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Five Steps To Help You Avoid Investment Fraud | Bob Stammers

Five Steps To Help You Avoid Investment Fraud | Bob Stammers.

Bob Stammers

CFA, Director of Investor Education

On the fifth anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s conviction, it might be tempting to try and forget about investment fraud. After all, one of the most notorious con men in modern history has been locked away until Nov. 14, 2139. So does that mean investors are safe from fraud?

Unfortunately, there will always be bad apples in the financial system and if you have money to invest then you are vulnerable to potential fraudulent behaviour. Latest figures from the Canadian Securities Administrators show that 56 per cent of Canadians agree they are just as likely to be a victim of investment fraud as anyone else.

The following five steps will help to minimize your chances of falling victim to investment fraud and limit your exposure in the unfortunate case that you do.

1. Clearly understand the investment strategy

The venerable portfolio manager, Peter Lynch, consistently advises people to invest only in what they understand. Investors should be alert to the possibility that complex jargon often hides suspicious inconsistencies. Some investment opportunities appear alluring simply because they are described in impressive, complicated terms and of course as investors we want to appear smart so we often nod, smile and agree to something we don’t actually understand. Investment strategies and financial products should be clear and understandable, and the professional advisers that you hire should ensure you’re comfortable with them before you take the plunge.

2. Be wary of “sure things”, quick returns and special access

Legitimate investment professionals do not promise sure bets; remember there is no such thing! Scammers often make the combination of safety and high returns seem plausible by granting you “special access” based on your relationship with a mutual acquaintance or affiliation with a specific group. Be sure to judge investments on their merits alone — do your best to ignore the social pressure that can often lead investors to misery and remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

3. Is the investment subject to regulation and what if any protection does it provide?

Regulation varies by country and investment type. Hedge funds, for example, are less regulated than mutual funds and off-shore advisers may be subject to less stringent supervision in some countries. Regulation does not mean lower risk. A common mistake that investors make is to assume that because their investments are regulated the risks involved are reduced. Before making an investment decision, make sure you are aware of the relevant regulation and then you can fully assess the merits of the investment. It’s still possible to lose money in well-regulated markets so you need to make sure your investment decisions match your overall risk profile.

4. Trust, but verify

Ultimately, the reliability of any operation is predicated on the integrity and competence of its people. Remember that the company you choose to invest with could be overseeing your assets for many years to come so it’s important to build a trusting relationship with them. One of the best ways to do this is to adopt a “trust, but verify” mentality. Look for professionals who have achieved a mark of distinction in their career–like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation–and professionals who abide by a Code of Ethics that requires them to place clients’ interests ahead of their own. Trust is built with consistency so looking at past experience can reveal a lot – what is their investment track record, can they provide references, are they registered with the national regulator? The more you know, the easier it is to detect a scam!

5. Don’t forget to use standard investing discipline

When the conversation turns to fraud, investors can sometimes forget that tried-and-tested investment management principles still need to be applied. Even though diversification is one of the most fundamental and enduring investment principles, many investors forget to ensure their assets are diversified widely enough. Doing so will help to limit the catastrophe associated with investment fraud but it is also more likely to provide a higher average return at lower average risk. Make sure that all investment decisions you make are aligning with your long-term financial goals and never invest in anything you don’t fully understand.

When navigating the markets, it will always be important to keep a watchful eye out for fraud. Throughout history, whenever money is involved there will tend to be an opportunity for unscrupulous people to take advantage of others. CFA Institute provides some helpful tools to educate investors on how to make informed investment decisions, so be prepared, do your homework and remember that taking steps to avoid fraud is part of a good investment strategy.

Five Steps To Help You Avoid Investment Fraud | Bob Stammers

Five Steps To Help You Avoid Investment Fraud | Bob Stammers.

Bob Stammers

CFA, Director of Investor Education

On the fifth anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s conviction, it might be tempting to try and forget about investment fraud. After all, one of the most notorious con men in modern history has been locked away until Nov. 14, 2139. So does that mean investors are safe from fraud?

