"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) asked regulators why they hadn't held individual bankers accountable for actions that led to the financial crisis...
...Fed Gov. Daniel Tarullo, the regulatory point man at the central bank, [suggested] the Fed could ban individuals at large banks from working again in the industry even if the bank reached a legal settlement with the government over misdeeds. Mr. Tarullo said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday the Fed was “conducting investigations” to that effect, but didn’t elaborate...
“You are supposed to refer cases to the Justice Department when you think individuals should be prosecuted,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) told Mr. Tarullo and other regulators Tuesday, adding that hundreds of individuals were prosecuted after the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s. “Without criminal prosecutions, the message for every Wall Street banker is loud and clear. If you break the law, you are not going to jail but you might end up with a much bigger paycheck.”
...Tarullo was joined by Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Tom Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency; Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Tim Massad, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission...
...Warren allowed that the regulators themselves can’t prosecute — that
would be up to the Justice Department. But regulators can provide
Daniel Tarullo, ...when pressed, indicated that the Fed didn’t specifically refer anyone.
..."How many senior executives did the Fed refer to DOJ for prosecution, Warren asked Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo.
“I don’t know,” he answered.
“You don’t know any? No one has been referred?”
“We shared all the information DOJ needed,” he said.
“So have you referred anyone?” Warren asked.
...the six agencies couldn't come up with a single referral between them. Tarullo only lamely managed to say that the Fed had "shared" information with the Justice Department...
...Mr. Tarullo, who was interrupted several times by Ms. Warren ...had a testy exchange after the hearing, with Ms. Warren waving her arms as she appeared to express displeasure with Mr. Tarullo’s on-the-record answers."
During the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, Warren said, the FBI opened 5,500 investigations based on referrals from banking regulators. Prosecutors brought 1,000 criminal cases and won more than 800 convictions...
...The problem, [Warren] continued, is that the civil settlements, which are paid for by the shareholders, don’t provide the kind of deterrence that “seeing the guy in the office next to you led out in handcuffs” might. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon got an $8.5 million raise after settling with the government, she said.
“Without criminal prosecution, the message to every Wall Street banker is loud and clear. If you break the law, you’re not going to jail, but you might end up with a much bigger paycheck,” Warren said.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), ...said he agreed with Ms. Warren's outrage over the lack of jail time for bankers...
...Shelby ...laid the blame on the U.S. Justice Department...
No one in the financial sector or elsewhere should be "able to buy their way out from culpability when it's so strong it defies rationality..." Mr. Shelby said. “Ultimately, it seems like the Justice Department seems bent on money rather than justice and that’s a mistake.”
..."The law on this is clear," Warren said, citing federal judge Jed Rakoff, "that no corporation can break the law unless an individual within those corporations has broken the law."
And yet, Warren continued, "not a single senior executive of these banks has been criminally prosecuted."
Worse, she said, citing the case of JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon, they are likelier to get a raise for negotiating such a "great settlement" when the bank breaks the law.
..."If there is no justice," [Alabama Republican Richard Shelby] said, "then there is something wrong with the Justice Department."
...“If you steal $100 on Main Street, you’re probably going to jail. If you steal a billion bucks on Wall Street, you darn well better go to jail, too,” said Warren.
...Warren asked the regulators gathered if any had referred any specific executives to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. No regulator volunteered that they had...
A Justice Department representative didn't respond to a request for comment."
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