Some of the worst "crimes" you can commit are perfectly legal. While they are not on the same level as actual crimes, they still impart the same feelings of negativity and dread to others who may be affected by them. Here are some of the worst things you can do that are not against the law whatsoever:
#1 Ah, A Classic...
You can develop a wonderful loving relationship with someone for the majority of your life. You can share kids, pets, trust, and everything with this person. Then, one day, you tell them all that you never loved them and that it was all a game you were playing for the last 20 years. You would then divorce your partner and leave with the stash of cash you've been putting away for the last 20 years, moving to a new country never to see them again.
#2 Peace Out
I read some online confession about a guy who had a meeting in the Twin Towers right when it was hit, but he had skipped the meeting and went out for lunch or something... After the initial shock wore off, he realized his wife and kids probably thought he was dead and thought about how much he hated his life there. Instead of calling them, he went to Canada and started a new life and never talked to them again, and just disappeared from their life for years and never went back. It could absolute nonsense, but interesting nonetheless.
#3 A Messy Divorce
My great uncle did this to my grandma’s twin. But on top of it all, he had all of their assets put in her name for “tax purposes.” Then, when they divorced, it looked on paper that she was the breadwinner, so she had to pay him alimony for decades. Also, apparently, he was a sadist... She used to say that if she had slept with him just once before they married, she would have learned what he was like and never gone through with the wedding.
#4 It's Infuriating
Lobby and pass laws to prevent communities from making themselves more self-reliant. Especially prevalent with telecoms making paying for laws that make it prohibitively expensive for communities to establish their own internet service. They also lobby to NOT have pipes installed in sidewalks to make it easy for another company to install lines and compete. Ugh. Sorry. I get riled up over this one...
#5 One Big Scheme
Recruit people to join Scientology. My recent ex was a part of an MLM. She asked me why I was breaking up with her and I didn't tell her, but she would continue to say the MLM was not a pyramid scheme, even though it is on every list of MLM that exists. It was painful to watch her blow money on it and continue to say it is "part of starting a business."
I didn't break up with her solely based on that, but it was what made me consider breaking up, there was a list of issues. If I had told her any reason, she would have tried to change to stop the breakup. I'm happier now that we broke up and honestly we had too many disagreements on the future to have a happy relationship.
#6 Toxic Exes
Sue your poorer ex-spouse for child custody so repeatedly that you drain their finances and can’t fight it anymore. My coworker's ex did this to him. He completely drained his retirement accounts and is completely destitute and still doesn't see his kids... while his ex-wife's millionaire parents support her toxic behavior. Oh, he bought them a Wii U for Christmas, but she heard of this and bought them one to give to them first.
#7 The Patent Scam
Patent "stealing." A small guy invents something, then a big guy steals the invention, and sues the inventor into being broke so the small guy can't fight goliath anymore. There's a documentary called The Patent Scam. It's so awful how much of a racket the patent industry is now. Taking out a vague patent for something, then suing someone you claim is violating your patent for $3,000... If they try to fight back, it will cost $10,000. Then they hit the victim with a non-disclosure agreement so they can't tell anyone how they were financially screwed over... Just ending American entrepreneurs one by one.
#8 Just Let It Go
A parent keeping their kid from the other parent when there’s no good reason to and leveraging the courts to do it. My stepson is now 18 and he has been living with us for the last three months. His mother screwed him up so badly. She would scream at anyone who would even partly listen that my husband was abusive while offering zero proof. We are trying to slowly build a future for him. Luckily, it’s bitten her hard. He wants nothing to do with her at all. Meanwhile, we are pushing him hard to get his own place, his GED, and enroll in college classes. It will take a long time but at least it’s getting better and he can see what a screw-up his mom really is.
#9 That's Just Evil
This happened to me in Uruguay, but I've been told a similar tactic works in the US. Suppose I'm evil. And I have money. Not a huge amount of money, but a healthy six-digit number in the bank. And I see someone else. This someone else maybe doesn't make a lot... Maybe, he has a lot of kids. Maybe it's a recession and he's having a hard time finding enough work; who knows. But he's barely making it—paycheck to paycheck. He does have something of value: he owns his family farm outright, and it's worth a small six-digit number. He relies on this farm mainly to provide a rent-free place to live. If he had to pay rent for a place to live, he wouldn't be anywhere close to making it.
