Why isn't the deferred prosecution agreement being used in the SAC case, especially since there is no indictment of Mr. Cohen himself and settlements have been reached in the insider trading allegations?
Just as an exercise, let's compare the regulatory record of SAC Capital to that of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) (JPM). In March, SAC agreed to pay a record $616 million to settle insider trading cases.
But, that amount pales in comparison to the $16 billion that JPMorgan Chase has paid in litigation expense over the three years ended Dec. 31 as documented by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. He catalogs no fewer than 13 prosecutions and settlements with regulators plus a multitude of settlements in civil actions.
"There have been so many settlements with so many agencies around the world ... that they're almost impossible to count," he wrote.Yet, despite these ongoing regulatory issues at JPMorgan Chase, CEO Jamie Dimon is President Obama's "favorite banker" and was seriously considered to succeed Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. I am not a fan of SAC Capital or any of Wall Street's too-big-to-fail institutions and have frequently expressed my displeasure with their greed and abuses. Here's the question I'm asking: Is the Justice Department using brute-force indictment power on SAC in order to quell criticism that it has handled Wall Street with kid gloves and that no CEO on Wall Street has been prosecuted, much less convicted, since the financial meltdown five years ago? (Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, MF Global.) The answer to the question appears to be: yes. After all, SAC is a big name Wall Street firm, but it only has 1,000 employees. Shuttering it is not likely to have major consequences (although it does account for 3% of Wall Street's trading volume). Not so for JPMorgan Chase. With more than 260,000 employees, the direct use of the indictment power would have systemic implications. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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