Fining banks won't stop banksters

Tuesday, October 1, 2013   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Someone should make a movie about JPMorgan Chase and title it: "Bankers Gone Wild!"

Not long ago, America's biggest Wall Street Empire was hailed as a paragon of financial integrity. But now it's been assessed record fines of nearly a billion bucks for management illegalities and is being investigated for other crimes by seven federal agencies, several states, and two foreign nations.

The billion-dollar punishment was levied because top-level mismanagement caused shareholders to lose a whopping $6 billion in a trade scandal last year, and because the CEO and other ranking executives tried to cover up the loss. Media reports say the bank agreed to pay the fine to settle those charges, but therein lies yet another crime committed by the bankers-gone-wild – a crime sanctioned by regulators who made the charges. When it's reported that "the bank" will pony up a billion dollars, who exactly is that?

Not the bankers who committed the illegalities, but Chase's shareholders. Wow. The money the bankers lost belonged to shareholders, yet they're being socked for another billion to cover the bankers' fine. Imagine if you were burglarized, then were fined for being burglarized! As one law professor said, "It's not just adding insult to injury, it's adding injury to injury."

Federal regulators say it's easier to get bankers to settle a case if they can hand the fine to shareholders, who don't even get a say in the decision. But going after the bankers, they claim, would require a jury trial – and jurors might not convict.

Huh? What kind of bassackwards justice is that? Besides, it's ridiculous to think that jurors wouldn't jump at the chance to convict Wall Street banksters. That's a jury I'd like to serve on, wouldn't you? Nail a couple of those bankers, and that'd chill all of their finagling.

"As JPMorgan Settles Up, Shareholders Are Hit Anew," The New York Times, September 24, 2013.

"JP Morgan Slammed with $920 Million Fine Over Trading Loss - But Where Are the Charges Against Senior Bankers?" www.alternet.org, September 19, 2013.

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