Apologies for some of the profanities in Matt Taibbi's quote but I think it is appropriate because of the dastardliness of the crime. It is what happens when one lives in an oligarchy where HUGE banks grease the wheels of government and government is beholden to them and NOT the people. Please see the documentary "Inside Job" as well which just received the Academy Award for best documentary film.
If you are a billionaire and someone says to you hey you did something wrong which was terribly illegal and immoral so pay 10 million bucks in fines. What do you say? You say WHEW gladly and then also have the ones you perpetrated the crime upon pay the fine. Nice work if you can get it and the banksters can, have and will continue to unless their cans are carted off to the can to be with the cons cans even if just for six months. I hear the cons will treat the can of the Wall Street cons very well.
Taibbi says the following:
Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What's more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even "one dollar" just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick "The Gorilla" Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.
Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. "If the allegations in these settlements are true," says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, "it's management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims."
To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. "You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide. "That's all it would take. Just once."
But that hasn't happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fuc*&^ up. Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.
For the rest of the story read "Why Wall Street isn't in Jail" link below: