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Who says crime doesn’t pay? If you happen to be a bankster or the crook who caused the collapse at AIG which, but for $182 billion courtesy of that never-ending ATM known as the American taxpayer, nearly led to the meltdown of our entire financial system, it pays like a Las Vegas slot machine. Consider the cases of Charles Prince, former Citigroup CEO, and Joseph Cassano, former head of AIG’s Financial Products Unit.

At last week’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearings Prince expressed his regret:

“I’m sorry that the financial crisis has had such a devastating impact on our country. I’m sorry for the millions of people, average Americans, who have lost their homes. And I’m sorry that our management team, starting with me, like so many others, could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us.”

But not sorry enough to give back any of his ill-gotten gain from 2007 (emphasis added) :

“Prince, arguably the person most responsible for Citigroup’s enormous problems, can expect at least a $12.5 million cash bonus, compared with last year’s cash payout of $13.8 million.

And as he awaits his official retirement next month, Prince can rest assured that he will leave with $68 million, including his salary and accumulated stockholdings; a $1.7 million pension; an office, car and driver for up to five years — all in addition to the bonus. That is on top of $53.1 million he has taken home in the last four years, a period when $64 billion in the company’s market value has evaporated.

However, Mr. Prince is a pauper compared to the HCIC (head crook in charge) at AIG, Joseph Cassano:

“Joseph Cassano was the head of AIG’s Financial Products Unit. They are the ones that made about a trillion dollars worth of bets in credit default swaps. They lost.

So, what happened to Cassano? This was all his idea and his team that brought on this colossal collapse. Well, he was fired! Great, justice served…Oh, did I forget to mention one thing? He received $35 million in bonuses when he was let go.”

…When they lost the bets, their company was devastated. Completely and utterly bankrput. The failure was so large, it promised to drag down the rest of the global economy with it. This forced the government to step in and cover their losses. So far, the United States taxpayers have put in $182 billion to keep AIG afloat.

That 35 mil was only tip money for Cassano:

“How much did he make for himself from 2000 to 2008 by gambling with the company’s money? Only $280 million…In the end, he walked away with over $315 million for destroying the company and maybe the whole economy.”

All that and no accountability required:

“This week the Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors will likely not charge him with fraud. They are not going to try for clawbacks to get some of the money back. In the end, he gets away scott-free. But it’s better than free, he gets to keep all the money he never really made in the first place…”

The best way to rob a bank is to become a banker.

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