Not ‘too big to jail?’ — criminal charges issued against Wilmington Trust

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    Brandon L. Garrett

    Brandon L. Garrett

    Lehman Brothers.  Goldman Sachs.  JP Morgan Chase.  Wilmington Trust.

    You might not think of that last one as a banking juggernaut, but it’s nevertheless the first bank to be criminally charged after receiving a federal bailout following the 2008 financial collapse.

    A  federal grand jury returned the indictment against the bank Wednesday night. On the verge of collapse, the bank, through its senior bank execs, lied to bank regulators, investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission about the number of its past due loans, the indictment alleged.

    “It’s significant here that the prosecutors are not only going after individual bankers who committed crimes, but they’ve also indicted the bank and are pursuing a criminal conviction,” noted Brandon Garrett, professor of law at the University of Virginia and author of “Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations.”

    “Immediately after the financial crisis, there was a lot of public concern that banks, if they were caught committing crimes, the employees weren’t prosecuted and the banks themselves were settling the cases out of court,” Garrett said. “They made deals and then didn’t have a criminal record.”    

    Click on the link above to hear Brandon Garrett’s conversation with WHYY’s Shai Ben-Yaacov.

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