By Codi Peterson, Marketing —
As the border wars continue to develop, the FBI has been forced to expand its scope to include domestic culprits. The FBI arrested several prominent city leaders in Crystal City, Texas this past February on charges of bribery, human smuggling, and involvement in an illegal gambling ring. Only one council member, Joel Barajas, did not face charges. This is evidence that somehow Mexican drug traffickers have been able to infiltrate the very organization designed to keep them out.
What Would You Do in Their Situation?
Many of us can’t fathom the thought of accepting a bribe for a drug dealer or being involved in human trafficking. Assistant special agent, Rob Salle, called the situation a “perfect storm.” Their location close to the border plus high poverty levels makes the drug traffickers’ bribes all the more appealing. According to the most recent census data, the median income in Crystal City is $24,503. This is less than half of the of the median household income of the rest of the country. The situation is not much different for other towns in the region.
Why Do People Accept bribes?
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, there are three elements that lead to fraudulent behavior: perceived financial need, perceived opportunity, and rationalization. We may not be able to be able to controls people’s perceived financial needs or the values that govern their rationalization, but we can control their perceived opportunity. If people believe that there is no opportunity to commit fraud, then they never will—no matter how much they need the money or how justified they feel that they are.
How Do We Solve the Issue?
While we can’t completely eliminate all opportunity to commit fraud, we can lessen the perceived opportunity. Tighter and more efficient restrictions on people with high opportunity to commit fraud could be a plausible first step. In earlier articles, I discussed the principles of having our government officials submit to lie detection such as EyeDetect tests twice a year. Although the results could not be used as evidence in court, they would provide the probable cause needed to investigate cases of fraud. For elected government officials a criminal investigation is political suicide and would cause them to think twice before accepting the bribe. As the government officials accept fewer and fewer bribes, the drug traffickers will identify the lower perceived opportunity of bribing officials and hopefully move their business elsewhere.