Posts Tagged: white collar crime

Another ‘BP Squad’ should investigate dispersants

The Obama administration has deployed the ‘BP Squad’ of federal investigators to the Gulf to probe whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of government regulators or private companies related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

As Peter Henning points out in The New York Times, the criminal probe focuses mostly on (more…)

Streamlining Immigration Justice

The New York Times’ John Schwartz reports that federal prosecutions of immigration violators made a big jump last year — and now make up more than half of all federal prosecutions. Why focus federal prosecutions on immigration violators at a time when white collar chicanery makes the headlines? Because it’s easy!

Much of the spike, immigration experts say, arises from Bush administration efforts to increase immigration enforcement and to speed prosecutions. The administration greatly increased the number of Border Patrol agents and prosecutors, and also introduced a program known as Operation Streamline that relied on large-scale processing of plea deals in immigrant cases in some parts of the country.

The relatively simple cases have become the low-hanging fruit of the federal legal system: Immigration prosecutions, from inception to court disposal, are lightning quick, according to the report. While white-collar prosecutions take an average of 460 days and narcotics cases take 333, the immigration cases are typically disposed of in 2 days.

Perhaps federal prosecutors under the Obama administration will develop a more careful approach and take on tougher cases of white collar and environmental crime. However, the Obama Justice Dept. has so far continued the dubious legal practice of marshalling federal prosecutors to pick the “low-hanging fruit.”


Supreme Court cases are off my blogging beat, but a 5-4 ruling yesterday establishes how states will enforce federal financial regulations, which so is on my beat. John Schwartz of the New York Times reports that the court decided that states have the right to enforce federal regulatory laws, which in this case involved the right to enforce fair lending and consumer protection laws. In 2005, Eliot Spitzer, when he still New York state attorney general, suspected that national banks like Wells Fargo were violating fair lending laws by giving bad deals to Latino and black borrowers. But when Spitzer demanded records, the banks replied that only the federal government had a right to see those records.

But just like in March when they said states can enforce federal food and drug safety laws, the normally pro-business court sided here with the states. What this means is that whatever financial regulatory overhauls Obama and Congress agree to, the states have a right to enforce them if, say, the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t. This is already happening in the investigation of the subrprime mortgage crisis: While the Justice Dept. is AWOL in their white collar crime investigations, state attorneys general have picked up the slack. The Court decision means banks will have to comply when these AGs demand records or issue subpoenas.-MB