Too Big To Jail? Obama Administration Agrees To Large Penalty In Exchange For Letting Billionaire Escape Insider Training Charge While His Subordinates Plead Guilty

800px-Louis14-FamilyJohn Cassidy has a remarkable story out in the New Yorker this week about a sweetheart deal cut by the Justice Department with one of the wealthiest men in the world, Steven A. Cohen (who may be pictured here at a standard picnic, or not). Cohen’s company would pay $626 million but not have to admit any wrongdoing and Cohen would face no personal sanction. The billionaire appears to be celebrating this month with a buying spree with a Picasso painting and a huge new mansion. What is amazing is that various Cohen subordinates have pleaded guilty and Cohen has been tied directly to an insider trading allegation. Yet, he appears to “too big to jail” as a continuation of the Obama Administration’s bifurcated legal system for the super rich and the rest of us.

This is a standard ploy in which a sweet deal is reached to protect a powerful individual by setting a huge penalty to be paid by his company. The Obama Administration has been flogging the size of the payment to distract attention from the fact that Cohen will be left entirely untouched.

There is still a chance that the judge presented with this settlement could reject it for lack of any admission of guilt. Judge Victor Marrero already seemed shocked by the lack of such admissions: “There is something counterintuitive and incongruous about settling for six hundred million dollars if it truly did nothing wrong.” Amen brother. He could reject it but it would be a rare assertion of judicial authority in a case with such a high financial penalty.

I recommend Cassidy’s article to you below but I suggest not driving or operating heavy equipment after reading the piece.

Source: New Yorker

55 thoughts on “Too Big To Jail? Obama Administration Agrees To Large Penalty In Exchange For Letting Billionaire Escape Insider Training Charge While His Subordinates Plead Guilty

  1. Holy crap! Now even banksters and not just big banks are too big to Jail!??? Why not jail and the fine? If his workers face criminal charges why shouldn’t the boss who purportedly directed the whole thing?!

  2. Obama and Holder affirming equality under the law for billionaires. No wonder banksters felt that no matter what they did there would be no penalty. Unfortunately for Mr. Cohen’s associates they just were not rich enough.

  3. Absolutely, utterly, completely disgusting. Mr O, and Mr. H should be impeached. For all those who believed this pied piper in 2008, hows that workin for you now? A new way of doing business in DC? Yep, even worse than the glory days of GWB when the left and the news media routinely excoriated every little detail about the GWB administration. So where is the outrage from the left? I’m listening? Still listening?…

  4. Damn, Obama must be a Republican after all. I thought they were the party favoring the rich, those who have over 200,000.00 a year in income.
    It is obvious that he is no different than most other politicians, those who lie for votes, and don’t want to offend heavy donors to their party.
    Are their no honorable men left?

  5. “I recommend Cassidy’s article to you below but I suggest not driving or operating heavy equipment after reading the piece.”

    A wise suggestion.

  6. “Bloomberg News reporters think that a prosecution of Cohen could still be coming.”

    Let’s hope so. Thanks for the link, Swarthmore mom.

  7. Swarthmore mom,
    I hope Bloomberg is correct. This creep needs some alone time behind bars, in addition to a hefty fine.

  8. SWM< sure hope so. I called White house told them as a foot soldier for Obama how disappointed I am in him and Holder, and this is unacceptable.
    It worked with one of the issues of the ACA, (I forget now which that Prez was ot going to do until he was pressured by the ohone calls and petitions). The WH needs to hear from us, without our voice there is no reason whatsoever for him to care how the citizens feel.

  9. Justice is blind – but she sure can smell money!

    Meanwhile the communist saboteurs win another round. Eventually they will piss off so many decent people with their excess and their consequence free life styles while they crush the rest of us under increasingly unfair labor for decreasing income and their plot will come to fruition!

    The people will rise up and demand a communist economy & these saboteurs will be lined up against the wall and shot. WHAT!? You don’t think that this is their goal? You must be wrong, there is no other logical reason for the way they are behaving than that the WANT this to happen!

  10. “Del Frisco’s, an expensive steakhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Boston harbor, was a festive scene on Tuesday evening. The hedge fund billionaires Steven A. Cohen, Paul Singer and Daniel Loeb were among the titans of finance there dining among the gray velvet banquettes before heading several blocks away to what they hoped would be a victory party for their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

    The next morning was a cold, sobering one for these executives.

