The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty

Restoring Law and Order on Wall Street

288 pages

1 figure, 1 table

January, 2017

ISBN: 9781479881574



Add to Cart Available: 12/30/2016

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Mary Kreiner Ramirez is Professor of Law at Washburn University School of Law, where she teaches a course on White Collar Crime. She is a former prosecutor for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, where she prosecuted white collar criminals. She has published numerous articles addressing the challenges in combating white collar crime.

All books by Mary Kreiner Ramirez

Steven A. Ramirez is Professor of Law and Associate Dean at Loyola University of Chicago, where he also directs the Business and Corporate Governance Law Center. 

All books by Steven A. Ramirez

A critical examination of the wrongdoing underlying the 2008 financial crisis
An unprecedented breakdown in the rule of law occurred in the United States after the 2008 financial collapse. Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and other large banks settled securities fraud claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose the risks of subprime mortgages they sold to the investing public. But a corporation cannot commit fraud except through human beings working at and managing the firm. Rather than breaking up these powerful megabanks, essentially imposing a corporate death penalty, the government simply accepted fines that essentially punished innocent shareholders instead of senior leaders at the megabanks. It allowed the real wrongdoers to walk away from criminal responsibility. 

In The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty, Mary Kreiner Ramirez and Steven A. Ramirez examine the best available evidence about the wrongdoing underlying the financial crisis. They reveal that the government failed to use its most powerful law enforcement tools despite overwhelming proof of wide-ranging and large-scale fraud on Wall Street before, during, and after the crisis.  

The pattern of criminal indulgences exposes the onset of a new degree of crony capitalism in which the most economically and political powerful can commit financial crimes of vast scale with criminal and regulatory immunity. A new economic royalty has seized the commanding heights of our economy through their control of trillions in corporate and individual wealth and their ability to dispense patronage. The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty shows that this new lawlessness poses a profound threat that urgently demands political action and proposes attainable measures to restore the rule of law in the financial sector.


  • "This is an informative and at its heart very angry book, and is fascinating...reading for everyone who’s still smarting from the crash."

    Publishers Weekly

  • "In detailing the cases of Countrywide Financial, AIG Financial Products Group, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman, Sachs, among others, Ramirez and Ramirez find ample evidence to proceed with criminal indictments."


  • "The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty provides an inspired and thoughtful roadmap for knowing the new lawlessness, reviving the old rule of law, and reclaiming our democratic nation in the process."

    Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

  • "The Ramirezes have unleashed a powerful condemnation of government’s weak-kneed response to corporate crime in their impressive new study The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty...[This]book helps us not only understand the scale of criminality among America’s financial elites, but also the dynamics which propel elites like Trump into office. If action is not taken to rein in the lawlessness which the Ramirezes so thoroughly reveal, the economic and social implications for America are terrifying."

  • "It’s abundantly clear that law enforcement on Wall Street is woefully broken. In the wake of the financial crisis, not one senior bank executive has been held accountable for the pervasive wrongdoing that brought our economy to its knees, undermining confidence in the fairness of our legal system as well as deterrence against future misconduct. The authors confront this troubling reality head on and in stark detail, leading readers into a fulsome debate about what is to be done to restore the rule of law to our financial markets."

    —Phil Angelides, Chairman, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2009-2011)

  • “The authors were among the regulators and prosecutors with the spine to stop and jail financial frauds of the 1980s.  Wall Street's criminal elites so feared the crackdown that they unleashed their political allies to turn the regulatory leaders into invertebrates.  The authors show how to regrow our spines, restore the rule of law on Wall Street, and reclaim our Nation.”

    —William K. Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City

  • “Exciting, well written, and potentially explosive… an extremely timely topic and one that may well prove to be controversial and garner national and international attention.  The topic is critically important, as I have not before seen this subject dealt with as forthrightly or marshalled as effectively as here.  To truly understand that, unlike the Enron-era scandals or the Savings & Loans scandals, the government has failed to bring criminal charges against any of the individuals responsible for the financial market crisis of 2007-09 defies logic and comprehension.”

    —André Douglas Pond Cummings, Professor of Law, Indiana Tech Law School

  • "The incontrovertible value of this book lies in the fact that while it informs average Americans about the details of potentially criminal conduct, it also provides policy discussions that include specific proposals for reformers.  Mary Kreiner Ramirez and Steven A. Ramirez are excellent storytellers who expertly use salient narratives to support their theses."

    —Cheryl Wade, Harold McNiece Professor of Law, St. John's University School of Law