Greta Van Susteren | December 20, 2010 8:33 AM
Is this politics? Or is this legitimate? Why civil and not criminal?
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (who is soon to be NY Governor) is getting ready to file CIVIL fraud charges against Ernst & Young for it’s role in the collapse of Lehman Brothers. As you know, the collapse of Lehman Brothers hurt thousands and thousands…and you have to wonder why New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is not pursuing CRIMINAL fraud. There is a big difference between civil and criminal fraud charges. With criminal, people go to prison. With civil they simply pony up some cash and that is it ….and usually they are left with a pile of cash so it doesn’t hurt.
Thousands lost money (including life savings and retirement) from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Meanwhile the giant Ernst & Young pocketed 100 MILLION in seven years doing accounting for Lehman – essentially vouching for them so that people continued to invest with Lehman when it was not wise. Did Ernst & Young do something crooked? Fraudulent? Should we not find out?
According to the WSJ, Lehman Brothers misled investors by “removing debt from their balance sheets before they reported financial results to mask their true levels of risk taking…” (called “window dressing”.). The misleading of investors caused people to invest when it was unwise. WSJ reports that Ernst & Young (as their accountants) “specifically approved” of Lehman’s actions. Is it criminal to remove debt from balance sheet to mislead? I think so. What was Ernst & Young’s involvement? Were they aware of it? Did their approval mislead investors? If yes that they knew about it and yes that it misled, then they are in it up to their eyeballs.
So …Cuomo goes after them in a CIVIL action (no chance anyone goes to prison) where the accountants got 100 million…do you think he would go after YOU in a civil action or criminal if he thought you committed fraud of only five hundred dollars? Why does the “little guy” get treated differently?
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo needs to get tough instead of this “window dressing” CIVIL business. He is soon to be the Governor of NYC and this is his last act as the State’s Attorney General. I hope this is not to appease Wall Street.
Let a jury decide whether is is criminal behavior or not and whether anyone has committed a crime. As it stands now, Cuomo is blocking that determination with only civil charges.