Insiders close to a federal investigation into financial abuses by big banks say it’s unlikely that any criminal charges will be filed against the country’s top bankers – despite the fact that their actions culminated in one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history.
Our Miami foreclosure lawyers understand that the investigation is not fully completed, but sources are leaking that the criminal investigation spear-headed by the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group is going nowhere fast. At most, insiders say, we can expect a few civil suits filed by the group. Even then, it’s unclear when those might be filed or what the scope might be.
At the end of the day, this would mean more drop-in-the-bucket monetary penalties, as opposed to actual, hard jail time.
While it’s true that jail time might not have directly helped any homeowner -or someone who has lost his home – one way or another, a lack of a criminal prosecution would send a very clear message to these institutions: That they are essentially untouchable. Do whatever you want to whomever you want. Don’t worry about the law – you’re above it anyway.
It also sends a very clear message to homeowners: If you want to fight back against your foreclosure, you’re going to need a skilled and experienced lawyer to help you do it.
Of course, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office reports that all remedies – both civil and criminal – are on the table, and should the agency find evidence of fraud or other criminal activities, they won’t hesitate to “aggressively” pursue it. However, given what appears to be ample evidence that these companies manipulated the market and bypassed laws in the interest of their own greed and the lack of any criminal charges thusfar, it doesn’t seem the justice department is “aggressively” pursuing anything.
The task force, which is comprised of representatives of the U.S. Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and a number of state attorneys general, was supposed to pool its resources in an investigation into who should be held legally responsible for the housing collapse and subsequent economic implosion. But so far, the commission hasn’t been forthcoming with answers.
One encouraging piece of news is that if civil charges were filed, sources say penalties would likely go to aid more struggling homeowners. What’s unnerving though is that a number of remedies already exist for homeowners who are upside down (a $26 billion settlement from the top five banks, incentives to extend loan modifications and principal reductions, HARP) and those haven’t helped nearly as many homeowners as originally projected. At least not yet. It’s not clear whether any such civil remedies sought by the tax force would be any different.
In the end, it seems a surreal dichotomy: That a person could be arrested for stealing $1,000, and go to jail for years, and another person could steal billions of dollars, and not even have to endure a criminal trial.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.