Criticized by many for not prosecuting many of the CEO’s and financial leaders after the 2008 economic collapse, the U.S. Justice Department is now revamping its system in an effort to prioritize and target individual employees who have escaped the system.
The new policies, released in a memo to federal prosecutors throughout the country, is the first step that Attorney General Loretta Lynch has taken on the matter since her appointment to the position in April. The memo, authored by deputy attorney general Sally Yates, admits the wrongdoings of the Department for not investigating and fully prosecuting Wall Street criminals for their role in the financial meltdown of 2008-2009.
“Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,” Yates wrote, knocking previous positions of prosecutions businesses and corporations as a whole. “It’s only fair that the people who are responsible for committing those crimes be held accountable. The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom.”
The memo lays out specific proposal changes, including one in which corporations will not receive financial or legal credit unless they specific identify the person or persons involved in a crime, The New York Times reported.
“We mean it when we say, ‘You have got to cough up the individuals,’” Yates said.
Under former Attorney General Eric Holder, none of the top Wall Street bank and financial executives went to prison, showcasing a weak Justice Department and differences in how CEO’s are treated as opposed to their employees, the Times also noted.
In a speech announcing the new policies on Sept. 10, Yates is expected to address the new changes and further explain the new policies, which go immediately into effect.
“Our mission here is not to recover the largest amount of money from the greatest number of corporations; our job is to seek accountability from those who break our laws and victimize our citizens,” Yates will say in Thursday’s speech. “There is real value, however, in bringing civil cases against individuals who engage in corporate misconduct, even if that value cannot always be measured in dollars and cents.”