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Wall Street Banks Have Still Never Been Held Accountable, Says Tavakoli

Daily Ticker
Wall Street Banks Have Still Never Been Held Accountable, Says Tavakoli

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) revealed through a regulatory filing this week that it faces a civil and criminal investigation into whether it sold shoddy mortgage-back securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, Dealbook reports.

Add it to the list.

Also this week we learned the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Bank of America (BAC), accusing BAC of defrauding investors in a 2008 deal for $850 million in mortgage-backed securities.

Related: Suddenly, Things Are Going “Terribly Wrong” for the Big Banks

And we are fresh from a jury verdict holding former Goldman Sachs vice president Fabrice Tourre liable for fraud in a case brought by the SEC over, again, a complex MBS (mortgage-back securities) deal.

Related: New Regulatory Environment Hurting Housing, Jobs & Bank Profits

Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement said the BAC filing represents the DOJ’s “ongoing efforts to hold accountable those who engage in fraudulent or irresponsible conduct.”

So do these examples show authorities and regulators are really taking action against Wall Street and holding it accountable for its misdeeds?

Not according to Janet Tavakoli, president and founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a consulting and expert witness services firm for derivatives.

“The statute of limitations is running out on a lot of these lawsuits, so now we’re seeing the tail end of it,” Tavakoli tells The Daily Ticker (in other words – we won’t see many more). “If you look at what the investment banks have been making, have been like – the best investment ever has been investing in campaign contributions.”

Check out the accompanying video to see Tavakoli’s case for why (she uses JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to illustrate her point).

For reference, JPM contributed more than $5 million to candidates in the 2012 cycle according to the Center for Responsive Politics, ranking 46 out of more than 21-thousand organizations.

As for the actions we are seeing against financial firms and individuals, Tavakoli says they do matter, but in the case of Fabrice Tourre she asks ironically, “so we caught the mastermind who acted solely on his own and caused the financial crisis and was the only malefactor at Goldman Sachs (GS)?”

Related: Big Banks Still Write the Rules: Fmr. Inspector General of Bank Bailout

Tavakoli says if you believe that, she has a number of other examples of questionable financial products that should have been avoided at all costs (and regulated). In short, Tavakoli argues so much more should have been investigated.

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