Audit Notes: No Perp Walks, How Goldman’s Like Penny-Stock Boiler Rooms, WSJ iPad

David Heath of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund takes a good look at how and why executives have so far avoided jailtime and even prosecution in this crisis. Here’s a big one (emphasis mine):

One explanation for the difference may be that key bank regulators – who did the detective work during the S&L crisis and sent more than 1,000 criminal referrals to prosecutors – have this time left reporting fraud up to the banks themselves.

Spokesmen for two chief regulators, the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision, say that they have not sent prosecutors a single case for criminal prosecution.

Make sure to watch this video.

It’s well-done, better than a lot of the stuff I’ve seen on major sites, like, oh, this Journal thing:

Gary Weiss has a good column over at Portfolio on why Goldman’s (an Audit funder) Abacus deals were not market-making, as the bank has claimed. He compares them to the penny-stock scamsters he used to cover.

Goldman was the only market maker in Abacus. As alleged in the Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, Goldman functioned very much in the mold of a microcap market maker, using its market dominance to rip off investors and concealing the conflict of interest inherent in a short-seller designing the derivative—just as microcap brokers concealed under-the-table commissions paid to brokers…

Goldman, like the penny-stock boiler rooms of years ago, knew that its wares were crud. The famous Goldman emails make that clear. Sure, one can argue that the firm was functioning as a market maker—but only in the sense that Hanover Sterling, Stratton Oakmont, Sovereign Equity Management, First Jersey Securities, Blinder Robinson, and all the other now-vanished dealers in penny stocks were functioning as market makers.

Good stuff.

Rupert Murdoch is charging good money for his Wall Street Journal iPad app, as well he should. But he raises an interesting point on today’s News conference call. PaidContent:

…more than 64,000 active users for the Wall Street Journal iPad app after its first month. “Unlike the Kindle, we keep 100 percent of the revenue from the iPad.”

That’s because, while Apple takes 30 percent of the revenue brought in from selling apps via its iTunes Store, the Journal app itself is free. You pay inside the app for access to much of the content. That’s a smart way to go—the only way to go, if you ask me.

Remember, publishers only keep some 30 percent of the subscription revenue on the Kindle, which is appalling.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.