This is the ice, though, that pisses: A former Goldman Sachs trader was sentenced on Friday to nine months in prison for wire fraud by a judge who took sharp aim at both Goldman and the government, questioning why it took them so long to bring the misconduct to light.
In a week where US income inequality became the “defining challenge of our time,” the problem of the asshole Goldman Sachs trader is a mirror of ‘law‘ inequality.
(Illustration found here).
Last March, the highest legal-beagle in America, US AG Eric Holder blubbered this out before a Senate Judiciary Committee (via PBS):
“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult 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 world economy, that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.
It has an inhibiting impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate. That is something that you all need to consider.”
A most cringe-worthy fart in a crowded elevator — despite the awful consequences of what Holder articulated (a couple months later, the clown tried to walk back those comments above, whining the whole shebang “misconstrued“), nothing but a ripple at what the AG espoused.
Until yesterday in a New York courtroom:
Matthew Taylor had admitted in a guilty plea this year that he concealed an unauthorized $8.3 billion trading position in 2007.
He told Goldman within 36 hours but escaped criminal charges until this year.
“Goldman was silent about Taylor’s lies,” U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in federal court in Manhattan.
The investment banking firm fired Taylor but didn’t disclose the full extent of his misconduct, clearing the way for him to continue as a trader for Morgan Stanley for another four years, the judge said.
“So much for Goldman’s concerns about the credibility of the financial markets,” he said.
The judge also suggested the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and federal regulators went after the rogue trader years after his offense largely for publicity.
He accused prosecutors of crafting an artificially low sentencing recommendation to secure a quick plea deal.
“Everything about this case is sad,” the judge said.
“Your employer’s response was sad. Your conduct was sad. The government’s conduct — it’s sad.”
One humongous crazy item in the income agenda is artificial wealth, and that wealth’s ability to screw the rest of us. A month before Holder’s stink-discharge before that Senate committee, Matt Taibbi had a massive piece at Rolling Stone, titled, ‘Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail,’ which touched upon ‘law’ inequality, especially focusing on the horrific bullshit where ‘…the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.’
And the HSBC case in a nutshell?
For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years – people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that “they make the guys on Wall Street look good.”
The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.
“They violated every goddamn law in the book,” says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.”
Nowhere else to go but further down.
And President Obama’s words on Wednesday was ironic at best, and shit-stupid at worst: “The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed.”
And leaves us to turn or move with a twisting or writhing motion…