Weil on Finance: JPMorgan’s Newest Deal

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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A belated Happy New Year, View fans. Here's what I've been reading this morning.

It wouldn't be a new year without a new JPMorgan settlement .

The New York Times reports that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is close to a settlement with the Justice Department over its role in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The last time JPMorgan paid a big penalty to the government it managed to get a deal in which federal prosecutors didn't even allege any specific violations of the law. This time JPMorgan is looking at a deferred-prosecution agreement, the Times reports. But rest assured: Should JPMorgan ever get caught violating this new agreement's terms, it's a safe bet that the feds would find some new, creative way to avoid filing criminal charges against the bank.

Why Americans can't help falling for con artists .

We have a soft spot for them, writes the New Yorker's James Surowiecki: "It seems that con artists, for all their vices, represent many of the virtues that Americans aspire to."

Why is Bill Clinton doing pitchman work for a schlocky for-profit education company?

He's doing it because of the money, of course. The former president is "honorary chancellor" for Laureate Education Inc., whose academic standards leave much to be desired. Good article from Mina Kimes and Michael Smith of Bloomberg News.

Here's a bearish take on Sonic Corp.

The Wall Street Journal's Spencer Jakab says the drive-in chain's shares may be overcooked.

Here come new a ccounting standards that nobody wants.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board's rules on revenue recognition work just fine. So naturally the board is preparing to issue new ones, even though there is no need for them. Tom Selling of the Accounting Onion explains.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net