As the gavel comes down, a NYC judge has declared enough is enough. This isn't the first time Jed Saul Rakoff has rejected a settlement. He also called BS in 2009 when Bank of America and Merrill Lynch agreed to a 33 million dollar slap on the hands over non-disclosed bonuses. He denies a settlement by instructing both parties to tell it to a judge on their newly arranged court date. He's the judge on the right side of the law.
Following the Great Depression, the SEC was designated as an authority to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive companies who sought investors. They are a watchdog in place to keep investors confident in the market by keeping companies honest and ensuring that the investors best interest remains in the forefront. It seems they may have become a bit lax when we look at the state of the current economy. They believe it may be tough to find incriminating evidence that large publically traded corporations have treated investors unfairly, and often agree upon a fine in place of a trial. Their recent offer with Citibank was for just pennies on the dollar when one looks at the pernicious results of Citibank's actions.
The accusations surrounding Citibank stemmed from a pool of toxic mortgage backed bonds that were represented to investors as a good deal. Nobody knows a good bet better than the dealer and Citibank took the investors anti and made a small fortune betting against them and against the very pool they deemed a safe investment. Imagine the individual lawsuits that could come if this financial giant was actually required to admit guilt.
The SEC's protection of the investor seems unlikely when they settle many cases with the option of paying a small fine and keeping all the facts of the case a secret. When the settlement is the apology, but it is done so in such a way that the victims can not actually press charges, there really is no apology. The plaintiff thinks that the legal fees to pursue the defendant will take away from the funds reserved to investigate other fraudsters that they can make a deal with. The defendant believes a few hundred million was a reasonable fine based on their innocence. The man in the long black robe declared not on my watch.