Why aren’t we seeing more prosecution of individuals and institutions whose fraud and criminal misconduct led to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008? One possible answer, from attorney Stephen Juris at law firm Morvillo Abramowitz:
“Over the past several years, it has become commonplace to hear the general public and pundits alike grouse about the lack of criminal prosecutions or regulatory enforcement proceedings arising out of the financial dislocations of 2007 and 2008. There are many reasonable responses to these complaints, and almost all of them – as representatives of the Department of Justice and SEC emphasized in recent media statements – start with the actual facts and evidence. Not surprisingly, they also have more than a little to do with the law, and what it demands from prosecutors and regulators to differentiate mistakes, oversights, and collective failures of imagination and caution from outright fraud and criminal misconduct.
There is no ready resolution to these complaints, insofar as they really concern the national psyche, economy, and politics more than anything about the facts and circumstances of any particular investigation. Ironically, however, the current public debate over these issues wholly ignores a practical consideration that directly impacts regulators’ ability to vigorously pursue investigations in a world of limited resources and staffing: the ability to make important gatekeeper decisions regarding those investigations that are worth pursuing and those that are marginal and should be brought to a swift conclusion. Unfortunately, the political and professional environment – as well as basic human nature – often makes it difficult for prosecutors or regulators to walk away from marginal cases. This is a shame for a number of reasons, but from a public policy perspective it directly impacts the effectiveness of law enforcement more generally.”
Read the full update, Regulatory Enforcement and Criminal Investigations in a World of Limited Resources: Marginal Cases and Missed Opportunities - Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer, P.C.»