The Untouchables: Why No One On Wall Street has Been Prosecuted

4closureFraud's picture

Untouchables - Money, Power & Wall Street

The Untouchables: Why No One On Wall Street has Been Prosecuted

More than four years since the financial crisis, not one senior Wall Street executive has faced criminal prosecution for fraud. Are Wall Street executives “too big to jail”?

FRONTLINE producer and correspondent Martin Smith investigates why the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to act on credible evidence that Wall Street knowingly packaged and sold toxic mortgage loans to investors, loans that brought the U.S. and world economies to the brink
of collapse.

Through interviews with top prosecutors, government officials and industry whistleblowers, FRONTLINE reports allegations that Wall Street bankers ignored pervasive fraud when buying pools of mortgage loans. Tom
Leonard, a supervisor who examined the quality of loans for major investment banks like Bear Stearns, said bankers instructed him to disregard clear evidence of fraud. “Fraud was the F-word, or the F-bomb. You didn’t use that word,” says Leonard. “By your terms and my terms, yes, it was fraud. By the [industry's] terms, it was something else.”


Part One

The Untouchables - “Fund ‘Em”

Durring the bubble, small mortgage industry players were prosecuted but why not Wall Street 


Part 2

The Untouchables - Due Diligence?

Whistleblowers detail mortgage fraud witnessed before the housing meltdown.


Part 3

The Untouchables – Frustration in Washington

Lawmakers question executives and grow impatient with the pace of criminal investigations.


Part 4

The Untouchables – Why No Criminal Indictments

The Justice Department is doubtful it can prove that banksters acted with criminal intent.


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californiagirl's picture
BS!!!  Committing fraud is a criminal offense, particularly when you know you are violating a law or regulation! I don't know about brokers and traders rules, but I imagine they have some responsibility to be educated and aware of the laws and regulations. For CPA's (auditors), ignorance of accounting rules is not an acceptable excuse.   If I did the same thing these bankers did, they would not hesitate to prosecute me criminally for fraud. Per Wikipedia "In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual...  Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation."  And how many of these banksters "bent" the accounting rules and misrepresented their financial positions intentionally, or wrote the legal documents to achieve a certain accounting treatment, even if it did not represent the economic reality of the transactions?  And how many of them did it for personal gain so they could get big, fat bonuses? And how many of them violated rules and regulations that they knew existed? And how many of them colluded with other colleagues to get around some kind of control or regulation? And why are there no restatements of prior financial statements?  If contemporaneous evidence exists that there was an impairment or liability, then a restatement is required, whether the accountants looked at the evidence or not.  BTW, I know someone at the SEC and from what I hear there has been an inordinate amount of political interference these past few years.
Pemaquid's picture

You get what you pay for. The DOJ does not pay enough to hire top rate attorneys. Wall Sreet has the money to buy the very best, so don't think for a minute that DOJ would have a prayer in court. Nothing has changed throughout history, except people are better informed thanks to sites like Zero Hedge and programs like Frontline. The bummer is there isn't a fucking thing we can do about it. At least for now.

NoDebt's picture

I thought it was obvious why nobody was being prosecuted- too many people involved and complicit.  It went everywhere.  Places you might never think.  Places that want to stay more hidden than the obvious targets in TBTF boardrooms.

You can sweep small stuff under the rug with some difficulty if you've got power and money, but to sweep really big stuff under the rug is relatively easy- so many people involved who have so much at stake.  They aren't going to cut their own throats.

And if we're talking specifically about mortgages, I'm not letting people off the hook who took out those mortgages, either.  If you were a dumb-ass taking out a payment-optional-ARM on a house that's well above what you could afford, I have little sympathy.

It should be pretty obvious this one went from ground floor right up to the boardrooms and into the halls of power in DC.  Messy public prosecutions and trials are the last thing anyone wants to see who's got anything worth protecting.



gregga777's picture

"The Justice Department is doubtful it can prove that banksters acted with criminal intent."

The entire U. S. Federal Government is a "Racketeering In Corrupt Organizations" case waiting to happen.

Oh my, as I typed I realized how extremely unlikely the Feds are to indict the Co-rrupt-mmander-In-Chief and crooked Wall Street CEOs, CIOs CFOs, etc., past and present, at the top, and all of the other crooks down the ladder.

Well, as the witch screeched after Dorothy doused her with a bucket of water: "What a world!"

Shigure's picture

Oh no! Can't get the videos to play. I really want to see these - is there another source for them? I tried the site too.

