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Taibbi writes: "She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore."

Chase whistle-blower Alayne Fleischmann risked it all. (photo: Andrew Querner/Rolling Stone)
Chase whistle-blower Alayne Fleischmann risked it all. (photo: Andrew Querner/Rolling Stone)


The $9 Billion Witness

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

06 November 14

 

Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking

he tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore.

"It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'"

Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower.

Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.

Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank's mortgage operations.

Thanks to a confidentiality agreement, she's kept her mouth shut since then. "My closest family and friends don't know what I've been living with," she says. "Even my brother will only find out for the first time when he sees this interview."

Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.

She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. "Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way," Fleischmann says.

This past year she watched as Holder's Justice Department struck a series of historic settlement deals with Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. The root bargain in these deals was cash for secrecy. The banks paid big fines, without trials or even judges – only secret negotiations that typically ended with the public shown nothing but vague, quasi-official papers called "statements of facts," which were conveniently devoid of anything like actual facts.

And now, with Holder about to leave office and his Justice Department reportedly wrapping up its final settlements, the state is effectively putting the finishing touches on what will amount to a sweeping, industrywide effort to bury the facts of a whole generation of Wall Street corruption. "I could be sued into bankruptcy," she says. "I could lose my license to practice law. I could lose everything. But if we don't start speaking up, then this really is all we're going to get: the biggest financial cover-up in history."

Alayne Fleischmann grew up in Terrace, British Columbia, a snowbound valley town just a brisk 18-hour drive north of Vancouver. She excelled at school from a young age, making her way to Cornell Law School and then to Wall Street. Her decision to go into finance surprised those closest to her, as she had always had more idealistic ambitions. "I helped lead a group that wrote briefs to the Human Rights Chamber for those affected by ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina," she says. "My whole life prior to moving into securities law was human rights work."

But she had student loans to pay off, and so when Wall Street came knocking, that was that. But it wasn't like she was dragged into high finance kicking and screaming. She found she had a genuine passion for securities law and felt strongly she was doing a good thing. "There was nothing shady about the field back then," she says. "It was very respectable."

In 2006, after a few years at a white-shoe law firm, Fleischmann ended up at Chase. The mortgage market was white-hot. Banks like Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup were furiously buying up huge pools of home loans and repackaging them as mortgage securities. Like soybeans in processed food, these synthesized financial products wound up in everything, whether you knew it or not: your state's pension fund, another state's workers' compensation fund, maybe even the portfolio of the insurance company you were counting on to support your family if you got hit by a bus.

As a transaction manager, Fleischmann functioned as a kind of quality-control officer. Her main job was to help make sure the bank didn't buy spoiled merchandise before it got tossed into the meat grinder and sold out the other end.

A few months into her tenure, Fleischmann would later testify in a DOJ deposition, the bank hired a new manager for diligence, the group in charge of reviewing and clearing loans. Fleischmann quickly ran into a problem with this manager, technically one of her superiors. She says he told her and other employees to stop sending him e-mails. The department, it seemed, was wary of putting anything in writing when it came to its mortgage deals.

"If you sent him an e-mail, he would actually come out and yell at you," she recalls. "The whole point of having a compliance and diligence group is to have policies that are set out clearly in writing. So to have exactly the opposite of that – that was very worrisome." One former high-ranking federal prosecutor said that if he were taking a criminal case to trial, the information about this e-mail policy would be crucial. "I would begin and end my opening statement with that," he says. "It shows these people knew what they were doing and were trying not to get caught."

In late 2006, not long after the "no e-mail" policy was implemented, Fleischmann and her group were asked to evaluate a packet of home loans from a mortgage originator called GreenPoint that was collectively worth about $900 million. Almost immediately, Fleischmann and some of the diligence managers who worked alongside her began to notice serious problems with this particular package of loans.

For one thing, the dates on many of them were suspiciously old. Normally, banks tried to turn loans into securities at warp speed. The idea was to go from a homeowner signing on the dotted line to an investor buying that loan in a pool of securities within two to three months. Thus it was a huge red flag to see Chase buying loans that were already seven or eight months old.

What this meant was that many of the loans in the GreenPoint deal had either been previously rejected by Chase or another bank, or were what are known as "early payment defaults." EPDs are loans that have already been sold to another bank and have been returned after the borrowers missed multiple payments. That's why the dates on them were so old.

In other words, this was the very bottom of the mortgage barrel. They were like used cars that had been towed back to the lot after throwing a rod. The industry had its own term for this sort of loan product: scratch and dent. As Chase later admitted, it not only ended up reselling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of those crappy loans to investors, it also sold them in a mortgage pool marketed as being above subprime, a type of loan called "Alt-A." Putting scratch-and-dent loans in an Alt-A security is a little like putting a fresh coat of paint on a bunch of junkyard wrecks and selling them as new cars. "Everything that I thought was bad at the time," Fleischmann says, "turned out to be a million times worse." (Chase declined to comment for this article.)

When Fleischmann and her team reviewed random samples of the loans, they found that around 40 percent of them were based on overstated incomes – an astronomically high defect rate for any pool of mortgages; Chase's normal tolerance for error was five percent. One mortgage in particular that sticks out in Fleischmann's mind involved a manicurist who claimed to have an annual income of $117,000. Fleischmann figured that even working seven days a week, this woman would have needed to work 488 days a year to make that much. "And that's with no overhead," Fleischmann says. "It wasn't possible."

But when she and others raised objections to the toxic loans, something odd started happening. The number-crunchers who had been complaining about the loans suddenly began changing their reports. The process she describes is strikingly similar to the way police obtain false confessions: The interrogator verbally abuses the target until he starts producing the desired answers. "What happened," Fleischmann says, "is the head diligence manager started yelling at his team, berating them, making them do reports over and over, keeping them late at night." Then the loans started clearing.

As late as December 11th, 2006, diligence managers had marked a full 33 percent of one loan sample as "stated income unreasonable for profession," meaning that it was nearly inevitable that there would be a high number of defaults. Several high-ranking executives were copied on this report.

