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Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View from Under the Table by Laura Hymes, Joseph T. Wells

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CHAPTER 30

Romance, Jewels and Kickbacks: All in a Day’s Work

DENNIS THOMAS

I had the opportunity to meet Margaret Alexander years ago while I was attending a company networking function. She was an accomplished professional and highly regarded in the jewelry industry in general and at our company, Gem World, in particular. She was in her mid-50s but could easily pass for early 40s. She was exquisitely dressed and manicured from head to toe. At first she appeared to be a Harvard-educated attorney.

She was well liked and people were drawn to her when she began a conversation. She seemed to be a devoted mother to her two children and a caring wife. She readily admitted lacking a college degree but instead became a learned professional through the experience she gained working as a manager for a large department store corporation, which she wore as a badge of honor. Margaret believed her street smarts enabled her to exceed in areas where academics didn’t compare, and she preached the importance of hard work and perseverance to her subordinates and anyone she met who would listen.

Margaret was recruited to Gem World by a long-term manager who believed in her ability to sell and close deals. Margaret began as a jewelry consultant at Gem World and rose through the ranks to district manager. Her reputation at the company was flawless, and she was the last person I thought would become the subject of an investigation.

Gem World was a family-owned operation established in the early 1900s ...

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