Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone | Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

By Matt Taibbi

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

This article appears in the March 3, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive February 18.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Invasion of the Home Snatchers

Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. “If the allegations in these settlements are true,” says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, “it’s management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims.”

Taibblog: Commentary on politics and the economy by Matt Taibbi

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

But that hasn’t happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.

Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.

Wall Street’s Naked Swindle

Continue reading page 2-6 here…


19 Responses to “Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone | Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”
  1. Al says:

    The crack heads of wall st are not in jail because they have the protection of Obama! Wall street gave big money to BO’s campaign. Obama could give a shit less if anyone loses their home.

  2. julie mcbride says:

    the article is even better in print! i love the magazine and have a subscription for yrs now.. why cant we take the information in the article and send it to the president or the sec or someone!! wisconsin is the opening for people to stand up for their rights, why not do the same thing but in front of the banks, sitting down infront of the doors of banks, mortgage companies. please check out an article in The Nation mag. article needle in a haystack. by William Grieder mag. volume 292 #8,

  3. l vent says:

    I have contacted the White Collar Crimes Division of the FBI in regards to the mortgage fraud on numerous occassion. They do not seem to know what to tell me. They told me that they are overwhelmed with complaints and do not know what to do with this. Last thing i was told was they were going to have a meeting to discuss what they are going to do about all of the complaints and they would get back to me. Called my State AG’s office and they told me to hire a PRIVATE attorney. Looks like more kicking the can down the road and it begs the question, WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP IN AMERICA?

    • l vent says:

      I forgot to add that It has been approx. 4mos. and the FBI still has not called me back to address my questions. They did ask me though if I was talking about the Origination Fraud. A clear admission of the truth by someone, for once. It looks to me like our Government clearly DOES NOT TRUST our own Government. Dylan Ratigan is having Matt Taibi on his show today at 4p.m. talk about the ongoing CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE that is destroying America. Though I despise MSNBC because they are clearly part of the cabal as they are selling off America by selling FRAUDCLOSURES, homes they do not own, on their MSN website, I will watch Dylan today because he is the only human being in the mainstream media who will speak the truth..

      • Maria says:

