As the White House and Congress debate how to regulate financial firms to avoid another economic crisis, judges have assumed the point position in punishing Wall Street for causing the worst recession since the 1930s, reports Bloomberg News. Last week, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin threw out a key free-speech defense credit raters had used to thwart investors' fraud suits.
Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff got a 150-year prison term. Former Monster Worldwide Inc. Chief Operating Officer James Treacy, who had proposed no prison time for what his lawyer called a “technical” crime, was sentenced to two years in jail for improperly accounting for backdated stock options. Tough sentences like those for Madoff and Treacy “are going to be the way for a while,” said Duke law Prof. James Cox.