When is a director or officer liable for a criminal offense?
Where a law requires a corporation to do a particular act, failure of which on the part of the responsible officer to do so constitutes an offense, the responsible officer is criminally liable therefore. The reason is that a corporation can act through its officers and agents and where the business itself involves a violation of law all who participate in it are liable. While the corporation may be fined for such criminal offense if the law so provides, only the responsible corporate officer can be imprisoned. (People vs. Tan Boon Kon, 1930) However, a director or officer can be held liable for a criminal offense only when there is a specific provision of law making a particular officer liable because being a corporate officer by itself is not enough to hold him criminally liable.