Shigure's picture

Thank you for your help. I found the videos on as you suggested, but unfortunately they are not available to view yet, will try again tomorrow. Maybe it's because I'm in the UK, not the US.

MrBoompi's picture

They all dodge the elephant in the room.  The government is bought off.  The regulators are bought off.  This makes a mockery of the US justice system.  Lanny Breuer is a liar and a shill for Wall St.  He'll be going through the revolving door soon, right after Eric "Do No Harm to Banks" Holder and Little Timmy Geithner.

What we have here is racketeering and fraud on a scale never seen before.  And the most powerful government in the history of the world is in on it.

NotApplicable's picture

Saying the "government is bought off" is like saying that "the mafia exists for public service."

Point being, external government, always has been, and always will be, the most organized form of crime (albeit with cheaper suits.). To pretend otherwise is to avoid the true elephant known as slavery.

Northeaster's picture

The American People will continue to sit by as their earnings and Rights are literally stolen from them.

Enjoy your Kleptocrat/Plutocrat Banana Republic.

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

You write confidently as you are securely ensconced in the safety of Bouvet island, Ronne ice shelf, or Franz Josef land?

sgt_doom's picture

Holy Crap!  It's not "Official" until it's on PBS!

What a load of crapola.

Now try this on for size, minions.

Aaron Swartz versus the Phantom Giant

When Aaron took on SOPA, he took on AT&T and as he was later to find out, Chris Dodd, whose family has been on retainer to the Rockefeller family for generations, dating back to their ancestor, Samuel Calvin Tate Dodd, the attorney to John D. Rockefeller, who created a holding company each time Rockefeller’s Standard Oil supposedly sold off a business unit (during the court-ordered breakup), moving the stock ownership to the holding company, then in turn establishing ownership of said holding company at one of Rockefeller’s foundations and/or trusts.

Chris Dodd’s father, Thomas Dodd, had no less than at least three Acts of Congress passed in futile attempts to curb the famous Dodd corruption (most notably F.A.R.A., or the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and amendments to it).

Are the Dodds still working for the Rockefeller family?  Well, that depends on the mystery ownership of AT&T.  Going back to the early 1900s, John Moody, the original founder of the infamous Moody’s rating service, said that AT&T was part of the Rockefeller Trust, originally financed by Morgan, but either sold, traded or shifted over to Rockefeller.

We do know that AT&T loves Senator Jay Rockefeller, and that Jay Rockefeller loves AT&T, as witnessed by the manner in which he led the way in the Senate to grant them retroactive immunity regarding the warrantless wiretapping during the Bush Administration (which continues on, BTW).

From the site link below. . . .

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Chairman Rockefeller has long made public safety and national security a top priority for this country.  We applaud his commitment to the public safety community and his tireless efforts to ensure that first responders have the resources they need to support a nationwide wireless broadband network.  This legislation will result in a truly interoperable public safety network and will free up new spectrum and establish funding mechanisms to support the operation and maintenance of this critical network.”

Many people don’t realize that the old AT&T has been reconstituted back to its original, albeit even more powerful and richer self, thanks in part to Bill Clinton’s signing of that Telecommunications Act of 1996  --- all except Verizon, but in tracking the circuitous ownership of Verizon it appears to lead back to the same ownership as AT&T!

Why would AT&T target Aaron Swartz, through their federal prosecutor proxies?

We used to marvel, back in the late 1970s, how AT&T set out to destroy the telecom upstart, MCI, which would have shortly gone out of business, had not AT&T pulled their access to long distance lines, thereby allowing MCI legal recourse, eventually netting MCI enough monies (from the legal settlement with AT&T) to continue on with their precarious business existence for a few more years.

AT&T --- and the Rockefeller family --- has only one strategy:  the scorched earth policy!

Now, former IMF stooge and presently an economics prof at MIT, Simon Johnson, would have us believe that the Rockefellers, led by the crafty David Rockefeller, gave away their billions to “charity” --- they morphed from murderous robber barons to “philanthropists”?

So the Rockefeller family, worth an estimated $30 billion in 1960 (when one billion was an unimaginable sum), are now only worth $2 billion?

Puuuhlease --- repositioning the Rockefeller fortune to various foundations, trusts and unregistered trusts to hide their wealth and ownership was, and still is, the standard tax dodge; nothing particularly surprising there.  (The norm today is to create an LLC, or Limited Liability Corporation, owned by a holding company, in turn owned by an offshore trust.)