Unfortunately, there will always be bad apples in the financial system and if you have money to invest then you are vulnerable to potential fraudulent behaviour. Latest figures from the Canadian Securities Administrators show that 56 per cent of Canadians agree they are just as likely to be a victim of investment fraud as anyone else.

The following five steps will help to minimize your chances of falling victim to investment fraud and limit your exposure in the unfortunate case that you do.

1. Clearly understand the investment strategy

The venerable portfolio manager, Peter Lynch, consistently advises people to invest only in what they understand. Investors should be alert to the possibility that complex jargon often hides suspicious inconsistencies. Some investment opportunities appear alluring simply because they are described in impressive, complicated terms and of course as investors we want to appear smart so we often nod, smile and agree to something we don’t actually understand. Investment strategies and financial products should be clear and understandable, and the professional advisers that you hire should ensure you’re comfortable with them before you take the plunge.

2. Be wary of “sure things”, quick returns and special access

Legitimate investment professionals do not promise sure bets; remember there is no such thing! Scammers often make the combination of safety and high returns seem plausible by granting you “special access” based on your relationship with a mutual acquaintance or affiliation with a specific group. Be sure to judge investments on their merits alone — do your best to ignore the social pressure that can often lead investors to misery and remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

3. Is the investment subject to regulation and what if any protection does it provide?

Regulation varies by country and investment type. Hedge funds, for example, are less regulated than mutual funds and off-shore advisers may be subject to less stringent supervision in some countries. Regulation does not mean lower risk. A common mistake that investors make is to assume that because their investments are regulated the risks involved are reduced. Before making an investment decision, make sure you are aware of the relevant regulation and then you can fully assess the merits of the investment. It’s still possible to lose money in well-regulated markets so you need to make sure your investment decisions match your overall risk profile.

4. Trust, but verify

Ultimately, the reliability of any operation is predicated on the integrity and competence of its people. Remember that the company you choose to invest with could be overseeing your assets for many years to come so it’s important to build a trusting relationship with them. One of the best ways to do this is to adopt a “trust, but verify” mentality. Look for professionals who have achieved a mark of distinction in their career–like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation–and professionals who abide by a Code of Ethics that requires them to place clients’ interests ahead of their own. Trust is built with consistency so looking at past experience can reveal a lot – what is their investment track record, can they provide references, are they registered with the national regulator? The more you know, the easier it is to detect a scam!

5. Don’t forget to use standard investing discipline

When the conversation turns to fraud, investors can sometimes forget that tried-and-tested investment management principles still need to be applied. Even though diversification is one of the most fundamental and enduring investment principles, many investors forget to ensure their assets are diversified widely enough. Doing so will help to limit the catastrophe associated with investment fraud but it is also more likely to provide a higher average return at lower average risk. Make sure that all investment decisions you make are aligning with your long-term financial goals and never invest in anything you don’t fully understand.

When navigating the markets, it will always be important to keep a watchful eye out for fraud. Throughout history, whenever money is involved there will tend to be an opportunity for unscrupulous people to take advantage of others. CFA Institute provides some helpful tools to educate investors on how to make informed investment decisions, so be prepared, do your homework and remember that taking steps to avoid fraud is part of a good investment strategy.

JPMorgan Vice President’s Death Shines Light on Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA | Global Research

JPMorgan Vice President’s Death Shines Light on Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA | Global Research.

Global Research, February 13, 2014
wallstreet

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

The nonstop crime news swirling around JPMorgan Chase for a solid 18 months has started to feel a little spooky – they do lots of crime but never any time; and with each closed case, a trail of unanswered questions remains in the public’s mind.

Just last month, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that it facilitated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, looking the other way as Bernie Madoff brazenly turned his business bank account at JPMorgan Chase into an unprecedented money laundering operation that would have set off bells, whistles and sirens at any other bank.

