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As 'Statute of Limitations' Approaches, Wall Street Crimes of 2008 Go Unpunished

With time running out, federal agencies show no urgency in holding firms or executives to account

Common Dreams staff

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is quickly running out of time to file charges against financial firms and high-level executives involved in fraud and other crimes leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Federal laws require the SEC to file official charges within five years of the alleged crimes due to a statute of limitations. Officials at SEC, according to the Wall Street Journal, are now scrambling to file lawsuits before the five-year time limit runs out.

In one example, experts believe that the SEC should file a civil lawsuit against bankers involved in the high profile 'Delphinus deal' no later than next Thursday. Delphinus, a $1.6 billion deal, was a subprime mortgage scam which collapsed within months during 2007 and was a major player in the widespread financial collapse.

A criminal investigation into that deal began months ago; however, prosecutors have yet to file charges.

The failure of the SEC to file charges and allow these crimes to go unchallenged "feeds the public sense of cynicism," Arthur Wilmarth, a law professor at George Washington University and consultant to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, told the Journal.


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