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Reynolds Urges Jail Time for Corporate Crooks

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Congressman Tom Reynolds says jail time should be one of the criminal sanctions for corporate executives who are guilty of knowingly mis-stating financial records.

The Clarence Republican issued his call for tough criminal penalties for corrupt executives outside Adelphia's Buffalo headquarters Monday. Adelphia declared bankruptcy after it was revealed the company's founder John Rigas had amassed nearly three billion dollars in previously undisclosed debt.

Reynolds said corporate scandals at WorldCom, Enron and Adelphia mandate harsh penalties.

"If you're shredding documents as Enron did, let's make it a crime," Reynolds said. "We also need to stiffen penalties so that it's very clear that if you do the crime, you're going to do time. Or, as I like to say, if you're cooking the books, you're going to go to jail."

Many political observers are surprised that traditionally pro-business Republicans are so outspoken on the issue of corporate crime. But Reynolds said this is a non-partisan issue.

This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue," Reynolds said. "There's a sub-culture of some of our large, publicly-traded corporations that have falsified information. We can't tolerate that."

Congress is currently working on resolving differences in separate bills approved by the House and Senate last week. Reynolds says congressional leaders hope to have a final bill on the President's desk as soon as possible.