also called a right-hand man or sidekick, is a person who assists another to carry out a plot which most of the time is illegal or unethical.
We typically think of an accomplice as that one person with whom you always do your activities with especially the important ones. However, an accomplice is mostly associated with mischievous and illegal activities. When an individual commits a crime, the first thing the authorities try to do is identify suspects and their accomplices. But an accomplice doesn't necessarily have to be an individual—it can also be a group of people, an organization, or a business. An accomplice in a business crime would be an individual or company that was directly or indirectly involved in bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, forgery, or tax frauds/evasions, to name a few.
Often, accomplices are caught up in big cases and charged with hefty penalties for taking part in scandals involving companies. Every now and then, the alleged accomplices had zero clue as to what was going on behind the scenes. For the most part, however, accomplices benefit from the crimes and are well-aware as to what is going on. In the recent past, 90% of business crimes involved accomplices—it's hard to execute large-scale scandals on your own.
Real World Example of an Accomplice
Robert Brockman, CEO of Ohio-based software company Reynolds & Reynolds, is the mastermind behind a multi-billion tax evasion scandal. With the help of individuals and parties that ran his offshore bank accounts and assets and one very important player, he hid over $2 billion.
This player was longtime business associate, billionaire Robert Smith. Smith acted as Brockman's money manager. His role was to ultimately launder money and destroy documents and electronic media relating to Brockman's foreign accounts. Smith somehow managed to avoid indictment even though he was a clear accomplice in the crime. Instead of facing prison time, Smith agreed to a non-prosecution agreement. This agreement meant that Smith had to admit he committed crimes, pay a hefty fine, and cooperate with officials in the investigation against Brockman.
The feds charged Brockman with tax evasion and other crimes on October 16, 2020.
Significance of an Accomplice
When companies are growing fast and strong in this age and age, there is a lot of competition in the market. Giant business conglomerates are competing for dominance in their fields and in the financial pool in general. A typical example of this is Amazon and Tesla. These two companies always overtake each other as their net worths increase and decrease week in, week out. Because of this competition, some companies or individuals might try and look for shortcuts or unethical means to either gain more profit or sabotage their competitors.
Depending on the circumstances, employee, or level of entry, pulling off a business crime isn't that difficult. Therefore, a business should normalize transparency, especially with higher-ups and anyone who touches money. They should keep records of all the activities and transactions they were involved in.