May 6, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC—May 6, 2014— In a letter sent today to US Attorney General Eric Holder, Green America, a national nonprofit organization working to create a green economy, encouraged the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute Credit Suisse for helping American citizens avoid taxes and BNP Paribas for violations of sanctions barring business with prohibited countries. The organization is also asking DOJ to go further and prosecute US banks for their role in mortgage fraud.
Green America stated in the letter, “In addition to bringing the weight of the Department of Justice to bear on foreign banks, we strongly urge you to use the power of your office to prosecute the US banks that have been involved in mortgage fraud which has devastated the lives of millions of Americans. We are appalled that after the worst financial crisis in our country since the Great Depression, the Department of Justice and FBI have actually de-prioritized efforts to take legal action against those responsible for mortgage fraud.”
Beginning in April 2014, Green America has an action on its website (http://action.greenamerica.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13597) where concerned citizens can write directly to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to use the resources of DOJ to hold US megabanks responsible for their role in mortgage fraud. So far, over 5,500 citizens have taken action. Green America’s action supports Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representatives Elijah Cummings and Maxine Waters in urging the Attorney General “to ensure that the (DOJ’s) efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible for fraudulent mortgage practices are equal to the harms such crimes have caused our constituents.”
In response to the growing call for prosecutions, in a video posted on the Department of Justice’s website on May 5, Eric Holder stated: “I intend to reaffirm the principle that no individual or entity that does harm to our economy is ever above the law," Holder said in the video. “There is no such thing as 'too big to jail.”
“We are pleased that the Justice Department is considering criminal charges for banks that break the law,” said Green America’s Director of Policy and Social Investing Fran Teplitz. “Now, we would like to see DOJ go even further, and actually prosecute the megabanks for mortgage fraud, which cost our country trillions of dollars in wealth, and directly harmed millions of Americans.”
“No bank should be above the law, simply because it is deemed too big to sue,” said Green America’s Corporate Responsibility Director Todd Larsen. “Banks, and the executives who run them, should not be held to a different standard than other Americans or American corporations. There needs to be a clear message sent that banks and bankers that break the law will be punished. Otherwise we are just creating the conditions for ongoing criminal conduct in the banking industry that will once again jeopardize the US economy and shred the wealth of average Americans.”
ABOUT THE GROUP
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.greenamerica.org.