Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will determine within the next 90 days whether to charge individual Wall Street executives with crimes related to the 2008 financial crisis.
Holder said he’s asked the prosecutors who have been investigating the major banks and their executives to make recommendations whether to bring charges or close the probes.
“I’ve asked the U.S. attorneys … over the next 90 days to look at their cases and to try to develop cases against individuals and to report back in at 90 days with regard to whether or not they think they’re going to be able to successfully bring criminal and or civil cases against those individuals,” Holder said in a speech at the National Press Club Tuesday.
The announcement comes as the attorney general prepares to leave his post after more than six years on the job. President Barack Obama has appointed Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for Brooklyn, to succeed him.
Holder has been criticized for failing to bring any individuals to justice for misdeeds that led to the collapse of the mortgage market and the subsequent financial crisis that resulted in the worst recession since the Great Depression
The Justice Department has brought cases against all of the major Wall Street banks that have resulted in multibillion-dollar settlements against many. JP Morgan Chase & Co. settled its case in 2013 for $13 billion. Its CEO, Jamie Dimon, was rewarded with a 74 percent pay raise that year.
Last year Bank of America agreed to pay $16.65 billion in the largest civil settlement in history with a single entity, while Lynch led the investigation into Citigroup which resulted in a $7 billion settlement in July.
“We have exacted or extracted record penalties from banks who we have found to have engaged in inappropriate practices,” Holder said. “To the extent that individuals have not been prosecuted, people should understand that it is not for lack of trying.”