September 16, 2013
The Failed Reserve Primary Settlement And The Argument That No One Is Paying For The Financial Crisis
Posted by David Zaring

Lehman Brothers failed five years ago, and the statute of limitations for most federal crimes is five years, so the restrospectives are full of recountings of the fact that no one important has been prosecuted over what happened.  Here's an example, and, look, I'm surprised as well.  If you could convict Ken Lay over things his subordinates did and his own "we won't stop trying to save this company and I'm confident we will succeed" statements, it's pretty surprising that not a single banking CEO has faced a similar fate.  

But no jail time doesn't mean nothing, and the SEC's decision to reject a settlement over the mutual fund that broke the buck after Lehman failed, basically destroying the whole asset class until the Fed jerry-rigged an insurance scheme to save it, is an example of this.  It shows that the government is looking to civil, rather than criminal penalties.  It isn't clear to me that those cases are more winnable.  But that appears to be the strategy.  Along those lines, here's a nice argument that the government has changed some things since the crisis unfolded.

Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial Institutions, White Collar Crime | Bookmark

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