I say again, "Round up the usual suspects", Captain Renault in "Casablanca", 1942. $6.8 million? That's 10% of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein's $67.9 million bonus. What's going on? Why is the FBI chasing these peanuts? Why not investigate major banks, monolines and Wall Street houses SEC reports?
As the S&L crisis unfolded, 1979-86, the Feds tried to make it seem the result of "fraud" as opposed to a more innocent explanation: mismatched maturities. It's good "guerrilla theater" to see a few miscreant "perp walks". Most people are not interested in bad lending practices. In the end, only about 3% of S&L industry losses arose from fraud as opposed to bad lending.
Now the Feds are trying to garner public sympathy for the banks by portraying them as victims of unscrupulous fraudsters as opposed to their having victimized whoever bought recent bank products like CDOs. Banks as Katrina victims!
On 21 January 1990, Ben Stein (BS) wrote in the NYT, "The New Organized Crime". "John Gotti, you poor, obsolete loser. You've missed the boat. You forgot Willie Sutton's lesson-go where the money is. ... Breathlessly, the announcer talked about how the take was in the tens of thousands of dollars, and how the raid [on a gambling bank] marked a major coup in the war on organized crime in [NYC]. If it's true, it's a joke. 'Organized crime?' Next to a bakery in Queens? With guys in T-shirts running it? With a take of tens of thousands of dollars? From betting on football games? ... The real organized crime, the riskless kind that pays off in the hundreds of millions and billions, is across the river, in lower Manhatttan, on Broad Street, on Wall Street. It's across the continent, in a gleaming marble cube on Rodeo Drive. The only truly meaningful kind of taking of other people's property--the kind that adds up to enough to support an army--of lawyers--is being done by the American financial establishment. ... Example: the sale of fraudulent bonds. ... That's modern organization. That's modern crime. The [SEC] won't bother you. ... The old-style organized criminal had at least to deliver gin or prostitution. But the new way, the Wall Street way, means you don't deliver a thing. You run the company into the ground, you take from the stockholders unreasonably. You sell a worthless bond, and nobody lays a hand on you. It is a lesson for you John Gotti. ... Be in finance. Be in management of a public company. They learned from you and now you can learn from them". Imagine, BS wrote that almost 18 years ago. What's changed? Here's a link: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/21/business/forum-the-new-organized-crime.html.