After gaining one of the highest levels of public trust, and producing one of America’s worst ethical and financial failures, Jon Corzine is back working with client’s money again.
When I was growing up, I believed America was fair and honest and if you worked hard you could move ahead– and those who get caught cheating will pay a price. Well, now it appears you can get caught cheating, be in charge while over $800 million dollars of client’s money is lost forever, but if you’re well connected you’ll be back in business with a new hedge fund in a just few years. What a country!
Jon Corzine was the head of Goldman Sachs, then became a US Senator, and then Governor of New Jersey. He was reaching to be head of the US Treasury when the company where he was CEO, MF Global, performed close to a billion dollars in fraud. MF Global took client’s money while perpetuating one of America’s largest examples of corporate malfeasance. At the time, it was even measured against Bernie Madoff as one of America’s all-time largest examples of fraud. He is now back investing client’s money.
Jon Corzine was the CEO of MF Global when it took $700 million dollars from clients. Then a few days later the company “borrowed” another $175 million from its own clients. The word “borrowed,” used to describe taking money from clients who did not know the money was removed from their accounts, is not my understanding of borrowing.
How could someone take $700 million out of their client’s accounts by cheating, then “borrow” $175 million, default the company he was managing, and be back in business a few years latter? If you cheat and get caught, but you know the right people, it’s apparently easy in America now to get right back to it. This is completely disgusting but we are seeing it more and more often.
In my mind, this man was not just a criminal, he was worse. He claimed to be a public servant reaching for an even higher office claiming he worked for the people. He was being seriously considered to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (in the Obama Administration) when this all blew up. With his deep political connections and Goldman Sachs financial background (the Goldman Sachs relationship was clouded also) he was considered Geithner’s logical successor.
Corzine was one of the most connected Democrats in America, due to his extreme wealth and generous political donations. While the New Jersey press was focused on Bridgegate (a lane closure that caused massive traffic problem for political reasons), there was vastly less reporting about Corzine, the former Governor and US Senator of the Garden State removing close to a billion dollars from his clients accounts.
He was one of President Obama’s top re-election campaign bundlers, raising at least $500,000 according to the campaign’s filing with the Federal Election Commission. Corzine was among 127 individuals (dubbed “volunteer fundraisers” used by Obama’s campaign to raise more than $500,000 each in the first quarter of 2012.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission request the Department of Justice prosecute Corzine, but the CFTC had no power of their own to charge him with a crime. Where was Senator Elizabeth Warren then? She constantly claims no Wall Street executives ever get punished. Why did she look the other way with Jon Corzine? You know why: party always come first in politics, and in this case even before massive crimes.
Obama’s Justice Department lead by Eric Holder refused to bring any criminal charges against Jon Corzine, who was served up on a silver platter. This left the CFTC to cut the best deal it could, and it appears to have done so. The CFTC gave Jon Corzine a lifetime ban that only applied to commodities and a small $5 million dollar fine– to a man who reportedly walked away from Goldman Sachs with a $400 million settlement.
Today he is starting another hedge fund. No one at MF Global was charged, but it was leaked that:
“After nearly two years of stitching together evidence, criminal investigators have concluded that porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the customer money to disappear, according to the law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case.”
Sure. He was protected by his own party. Welcome to the new America, where crimes of the highest magnitude are not punished, but small infractions from those who are politically targeted are focused on forever. When is Lady Justice going to be fair again?