The U.S. Justice Department allowed JPMorgan to pay $1.7 billion and sign a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning no one goes to jail at JPMorgan — again. The largest question that no one can or will answer is how the compliance, legal and anti-money laundering personnel at JPMorgan ignored for years hundreds of transfers and billions of dollars in round trip maneuvers between Madoff and the account of Norman Levy. Even one such maneuver should set off an investigation. (Levy is now deceased and the Trustee for Madoff’s victims has settled with his estate.)

Then there was the report done by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the London Whale episode which left the public in the dark about just what JPMorgan was doing with stock trading in its Chief Investment Office in London, redacting all information in the 300-page report that related to that topic.

Wall Street On Parade has been filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal government in these matters, and despite the pledge from our President to set a new era of transparency, thus far we have had few answers coming our way.

One reason that JPMorgan may have such a spooky feel is that it has aligned itself in no small way with real-life spooks, the CIA kind.

Just when the public was numbing itself to the endless stream of financial malfeasance which cost JPMorgan over $30 billion in fines and settlements in just the past 13 months, we learned on January 28 of this year that a happy, healthy 39-year old technology Vice President, Gabriel Magee, was found dead on a 9th level rooftop of the bank’s 33-story European headquarters building in the Canary Wharf section of London.

The way the news of this tragic and sudden death was stage-managed by highly skilled but invisible hands, turning a demonstrably suspicious incident into a cut-and-dried suicide leap from the rooftop (devoid of eyewitnesses or  motivation) had all the hallmarks of a sophisticated covert operation or coverup.

The London Evening Standard newspaper reported the same day that “A man plunged to his death from a Canary Wharf tower in front of thousands of horrified commuters today.” Who gave that completely fabricated story to the press? Commuters on the street had no view of the body because it was 9 floors up on a rooftop – a rooftop that is accessible from a stairwell inside the building, not just via a fall from the roof. Adding to the suspicions, Magee had emailed his girlfriend the evening before telling her he was finishing up and would be home shortly.

If JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, needed a little crisis management help from operatives, he has no shortage of people to call upon. Thomas Higgins was, until a few months ago, a Managing Director and Global Head of Operational Control for JPMorgan. (A BusinessWeek profile shows Higgins still employed at JPMorgan while the New York Post reported that he left late last year.) What is not in question is that Higgins was previously the Senior Officer and Station Chief in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, a component of which is the National Resources Division. (Higgins’ bio is printed in past brochures of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, where Higgins is listed with his JPMorgan job title, former CIA job title, and as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for 2013.)

According to Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek on November 14, the National Resources Division (NR) is the “biggest little CIA shop you’ve never heard of.” One good reason you’ve never heard of it until now is that the New York Times was asked not to name it in 2001. James Risen writes in a New York Times piece:

[the CIA’s] “New York station was behind the false front of another federal organization, which intelligence officials requested that The Times not identify. The station was, among other things, a base of operations to spy on and recruit foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations, while debriefing selected American business executives and others willing to talk to the C.I.A. after returning from overseas.”

Stein gets much of that out in the open in his piece for Newsweek, citing sources who say that “its intimate relations with top U.S. corporate executives willing to have their companies fronting for the CIA invites trouble at home and abroad.” Stein goes on to say that NR operatives “cultivate their own sources on Wall Street, especially looking for help keeping track of foreign money sloshing around in the global financial system, while recruiting companies to provide cover for CIA operations abroad. And once they’ve seen how the other 1 percent lives, CIA operatives, some say, are tempted to go over to the other side.”

We now know that it was not only the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Treasury Department’s FinCEN, and bank examiners from the Comptroller of the Currency who missed the Madoff fraud, it was top snoops at the CIA in the very city where Madoff was headquartered.

