by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
You can steal billions of dollars from millions of consumers and just pay a fine.
There is no jail time. Ever.
There is no revocation of a corporate charter for “X” years (the corporate equivalent of jail time.) Ever.
Yet if you defraud a bank out of a thousandth of that amount you will be both fined and expected to pay back every single penny you stole, plus all costs, plus you will go to prison.
There is no Rule of Law left in this nation and the Pennsylvania Attorney General, one Josh Shapiro, does not give a crap about the Rule of Law despite it being his explicit job to enforce same. His office has the power to indict both people and corporations. He can prosecute all of the responsible parties. He can demand prison time, full restitution to all impacted persons and he can also demand revocation of the foreign corporate charter required to operate in Pennsylvania for a period of “X” years.
The common chestnut is that we “can’t” do things like that because “it would put people out of work.”
The problem is that if you don’t do it then there is no disincentive for engaging in such felonious, criminal behavior (fraud in that sort of amount is certainly a felony!) because you simply force “someone else” — in this case the customers or shareholders — to pay the fine(s) imposed!
Proof is found in the fact that after this “settlement” was announced the stock is up. Why? Because the so-called “settlement” proved once again that screwing people is profitable even when the firm gets caught doing it.
This fact has been proved time and time again over the last 20 years as has been repeatedly documented on my and other pages; banks and other corporations (including pharmaceutical companies) have violated repeated settlement “agreements” stipulating that they “won’t do it again” and have simply been fined again, after being caught once, twice or even three times.
For ordinary people three felony pleas or convictions and you’re usually imprisoned for life. Yet it is virtually impossible to find a single major financial corporation or pharmaceutical company that has not either pled guilty, entered into a “settlement agreement” or been found guilty of three or more serious felonies when it comes to their business practices.
Certainly stealing from tens or even hundreds of thousands of people constitutes a serious felony.
My answer to those who say “oh we can’t do that because look at all the jobs that would be lost by shutting these crooks down” is that if we did that then corporations would not screw people in this sort of fashion because they would know that if they did, just once, they’d be out of business permanently, their stock price would be zero and their executives would be sitting in a prison cell — then after they got out they’d all be sued personally by the shareholders and bankrupted, along with being rendered permanently unemployable. Instead, because we refuse to enforce the law the people get repeatedly screwed blind and all of us stupidly sit back and not only let it happen we let these so-called “law enforcement” people parade around like peacocks on various forms of so-called “social media.”