        I like the Laws no matter whose they are: American or British. They cover up all imaginable situations occurred in the human lives. The only problem that most judges & lawyers are not going to obey or follow them… The ONLY thing I don’t like that criminaland civil complaints MUST be filed separately. If you devide the WHOLE human body, person will die. So, it is WRONG to separate Causes of Action and file TWO Cases. It is my opinion. The priviledge to file the Criminal Complaints belong to government, which sometimes is not in hurry to file them. Yes, we have a Chapter somewhere in the TITLE 18 of USC about punishment of those gov. officials who REF– USE to investigate the Criminal issues and enforce the law. But, once again, who is willing to enforce this Chapter? Response to the Post of “I vent says”: it is not surprise that FBI does not know what to do with our Complaints if they NEVER did use the Laws. Principle is pretty much the same like in sex:use “IT” or loose it. In this situation is the best way: fast to change the Law and allow to private individuals to file the Criminal Complaints in simple English and without UNnecessary technicales. Further, about VIOLENCE: we must not adopt the bad things which made in other countries. It is not good idea to use the Jackie Collins language or grab the guns and act as we are GOD.. He will take care about bad people. The one & only shot or rather misshot would provoke armed officers to kill ae much innocent people as they able to. We see this every day on TV. We don’t need here another Middle East. Right? Right! There are some embarrasing problems we have in our clean & prosperous Country to fight with: it is massive invasion of …bedbugs & lices. It seems, it largely related to the increase of the number of immigrants who are imported eggs & larvae of bloodsuckers from southern countries. Our governmet can see every bone of our body in the airports, but bugs travel in very freely. If our gov. wants to place more poor people into our country, it needed, at least, to disinfect their things and give people hot sauna – bugs cannot stand the high temperature. Gov. must know that the bedbugs can be a reason for typhoid or camp fever…. . But where from the large amount of …rats in our country with high sanity condition? The Orange Park reported huge amount of rats in the mall and movie theatre….Did you hear that rats run from ships when they feel somehow that this ship will face a catastrophe and sink down? Probably rats are able to feel that there will be lot of food for them at our streets. The “most pleasant” thing is that progress develops to our, idiots, side! We worried about FUTURE. The PAST holds us back. It is why the PRESENT slips away from us. What is PRESENT reality? We read enough at this website & news papers that FINANCIAL CRISIS is the fault of Amer. people who use to live above their means… . Hello! Well known that “the fish begin to decay from …the head”! here’s a fact given by Congressional Budget Office: NATIONAL DEBT now exceeds 13 trillion (in the 2006 fiscal year under Bush, one year before the recession, the budget dificit was “just” 161 billions of dollars..Now about FOOLISH GOVERNMENT SPENDING: I’ll tell the story about my own experience. I was the REAL Massage Therapist (“MT”). During first four years I could’t find a job: nobody wanted to give job to middle aged woman with horrible accent. The employers usually prefer young and with some specific “qualities” girls. However, I kept my License “alive”: I paid a lot for CONTINUED EDUCATION (Why? I want to be ONLY a MT…). I must repeatedly RENEW my License (why? If you know how to ride bike, you will NEVER forget how to do this). Then I got P/T job in the Chiropractor Office. In 4 month I was fired. The Doctor started to loose his patients. They told the Doctor how wonderful MT he has, her massages are very helpful…. Once Doctor invited me in his Office and asked, “Maria, what are you doing in MY office”” – “Nothing wrong, just massages and sometimes acupressure…” – “Stop it immediately! I want my patients to visit my office again and again! Just do very light simple work…” – “Sure, I will!” But shortly one black woman visited this office after trauma (she painted her house and dropped from the ladder hiting her head and neck. She was bleeding, had huge headache and her head was shaking all the time… What should I do? I can’t massage the open wound and I gave her 15 min. session of ….acupressure. I told her, “Please, do not tell Doctor about it!” She said, “O.K.!” Next time she came & I gave her another short session of acupressure and went to clean my hands. When I returned I overheard (door was openned little bit).

    • Al says:

      Leadership is dead. If BO gets re-elected we are F**CKED!

  4. Maria says:

    O.K., I did file the 71 PAGES of the Verified Report to Jacksonville FBI about frongful foreclosure and Service of Process in the Duval County Courthouse CASE NO.: 16-2009-CA-011566 (there is FAKE Plaintiff and I prooved it). Yet, Case is proceeded second year by corrupted judges who denied all of my more than 50(!) Motions without stating ANY reasons. There is an Answer (Feb. 16, 2011) by Supervisory Special Agent RICHARD J. DENT: “This letter is in response to your correspondence addressed to the FBI dated Feb. 2, 2011. We have carefullyconsidered your complaintand have determined that the FBI WILL NOT OPEN AN INVESTIGATIVE MATTER AT THIS TIME. Although the FBI is UNABLE to address this matter, a record will be made of your complaint in the event that OTHER SIMILAR COMPLAINTS are filed regarding these individuals”. Tomorrow I’ll send the “REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION”, where I asked to CLARIFY: what is RECORD FILE NUMBER made in your Office? What are names of Officers who already “carefully considered ” the Complaint? What are REASONS for your REFUSAL “to investigate matter IN THIS TIME? What is your schedule or BEST TIME for an INVESTIGATION? It is perfectly understandable that you “unable to address this matter …regarding these individuals” WITHOUT ANY INVESTIGATION. So, it is UNCLEAR: WHY do you UNABLE to INVESTIGATE? Do you have SHORTAGE in the CLEAVER PROFESSIONALS? If so, you need to get rid of lazy people because America has SHORTAGE in Federal Budget. If you UNABLE TO PROPERLY COMPLETE the COMPETENT STAFF, your Office MUST BE CLOSED IMMEDIATELY”. So they need MORE SIMILAR COMPLAINTS against corrupted judges, lawyers, clerks and so on. They invite ALL of the WRONG DEFENDANTS to become the RIGHT PLAINTIFFS. Please send the FBI your Reports at the: JAMES CASEY, 6061 GATE PARKWAY, JACKSONVILLE, FL 32256. call them: (904) 248-7000; Fax: (904) 248-7474; Ask them, please, WHEN IS GOOD TIME FOR THEM TO INVESTIGATE FRAUD described in Complaint filed on DEC. 23, 2010; USPS Certified Mail: 7009 2820 0002 7303 9997 and received in their FBI Office on DEC. 27, 2010?? Ask them questions you interested in. Thank you for your support. If they will not respond properly, it could be for reason they are expecting events like in Egypt…