Stein gives us even less reason to feel confident about this situation, writing that the NR “knows some titans of finance are not above being romanced. Most love hanging out with the agency’s top spies — James Bond and all that — and being solicited for their views on everything from the street’s latest tricks to their meetings with, say, China’s finance minister. JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein, one former CIA executive recalls, loved to get visitors from Langley. And the CIA loves them back, not just for their patriotic cooperation with the spy agency, sources say, but for the influence they have on Capitol Hill, where the intelligence budgets are hashed out.”

Higgins is not the only former CIA operative to work at JPMorgan. According to aLinkedIn profile, Bud Cato, a Regional Security Manager for JPMorgan Chase, worked for the CIA in foreign clandestine operations from 1982 to 1995; then went to work for The Coca-Cola Company until 2001; then back to the CIA as an Operations Officer in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries until he joined JPMorgan in 2011.

In addition to Higgins and Cato, JPMorgan has a large roster of former Secret Service, former FBI and former law enforcement personnel employed in security jobs. And, as we have reported repeatedly, it still shares a space with the NYPD in a massive surveillance operation in lower Manhattan which has been dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center.

JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon have received a great deal of press attention for the whopping $4.6 million that JPMorgan donated to the New York City Police Foundation. Leonard Levitt, of NYPD Confidential, wrote in 2011 that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly “has amended his financial disclosure forms after this column revealed last October that the Police Foundation had paid his dues and meals at the Harvard Club for the past eight years. Kelly now acknowledges he spent $30,000 at the Harvard Club between 2006 and 2009, according to the Daily News.”

JPMorgan is also listed as one of the largest donors to a nonprofit Foundation that provides college tuition assistance to the children of fallen CIA operatives, the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. The Foundation also notes in a November 2013 publication, the Compass, that it has enjoyed the fundraising support of Maurice (Hank) Greenberg. According to the publication, Greenberg “sponsored a fundraiser on our behalf. His guest list included the who’s who of the financial services industry in New York, and they gave generously.”

Hank Greenberg is the former Chairman and CEO of AIG which collapsed into the arms of the U.S. taxpayer, requiring a $182 billion bailout. In 2006, AIG paid $1.64 billion to settle federal and state probes into fraudulent activities. In 2010, the company settled a shareholders’ lawsuit for $725 million that accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation. In 2009, Greenberg settled SEC fraud charges against him related to AIG for $15 million.

Before the death of Gabriel Magee, the public had lost trust in the Justice Department and Wall Street regulators to bring these financial firms to justice for an unending spree of fleecing the public. Now there is a young man’s unexplained death at JPMorgan. This is no longer about money. This is about a heartbroken family that will never be the same again; who can never find peace or closure until credible and documented facts are put before them by independent, credible law enforcement.

The London Coroner’s office will hold a formal inquest into the death of Gabriel Magee on May 15. Wall Street On Parade has asked that the inquest be available on a live webcast as well as an archived webcast so that the American public can observe for itself if this matter has been given the kind of serious investigation it deserves. We ask other media outlets who were initially misled about the facts in this case to do the same.

JPMorgan, Madoff, And Why No One Dared Ask “The Cult” Any “Serious Questions As Long As The Performance Is Good” | Zero Hedge

JPMorgan, Madoff, And Why No One Dared Ask “The Cult” Any “Serious Questions As Long As The Performance Is Good” | Zero Hedge.

As was well-known in advance, today JPMorgan entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, whereby Jamie Dimon’s enterprise, where legal fees and litigation charges are no longer “non-recurring” items but a cost of doing business, paid $1.7 billion (non tax-deductible) to settle all criminal charges that it was aware well in advance that Madoff was a ponzi scheme and did nothing to alert authorities or the general public. What was less known is just how acutely JPM was aware of the developments at Madoff’s pyramid scheme, and that while apparently JPM was not convinced enough of Madoff’s criminality to alert regulators using “Suspicious Activity Reports”, it had seen enough to quietly reduce its exposure with the Ponzi from $369 million at the beginning of October 2008, or just after the Lehman collapse, to just $81 million at the time of Madoff’s arrest.