So I'm wealthy and evil. I contact my lawyer and say, "Hey, I know this guy. He doesn't have any money. But he has this property. Let's sue him. He'll be required to immediately come up with cash in the sum of 10% of the value of the lawsuit in order to defend himself. His property is worth $100,000. So we'll make up some crazy excuse to sue him for $100,000. He won't be able to come up with the $10,000. So we'll win by default. And we'll force the sale of his property. Then you get 20%."
So the lawyer sues on contingency. In other words, the wealthy person doesn't have to pay anything to do this. In order to improve the odds, I bribe or convince a judge to include non-standard language in the official notification of the lawsuit. If the guy doesn't reply within 10 days, he loses by default. Then we throw the paperwork in the dirt in front of the house and hope no one finds it before it's too late.
I was the poor guy. The legal documents sat in the mud in front of our house for a week before anyone saw it. I managed to come up with the $10,000 and file a response the day before the 10-day deadline. The lawsuit took more than two years to complete. I won. But it still cost me $25,000 to defend myself. And the evil guy? It was a 70-year-old grandma-type friend that we had trusted and considered to be a part of our family.
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#10 The Big Short
Ruin the world economy by handing out subprime loans. Not only legal, but you get a nice taxpayer-funded bailout when the loans you make go bad. I mean, it's even kind of worse than that. The banks had loans called NINA loans, or "No Income, No Assets." No one should have ever let these people take out loans because they were almost assured to default. Then companies like Magnetar Capital would take a bunch of bad loans, package them up all together into CDOs, claim they were AAA credit rates, and sell them off.
#11 Shady Politics
Become a politician and raise my pay while creating taxes I'm coincidentally exempt from. Any year that the nation accumulates more debt all members of Congress and the Senate should be disqualified from getting a pay raise. I betcha that debt we've been accumulating so fast would begin to slow down real freaking quick. Most of the federal level politicians are already rich, and the ones that aren't are younger or from poor backgrounds. Those are the politicians who would be most affected. Rich tools, who have been in Congress forever, who get campaign donations for 10x the salary they get paid, so they would be largely unaffected by a raise (or lack thereof).
#12 New York's Mexico
Fire all your employees and move your business somewhere cheaper so you can essentially use slave labor. It happened here in Missouri, but they shut down and moved the jobs for half the pay and no union when they took the one-hundred-year-old business to Florida. As a Floridian, I've heard on more than one occasion that we're "New York's Mexico." Mostly from the banking industry.
#13 Union Backfire
The Ford plant. People who worked there used to beat about making double what the average pay was for similar jobs. People were being paid $25/hour to sweep the floor. The union would always make outrageous demands from the employer that they eventually couldn't keep up with so they closed and moved production elsewhere. Makes you wonder why everyone loves unions so much.
#14 A Change Is Needed
American companies aren't operating in reality when considering employees. They're only thinking about the top-level people when making crucial decisions, and unions can only prevent that as long as the company is willing to put up with them; a timespan which is getting shorter and shorter as time goes on. Unions were good, but federal regulation needs to step in now.
The unions had their day and did great things for the country in their time, but the employers have found ways around them now. Heck, the company Fuyao in American Factory paid millions, which could've gone to pay raises and/or safety improvements, to bring in anti-union lecturers to try and convince employees not to join the UAW. They weren't even hiding the fact they gave zero care about workers. The fact that that succeeded and unionizing was voted down is going to empower every manufacturing executive who sees it.
#15 Life Of A Factory Worker
A union can't stop a company from outsourcing. No company with American brains at the top would ever agree to a binding contract stating, "We promise not to outsource production abroad." At the most, the union might get such a contract agreeing not to do so for a few years, and then the company regains ultimate control over itself and retaliates against union regulation in the strongest way it can.
I say this as a factory worker: manufacturing work in the USA is all but dead. My company's whole schtick is "Built with pride in America." Meanwhile, the sticker on the door of my 2009 Chevy says, "Quality people build quality products—Moraine, Ohio." That place that shuttered in 2009 and was later sold out to a Chinese company paying people less than half of what they made as GM employees, and that's a rare example of a Chinese company even attempting to operate in a place with so many regulations that simply don't exist in the World's Factory.
