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Friday, November 7, 2014

Faces facing high crime in high finance

Some Gov't lawyers place them
Out of reach of  Arm of Law
Cowards and the Courageous ● Care takers of public trust and the care less ● Criminals and catchers of criminals ● Whistleblowers and whitewashers
Editing, excerpt, brief comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

oday on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez were writer Matt Taibbi and whistleblower and finance lawyer Alayne Fleischmann. This is some of the salient insight from their discussion.

CARE TAKING of public trust

The whistleblower says “at some stage …, sometimes you are involved in something that is bigger than you personally. 

Attorney Alayne Fleischmann
“…Right now there are still all sorts of suits out there by private investors, retirement funds, pension plans, trying to get their money back. In a lot of cases, they don’t know that I have information; so I now have in my email contacts [people] coming in, asking for help from me so that they can get this money that was stolen from their investors, [get it back to] those retirees.

“For me that is more important than anything that’s going to happen to me.”

The decision to blow the whistle was not kneejerk, not easy, not immediate. “For a long time,” Alayne Fleischmann said she believed "… the government would do their investigation and come forward with it. It has taken a really long time for me because … it is a little bit of an incredible thing to believe [government's failure to expose and prosecute those who have committed crimes].

“After watching all of these cases over and over again,” she says, “at some stage I am in the position where if I keep silent and the statute of limitation runs, or they do one of these agreements where they whitewash everything, then it’s too late – which is what’s happened over and over again so far.” She says, even when there have been “really strong cases—e.g., the JPMorgan-Madoff case, HSBC—no matter how strong the case, they still just get hushed away.”

Fleischmann sums up what she sees as her responsibility. She says she is “trying to change the pattern and come out first, so that they have to either follow these cases properly, the way they would for any other criminal defendant; or explain why they’re not doing it.”


‘I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large. Again, I’m not talking about HSBC; this is just a more general comment. I think it has an inhibiting influence—impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate.’ – Top US law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder

Soon to be former
US Attorney General
Eric Holder
riter Matt Taibbi assesses Holder’s carelessness.

“It is a crazy thing when the leading law enforcement official in the nation comes out and says, ‘Well, some companies are just so big that we can’t prosecute them no matter what they do.’

“In that case, [the attorney general] was testifying in the wake of a settlement the government had entered into with the biggest bank in Europe and the biggest bank in Great Britain, HSBC  (or Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation), which had admitted to laundering over $800 million for a pair of Central and South American drug cartels.”

Taibbi continues, “If you cannot send someone to jail for laundering $800 million of drug money… because the company is too big— clearly something is very seriously wrong.”

Writer Matt Taibbi 
However, “this became sort of the unofficial official policy of the US Department of Justice and this greatly affected the way they dealt with companies like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup and Bank of America. They [the US government] tried to find a way to effect some kind of resolution that

did not involve criminal charges;
did not involve penalties to individuals; and also
did not put the facts of any of what they had actually done out into the public.

With their smart lawyers and Ivy League learning, officials in the US government did not have to but they did permit, encourage, even create impunity – thus making themselves into co-conspirators in crime.

Alayne Fleischmann explains, “There is very little difference between civil securities fraud and criminal securities fraud or even how you can do this as a wire fraud case. Once you have that strong of a civil fraud case, the only real difference is that you need a little more intent … and you have to prove it to a higher standard.” And looking at these cases, she says, “These are some of the easiest white-collar crime cases that you are ever going to see.”
Referencing generally his Wall Street sources, Taibbi raps the US head of state for failing to seize “an incredible opportunity” on acceding to the presidency in 2008.

“With his communication skills,” Taibbi says, the president “could have gone to the American people and explained to them exactly what happened and said, ‘This is why the economy is bad. This is why you’re losing your job. There was massive criminal activity. It’s not just an accident.’ 

“He could have then gone and put a few people in jail and really put some teeth behind those words.

“Instead, they [the Obama government] swept it all under the rug.” And the American people have not been altogether fooled.  

In the light of this Midterm elections’ results, Taibbi concludes that “even if people do not completely understand what happened, they sense that nothing was done” to expose the truth, repair the injury, and bring the criminals to justice. “It is important to understand that,” he says.


Sources and notes

“Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy, Avoid Prosecution” (Democracy Now Exclusive interview)  Program intro: “A year ago this month the US Department of Justice announced that banking giant JPMorgan Chase would avoid criminal charges by agreeing to pay $13 billion to settle claims that it had routinely overstated the quality of mortgages it was selling to investors.

“But how did the bank avoid prosecution for committing fraud that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis?

“Today [Democracy Now speaks with] JPMorgan Chase whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann in her first televised interview discussing how she witnessed ‘massive criminal securities fraud’ in the bank’s mortgage operations. Fleischmann is profiled in Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone investigation ‘The $9 Billion Witness: Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American’” Friday, November 7, 2014,

Alayne Fleischmann

Alayne Fleischmann (at http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/alayne-fleischmann/4a/873/32): Lawyer, Securities, M&A, Corporate Governance, Corporate Finance, Regulatory; Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaLaw Practice; previously: Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Scotiabank, Bingham McCutchen ● Education: Cornell Law School

Alayne Fleischmann, attorney, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Calgary, Canada)
Alayne Fleischmann Employment History at http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Alayne-Fleischmann/419097181; at www.gowlings.com: Associate, McKee Nelson LLP; Associate, J.P. Morgan & Co.; Capital Markets Associate, Cadwalader , Wickersham & Taft LLP ● Education: J.D./LL.M. , Cornell Law School; B.A. , philosophy, University of British Columbia

Matt Taibbi

Author and journalist Matthew C. (Matt) Taibbi (/taɪˈiːbi/) has reported on politics, media, finance, and sports for Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal; and edited and written for The eXile, the New York Press, and The Beast. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Taibbi


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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