Ever since the crisis arose in 2008, a familiar lament has been how there is no real accountability and no one has gone to prison for tanking the economy. And it's true; by the standards of the S&L crisis - where hundreds of bankers went to prison - prosecutions thus far have been few and far between. But that doesn't mean there haven't been any. And SIGTARP is just getting warmed up.
At a time when the government is being criticized for not holding senior bank executives liable for crisis-era crimes, a little-known federal agency is compiling a growing list of criminal convictions.
A bank executive in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison. Another from Orlando received eight years. In Stockbridge, Ga., a top bank officer is serving 12 years.
What's SIGTARP, you ask? It's the office set up to root out TARP fraud in the wake of the crisis, and based on the numbers they've thrown up so far, there's been a lot of it. Sure, they've concentrated on the little guys like community banks up to now, but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.