(By Joe Koletar) The February 11, 2015 Wall Street Journal reports what increasingly seems to be old news: “U.S. Seeks Guilty Pleas from 4 Banks in Probe (page C-3).”
The targets this time are Barclays PLC, Citigroup, Inc., J.P.MorganChase, and Royal Bank of Scotland. The article tells us the Justice Department (DOJ) plans to charge anti-trust violations and alleged collusion in foreign currency markets. The article states that DOJ is prepared to try some or all of the banks and put them in the position of having to plead guilty rather than face lengthy and expensive trials.
This trend is accelerating over the past several decades. When it started, the focus of such investigations was to jail people for their misdeeds. Now, in the view of some observers, such cases have taken on the aura of just another business deal. Indeed. The article reports some Wall Street bankers believe that a guilty plea is the most efficient and effective way to deal with such issues. Some almost go so far as to say they expect little negative fallout from such now-common arrangements.
We could well ask, “Where’s the outrage? Where’s the shame?”
Or, adopting an English accent, might we present the impact as casual conversation at The Club?
“I say, old boy, seems your chaps got knocked around a bit by the hounds. You must try the fish today—excellent, absolutely first rate. And how is Margaret?”
This observation may be tongue-in-cheek, but it reflects current reporting from a respected source. And it brings up these thoughts:
Has it really come to this? Are those outside the inner circles of Wall Street and the Justice Department just unimportant bystanders in a game played by the rich and powerful on manicured fields?
Then, as we’ve discussed earlier in this blog, the fines (relatively insignificant in amount to the offenders), often go unpaid!
To each their own, as to opinions on the state of current affairs, but a word to the wise: If you steal $50,000, there’s a chance you might go to jail. But $50 million? Who knows?
Join us for more insights into behavioral forensics (behind fraud and similar white collar crimes) from the authors of ABCs of Behavioral Forensics (Wiley, 2013): Sri Ramamoorti, Ph. D., Daven Morrison, M.D., and Joe Koletar, D.P.A., along with Vic Hartman, J.D. These distinguished experts come from the disciplines of psychology, medicine, accounting, law, and law enforcement to explain and prevent fraud. Because we are inspired to bring to light and address the fraud problems in today’s headlines, we encourage our readers to come back and revisit us regularly at BringingFreudtoFraud.com.