Tag Archive: Justice Department

Jul 24 2015

Another Shooting By Another White Extremist

Last night a 59 year old white man with a criminal record and history of mental illness entered a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killed two people wounded nine others before turning the gun on himself.

In the search for a motive, what police are now being found out about this man are quite disturbing. It put into question gun control and the lack of focus by law enforcement on America’s white supremacists.

Houser has allegedly posted messages to numerous online forums, suggesting that he held extreme right-wing views and sympathized with white supremacists. It cannot be independently confirmed that these online postings were made by Houser himself before the shooting. The postings on politicalforums.com seem to match based on his age and location. There is less to connect Houser to the postings on Twitter and Golden Dawn that are cited below by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

An individual who went by “John Russell Houser” created a profile on politicalforums.com, on which he included the phrases “believe media/gov’t censoring” and “believe US will be MAD MAX < 5 years.” Under the “Family” category, Houser wrote that “no family safe in US environment.” The profile identified the user as a 59-year-old male residing in Phenix City. [..]

An individual who used the username “Rusty Houser” also posted comments on a forum for Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi political party in Greece, as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted.

“Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website. I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations.Look within yourselves,” he wrote in one comment.

He also made racist comments in comments on the Golden Dawn forum. [..]

An individual who went by the name Rusty Houser posted on usmessageboard.com that, “Hitler accomplished far more than any other,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And a Twitter handle for “john russell houser” published messages about the Westboro Baptist Church and censorship. [..]

Houser also served as the guest host on the “Rise and Shine” show on the Columbus, Ga. television station WLTZ, where he “invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it,” according to LinkedIn. A former host for the station confirmed to the Associated Press that Houser appeared on his show, where he allegedly advocated for people to commit violence against those involved in abortion.

Houser has a criminal record — he was arrested for arson and selling alcohol to minors, but he had not had any run-ins with law enforcement in the past few years, according to police.

CNN reported that Houser was denied a conceal carry permit in 2006 and was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009. The suspect’s wife sought a restraining order against Houser in 2008 because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements,” according to the Associated Press.

So, how and where did he get a gun? Why wasn’t this man targeted by law enforcement as a possible threat? Was it because he wasn’t Muslim?

The news that keep getting ignored by the media, law enforcement and our elected officials is that people are more likely to be killed or injured  by angry white man than they are by a Muslim jihadist.

In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants.

But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.

The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case.

But it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians.

It’s time this is put in their proper perspectives and start keeping America safe from its homegrown terrorists.

Dec 30 2014

The End of the Grimm Affair

Finally accepting his untenable position to remain in office, tough guy, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY11) has decided to resign his House seat sparing the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn the embarrassment of having a convicted felon representing them. Mr. Grimm spoke yesterday with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who obviously laid out the grim options (pardon the pun).

House rules dictate that a member convicted of a crime for which a prison sentence of two years or more may be imposed should not participate in committee meetings or vote on the floor until winning re-election. The stricture could have left Mr. Grimm’s 11th district effectively disenfranchised until 2016.

After sources leaked the news of the resignation to The New York Daily News early Monday, Mr. Grimm released a statement at midnight that he had changed his mind and would not stay in Congress, stating that he would resign on January 5th.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will set a date for a special election.

The judge should throw the book at him for deceiving the voters and using his office as a bargaining chip for a lighter sentence, as expalained by Blake Zeff at Salon:

It will take some time, specifically until the announcement of his criminal sentence, to fully appreciate the snow job Michael Grimm just pulled on Staten Island voters. But we already know plenty enough to call it a criminal’s virtuoso parting heist.

Grimm, you’ll recall, ran for reelection last month as a two-term GOP incumbent in socially conservative Staten Island, with a 20-count indictment on his back. The charges, largely misunderstood by the voters (and media, for that matter), essentially amounted to this: He ran a restaurant some years back, and in an effort to skirt payroll taxes, paid workers under the table and submitted a fake payroll to the feds. He was then caught lying about it when a “real” payroll was discovered by prosecutors in his computer records.

This last part is important because it tells you what Grimm knew: he had lied to federal officers (a crime that never gets ignored), and they had the goods on him. In other words, he was very likely going to prison – and he knew it. [..]

The congressman was clearly never going to serve out his term, nor would he take his case to trial, as he had assured voters.

But he had a very good reason to convince voters otherwise.

If you’re headed to prison but want to cop a deal with the feds, you need a chip you can bargain in exchange for a lighter sentence. And for a politician, there are few chips more valuable than a seat you can resign. If Grimm lost his race last November, he’d have been a disgraced former congressman with no seat to give up and, likely, real prison time. If he won, he’d have the golden House seat to drop in exchange for – he hoped – leniency.

It is the NYT article best sums up the end of this sad affair:

Whoever takes Mr. Grimm’s seat will be unlikely to match his track record as a source of national fascination, or satire. A tough-talking politician with a clenched jaw and an intense stare, a fondness for dark-tailored suits and Brooklyn wine bars, Mr. Grimm brought with him a reputation for controversy, including the time – back in his law enforcement days – when he reportedly waved a gun around a Queens nightclub. He carried himself with a bravado that was on display until the end.

Mr. Grimm knew this was coming when he was indicted for tax evasion last April. Instead of admitting it then and withdrawing from the race, he decided to arrogantly stand his ground and lie about his guilt, bringing unwanted attention to Staten Island and, now, costing NY tax payers millions for a special election. Never mind the money that his supporters donated to his campaign, they should have seen the handwriting on the wall. The IRS and FBI do not bring these charges unless they can win. Remember Al Capone?

But too many Staten Island voters still love the tough guy image and swagger, hopefully this time they will make a better choice.

Dec 26 2014

The Grimm Affair

In a predictable fashion, convicted felon and admitted liar, Representative Michael Grimm refused to resign from his seat representing Staten Island and part of Brooklyn in New York’s Congressional District 11.

Representative Grimm said he had no intention of stepping down. “Absolutely not,” he said.

He sounded equally resolute when he declared himself “guilty” to Judge Pamela K. Chen of United States District Court in Brooklyn, who accepted his plea and noted that it included his signing of a “statement of facts” in which he acknowledged committing perjury, hiring illegal immigrants and committing wire fraud.

Judge Chen then commanded Mr. Grimm to return to court for sentencing on June 8. Federal prosecutors, who along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service have investigated Mr. Grimm for years, are seeking a penalty of at least two years in prison. His lawyers, some of whom joined the proceedings via conference call from Florida, are asking for a more lenient sentence and will almost certainly recommend probation.

However, Judge Chen didn’t sound like she would be considering probation:

“Do you understand all of the possible consequences of your guilty plea?” she asked.

“I do, Your Honor,” he said.

Judge Chen warned that she could “depart upward or downward” from sentencing guidelines. Mr. Grimm said he understood, and also acknowledged that he had forfeited his right to appeal any sentence less than 33 months in jail.

Mr. Grimm still doesn’t have the decency to resign. Nor did 54% of Staten Island voters have the decency to reject him, even though it was clear in November that Mr. Grimm would at least be convicted of the tax evasion charge. The IRS rarely loses. Now, not only was he guilty of tax evasion but admitted that he lied and that the other charges were fact. How fitting that the red district of NYC should be represented by a Crook and a liar.

It took MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow two segments to highlight just how embarrassing this will be for the GOP to have a felon serving in congress and Sadly, the few options to pressure Mr. Grimm to resign.

Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show started off with a brief review of crimers in Congress. It’s not as long a list as you might think! She focuses on California Republican Jay Kim, who was convicted of campaign fraud in 1998 and became the first – and so far, only – member of Congress who walked its hallowed halls wearing a monitoring bracelet attached to his ankle. Kim’s estranged wife said he was “the most crime-committing person I know.” He lost his primary that year and soon became the footnote he was destined to be.

