There is a persistent myth that white collar criminals do not go to prison for their crimes. This myth has frequently been applied to bankers who misused federal funds during the financial crisis or committed other fraud crimes.
However, a recent article in CNN Money points out that 59 bankers have been convicted of fraud related to misuse of Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds, 35 of whom were given prison sentences. Another 19 have been charged and are awaiting trial. The TARP inspector general says there is more to come.
Who Is Going To Prison?
While there is one CEO sitting in prison because of an $800 million fraud scheme, most of the instances of fraud being uncovered involve relatively small dollar amounts and occurred not at big Wall Street banks, but at smaller financial institutions. According to the inspector general interviewed in the article, even when fraud is found to have occurred at a large bank, the accountability may not be with the executives, but with employees further down the chain of command.
This begs the question: Are powerful, high-level bank executives shielding themselves from blame by placing their employees in the line of fire? Furthermore, when these lower level employees are investigated and charged with crimes, are their employers giving them the same protection that they would their CEOs, or are they being left to fend for themselves and ultimately sacrificed to pay for crimes that they played only a small role in, if they played a role in them at all? Are the right people being convicted?
At the law office of Phillip A. Linder, we have more than 20 years of experience handling white collar crimes such as fraud. We believe in justice and fairness. We believe that everyone has rights, and we are here to see that they are defended.