The Most Commonly Fined Companies And Offenses

Published on

New research from Diggity Marketing reveals which companies have been fined the most since 2000, as well as the most commonly fined industries and offenses leading to fines.

Get The Full Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Top 10 Most Fined Companies

Rank Company Based In Industry Total Amount Fined Total Fines
1 Bank of America United States Financial Services $82,737,699,939 214
2 JPMorgan Chase United States Financial Services $35,744,240,670 158
3 BP United Kingdom Oil & Gas $29,155,941,533 236
4 Citigroup United States Financial Services $25,450,155,764 122
5 Volkswagen Germany Motor Vehicles $23,764,268,628 51
6 Wells Fargo United States Financial Services $21,340,036,745 181
7 Deutsche Bank Germany Financial Services $18,156,533,878 59
8 UBS Switzerland Financial Services $16,792,800,910 83
9 Goldman Sachs United States Financial Services $16,365,468,987 44

The Bank of America takes the top spot, having to pay out an incredible $82.7 billion across 214 individual fines over the years, many of which have come about as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and relate to things such as mortgages and financial disclosures.

The biggest single fine that they’ve faced added up to $16.65 billion as part of a settlement to the Department of Justice over the sale of risky, mortgage-backed securities prior to the recession, the largest settlement between a single company and the federal government of all time.

Top 5 Most Fined Industries

Rank Industry Total Amount Fined Total Fines
1 Financial Services $330,904,834,105 6,093
2 Pharmaceuticals $50,318,398,621 890
3 Oil & Gas $45,544,460,694 5,961
4 Motor Vehicles $31,099,611,959 744
5 Utilities & Power Generation $22,447,575,068 1,911

Businesses in the financial sector were by far the most likely to find themselves in trouble, paying a total of over $330 billion over the last 20 years, which is more than all over industries combined! The likes of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are amongst the biggest fines in this sector, as well as other major banks and financial institutions such as Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Goldman Sachs.

Top 5 Most Fined Offenses

Rank Offence Total Amount Fined Total Fines
1 Toxic Securities Abuses $100,892,181,897 107
2 Environmental Violation $96,252,866,210 43,478
3 Investor Protection Violation $77,810,804,234 5,487
4 Mortgage Abuses $56,676,183,058 158
5 False Claims Act and Related $47,097,771,445 2,925

'Toxic assets' is a term that was coined during the financial crash and refers to investments that are difficult or impossible to sell due to a collapse in demand for them. Vast amounts of these toxic assets were sold in the build-up to the crisis, with some of the biggest culprits being the Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

You can see the full research here.