Proving that Wall Street is always above the law, federal prosecutors are said to be filing criminal charges against General Motors Co. over a faulty ignition switch linked to more than 100 deaths. The charges are said to be against both the company and individual engineers.
The situation is reminiscent of the numerous recent Wall Street crimes, in which large, too big to fail banks, conspire to commit criminal acts and yet when caught, face only financial penalties amounting to far less than the ill gotten gains. In all cases on Wall Street no individuals have been charged and nobody has gone to jail.
In a move showing just how deeply Wall Street has corrupted our judiciary, a New York court thinks GM and its employees ought to be prosecuted while Wall Street has never had an individual charged with anything and escaped with paltry civil penalties.
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, notoriously cozy with Wall Street, has apparently determined GM broke the law by making misstatements about the ignition-switch glitch in older Chevrolet Cobalts and other vehicles it manufactured. The allegations date back more than a decade and will result in a fine exceeding $1 billion from the company. GM will either plead guilty or enter a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement, the preferred settlement of Wall Street banks, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Preet Bharara, who is in charge of the Wall Street friendly Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, has made cases like GM and Toyota a priority while letting large criminal bank syndicates off the hook with relatively minor penalties.
Penalties to banks have affected shareholders, who are usually average Americans, while leaving bonuses of the actual offenders fully intact. In short, the office has decided that America should pick up the tab for Wall Street’s wrongdoing and that criminal bankers should be free to do as they please.
Mr. Bharara’s office has stated that, unlike Wall Street criminal banks, individual GM engineers will face personal criminal charges.
It is unclear, at the time of writing, why Wall Street gets a pass while GM, composed mostly of middle class citizens, faces extra punishment.