    Few industries have made such a one-sided bet as Wall Street did in opposing President Obama and supporting his Republican rival. The top five sources of contributions to Mr. Romney, a former top private equity executive, were big banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Wealthy financiers — led by hedge fund investors — were the biggest group of givers to the main “super PAC” backing Mr. Romney, providing almost $33 million, and gave generously to outside groups in races around the country” NYT

  11. I agree, leejcaroll. Most of us are disappointed in some respects but still have no regrets about supporting him over Romney.

  12. SWM, for sure no regrets. and as disappointed as I am in a lot of what he has been doing he has, in spite of “jobs my first priority” and “Compromise not i my vocabulary” Boehner, brought the economy back out of recession, unemployment down, housing rebounding, etc. (somewhat writing to the choir – some of the choir)

  13. Yesterday’s news…

    Lanny Breuer Cashes in After Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs, Will Receive Approximate Salary of 4 Million Dollars


    “It’s official, and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Division Chef Lanny Breuer is bragging about it. He’ll return for the third to time the white collar (now expanding its clients internationally) legal defense firm of Covington & Burling, but this time at a whopping salary.

    According to the New York Times: “Mr. Breuer is expected to earn about $4 million in his first year at Covington. In addition to representing clients, he will serve as an ambassador of sorts for the firm as it seeks to grow overseas.”

    As BuzzFlash at Truthout has speculated before, one can argue (and the same holds true for Eric Holder, also a Covington & Burling alumni appointee), Breuer was building his value in the marketplace at the DOJ, while Wall Street executives who nearly destroyed the American economy went unprosecuted. And his future value to his old white collar defense firm was dependent, in large part, on him not angering the people who would be the clients of Covington & Burling when he left the Department of Justice. The result, one can contend: no prosecutions of banks “too big to fail” execs as publicly stated as a policy by both Breuer and Holder.

    This isn’t just a revolving door; one can argue it’s a dereliction of legal responsibility by an employee of the people of the United States. One can proffer that it’s a cash-in career move by a resume climber who was careful not to bite the hands that will write the checks that will feed him on a lavish scale.

    BuzzFlash at Truthout has written more than fifteen commentaries on the failure to prosecute Wall Street execs in recent months. These include: “Consigliere Lanny Breuer, Head of the DOJ Criminal Division, Leaves Without Prosecuting One Made Man on Wall Street” ; and “The Covington & Burling Trio Overseeing the Department of Justice Criminal Division: An Injustice.”

    Breuer isn’t the least bit sheepish about grabbing the brass ring after failing to hold those responsible for nearly sinking the economy criminally accountable. According to the website Main Justice,

    Breuer said that he will also maintain his white collar clients, which he hope to grow following his stint as the Criminal Division’s longest-serving leader in recent history. Moving forward, he expects to have individual and corporate clients in areas such as foreign bribery, money laundering, export control and securities law and whistle blower cases.

    Breuer has spent a combined total of approximately two decades at Covington & Burling.

    According the Corporate Crime Reporter:

    At Covington, Breuer will work with a corporate criminal defense team that includes:

    Robert Amaee, the former Head of Anti-Corruption and Head of Proceeds of Crime at the UK Serious Fraud Office.

    Bruce Baird, former Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

    Tom Barnett and Deborah Garza, both a former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division.

    Michael Chertoff, himself a former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division before becoming Secretary for Homeland Security.

    Steve Fagell, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor in the Criminal Division.

    Jim Garland, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Nancy Kestenbaum and Lynn Neils, both former Chiefs of the General Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

    Ethan Posner and Jean Veta, both former Deputy Associate Attorneys General.

    Alan Vinegrad, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

    And numerous other former federal prosecutors and enforcement officials, including Stephen Anthony, David Bayless, Casey Cooper, Haywood Gilliam, Geoffrey Hobart, and Simone Ross.

    Criticism of Breuer’s exit through the revolving door came quickly from Dennis Kelleher, a former partner at Skadden Arps in Washington, D.C., and currently president of the public interest group Better Markets.

    Kelleher told Corporate Crime Reporter that “nothing is more corrosive to the American people’s trust in government than the revolving door where too many officials turn their so-called public service into multi-million dollar riches unimaginable to most Americans.”

    “This blatant cashing-in is destroying faith in government and government officials,” Kelleher said.

