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Criminal Charges Against Corzine, MF Global Execs Unlikely: Report

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global, testifies before the House Agriculture Committee about the company's bankruptcy of MF Global on Capitol Hill in Washington on December 8, 2011. Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global, testifies on Capitol Hill. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Ex-MF Global CEO and former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine will reportedly not face criminal charges stemming from the collapse of the brokerage firm that he helmed.

The issue is about intent, according to Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, now in private practice at McCarter & English in Newark. If there was no intent to break the law, there was no crime.

“This investigation was not so much about the wisdom of placing these huge bets on European sovereign debt as much as it was if there was an intentional use of customer money to try to prop up the company in the waning days before bankruptcy,” he explained.

The New York-based commodities broker filed for bankruptcy last October and caused chaos for tens of thousands of account holders who lost access to their money.  More than a billion dollars belonging to their customers is still considered missing. In the days before the company filed for bankruptcy, $200 million was transferred from customer accounts to the firm’s accounts to cover an overdraft.

Corzine is being sought by federal investigators for an interview, an indication that the case against the commodities firm that filed for bankruptcy last November is winding down, sources told the New York Times.

The former Garden State politician still could face scrutiny, the Times reported, but sources told the paper that prosecutors do not have a case against him after poring over scores of documents and two rounds of interview.   

The high profile of the case makes the decision not to prosecute more symbolic than substantive. “It’s a case that has attracted the public’s attention,” he explained, “and in the end if criminal charges are not brought against anybody in connection with the failure of MF Global, no doubt it will feed the public’s frustration with the perceived lack of individual accountability.”

The trustee overseeing the liquidation of the firm said MF Global under Corzine was changed from a commodity firm to a global investment bank without installing the proper controls.

The paper, citing people familiar with Corzine’s plans, says the former Garden State politician is considering starting a hedge fund.

Listen to WNYC’s Amy Eddings interview with Robert Mintz above.

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Comments [3]

bob from Jersey

Would you entrust money to a guy who won't even buckle his seatbelt going over 100 mph on the Garden State Parkway? I feel bad for the people who lost a lot of money, but one look at JC and you realize the man is not playing with a full deck and has greed and arrogance written all over him. He will skate on the charges because his friends in DC are all just as corrupt or worse. Think Rome before it fell real hard.

Aug. 19 2012 08:04 AM
Richard Wicks

Jon Corzine isn't guilty of violating Sarbanes-Oxley.

In other news. Water isn't wet, the sun doesn't produce light, ice isn't cold, and concrete isn't hard.

You have to love this government. It's just corruption from top to bottom. The government just simply prosecute certain people. Want to murder somebody, get buddy buddy to the right people and you can do it, no problem.

It's a free for all rip off. If you think your money is safe with anybody, think again. Nobody gets prosecuted. People can learn either now, or the hard way later on.

Aug. 17 2012 04:37 AM
SKV from NYC

"Considering starting a hedge fund"? Who would be stupid enough to trust Corzine with their money? Just please make sure taxpayers aren't on the hook for making good their losses this time.

Aug. 16 2012 05:21 PM

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