David Siegal to Reuters: Criminal Intent Hard to Prove in Financial Crisis


Still Searching for a Wall Street Scalp
Excerpted from Reuters

The American public wants to see bankers' heads on spikes for triggering a global financial crisis, but so far prosecutors and regulators have come up empty.

Federal and state authorities are struggling to hold banks accountable, but cases have proven to be extremely complicated and hard to win, if they get brought at all.

"A financial meltdown is not a crime," said David Siegal, a former federal prosecutor in New York.

Proving criminal conduct is no easy task. Prosecutors must show that Wall Street bankers and marketers knowingly committed fraud by failing to disclose the hidden dangers in mortgage-linked securities that some say were designed to fail.

"It's not like a shooting on the street," said Siegal, the former federal prosecutor, who is now an attorney with Haynes and Boone. "It's an enormous and potentially overwhelming task. Typically what you need is a whistle blower."

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