A very good article in Rolling Stone, March 3rd issue, about how only one person (Bernie Madoff) is serving any jail time after the Wall Street meltdown fueled by the greed and deception of so many huge firms. For the most part, the very wealthy execs at Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, WAMU, and JP Morgan Chase, got off scott-free, though a few fines were levied. For example two execs at Goldman Sachs were fined a total of $180K, a small fraction of their bonuses for even one year. The article documents the cozy, ongoing relationship between regulators and Wall Street.
Here's a quote from the piece by Matt Taibbi:
"In the past few years the administration has allocated massive amounts of federal resources to catching wrongdoers - of a certain type. Last year, the government deported 393,000 people.......So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000...Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It's not a crime....let's just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don't make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don't ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year."