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No Bars for Fraudsters; At Least Now We Know Why

(Or: It’s the DPA’s, baby!)

First, the situation as far as criminal prosecution for fraud, as in: SNAFU, brought to you by William Black, longtime white-collar criminologist:

Note: he corrected the interviewer: this has not simply been a subprime mortgage crisis, but a fraudulent mortgage crisis.  Ah, well; the Fibbies had bigger fish to fry: home-grown terror threats and, don’t forget: investigating and prosecuting Free Speech Dissidents.

So we know that there haven’t been any bankster prosecutions, and groan and moan every time there are settlements for ha’pennies on the dollar for illegally obtained profits by…MERS fraud, things like that.  But we are about to find out that the reason really and truly isn’t that the OBomba administration is married to Wall Street and other corporations, his being all that stands ‘between them and the pitchforks’ notwithstanding, of course..

Please file this next under: ‘Ya just can’t make shit like this up.’

Courtesy of the ever alert Emptywheel, we can witness how Lanny Breuer, head of the DoJ’s Criminal Prosecution Division, explained it all away in a speech to the NYC Bar Association on September 14.

The subject is: Deferred Prosecutions Agreements leading to increased accountability, whereas, as Lanny sees it…corporations now know that we mean business about holding them accountable, whereas, in years past, similar behaviors would have resulted in declination.  (I assume he means loss of profits, correct me if I’m wrong, please.)  And his team of avid prosecutors can tell good compliance programs…from bad ones.

We, of course, wonder how that compliance program is going for Barclays since that was part of the $455 million deal they made with regulators.  We certainly hope for the best.

But in one of a load of ironic contentions in the speech, he also says his guys know the difference between a real investigation and a make-believe one.  Gotta love that line, no?

I’ll clip a couple sections that Emptywheel did; they really represent the core of his er…thinking…gosh, I’d hate to call it dissimulating; he might take offense.

“One of the reasons why deferred prosecution agreements are such a powerful tool is that, in many ways, a DPA has the same punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative effect as a guilty plea:  when a company enters into a DPA with the government, or an NPA for that matter, it almost always must acknowledge wrongdoing, agree to cooperate with the government’s investigation, pay a fine, agree to improve its compliance program, and agree to face prosecution if it fails to satisfy the terms of the agreement.  All of these components of DPAs are critical for accountability.

[snip; my bolds, and it’s the justification in a nutshell]:

 “To be clear, the decision of whether to indict a corporation, defer prosecution, or decline altogether is not one that I, or anyone in the Criminal Division, take lightly.  We are frequently on the receiving end of presentations from defense counsel, CEOs, and economists who argue that the collateral consequences of an indictment would be devastating for their client.  In my conference room, over the years, I have heard sober predictions that a company or bank might fail if we indict, that innocent employees could lose their jobs, that entire industries may be affected, and even that global markets will feel the effectsSometimes – though, let me stress, not always – these presentations are compelling”

Adding ‘economists’ to make the list more legitimate is pretty funny

Just in case you want to cringe at his perfidious nasty garbage.  I clipped off the first nine minutes.

 Be sure and call the White House and thank them for their dedication to Corporate and Bank ‘Accountability’.

Call the President

Comments: 202-456-1111  (heh, heh.)

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

(cross-posted at

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