The Department of Justice announced yesterday that a Federal Grand Jury had returned a "superseding indictment" against AU Optronics Corp, its Houston subsidiary, and six of its executives. The agency charges "that AU Optronics Corporation participated in a conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels sold worldwide from Sept …
So . . .
. . . we're going to fine you (the company) little more than 0.1% of the annual income in the final year of the indictment ??
Way to persuade them not to do it again.
well that depends on how much money the scam involved...
"twice the gain from the crime, or the twice the loss suffered by victims".
If they made 10 billion from the scam, they could be looking at a fine of 20 billion.
They get fined and jail beckons.
They didn't even kill anyone by gross negligence and didn't even get rich by transporting "sailing boat fuel" across Iraq.
Didn't have Cheney on their side.
The problem exactly
"... or the twice the loss suffered by victims."
But the "authorities" have not the vaguest clue as to who the victims really are or what their losses might be.
"HP, Apple, Dell all victimised"
Exactly the problem, how do you determine how they were hurt? By counting the number of lost sales, meaning guess, due to the forced inflation of prices. Do you also include the loss to consumers who did pay the higher price and include in the accounting the lower per unit profit made by the corporate "victims" based on consistent margins or does the margin need adjusting? Indeed, do they just slide up and down the elusive supply/demand curves and pick a point they "feel in their gut" to be right? Yeah, I thought so too, $100m it is then.
FAIL for the consumer, WIN for PC makers
1.) You take the colluding manufacturers actual costs to produce the item.
2.) Compare the markup of other similar items in the IT electronics field. (10-20% usually)
3.) Subtract the monopoly inflated mark-up from expected markup.
4.) Total the number of units that each customer purchases at these inflated prices
5.) Return overinflated markup money to customers.
Dell, Apple etc know roughly how many monitors they have moved for any given year.
Really since this is a criminal action, I don't see any reason the judge shouldn't just take ALL the profits and turn them over to the wronged customers. If a citizen is caught selling drugs they can have their car, home, PC etc all taken, and sold off at auction as illegal gains. How is that corporations are not expected to pay MORE than they stole by default. I'm still burned that if I stole (really stole not pirated) a CD from a store they would charge me 3 times the cost of the item, 3 times!. Then it turns our the retail stores and music industry were colluding to keep music prices fixed at high levels. (Stealing from ME) They are convicted, and the have to pay (roughly but not equal to) the amount they had fixed prices. Not only do I have do come up with receipts and fill out paper work to get my money, which after my investment in time ensures I will not get back even equal to what I have lost.
Now here is where the US and the LAW will fail the general public:
Dell Apple etc will win a huge lump sum settlement
There will be some crappy rebate program set up, where IF you bought a TFT-LCD (make sure its that type!) monitor between 2001 and 2006 (make sure you know the dates) THEN IF you still have some proof of purchase, or a reciept THEN you can go this URL (make sure you know the URL) and THEN fill out these forms (make sure you don't fill out wrong or will be voided) and THEN provide a large amount of personal data (that will used for marketing to you and sold to other marketing companies) THEN AFTER 3-4 months you will get your check in the mail (if you don't get your check in the mail make sure you wait the full 3-4 months for the program to close down, and have us stop answering the phones.)
.....THEN after all THAT DELL, APPLE, etc all get to keep YOUR settlement money that was robbed from you! (because you do remember that they passed that extra cost on to you don't you).
Oh, don't forget that you need to remember this whole situation, the URL to fill out rebate etc, and WAIT for 2-3 years for all of the appeals to get exhausted before you even get the judgment in (ahem) your favor.
Remember him?, well the judgment was that anyone who flew BA or PanAm during a certain period got something off their next ticket, if I recall.
So, please send me some money as I have purchased two Apple computers with screens within the time period specified.
A decent law
All the time you see companies fined for X, Y, and Z, and they just apologise and flip the quarters out of their huge spare cash pile. "The company's to blame - fine the company".
Now, the promise of jail time - that's what we're talking about. If a company kills someone - that's manslaughter. Someone should be going to jail.
If they commit fraud/steal something - that's theft, and a jail term.
As Eddie Izzard says, "If 1 person is killed, they go to jail. If they kill 10 people, they're locked in a padded room with people looking in from outside. If they kill 1million people, it's almost like ... er.. 'Well done!... Er... you must get up very early in the morning!'".
Just because the action was "big", doesn't mean it shouldn't face jail.