Actual felons in Congress are something of a rarity, Maddow notes, because of a reassuring human tendency to eventually do the right thing – either the convicted Congressturds resign or the voters pick someone else.

In a laughable editorial, the conservative Staten Island Advance Editorial Board, with its usual right wing slant that this was a political witch hunt, has suggested that Mr. Grimm to step down:

Just two months ago, the Staten Island Advance urged voters to elect Michael Grimm to a third term in the Congress.

That while he faced a 20-count federal indictment in connection with a health food restaurant he owned prior to entering political life.

Voters overwhelmingly agreed.

Today, we think Mr. Grimm would be right to step down from his position in the United States Congress. [..]

We have little doubt that legions of Mr. Grimm’s supporters will stand by him, and defend him.

But we also have little doubt that many on Staten Island are feeling their trust was misplaced and they were betrayed.

Over almost half a century, three different Staten Island representatives to the United States Congress have surrendered their better judgment, squandering their own significant talents that, in each instance, could have brought pride to our borough.

Instead, they brought embarrassment.

There are certain people who must be held to high standards in America. In recent months, we have seen so many examples of that. Police immediately come to mind. So does the mayor of New York.

People with whom we place our trust.

A United States congressman must be at, or certainly near, the top of that list.

Mr. Grimm the restaurateur didn’t let us down when he played fast and loose with the books. Mr. Grimm the Staten Island congressman did, when he played fast and loose with the truth.

This isn’t going away until Mr. Grimm goes away, hopefully, to prison where perhaps he’ll learn a little humility.

Dec 22 2014

Rep. Michael Grimm Will Plead Guilty to Tax Invasion: Up Date

Up Date 6:00 PM ET: Rep/ Grimm announced that he will not resign his House seat despite now being a convicted felon and possibly facing up to 3 years in prison.

Up Date 3:00 PM ET 12/23/14: Rep. Micheal Grimm Brooklyn Federal Court to a count of felony tax fraud. He issued the plea before Judge Pamela K. Chen shortly after 1:30 PM ET.

His status in Congress and whether or not he resigns was not part of the plea deal.

He could face a worst-case scenario of 24 to 30 months in prison.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Sources told the press this afternoon that Staten Island’s Repubkican Representative Michael Grimm (NY-11) will plead guilty to a single felony count of tax evasion.

Mr. Grimm, a former Marine and agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first ran for office as a law-and-order corruption fighter, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn at 1 p.m. on Tuesday for a plea hearing, according to the docket sheet in his case, which provides no further detail.

He has said he would immediately resign if he were convicted. “If things don’t go my way, right? And I had to step down in January, then there will be a special election, and at least the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn can then have qualified candidates to choose from,” he told the radio talk-show host Geraldo Rivera in October.

After a lengthy investigation into allegations of campaign finance improprieties, federal prosecutors obtained a 20-count indictment in April charging Mr. Grimm with underreporting wages and revenue while he was running a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Healthalicious.

The charge carries a a penalty of up to three years in prison. However, as a first offender the judge may wave prison. Mr. Grimm has been very careful to couch his statements about stepping down if he was convicted. At his debate with Democratic Challenger Dominic Recchia, he was asked if he would resign if found guilty. He cautiously responded, “”Certainly, if I was not able to serve then of course I would step aside and there would be a special election.” If the judge is lenient, as many expect is likely, it would be up to the Republican led House to expel him.

Just prior to his latest legal predicament, Mr. Grimm displayed his bad temper when he threatened to throw NY-1 reporter, Michael Scotto, off the balcony of the Capitol Rotunda after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. After a lot of negative press he apologized to Mr. Scotto, who said he would not press charges.

From the New York Times article, Mr. Grimm’s troubles are not over. He is still under federal investigation for his campaign finances, the potential mob ties of one of his business associates and the illegal activities of another.