    • Marla, wow great post !

    • Maria says:

      I just wondering: WHY so hard to MAKE even FILE NUMBER in the Jacksonville FBI, my Complaint was sent one and half month ago? File Number is not WINE and not CHEESE that take time to get ripe… . File Number must placed immediatelly and no matter what. I think, problem is that the MAIL ROOMS are running our Country. I send the paper copy of my initial Complaints against Bank of America and Real Estate about fraudulent transaction of my house to Tom Brokaw, Fl. Atty Gen., US Atty. Gen. (I honestly indicated all addresses in my Certificate of Service). And I NEVER had any responce. Our Complaints do not go further MAIL ROOMS or some CLERKS. They contact the Defendants, get paid and destroyed our filings promissing to return to them …later, or send NO RESPONSE AT ALL! I am so tired to work for their TRASHCANS… FBI wants more SIMILAR Complaints… But only my one single Case is revealing 106 other wrongfully originated Mortgages by Bank of America… If this is not enough just go to Duval County Courthouse and review Cases “proceeded” by Senior Judges.

    • Maria says:

      CONTINUATION from Feb 19, 2011 ar 2:00 AM: she said, “Doctor, Maria’s massage so good! I have no headache & my head does not shake anymore….”. It was Friday. Doctor gave me my paycheck & let me go …forever! He told, “It is MYoffice & you must listen what I tell you to do! Open your own ofice and do whatever you want!”. It was hard time and one day I made handwritten sign and placed it in my front yard. I had many clients the very first month. Then I lost the most of them because my house has no hot water, no working toilet and it is located in the unpleasant area…. People asked me, “I left my car outside, is it safe?” So, I filed my FIRST Lawsuit as Pro Se against Real Estate Agency which placed me in the rotten house with broken applaiances. There was no ANY inspection I paid for. Defendants in this case LOST BY DEFAULT but Case was dismissed without ANY hearing (I even NEVER saw the presiding judge). I did an Appeal with the same result. Suddenly many kind of gov. officials started to picket my poor house. One of them found too tall grass in my yard and left “Notice” to make it shorter. I did. next gov. office told me that sign in my yard not too fancy. So, I went to flea-market and made “professional” sign. Shortly I got the tel. call from the same office that I must REMOVE my sign because it is not allowed. At the same time someone REMOVED my add from “The Fl. Times-Union” (it was hard to return at least part of money I paid). Then one man called me pretending to be my client… But it was Inspector from the Health Depart. who shut down my pivate teeny-tiny business.for good because I did not have the ESTABLISHMENT LICENSE (Why should I? MT is NOT DOCTOR),

      • Maria says:

