Over in DealBook, I wrote about the the SEC's decision to end five years of litigation against Fannie's pre-crisis CEO with a $100,000 settlement. That's not much money, especially since, amusingly, Fannie agreed to pay it. To Treasury, which owns Fannie. Anyway, a taste of the article, do go click over there:
Five years of litigation in pursuit of $100,000 does not bespeak a particularly efficient allocation of law enforcement resources.
Mr. Mudd and Fannie settled cheaply because of a feature of financial crisis enforcement cases. Although the headline allegations of malfeasance can look straightforward, wading through the proof has been, for the government, much harder.
This dynamic might look surprising. The government should be happy to tell a simple story to a jury unlikely to be interested in accounting nuances. It leaves the defendant with the job of trying to win by raising the complications.
And let me know if you have thoughts...