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April 11, 2016

Better Markets Statement on Goldman’s Settlement Victory with DOJ: More of the Same Non-punishment, Non-accountability

Monday, April 11, 2016
Contact: Shanessa Bryant, 202-618-6433 or

Washington, D.C. – Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued this statement on the announcement of the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over its deceptive sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities: 

“The Department of Justice’s latest big bank settlement, this time with Goldman Sachs, is just more of the same non-punishment, non-accountability ritual that will do nothing to stop the Wall Street crime spree.  In fact, such settlements, many years after the crimes have been committed, are so weak that they will actually incentivize more law breaking on Wall Street.  That will not change until DOJ requires admissions, punishes individual officers and managers, discloses the amount of ill-gotten gains and investor losses caused by the fraud, and charges banks and individuals with actual crimes like fraud rather than mere disclosure violations.

“This settlement is a victory for Goldman.  First, it got to keep all the ill-gotten gains for the last eight-plus years.  Second, a $5 billion settlement is meaningless unless it is publicly disclosed how much money was made from the illegal conduct and the total amount of investor losses.  Third, DOJ helped it cover up its illegal actions by letting Goldman merely acknowledge a Swiss cheese ‘statement of facts’ carefully crafted more to conceal than reveal what Goldman really did here. Fourth, Goldman’s net revenue was $37.7 billion and its net earnings were $9.5 billion in 2006 alone, just one year in the midst of this multi-year scheme. Fifth, every single individual at Goldman who received a bonus from this illegal conduct not only keeps the entire bonus, but suffers no penalty at all. Sixth, more than half of the $5 billion appears likely to be tax deductible, meaning U.S. taxpayers will be required to subsidize this settlement.

“That is not justice. That is a fraud on the American people who deserve to know who did what when they were breaking the law and when they will actually be punished.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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