This is another topic that tends to mislead the general public, both in America and around the world. Yes, it's true that even in America, rich people are sometimes arrested and go on trial. Sometimes millionaires, executives of big companies, even famous media personalities, get put on trial and go to prison. Supposedly, this proves that 'the system works', because even some very rich people get sentenced and go to jail. Doesn't this prove that the legal system is really 'fair', because even the big corporate executives and famous media millionaires can face criminal charges?
But, once again, there is something behind the scenes here, that makes all of this very misleading. If you analyse the reasons that these executives are going to jail, you often find the same thing underneath the various cases. These rich executives, millionaires though they might be or even for a time billionaires, generally get into trouble for violating, not the law itself, but the less-obvious set of 'rules' that they were supposed to obey - not harming the interests of the millionaires and billionaires who own the big USA corporations, and its government by and for the oligarchy; or they have avoided their obligation to 'share their wealth' a bit with the political mafia gangsters who help to run USA life.
It is a hidden rule of the USA, that you need to 'pay to play'. If you are allowed to make tens or hundreds of millions are billions, you must spread some of that money for oligarch projects, such as: Political donations; donations to the 'non-profit organisations' and 'charities' associated with politicians; public initiatives and lobbying projects serving the interests of their fellow rich people in the government; paying out to the law firms connected to the politicians and judges, and giving the judges their bribery cash.
Rich people in the USA learn, sometimes the hard way, that not sharing their money with the political mafia, leaves them vulnerable to some 'investigations' and 'prosecutions'.
Big corporations are not the same as the rich executives who run them, even though those executives might be paid millions of dollars. The executives sometimes just work for even richer people, major shareholders, investors, sometimes the richest people in the USA and the world.
When executives are sentenced to prison for fraud and other crimes, it is often that their crimes were betraying the investors who put their money into either that corporation or its rivals. In other words, these executives did not provide good service to the collective of really and truly rich people who collectively own the corporations dominating economic life.
That's the story of past 'corporate crime' prosecutions of Enron or WorldCom or Michael Milken or Bernard Madoff. The people involved broke some rules mandating 'fair play' amidst the crowd of rich people, or not fulfilling the bribery and 'share the wealth with the mafia' obligations described above.
The government will talk about how these executives cheated average Americans, but often that is just talk. What really was at issue, was how these executives cheated America's millionaires and billionaires who owned stock in the failed companies, or somehow got the wrong person angry. We might never learn the real story of what 'triggered' the sudden avalanche of criminal investigations and charges.
America's richest people have their assets in stocks and sometimes even more in bonds, more than anything else. That's why the government spends so many millions of dollars on regulation of these markets. And so many trillions are spent by central banks in 'economic stimulus' to buy bonds ... often owned by the richest people of all.
As far as lawyers and judges go, there's hardly any regulation at all. Lawyers and judges can be criminals and perverts and lunatics, and commit a new felony crime every day of the week, and the government may well do nothing about it, if the victims are everyday average Americans.
But stock fraud and manipulation, and insider trading? Playing games with stock prices, might affect the profits of multi-millionaire investors, and so this is where the government is very, very serious, to protect those rich investors. Lots of officials may swing into action immediately, if you have broken any rules of stock-market trading. That was why they started going after Martha Stewart, who was once a very prominent television personality. She was charged and convicted and jailed around the time this FAQ was originally written, now more than 15 years ago. Martha Stewart was rich, but she was involved in trading stocks that are also owned by other rich people, and that's something the government is very concerned about.
The prosecution of a few rich executives and multi-millionaires, a Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein or Bernard Madoff or whomever, or even a one-time pair of 'richest persons in the world' like the Hunt Brothers with their silver speculation, doesn't prove that the system works to protect the common people.
There is usually some story, more obvious in some cases, less obvious in others, about how the person getting charged, did something to make other rich people in the oligarchy uncomfortable. Maybe they just didn't pay enough of the right 'political donations' to skate away scott-free after the most disgusting crimes.
The government acts to protect the rich more than anyone else. The government is concerned that everything is 'fair' and equal for billionaires and big investors, and this means that even rich people need to see they can go to jail if they do things to hurt other rich people, if they break the rules of loyalty to the oligarchy. On the other hand, crimes that merely hurt common people with no connections, well those are crimes that are not so 'high priority'.
There are, and will continue to be, trials of celebrities who are rich, but yet are charged and go on trial in some big media circus, accused of some offence or other. Many of these celebrities have some money, but are minorities or have no big political connections.
If they had really good connections, if they had made a lot of political donations, they often would never have been charged in the first place, some lawyer would have 'fixed' the whole thing very quietly with the right government officials, and the person may have gotten a 'friendly warning' like the billionaire Hunt brothers were given, but ignored.
Rich people who make big political donations in America, are sometimes able to commit quite serious felony crimes and get away with them, just by continuing to bribe politicians and judges.
They can rape your children, attack you, and threaten to kill you, and if they have donated enough to the 'right' top people, Justice Department officials sometimes even sell them a 'comfort letter' promising to do nothing about their crimes.
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