I know all of our days are numbered, but I still make $7k more a year here than I would if I'd taken an entry-level position in the field I spent four years of college "learning." Essentially, factory work is still a solid career in the USA, and employers are trying to end that ASAP so the only path to a decent career in this country is being the right person's nephew.
#16 Hold Them Accountable
You can leak the names, addresses, email addresses, social security numbers, driver's license numbers, and payment card details of nearly half of all Americans (and more than half of all American adults) and then settle for about $5/person. Don't forget three of their top-level executives who sold a significant share of their stock holdings just before the breach was announced to the public. We need to hold Equifax accountable.
#17 Worked To The Bone
Schedule people to work 39.5 hours a week. My fiancé works full time and doesn’t get a break at all. It’s illegal, but if she were to complain or fight it, it would just be more trouble than it’s worth. Though, there are plenty of lawyers out there who would be chomping at the bit to get a piece of that lawsuit, and not expect to be paid until you win the suit. I told her that her employer will have to provide proof they're giving proper breaks.
#18 Abuse Of Status
Become a US congressman, accept millions of dollars in donations from businesses, then change the laws in ways that benefit those businesses and hurt either the US people, other businesses, or the planet as a whole. Absolutely evil but 100% legal. I feel like a lot of politicians only care for the people who donate to them, and not for the people—everyday people—who they are actually supposed to look out for.
#19 One Dollar, One Cart
Is it illegal to leave your shopping cart in the parking lot instead of returning it to the corral? If not, that. The obvious solution is what stores do in Europe, which is having the cards locked up and requiring you to insert 1€ or another small coin into them so that they become usable. To get that coin back, you have to relock your cart in the corral. This is also what Aldi is (said to be) doing in the US for a dollar.
#20 Just Pure Evil
Claim that access to water isn’t a human right and then force people in third-world countries to buy your horrible products at exorbitant prices because there’s no alternative. Didn't they also tell mothers in Africa that they would be provided with baby milk and after a while, when the moms stopped producing breast milk, Nestle was like, "Well, we thought we made it clear that those were only samples?"
#21 Two New Friends
Leave your own cat somewhere on the road, far away from home, without food? I just found two abandoned cats yesterday, and when I was calling around to see if any shelters in the area could take them, there'd apparently been more abandonments in the past two months than in the entire last year for my area. So I'm now fostering two cats.
#22 Land Destroyers
Permanently destroying huge swaths of land. There's a development corporation in my hometown that has bought up virtually all of the remaining woods, meadows, and wetlands in the area. They paved them and built retail spaces that go vacant just a few months later. Businesses aren't even moving into these "office parks," but the group just keeps spreading out and "developing." It seems like every month, I drive past another leveled tract of land.
#23 Major Inconvenience
I think it's pretty terrible to claim bodily harm from a very minor car accident just to get $10k and make the other person pay more for their car insurance. I'm looking at you, lady I hit going 3 mph. Probably not the worst thing, but it's pretty bad. It's such an inconvenience that it feels like some sort of violation of the law.
#24 Karma Came Back
Buy a building as a landlord and kick a family business out for selfish and greedy motivation. And then steal that family businesses original idea and watch them struggle after the unexpected loss of their business. Thankfully, the jerk sucked at running a business and didn’t even last a year before closing the doors. People like that deserve the worst fate.
#25 Screwed Over
Hire employees to temporary casual positions so you don't have to pay them benefits but make them work full-time hours. Bonus: Dangle full-time employment in front of them, then fire them just before they would have gotten it, and since they’re a temp, they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Happened to my husband. It took him a year to find another job.
#26 A Grand Play
Take trillions of dollars out of the public coffers (through various schemes and means) and privatize the country for your own benefit. Then sell the people on the idea that if they just work hard, they too will be a billionaire. Oh, and launder your public image through a foundation or something. The poor people love to see wealthy people who "care."
Although, this is also tax-deductible, and gives you power over the organizations you now donate to. Slowly undermine education, healthcare, transit, and civil engagement via these methods until you constitute a new aristocracy. Hide money in tax havens (through a shell company in the Caymans, owned by three companies in The City, Singapore, and one in Delaware) and support politicians who advocate for "job creators" over "job workers."
