How Is there $128 Billion in Penalties but No One Person has Been Found Guilty of Anything?

22 Aug

Since 2009, the US Justice Department has been building cases against major financial institutions for the improprieties committed to cause the 2008 financial crisis. Just the institutions, not their wayward executives.  Even though our Supreme Court says corporations are people, logos don’t serve jail time. Only people do. We all know someone made the idiotic decisions that nearly collapsed the entire free word economy.

Thursday, Bank of America settled with the Government for $16,500,000,000 . That is $16.5 billion.  I wanted you to see all the zeros.

We’ve grown accustomed to these big numbers. He is one way to find the scope of what 1 billion is versus 1 million.  Supposing you had the time, it takes a person 12 days to count to 1 million, one second at a time.  It takes just under 32 years to get to 1 billion.

$16.5 BILLION! That is A LOT of WRONG?! Right?

Obviously, BofA agreed to pay this enormous sum for some reason. Yet, they don’t admit to any wrong doing.  Here is what their CEO, Brian Moynihan, said –

“We believe this settlement, which resolves significant remaining mortgage-related exposures, is in the best interests of our shareholders, and allows us to continue to focus on the future.”

No culpability, no admission of guilt. This is just a business decision so the bank can ‘focus on the future.’  Must be nice to be immune from personal responsibility.

In fact, not a single top-level executive has been tried for malfeasance since 2009. Why not? The Enron guys went to jail. Many bankers went to jail in the 1930’s following the Great Depression. I find this puzzling why so many banks would pay so much money yet the government can’t find a single guy who did anything illegal?

Where do the fines go? JP Morgan paid $13 billion last November. Another $16 bill is coming from BofA. Over $128 billion has now been squeezed out in “we didn’t do anything wrong but here is a ton of dough” fines and settlements.

Little of it gets back to the folks on Main Street who got killed in the 2008 crisis.  It mostly goes to various governmental agencies.  This seems nuts to me.  Shouldn’t this money come back to us? Taxpayers?  We know if it goes to bureaucracies, it will be spent. Not always so wisely.

I won’t hold my breath counting to a billion hoping I get a tax break…

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