Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped Federal Reserve officials Tuesday for not putting a single Wall Street banker behind bars for their role in the financial collapse.
“After the savings and loans crisis, the government brought over 1,000 criminal prosecutions and got over 800 convictions,” the Massachusetts Democrat told regulators at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, the Examiner reported.
Ms. Warren fumed at the regulators after Federal Reserve Gov. Daniel Tarullo acknowledged that the agency might not have referred any bank executive to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
Wall Street executives, however, have negotiated billions of dollars in payments to the federal government to settle accusations of banks’ mortgage shenanigans.
“The main reason we punish illegal behavior is for deterrence to make sure that the next banker who’s thinking about breaking the law remembers that the guy down the hall was hauled out in handcuffs when he did that,” Ms. Warren said. “The message to every Wall Street banker is loud and clear: If you break the law, you are not going to jail, but you might end up with a bigger paycheck.”
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon received a hefty bonus after negotiating a settlement with the feds over his bank’s involvement in the mortgage crisis.
Ms. Warren, who is one of the Senate’s most liberal members, found support for his position among one of the chambers’ more conservative members.
“Something’s wrong with the Justice Department. People shouldn’t be able … to buy their way out of culpability,” said Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.