        We do not need to have the same quality office like Doctors have. We can go to people’s homes & provide massage but we cannot invite them in our house. Is it makes a sense? This Officer had NO WARRANT to enter my house. the Tallahassee Massage Board has 100ds “employees” who just rip off the MT of their hard earned money.They created so many all kind of “Licenses”, which MUST be renewed by paying FEES every two years. They have also lot of RULES, which created for squeezing more money as FINES. I did not pay them FINES and they filed a Lawsuit against me using their OWN Lawyers, which are included in their STAFF. I did not respond & this “Lawsuit” somehow faded out. So, why do I tell you this story in such details? I want to show that our Country has ENORMOUSLY HUGE and ABSOLUTELY — USELESS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS siting in the all kind “Professional Boards”. Do we really need them? Not at all! Our Licenses we must get ONCE ONLY and FOR LIFE TIME! The National Exam conducts the computer. Russia has solved the problem with FOOLISH GOV. SPENDING very easy: during one month EVERY person in such offices MUST keep the …diaries & discribe what — USEFUL for the Office are they doing during WHOLE DAY. If their diaries were filed with huge amount of activities which NEVER happened (indeed, can you report that you whole day play computer games?) such “workaholics” have been immediately fired. And we talking here about MILLIONS of officials.

  5. Gabe says:

    The only way you can punish these rich Wall Street fat cats is to take away their money, and take away every asset that these rich folks transfered to their relatives in the past 5 years. Then put them away for good.

    All assets that have been frozen should be given back to those homeowners who has been cheated with fraudelent mortgages fraudelent refinaces. Start with the victims of option arm mortgages and then go down the list.

    Those families who owned their homes for more than 10 years and were suckered into refis that banksters knew they could never pay back should be compinsated.
    Those who bought homes with NO MONEY DOWN should be looked at closely, especially when it wasn’t a home they planned to live in.

    • Maria says:

      CONTINUATION: I sent to Obama this simple technique after his election. My effort went unnoticed. So, now we have what we have. How this problem will be solved, we will see…. Any way, do you want to know the TRUTH – read …the multiplication table except the news. By my head I understand that America not worse and not better than other countries. But by my heart I feel that my adopted country is the very UNIQUE and SPECIAL! Sooner or later we will be FINE! Thank you for your attention and your precious time. Excuse, please, my mistakes in English, if any.

  6. John says:

    People are afraid to come forward. To do so is challenging our Country and you stand a good chance of going to prison or worse.

    What do you think high financial folks can get done for a few hundred dollars, much less Billions.

    Surely by now you all realize this is not played fair!

    • Maria says:

      Yes, John, you have point… I am worried about my safety too. Last few days I had several telephone calls from “Senior Life Services” (Bernie Hamilton, Agent: (904) 228-9447; 700 22nd Place, Vero Beach, Fl 32960;; Toll Free: 800.548.3249; Fax: 772.562.2497) I NEVER HEARD ABOUT and NEVER ask them for FREE medicine, Hearing/Vision and Final Expenses. I told them that I am not ready yet for such BENEFITS, but Mr. Hamilton wants to see me IN PERSON and give me some brochures. I told, “Please leave them in my mail box”, but he said that he needs my CARD… . What a hell is it? Whole America is screaming because of tight budget, but FOR ME there is NO LIMIT! This is scary. Please, CONTACT this Agency and ask for FREE PILLS who needed. Post your response here: is it REALLY so easy to get all such benefits???!!! You are my family, please help! Thank you!

  7. tommy says:

    Can I finally talk can I finally tell my story can you get in touch with me
    you have my email I am tired of keeping my mouth shut

    • Marla says:

      Tommy, you can start to tell your story here. Believe me all will listen. You should also be telling your story to the foreclosure defense attorneys. I am sure you will greated with open arms. The truth will set you free.

  8. l vent says:

    Way to go Matt! You are a true American.

    • l vent says:

      The real masterminds of this scheme know that if the perps are indicted and jailed the whole truth would certainly come out about EVERYONE involved. These people rule by secrecy and they do not want to be revealed. The internet has already revealed who these people are that were behind this intentional attempt at the destruction of the world’s economy and freedom. They are all despicable, a cabal of haters.

Leave a Reply