Then, on December 15th, a Chase sales executive held a lengthy meeting with reps from GreenPoint and the diligence team to examine the remaining loans in the pool. When they got to the manicurist, Fleischmann remembers, one of the diligence guys finally caved under the pressure from the sales executive. "He had his hands up and just said, 'OK,' and he cleared it," says Fleischmann, adding that he was shaking his head "no" even as he was saying yes. Soon afterward, the error rate in the pool had magically dropped below 10 percent – a threshold that itself had just been doubled to clear the way for this deal.

After that meeting, Fleischmann testified, she approached a managing director named Greg Boester and pleaded with him to reconsider. She says she told Boester that the bank could not sell the high-risk loans as low-risk securities without committing fraud. "You can't securitize these loans without special disclosure about what's wrong with them," Fleischmann told him, "and if you make that disclosure, no one will buy them."

A former Olympic ski jumper, Boester was such an important executive at Chase that when he later defected to the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, Dimon cut off trading with Citadel in retaliation. Boester eventually returned to Chase and is still there today despite his role in this affair.

This moment illustrates the most basic element of the case against Chase: The bank knowingly peddled products stuffed with scratch-and-dent loans to investors without disclosing the obvious defects with the underlying loans.

Years later, in its settlement with the Justice Department, Chase would admit that this conversation between Fleischmann and Boester took place (though neither was named; it was simply described as "an employee . . . told . . . a managing director") and that her warning was ignored when the bank sold those loans off to investors.

A few weeks later, in early 2007, she sent a long letter to another managing director, William Buell. In the letter, she warned Buell of the consequences of reselling these bad loans as securities and gave detailed descriptions of breakdowns in Chase's diligence process.

Fleischmann assumed this letter, which Chase lawyers would later jokingly nickname "The Howler" after the screaming missive from the Harry Potter books, would be enough to force the bank to stop selling the bad loans. "It used to be if you wrote a memo, they had to stop, because now there's proof that they knew what they were doing," she says. "But when the Justice Department doesn't do anything, that stops being a deterrent. I just didn't know that at the time."

In February 2008, less than two years after joining the bank, Fleischmann was quietly dismissed in a round of layoffs. A few months later, proof would appear that her bosses knew all along that the boom-era mortgage market was rotten. That September, as the market was crashing, Dimon boasted in a ball-washing Fortune article titled "Jamie Dimon's SWAT Team" that he knew well before the meltdown that the subprime market was toast. "We concluded that underwriting standards were deteriorating across the industry." The story tells of Dimon ordering Boester's boss, William King, to dump the bank's subprime holdings in October 2006. "Billy," Dimon says, "we need to sell a lot of our positions. . . . This stuff could go up in smoke!"

In other words, two full months before the bank rammed through the dirty GreenPoint deal over Fleischmann's objections, Chase's CEO was aware that loans like this were too dangerous for Chase itself to own. (Though Dimon was talking about subprime loans and GreenPoint was technically an Alt-A pool, the Fortune story shows that upper management had serious concerns about industry-wide underwriting problems.)

In January 2010, when Dimon testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, he told investigators the exact opposite story, portraying the poor Chase leadership as having been duped, just like the rest of us. "In mortgage underwriting," he said, "somehow we just missed, you know, that home prices don't go up forever."

When Fleischmann found out about all of this years later, she was shocked. Her confidentiality agreement at Chase didn't bar her from reporting a crime, but the problem was that she couldn't prove that Chase had committed a crime without knowing whether those bad loans had been sold.

As it turned out, of course, Chase was selling those rotten dog-meat loans all over the place. How bad were they? A single lawsuit by a single angry litigant gives some insight. In 2011, Chase was sued over massive losses suffered by a group of credit unions. One of them had invested $135 million in one of the bank's mortgage--backed securities. About 40 percent of the loans in that deal came from the GreenPoint pool.

The lawsuit alleged that in just the first year, the security suffered $51 million in losses, nearly 50 times what had been projected. It's hard to say how much of that was due to the GreenPoint loans. But this was just one security, one year, and the losses were in the tens of millions. And Chase did deal after deal with the same methodology. So did most of the other banks. It's theft on a scale that blows the mind.

In the spring of 2012, Fleischmann, who'd moved back to Canada after leaving Chase, was working at a law firm in Calgary when the phone rang. It was an investigator from the States. "Hi, I'm from the SEC," he said. "You weren't expecting to hear from me, were you?"

A few months earlier, President Obama, giving in to pressure from the Occupy movement and other reformers, had formed the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. At least superficially, this was a serious show of force against banks like Chase. The group would operate like a kind of regulatory Justice League, combining the superpowers of investigators from the SEC, the FBI, the IRS, HUD and a host of other federal agencies. It included noted anti-corruption- investigator and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which gave many observers reason to hope that finally something would be done about the crimes that led to the crash. That makes the fact that the bank would skate with negligible cash fines an even more extra-ordinary accomplishment.

By the time the working group was set up, most of the applicable statutes of limitations had either expired or were about to expire. "A conspiratorial way of looking at it would be to say the state waited far too long to look at these cases and is now taking its sweet time investigating, while the last statutes of limitations run out," says famed prosecutor and former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

It soon became clear that the SEC wasn't so much investigating Chase's behavior as just checking boxes. Fleischmann received no follow-up phone calls, even though she told the investigator that she was willing to tell the SEC everything she knew about the systemic fraud at Chase. Instead, the SEC focused on a single transaction involving a mortgage company called WMC. "I kept trying to talk to them about GreenPoint," Fleischmann says, "but they just wanted to talk about that other deal."

The following year, the SEC would fine Chase $297 million for misrepresentations in the WMC deal. On the surface, it looked like a hefty punishment. In reality, it was a classic example of the piecemeal, cherry-picking style of justice that characterized the post-crisis era. "The kid-gloves approach that the DOJ and the SEC take with Wall Street is as inexplicable as it is indefensible," says Dennis Kelleher of the financial reform group Better Markets, which would later file suit challenging the Chase settlement. "They typically charge only one offense when there are dozens. It would be like charging a serial murderer with a single assault and giving them probation."

Soon Fleischmann's hopes were raised again. In late 2012 and early 2013, she had a pair of interviews with civil litigators from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of California, based in Sacramento.

One of the ongoing myths about the financial crisis is that the government is outmatched by the legal talent representing the banks. But Fleischmann was impressed by the lead attorney in her case, a litigator named Richard Elias. "He sounded like he had been a securities lawyer for 10 years," she says. "This actually looked like his idea of fun – like he couldn't wait to run with this case."

