According to Reuters, the U.S. Department of Justice is using a unique law to pin mortgage issues on Bank of America (BAC). To convince a jury that Bank of America engaged in fraud, lawyers utilized FIRREA, otherwise known as the Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. The law allows the government to build a criminal case against financial institutions, but without having to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  

“It allows and permits the government to go after all kinds of malfeasance that some people thought that maybe you couldn't go after before," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office brought the case against Bank of America, said in an interview on Thursday.

FIRREA, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, was passed in 1989 in response to the savings-and-loan crisis but had largely collected dust until Bharara's office resurrected it in 2010.