Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 12, 2013

EDITORIALS: NFL players are people too; Get serious on financial crimes

(Continued)

U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara, in announcing the settlement, said that “No institution should rest easy in the belief that it is too big to jail.” He called the fine “steep but fair,” and “commensurate with the breadth and duration of the charged criminal conduct,” according to a report in The New York Times.

Investor and SAC Capital owner Steven A. Cohen has personally escaped criminal prosecution so far, but officials say the U.S. Attorney’s office continues to look at trading records and seeks help from informants for possible criminal prosecution of Cohen. The plea agreement specifically states that no individual has immunity from further prosecution.

Not since the prosecution of junk bond promoter Michael Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert more 20 years ago have Wall Street firms been held accountable for their misdeeds. Many have paid fines to the SEC over the years with the caveat of not admitting guilt.

Even that appears to be changing. The SEC filed a separate civil case against SAC that says Cohen looked the other way on misconduct of those who worked with him and is seeking to bar Cohen from ever being allowed to manage money that is not his own, according to the Times report.

Experts told the Times the criminal prosecutions like that of SAC are rare and suggest the Justice Department is no longer worried about economic consequences that occurred when Enron’s accounting firm Arthur Anderson was indicted and eventually shutdown, causing 28,000 jobs to be lost.

The SAC case represented a more serious approach to financial crime fighting when it began nearly a decade ago. Prosecutors and investigators began using techniques like wire-tapping and pressuring others to be informants, according to the Times report. Those tactics were typically used in drug or organized crime cases.

Now, it’s all too clear, financial crimes are organized and carry as much damage as drug, environmental and anti-trust cases.

It’s high time we got serious about these crimes again. Congress should support these efforts and make sure prosecutors have all the tools to make sure no one believes they are too big to jail.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Remember the pledge Editor:The county board chairman is not being factual with his recent comments concerning the Public Safety Tax Pledge made by the 2004-2010 County Board.First of all, the debt we were facing was caused by the foolish actions of nine board members of

    July 31, 2014

  • Back to the future for death penalty? The surreal national debate over the death penalty reached a climax of sorts July 23 in a prison execution chamber in Florence, Arizona. Double murderer Joseph Wood was put to death by lethal injection shortly after his lawyers went to the Supreme Co

    July 31, 2014

  • No Headline Provided House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $17 billion bill to address the scandal over poor health-care service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation is now on a fast track to pass Congress before its August recess, showing that Re

    July 31, 2014

  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

  • Money not always the answer I really have to stop and think sometimes. I challenge my thought processes when I write these columns. I am having a hard time with this one. It appears to me that every time a governmental agency or any of the entities that spend other people’s mon

    July 29, 2014

  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks