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Damning Email: Did Bear Cheat Clients of $ Billions?

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 25, 2011 @ 8:01 am In Bailouts,Legal | Comments Disabled

I didn’t get a chance to ask this of former Bear Stearns banker/analyst Chris Whalen (we ran out of time), but over in The Atlantic [1], Teri Buhl reports on some very ugly litigation with Bear.

Apparently, some 80% of these Bear Stearns loans sold to Ambac went bad almost immediately

Here’s Teri:

“Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit’s supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a “sack of shit.” . . .

In 2007, when Ambac started to realize something was very wrong with its high-rated bonds, it demanded Bear provide loan-level detail and reviewed 695 non-performing loans in its portfolio. Ambac’s audit concluded that 80 percent of the loans showed an early payment default. This meant they should have never have been packed in the bonds Bear sold and were required to be repurchased. Bear refused, and of course had already been pocketing buyback money for itself from the originators. Bear also never told investors that its auditor Price Waterhouse and Coopers submitted an internal review in August 2006 that this repurchase process was not in-line with its due diligence standards and not typical for the industry. By January 2007, a Bear internal audit also reported the firm had collected $1.7 billion in repurchase claims — a 227% increase over the previous year. Yet Marano’s group of traders continued their double-dip payment scheme and kept selling the toxic loans with full awareness of the poor quality of the due diligence.”

Go read the full Atlantic piece — its a hoot.

>
Source:
E-mails Show Bear Stearns Cheated Clients Out of Billions [1]
Teri Buhl
Atlantic, Jan 25 2011
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/01/e-mails-show-bear-stearns-cheated-clients-out-of-billions/70128/


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[1] The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/01/e-mails-show-bear-stearns-cheated-clients-out-of-billions/70128/

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