Statutes of Limitation

I have been quite critical of the Justice Department for its failure to bring criminal cases against Wall Street's leading financial institutions for mortgage fraud. Readers here know I have asserted that the cases can never be brought because, in most cases, the Statute of Limitations has run.   I stand by the criticism, but stand corrected as to potential claims brought under a ten year Statute that applies to crimes AGAINST, not by, financial institutions. Just this week, JP Morgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion CIVIL settlement with the Justice Department. No criminal charges yet, if ever, but large pats on the back to themselves for avoiding a public rendition of the frauds alleged against them. Under the law, the Limitations period for some financial crimes against financial institutions has been extended to 10 years. This would mean that crimes committed against non-financial institutions, such as investors, insurance companies, pension funds and the like are still barred after 5 years. There have been no major criminal cases brought against any major investment bank or commercial bank for their frauds, and unless it is alleged that one bank sold phony mortgages to another, there will be no use made of the additional 5 year Statute. It is premature to speculate that there will be no such prosecutions, but I suggest that no breath be held waiting for one. Politics and money will continue to trump justice, and there will be no deterrence against the biggest financial crooks in history.


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