Some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen - Woodie Guthrie
Like mushrooms popping up in a damp basement, a slew of court settlements have been registered recently involving the big banks and their role in the financial crisis. An informal review of settlements over the last two years reveals about 16 multi-million dollar payouts from the big banks amounting to some $1.6 billion in fines and restitution and $13 billion in buybacks of auction-rate securities that were represented to be as safe as cash.[...]
Incompetence and Indifference Allows Elites to Avoid Accountability
In these cases there is no jury. The judge acts as a stand-in for the public interest. While we can hope that judges are getting tougher on these settlements, the whole process lets the people who committed the crimes avoid the public rage and personal accountability that helps to deter future crimes.
Recently, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sharply questioned one settlement with Barclays Bank telling government lawyers that the public might see the settlement as a 'free ride' and noted that 'requiring banking officials to stand before federal judges and enter pleas of guilty might be a powerful deterrent to this type of conduct.'
But now, two years after Wall Street's fraudulent and reckless behavior collapsed the economy, costing average Americans trillions in lost wages, savings and housing wealth and throwing eight million people out of work and some six million families out of their homes, not one Wall Street banker or predatory lender is behind bars."