The Untouchables

January 22, 2013

FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.

(53:41) FRONTLINE examines why no Wall Street execs have been prosecuted for the financial crisis
THE LATEST

Citigroup to Pay $7 Billion to End Mortgage Deal Probe

The nation’s third largest bank will pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into whether it misled investors about the quality of mortgage-related securities that it sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Could BNP Conviction Signal the End of “Too Big To Jail”?

Nearly six years since the peak of the financial crisis, U.S. prosecutors are still battling the impression that no single bank is too big to jail. But a pair of recent victories may help reverse that perception.

Is SEC “Fearful” of Wall Street? Agency Insider Says Yes

An SEC trial attorney used a recent retirement speech to criticize the agency for being too “tentative and fearful” in confronting Wall Street following the 2008 financial crisis.

Watchdog Calls Out DOJ For Mortgage Fraud Response

An inspector general’s report has called into question the Justice Department’s stated commitment to holding people accountable for misconduct that precipitated the financial crisis.

How JPMorgan’s $13 Billion Settlement Stacks Up

Its the largest fine against an American company ever — and here’s how it compares to other recent bank settlements.

Bank of America Liable for Mortgage “Hustle” Program

For the first time, a major U.S. bank has been found liable for fraud in the sale of defective mortgages during the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Still “Untouchable”? Policing Wall St. 5 Years After the Crisis

Has Wall Street permanently escaped accountability? FRONTLINE asks a group of leading journalists to explore what the meltdown has meant for the policing of Wall St.

Survey: One in Four on Wall Street Open to Insider Trading

If public confidence in Wall Street remains battered from the financial crisis, a new survey of ethics in the financial services industry is unlikely to help.

Rethinking Past Settlements, SEC Aims For More Mea Culpas

New SEC Chairman Mary Jo White says she is looking to boost accountability.

Is Wall Street Still “Untouchable”?

In “The Untouchables,” which re-airs tonight on FRONTLINE, correspondent Martin Smith examines why not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for fraud tied to the sale of bad mortgages.

Eric Holder Backtracks Remarks on “Too Big To Jail”

The attorney general on Wednesday sought to walk back earlier comments that some financial institutions may be too large to prosecute.

SEC Nominee Signals Cautious Approach to Prosecuting Banks

Prosecutors should consider the “collateral consequences” of bringing criminal indictments against financial institutions, SEC nominee Mary Jo White told lawmakers at her confirmation hearing.

Holder: Big Banks’ Clout “Has an Inhibiting Impact” on Prosecutions

The attorney general’s comments underscored previous concerns that the Justice Department hasn’t been sufficiently aggressive in prosecuting major banks for the fiscal crisis.

Senators Bash DOJ for “Evasive” Response on “Too Big To Jail”

Two U.S. senators have criticized the Department of Justice for offering an “aggressively evasive” response to their questions about why major banks have avoided prosecution for the financial crisis.

Supreme Court Ruling a Blow for Future Financial Crisis Cases

The unanimous decision largely ensures no new civil fraud charges will come out of the crisis, now that five-year statute of limitations for such cases has nearly expired.

4 Reasons Why the S&P Fraud Lawsuit May Be a Game-Changer

The Justice Department alleges Standard & Poor’s, the nation’s largest credit ratings agency, knowingly understated the risk behind many of the financial products that caused the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Senators Ask DOJ: Is Wall Street Really “Too Big to Jail”?

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) want to know whether the DOJ avoided prosecuting banks in order to protect financial markets.

Eric Schneiderman: Mortgage Task Force Eyeing Broader Suits

The appetite is growing for cases that address systemic fraud during the financial crisis, says the co-chair of the Obama administration’s Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group.

Report: DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer Stepping Down

Lanny Breuer is leaving his position as head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. As assistant attorney … Continue reading

Did Wall St. Get Away With It? Live Chat Wed. 2 pm ET

Join us for a live chat on “The Untouchables” with producer Martin Smith and New York Times DealBook reporter Peter Eavis at 2pm ET on Wednesday, January 23rd. You can leave a question now.

Blowing the Whistle on the Mortgage Bubble

Well before the 2008 financial meltdown, mortgage industry insiders discovered a ticking time-bomb that they say went up to the very top of Wall Street. What did they find? Who did they warn? And what happened to their warnings?

Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks

In nearly every major legal case to emerge from the crisis, government prosecutors have won multi-million dollar settlements, but companies and officials have not been required to admit wrongdoing.

Were Bankers Jailed In Past Financial Crises?

Not one Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for fraud related to the subprime crisis. How does that compare to past downturns?

Phil Angelides: Enforcement of Wall St. is “Woefully Broken”

The current system of enforcement in the financial services industry has done little to deter pervasive fraud, says the former chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Lanny Breuer: Financial Fraud Has Not Gone Unpunished

Prosecutors are holding Wall Street to account for the financial crisis, but success should not be measured solely by the number of convictions to date, says the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

Ted Kaufman: Wall Street Prosecutions Never Made a Priority

The lack of high-level prosecutions from the financial crisis can be traced to the Obama administration’s ambivalence to upset the banks, the former U.S. senator told FRONTLINE.

As Deadlines Loom for Financial Crisis Cases, Prosecutors Weigh Their Options

For more than four years, regulators have struggled to successfully prosecute a Wall Street bank or its executives for alleged misconduct during the financial crisis. Now, time may be running out.

“Fraud Was … the F-Bomb”

Well before the housing bubble burst, alarm bells were beginning to sound among key players in the mortgage industry: due diligence underwriters.

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