Newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch says it is time for Wall Street fat cats to face jail time for their crimes. Gone, says the Department of Justice (DOJ), are the days when executives could destroy the economy through illegal means and escape unscathed while their corporations only paid fines.
A new memo from the Department of Justice outlines that the DOJ will pursue charges against individuals responsible for illegal activity.
“Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,” said Sally Q. Yates, the deputy attorney general and author of the policy memo. Ms. Yates further told the New York Times. “It’s only fair that the people who are responsible for committing those crimes be held accountable. The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom.”
“Even imposing unprecedented financial penalties on the institutions whose conduct led to the financial crisis is not a substitute for holding individuals within those institutions personally accountable,” Yates said said in February to a group of attorneys general.
“We’re not going to be accepting a company’s cooperation when they just offer up the vice president in charge of going to jail,” Yates told the Times.
Will this mark a change in the DOJ’s practices? Time will tell. We have heard it before, and nothing ever changes.
For more on this story, click New York Times article Justice Department Sets Sights on Wall Street Executives.