(NaturalNews) The financial institution that came to epitomize the "too big to fail" concept should have been left to its own economic destruction during the days of the Great Recession it helped to cause back in 2008-09, because had it been allowed to go under, its criminal behavior would have ended then.
But as it was, the taxpayer bailout of the financial giant JPMorgan did not "teach" it's arrogant executives anything, so it should come as no surprise that the company's cycle of corruption has continued. According to The New York Times:
Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised "manipulative schemes" that transformed "money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers," and that one of its most senior executives gave "false and misleading statements" under oath.
The findings appear in a confidential government document, reviewed by The New York Times, that was sent to the bank in March, warning of a potential crackdown by the regulator of the nation's energy markets.
The regulator's potential actions come on the heels of similar showdowns with other agencies, the paper said. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of JP Morgan's primary regulators, is considering new actions against the bank regarding the manner in which it collected credit card debt and its suspected failure to alert government authorities about suspicions surrounding convicted con man and Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.
In an April meeting at JPMorgan's New York City headquarters, the comptroller's office issued Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of the bank, this stark message: JPMorgan, the nation's largest bank, was losing favor in Washington, D.C. Also, JPMorgan's top lawyers "have also cautioned executives about the bank's regulatory problems, employees say," the Times reported.
Dimon said in a recent letter to shareholders that "unfortunately, we expect we will have more" government enforcement actions in "the coming months." He apologized to shareholders for letting "our regulators down," and promised to "do all the work necessary to complete the needed improvements" that the government is likely to require.
The regulatory scrutiny which involves at least eight federal agencies currently examining the bank's practices comes amid a period of record profits, but what should we expect, given its historic criminality?
But money talks, regardless of how it is made. Analysts say that despite JPMorgan's current regulatory scrutiny, investors aren't likely to pull out - because "record profits" speak louder than regulations.
The Times said that, regarding the energy market investigation, enforcement officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will recommend that the agency file actions against the bank over trades in the California and Michigan electric markets.
In a 70-page document outlining the actions, the agency also took umbrage with the bank's top official, Blythe Masters, a "seminal Wall Street figure" who "is known for helping expand the boundaries of finance, including the development of credit default swaps, a derivative that played a role in the financial crisis," the Times reported. That's a way of saying Masters is a "master" at bending the financial regulatory system to create shady investment vehicles that ultimately help to collapse entire industries.
How about jail time?
The document noted that Masters' supposed "knowledge and approval of schemes" were facilitated by a trader group in Houston. Investigators said that Masters had "falsely" denied under oath she was aware of any problems at JPMorgan and that the bank had made "scores of false and misleading statements and material omissions" to federal authorities.
The Times said it wasn't yet clear whether FERC will file actions against the bank based on investigators' findings. To proceed, a majority of the five-member commission must sign off on them. If the decision to proceed becomes reality, the agency could fine both JPMorgan and Masters.
"We intend to vigorously defend the firm and the employees in this matter," said Kristin Lemkau, a bank spokeswoman. "We strongly dispute that Blythe Masters or any employee lied or acted inappropriately in this matter."
Of course. Never mind that entities like JPMorgan Chase unnecessarily give capitalism a bad name.
Fine the guilty, for sure, but jail would perhaps teach a better lesson than a bail-out.