Mr. Grimm continues to be an embarrassment to the Republican Party and people he represents, even though many of them still support him. He should just resign and slink away.

Feb 19 2013

Still Bailing Out the Banks

Nearly a year ago Rolling Stone contributing editor, Matt Taibbi wrote about how the Bank of America had defrauded everyone yet the US government kept bailing it out. They got a slap on the wrist and a paltry $$137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities all the while plotting to rig global interest rates. In that same article from March 29th, 2012, Matt noted that BoA was still failing, yet they were still being bailed out. Why? The government’s excuse then and still is that they are too big to fail and too big too jail.

This was not fixed by Dodd-Frank and the promise to investigate the mortgage fraud and hold the banks accountable for bringing down the housing market and the economy along with it never materialize.

On Saturday in her New York Times article Gretchen Morgenson revealed that, we, the American taxpayer, are still bailing out Bank of America in secret deals :

That the New York Fed would shower favors on a big financial institution may not surprise. It has long shielded large banks from assertive regulation and increased capital requirements.

Still, last week’s details of the undisclosed settlement between the New York Fed and Bank of America are remarkable. Not only do the filings show the New York Fed helping to thwart another institution’s fraud case against the bank, they also reveal that the New York Fed agreed to give away what may be billions of dollars in potential legal claims.

Here’s the skinny: Late last Wednesday, the New York Fed said in a court filing that in July it had released Bank of America from all legal claims arising from losses in some mortgage-backed securities the Fed received when the government bailed out the American International Group in 2008. One surprise in the filing, which was part of a case brought by A.I.G., was that the New York Fed let Bank of America off the hook even as A.I.G. was seeking to recover $7 billion in losses on those very mortgage securities.

It gets better.

What did the New York Fed get from Bank of America in this settlement? Some $43 million, it seems, from a small dispute the New York Fed had with the bank on two of the mortgage securities. At the same time, and for no compensation, it released Bank of America from all other legal claims.

[…] To anyone interested in holding banks accountable for mortgage improprieties, the Fed’s actions are bewildering. If the Fed intended that Maiden Lane II own the right to sue Bank of America for fraud, why didn’t it pursue such a potentially rich claim on behalf of taxpayers? The Fed made $2.8 billion on the Maiden Lane II deal, but the recovery from Bank of America could have been much greater. Why did it instead release Bank of America from these liabilities and supply declarations that seem to support the bank in its case against A.I.G.?

The New York Fed would not discuss this matter, citing the litigation. But taxpayers, who might have benefited had the New York Fed brought fraud claims, deserve answers to these questions.

[…] A New York Fed spokesman said it supported the settlement because it would generate significant value without potentially high litigation costs.

Let’s recap: For zero compensation, the New York Fed released Bank of America from what may be sizable legal claims, knowing that A.I.G. was trying to recover on those claims.

If they’re too big to fail, to big to jail then these banks should be too big to exist.

Jan 23 2013

The “Untouchable ” Banks (Up Date)

“Too big to fail” now according to the Justice Department, “too big to jail.” The PBS news series, Frontline “investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages” in its presentation of “The Untouchables.”

Transcript can be read here

Phil Angelides: Enforcement of Wall St. is “Woefully Broken”

Phil Angelides was chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which was created by Congress in 2009 to investigate the causes of the crisis. In its report, submitted in January 2011, the commission concluded that the crisis was avoidable, a result of excessive risk taking, failures of regulation and poorly prepared government leaders. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Oct. 11, 2012.

Lanny Breuer: Financial Fraud Has Not Gone Unpunished

Lanny Breuer serves as assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. He told FRONTLINE that when fraud from the financial crisis has been detected, the Department of Justice has pursued charges. “But when we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was criminal intent, then we have a constitutional duty not to bring those cases,” Breuer said. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Nov. 30, 2012.

Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks

by Jason M. Breslow

The Justice Department’s initial response to the financial crisis did not take long to materialize. In June 2008, three months before the Lehman Brothers collapse, the department brought its first criminal case, charging two former Bear Stearns executives with securities fraud for their alleged roles inflating the housing bubble.

A little more than a year later, a jury found the executives not guilty, dealing the DOJ an early setback. Since then, government investigations into the crisis have almost exclusively centered on civil charges, which requires prosecutors establish guilt beyond a preponderance of the evidence. The bar is higher in criminal cases, requiring they prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here are 10 of the most prominent of those cases to date. In nearly all, the government won multi-million dollar settlements, but the companies and officials involved were not required to admit wrongdoing.

Secrets and Lies of the Bailout

by Matt Taibbi

The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come

It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you’d think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we’ve been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?

Wrong.

It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.

Up Date: After his appearance on “Frontline”, Yves Smith at naked capitalism delightedly announced the news that Lanny Breuer, former Covington & Burling partner and more recently head of the criminal division at the Department of Justice, had his resignation leaked today.

Never mind resign, why hasn’t Obama fired him?

May 11 2012

Is It Time For Schneiderman To Walk Away From The Task Force?

It may be past time for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to walk away from Residential Mortage Backed Securities working group (RMBS) and point it out for the sham that it is. It’s just not working and perhaps never was intended to “work”, from Anna Cuevas at Huffington Post:

Not only have they not done anything, they also have no dedicated website, address, or telephone number. Under the arm of the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the Group planned to have 30 employees within the first few weeks — however, as of this date, the only names associated with the Group are the co-chairs: Lanny Breuer, Stuart Delery, Robert Khuzami, John Walsh, and Eric Schneiderman. While the president deemed that this group would “speed assistance” to homeowners, that assistance has thus far been exceedingly slow or non-existent. [..]

Questions remain and need to be answered. The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group is the sixth group formed by the administration to address the foreclosure crisis and provide relief to homeowners. Unfortunately, this group, like the others, is not seeing the urgency of the matter — that is, if they do, in fact, exist and are something more than a public relations announcement. As it appears, the new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group is not working — they don’t even have a place to work from.

Schneiderman tried to put a positive spin on this circle jerk but it’s not easing the growing skepticism. From David Dayen at FDL News Desk:

My point on this was always that the President’s appropriation request and $6 will get you a very expensive cup of coffee at my local Intelligentsia cafĂ© (seriously, $6 for a cup of coffee?). Presidential budget requests are as ignored in Washington as pledges to not accept lobbyist money, or marital vows. The request didn’t mean anything, and the House Republicans currently putting together the budget were highly unlikely to honor it.

Sure enough, yesterday, the Justice, Science and Commerce appropriations bill, the proper venue for this additional $55 million request, came up for a vote. Maxine Waters tried to include the appropriation for the RMBS working group. And it failed pretty badly. [..]

there’s no chance that the working group gets anything close to this kind of money for at least 4 months, and in all likelihood not at all.

It’s just another example of how the protestations about the legitimacy of the working group fall apart when subjected to the slightest scrutiny.

At naked capitalism, Yves Smith was even more critical of the task force and Schneiderman’s “performance” on Up with Chris Hayes:

The point is that (Iowa AG Tom) Miller was a convenient stooge for the Administration. His job was to maintain the pretense that the effort he was leading was in the public’s interest and moving ahead at a good clip. These weren’t very easy lies to sell and Miller wasn’t very good at pedaling them, but that didn’t matter much. His job was to keep up a certain level of background noise.

But nothing was going to happen unless the Administration wanted it to happen, and for some reason, the powers that be decided in late 2011 that a mortgage settlement would be a useful election talking point. So they saddled up and pushed the foundering deal over the line.

Now that the Administration has traded up from the unknown Miller to the soi disant “Man the Banks Fear Most” Eric Schneiderman, we have the instructive spectacle of watching Schneiderman look more and more Miller-like with every passing day. Admittedly, Schneiderman is far more skilled at passing off Administration canards than Miller, and is also trusted by many progressives, so he can probably run on brand fumes for quite a while. [..]

