The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty: Restoring Law and Order on Wall Street

Mary Kreiner Ramirez and Steven A. Ramirez. New York Univ., $30 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4798-8157-4
This is a thought-provoking call for the prosecution of criminal bankers—and investigation into why such prosecution has not yet occurred—from two who should know: Mary Kreiner Ramirez, a former prosecutor for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and her husband, Steven A. Ramirez, a former SEC enforcement attorney. They charge that in a “historically unprecedented breakdown in the rule of law,” the U.S. government failed to prosecute the people at the center of the 2008 financial crisis, opting instead for a huge civil payment from shareholders. Providing some historical context, the authors demonstrate that never before in modern U.S. history have white-collar criminals enjoyed such immunity. At the time, the argument was made that prosecuting bank employees would irrevocably harm the financial industry and economy, but allowing lawlessness into finance, the Ramirezes observe, lowers trust from investors, both foreign and domestic, yielding just as much harm. Their solutions include a DOJ corporate fraud division, getting rid of nonprosecution agreements, the titular “corporate death penalty” (breaking up the national banks), and, most importantly, educating and engaging American voters. This is an informative and at its heart very angry book, and is fascinating—if slightly academic—reading for everyone who’s still smarting from the crash. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2016
Release date: 01/31/2017
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