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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goldman Sachs' Morality Play

I was watching the movie "Plunder" a couple weeks ago and it was surprising how little the plutocrats realized the damage they've caused. I don't recall seeing a single person amongst them that thought their way of life was in any way immoral. Every single one of them think their hands are clean. It's a lot like how BP refuses to acknowledge the huge amount of damage their oil river is causing. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that Goldman feels the same.

Goldman Sachs' Morality Play

First Goldman Sachs, then Morgan Stanley, and now several other major investment banks--including J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG--are reportedly under criminal investigation for their role in packaging and marketing mortgage-related derivatives. Wall Street awaits the prosecutorial hammer's probable drop.

Suspicions, thus far, seem to be that banks deceived investors into betting on debt bundles destined, supposedly, to fail. If true, the practices were arguably bad business or at least inartful client relations. Whether they rose to the level of criminal conduct is another question entirely.


But when firms are compelled to ally with the government, the tables turn. For prosecutors, a guilty plea from one or more employees--which, of course, leaves "reasonable doubt" out of the equation--is the goal. The pressure point, for financial institutions, is criminal indictment. Forget conviction; charges alone will destroy most financial firms, a reality, bolstered by recent history, that's not lost on Goldman, Morgan or any investment bank in the hot seat. Truth has surprisingly little to do with it.

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