Schneiderman may be able to get away with this longer than he should, particularly since the plan is likely to be to file a couple of headline-getting but not-seriously-threatening-to-the-banking-oligarchs cases in the weeks before the election. He seems not to have noticed how the Administration has been quick to cast aside its operatives when they are no longer of use to them. In case he has managed not to notice how he is being played, expect him to have a rude awakening by the election.

Read Yves entire article, it’s a scathingly realistic assessment of the Obama administration, the RMBS (could that abbreviation be more appropriate?) and Schneiderman. If Schneiderman doesn’t walk away from this joke, he will lose what little credibility he has left which, at this point, isn’t much.

Dec 06 2011

Why Can’t The Feds Prosecute Systemic Fraud?

In 2007, Eileen Foster, a former executive vice president in charge of fraud investigations for Countrywide Financial Corp., and her team began looking through documents in the company’s mortgage division. What she uncovered was massive fraud that was being committed on a daily basis. When Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America in 2008, Ms. Foster was fired for “inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.”

Ms. Foster filed a wrongful termination lawsuit with the Department of Labor. During her three year fight to clear her name, the extensive fraud committed by Countrywide employees and executives came to light. Bank of America, as typical, says that this in nothing new and the claims against Countrywide were settled. In the first part of a two part article by Michael Hudson published at i-Watch News, recounts the extent of the fraud committed by Countrywide employees, condoned by executives and covered up by BoA:

In government records and in interviews with iWatch News, Foster describes other top-down misconduct:

   

  • She claims Countrywide’s management protected big loan producers who used fraud to put up big sales numbers. If they were caught, she says, they frequently avoided termination.
  •    

  • Foster claims Countrywide’s subprime lending division concealed from her the level of “suspicious activity reports.” This in turn reduced the number of fraud reports Countrywide gave to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
  •    

  • Foster claims Countrywide failed to notify investors when it discovered fraud or other problems with loans that it had sold as the underlying assets in “mortgage-backed” securities. When she created a report designed to document these loans on a regular basis going forward, she says, she was “shut down” by company officials and told to stop doing the report.
  • Eileen Foster appeared on 60 Minutes in an interview with Steve Kroft:

    60 Minutes also interviewed the head of the criminal division at the Department of Justice, Larry Brewer asking him about the lack of prosecutions that could be done under the Sarbanes-Oxley law. Brewer’s response was “he thinks nobody ‘lacks confidence’ in the department’s ability to prosecute financial crime”:

       60 MINUTES: We spoke to a woman at Countrywide who was a senior vice president for investigating fraud and she said that the fraud inside countrywide was systemic. That it was basically a way of doing business.

       BREWER: Well, it’s hard for me to talk about a particular case. Of course in the Countrywide case, terrific office, US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, investigated that. Interviewed many, many people. Hundreds of people, perhaps. Reviewed millions of documents.

       60 MINUTES: Do you lack confidence in bringing cases under Sarbanes-Oxley?

       BREWER: Steve, no one is really has accused this Department of Justice, or this division, or me of lacking confidence. If you look at the prosecutors all over the country, they are bringing record cases with respect to all kinds of criminal laws. Sarbanes-Oxley is a tool, but it’s only one tool. We’re confident. We follow the facts and the law wherever they take us. And we’re bringing every case that we believe can be made.

    Some state attorney generals are filing suits and conducting investigations. Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley filed papers in state court suing five major mortgage lenders, including Bank of America, and MERS. Meanwhile, there have been no federal prosecutions of any top level executives and federal prosecutions of financial fraud have fallen to a 20 year low but thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested.

    As Zaid Jilani concludes at Think Progress:

    After all, allowing criminals to help cause a global recession that plunged 60 million people into extreme poverty and then proliferate in an industry will only sully its reputation.