John Thain has been ordered to provide the attorney general of New York State with information relating to bonus payments by Merrill Lynch prior to its acquisition by Bank of America.
I hope that the attorney general insures that the information is made available to that part of his staff responsible prosecuting tax evasion as well as those responsible for investigating securities fraud.
I suspect that if New York State were devote substantial resources to a comprehensive compliance audit of every recipient of such a bonus, the recoveries from taxpayers who had not fully paid their taxes would more than cover the cost of the exercise.
If New York State were to pursue criminal sanctions for mischaracterization of income, misrepresentation of domicile, and so on, some small part of the public's blood lust might be satisfied (or perhaps merely whetted).
This would be a good thing.
It worked on Al Capone. It's time to treat the banksters like gangsters.
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