Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is filing civil charges against Bank of America, its former CEO Ken Lewis and its former chief financial officer for allegedly defrauding investors by hiding huge losses at Merrill Lynch before it acquired the bank in 2008.
Cuomo also says Bank of America misled the government by lobbying for $20 billion in bailout funds, while handing out over $3 billion in undisclosed bonuses to Merrill Lynch employees.
Cuomo says that while the banks were deemed 'too big to fail,' it should not mean they are too big to play by the rules.
"The law is the law. And justice for all means justice for the people at the bottom of the ladder and today it means justice for the people at the top of the ladder," Cuomo said on a conference call announcing the suit.
Bank of America spokesman Robert Stickler says he finds Cuomo's actions "regrettable" and "totally without merit."
As Cuomo filed his suit, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it has reached a settlement with Bank of America which includes a $150 million fine and new corporate governance rules. Bank of America's former CEO Ken Lewis stepped down at the end of last year.