Video Of Show Below Article
Piggybankblog posted on 01/22/13
Cross linked with pbs.org
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”?
In The Untouchables, premiering Jan. 22, 2013, at 10 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), 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.”
Former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who was appointed to fill Joe Biden’s long-held Senate seat when he was sworn in as vice president in January 2009, was determined to see bankers in handcuffs. “I was really upset about what went on on Wall Street that brought about the financial crisis,” Kaufman recalls. “That doesn’t happen if there isn’t something bad going on.”
Yet Kaufman left office in late 2010 frustrated by the lack of criminal prosecutions. Jeff Connaughton, Kaufman’s chief of staff, remains convinced that the DOJ failed to make prosecuting Wall Street a top priority. “You’re telling me that not one banker, not one executive on Wall Street, not one player in this entire financial crisis committed provable fraud?” asks Connaughton. “I mean, I just don’t believe that.”
Smith asks Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Criminal Division, about his failure to criminally indict Wall Street executives. “I think there was a level of greed, a level of excessive risk taking in this situation that I find abominable and very upsetting,” says Breuer. “But that is not what makes a criminal case.”
Critics, including two high-level sources within Breuer’s own division and former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, disagree. “They have not done what needed to be done,” Spitzer says. “The greater risk is that corrupt behavior that is damaging to our economy, that leads to something as enormously painful as the cataclysm of ’08, goes unaddressed.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman finally filed a major lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase and Bear Stearns in 2012. It closely mirrors claims first made by private plaintiffs almost two years earlier. Despite strong evidence of fraud, the government again decided not to pursue criminal charges. Meanwhile, banking scandals continue to surface almost weekly.
The Untouchables is written and produced by Martin Smith. Co-producers are Linda Hirsch and Ben Gold. The deputy executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.
FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Press contact for FRONTLINE: Diane Hebert-Farrell, (617) 300-5366, firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is from John’s Daily Blog.
Did you watch “The Untouchables” on Frontline the other night? – Watch Untouchables by clicking here I watched it! I thought it was great! That is why I found it appropriate to have today’s blog start off with the theme song from the movie “The Untouchables” with Kevin Costner about Al Capone. But you have to fricken love Frontline — right? This is because Frontline might be the only television program out there that has accurately and appropriately covered the issue surrounding what these banks did. I have not seen any other program go after the banks and the United States Justice Department the way Frontline has. This is why I think Frontline is always such a breath of fresh air for us Americans.
I liked the part where the Frontline reporter seemed to really sock it to Lanny Breuer of the United States Justice Department. This is where the Frontline reporter referred Lanny Breuer to a speech that Breuer gave to the New York State Bar Association back on September 12th, 2012. Apparently — in this speech – Lanny Breuer expressed that he was losing sleep because he feared what a lawsuit might result in against a large financial institution.
.(You can forward youtube to 19:28)
Clearly the speech seemed to reveal that Lanny Breuer might be reluctant to indict a major bank because it might have a negative impact on the economy. That is why the Frontline reporter asked Lanny Breuer if he felt if that was really the job of a prosecutor to worry about anything other than simply pursuing justice. Lanny Breuer does not answer with a simple yes or no. He instead gives a long drawn out response to the question.
Lanny Breuer: “Well I think I am pursuing justice. I think the whole entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice. But In any given case — I think I and other prosecutors around the country – being responsible — should speak to regulators and should speak to experts. Because if I bring a case against institution A and — as a result of bringing that case — there is some huge economic effect and — if it creates a ripple effect to where suddenly counter parties and other financial intuitions and other companies that had nothing to do with it are affected badly –- it is a factor we need to know and understand.”
For the record — that sounded like a “yes” to me.
The problem is that I don’t really know if Lanny Breuer made the right or wrong moral decision to not prosecute bank executives. This is because his decision seemed to be based on the fact that he feared economic collapse. I just know that it was not the right decision under the laws that have been established by the People of the United States of America. That is why I respect the fact that he is potentially stepping down. — read article
Dear Lanny Breuer and President Obama –
The fact is that We The People of the United States of America have never been a nation that turns a blind eye to justice simply because we fear civil war. That is unless Americans want to be forced to live the rest of their lives knowing that we never really were One Nation under God! That is unless Americans want to be forced to live the rest of their lives knowing that we never really were indivisible! That is unless Americans want to be forced to live the rest of their lives knowing that we never really were a nation for liberty and justice for all!
Therefore – “Give us the courage to do what is right!”
My name John Wright AND I AM FIGHTING BACK!
All Rise! The Honorable Judge Wright has left The Courtroom of Public Opinion!
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