Crime and Punishment: Record $16.6 Billion Settlement in Banking

No criminal charges filed against bankers, record penalty paid by Bank of America in mortgage mess.
2:04 | 08/21/14

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Transcript for Crime and Punishment: Record $16.6 Billion Settlement in Banking
crowds were smaller. Tonight, there's new questions about crisis and punishment in the financial risk that brought a lot of the America's families and America to the brink. A record penalty, $16.65 billion. What does the bank admit they did? ABC's senior justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas, has been talking to his sources all day. Reporter: Today, bank of America admitted to massive fraud. Fraud that cost thousands of Americans their homes. Bank of America, Merrill lynch, and countryside, each engaged in pervasive schemes to defraud financial institutions and other investors. Reporter: The junk loans were packaged as good investments. When they failed, it led to a tsunami of bankrupters and foreclosures. Igniting the great recession. It's like going to your neighborhood grocery store, to buy milk that's advertised as fresh, only to discover that store employees, they knew the milk that you were buying had been left out on a loading dock, unrefrigerated. Reporter: Today's record, nearly $17 billion settle, includes $7 billion in relief for underwater homeowners. It's one of several big payouts by the big banks for past seasons. Many of the CEOs, including the CEOs of countrywide and jpmorgan chase, were hauled before congress for accountability. Do you understand this is a little for my constituents to take? Reporter: One bank executive, former countrywide CEO, Angelo mozilo, is facing a federal lawsuit. But there were no charges against high-level executives. Banks don't commit crimes. Bankers do. And we know not a single banker is being held accountable here. Reporter: Justice department officials say criminal charges could come. But six years after the collapse, many critics are skeptical. For the thousands of homeowners who lost everything, critics are blunt. Diane, they say somebody big needs to go to jail. Thank you, Pierre Thomas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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