    “Lanny Breuer’s spinning through it is only the latest example: partner at big DC law firm representing corporate clients before the Department, then becomes a senior official at the Department making decisions whether or not to prosecute those same or similar corporate clients, then leaves to go back to private practice representing those same or similar corporate clients with legal issues before, bingo, the Department of Justice,” Kelleher said.

    As we noted in one of our previous BuzzFlash at Truthout commentaries deploring the systemic injustice of people who use government service to raise their cash value in DC, this is quite possibly a crime against the American people for personal enrichment. We are certain Lanny Breuer would deny anything but the purest motives, and that is his right. As he told Main Justice: “So, I love the advocacy system. I’m a zealous advocate, and I look forward to being a zealous advocate for our [Covington & Burling] clients again.”

    But BuzzFlash at Truthout has a different perspective. At a reported $4 million a year, much of Breuer’s salary will have been earned at the expense of not prosecuting justice.

    And a lot of perps are riding around in chauffeured limousines because Lanny Breuer didn’t lift a finger to take away their keys. Now they are his clients again.

    How do you imagine that happened? ”


    Business as usual in the US of A…

  14. We have a black prez and a black AG. If you look @ this through a prism of race, one would think they would want to prosecute white collared criminals as much as street criminals. However, this is not about race, this is about class. We will never deal w/ class in this country..NEVER.

  15. On the subject of the on going fraud by Wallst/London transnational Banks/Insur co, & assorted other American hating scum I continue to see these type settlements.

    The fascist mafia crooks work a deal with their corrupt govt puppets to pay a big sounding fine, about 1% of the total stolen, but they admit no guilt, there is no open court public discloser through discovery. And then they sign a non-discloser agreement hiding from the public evidence of their crimes.

    How is it we have not seen lawyer/lawyers court case against the Wallst fascist & their govt puppets under say the RICO act of Aiding/Abetting ongoing criminal enterprises “After the Fact”?

    Professor Turley/other lawyers, where are you guys hiding & why?

    On another subject, I went to a meeting last night with some state polcats speaking & trying to move forward in many states what Thomas Jefferson called the Nullification process.

    Here is a link to the movie they showed:

    (They give Professor Turley about 2 seconds that I felt was slanted at that, but still on the broader concept I agree with the movie.)

    Documentary Film Premiere, Nullification: The Rightful Remedy

    While I was looking for that link I found this other interest speech:

    “Constitution For Dummies” by Judge Andrew Napolitano

  16. I remember being taught in civics class we are a classless society. More and more too many are showing us exactly how classless they are.

  17. “There is something counterintuitive and incongruous about settling for six hundred million dollars if it truly did nothing wrong.” Amen brother.

    Yes, the judge sees the picture.

    It is more evidence of epigovernment.

  18. Every day, he gets to laugh all the way to the bank. He gets to laugh at the whole world. He is beyond all. He is King. It’s good to be the King.

  19. >> The fascist mafia crooks work a deal with their corrupt govt puppets to pay a big sounding fine, about 1% of the total stolen, but they admit no guilt, there is no open court public discloser through discovery. And then they sign a non-discloser agreement hiding from the public evidence of their crimes. <<

    On this same subject of dening the court's discovery process & the fascist/govt hiding evidence from the public there is a mountain of evidence our govt has been for sometime attacking citizens using false flag events.

    IE: USS Liberty, Gulf of Tokon, etc…

    As it appears set today on Monday," April Fools Day", in Colorado, the claimed theater shooter is set to go before the court & plead guilty under a deal with the DA.

    By allowing that plea to go forward it will likely block/slow further evidence that that shooting, like Sandy Hook may also have been, just another false flag attack, used at least for the propose of attacking the 2nd Amd.

    Why was the accused shooter being paid by the govt before the shooting?

    What are the details behind the accused shooter's long running enrollment into a govt mind control experiments?

    Why do we have Intel Officers/LEO coming forward pointing out that it appears to be a False Flag Op?

    I hope the judge throws out the plea deal & takes it ti trial!

  20. Watergate’s Lessons, Washed Away

    March 29, 2013
    by Michael Winship


    And the courts worked, from John Sirica, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who cracked down on the Watergate burglars and demanded the White House turn over those audiotapes, to the highest court in the land. As Fred Wertheimer of the reform group Democracy 21 remarked at the conference, “The Supreme Court understood that citizens had a constitutional right to protect their democracy from corruption.”

