Individuals may have to face the law for their role in the 2008 financial crisis soon.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Feb.17 that he has given prosecutors a 90-day window to decide if they can charge individuals for their involvement in the collapse of the housing market.
Prior to this, many institutions that pooled and sold residential mortgage-backed securities were charged for their role in bringing about the financial crisis. Attorneys who brought those charges have been asked "to try to develop cases against individuals and to report back in 90 days with regard to whether they think they can successfully bring criminal or civil cases against those individuals,” Holder said at the National Press Club.
Several major financial institutions have had to pay up for their role in tanking the economy. Most recently, Bank of America Corp. reached a $16.63 billion deal with the federal government for its role, Reuters reported.
Individual executives at firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., which have also paid out for their part in the financial crisis, have not faced any charges for their personal involvement.
“I think what we have done has been appropriate,” Holder said. “To the extent that individuals have not been prosecuted, people should understand it is not for lack of trying."
In 2012, President Obama designated a task force to investigate the misconduct that helped create the financial crisis.
Holder is likely leaving office soon, and the decision to prosecute individuals will fall to Loretta Lynch, the Obama administration's nominee for his position.