How Values are Linked to Crime
It is impossible not to link moral values to crime. Clearly, a warped sense of "right and wrong" or total disregard of acceptable conduct in society would lead to such deviant behavior. We call people amoral or criminal who disregard the accepted value system of society. Values are at the core of a civilized society and values are centered around the Ten Commandments and morality.
Bernard Madoff was once the Chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. One would think he was extremely successful, because this was such a prestigious position. He was the picture of success by everyone's standard. That was then and this is now. Deception can come from any arena of life. He is now under house arrest for a multimillion-dollar worldwide ponzi scheme.
Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LCC firm was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud. Mr. Madoff s attorneys are trying to keep some of his assets, because they are in the name of Ruth, his wife. One of the assets he is trying to keep is the $10 million dollar condo where he resides under house arrest.
A large number of us have lived under the assumption that a moral code of conduct is expected from everyone in this country. There was a time when a person's word was a thing of value. When respect for values, the accepted principles of a society, are no longer observed by leading citizens in the marketplace, the question must be asked, what is most valuable?
In an article by James Vicini, in Reuters, here is what was said about these financial crimes. "Democratic Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware cited growing public anger over allegations of Wall Street excesses and wrongdoing that led to the financial crisis." It goes on to say, "If crimes were committed there needs to be an appropriate, strong law enforcement response," Ogden said. "Serving jail time may well be an appropriate result and it could be a deterrent in the future."
Doesn't this make you think about that statement? When poor people steal, they go to jail. It would seem that more emphasis is placed on a "less than wealthy" persons to follow a moral code of conduct, which say, "you must pay for crimes you commit. The wealthier criminal is not dealt with as harshly. The "white collar" criminal can afford good lawyers and he is handled differently. Before he swindled his victims, he was considered a pillar in the community. What is the difference between financial fraud thief and jewelry store thief? Would you say location? It would seem our perception of "values" should be revisited. What is moral and ethical remain consistent. We have selective discretion as to whom it is applied.
What about the victims of these "white collar" crimes? There are probably some heart-felt people who entrusted their money and trusted these men to be men of integrity. They didn't look like the "criminal type." Do we again make a value judgment as to how a criminal look?
In conclusion, one would have to assume when the value of your money is entrusted to an individual or a company, you make the assumption that the individual can be trusted with your assets. You make a calculated determination that you can "trust" them. This is a value judgment by anyone standards. When you are robbed, swindled, and have fraud committed against you, the thief may well be in a suit or wearing a mask and blue jeans. Your money and you are still separated by a thief.
Kathy M. Kristof, columnist for Los Angeles Times wrote in her column this statement. "The moral of the Madoff scandal is that you need to give any financial adviser you hire a proper vetting and monitor your investments regularly. Question: "Is a thief less a thief if he is wearing a white shirt and a designer tie? There should not be a double standard for justice. Do we have to wonder how Mr. Madoff will communicate with the "average run-of-the-mill thief" in prison
The baseline to this debate is the fact that values are intrinsically linked to a society and therefore they are linked to how that society addresses the conduct of its' people. Crime is not looked upon as a favorable mode of conduct. There seems to be a correlation to values and crime. Crime and values are linked when a society deals effectively with criminal activities; it is not tolerated but punished.