She gave Elias and his team detailed information about everything she'd seen: the edict against e-mails, the sabotaging of the diligence process, the bullying, the written warnings that were ignored, all of it. She assumed that it wouldn't be long before the bank was hauled into court.

Instead, the government decided to help Chase bury the evidence. It began when Holder's office scheduled a press conference for the morning of September 24th, 2013, to announce sweeping civil-fraud charges against the bank, all laid out in a detailed complaint drafted by the U.S. attorney's Sacramento office. But that morning the presser was suddenly canceled, and no complaint was filed. According to later news reports, Dimon had personally called Associate Attorney General Tony West, the third-ranking official in the Justice Department, and asked to reopen negotiations to settle the case out of court.

It goes without saying that the ordinary citizen who is the target of a government investigation cannot simply pick up the phone, call up the prosecutor in charge of his case and have a legal proceeding canceled. But Dimon did just that. "And he didn't just call the prosecutor, he called the prosecutor's boss," Fleischmann says. According to The New York Times, after Dimon had already offered $3 billion to settle the case and was turned down, he went to Holder's office and upped the offer, but apparently not by enough.

A few days later, Fleischmann, who had by then moved back to Vancouver and was looking for work, was at a mall when she saw a Wall Street Journal headline on her iPhone: JPMorgan Insider Helps U.S. in Probe. The story said that the government had a key witness, a female employee willing to provide damaging testimony about Chase's mortgage operations. Fleischmann was stunned. Until that moment, she had no idea that she was a major part of the government's case against Chase. And worse, nobody had bothered to warn her that she was about to be effectively outed in the newspapers. "The stress started to build after I saw that news," she says. "Especially as I waited to see if my name would come out and I watched my job possibilities evaporate."

Fleischmann later realized that the government wasn't interested in having her testify against Chase in court or any other public forum. Instead, the Justice Department's political wing, led by Holder, appeared to be using her, and her evidence, as a bargaining chip to extract more hush money from Dimon. It worked. Within weeks, Dimon had upped his offer to roughly $9 billion.

In late November, the two sides agreed on a settlement deal that covered a variety of misbehaviors, including the fraud that Fleischmann witnessed as well as similar episodes at Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns, two companies that Chase had acquired during the crisis (with federal bailout aid). The newspapers and the Justice Department described the deal as a "$13 billion settlement," hailing it as the biggest white-collar regulatory settlement in American history. The deal released Chase from civil liability. And, in what was described by The New York Times as a "major victory for the government," it left open the possibility that the Justice Department could pursue a further criminal investigation against the bank.

But the idea that Holder had cracked down on Chase was a carefully contrived fiction, one that has survived to this day. For starters, $4 billion of the settlement was largely an accounting falsehood, a chunk of bogus "consumer relief" added to make the payoff look bigger. What the public never grasped about these consumer--relief deals is that the "relief" is often not paid by the bank, which mostly just services the loans, but by the bank's other victims, i.e., the investors in their bad mortgage securities.

Moreover, in this case, a fine-print addendum indicated that this consumer relief would be allowed only if said investors agreed to it – or if it would have been granted anyway under existing arrangements. This often comes down to either forgiving a small portion of a loan or giving homeowners a little extra time to pay up in full. "It's not real," says Fleischmann. "They structured it so that the homeowners only get relief if they would have gotten it anyway." She pauses. "If a loan shark gives you a few extra weeks to pay up, is that 'consumer relief'?"

The average person had no way of knowing what a terrible deal the Chase settlement was for the country. The terms were even lighter than the slap-on-the-wrist formula that allowed Wall Street banks to "neither admit nor deny" wrongdoing – the deals that had helped spark the Occupy protests. Yet those notorious deals were like the Nuremberg hangings compared to the regulatory innovation that Holder's Justice Department cooked up for Dimon and Co.

Instead of a detailed complaint naming names, Chase was allowed to sign a flimsy, 10-and-a-half-page "statement of facts" that was: (a) so short, a first-year law student could read it in the time it takes to eat a tuna sandwich, and (b) so vague, a halfway intelligent person could read it and not know anyone had done anything wrong.

The ink was barely dry on the deal before Chase would have the balls to insinuate its innocence. "The firm has not admitted to violations of the law," said CFO Marianne Lake. But the deal's most brazen innovation was the way it bypassed the judicial branch. Previously, federal regulators had had bad luck with judges when trying to dole out slap-on-the-wrist settlements to banks. In a pair of celebrated cases, an unpleasantly honest federal judge named Jed Rakoff had rejected sweetheart deals worked out between banks and slavish regulators and had commanded the state to go back to the drawing board and come up with real punishments.

Seemingly not wanting to deal with even the possibility of such a thing happening, Holder blew off the idea of showing the settlement to a judge. The settlement, says Kelleher, "was unprecedented in many ways, including being very carefully crafted to bypass the court system. . . . There can be little doubt that the DOJ and JP-Morgan were trying to avoid disclosure of their dirty deeds and prevent public scrutiny of their sweetheart deal." Kelleher asks a rhetorical question: "Can you imagine the outcry if [Bush-era Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales had gone into the backroom and given Halliburton immunity in exchange for a billion dollars?"

The deal was widely considered a good one for both sides, but Chase emerged with barely a scratch. First, the ludicrously nonspecific language surrounding the settlement put you, me and every other American taxpayer on the hook for roughly a quarter of Chase's check. Because most of the settlement monies were specifically not called fines or penalties, Chase was allowed to treat some $7 billion of the settlement as a tax write-off.

Couple this with the fact that the bank's share price soared six percent on news of the settlement, adding more than $12 billion in value to shareholders, and one could argue Chase actually made money from the deal. What's more, to defray the cost of this and other fines, Chase last year laid off 7,500 lower-level employees. Meanwhile, per-employee compensation for everyone else rose four percent, to $122,653. But no one made out better than Dimon. The board awarded a 74 percent raise to the man who oversaw the biggest regulatory penalty ever, upping his compensation package to about $20 million.

While Holder was being lavishly praised for releasing Chase only from civil liability, Fleischmann knew something the rest of the world did not: The criminal investigation was going nowhere.

