William K. Black
February 2, 2016 Bloomington, MN
It is time to break out one of our two family rules again – it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. How fraudulent is finance even now? The Wall Street Journal reports that “big money managers” want to bring back “liar’s loans.” I am trying to write much shorter columns, so there will be many columns in this series because the WSJ article so beautifully exemplifies the lies that the industry and the media told about liar’s loans before and after 2008.
Spoiler alert: liar’s loans, as the name admits, are pervasively fraudulent. Only fraudulent lenders make liar’s loans as a regular business practice. These home loans make the officers wealthy through the “sure thing” of the “fraud recipe” for “accounting control fraud.” The WSJ, of course, ignores these facts and presents instead falsehoods provided by fraudulent officers.
[revised – Michael Winston’s bio added]
At this time (January 29, 2016), we consist of four founding members:
Our bios are listed at the end of this post. We share a number of common experiences. They explain why we came together to try to implement real reform. Continue reading
In order to restore the rule of law, we ask every candidate for the nomination of their party for the presidency to pledge that they will not take contributions from any financial firm (or contributions above $250 from their officers) that the United States or its agencies have, after investigation, charged with committing the legal elements of fraud. That list includes virtually all of the largest banks in the U.S. and Europe and Freddie and Fannie. Indeed, most of these financial giants have admitted that they conducted massive frauds.
- On Day One, the President directs each relevant federal financial agency to restore a superb criminal referral process, the criminal referral mandate, and criminal referral coordinators, at every federal financial agency. Local and state police forces rarely investigate sophisticated financial frauds. That work is done overwhelmingly by roughly 2,000 FBI agents in the white-collar section. That means that we have roughly two FBI agents per industry. Those numbers mean that FBI agents don’t “walk a beat” – they only come when they receive a criminal referral alerting them to a likely fraud. It also means that they cannot possibly have more than a few agents with expertise in the particular industry. There is one other key fact to keep in mind – corporations don’t make criminal referrals against their own CEOs for obvious reasons, even though frauds led by CEOs cause by far the greatest harm of any form of fraud.
William K. Black
January 30, 2016 Bloomington, Minneapolis
Well, this is slightly embarrassing. Gary Aguirre, Bill Black, Richard Bowen, and Michael Winston came together to form a pro bono effort by bank whistleblowers to restore the rule of law on Wall Street. As a placeholder in the drafting process, I called us the “Bank Whistleblowers’ Group” and that name survived the drafting process and was announced yesterday by me on New Economic Perspectives (NEP). Michael Winston deserves credit for suggesting that we call ourselves “Bank Whistleblowers United” – a name that everyone in our pro bono group prefers. We’ve changed the documents posted yesterday on NEP that make public our initiatives to reflect our new name. The “announcement” document I posted yesterday has been changed to reflect the new name and I used the opportunity to make a few edits as well.
William K. Black
January 29, 2016 Bloomington, Minnesota
Revised January 30, 2016
I am writing to announce the formation of a new pro bono group and a policy initiative that we hope many of our readers will support and help publicize. Gary Aguirre, Bill Black, Richard Bowen, and Michael Winston are the founding members of the Bank Whistleblowers United. We are all from the general field of finance and we are all whistleblowers who are unemployable in finance and financial regulation because we spoke truth to power and committed the one unforgivable sin in finance and in Washington, D.C. – being repeatedly proved correct when the powerful are repeatedly proved wrong.
By J.D. Alt
Here is what the HUD.GOV website says about the status of low-income housing in America: “Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.”
This is Terry Carter’s latest work and appears in the American Bar Association Journal. He interviews Bill Black along with other prominent figures about the lack of prosecution brought against those responsible for the financial crisis. You can read it here.
By William K. Black
Wall Street billionaires are freaking out about the chance that Bernie Sanders could be elected President. Stephen Schwarzman, one of the wealthiest and most odious people in the world, told the Wall Street Journal that one of the three principal causes of the recent global financial trauma was “the market’s” fear that Sanders may be elected President. Schwarzman is infamous for ranting that President Obama’s proposals to end the “carried interest” tax scam that allows private equity billionaires like Schwarzman to pay lower income tax rates than their secretaries was “like when Hitler invaded Poland.”