Deferred Prosecution

Maybe we’ll get a perp walk after all.

U.S. Targets RBS, J.P. Morgan Executives in Criminal Probes
By Aruna Viswanatha, Devlin Barrett, and Christopher M. Matthews, Wall Street Journal
Nov. 17, 2015 1:57 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors are actively pursuing criminal cases against executives from Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for allegedly selling flawed mortgage securities, people familiar with the probes said, as the clock ticks down for bringing cases from the 2008 financial crisis.

Officials are working to establish that the bankers ignored warnings from associates that they were packaging too many shaky mortgages into investment offerings and are weighing whether they can prove that constituted fraud, the people said.

At RBS, prosecutors are scrutinizing a $2.2 billion deal that repackaged home mortgages into bonds in 2007, the people said. In a 2013 civil settlement with RBS, the Securities and Exchange Commission described the lead banker on that deal, whom it didn’t name, as trying to push it through over concerns of the diligence department.

If filed, the charges would be among the first pursued against specific employees of the largest Wall Street firms over the housing collapse. Since the crisis, big banks have paid billions of dollars in settlements, but the lack of convictions has sparked political controversy. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said in October that “too often it has seemed that the human beings responsible for corporate wrongdoing get off with limited consequences, or none at all.”

The Justice Department is trying to complete any possible criminal cases against individuals by the end of President Barack Obama’s term in January 2017 and before the 10-year statute of limitations for most of the alleged infractions expires later that year.

I’ll not hold my breath.

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