Monday, Jul 15, 2024
Frontline tell the stories others can’t or won’t

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (full documentary)

28 Sep 2022
This Academy Award-nominated documentary, directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), tells the little-known story of the only U.S. bank prosecuted in relation to the 2008 financial crisis. (Aired 2017)

This journalism is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station here:​.

In “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” acclaimed director Steve James tells the saga of the Sungs, a Chinese-American family who own and operate Abacus Federal Savings Bank in New York’s Chinatown.

In 2009, the Sungs fired a loan officer after they discovered fraud. They reported the fraud to law enforcement, but soon found themselves and the bank under scrutiny. Two and half years later, Abacus Federal Savings Bank and two senior officers were accused of mortgage fraud by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, making it the only U.S. bank prosecuted in relation to the 2008 financial crash and the first bank indicted in New York since 1991.

Nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category in 2018, the documentary follows how the indictment and subsequent trial forced the Sung family to defend themselves — and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community — over the course of a five-year legal battle.

Explore additional reporting on "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" on our website:

#Documentary #FinancialCrisis #Abacus

Subscribe on YouTube:​

FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.

Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Park Foundation; and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.

Prologue - 00:00
“Too Big to Fail Turns Into Small Enough to Jail” - 4:07
Manhattan DA’s Office Investigates Abacus Federal Savings Bank - 10:32
The Trial of Abacus Federal Savings Bank - 23:35
The NY Chinatown Community’s Bank in Court - 38:50
The Sung Family - 47:10
The Case Against Abacus Federal Savings Bank - 57:50
Waiting for the Jury’s Verdict - 1:09:21
Credits - 1:21:56
Related Articles