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Friday, March 20, 2009

RICO


There's a lot of to and fro, teats-in-a-wringer screaming about the AIG big shot bonuses, and I'm here to say we are missing the point on how to deal with these people. They are criminals. If Congress and the Administration were to stupidly give, say, a real world Tony Soprano a bonus, that wouldn't make him any less a criminal. Our bankers and insurance company execs have committed fraud if there is any meaning to the word, but it goes deeper than that. There are tens of thousands of real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, and appraisers who have contributed to the disaster. There are hedge fund managers galore who need to be stripped of their gains and given long sentences in federal prison. AIG is no more a convoluted criminal scheme than ENRON, and plenty of them are, or were, cooling their heels in the joint. Sure the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act was written with making prosecution of Mafiosi easier in mind, but RICO is at least half about financial fraud. The AG's office is going to need lots of prosecutors to deal with the private enterprise crooks and the Bush torture crew. Let the subpoenas begin.

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