The 5 Best One Liners From Wall Street’s Top Cop

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, loves two things: using aggressive tactics like wiretapping to take down white collar criminals and making occasionally corny (but sometime hilarious) jokes. Here are some of his best.

Preet Bharara speaks to the public a lot — speeches to legal groups, business schools, law schools, and in his press conferences announcing indictments of white collar criminals and corrupt public officials. But perhaps his most highly anticipated talk is a question and answer session he’s had with Jim Cramer the past two years at CNBC and Institutional Investor’s “Delivering Alpha” conference. Today, for instance, he told the ballroom full of hedge fund managers that “I had a suitcase full of subpoenas, but on the way over here, I ran into, like, six corrupt politicians.”

1. “Before I get started, please silence your cell phones and body wires, as the case may be.”

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

From a speech on public corruption in New York to the Citizen Crime Commission.

2. “You told me there were going to be a lot of people here from the hedge fund industry…I just want to apologize in advance that I don’t have enough subpoenas for all of you. Obviously, I’m kidding. I do have enough”

Louis Lanzano / AP

From a question and answer session at CNBC’s hedge fund conference “Delivering Alpha” last year.

3. “Now I am told there are some people who don’t see what all the fuss is about. Insider trading, they suggest, is not a particular scourge and is a poor pick as a priority for law enforcement. I know that no one in this room thinks that.”


From a speech to the New York City Bar Association.

4. “How many of you count cards? I’m going to need to speak to a few of you after the program.”

Mike Segar / Reuters

From a speech to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Las Vegas.

5. “I am not there to address the tiny number of people in the room who will commit significant securities fraud at some point—though you know who you are.”

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

From a speech at a SIFMA (the leading securities industry trade group) conference in 2012.

But for all his prosecutorial prowess, Bharara doesn’t know what Snapchat is.

Preet Bharara on #snapchat: "I don't know what you're talking about." #deliveringalpha

— John Carney (@carney)

John Carney


Preet Bharara on #snapchat: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” #deliveringalpha

Wow. @jimcramer asks #Bharara if traders get away w/ @Snapchat inside tips since msgs disappear. Bharara: "I always learn something here."

— Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche)

Kayla Tausche


Wow. @jimcramer asks #Bharara if traders get away w/ @Snapchat inside tips since msgs disappear. Bharara: “I always learn something here.”

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Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
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