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Citizens for a Fair Share is dedicated to explaining corporate corruption and the actions that have been put in place to stop it. Here, we discuss what corruption is, the types of corporate corruption, and ways citizens can fight it.

What Is Corporate Corruption?

There are many ways to define corporate corruption, but the general definition is the “abuse of public or private office for personal gain.” This can come in many forms, including bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, money laundering, and more.


In simple terms, bribery is giving someone or an organization in a position of trust something in return for influence, money, or power. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bribe for money, station, stock, or power—it’s illegal.

When a corporation is caught, the federal punishment is supposed to be a fine of no more than three times the value of the original bribe. Of course, we know that corporations, especially large ones with money, are often able to skirt these penalties.

Insider Trading

Insider trading is when a company uses inside, confidential information to get an advantage on the stock market. Many people who are involved in insider trading are entangled in a little bribery, too. The information had to come from somewhere.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, penalties for corporate insider trading include jail time up to twenty years and fines up to $25 million.


Embezzlement is basically taking money that you oversee but doesn’t belong to you. The most common form of embezzlement occurs when employees who have access to finds take those funds for themselves, but corporations can also commit this crime.

Four factors must be met for someone to be charged with embezzlement:

  • There must have been a fiduciary relationship, meaning a relationship of trust and financial responsibility.
  • The person must have acquired the money or property through this relationship.
  • The charged must have taken ownership of the property or money or transferred it to someone else.
  • The wrongdoer’s actions must be intentional.

Money Laundering

Money laundering means that a corporation or person has attempted to make money look like it came from a legitimate source when it didn’t.

Money laundering has three steps: placement, layering, and integration. That means the following:

  • Putting the money into the market
  • Camouflaging the money via complex financial transactions
  • Gaining wealth

An intergovernmental organization called the Financial Action Task Force created regulations to prevent, detect, and report money-laundering activities, but these practices still happen.

Fighting Corporate Corruption

Many government policies are in place to help fight corporate corruption, including significant jail time, hefty fines, and even shutting down corporations caught in these practices.

The downside is that there are simply too many giant corporations to maintain a watchful eye, and these corporations have tons of money to help cover their tracks. It’s important for citizens to stay aware of corporate corruption and fight to bring these practices to an end.