Justice Department Plans More Actions Against Financial Companies

The Department of Justice is working on bringing more actions in coming months against large financial firms that contributed to the economic crisis, Attorney General Eric Holder told The Wall Street Journal.

“My message is, anybody who’s inflicted damage on our financial markets should not be of the belief that they are out of the woods because of the passage of time,” Holder said to the WSJ on Tuesday. “If any individual or if any institution is banking on waiting things out, they have to think again.”  

While the Attorney General didn’t provide specifics, he did say the decisions to bring new cases against certain financial companies won’t depend on his tenure. Holder has previously announced he doesn’t intend to serve through the end of President Obama’s term, and reportedly may step down later this year. 

It’s unknown whether the suits would be civil or criminal, but Holder told the Journal his department “would pursue whichever type of case was most likely to work in court.” 

However, there is a five-year statute of limitations on many white-collar crimes that could make it impossible for the Justice Department to successfully prosecute a number of pre-crash abuses, according to a Columbia University law professor who specializes in white-collar crime and securities fraud cited by the WSJ.

The federal government is already looking into prosecuting cases related to possible abuses in the mortgage-backed securities industry along with criminal charges recently filed against two ex-J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. traders who allegedly misstated losses throughout a period of time, resulting in costing the bank more than $6 billion in 2012. 

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Written by Alyssa Gerace

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