Judge grudgingly accepts S.E.C.’s deal with Bank of America

In strikingly unenthusiastic fashion, federal Judge Jed Rakoff signed off on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s plan to fine Bank of America $150 million after failing to tell shareholders of about $16 billion in impending losses at Merrill Lynch.

While better than nothing, this is half-baked justice at best,” wrote Mr. Rakoff in his ruling released Monday, a week before the case was scheduled to go to trial. “The amount of the fine appears paltry.”

The judge wrote in his report that his court was “shaking its head” and that, based solely on the merits, the settlement between the SEC and BofA should be rejected as “inadequate and misguided.” Yet he elected to go along with the SEC’s proposal, citing deference to the authority of regulators and adding that federal judges should be wary of the “power to impose their own preferences…”

The judge’s ruling also seems like a final slap at the reputation of the SEC. The federal agency was prepared to accept a $33 million fine from BofA last year until Mr. Rakoff rejected that settlement.

In the end, the judge signed off on the $150 million penalty—equal to about 3% of BofA’s pretax income last year—by citing a distinguished soothsayer and baseball player. In considering the tortured nature of the BofA case, the judge quoted Yogi Berra, who is said to have said: “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m getting tired of answering that question.”

In other words, everyone’s favorite cronies at the SEC are still taking care of their country club buddies. They’re just getting better at covering their tracks.

3 thoughts on “Judge grudgingly accepts S.E.C.’s deal with Bank of America

  1. E Trams says:

    “half baked justice” I know all about that….fortunately many of the ‘baked’ Judges involved are no longer on the bench. New Mexico is gradually waking up.

  2. zorki says:

    The greater the conglomerate, the easier the corruption, lots go missing within these systems, and only those who manoeuvre the funds know where they are. Say it isnt so.

  3. Chump change says:

    Bank of America Corp will pay a $42 million fine and admitted wrongdoing to settle claims by New York’s attorney general that it fraudulently routed clients’ stock trades to outside firms, including one run by swindler Bernard Madoff. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bankofamerica-new-york-settlement/bank-of-america-pays-42-million-fine-in-new-york-masking-probe-idUSKBN1GZ27H In 2016, Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG settled separate electronic and high-speed trading probes by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office for a respective $35 million, $30 million and $18.5 million. They also reached related settlements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
    Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term for running a huge Ponzi scheme involving his investment advisory business.

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