Tag Archives: accounting control fraud

The WSJ Rages that Bank of America Was Sued for “Only” Committing a $9 Billion Fraud

By William K. Black

The Wall Street Journal is deeply upset that almost none of the banks and none of the banksters that became wealthy by leading the three epidemics of mortgage fraud that drove the financial crisis are being subjected even to prosecution-lite cases.  The WSJ wants us all to know that “almost none” and “prosecution-lite” are both excessive.  The WSJ rant demands that we bestow the thanks of a grateful nation to the banks and banksters that committed the frauds.  This financial crisis is the first Virgin Crisis – conceived without sin in the C-Suites.  This second column in my series on the WSJ rant responds to the WSJ’s claim that mortgage frauds that are “only” $9 billion in magnitude do not warrant even civil sanctions.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Choleric Rant about Cholera and Bank Fraud Epidemics

By William K. Black

I wrote this column in Bogota, Colombia where I was presenting five talks at the Universidad Central’s economics conference, so I was struck by the title of a choleric rant by the Wall Street Journal entitled “Banking in a Time of Cholera.”

The WSJ’s title is a play on words on the title of a novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Colombia’s greatest writer, Gabriel García Márquez (“Gabo”).  The novel is set in a city that appears to be based on Cartagena, the city famous for being looted repeatedly by pirates.  In this first of several columns responding to the WSJ rant I discuss its failed literary allusions and tie these failures to some of the WSJ’s analytical and factual errors that render their rant risible.

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Europe’s Lousy Bank Loans Expose the “Recovery” Myth

By William K. Black

One of the great lies of the financial industry is that it is the engine of Main Street’s growth.  Giving the finance industry an enormous share of total business profits was supposed to super charge Main Street’s growth.  It has never delivered on this promise.  The truth is the opposite.  The efficiency condition for a middleman like finance is that its size and profits should be minimized.  Finance’s fraud epidemics blew up the world economy and devastated Main Street.  Finance is a parasite that saps Main Street.  The latest example of this comes in a New York Times article about European bank’s bad loans.

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UPDATE: Bank of America Fined Another $16 Billion for Fraud

By L. Randall Wray

Bank of America just agreed to pay another $16 Billion fine for one of its frauds—selling trashy securities to its investors. Another day, another fraud exposed. No surprises there. This is so routine it barely deserves a headline.

According to Bloomberg, that raises the total it has agreed to pay for its mortgage lending frauds to $70 billion. Most of this is related to its purchase of Countrywide, where Mairone oversaw much of the fraud. See here.

BofA rewarded Mairone for creating Countrywide’s “Hustle” fraud by hiring her. So far that woman’s criminal expertise contributed toward mounting costs to BofA of $70 billion. Quite an accomplishment!

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DOJ Trains AUSAs to Chase Mice While Lions Roam the Campsite

By William K. Black

In researching my series of articles on the critical omissions in Attorney General Eric Holder’s press release about the settlement with Citi I realized that I need to write multiple articles about the destructive role played by Benjamin Wagner. Holder made Wagner DOJ’s leader on mortgage fraud because Wagner was so willing to propagate the single most absurd, destructive, but so very useful (to the administration and the banksters) lie about mortgage fraud.

“Benjamin Wagner, a U.S. Attorney who is actively prosecuting mortgage fraud cases in Sacramento, Calif., points out that banks lose money when a loan turns out to be fraudulent. ‘It doesn’t make any sense to me that they would be deliberately defrauding themselves,’ Wagner said.”

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AG Holder: “The U.S. Announces the Indictment of Citigroup’s Senior Officers for Fraud”

By William K. Black

The third omission from Attorney General Eric Holder’s press conference announcing the settlement with Citigroup of civil charges was the words “criminal” and “indictment.”  The
Department of Justice (DOJ) press conference had a scripted press release.

According to DOJ’s Statements there should have been Numerous Indictments

The DOJ press release contains the following statements that logically should have led to an indictment of a large number of Citi’s officers.  Holder states: “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008.”  Citi “made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about the mortgage loans it securitized in RMBS.”  Holder’s press release called them “toxic mortgages.”  Holder emphasized the “strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi….”  Holder stated that Citi’s officers knowingly made false “reps and warranties.”

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AG Holder: “Thank you Fed and OCC”

By William K. Black

The second omission in Attorney General Eric Holder’s press conference about the settlement with Citi was “Thank you Fed and OCC.” The Federal Reserve (Fed) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are Citi’s financial regulators. In my first installment in this series I explained Holder’s shameful failure at the press conference to thank Richard M. Bowen, III – the whistleblower who handed DOJ on a platinum platter what should have been its criminal case against a vast swath of Citi’s most senior leadership.

Holder’s Failure to Thank the Regulators

Holder also failed to thank the Fed and the OCC at the same press conference. He should have thanked them for their criminal referrals on Citi’s senior managers and their provision of irreplaceable expertise throughout the investigation. In particular, he should have praised examiners A, B & C, who the Fed and OCC detailed to the FBI so that they could serve as its in-house experts. By detailing examiners to work for the FBI they are able to receive “6 (e)” grand jury testimony and documents and explain their significance to the FBI and the prosecutors.

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EGREGIOUS FRAUDSTER: INTRODUCING BOB RUBIN’S CITICORP

By L. Randall Wray

By now you’ve heard that Citigroup admits—yet again—that it engaged in fraud. Heck, it was the business model under Bob Rubin. If you want to blame three individuals for the Global Financial Crisis, only Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan deserve more credit than Rubin.

Together they “softened-up” Congress so that it would free the Banksters, and then he ran Citi into the ground as he sucked gazillions of dollars of executive compensation out of the bank. Like all the CEOs of the biggest banks, he oversaw fraud on a scale never imagined—let alone seen—in the history of the globe.

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John Cochrane’s Witch Hunt for Witch Hunters

By William K. Black

John Cochrane is an economist at the University of Chicago.  The Wall Street Journal has just featured his op ed piece entitled “The Failure of Macroeconomics.”

I’ll focus on his foray into criminology as a component of economic growth. Cochrane’s column ignores the paramount role that the three epidemics of “accounting control fraud” played in hyper-inflating the bubble and causing the financial crisis – which cost over 10 million American jobs and a projected $21 trillion loss of production.  Instead, he claims that the economic recovery is weak because “Who wants to hire, lend or invest when the next stroke of the presidential pen or Justice Department witch hunt can undo all the hard work?”

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Gowex Shows Why Lending is the Best Venue for Accounting Control Fraud

By William K. Black
(Cross posted on Benzinga.com)

A classic accounting control fraud, Gowex, has collapsed in Spain.  Gowex was a wi-fi firm.  It was able to run its scam for at least four years.  It was a crude scam that involved simply making up contracts and borrowing to grow rapidly.

“The US firm Gotham City Research had described Gowex as a ‘charade’ and said that its revenues were ‘at most’ 10% of those reported.”

As soon as Gotham City Research blew the whistle on Gowex it made it impossible for Gowex to borrow additional funds and avoid collapse.

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