The cost for exploiting people must be much greater.
I just read about the sentence given to Carolyn Jean Cassar for the fraud she perpetrated on an elderly couple in Rochester (“Five-year sentence for bilking neighbors,” Nov. 20), and I agree with the victims and their son that it is way too light. It seems as if there has been an increase in this type of fraudulent behavior in the last 10 years, and I suspect that it will only get worse as the baby boom generation ages unless the sentences for predatory crimes like this (be it brokers, trustees, fiduciaries, family, friends or neighbors) are significantly increased. Frankly, I see very little difference between the actions of Tom Petters and Bernie Madoff and those of Cassar. They each defrauded people of significant sums and left a wake of financial ruin behind them. Yet, the length of their sentences are worlds apart.
DAVID WITTE, Plymouth
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Apparently the going price for massive fraud is $13 billion (“JP Morgan pays $13B for its role in crisis,” Nov. 20). An interesting number. Before everyone hyperventilates about how big this amount seems to be, read the sentence stating that “executives cheered the settlement.” It would seem that when the cheering dies down and the tax-deductible portions of the fine are paid, JP Morgan will still be in business; these happy executives will continue to collect astronomical compensation, and the public will remain unaware of the staggering scale of a company that can absorb such a settlement cost without difficulty.
Is this settlement supposed to deter future tendencies toward fraudulent behavior? Doesn’t seem plausible. Are damaged property owners going to be compensated? Maybe. Will the public trust in large institutions be restored? Hardly.
GEORGE HUTCHINSON, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.