letters | mclaughlin makes a deal

Only jail time will deter white-collar crime

MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN’S plea bargain is disgraceful (“McLaughlin will plead guilty, assist probe,” Page A1, Feb. 16). Falsifying the size of his salary is stealing from the public. Now he is to potentially serve no jail time? What about restitution? He should certainly repay the salary amounts over and above what he had reported, and with the appropriate rate of interest.

Petty criminals often serve longer sentences for nonviolent crimes than even the maximum McLaughlin now faces. This is really unfair. So called white-collar crime has been treated too long with just a slap on the wrist. Yet this is the type of crime that is really eating at the moral fabric of the business sector of our nation. Senator Elizabeth Warren has just pointed to the problem of dealing with these crimes by civil fines alone. As the fines are only a small percentage of the profits, they are only considered as one more business expense. If McLaughlin only has to serve two years of probation and pay a $4,000 fine, he could well end up profiting unfairly.

It is only jail time which will serve as an inducement for white-collar workers, up to and including CEOs, not to violate the law.

Peter B. Denison