Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Goolsby "War Story:" A Case of Blind Loyalty

Loyalty is generally a noble characteristic. But would you be so loyal to your boss that you would be willing to go to jail for them? Consider the following case about misplaced loyalties.
As a former federal prosecutor, I once prosecuted a man for income tax evasion. The man was vice-president of a local car dealership. He had confessed to an I.R.S. agent that he had received unreported rebate income from a wholesale radio and stereo company which had installed the radios and other accessories in all the dealership's automobiles. The car company executive entered a guilty plea to one count of income tax evasion and was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison. The case seemed open and shut.
But there was more. As we later learned, the executive had agreed to take the fall for his boss, the dealership owner, who had really received the bulk of the rebate income. The rebate checks were made payable to the vice-president, (who took the rap for his boss), but the vice-president had been required by his boss to cash the checks each month and then to hand over most of the cash to the boss.
When the I.R.S. had begun an audit, the boss had persuaded his employee, the vice-president, to protect him by saying that he, (the employee), had received all the rebate income. In exchange for falling on his sword for his boss, the boss had also promised his loyal employee that he would pay his legal fees, pay his fines and back taxes, and even continue to pay his salary while he served time in prison. And believe it or not, the loyal employee bit on the hook and went to prison for his boss!
Maybe you can guess what happened next! A year later, when the employee got out of prison, his boss informed him that he was fired and that he would have to pay his own fines and back taxes! That is when the employee realized his loyalty had been misplaced. He realized his first loyalty lay with his family, not his boss. And that is when he decided to "drop a dime" on his boss by calling the I.R.S. and informing them about what he and his boss had done.
Fortunately, there is a happy, (or just), ending to this story. With the cooperation of the employee, (and a co-worker), we were able to use the employees to "make tape" with the dealership owner, who made some admissions about receiving the rebate income. I then successfully prosecuted the dealership owner for income tax evasion and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to serve 5 years in prison!
If there is a moral to this "war story," maybe it is that, while loyalty is generally a good thing, blind loyalty to a boss can get you a year in the federal penitentiary! And no job is worth a year in a federal prison, is it?!

1 comment:

  1. Good blog post. Enjoyed reading it. I write on white-collar crime as well at I look forward to reading more of your posts. Justin Paperny