Posts filed under “Legal”

Big Crisis, Big Banks, Big Crimes

6 Years After the Financial Crisis Hit, The Big Banks Are Still Committing Massive Crimes

Preface: The “Great Recession” started in December 2007.  More than 6 years later, the big banks are committing more crimes than ever.

You Won’t Believe What They’ve Done …

Here are just some of the improprieties by big banks over the last century (you’ll see that many shenanigans are continuing today):

  • Funding the Nazis (while we’re referring to funding the original Nazis many decades ago, the U.S. is now backing the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, and banks are undoubtedly involved in some of the support)
  • Launching a coup against the President of the United States (an old – but vital – story)
  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this
  • Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments

The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.

Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.

Even the bank with the reputation as being the “best managed bank” in the U.S., JP Morgan, has engaged in massive fraud. For example, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today quoting an examiner at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – JPMorgan’s regulator – saying he felt the bank had “lied to” and “deceived” the agency over the question of whether the bank had mismarked its books to hide the extent of losses. And Joshua Rosner – noted bond analyst, and Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co – notes that JP Morgan had many similar anti money laundering laws violations as HSBC, failed to segregate accounts a la MF Global, and paid almost 12% of its 2009-12 net income on regulatory and legal settlements.

But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?

Actually:

  • The big banks have slashed lending since they were bailed out by taxpayers … while smaller banks have increased lending. See this, this and this

Indeed, top experts say that fraud caused the Great Depression and the 2008 crisis, and that failing to rein in fraud is dooming our economy.

We can almost understand why Thomas Jefferson warned:

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ….

John Adams said:

Banks have done more injury to religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they have done or ever will do good.

And Lord Acton argued:

The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.

No wonder a stunning list of prominent economists, financial experts and bankers say we need to break up the big banks.

Category: Legal, Think Tank

Big Banks = Key Players In the Drug Trade

Big Banks Started Laundering Massive Sums of Drug Money In the 1980s … And Are Still Doing It Today. It has become mainstream news that at least some of the big banks are  laundering staggering sums of drug money.  See this, this, this, this, this, this and and this. But you may not know the…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Legal, Think Tank

Fiduciary Duty of Brokers

Source: WSJ

Category: Finance, Legal, Regulation

Geo-political Risks, Charges Against Banks

Here are a few clips from today’s Bloomberg TV appearance:

Sanctions Won’t Change Russian Policy (but I dont care)

Source: Bloomberg, May 5 2014

Bloomberg Contributing Editor Richard Falkenrath and Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz examine the increasing violence in Eastern Ukraine and limits for potential responses from the United States and Europe on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers
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Why Now Is the Time to File Charges Against Banks

Source: Bloomberg, May 5 2014

Bloomberg Contributing Editor Richard Falkenrath, Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz and Bloomberg’s Cristina Alesci discuss possible criminal charges against Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

Category: Legal, Media, Video, War/Defense

Finance’s Greatest Innovation: “Don’t Prosecute Us’

Prosecutors are considering bringing criminal charges against two overseas banks for charges ranging from perjury and fraud to laundering money. As detailed yesterday by a trio of Bloomberg News reporters, the key takeaway from the banking community was reflected in the headline: “Criminal Charges Against Banks Risk Sparking Crisis.” The reaction has been swift. “Don’t’…Read More

Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls

Its Great to be the CEO Running a Huge Criminal Bank

Every day brings multiple new scandals.  At least they used to be scandals.  Now they’re simply news items strained of ethical content by business journalists who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak not about evil.  The Wall Street Journal, our principal U.S. financial journal ran two such stories today.  The first story deals…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Crony Capitalists, Legal, Think Tank

  Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com “We Are No Longer a Nation Ruled By Laws” Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist  Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans. The trial judge in…Read More

Category: Legal, Think Tank, War/Defense

Tesla’s Fight to Keep Direct-Sale Stores

National Auto Dealers Association Public Affairs Vice President Jonathan Collegio discusses defending the Tesla showroom ban with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.


Source: Bloomberg

Category: Legal, Video

5 Biggest Scams of the Year

Ever had someone posing as the police say they have a warrant for your arrest unless you pay a fine? It’s one of the top five scams of 2013 listed by The Council of Better Business Bureaus. MarketWatch’s Jim Jelter reports.

Category: Legal, Video

The Broken SEC Enforcement Mechanism

Today, I am compelled to direct your attention today to a column by my Bloomberg colleague Jonathan Weil, titled “The Best SEC Speech Ever.” The speech that Weil referred to in the headline was the retirement speech of Jim Kidney, a 25-year veteran trial attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Three things stood out…Read More

Category: Legal, Regulation