Where do the Criminal Penalties go?

Quite a few years ago, after seeing the JP Morgan Chase company come up in the news over and over and over with GUILTY verdicts for things like real estate fraud, money-laundering for known terrorists and drug lords, complicity in the Madoff ponzi scheme, etcetera, etcetera, my wife and I decided we just weren’t comfortable knowing our meager earnings and savings were part of their slush fund for all of their greedy shenanigans. It just became increasingly clear that, at the same time they were bankrolling politicians who were screaming about debt-ceilings and trillion-dollar budgets, they were paying penalties in the tens-of-billions-of-dollars for their avaricious crimes and basically shrugging those funds off as the routine cost of doing business. It really makes me wonder what else they’re doing that lets them act like ‘the few they got caught on’ seem like trivial grade-school mistakes (you forgot to cross that T) and well worth the hit compared to the profits they’re still raking in.

But I digress. My wife and I realize our pitiful payroll checks are like grains of sand in their Sahara Desert of funds-to-play-with, but we still decided not to be a part of that activity and closed our Chase Bank accounts and moved our business to a local credit union. And of course Chase didn’t blink when we told them why we were leaving and our departure didn’t make a difference in their business activities.

And today I saw yet another news article about JP Morgan Chase being hit with another penalty.

And I got to wondering – wondering enough to ask the World’s Smartest Bunch of People – Where does all that money go?

Even the article linked above talks about a Trustee appointed to divide up the remainder of Madoff’s actual principle funds and give it back to the people who got ripped off. But that has nothing to do with the penalties that JP Morgan Chase has to pay for (getting caught) helping Madoff screw investors. Who gets those billions in penalty fees? Is it dumped on the National Debt? Is it paid to the Chase Charity of Choice?

**And how does anyone ever know when the penalty is paid off? ** We know that Exxon has never paid its penalty to the people of Anchorage, Alaska for its negligence in the Valdez oil spill. How do we know that? Who’s monitoring and/or reporting progress on these debts?

I owe them as you owe him
as he owes me
And we’re in debt together

The article you linked says that the money JP Morgan is paying will go to Madoff’s victims, “Under the agreement, criminal charges will be deferred for two years as JPMorgan admits to its conduct, pays the $1.7 billion to victims of Madoff’s fraud and reforms its anti-money laundering policies, prosecutors said.”

Apparently not true:

Somebody is always monitoring these things. In that case it was the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

In general, penalties either go to the state (meaning local, county, state, or federal governments) or to victims who are deemed eligible through a stated process or to charities or some combination thereof.

I got nothin’ to add to the answer, but this:

caught my attention. Remembering one of the many dumb things Sarah Palin said during the campaign;

She got hammered for that statement, and rightly so, but surprisingly I find that there is in fact an Alaska Department of Law which she would be familiar with and which makes her gaffe somewhat more understandable, if no less dumb.

Sometimes the ignorance fought is mine own…

Wow! Ignorance very nicely fought!

I had chopped up my Mobil card back in 1999, just before they merged with Exxon because I had heard Exxon had stopped paying restitution and refused to pay any more after the beach clean-up was done. I figured that was never going to change and didn’t want to give them my money.

“As of December 15, 2009, Exxon paid all owed $507.5 million punitive damages, including lawsuit costs, plus interest, which were further distributed to thousands of plaintiffs.”

And that’s good to hear…though I’m not going to apply for a new card. [I get my gas at CostCo now, and it’s cheaper than any of the major brands can offer it.]

Thanks, Exapno!