Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Should We Think About the Arrests at JPMorgan Chase?

Richard Eskow
Huffington Post

Four years after Wall Street's malfeasance dealt a telling blow the economy, and long after tens of billions of dollars have been paid out for banker fraud, reports say that we're about to see the first arrests of Wall Street bank employees. What's more, the suspects work at JPMorgan Chase -- a bank which, ironically enough, politicians and pundits insisted was the "good bank" after the financial crisis hit in 2008.

In fact, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon spent years speaking out forcefully against additional bank regulation. (Lately, not so much...)

Financial cases can seem complicated. What should we think about these recent announcements in the "London Whale" case?

It's good that they're finally making arrests.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of criminal behavior in a large number of cases, this will have been the first time since the financial crisis that a banker's been arrested on criminal charges (assuming the arrests take place as planned, of course).

Let's be clear: These arrests are a good thing. Justice demands that anyone, no matter who they are, be made to answer for their deeds. What's more, bankers at "too big to fail" institutions have the power to shatter, and even bring down, the global economy. The lack of arrests up to this point means there's been no deterrent effect -- no reason for them not to keep committing fraud.

But unless these arrests lead to further action -- action that's decisive and effective -- they won't nearly be enough.

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