.
Varese, F. (2010). Organized Crime: Critical Concepts in Criminology. New York: Routledge.