In the days leading up to Holder's November 19th announcement of the settlement, the Justice Department had asked Fleischmann to meet with criminal investigators. They would interview her very soon, they said, between December 15th and Christmas.

But December came and went with no follow-up from the DOJ. She began to wonder: If she was the government's key witness, how was it possible that they were still pursuing a criminal case without talking to her? "My concern," she says, "was that they were not investigating."

The government's failure to speak to Fleischmann lends credence to a theory about the Holder-Dimon settlement: It included a tacit agreement from the DOJ not to pursue criminal charges in earnest. It sounds outrageous, but it wouldn't be the first time that the government used a wink and a nod to dispose a bank of major liability without saying so publicly. Back in 2010, American Lawyer revealed Goldman Sachs wanted a full release from liability in a dozen crooked mortgage deals, while the SEC didn't want to give the bank such a big public victory. So the two sides quietly agreed to a grimy compromise: Goldman agreed to pay $550 million to settle a single case, and the SEC privately assured the bank that it wouldn't recommend charges in any of the other deals.

As Fleischmann was waiting for the Justice Department to call, Chase and its lawyers had been going to tremendous lengths to keep her muzzled. A number of major institutional investors had sued the bank in an effort to recover money lost in investing in Chase's fraud-ridden home loans. In October 2013, one of those investors – the Fort Worth Employees' Retirement Fund – asked a federal judge to force Chase to grant access to a series of current and former employees, including Fleischmann, whose status as a key cooperator in the federal investigation had made headlines in The Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets.

In response, Dorothy Spenner, an attorney representing Chase, told the court that Fleischmann was not a "relevant custodian." In other words, she couldn't testify to anything of importance. Federal Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV took Chase's lawyers at their word and rejected the Fort Worth retirees' request for access to Fleischmann and her evidence.

Other investors bilked by Chase also tried to speak to Fleischmann. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, which had sued Chase, asked the court to force Chase to turn over a copy of the draft civil complaint that was withheld after Holder's scuttled press conference. The Pittsburgh litigants also specified that they wanted access to the name of the state's cooperating witness: namely, Fleischmann.

In that case, the judge actually ordered Chase to turn over both the complaint and Fleischmann's name. Chase stalled. Later in the fall, the judge ordered the bank to produce the information again; it stalled some more.

Then, in January 2014, Chase suddenly settled with the Pittsburgh bank out of court for an undisclosed amount. Months after being ordered to allow Fleischmann to talk, they once again paid a stiff price to keep her testimony out of the public eye.

Chase's determination to hide its own dirt while forcing Fleischmann to keep her secret was becoming more and more absurd. "It was a hard time to look for work," she says. All that prospective employers knew was that she had worked in a department that had just been dinged with what was then the biggest regulatory fine in the history of capitalism. According to the terms of her confidentiality agreement, she couldn't even tell them that she'd tried to keep the bank from committing fraud.

Despite it all, Fleischmann still had faith that the Justice Department or some other federal agency would make things right. "I guess I was just a trusting person," she says. "I wasn't cynical. I kept hoping."

One day last spring, Fleischmann happened across a video of Holder giving a speech titled "No Company Is Too Big to Jail." It was classic Holder: full of weird prevarication, distracting eye twitches and other facial contortions. It began with the bold rejection of the idea that overly large financial institutions would receive preferential treatment from his Justice Department.

Then, within a few sentences, he seemed to contradict himself, arguing that one must apply a special sort of care when investigating supersize banks, tweaking the rules so as not to upset the world economy. "Federal prosecutors conducting these investigations," Holder said, "must go the extra mile to coordinate closely with the regulators who oversee these institutions' day-to-day operations." That is, he was saying, regulators have to agree not to allow automatic penalties to kick in, so that bad banks can stay in business.

Fleischmann winced. Fully fluent in Holder's three-faced rhetoric after years of waiting for him to act, she felt that he was patting himself on the back for having helped companies survive crimes that otherwise might have triggered crippling regulatory penalties. As she watched in mounting outrage, Holder wrapped up his address with a less-than-reassuring pronouncement: "I am resolved to seeing [the investigations] through." Doing so, he added, would "reaffirm" his principles.

Or, as Fleischmann translates it: "I will personally stay on to make sure that no one can undo the cover-up that I've accomplished."

That's when she decided to break her silence. "I tried to go on with the things I was doing, but I just stopped sleeping and couldn't eat," she says. "It felt like I was trying to keep this secret and my body was literally rejecting it."

Ironically, over the summer, the government contacted her again. A new set of investigators interviewed her, appearing to have restarted the criminal case. Fleischmann won't comment on that investigation. Frustrated as she has been by the decisions of the higher-ups in Holder's Justice Department, she doesn't want to do anything to get in the way of investigators who might be working the case. But she emphasizes she still has reason to be deeply worried that nothing will be done. Even if the investigators build strong cases against executives who oversaw Chase's fraud, Holder or whoever succeeds him can still make the whole thing disappear by negotiating a soft landing for the company. "That's the thing I'm worried about," she says. "That they make the whole thing disappear. If they do that, the truth will never come out."

In September, at a speech at NYU, Holder defended the lack of prosecutions of top executives on the grounds that, in the corporate context, sometimes bad things just happen without actual people being responsible. "Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated," Holder said, "that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution's culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual."

In other words, people don't commit crimes, corporate culture commits crimes! It's probably fortunate that Holder is quitting before he has time to apply the same logic to Mafia or terrorism cases.

Fleischmann, for her part, had begun to find the whole situation almost funny.

"I thought, 'I swear, Eric Holder is gas-lighting me,' " she says.

Ask her where the crime was, and Fleischmann will point out exactly how her bosses at JPMorgan Chase committed criminal fraud: It's right there in the documents; just hand her a highlighter and some Post-it notes – "We lawyers love flags" – and you will not find a more enthusiastic tour guide through a gazillion-page prospectus than Alayne Fleischmann.

She believes the proof is easily there for all the elements of the crime as defined by federal law – the bank made material misrepresentations, it made material omissions, and it did so willfully and with specific intent, consciously ignoring warnings from inside the firm and out.

She'd like to see something done about it, emphasizing that there still is time. The statute of limitations for wire fraud, for instance, has not run out, and she strongly believes there's a case there, against the bank's executives. She has no financial interest in any of this, no motive other than wanting the truth out. But more than anything, she wants it to be over.