    People went to jail, lots of them — even the former attorney general of the United States, John Mitchell. Think about that. Many of them did hard time. Today, we couldn’t even get miscreant bankers to resign in exchange for their billions in bailouts, much less prosecute them for criminal behavior.

    The briefly restored public trust that followed Nixon’s departure started turning back to the cynicism that endures today almost immediately, when his successor Gerald Ford absolved Nixon of his sins with a full presidential pardon. In the years that followed, the erosion has continued. The bagmen have become the banks and Wall Street. Gridlock and intolerance have replaced bipartisanship. The efforts at campaign finance reform that followed Watergate – crushed by Citizens United and other court rulings — have dwindled to the point where, as conference panelist Trevor Potter of the Campaign Legal Center observed, we are “shockingly close again to no contribution limits.” And with 9/11 and the war on terror, including ongoing drone attacks and threats to civil liberties, Morton Halperin noted, “The public is once again accepting an imperial presidency.”

    During its conference, Common Cause presented what it called Uncommon Heroes awards to members of the House Judiciary Committee who served during the crisis, and saluted an Uncommon Heroes of Watergate Honor Roll, a bipartisan collection of “individuals from Richard Nixon’s Enemies List, members of the prosecution team, journalists and House and Senate Committee staff.” All could look back 40 years and be proud they took a stand.

    But the Lessons of Watergate are lessons learned and lost. We’ve got to organize, get our government back and make it accountable. Many believe it will take another scandal the size of Watergate, or worse, to get us back on track. Let’s hope not. Instead, four decades in the future, let there be changes for the good America can celebrate, so we don’t wind up like those old ballplayers on the road, reliving an unforced error, again and again.

  21. Wow, that much to a company like would be like $10 or $15 to me, big deal, sounds like a swat on the wrist fine. If his employees face prison no reason the one in charge of them shouldn’t as well.

  22. To those that are glad Mr. O beat Mr R. I have to ask, do you really believe things would be different under Mr. R? Like how, maybe Mr. R would develop a kill list and put people on their with no judicial oversight? Oh wait, Mr O has one and has used it on U.S citizens 3 times. Maybe Mr R. would have sent Billions $ to his rich banker friends? Oh wait Mr. O already did that. Maybe Mr. R would let rich bankers off without prosecution? Oh wait, Mr. O (through Mr. H) has already let them all go (with extra money in their bank accounts).

    So what would Mr. R have done that would be so egregious?

    The Rs and Ds are one and the same. There is a class in our society and if you’re not in the class, tough luck on you. Color has no bearing on being in the class or not, only the ability to get each other more money and keep each other out of the slammer.

  23. And now this…

    Judge Dismisses Most Claims In Libor Lawsuits, Ruling In Favor Of Big Banks
    By Nate Raymond
    Posted: 03/29/2013

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A judge on Friday dismissed a “substantial portion” of claims facing a number of banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate rigging.

    U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase & Co and others, of allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.

    The judge granted the banks’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims.

    The decision is a significant setback for private plaintiffs, whose lawsuits had been consolidated before the New York judge as part of a multidistrict litigation proceeding.

    In a 161-page opinion, Buchwald said she recognized her ruling might be “unexpected,” since several defendants had paid billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory agencies.

    But she said unlike government agencies, private plaintiffs needed to meet many requirements under the statutes to bring a case.

    “Therefore, although we are fully cognizant of the settlements that several of the defendants here have entered into with government regulators, we find that only some of the claims that plaintiffs have asserted may properly proceed,” she wrote.

  24. Standard practice with Obama. Jail the truth tellers and reward the wealthy criminal. Obama makes Bush ll look like a saint at times. Obama fits the Orwell quote very well. Truth is treason in the empire of lies.

  25. Thanks for the article AP, A plea deal without an allocution of guilt? Wow, talk about a sweet deal. Lanny Breuer needs to be in jail. So many do, but aren’t.

  26. Elaine, I am going to share that article with my women in pain awareness group. (Research shows women with chronic pain have harder time being diagnosed, treated, and believed despite having higher number of pain disorders so sexism is still alive and well, even for those women in pain.)
    Thanks for the article.

