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View Diary: Holder Asks Us to Report Our Neighbors' IP Violations, But Not One Wall St. Prosecution Since 2008 (228 comments)

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  •  Laundering Drug Money for Mexican drug gangs... (43+ / 0-)

    for one.

    ...That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product...

    But to be fair, Wachovia did get a token fine in return for their promise not to do it again...  

    Wachovia is just one of the U.S. and European banks that have been used for drug money laundering. For the past two decades, Latin American drug traffickers have gone to U.S. banks to cleanse their dirty cash, says Paul Campo, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s financial crimes unit.

    The 1970 Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to report all cash transactions above $10,000 to regulators and to tell the government about other suspected money-laundering activity. Big banks employ hundreds of investigators and spend millions of dollars on software programs to scour accounts.

    No big U.S. bank -- Wells Fargo included -- has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

    •  Repeated Making & breaking promises not to defraud (36+ / 0-)

      customers for another:

      When Citigroup agreed last month to pay $285 million to settle civil charges that it had defrauded customers during the housing bubble, the Securities and Exchange Commission wrested a typical pledge from the company: Citigroup would never violate one of the main anti-fraud provisions of the nation’s securities laws...

      It also was not the first time the firm was making that promise.

      Citigroup...agreed not to violate the very same antifraud statute in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far as back as March 2005 and April 2000.

      Citigroup is far from the only such repeat offender — in the eyes of the S.E.C. — on Wall Street. Nearly all of the biggest financial companies, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America among them, have settled fraud cases by promising the S.E.C. that they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to do it again in another case a few years later.

      Fraud is a crime.  Meaningless Broken promises and token fines obviously aren't stopping the continued serial law breaking.  They do it because they can, and because they know they can get a way with it.  

      •  So Report That Stuff On Holder's Link (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, Seamus D, jimreyn, tb mare

        With a postscript saying that you'll be glad to switch to the financial-crime hotline instead of clogging up the infringement-report hotline as soon as he gets off his butt and creates/publicizes the former.

        On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

        by stevemb on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 06:10:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just asking here: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        weren't those prosecuted?

        I support OWS. But that doesn't mean I support every dumb idea someone has about it.

        by kenlac on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 06:26:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the farce of the revolving door of... (14+ / 0-)

          prosecutions, fines & promises not to do it again, followed by breaking of those promises, followed by prosecutions, fines and yet more meaningless promises, etc, etc can actually be called "prosecution"--there was a bit of theater purporting to be prosecution--signifying nothing, and doing nothing to prevent future recurrence.  

          Judge Jed Rakoff has taken issue with the current "established practice" in these cases.

          ...Even a $285 million settlement, he said, “is pocket change to any entity as large as Citigroup,” and often viewed by Wall Street firms “as a cost of doing business...”

          Robert Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, said that the decision “ignores decades of established practice throughout federal agencies and decisions of the federal courts.”

          Judge Rakoff’s response was that the established practice makes no sense. It is “hallowed by history, but not by reason”and creates substantial potential for abuse.

          In his decision, Judge Rakoff called Citigroup “a recidivist,”..., for having previously settled other fraud cases with the agency...but agreed never to violate the law in the future. Citigroup and other repeat offenders can agree to those terms...because they know that the commission has not monitored compliance, failing to bring contempt charges for repeat violations in at least 10 years.

          Just because criminals are allowed to get away with repeated crimes doesn't mean they aren't committing crimes.

          But after all--who does this cozy little farce hurt?  Well:

          Who loses? First, the investors suffer continuing losses, as they have little chance of bringing a successful suit against Citigroup when the SEC is unable to extract the slightest admission of doing anything amiss.

          Second, the taxpayers also suffer when they are called up on bail out the big banks when the practices become so egregious that they endanger the entire global financial system.

          Third, the shareholders also suffer big losses. Citigroup has lost 92 percent of its share value over the last ten years.

          •  Uh... yeah but... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            doesn't your link kinda disprove the title of this diary?

            I support OWS. But that doesn't mean I support every dumb idea someone has about it.

            by kenlac on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 07:01:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the Wachovia link, I mean. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I support OWS. But that doesn't mean I support every dumb idea someone has about it.

              by kenlac on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 07:03:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't write the diary, but.... (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee, Seamus D, itsbenj, jimreyn, m00finsan

              no.  At this point, Judge Rakoff unfortunately is an outlier, and the reason he's making headlines is because his ruling is so "gutsy" and out of sync with the established norm.

              •  Sorry, I was unclear. (0+ / 0-)

                I meant the link in the Wachovia citation.

                I support OWS. But that doesn't mean I support every dumb idea someone has about it.

                by kenlac on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 07:08:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Again, no.... (10+ / 0-)

                  IMHO, the link supports the title because, despite laundering drug money, and paying fines--even while admitting to no wrongdoing, the banks have not received any punishment, because:

                  Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

                  Indicting a big bank could trigger...panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years...

                  The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

                  There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them... because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.”

                  Some people may believe that its just fine for banks to "do anything to improve their bottom line, even if it is criminal and even if it goes unpunished."  However, most people likely would not be so blase--especially if they have personally been adversely affected by these criminals.  

                  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be moving on.

                  •  Move on if you will... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ...but you can't contort the word "prosecution" that much.

                    Reality... based... community. We ought to be able to make valid points -- for example, the one you have made above -- without resorting to statements that are demonstratively false. Nor defending such statements.

                    Key word in that statement, however, is the word ought. 'Shall', on the other hand, appears to be a concept not many here wish to embrace any longer.

                    I support OWS. But that doesn't mean I support every dumb idea someone has about it.

                    by kenlac on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 10:08:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I didn't contort the word "prosecution"-the DoJ... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      little lion

                      and the SEC did that.  

                      If you wish to spend your time justifying the unjustifiable, do so.   Don't expect others to join you in defending the charade of what passes for "justice" with regard to violations of the law committed by big financial corporations versus the justice meted out to the least among us for their violations of the law.  

                      If you believe that your time is best spent defending vampire capitalism, and the inequality of prosecution of the rich and powerful vs. the prosecution of those less wealthy and powerful, please feel free to do so.  I have no wish to spend more of mine discussing the topic with you as you pursue your single-minded pursuit of defending the indefensible.

    •  you can't get around the airtight logic (9+ / 0-)

      that until there are convictions there are no crimes.

      And if there were real crimes the DOJ would have prosecuted.

      0: Number of Wall Street bankers arrested over crash of 2008. 4784: Number of Americans arrested protesting Wall Street's fraudulent practices 11/29/2011

      by Scott Wooledge on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 05:47:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True and the families of the "22,000 people killed (8+ / 0-) Mexico"... will likely be relieved to know the banks didn't commit any crimes (at least in the eyes of the "Justice" Dept) while enabling the drug traffic & violence to continue.

        But, as noted in the article, Martin Woods, "director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009" (who subsequently quit when his bosses ignored his reports of drug gangs funneling money through Wachovia) said:  

        It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy...”

        “...If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,”

        Unfortunately, apparently our Dept of "Justice" believes banks blatantly and repeatedly violating federal laws shouldn't be effectively prosecuted, because, after all--those banks are "TBTF".  

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