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Publisher's Summary

"Taub explicitly and persuasively places the breakdown of enforcement and accountability in the context of money and class." (The New York Times)

How ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful use tax doges or break the law to get richer and more powerful - and how we can stop it.

There is an elite crime spree happening in America, and the privileged perps are getting away with it. Selling loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk can lead to a choke-hold arrest, and death, if you are not among the top one percent. But if you're rich and commit mail, wire, or bank fraud, embezzle pension funds, lie in court, obstruct justice, bribe a public official, launder money, or cheat on your taxes, you're likely to get off scot-free (or even win an election). When caught and convicted, such as for bribing their kids' way into college, high-class criminals make brief stops in minimum security "Club Fed" camps. Operate the scam from the executive suite of a giant corporation, and you can prosper with impunity. Consider Wells Fargo & Co. Pressured by management, employees at the bank opened more than three million bank and credit card accounts without customer consent, and charged late fees and penalties to account holders. When CEO John Stumpf resigned in "shame", the board of directors granted him a $134 million golden parachute.

This is not victimless crime. Big Dirty Money details the scandalously common and concrete ways that ordinary Americans suffer when the well-heeled use white collar crime to gain and sustain wealth, social status, and political influence. Profiteers caused the mortgage meltdown and the prescription opioid crisis, they've evaded taxes and deprived communities of public funds for education, public health, and infrastructure. Taub goes beyond the headlines (of which there is no shortage) to track how we got here (essentially a post-Enron failure of prosecutorial muscle, the growth of "too big to jail" syndrome, and a developing implicit immunity of the upper class) and pose solutions that can help catch and convict offenders.

©2020 Jennifer Taub (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A scathing indictment of white-collar crime and its unpunished practitioners... In this steely-eyed examination of these brazen criminals, Taub holds that this lack of effective punishment merely encourages the wealthy to prey on the rest of society... A significant manifesto for judicial reform that aims at cracking the cabal of big-money grifters at the top." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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