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Monday, October 28, 2013

A man steals a wallet from Wal-Mart ...

... and it is front page news.

He netted what, $10?

He gets arrested, prosecuted, and convicted. Then he spends some time in jail (weeks or months). All this costs us far more than the damage he caused us through his crime.

A man robs a bank ...

and it is front page news.

He netted what, $6,000?

He gets arrested, prosecuted, and convicted. Then he spends some time in prison (years). All this costs us far more than the damage he caused us through his crime.

So we're losing money from street crime. And it is news.

Then we spend more to punish them than their crimes cost us. And it is not news.

People come along and wreck the economy. They do it through willful and reckless acts. We know who they are. Where they are. We know exactly what they did.

They netted hundreds of millions, and some billions of dollars. In fact, their acts cost the US economy between $11-22 TRILLION!

This amounts to $104,350 for every household in the US!

Or, somewhere between 600 to 1,200 years worth of street crime (direct losses caused by theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft).

Yet, who has been arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and punished for these acts?

No one. Not one.

Take JP Morgan, for example. Fraud committed by executives working for this company helped cause the financial crisis that led to the losses noted above.

Yet, no one with the company faces charges or hard time.

Instead, the company is being fined $13 billion for their acts.

No one will admit guilt. No one will go to prison.

Compare this with your average bank robber. He tends to net about $4,000 to $8,000 if he gets away with it (which he rarely does). Then, he will face a sentence of about seven to ten years, if not longer!

This will cost taxpayers about $300,000 on average, far more than the damage actually caused by the robbery.

Again, not news.

What about the corporate bandits who cripple our economy through their widespread fraud?

We let them walk free so they can continue to harm us.

This summer, Bloomberg News reported:

The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years.

That’s the amount allotted to lawyers and litigation, as well as for settling claims about shoddy mortgages and foreclosures, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The sum, equivalent to spending $51 million a day, is enough to erase everything the banks earned for 2012.

The mounting bills have vexed bankers who are counting on expense cuts to make up for slow revenue growth and make room for higher payouts. About 40 percent of the legal and litigation outlays arose since January 2012, and banks are warning the tally may surge as regulators, prosecutors and investors press new claims. The prospect is clouding outlooks for stock prices, and by some estimates the damage could last another decade.

And no prison time. None at all.

Where are the media on this one?


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