In today's America, someone like Fleischmann – an honest person caught for a little while in the wrong place at the wrong time – has to be willing to live through an epic ordeal just to get to the point of being able to open her mouth and tell a truth or two. And when she finally gets there, she still has to risk everything to take that last step. "The assumption they make is that I won't blow up my life to do it," Fleischmann says. "But they're wrong about that."

Good for her, and great for her that it's finally out. But the big-picture ending still stings. She hopes otherwise, but the likely final verdict is a Pyrrhic victory.

Because after all this activity, all these court actions, all these penalties (both real and abortive), even after a fair amount of noise in the press, the target companies remain more ascendant than ever. The people who stole all those billions are still in place. And the bank is more untouchable than ever – former Debevoise & Plimpton hotshots Mary Jo White and Andrew Ceresny, who represented Chase for some of this case, have since been named to the two top jobs at the SEC. As for the bank itself, its stock price has gone up since the settlement and flirts weekly with five-year highs. They may lose the odd battle, but the markets clearly believe the banks won the war. Truth is one thing, and if the right people fight hard enough, you might get to hear it from time to time. But justice is different, and still far enough away.

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+103 # Dust 2014-11-06 15:32
Gotta love that "Free Market Capitalism" in which corporations (and the governments that they buy) are the benevolent, compassionate, well-meaning kindly old grandparents we all love.

I suggest a public stock, and NOT the kind that is subject to purchase, options, or put.
 
 
+25 # wrknight 2014-11-07 09:51
My question is, how much did Jamie Dimon pay Eric Holder to make the deals?
 
 
+12 # citizen2009 2014-11-07 14:29
Quoting wrknight:
My question is, how much did Jamie Dimon pay Eric Holder to make the deals?


Nobody was payed! They have been threatened by who knows and reminded what happened to Kennedy. That's why there is still Guantanamo and why we still have the patriot act etc
 
 
+14 # JSRaleigh 2014-11-07 22:43
That's not the way it's done.

Holder will go back to Covington & Burling when he leaves office and the payoff will be channeled through the new clients he'll bring to the firm.
 
 
+40 # MsAnnaNOLA 2014-11-07 10:53
This article is not demonstrating "Free Market Capitalism" this article is clearly demonstrating Facism, or as Mussolini termed it more aptly Corporatism. The state acts on behalf of corporations.
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2014-11-09 17:13
This article illustrates that JPMorgan-Chase is a practitioner of pirate enterprise.
 
 
+20 # Old4Poor 2014-11-07 17:47
And I also suggest using a local Credit Union instead of these monster banks.

Both Taibbi and Fleischmann were the first guests on today's Ed Show with guest host Michael Eric Dyson. Fascinating and impressive.I am certain it is available online via MSNBC.

And, as always, I fantzize that before I die I will see Jamie Dimon in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.

The lack of morality is astonishing. Just because you can get away with something never means that you should.
 
 
+3 # Doubter 2014-11-08 21:59
"..before I die.."
I hope you are still in your teens, but even then, who is going to put one of the "owners" in an orange jumpsuit unless he wears it to a Halloween party for laughs.
 
 
+2 # Old4Poor 2014-11-09 13:37
Nope, I am 71 and the odds are dim, but I live in hope.
 
 
+17 # dandevries 2014-11-07 19:21
Welcome back Matt Taibbi. The truth probably still makes some of us silly putty, but it's good to have someone reporting it.
 
 
+3 # dquandle 2014-11-08 11:35
I'd prefer a public hanging, of Dimon, et al., from a lamppost, like Mussolini. Consistency has always been a fascist thing, trains running on time etc. So consistency of justice, with respect to fascists, ought to be maintained.
 
 
+7 # Old4Poor 2014-11-08 12:50
IF you kill him he will stop carring. If you put him in a max security prison (Not a cushy white collar criminal one) he will feel it for all the years he is there.

The photos of Dimon goofing off with his family made me so angry as he has intentionally ruined so many families. His children need to understand what he did wrong as well.
 
 
0 # politicfix 2014-11-09 21:40
STOP THE BIG THIEF AT THE TOP AND YOU AUTOMATICALLY STOP THE LITTLE THIEVES AT THE BOTTOM.
 
 
+70 # brux 2014-11-06 17:46
These legal deals to keep details of situations secret should be illegal. If entities resort to using the American legal system then the results of that interaction should all be public knowledge.
 
 
-36 # brux 2014-11-06 17:55
I just feel that it is too complicated to adjudicate these financial corruption issues, and there would be no objective eye on the effort anyway, so it would not be likely to work.

WHAT I THINK WOULD MAKE A SUPERIOR ALTERNATIVE is ...

I think we just have to look at this problem in the macrocosmic level, that the marginal, set the tone and acting as the example, people who are running our public and private institutions now at all levels are corrupt and working more actively than ever to corrupt the rest of the government and institutionaliz e that corruption as the norm.

So, the way we get past this ... we knew how to in the past ... is to raise taxes on upper incomes progressively, finance all elections publicly, and disallow all gifts and donations to politicians, trips, dinners, drinks, whatever.

The the extra income we get from the 1% and the extra extra income we get from the 0.01% and use it subsidize the income of citizens, as long as they do not commit crimes, or have children they cannot pay for. People living off subsidies could afford to get work experience by volunteering with companies, so we could get rid of the minimum wage and let people then work as they please and hire as they please.

Or they could go to school and get a stipend for that as long as they graduate.

There are a lot of things we could do to encourage and incentivize good behavior instead of what we do now which is to inventivize bad behavior.
 
 
-23 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-11-06 23:14
Quoting brux:
I just feel that it is too complicated to adjudicate these financial corruption issues, and there would be no objective eye on the effort anyway, so it would not be likely to work.

I think we just have to look at this problem in the macrocosmic level, that the marginal, set the tone and acting as the example, people who are running our public and private institutions now at all levels are corrupt and working more actively than ever to corrupt the rest of the government and institutionalize that corruption as the norm.

So, the way we get past this ... we knew how to in the past ... is to raise taxes on upper incomes progressively, finance all elections publicly, and disallow all gifts and donations to politicians, trips, dinners, drinks, whatever.

