Working in the finance industry offers many employees the opportunity to accelerate their talent and position within a company. However, more and more employees have testified before court in defense of white-collar crimes that they felt coerced to participate in due to the business structure enforced.

Not only does the lure of greed lead many workers to perform tasks in ways that will dishonestly increase their wealth. But too often sales incentives are designed that unintentionally encourage workers to justify their means by the promise of rewards put in place by the incentives.

Faulty sales incentives

Wells Fargo made national headlines years ago upon discovering billions of fake accounts were created because of a sales incentive for new accounts. Employees chasing the ‘carrot’ of promised bonuses and commission were enticed to forgo their moral judgement for the incentive of performance profits. Billions of new accounts were opened for customers against their knowledge.

Apparently, concerns were raised to upper management. However, they either went unheard or ignored completely. Finally, upon discovering the fraudulent accounts, the CEO at the time admitted that “we had an incentive plan…that drove inappropriate behavior.”

Greed and cheating yourself

Ultimately, the greed that lights a fire of dishonest personal gain only cheats yourself. We all know this in theory, but when you are dishonest, it only damages your true sense of self-worth and self-esteem. It is hard to feel proud of yourself when you know you intentionally stole from others. You may try and justify your behavior and ignore your actions, but the emptiness will eventually set in and turn others and even yourself against you.

Not feeling happy with yourself is often the hardest thing to turn around and no amount of dishonest gain can change that. The ripple effects of white-collar crimes in the finance industry have far reaching ramifications in court and in life.