#27 The Worst Kind
Holding your wife's possessions hostage even after she paid for some things to ship just because she left his controlling self. Also, promising divorce but never going through on it because you know she can't. She's been trying to find work with no past experience and he never allowed her to work in the first place. Should be illegal... If it is, please point me to a lawyer... Please, I hate him.
#28 The Insulin Issue
Charge an exorbitant amount of money, meaning hundreds of times more expensive than the medicine costs to make, for a life-saving medicine that those affected literally cannot live without. I'm looking at you, insulin manufacturers. The fact that they won't do anything about this despite knowing that so many people will get sick, makes me sick.
#29 The Rich Get Richer
Own a multi-billion dollar corporation, underpay your employees, hold meetings teaching them how to apply for welfare, then pay $0 in federal taxes. Thanks for shopping at Walmart. It's par for the course with pretty much every giant corporation in this country. And people wonder why their taxes don't go toward things they want... it's because we're fronting poor people's paychecks so rich people can become even richer.
#30 Screwed Over
Strip thousands of Whole Foods workers of their health benefits, in order to widen profit margins for a multi-billion-dollar company that paid $0 in taxes this year. Personally, I have very good healthcare through my employer. It’s more of me being able to empathize with other people’s problems and clear social injustice.
#31 Deadly Greed
Buy pharmaceutical companies, remove their entire research and development team, then inflate the cost of the medicine by 5000%. This is what company Valeant did regularly (just like Martin Shkreli did but on a much bigger scale). There's a whole documentary about it on Netflix called Dirty Money. Nobody went to jail, but thousands of people died from not being able to afford new prices, and the whole US population had to pay higher healthcare premiums because of this tactic. A few people did get filthy rich though.
#32 Get Your Own Money
Parents stealing money from their kids' bank accounts. As a bank teller, I see this all the time, and it crushes me that these parents can take their kids' paychecks and use it as spending money. There’s nothing that can be done to stop them either. As guardians, they have control over their kids' accounts in most cases.
#33 Taken Advantage Of
Screw the landlord out of rent and live there rent-free (in certain situations) while the landlord has to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in legal fees to take you to court and serve you eviction notices... all while you trash the house and let all your friends move in and have parties. Yeah, this happened to my mom (who is just the sweetest person I've ever met). People screwed her over, cost her tons of money, and destroyed the house that her father built with his own two hands. I hate people sometimes.
#34 Horrible Timing
Layoffs right before Thanksgiving or Christmas. My employer is a huge fan of that downsizing strategy. They’re also hugely patriotic on the outside, but choose to lay off a mostly veteran workforce before the 4th of July. Perfectly legal, but morally skewed, I'd say. Who would intentionally ruin someone's holiday like that? Otherwise, a relatively great place to work.
#35 Selling Debt
Selling debt. And there are also levels of this. I once lost a medical appointment and was charged automatically $50 for the doctor's time, which is very expensive, but it is just. The problem was that the penalty fee was sold faster to a debt collecting company than it took for the post to deliver the mail that was letting me know I owed money. In less than a week, this was about $90 and I didn't know anything. This is unjust and immoral. And that was only a little thing, I can't imagine what happens with other people on higher numbers.
#36 Underpaid, Overworked
Underpay your workers. Get artists, musicians, photographers, website designers, etc. to work for "exposure." Ignore health and safety to reduce costs. Pay yourself a massive end-of-year bonus and then tell everyone that works for you they won't be getting their raises. Browse forums enough and you'll find plenty of examples of people in upper management doing things that are technically legal but screw over everyone underneath them.
#37 Social Media Bots
Probably generate AI to instigate social upheaval in other countries through social media bots and the organized takedown of their access to fact-checking resources. At that point, you just have to keep pushing and pushing until some people eventually snap under the pressures of perceived threats. Enough social instability in a country inevitably leads to economic unrest, causing a snowball effect ending in a state overturned and nearly unrecognizable. All through a carefully orchestrated campaign of lying on the internet.
#38 Innocent Prey
Make a salaried employee keep doing their entire job plus the entire job of someone you fired, but never give them a pay raise. Make no attempt to replace the person you fired. Keep this up until the person spending 65 hours a week doing two jobs for the price of one can't take it anymore and quits. Combine the two jobs into one job description and hire one person to do all of it at a lower salary than the person who just quit because you know people are struggling to find even moderately-paying work that offers health insurance and will accept your offer out of desperation.