The the extra income we get from the 1% and the extra extra income we get from the 0.01% and use it subsidize the income of citizens, as long as they do not commit crimes, or have children they cannot pay for. People living off subsidies could afford to get work experience by volunteering with companies, so we could get rid of the minimum wage and let people then work as they please and hire as they please.

Or they could go to school and get a stipend for that as long as they graduate.

There are a lot of things we could do to encourage and incentivize good behavior instead of what we do now which is to inventivize bad behavior.


I like your thinking. It beats what we have now!
 
 
-14 # brux 2014-11-06 23:18
Thanks,

I'd call it the social economy of scale ... right now, we have thousands of things in court ... how much of a fair reasoned response do you think society can give when it cannot find good judges and cannot afford to adjudicate things.

When you look at white collar crime the average fine is something like 20% of the stealing ... how is that working for us?
 
 
+45 # babalu 2014-11-07 05:42
"cannot find good judges" Actually where they get elected we have the STRONG ON CRIME judges who only throw poor people in jail for the max and ignore white collar crime 'cuz they are bad at math!
 
 
-6 # brux 2014-11-08 02:17
You seem to have no idea what I am saying, so, rather than not responding to it in the Reply under my comment, just go make your own loonies comment so that it is not connected to me. You are bad at English and Social Studies.
 
 
+26 # WestWinds 2014-11-07 03:38
You call this "thinking"?

I call it mind boggling.
 
 
0 # LAellie33 2014-11-23 03:10
I took umbrage at your warning, "....or have children they cannot pay for." HELLO, if there's no birth control or abortion available to prevent pregnancy, should we just separate men from their penis-god, through Joni Ernst's method of castration and make them squeal to avoid impregnating more and more women with their Cialis & Viagra? Both of these substances should be banned. That'll stop the babies.
 
 
+37 # babalu 2014-11-07 05:40
"subsidize the income of citizens, as long as they do not commit crimes, or have children they cannot pay for.
But Republicans are now in power in Congress and the Supreme Court, so more people WILL be having children they cannot pay for. Their recent laws put roadblocks in the way of responsible parenthood. 1) making it harder to get birth control (pharmacists imposing THEIR conscience on patients) and 2) when birth control fails, making it impossible for many women to get an abortion.
 
 
+13 # rockieball 2014-11-07 11:48
They want to bring back the factious past that never was. The Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best Hollywood fiction. That wonderful past that if one was rich and did not want the baby they went on a vacation "To that european Health Spa." While the poor went to the backroom, garage and basement abortions in unsterile conditions. Back to when girls died bleeding in a bathroom or school restroom aborting themselves with a coat hanger.
If you don't believe that happened all you have to do look up old newspapers from the 60's and 70's. They even made a film where backroom abortions was part of the plot. It won many Oscar"s "IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT."
 
 
+13 # Old4Poor 2014-11-07 18:01
Don't forget that the Supremes allowed these monster banks to charge interest on credit cards based on the interest rates in their home states, casuing them all to open PO Boxes (i.e., Corporate Headquarters) in Delaware which seems to have no usury laws. It is obscene that the States can limit interest to reasonible levels but the big banks can get around it.
 
 
+4 # jcdav 2014-11-07 06:33
Both this comment and the one below (TBG) registered a minus when I clicked the plus(green) button...
 
 
+4 # tclose 2014-11-07 09:23
Prob'ly because while you had the score on your screen others were giving plus or minuses that you don't see. Only when you clicked the plus button did those other scores show on your screen, along with yours.
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-11-07 09:29
Because the total is refreshed when you click, including clicks that had not occurred when you began to read.
 
 
+8 # dquandle 2014-11-08 11:44
On the contrary, its staggeringly simple. These corporate fascists and their fascist supporters in the Obama/Bush regime willfully and purposefully stole trillions of dollars from the American people, wrecked the economy, and obliterated the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. They are criminals. Vast amounts of proof exist, as indicated by Fleischmann, Taibbi, and many others, and those who committed those crimes, and those who cover them up, should be personally punished severely.
We don't need any more "macrocosmic" obfuscation and lying to save the appalling and thoroughly criminal banking industry.
 
 
+67 # Ken Halt 2014-11-06 19:12
Starting with RR, the conservative ascendancy, which is ever at the beck and call of big biz, pulled the fangs of federal regulation by underfunding and downsizing agencies and commoditizing politicians through campaign finance laws that favor the $$$ of lobbyists over the votes of citizens. This is the irresponsible but very predictable and profitable end result of Norquist's "smaller gov't": total domination of federal gov't by large corporations. The 1% has cynically played on anti-federalist sentiment, particularly of southerners and approved by 5 ideological dimwits on the SCOTUS, to dismantle democracy and replace it with a plutocracy that serves their interests. We've just been through an election where the deck was stacked by gerrymandering and voter suppression. The questions I often ask myself are "When will the US electorate become tired of self-flagellati on? When will they wake up and realize how they've been duped and led down the primrose path by a bunch of sweet-talking sociopaths. Are we just more stupid than people in other countries that have strong unions, universal healthcare, and real, working democracies?" IMHO, change is starting to happen, but the wreckage of US regulatory agencies and the SCOTUS are going to take decades to clear away if the US is to once again reclaim itself as a representative democracy.
 
 
+31 # John S. Browne 2014-11-07 02:15
#

Most of the "Amerikan" people are never going to awaken. They don't want to, and won't, admit that they've been so extremely duped, and that they've literally paid for the crimes, and are still paying for them. They want to keep living in their "American dream" (really, nightmare) la-la-land fantasy world and keep acting like everything's fine. They ignore everything that bespeaks reality; and, even as the entire U.S. is being militarized and "Gestapoized" from coast to coast, and turned into a totalitarian corporate-fasci st militarized police state by U.S. Government, Incorporated; and True Liberty and Freedom are quickly becoming a thing of the past that is no more; they ignore that as well and convince themselves that it's all for our best good. What gross sheople they are. They are the worst "drug addicts" in the entire history of the world, and more deeply in avoidance and denial of what's really going on than anyone has ever been before them. "Shut up about reality, and pass me more of the 'denial drug'", is their mantra. Thus, God help us, because most of the citizenry is aiding in our own demise, going as willing cattle to the slaughter like lemmings follow- ing their fellow-lemmings over the edge of the cliff to their doom, like willing followers of the "Pied Piper" following him to their destruction, and/or like blind followers of the blind to their downfall. What willful idiots, and increasingly-re signed slaves, have most of the populace been turned into.

