On Sunday evening, December 5th, 60 MINUTES aired what I think is a ground-breaking bit of investigative reporting on how the SEC allowed big banks and mortgage companies to violate Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) requirements with total impunity.
Since the American public is still suffering from the mortgage meltdown – they are looking for answers and looking for punishment. Crime and punishment usually go together in the Justice Department and law enforcement communities.
“You do the Crime – You do the Time”.
So one person is arrested for a victimless crime, like shoplifting a candy bar, but a big company, like Countrywide, or Bank of America, can crash a worldwide economy, lie on federal forms, commit perjury and saw intense financial destruction to millions of people, and they are allowed to keep the fortunes they made through this risky behavior, and, even better, there’s no jail time, no fines commensurate with crime, and no penalty for openly flaunting federal laws!!
WOW – what kind of message does this send?
For me, concerned day after day with helping organizations comply with federal mandates and laws, like SOX, and HIPAA, and OSHA, this makes a parody of compliance enforcement.
Companies spend millions of dollars to comply with these regulations, which are passed to protect the American public from exactly what just happened. To find that the regulators are the ones who ignored the falsified attestations, forgave the lack of compliance and let these 21st century robber barons keep their ill-gotten gains makes me, and about 200 million other people, sick!