  27. NOTHING will stop on the part of the crooks (i.e.Cohen) until the Govt. recoups every dime of whatever scam has been perpetrated PLUS 50 to 100% above that figure PLUS HARD TIME in Leavenworth — and not in some “country club” prison a la Bernie “Made-Off with my money, honey”

    It’s spelled Leavenworth and is in central Kansas // Alcatraz unfortunately is closed …

    Until then all the little crooks like Cohen’s associates will go to jail while the the BIG FISH swim away — and buy Picassos and a mansion to boot.

    Hard to believe that two lawyers (OB and EH) are letting these crooks walk ….What were they teaching at Harvard Law back then ..??

    I still can’t believe that Micahel Milken is free and everybody cow-tows to him … He steals 2 Billion, gets fined 1 Billion, does three years at the country club / probably had his wife and kids flown in on a Lear Jet to visit and now everybody thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread because he takes one or two million of those illegally gotten billion dollar gains and gives it back to charity .. wow-wee ….

    Will wonders ever cease ???

  28. Who needs Kathleen Harris when you have Obama…..

    Note, only said once and not in front of a mirror….

  29. Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail
    How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it
    By Matt Taibbi
    FEBRUARY 14, 2013

    The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

    People may have outrage fatigue about Wall Street, and more stories about billionaire greedheads getting away with more stealing often cease to amaze. But the HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching­ sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated­ with Wall Street. In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.

    For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years – people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that “they make the guys on Wall Street look good.” The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.

    “They violated every goddamn law in the book,” says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.”

    That nobody from the bank went to jail or paid a dollar in individual fines is nothing new in this era of financial crisis. What is different about this settlement is that the Justice Department, for the first time, admitted why it decided to go soft on this particular kind of criminal. It was worried that anything more than a wrist slap for HSBC might undermine the world economy. “Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference to announce the settlement, “HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized.”

    It was the dawn of a new era. In the years just after 9/11, even being breathed on by a suspected terrorist could land you in extralegal detention for the rest of your life. But now, when you’re Too Big to Jail, you can cop to laundering terrorist cash and violating the Trading With the Enemy Act, and not only will you not be prosecuted for it, but the government will go out of its way to make sure you won’t lose your license. Some on the Hill put it to me this way: OK, fine, no jail time, but they can’t even pull their charter? Are you kidding?

    But the Justice Department wasn’t finished handing out Christmas goodies. A little over a week later, Breuer was back in front of the press, giving a cushy deal to another huge international firm, the Swiss bank UBS, which had just admitted to a key role in perhaps the biggest antitrust/price-fixing case in history, the so-called LIBOR scandal, a massive interest-rate­rigging conspiracy involving hundreds of trillions (“trillions,” with a “t”) of dollars in financial products. While two minor players did face charges, Breuer and the Justice Department worried aloud about global stability as they explained why no criminal charges were being filed against the parent company.

    “Our goal here,” Breuer said, “is not to destroy a major financial institution.”

    A reporter at the UBS presser pointed out to Breuer that UBS had already been busted in 2009 in a major tax-evasion case, and asked a sensible question. “This is a bank that has broken the law before,” the reporter said. “So why not be tougher?”

    “I don’t know what tougher means,” answered the assistant attorney general.

    Also known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC has always been associated with drugs. Founded in 1865, HSBC became the major commercial bank in colonial China after the conclusion of the Second Opium War. If you’re rusty in your history of Britain’s various wars of Imperial Rape, the Second Opium War was the one where Britain and other European powers basically slaughtered lots of Chinese people until they agreed to legalize the dope trade (much like they had done in the First Opium War, which ended in 1842).

  30. “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.” Lanny Breuer

    Perhaps DOJ needs to update its “mission” statement.

    From Elaine’s Taibbi link:

    “This is a bank that has broken the law before,” the reporter said. “So why not be tougher?”

    “I don’t know what tougher means,” answered the assistant attorney general.

  31. And this system is corrupt. Anarchy and selflessness are the real solution.

    JFK was the last great president, murdered on an order by Zionist Bankers because his greenback, non-interest ones threatened their business exactly like Abraham Lincoln.

    And Big Pharma and Big Coal and Big Oil and Big Everything runs everything! We see you all, at the UN too, as ants who are nothing. We do not care about Humanity. We only care about ourselves. I represent the Imbred Extreme of the already extreme race called Judaism.

    Freedom for Palestine!

  32. And God won’t save us, because God doesn’t exist. Absolutely 100% Scam People.

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