Yesterday, Dynergy, a large energy company that is in many ways very similar to Enron, announced that it had inflated its revenue streams some 4.5 BILLION dollars through various trading shenanigans - mostly reverse trades.
Reserve trades occur when one company buys goods from another and then immediately trades them back. The two trades cancel each other out and no money or goods actually changes hands. Both companies' assets are exactly as they were prior to the first transaction, but each company gets to book the trade - so it appears that both companies have a MUCH higher trading volume then actually exists.
This is a completely disingenuous act and the intent is nothing less then to mislead and defraud the investors. And there is no doubt in my mind that the executives of the corporations that commit these acts should be hauled off to jail. But they aren't. They never are. The CEO of Dynergy resigned - probably with several hundred million dollars worth of ill-gotten booty in his bank account. And while the SEC might investigate, if history is any guide, it won't even bother filing charges in this case.
And that just sucks.
Here in California we have a "three strikes are you are out" law. On your third felony conviction you get life. So if you are some poor, deranged street bum with two strikes and you stumble drunk into some Stop and Rob liquor store and quaff a 40 without paying, you can be sentenced for shoplifting and spend the rest of your life in prison for drinking a can of malt liquor.
However, if you are some high flying corporate executive with a fleet of New York attorneys and a bank account filled with cash from all the stock options you managed to sell after jacking up the price with all your swindling trades before anyone else figured out how you cooked the books by some billion or so dollars, you get to buy a nice ranch, staffed with a troop of servants and escorts, and "ride the pine" during the next Republican sponsored round of fraud and get rich quick schemes. But that's ok... because that round will create a whole new batch of crooks with unpunished "crimes" that dwarf yours and make you look damn near innocent.
Quite frankly, I'm just fed up with all this corporate corruption and I want to start boiling some of these bastards in oil.