Bernanke: Wall Street Execs Deserved Jail for Crisis
'It would have been my preference to have more investigations of individual actions'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2015 9:47 AM CDT
In this Jan. 7, 2012, file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail for their roles in the financial crisis that gripped the country in 2008 and triggered the Great Recession. Billions of dollars in fines have been levied against major banks and brokerage firms in the wake of the economic meltdown that was in large part triggered by reckless lending and shady securities dealings that blew up a housing bubble. But in an interview with USA Today published Sunday, Bernanke said he thinks that in addition to the corporations, individuals should have been held more accountable.

"It would have been my preference to have more investigations of individual actions because obviously everything that went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm," Bernanke said. Asked if someone should have gone to jail, the former Fed chairman replied, "Yeah, I think so." He did not, however, name any individual he thought should have been prosecuted and noted that the Federal Reserve is not a law-enforcement agency. Bernanke is promoting his new 600-page memoir, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath, which is scheduled to be published Monday and which he wrote after leaving the Fed in 2014.