Breuer Defends DOJ Legacy, Lack of Criminal Cases in 2008 Financial Collapse


Lanny Breuer, the outgoing head of the Justice Department's criminal division, presided over some of the largest federal criminal cases ever but also came under fire in the “Fast and Furious” controversy. He defended his legacy to the Washington Post. Breuer oversaw the Deepwater Horizon case against BP, which resulted in guilty pleas to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter. The company will pay $4 billion, the largest criminal payment in U.S. history, for its role in the 2010 drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Breuer also led the department's prosecution of banks involved in rigging the global interest rate known as Libor, which has led so far to almost $2 billion in settlements and fines. His division brought the two largest Medicare fraud cases in history, in one case charging 111 people and in the other identifying $452 million in alleged fraudulent billings. On “Frontline,” Breuer and the Justice Department were harshly criticized for not bringing criminal prosecutions against Wall Street in connection with the 2008 financial collapse. “I understand why people are upset,” he told the Post. “But we have 94 U.S. attorneys and they don't report to me. Not one of them determined that there was a criminal case to be had. These are very complicated cases and they were just simply, on the merits, not cases that could be brought criminally.”

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