One can only imagine what their true net worth is today?

So who owns AT&T today?  Look for a Dodd underneath a rock(efeller) and you’ll know the answer.

The Rockefeller Hit Parade:

From the bloody Ludlow Massacre, and the Rockefeller chain gangs, to their secret oil shipments to the Nazis during World War II, to the murders of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy and the recent death of Aaron Swartz, the bloody prints of the Rockefeller family are evident!

Special Links:

The Ballad of Aaron Swartz


Moody, John.  The Truth about the Trusts. 1904

Myers, Gustavus.  History of the Great American Fortunes, Vols. I, II & III.  1910

Nace, Ted.  Gangs of America.  2003

Wu, Tim.  The Master Switch.  2010


williambanzai7's picture

You will see in the other thread on this subject I also made the Aaron Swartz connection.

All this bullshit about balancing the public interest with an appropriate criminal remedy is, just that, a load of fucking crony bullshit.

Pile it on the guy who can't afford a lawyer and run away from the guys with 40 Wall Street pitbulls defending them.

waterhorse's picture

A pox on the "untouchables".

Bananamerican's picture

"Lawmakers question executives and grow impatient with the pace of criminal investigations."

poor lawmakers

jayman21's picture

That was a funny one.  More like, they were getting frustrated with the pace of the campaign contributions coming in from #$%^ banks.  Looking the other way is always expensive.


Front Line - They sound so authoritative.  LOL

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

a case could be made for these crimes were the direct result of fed supporting deficit spending for the fed owners own benefit..everything rests on bail outs with debt issued from the fed..makes one look at that bank owned monster in a whole new light..nothing can be done without the fed being brought into the court.

Azannoth's picture

"The Justice Department is doubtful it can prove that banksters acted with criminal intent." - Since when is "criminal intent" necessary in the American justice system to file charges and convict?

How about Marihuana possession for personal use, is that criminal intent? and how many people are in jail because of it, ~1million ?!

Colonel Klink's picture

Last time I checked fraud was enough to prove criminal intent.  Problem is criminals usually don't like to prosecute their own kind.

Walt D.'s picture

"Since when is "criminal intent" necessary in the American justice system to file charges and convict?".

I believe this used to be the case - mischevious intent - or in other words, you had to be aware that you were breaking the law. Now, with the thousands of pages of government regulations, many of which defy common sense, this is no longer the case. Many people have been prosecuted for the violation of Federal Regulations that they did not know about.

It is even worse - an internet gambling site located in Belize was convicted for running an illegal gambing site, even though they had obtained a legal opinion the check to see whether what they were doing was legal before they started up. (The Federal Law that they were convicted of violating only referred to betting using a phone.)

In any case, how can anyone say that "Robo-Signing" did not entail "criminal intent"? The truth of the matter is that the banks own the government and the "Justice?" Department is a wholly owned subsiduiary. "Better to know (or better still own) the judge, than to know the law."


flacorps's picture

Most criminal laws require mens rea (meaning a guilty mind) as an element of the crime in order for a conviction to be had. There is a growing body of laws and regulations that are "strict liability" in which the mens rea aspect need not be proven.

I question whether the DOJ would have a real problem with a jury convicting some of these fatcats. However, what happens after the conviction is that the appellate team goes to work and some federal judge agrees that the evidence was too thin to support a conviction.

I have personally heard stories of federal cases going away after an appropriate sum of money reached the judge. In one instance I was even given an exact description of how the funds were exchanged: $50k in cash. A friend of the defendant and a friend of the judge played tennis and each left the court with the other's tennis bag.

Never forget that Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas left the court over a bribery scandal.

rwe2late's picture

Excellent Frontline investigative report.

According to DOJ gibberish, no jury would possibly conclude that:

despite being repeatedly informed,

despite it being their job to know,

the top financial Mafia bosses knowingly and profitably had

fraudulent securities packaged and sold to investors as secure investments!

Next thing, war criminals and war profiteers will be getting a pass because we must "look forward, not back".

sgt_doom's picture

Yup, typical Frontline "investigative" report . . . .

Bankrupt from Belgium's picture

The French - love or hate them, at least they introduced the world to Madam Guillotine to solve the problem of the disparity between the rich / greedy and the poor / hungary. 

augustus caesar's picture

No one is untouchable forever, the world is always changing, whether we notice it or not.

Little John's picture







jayman21's picture

Lamp Posts comes after Rope