Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things
Correction Feb. 12, 2018
In this story, we refer to Toby Groves' lie in 2004 on his mortgage loan application as "his first bad act." We should have noted that according to court records, Groves admitted that he began the "scheme" to defraud banks "on or about June 20, 2003." In addition, court records show he was ordered to pay the federal Internal Revenue Service $299,997 after pleading guilty to tax evasion as part of the fraud scheme.
Also in this story, Groves discusses what he sees as a key moment in his life — his brother's 1986 bank fraud conviction. Groves describes what he says was his father's anguish over a front-page newspaper story. Our Web coverage includes illustrations that make it appear as if a photo of Groves' brother was on the front page and that the family's name was in the headline. But archives show that the Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage did not include a front-page image of Groves' brother. The family's name was not in the headline. Instead, the brother's name appeared inside the newspaper. The illustrations also showed a fictional newspaper with a front-page headline reading "Toby Groves Found Guilty Of Bank Fraud." To be clear, Groves' guilty plea was never front-page news.
The details about others in this report — including researchers Lamar Pierce, Francesca Gino and Ann Tenbrunsel — are not in question.
Update on June 27, 2019: This correction has been edited to note that court records show Groves admitted he began the "scheme" to defraud banks "on or about June 20, 2003," not June 30, 2003. Also, it has been edited to make clear that he was ordered to pay $299,977 to the Internal Revenue Service and to clarify that the illustration of a fictional "Daily Paper" with the headline "Toby Groves Found Guilty Of Bank Fraud" does not depict an actual front page.
Update on July 22, 2019: Under the headline "The Psychology of Fraud with Toby Groves, Ph.D. — Story Clarification," Groves writes about how this story has become a "popular case study for professionals and researchers alike in the areas of ethics and decision-making." And he offers an explanation for "why the 2004 date would be used to start the story and be identified as the 'first lie.' "