Back In April 2010, the world was stunned when in what would be the first major case dealing with the fallout from the endemic fraud prevalent during the last housing and credit bubble, the SEC charged Goldman Sachs and Paulson with securities fraud over the infamous Abacus CDO, which was subsequently featured in Michael Lewis' Big Short book and movie. There was also hope that for the first time, bankers - ostensibly from the company that does "God's work" - would go to prison. None of that happened, and instead just a few months later Goldman walked away with a $550 million slap on the wrist, while a young Goldman banker, French citizen Fabrice Tourre, who was in his late 20's when Goldman was quietly colluding with Paulson to package a "time bomb" CDO it knew would explode in just a few months, was the only Goldman banker prosecuted. In 2013, Fabrice Tourre, a low-ranking trader, was found liable for violating securities laws and ordered to pay more than $850,000. He also avoided prison time and is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago.
He was the only banker who was named in the entire Abacus fraud, something which we laughed at long and hard in 2010 because according to the SEC, this meant the 20-year old was the mastermind behind all of Goldman wrongdoing; nobody else at the firm was aware of what had been going on.
But what was most appalling and what made it clear that the SEC is a captured organization, was not only that no other banker at Goldman was named, but that absolutely everyone avoided prison time setting a disastrous precedent which demonstrated that when it comes to criminal liability, Wall Street will henceforth have a permanent get out of jail free card. (Read more.)Share