It's an old cliche - Crime Doesn't Pay. But is it really true?
As J. A. Konrath says, "Well, Not Exactly".
A recent study found that while drug Kingpins can rake in an average of 1.7 to 2.5 million dollars a year, the average corner drug peddler nets a mere $4,756.00 annually.
That's less than the minimum wage. And it's the corner drug pusher who stands the highest risk of being arrested or killed. Not very good odds for a job that forces most pushers to live at home because they can't afford a home or apartment. This disparity between the highest and lowest paid workers in the drug trade is much greater than the one in corporate America. Where's the outrage?
Bank robbers fared a little better. A study done in the United Kingdom whose findings were published in Scientific American found that the average take per bank heist was $31,600. Divided among the gang, it netted each participant $19,700 - "roughly equivalent to a coffee shop barista's annual salary", according to the study. However, the study also found that by the fourth robbery, most participants had been caught and were looking at long prison sentences.
The real money seems to be in public corruption, a fact that politicians have long understood. According to a report by Jo Ciavaglia, a news reporter in Pennsylvania, Bensalem District employee Frederick Lange was convicted of stealing from the school that employed him to the tune of $400,000 over 10 years. But he got to keep his pension, including the contributions from the taxpayer and the interest. And he's not the only public employee raking in the dough. Former PA state representative Mike Veon, who may soon be released from prison after a conviction in Bonusgate, was ordered to pay $219,000 in restitution. So far, he's only paid 1200 bucks. Another former state rep John Perzel was convicted of corruption and sentenced to five years, but withdrew $203,000 in pension benefits AND kept his Philadelphia home. Ordered to pay One Million Dollars in restitution, so far he's coughed up only $960.
Is this a great country, or what? (Well, it is if you're a corrupt public employee or legislator).
Pennsylvania House Bill 17 has been proposed by Rep Scott Petri to outlaw such financial scams on the taxpayer, according to Ciavaglia's report. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
And then there's the crime writer. The men and women who entertain us with thrilling tales of scams, robbery and murder motivated by lust, greed and jealousy. Does crime pay for them? Sadly, despite the hopes of best sellerdom and the examples set by Stephen King and James Patterson, most published writers make less than 5,000 dollars a year from their work.
Now that's a crime. It's almost enough to make a crime writer look for honest work.