#
 
 
+18 # babalu 2014-11-07 05:44
And the "circus" of football is only half over for the year!
 
 
+3 # crispy 2014-11-08 17:08
Football and religion are the opium of the people
 
 
+14 # wrknight 2014-11-07 10:29
"The masses never revolt of their own accord..." George Orwell.

As proof, witness the fact that 143 MILLION eligible voters DID NOT VOTE on Tuesday as they were too busy or otherwise occupied with lesser important things.
 
 
+9 # wrknight 2014-11-07 10:32
The apathy of the people and their unwillingness to govern is a far greater threat to democracy in America than all the terrorists and evil empires combined.
 
 
+17 # Regina 2014-11-07 12:55
How many votes were unrecorded because of (a) curtailed voting hours, (b) the"wrong" ID, (c) "lost" registrations, (d) wrong voting sites, etc, etc, etc.....And "eligible" is in the eye of the party hack.
 
 
0 # wrknight 2014-11-07 14:30
Quoting Regina:
How many votes were unrecorded because of (a) curtailed voting hours, (b) the"wrong" ID, (c) "lost" registrations, (d) wrong voting sites, etc, etc, etc.....And "eligible" is in the eye of the party hack.

As chief election officer for my precinct, I can answer unequivocally NONE. Every person who entered my precinct to vote left with an "I VOTED" sticker.
 
 
0 # wrknight 2014-11-07 14:34
Unfortunately, that was only half of the people who could have voted. The others didn't bother to show up.
 
 
+4 # Old4Poor 2014-11-07 17:52
Actually it was only one third this election.
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2014-11-07 22:13
Quoting Old4Poor:
Actually it was only one third this election.

Actually, in my precinct it really was half when we counted the absentee ballots. But then, in Fairfax County where I live, people are more politically active. Virginia, as a whole, however, had only 37.6% turnout which is disgraceful.

As an aside, I am curious why someone doesn't like these facts. Do they really believe that I would turn away someone who was eligible to vote and wanted to vote?

The bottom line remains the same whether readers like it or not. Eligible voters were not turned away, they did not show up to vote - and therein lies the problem with our government.
 
 
+2 # Doubter 2014-11-08 22:15
Maybe they are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils since they figured out that lesser or not, it is still evil.
 
 
+7 # John S. Browne 2014-11-07 15:10
#

And, "rhetorically-q uestioning" (meaning I'm making a point by the question and an answer should not be provided), how many of those votes were "flipped" to votes for the other side by the electronic voting machines? If there is no verifiable paper trail that can be re-counted if necessary, there is no efficacy to the voting process anymore at all, no one should trust it whatsoever, and everyone should realize that they cannot be complicit in their vote(s) being switched to votes for the opposition and/or those people, or for the sides of those issues, they are against and would not have voted for, or against the sides of those issues that they would not have voted against. We are responsible for "flipped" votes if we cho(o)se to be complicit in it.

#
 
 
-1 # crispy 2014-11-08 17:10
Not a whole lot* compared to over 140 million not showing up or bother to learn about what matters to all of us.
*which does not make it right I agree
 
 
+61 # Activista 2014-11-06 20:13
excellent detailed report how our "government" "protects" US citizens.
And the political corruption is getting worse ..
 
 
+31 # Sisddwg 2014-11-07 01:28
There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, - barbarism at last.
- Lord Byron

This time . . . the barbarians are not waiting beyond the
frontiers; they have already been governing for quite some time.
- Alisdair MacIntyre

We have this ability in Lake Wobegon to look reality right
In the eye and deny it.
- Garrison Keillor
 
 
+87 # artistinaspen 2014-11-06 20:21
Her courage makes her a hero to millions of millenials. God bless this woman and Carman Segarra for speaking truth to power.
 
 
+99 # teachnet 2014-11-06 22:57
Great to see Matt Taibbi back again!
 
 
+35 # cordleycoit 2014-11-07 00:01
The depositors at the Bank of New York got scammed in 98 by the Russians and then then they got screwed again in dot com and then of course in 2006 tens of thousands lost their life savings so the bankers could play games with derivatives. The bank went under and had to be sold. The Fed did not blink.
 
 
+68 # Texas Aggie 2014-11-07 00:07
If the Democrats want to know what they could have done to avoid the recent disaster, they should read this story. Having a bunch of Wall St. scalps on their belts would have been a strong defense against charges of cronyism and people would have loved seeing someone stand up to the big moneybags on behalf of We the People.

Thanks so much, Holder. You more than anyone else has personal responsibility for the fall of the Democratic Party and the people of this country.
 
 
+3 # crispy 2014-11-07 22:15
Yes Texas Aggie and also responsibility for the loss of the elections as people stopped believing in Obama and his bankers' administration.
Why are people angry when they witness all this I wonder...
WHERE is "justice for all"?
 
 
+29 # Blackjack 2014-11-07 01:02
Well, Holder had a lot of help from his boss, who just couldn't be bothered to do anything about the "too big to fail" screed. That would have meant actually taking a stand on something and that just isn't his style.
 
 
+19 # grouchy 2014-11-07 02:24
Torches and pitchforks to the barricades!
 
 
+25 # jlmorin 2014-11-07 02:43
Why would a rich, white-collar banker risk going to jail? Because for every one that's caught, there are thousands that get away with it. —JL Morin, Author of TRADING DREAMS, http://amzn.to/1tOojkv
 
 
+34 # Vegan_Girl 2014-11-07 06:57
Too big to fail? Let's make them smaller.

I long stopped being angry with Chase and the other banks. It is like being angry with a tornado.

What pisses me off is the people who still bank with Chase. They are enabling these criminals and for what? It isn't so hard to close an account and open another one.
 
 
+10 # bmiluski 2014-11-07 09:28
I absolutely agree.
 
 
+19 # Kimc 2014-11-07 10:07
Yes, preferably in a member-owned credit union instead of a bank.
 
