Progressive politics, ideas & culture


How rich is so rich that stealing from the rich is not so bad?

This Magazine Staff

In the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, there is a prison interview with Joyti De-Laurey, a young woman convicted of embezzling millions of pounds from the personal banking accounts of her bosses—all of whom were managing directors of Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s richest investment banks. The crime was a huge embarrassment for Sachs, since presumably being able to keep track of money is one of the prerequisites for the position of managing director. De-Laurey is serving seven years, and is fighting the sentence. Here’s a part of the analysis from the story:

There is a problem with the way major fraud is sentenced in general, argues Vera Baird QC, who has experience of cases involving large-scale theft. “The problem is that fraudsters are sentenced on the amount they steal, rather than on who they steal from and the impact on the victim,” she says. “To con a hard-up pensioner out of their meagre savings should be seen as a more serious crime than taking a tiny proportion of a rich person’s personal income.”

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