????的确，监管机构有足够的证据证明，摩根大通及其收购的贝尔斯登（Bear Stearns）和华盛顿互惠银行（Washington Mutual）向投资者出售的债券与他们所宣称的不符。但过去每家银行都这么干。而且，也没有证据表明，摩根大通是最严重的违纪者。房利美（Fannie）和房地美（Freddie）在美国银行（Bank of America）及其收购的Countrywide承销的债券上损失的钱更多。
????当然了，这不是有效的辩护，但在考量摩根大通到底应该支付多少钱时应该考虑这个因素。而且，去年，美国司法部（Justice Department）和美国证券交易委员会（Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC）撤销了一项针对高盛（Goldman Sachs）的类似案件，没有提出任何指控。SEC针对富国银行（Wells Fargo）出售按揭债券的调查已经持续了近一年半，看起来也将无疾而终。
????有些人称这样的天价罚款就是敲诈。美国政府将摩根大通逼入死角，开出尽可能高的罚款，因为它知道这家银行付得起这笔钱。《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)干脆以“《被敲诈的摩根大通》（The Morgan Shakedown）”为题发表了一篇评论文章。
????A lot of people are questioning whether JPMorgan Chase's reported fine of $13 billion to settle claims that it misled investors in mortgage bonds is excessive. It would, after all, be the largest settlement any single bank has ever paid to regulators.
????But perhaps the better question is this: Why did CEO Jamie Dimon agree, if it has, to $13 billion?
????Yes, regulators have plenty of evidence that JPMorgan (JPM) -- along with Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, both of which JPMorgan bought -- sold bonds to investors that were not what they claimed. But every bank did that. And there is no evidence that JPMorgan was the worst offender. Fannie and Freddie lost more money on bonds underwritten by Bank of America (BAC) and Countrywide, which BofA acquired.
????That, of course, isn't a good defense, but it should play into considerations of just how much money JPMorgan should have to pay. What's more, last year, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped a similar case it had pursued against Goldman Sachs (GS) without bringing charges. An SEC case against Wells Fargo (WFC) for selling mortgage bonds that the regulator has been pursuing for close to a year and a half appears to have gone nowhere.
????JPMorgan isn't even getting immunity from criminal charges. The government faces an uphill battle, but those charges are still a risk even after $13 billion, which, just for comparison, is about $5 billion more than it would cost to build Elon Musk's hyperloop.
????Some have called the fine extortion. The government has JPMorgan in the corner, and it's extracting as big a fine as it possibly can because it knows the bank can pay. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial on the fine titled "The Morgan Shakedown."
????But that assumes JPMorgan had to pay, and that it had to pay now. It is hard to know what the bank's board of directors wanted, but there is little evidence there was a gun to Dimon's head to make a deal. JPMorgan's stock is up 28% in the past year, even as the bank's legal problems have intensified. So, it doesn't seem like shareholders were pushing for a settlement. Dimon could have fought the charges if he thought it was a bad deal.
????Here's another way to look at JPMorgan's outsize fine: Perhaps it was a payoff. Regulators were looking for a win against banks. They could have pushed for Jamie Dimon to step down as CEO, or they could have forced him to give up his role as both chairman and CEO. Given the regulatory and legal troubles the bank has faced recently, pushing for Dimon to give up his dual role at the company would seem like justified punishment.
????And remember, while 80% of the investor losses that JPMorgan is settling were on bonds originated by either Bear Stearns or Washington Mutual, that doesn't mean that 80% of the wrongdoing was committed by those two banks. The Justice Department's civil case, which appears to be the impetus for the large settlement, was based on mortgage bonds that JPMorgan sold from 2005 to 2007, well before it bought either of those banks. Dimon was the CEO for much of that time.