The Wall Street banks responsible for the spectacular crash of 2007-08 have mostly been let off the hook.
According to a review conducted by the Wall Street Journal, which examined 156 criminal and civil cases brought by the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission against 10 of the largest Wall Street banks since 2009,
In 81% of those cases, individual employees were neither identified nor charged. A total of 47 bank employees were charged in relation to the cases. One was a boardroom-level executive . .
Most of the bankers who were charged pleaded guilty to criminal counts or agreed to settle a civil case, with those facing civil charges paying a median penalty of $61,000. Of the 11 people who went to trial or a hearing and had a ruling on their case, six were found not liable or had the case dismissed. That left a total of five bank employees at any level against whom the government won a contested case.
The United States still has the highest incarceration rate in the world—but the U.S. prison population doesn’t, and won’t, include the executives of Wall Street banks.