Be Very Afraid: “New Era” of White-Collar Prosecution at the DOJ
Lanny Breuer, the DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, gave a speech today announcing a “new era of heightened white-collar crime enforcement — an era marked by increased resources, increased information-sharing, increased cooperation and coordination, and tough penalties for corporations and individuals alike.”
You can read his prepared remarks here. We did, and we find them very troubling.
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“The techniques that have been used historically to go after organized crime or blue-collar crime need to be used at times in white-collar crime, because the American people expect no less.” That’s a quote from Breuer’s speech today.
That ought to scare you. It scares us. We’re going to have mob agents looking at Wall Street with the wrong filter. Bring a shopping bag to a friend’s house? It’s a cash delivery! Share gossip and rumors heard on the street? It’s insider trading!
And how many federal prosecutors really understand the day-to-day nuts and bolts of the financial world? Sure, they’re mostly bright and well-educated, but how many know the lingo? How many know what actually goes on at those long tables, with everyone on the phone and banging away on their keyboards? Considering where federal prosecutors come from, we’re willing to bet it’s not a big number at all.
So agents are going to be interpreting things wrong. And prosecutors are going to be interpreting things wrong. And now they’re just going to be doing it more.
How is that not scary?