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  1. #1
    Senior Member Critical Hit's Avatar
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    Jun 2011

    Default No Justice for the Rich

    Imagine a world in which a man who is repeatedly investigated for a string of serious crimes, but never prosecuted, has his slate wiped clean every time the cops fail to make a case. No more Lifetime channel specials where the murderer is unveiled after police stumble upon past intrigues in some old file – "Hey, chief, didja know this guy had two wives die falling down the stairs?" No more burglary sprees cracked when some sharp cop sees the same name pop up in one too many witness statements. This is a different world, one far friendlier to lawbreakers, where even the suspicion of wrongdoing gets wiped from the record.

    That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – "18,000 ... including Madoff," as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – has apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history.

    Under a deal the SEC worked out with the National Archives and Records Administration, all of the agency's records – "including case files relating to preliminary investigations" – are supposed to be maintained for at least 25 years. But the SEC, using history-altering practices that for once actually deserve the overused and usually hysterical term "Orwellian," devised an elaborate and possibly illegal system under which staffers were directed to dispose of the documents from any preliminary inquiry that did not receive approval from senior staff to become a full-blown, formal investigation. Amazingly, the wholesale destruction of the cases – known as MUIs, or "Matters Under Inquiry" – was not something done on the sly, in secret. The enforcement division of the SEC even spelled out the procedure in writing, on the commission's internal website. "After you have closed a MUI that has not become an investigation," the site advised staffers, "you should dispose of any documents obtained in connection with the MUI."

    Many of the destroyed files involved companies and individuals who would later play prominent roles in the economic meltdown of 2008. Two MUIs involving con artist Bernie Madoff vanished. So did a 2002 inquiry into financial fraud at Lehman Brothers, as well as a 2005 case of insider trading at the same soon-to-be-bankrupt bank. A 2009 preliminary investigation of insider trading by Goldman Sachs was deleted, along with records for at least three cases involving the infamous hedge fund SAC Capital.
    God is cashing his check soon enough.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Eckhart's Avatar
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    Jan 2010



  3. #3
    It's always something... PuddleRiver's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    There are no words...
    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay one invincible summer."
    A Christian's life may be the only Bible some people ever read.
    "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them" Maya Angelou.
    I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ" Gandhi

  4. #4
    ornery ornithologist captain curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    631 sp


    This is disturbing in and of itself. The only thing that is more disturbing is that this is not surprising.

  5. #5
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Sep 2007


    I should've become a banker when I had the chance.

    Which is to say I should have majored in Econ/Finance and sold my soul to Goldman Sachs or sumthin'.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Oh right, no consequences or no criminal justice for the rich, I thought this was going to be one of those whiney lets give the rich a break threads.

    This doesnt surprise me, if you watch the movie The Other Guys with will farrell, its a pretty funny movie, but on the second or third watching you start to pick up on how corporate and white collar crime is unpoliced and handled, the thing winishes with a RATM song and a cartoon explaining ponzi schemes and financial collapse so it shouldnt really be a surprise.

    Its part of the unreported world which the media cant or wont touch, this article is rolling stone, that was a fictional movie like beverley hill cop, it only makes it out as pseudo-entertainment.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  7. #7
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010


    Rule of law? What's that?

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