By Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer
This is a book about JPMorgan Chase. It is, therefore, a book about greed, corruption, arrogance and power. And it is also a book about Bernie Madoff. Few people realize the link between America’s biggest bank and America’s biggest crook. Our government, which knows about it and should be the most outraged, doesn’t care. Although it announced criminal charges against the bank for two felony violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, it simultaneously entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the bank, suspending an indictment for two years provided that the bank complies with the law in the future.1 As if JPMorgan Chase, with its armies of high-priced lawyers, didn’t know how to comply with the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act in 44 years. It needs another two years to figure out how to comply with the law!
Our government did not require that a single JPMorgan Chase employee face criminal charges… or even lose his job. In deferring the indictment against the bank, the United States government may have feared that JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail. But surely JPMorgan Chase, with 240,000 employees, can survive without the handful of officers who sheltered Madoff from the law for 20 years and, as the bank has acknowledged, violated the law.2 Are these officers too rich to jail? How did we become a country where powerful employers can purchase immunity from criminal prosecution for their employees?