Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bank of America settlement mocked on 'The Daily Show'

“It’s that old saying, ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the nominal fine,’” Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” said Wednesday, in a segment that took aim at Bank of America’s $404 million settlement with Freddie Mac.

The roughly seven-minute segment criticized other bank settlements, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $13 billion deal with the U.S. Justice Department. That settlement, announced last month, resolves claims over toxic mortgage-backed securities.

Bank of America's Freddie Mac settlement was announced Monday. The deal means it has resolved all outstanding mortgage-repurchase claims with government-controlled Freddie and its sister institution, Fannie Mae.

Stewart, the show’s host, offered this comment near the start of the segment: “One way to distinguish corporations from people would be to show that they don’t suffer the same consequences for their actions that we mere mortals may,” he said.

“For instance, let’s say you or I knowingly sold, say, 700,000 bad mortgages. What would happen to us? Probably not this,” he said before news clips on Bank of America’s $404 million settlement aired.

“I’m sorry I committed systemic fraud for 10 years,” Stewart said, apparently taking the perspective of Bank of America. “How 'bout I give you a cut of it?”

In corporate America, there is a “simple credo that exists to cover up any wrongdoing,” Stewart said just before a clip from the TV show “Mad Men” was played.

“That’s what the money is for!” Don Draper, from the show, said in the clip.

“That’s what the money is for!” Stewart echoed.

Later, a news clip that explained JPMorgan did not admit wrongdoing in reaching the $13 billion settlement prompted this from Stewart:

“Oh, so if you didn’t do anything wrong, per se, is the $13 billion a gift? A downpayment? A tip?”