#39 Losing Jobs
Outsource American jobs overseas. Manufacturing, technical support, coding, anything. Every one of those jobs takes money out of our economy and takes good jobs away from hard-working Americans, all so shareholders (who literally are doing none of the work) can get richer. Everything is always done for the sake of the rich.
#40 Yellowstone Loophole
End someone in that one corner of Yellowstone National Park. There's a part of Yellowstone that's technically outside the populated judicial area of any state, so there's no one to form a jury from. That doesn't mean it's legal, however, it just means they can't technically hold a trial. I imagine they'd patch it up quickly if it ever became relevant.
Effectively, to exploit this loophole (which others have accurately pointed out doesn’t make murder legal but just makes it impossible to be tried), you would need to commit a crime of passion or start thinking about the crime after you were already in this section of Yellowstone. If you, in any way, begin the process of the crime (getting materials, planning, meeting co-conspirators) outside that region, they’ll get you for premeditation or conspiracy and try you there instead.
#41 Trumping The System
Run for president, get funding from companies you buy stocks in, then when you become president, pass very questionable and dangerous laws that are never known by the general public, which causes more pollution and could possibly kill the environment around it. These laws could also be completely hidden from the community it affects... All to improve a company's value and make it more money.
#42 Love Was Just A Front
Marrying someone you don’t love. Imagine finding the love of your life, getting married, and maybe even having kids, and then they tell you they never loved you, and you built your whole life around them for nothing. This happened with a Russian spy in the Cold War days. He married an American woman as a cover. When he got caught, she found out her marriage was a complete lie.
#43 Vexatious Litigation
If you have enough money, you can just about ruin any average person's life by suing them for absolutely nonsense reasons. The costs associated with depositions and trials are enormous for the average person, so they can lose everything. Technically, some states call this vexatious litigation which is a crime, and they can sue you back, but it costs so much to do this that most people can’t afford it.
#44 Quantifiable Harm
Buy the equivalent to the groceries that could feed a low-income family of four, and then just tear everything open onto a pile on the floor, smearing it all together, and stirring it all together. Then censor anything you couldn't show readily, upload it to YouTube, and send it to every low-income family charity's e-mail address that you can find online. That'd probably cause a lot of upset and hurt; plus you'll have legitimately wasted the needs of any low-income family you look at on top of everything, so there's statistical, quantifiable harm, too.
#45 Panama Papers
Tax avoidance. Remember the Panama Papers? There is a good chance that many celebrities and companies you love are avoiding taxes and not contributing to the societies that have made them. And it's legal, unlike tax evasion. They just go to some tax haven (like my country for some businesses) or shape regulations in such a way that they can reap the benefits cheaply.
#46 Slowly Killing Us
Charge me $15,000 USD per shot of a medication that I would be severely disabled or dead without. I must take the shot once every two weeks. Also, it's in a weird grey area with Medicaid where I had to take chemo for three months before insurance would even consider covering it. They're slowly killing us, and the worst part is they know they are and they're getting away with it.
#47 Shady Strategies
This is kind of silly but patent trolling. It's when someone basically acquires a lot of patents, buying them from a failing company for example, with the sole purpose of suing anyone who comes close to infringing on it. You're basically casting a lot of nets and just waiting to sue the first person you can. It's legal and it works.
#48 Just The Norm
Monopolize an industry and siphon the wealth of the population, essentially holding them hostage. Meanwhile, you're paying poor people in other countries nothing with little to no safety standards, and storing your money in offshore accounts to effectively dodge taxes, screwing the very population that allowed you to grow your wealth. The scary thing is, this is not exceptional, it's the norm.
#49 Having Kids
Having kids when you don't have the means to support them. This includes not having money and not being able to provide proper education regarding child care among MANY other things. There are WAY too many idiots out there just having kids without giving it the thought it deserves. Being a parent should be a privilege, not a basic human right.
#50 Spending Billions
Not paying billions of dollars in tax by using tax havens and loopholes, effectively using the labor of your employees (who are often underpaid) to generate wealth and then not contributing back to society in the form of taxation, instead of hoarding that wealth like a freaking dragon on his pile of gold, occasionally spending some on the occasional mega-yacht upgrade. Often doing this while receiving government subsidies and bailouts. Perfectly legal. But I guess spray tanning a baby is bad too I guess?