The fundamental underbelly of capitalism is the protection of private property, freedom of speech, banking policies and accounting regulations that enforce a level of transparency upon corporations. The intent is to keep everyone honest about earnings and revenue to protect investors from losses that they did not expect could be possible.
The only problem is when something goes wrong; everyone sues everyone in an attempt to recover their losses. According to a study last month, class-action lawsuits that accuse companies of defrauding investors increased more than 40 percent last year, fueled by troubled mortgage investments and a volatile stock market.
Reference Article: Credit Crisis Caused Rise In Class-Action Fraud Suits
At the same time, law enforcement authorities (like the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC) are investigating possible wrongdoing among brokers, lenders, credit-rating agencies and financial institutions.
These investigations can take years as investigators try to hunt down who knew what and when they knew it. Dozens of companies will be investigated by officials in several states, the SEC and federal prosecutors will be looking to see if mortgage losses were not disclosed and problems or risks were hidden from shareholders. Investigators will also be looking for corporate executives who may have dumped their own stock when they knew of approaching problems.
No Real Growth
These investigations are necessary to protect investors, brokers and home owners from getting cheated. But, the job growth that it created does not increase the wealth of our nation. The money spent on these investigations will only take more money out of these bankrupt companies and the federal prosecutors cost tax payers more money. It’s too bad that millions of dollars will be spent to find a few crooks, but it necessary and someone’s got to do it.