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White-Collar Crimes: Unsafe Food

McDonald’s corporation faced allegations of selling expiring food in China. Employees, with the help of hidden cameras, disclosed this misconduct at the Sanlitun branch (Zhu et al., 2017). This malpractice exposed the locals to health risks such as food poisoning and foodborne illnesses. The scandal had serious negative outcomes as some locals lost trust and confidence in McDonald’s products and boycotted them. McDonald’s suspended operations at the branch and apologized to its customers on their microblog account (Zhu et al., 2017). Justice was served in this scandal because McDonald’s took appropriate actions to remedy the situation.

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The second reported case about unsafe products was about the KFC’s poultry chicken. In November 2012, the American multinational corporation was accused of raising their chicken in a record of 45 days (Zhu et al., 2017). This practice raised concerns within the Chinese population about the perceived adverse health effects of genetically modified products such as toxins and cancer, and high cholesterol intake. The safety concerns led to negative criticism and other unfavorable outcomes such as boycotting its products (Zhu et al., 2017). KFC explained to the public that raising chicken within 45 days was a common and standard practice in the industry. Justice was served because the organization published an apology letter on its microblog.

In a related incident, the media alleged that KFC was feeding their chicken growth hormones. According to the claims, the company’s poultry suppliers used growth promoters to accelerate their chicken’s maturity and enhance their size (Zhu et al., 2017). Food injected with such potentially unsafe products exposed the population to the risk of illnesses such as cancer, inflammatory disorders, and digestive problems (Fuhrman, 2018). The exposure led to public outcry as regular citizens demanded that KFC should be banned from the country. The corporation assured them that it “would improve its testing of products, raise the bar for suppliers, and help suppliers develop “advanced cultivation methods” for chickens” (Zhu et al., 2017, p. 491). People got justice after the company apologized and promised to improve its food safety measures.

Financial Crimes

In 2020, several US senators were involved in insider trading related to the coronavirus pandemic by selling large amounts of stock immediately after a confidential senatorial briefing about the crisis. For example, in addition to selling up to $1.7 million in stock after the briefing, Senator Richard Burr issued conflicting public and private statements where the legislator expressed market pessimism privately (Anello, 2020). The scandal involved unethical dealings by high-ranking politicians and government officials who took advantage of the business situation to enrich themselves. They exploited their positions and confidential briefing to gain market-advantage. The wrongdoing had severe impacts on regular citizens in terms of bad earnings and financial losses for investors. The Department of Justice instituted investigations into the insider trading allegations by confiscating the senators’ cellphones involved in the malpractice. However, justice was not served since the Department of Justice discontinued the investigations.

Another financial crime relates to information security at Twitter. An elite hacked duped one of the company’s employees, leading to confidential data of high-profile people, including President Barack Obama and Elon Musk (Fortune Editors, 2020). The employee inadvertently disclosed the victims’ Twitter account passwords and email addresses, consequently compromising their information privacy and security. The lack of strict policies by politicians and inadequate enforcement by government agencies lead to such business malpractices. This incident helped in raising the bar on the safety and security of public information held by corporations. Twitter was accountable for this security slip by shutting down all tweeting by verified accounts to establish the breach’s root cause. It reduced the number of staff who can access such sensitive details and offered training to its partners on detecting and overcoming such loopholes (Fortune Editors, 2020). Justice was served in this case because the police apprehended the cybercriminal.

Furthermore, President Donald Trump perpetrated evaded his tax obligations. Trump paid $750 in income taxes for the 2016-2017 financial year (Brewster, 2020). This financial crime reduced tax collections, consequently compromising the government’s ability to provide essential services, such as healthcare, education, housing, and social security. Trump failed to comply with tax requirements due to massive losses incurred in his businesses. The elite politician took advantage of the tax system’s ineffective structure to protect his business from tax compliance and do business with the very government. The criminal justice system, through Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, instituted investigations into the allegation. However, citizens have not received justice because the former president has successfully paralyzed investigations into the claims by keeping secret his tax returns.

Human Rights Abuses

During the reign of president trump, the most heinous human rights abuses were against ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Muslims, immigrants, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) communities. Trump made racial remarks by calling immigrants invasions and seemed to encourage white supremacy against ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Muslims (Schmitt, 2019). For example, his administration barred Transgender people from serving in the military forces. The LGBTQ members boycotted in the streets demanding their rights, and some signed petitions in the court chambers to seek justice (Schmitt, 2019). Similarly, his government restricted immigrants from certain countries from entering the US. The short-term effects of these abuses are racial profiling and mistreatment by law enforcement agents, while long-term consequences include systematic discrimination and marginalization of these groups. These actions are motivated by concerns such as security threats posed by certain immigrants and the negative impact of the influx of foreigners into the country, such as job losses for Americans (Schmitt, 2019). President Trump’s government remained unaccountable for this crime, and thus justice has never served.

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References

Anello, R. (2020). How senators may have avoided insider trading charges. Forbes. Web.

Brewster, J. (2020). Eric Trump: Trump tax story is ‘IRS scandal of this generation’. Forbes. Web.

Fortune Editors. The biggest business scandals of 2020. Fortune. Web.

Fuhrman, J. (2018). The hidden dangers of fast and processed food. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 12(5), 375-381. Web.

Schmitt, A. (2019). President Trump’s alarming human rights agenda at home and abroad. Center for American Progress. Web.

Zhu, L., Anagondahalli, D., & Zhang, A. (2017). Social media and culture in crisis communication: McDonald’s and KFC crises management in China. Public Relations Review, 43(3), 487-492. Web.

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