Attorney General

DOJ Doesn't Tally Execs Convicted in Financial Crisis Wrongdoing; Is Embarrassment the Reason?

The U.S. Justice Department says it doesn’t keep track of the number of high-level executives convicted as a result of wrongdoing related to the financial crisis.

In a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the department disclosed what it did know, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. Since the crisis peaked in October 2008, the department has filed financial fraud cases against 14,843 defendants. Seventeen CEOs and other senior executives have been convicted of financial crimes. But many of those executives were convicted in cases not directly related to the financial crisis, including cases involving Ponzi schemes, bank fraud and insider trading, the story says.

The DOJ’s explanation doesn’t satisfy Grassley, who requested the information, according to the article. The letter “substantiates my suspicion,” he said, that the government “isn’t going after the big banks, big financial institutions or their executives.”

The Wall Street Journal interviewed University of Missouri-Kansas City economics and law professor William Black, who had his own opinion of why the Justice Department isn’t keeping count. “I can tell you why you wouldn’t keep the data,” he told the newspaper. “Because it would be really embarrassing.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.