In an interview with International Business Times to publicize the report, Warren said, "In the financial crisis of 2008, it was fraud right down at the heart of that crisis, and yet not one major bank executive was even charged, much less prosecuted and taken to trial - not one." Despite assurances by the Department of Justice that it will improve enforcement, Warren's report suggests that corporate criminals have "free rein to operate outside the law" because the accountability is just not there.
There is not need for a fake prosecution and fake trial just for the sake of 'show'. Why bother with the circus when they already are in control and there is nobody threatening their control? Even more importantly, nobody is suggesting that they should not be able to keep all of that wealth that they stole from the American people.
How easy could it be... rip off virtually the entire country, plead guilty to various felonies, be allowed to keep the loot, and rather than prison, be celebrated as titans of industry by the victims.
This country devotes substantial resources to the prosecution of crimes such as murder, assault, kidnapping, burglary and theft, both in an effort to deter future criminal activity and to provide victims with some degree of justice. Strong enforcement of corporate criminal laws serves similar goals: to deter future criminal activity by making would-be lawbreakers think twice before breaking the law and, sometimes, by helping victims recover from their injuries.
When government regulators and prosecutors fail to pursue big corporations or their executives who violate the law, or when the government lets them off with a slap on the wrist, corporate criminals have free rein to operate outside the law. They can game the system, cheat families, rip off taxpayers, and even take actions that result in the death of innocent victims—all with no serious consequences.
The failure to punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie. The failure to prosecute big, visible crimes has a corrosive effect on the fabric of democracy and our shared belief that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.
Under the current approach to enforcement, corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct. This is so despite the fact that the law is unambiguous: if a corporation has violated the law, individuals within the corporation must also have violated the law. If the corporation is subject to charges of wrongdoing, so are those in the corporation who planned, authorized or took the actions. But even in cases of flagrant corporate law breaking, federal law enforcement agencies – and particularly the Department of Justice (DOJ) – rarely seek prosecution of individuals. In fact, federal agencies rarely pursue convictions of either large corporations or their executives in a court of law. Instead, they agree to criminal and civil settlements with corporations that rarely require any admission of wrongdoing and they let the executives go free without any individual accountability.
Banks report any incidences of suspected fraud to FinCEN, the government-run Financial Crime Enforcement Network. Each year from 2001 to 2010, an average of 6,460 reports of suspected fraud are sent from banks to FinCEN.
In 2011, there were more than 5,500 reports of suspected embezzlement at banks. Of those cases, approximately 580 were investigated, and of those investigations, 429 cases, or 8 percent, ended with convictions, according to FBI data.
In other words, employees had a 92 percent chance of robbing a bank and getting away with it that year.
"I can tell you everyday there are (reports) coming in with a low dollar range that never get looked at, never get off the ground," said Keith Slotter, an FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego Division. "If you have a fraud in there for $5,000 and with a quick check, you see the main suspect is not suspected of doing anything else, has no record, you don't do it."
In a survey by financial services research and consulting firm Aite Group last year, on average banks said internal fraud represents 4 percent of their total fraud losses. Conservative estimates for check, debit, and credit card fraud for U.S. institutions place that figure over $6 to $8 billion, meaning internal fraud is likely between $240 million and $300 million per year.
At these lower levels of practice are the 'crooks in training'. As they move up the hierarchy in banking management, they will have plenty of experience and will be ready for the bigger heists of top management. At the bottom, the crooks simply model themselves after the crooks at the top.
More subversively, corporations and the wealthy discovered new ways to move money offshore in order to avoid taxes. Large corporations simply keep their global profits in foreign subsidiaries. (They often can do so just by switching accounts in Wall Street banks without the money ever leaving the country.
Authority to allow bank “bail-ins” would be in lieu of approving any future taxpayer bailouts of banks that would be in dire need of recapitalization in order to survive. Some financial experts contend that banks already have the legal authority to confiscate depositors’ money without warning, and at their discretion.