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January 28, 2020

Release | SPECIAL REPORT: Goldman Sachs’ Twenty-Year RAP Sheet of Repeated Illegal Conduct

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Contact: 202-618-6433

$874 Billion in Bailouts, 36 Legal Actions,
$9.8 Billion in Fines and Settlements + 1MDB Fines Coming

Washington, D.C.  –  On the eve of Goldman Sachs’ first investor day, Better Markets releases a RAP Sheet Report detailing two decades of illegal behavior by Goldman Sachs as reflected in major legal actions against the bank and tallying up the enormous bailouts the bank received in connection with the 2008 financial crash:

The Report released by Better Markets today reveals wide-ranging, predatory, recidivist lawbreaking by Goldman Sachs from 1998 through 2019, not including the bank’s central role in the 1MDB criminal enterprise, which continues to unfold.  In the last two decades, while receiving more than $874 billion in bailouts, Goldman Sachs has been subject to 36 major legal actions that have resulted in over $9.8 billion in fines and settlements.  This pattern of illegal conduct appears to have increased after the 2008 crash.

As Goldman Sachs’ CEO and other executives make their presentations at their investor day about strategic priorities, they should be questioned about the Report, including

(1) the bank’s breathtaking, years-long, wide-ranging, and repeated illegal conduct;

(2) the costs of that illegal conduct to the bank and its shareholders;

(3) the utter lack of executive accountability for that illegal conduct, including the failure to impose penalties on its executives;

(4) why those executives have done nothing to stop that illegal behavior, or why the steps they claim to have taken have failed so miserably; and

(5) what those executives are going to do differently in the future that will in fact stop such illegal conduct and stop the hemorrhaging of shareholder wealth, which enriches the executives at the expense of the firm’s reputation and its financial stability.

“The Report demonstrates that Goldman Sachs is a too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-jail, too-big-to-regulate, and too-big-to-manage Wall Street megabank,” said Stephen Hall, Better Markets’ Legal Director and Securities Specialist.  “The U.S. government and taxpayers didn’t bail out Goldman Sachs and save it from bankruptcy in 2008 for it to continue engaging in a crime spree similar to the one that actually caused the crash in the first place.  Goldman is simply not the type of bank—and these are not the types of activities—that should be backed by U.S. taxpayers.  Prosecutors and regulators simply must more effectively punish and deter Goldman Sachs and other gigantic Wall Street megabanks that repeatedly engage in the most egregious illegal conduct.  The forthcoming actions by the Justice Department and the SEC regarding Goldman Sachs’ involvement in the 1MDB criminal enterprise will be an acid test for determining whether they are serious about cracking down on fraud by the too-big-to-fail banks or whether they intend to impose just another slap-on-the-wrist, cost-of-doing-business settlement that actually incentivizes more illegal conduct,” Mr. Hall concluded.

The RAP Sheet Report on Goldman Sachs is available here

The previously released Report on Goldman Sachs’ involvement with the 1MDB criminal enterprise is available here and the previously released RAP Sheet Report on all six Wall Street megabanks is available here.


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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