It’s a question many have asked themselves since the beginning of the financial crisis; Why aren’t the CEOs of Wall Street banks on trial for the events that lead to the crash of 2008 and our current housing crisis?No one seems to have the answer to that one, but for the first time, a jury in a Citigroup mortgage fraud case decided to say something about it in Court, Peter Lattman of The New York Times reports.
The individual on trial was Brian Stoker, a mid-level Citi executive accused of defrauding clients as he sold $1 billion bundle of mortgage bonds. The jury eventually cleared him of wrongdoing because they felt the SEC did not prove his guilt. But, according to the NYT, the jury didn’t feel like that ‘innocent’ verdict adequately expressed their feelings on the matter.
“I wanted to know why the bank’s C.E.O. wasn’t on trial,” said…(juror Beau) Brendler, who served as the jury’s foreman. “Citigroup’s behaviour was appalling…
“We were afraid that we would send a message to Wall Street that a jury made up of regular American folks could not understand their complicated transactions and so they could get away with their outrageous conduct,” Mr. Brendler said. “We also did not want to discourage the government from investigating and prosecuting financial crimes.”
And here’s the short message Bendler, a freelance writer, scrawled on a legal pad with the approval of his fellow jurors. Judge Jed Rakoff (yes, that Rakoff) read it aloud in Court:
“‘This verdict should not deter the S.E.C. from continuing to investigate the financial industry, review current regulations and modify existing regulations as necessary,’ said the statement…”
That’s something, we guess.