The Punishers: The New York Judges in Charge of Smacking Down Wall Street


Since the White House and Congress are still working out how to regulate financial firms to avoid another economic crisis, the punishing of Wall Street criminals has fallen largely to federal judges, Bloomberg observes. Not surprisingly, most of them are here in New York. Let’s meet them!

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, Manhattan
What He’s Been Up To Since the Recession Began: Lots, but you may have heard about the 150-year sentence he imposed on Bernie Madoff? It was kind of a big deal.
Before That: Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, was appointed a U.S. District Court judge in 1994. Following the Madoff decision, the White House is expected to promote him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Best Burn From the Bench: Chin called Madoff’s crimes “extraordinarily evil.” “The message must be sent that in a society governed by the rule of law, Mr. Madoff will get what he deserves, and that he will be punished according to his moral culpability.”

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, Manhattan
What He’s Been Up To Since the Recession Began: Sentenced Marc Dreier to twenty years for fraud, sentenced former Monster Worldwide Inc. COO James Treacy for improperly accounting for backdated stock options, calling it “appalling” and “disgusting,” refused to sign off on Bank of America’s $33 million settlement with the SEC over bonus disclosures.
Best Burn From the Bench: The judge was an equal-opportunity offender in SEC vs. Merrill: “You filed a rather uninformative, bare-bones complaint,” he told the government agency. And as for you, Merrill Lynch: “Do Wall Street people expect to be paid large bonuses in years when their company lost $27 billion? Was there some sort of ghost that performed those actions?”

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein, Brooklyn
What He’s Been Up To Since the Recession Began: While overseeing the trial of Credit Suisse banker Eric Butler, who was was found guilty of securities fraud last month, the judge bemoaned the “pernicious and pervasive culture of corruption, lack of regulation,” and “serious negligence in the financial services industry.”
Bio: Weinstein has been a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York since he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 and was profiled by New York in 1999.

State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Schack, Brooklyn
What He’s Been Up To Since the Recession Began: Stymieing big banks’ overeager attempts at foreclosure, loving obscure Bruce Willis films.
Bio: Brooklyn-born high-school social-studies teacher turned Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice.
Best Burn From the Bench: “The court,” the judge wrote in a decision chastising Wells Fargo for filing error-riddled papers, “reminds Wells Fargo of Cassius’s advice to Brutus in Act 1, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’: ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’”

Judges Punish Wall Street as Regulators Just Talk About Reform [Bloomberg]