 
+27 # cloonan 2014-11-07 07:52
If anyone believes that capitalism and the the two political parties acting as security guards have any redemptive qualities, taibbi reassures that such is not the case.
 
 
+21 # Forbes 2014-11-07 08:36
I was a subprime loan officer for less than a year. When my boss got a borrower's credit upped so they would qualify something seemed wrong. The old records were kept off site and when the storage container burned up I was sure something was taking place that was illegal but I did not know exactly what. The office was shut down before I could find another job.
 
 
+15 # Kimc 2014-11-07 10:06
This stinks. Our entire government is corrupt, and big business is even more corrupt.
We can't look for a governmental solution to this, because the government has sold out, and is no longer under any control by The People. We have to take things into our own hands.
The solution is to make locally sustainable economies. Businesses should be worker owned and controlled. Banks and utilities should be publicly owned. We need to restore checks and balances. We can only do this in our local communities. Do it.
 
 
+8 # MsAnnaNOLA 2014-11-07 10:59
Yes the lack of prosecuting any demonstrable high crimes of the last administration, while simultaneously committing new ones at every opportunity has ruined the landscape for the Democrats. If a person is honest with themselves, the Democrats and the Republicans are almost virtually identical now.
 
 
+16 # Edwina 2014-11-07 11:08
This article, by following a single case, provides some education about how the system works, and why the system is failing most of us. It also points to the actual causes of the failure, both financial "players" and their "regulators". The collusion between Wall Street, banks, and the government has received enough attention by investigative journalists like Taibbi, whistleblowers like Fleischmann, and AG Eliot Spitzer that the public can know how the system is rigged. I liked the Occupy Wall Street "Move Your Money" campaign. But we are not always in control of our money. For example CalPERS, traditionally a conservatively investing pension fund, got snagged into Wall Street's get rich quick (and fraudulent)sche mes -- and lost billions of dollars. As did whole countries, as did individuals. Now we are waiting for the next crash, because we have no institutions that actually function to regulate the financial industry. One of the few industries left in the U.S. besides the "energy" industry -- oil, coal, and gas.
 
 
+11 # randrjwr 2014-11-07 12:23
Matt!

Great article! You came back to "Rolling Stone" just in time. I just got my subscription renewal notice and now I will re-up after all.
 
 
+15 # randrjwr 2014-11-07 12:29
I have long thought the US should convert all the "too-big-to-fai l" banks to maximum security federal prisons and just leave all the top executives right where they are. The working stiffs would be allowed to leave.
 
 
+5 # beeyl 2014-11-07 14:30
So good to have Taibbi back on the beat, though this story and all his others make me wish that most of the people mentioned in them would each be run over by an enormous oil truck.
 
 
+1 # neohip 2014-11-07 15:33
Life in prison is okay, but don't wish them death-unaccepta ble with this crowd. I get their point but I also sometimes feel like you.
 
 
+11 # X Dane 2014-11-07 16:44
Thank God for Matt Taibbi and courageous women like Alayne Fleishmann. What courage she is showing. Her future may be ruined, for all these big criminals will hound her and go for revenge.

I fear for her life. Too many times whistle blowers get harassed to the point where they "commit suicide". We have seen that too often, but it is done in such a smart way that it is impossible to prove, that it was actually murder.
What a mess we are in.
 
 
+7 # Third_stone 2014-11-07 17:22
This theft was the fall of Detroit. They should get the bribe money.
 
 
+6 # jussayin 2014-11-07 20:47
In addition to prosecuting the top level bankers who orchestrated the fraud, would not Holder also at least be prosecutable for nonfeasance (failure to prosecute them), misfeasance (willful inappropriate action) and malfeasance? Malfeasance because his inappropriate action caused harm to injured parties, i.e. the pension funds, workman's comp funds, school systems, etc. who made the investments, lost huge sums, and didn't get compensated for being defrauded.

IMO our entire economy is still suffering due to the avoidable crash, system gaming by elites, stagnant wages and reduced purchasing power (which perpetuates the low-demand/slug gish economy. And the failure to make the much needed investments to kickstart the economy and transition to a sustainable system is reducing our chances of surviving the growing climate catastrophe.
 
 
+4 # John S. Browne 2014-11-07 21:55
#

Holder is also guilty of obstruction of justice as well for all that you said. They intentionally "revolve" these guys and gals out the door so they won't be held legally accountable, ever.

#
 
 
+3 # crispy 2014-11-08 17:17
yes Jussayin and John S Browne Hoder should face IMMEDIATE Prosecution.
I am not a lawyer but I already suggested that.
Any hope there??
Still waiting for members of the Bush administration and the governor of Florida (medicare/caid fraud)to be prosecuted...
 
 
+2 # phrixus 2014-11-08 07:09
"Fleischmann will point out exactly how her bosses at JPMorgan Chase committed criminal fraud: It's right there in the documents."

It will be interesting to observe the depth of ethics (or lack thereof) possessed by the new AG. Hopefully she will earn her taxpayer-funded salary and prosecute the individuals involved in these criminal activities (unlike Eric the Spineless). Banks may be "too big to fail" but individuals are not too big to jail by any means. Time will tell...
 
 
+4 # MJnevetS 2014-11-08 10:13
'Quoting brux:
I just feel that it is too complicated to adjudicate these financial corruption issues
you are wrong, and you obviously did not even read the article. It would be simple to prosecute financial corruption cases, we just need a non-corrupt attorney general to do so. The rest of your blather is just sheer ignorance. While it might be a good thing to raise taxes on the top 1 percent and .01 percent, this does nothing to punish corrupt corporations and the executives who committed crimes. When CEOs start going to jail for 20 years others will think twice before committing fraud. These are not just theft and fraud crimes these are RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) crimes. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do. It also allows for enhanced penalties. Your suggestion of increasing taxes as punishment is ridiculous, as it essentially spreads the 'penalty' among all wealthy people and gives no incentives to criminals to desist.
 
 
0 # tom paine devotee 2014-11-08 16:22
Holder was given his orders by POTUS to not prosecute these banks. All this after the wonderful pre election speech's about transparency and cleaning up Wall Street. Those deal were obviously made in the oval office.
 
 
+1 # ericlipps 2014-11-09 17:17
"Obviously"? And you know this--how, exactly? Because your gut says so? Remember what usually comes out of the gut.
 

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