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JPMorgan has agreed to a $13 billion settlement over mortgage-backed securities sold ahead of the financial crisis.
The Justice Department called the agreement "the largest settlement with a single entity in American history."
But this is not a win for the Justice Department, according to Salon.com writer David Dayen, who wrote an article headlined "JPMorgan’s bait-and-switch: The ballyhooed settlement is just a scam!"
"The settlement, first of all, is not $13 billion, the (Federal Housing Finance Agency) announced a $4 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase to settle a lawsuit a month ago," said Dayen. "The Justice Department just stuck that in to their top line number to make it look bigger."
Also, $7 billion of the settlement will be tax deductible for JPMorgan, "which means taxpayers essentially will pay $2.5 billion of the settlement," said Dayen.
A lot of the settlement is consumer relief for home owners, which JPMorgan is already doing, or it is in the company's financial interest to do.
"When you get right down to it, you have got a $13 billion settlement, allegedly, which is really maybe a $3 billion settlement in the grand scheme of things, in terms of the monetary value that JPMorgan Chase will actually have to suffer," said Dayen.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs, and millions more their homes in the financial crisis.
"What we want to do if we're going to settle with these companies, is make sure it doesn't happen again," said Dayen. "The best and swiftest deterrent is not only a big fine, but prosecution of the people who authorized and directed this conduct."
Criminal charges are not cleared by this settlement, but Dayen bets executives will not be charged.
For more of this interview with David Dayen, check out the video above.