Must Read Frontline Interview: Lanny Breuer – Financial Fraud Has Not Gone Unpunished
Lanny Breuer: Financial Fraud Has Not Gone Unpunished
Lanny Breuer serves as assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. He told FRONTLINE that when fraud from the financial crisis has been detected, the Department of Justice has pursued charges. “But when we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was criminal intent, then we have a constitutional duty not to bring those cases,” Breuer said. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Nov. 30, 2012.
In September 2009, you met with Sen. Ted Kaufman [D-Del.] and his staff, and they asked you what you were doing. They were concerned that you were not being aggressive enough. How did you respond to them?
Sen. Kaufman and I had a great partnership, and I visited with Sen. Kaufman repeatedly. And what I told the senator was that we were going to aggressively investigate cases. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.
If you look at the [financier Allen] Stanford case, the [mortgage lender Lee] Farkas Colonial Bank case and the thousands of cases around the country and mortgage security fraud that we’ve brought, I think I did exactly what I promised Sen. Kaufman we were going to do.
Kaufman, in the first oversight hearing, asked you, “Why aren’t we seeing more boardroom prosecutions?” And you responded that “We’re bringing the cases, but it will take a long time. But they will be brought.” It’s been four years. There have been no such prosecutions. What did you mean by it would take a long time?
Full text here…