Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Does the DOJ Go after Little Guys?

     "Not a single high-level executive has been prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis" says journalist Jed S. Rakoff (New York Review of Books, Jan 9, 2014*) even though the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has made a statement that "the signs of fraud were everywhere to be seen."  The Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed with the conclusions that "fraud at every level permeated the bubble in mortgage-backed securities," quotes Rakoff, but, five years after the market crash that has left many Americans broke and without homes, the DOJ now says proving fraudulent intent is "too difficult."  What the DOJ means, Rakoff tells us, is that the executives are "too big to jail."
     If big criminals are too big to jail, the DOJ has to go after small criminals--maybe even after people who aren't criminals at all, if its prosecutors are going to prove they're doing any work at all.  I guess that's where I fit in.  I'm not too big to attack.  I keep remembering my lawyer's explanation for why my clinic was raided in June 2011:  "You're low-hanging fruit," he said.
     The DOJ's explanation for not prosecuting the companies--or their executives--who were responsible for the economic crisis that started in 2009 and continues to have devastating consequences for millions of Americans, is that such prosecutions "will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."  What about the millions of Americans who have lost their homes and declared bankruptcy since 2009?  Aren't their plights having a negative impact on the national economy?  How is prosecuting the executives who permitted, or may have choreographed, such high-level mortgage fraud going to harm America, or do anything but send the message that they're welcome to do it all over again?
     "The Department of Justice has never taken the position that all the top executives involved in the events leading up to the financial crisis were innocent;  rather it has offered one or another excuse for not criminally prosecuting them--excuses that, on inspection, appear unconvincing, " says Rakoff.  Going after these executives who profited massively from the mortgage fraud, requires years of difficult investigations, and too many resources.  Prosecutors want to make names for themselves, and they don't want to take years to do it.  If there are easier cases to nab, cases that draw a lot of public attention and are easy to win or settle, they'll taken them instead.  Enter:  medical fraud.  Doctors are notoriously easy to intimidate, and they don't hire big firm lawyers.  They settle quickly, because their livelihoods depend on their reputations, their honor.  Whether they've done something wrong or not--lately I'm convinced that a large number of them have not--they want out of the limelight, and fast.
     DOJ prosecutors go after small fry like me because we're easy to pick on.  I guess they think destroying a solo doctor isn't going to "ruin the national economy."  But I disagree:  making doctors who are simply doing their jobs look like criminals is terrible for their employees and their patients, for the community, for medicine, and for national morale.  Attacking doctors, one by one, because it's easier than going after multinational lending institutions, isn't doing the job of justice, it's eroding the backbone of America, the many small business, like solo doctors, who built up this country, and who are now getting the message that if we want to be safe from the grasping hands of the DOJ we'd better either get really, really big--as big as the banks who got away with trillions, five years ago--or disappear from the workforce altogether. 


  1. I have been contemplating these two films over the past year.

    Fascinating interview: Reflections and Warnings – An Interview With Aaron Russo (Full Film), filmmaker exposing the elite of the world in “America: Freedom to Fascism”.

    Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones on-going investigation of a government hideout being constructed in the mountains of the Ozarks, “Conspiracy Theory Jesse Ventura S03E04 Ozarks”

    Could it be?

  2. If people in the government wonder why so many Americans distrust the federal government, this is Exhibit A. So many have suffered from the fraud done by the big shots on Wall Street. These big shots not only got away with it, they PROFITED from it! Why wouldn't they do it again? Meanwhile people like Dr. Colasante are persecuted for doing their jobs.

    By the way, the man who wrote that article, Jed S. Rakoff, is not a journalist but a United State District Judge for the Southern District of New York. This is the district which would try any fraud case if the DOJ did go after Wall Street. So it's almost as if the judge is begging DOJ to bring him a case!

  3. Thanks for the clarification about Judge Rakoff. That he should have written an article like this is doubly damning to United States prosecutors. He outlines in the article why U.S. prosecutors might not want to work on such a big, bad case as the global one that caused the "financial crisis." One of those reasons is that this kind of work takes a long time and doesn't bring quick glory. It's hard to unravel the damages and assign blame. But isn't this why we have tax-supported prosecutors, to do this job, because the rest of us are doing OUR jobs so tax revenues can support their jobs? It's important to understand that the country didn't "go through a financial crisis." The country was robbed by banking criminals, and no one is prosecuting them. In Aaron Russo's interview, cited two comments above, "Reflections and Warnings," he talks about the banking industry, its links to the Federal Reserve, is criminality, sanctioned by (maybe propagated by) the US government. It's worth watching and thinking about--thanks Rinker for the tip.

    1. Seems gov. of the people by the people, according to the Constitution, is what? A misnomer>>>??? Gov. seems to be stealing from the people. Tell the truth Obama.....yea that will happen...