05 February 2012

SEC Allows Some of America's Biggest Wall St. Banks To Continually Flout the Law

The NY Times has discovered that the Banks that were rescued by the public have turned into serial fraud offenders. JP Morgan is near the top of their ranks, with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America not far behind.   Only Citigroup seems to have fallen out of favor.

This is not news to any of the regular patrons of the Cafe, but it is good to see the mainstream media taking notice. Perhaps they might have a look at the Silver manipulation investigation that the CFTC has been sitting on for over three years. Not to mention the outrageous theft of customer money by MF Global and the Banks.

Obama talks a good game, and presents a moral face through the media, but an examination of his actions and his record shows that his administration serves the monied interests to the detriment of the public interest. In many cases they are merely following the same practices begun in the Clinton Administration and carried on by Bush.  It is a bad situation indeed when the 'reformer' elected by the people has failed to reform. 

He may not be as brazen and open as his Republican opponents in promoting the interests of the Wall Street, perhaps, and certainly is not as favorable to Big Oil, but the corruption of justice for all in American politics seems to have become pervasive over the last fifteen years. 

NY Times
S.E.C. Is Avoiding Tough Sanctions for Large Banks
By Edward Wyatt
February 3, 2012

WASHINGTON — Even as the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up its investigations of Wall Street in the last decade, the agency has repeatedly allowed the biggest firms to avoid punishments specifically meant to apply to fraud cases.

By granting exemptions to laws and regulations that act as a deterrent to securities fraud, the S.E.C. has let financial giants like JPMorganChase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America continue to have advantages reserved for the most dependable companies, making it easier for them to raise money from investors, for example, and to avoid liability from lawsuits if their financial forecasts turn out to be wrong.

An analysis by The New York Times of S.E.C. investigations over the last decade found nearly 350 instances where the agency has given big Wall Street institutions and other financial companies a pass on those or other sanctions. Those instances also include waivers permitting firms to underwrite certain stock and bond sales and manage mutual fund portfolios.

JPMorganChase, for example, has settled six fraud cases in the last 13 years, including one with a $228 million settlement last summer, but it has obtained at least 22 waivers, in part by arguing that it has “a strong record of compliance with securities laws.” Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, which merged in 2009, have settled 15 fraud cases and received at least 39 waivers.

Only about a dozen companies — Dell, General Electric and United Rentals among them — have felt the full force of the law after issuing misleading information about their businesses. Citigroup was the only major Wall Street bank among them. In 11 years, it settled six fraud cases and received 25 waivers before it lost most of its privileges in 2010...

Read the rest here.