There is much more on the sequence of events in JPM’s realization that Madoff was a fraud (see filing below), but the punchline is the following extract from lengthy internal email in October 2008 by a JPM trading analyst that raised concerns about Madoff’s investment returns, and which explains why frauds are never caught until it is too late: “The October 16 Memo ended with the observation that: “[t]here are various elements in the story that could make us nervous,” including the fund managers “apparent fear of Madoff, where no one dares to ask any serious questions as long as the performance is good.… personnel at one feeder fund seem[ed] very defensive and almost scared of Madoff. They seem unwilling to ask him any difficult questions and seem to be considering his ‘interests’ before those of the investors. It’s almost a cult he seems to have fostered.”

And there you have the biggest failing of modern capital markets in a nutshell: nobody dares to ask any serious questions as long as the performance is good, and where there a cult-like following of the ringleader (see Central Banks). By the time the performance turns bad, and all the overdue questions are finally asked, it is always too late, and the cult blows up.

What is strangely missing in today’s action by the DOJ, which slams JPM (rightfully), is any mention of the SEC, you know – the regulators – those people whose job it was to catch Madoff in the act. Because while pocketing $1.7 billion from JPM may be an enjoyable exercise in populist propaganda for an administration that suddenly realizes it has created an unprecedented social class hatred schism and needs to punish bankers on a recurring, monthly basis, where is there any mention of the SEC’s fault for being completely oblivious to what JPM uncovered on its own? And yes, JPM did not alert the authorities, but at the end of the day its fiduciary obligations are first and foremost to its shareholders, which it executed, and not to a gullible public which opted for yet another “get rich quick” scheme, hoping foolishly that the SEC has some idea what it is doing.

Finally, we can’t help but wonder: when the current bubble to end all bubbles implodes, who will be punished for failing to point out that the emperor is naked, and that it is the cult of the Federal Reserve and its central bank peers around the globe, that have created the biggest Ponzi scheme the world has ever seen?

For those curious about the details of how JPM succeeded in realizing what the SEC failed to grasp, despite numerous vocal warnings from Harry Markopolos, read on.

From U.S. v. JPMorgan Chase – Deferred Prosecution Agreement PacketExhibit C

October 2008: JPMC Concludes In A Report To U.K. Regulators That Madoff s Returns Are Probably Too Good To Be True

In mid-September 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and growing concerns about counter-party risk, JPMCs Head of Global Equities directed investment bank personnel to substantially reduce JPMC’s exposure to hedge funds, which had increased following JPMCs March 2008 acquisition of Bear Stearns. This directive was reiterated by the Investment Bank Risk Committee on October 3, 2008. Acting at the direction of the Head of Global Equities, the Equity Exotics Desk began analyzing which hedge funds to reduce exposure to, including by directing the Desk’s due diligence analyst (the “Equity Exotics Analyst”) to scrutinize investments in various hedge funds, including the Madoff feeder funds. The Equity Exotics Analyst conducted this due diligence by, among other things, analyzing the reported strategy and returns of Madoff Securities, speaking to personnel at Madoff feeder funds and financial institutions administering Madoff feeder funds, and unsuccessfully seeking from the feeder funds and administrators documentary proof of the assets of Madoff Securities.

On October 16, 2008, the Equity Exotics Analyst wrote a lengthy e-mail to the head of the Equity Exotics Desk and others summarizing his conclusions (the “October 16 Memo”), The October 16 Memo described the inability of JPMC or the feeder funds to validate Madoff s trading activity or custody of assets. The October 16 Memo noted that the feeder funds were audited by major accounting firms, which had issued unqualified opinions for 2007, but questioned Madoff s “odd choice” of a small, unknown accounting firm. The October 16, 2008 Memo reported that personnel from one of the feeder funds “said they were reassured by the claim that FINRA and the SEC performed occasional audits of Madoff,” but that they “appear not to have seen any evidence of the reviews or findings,” The October 16 Memo also questioned the reliability of information provided by the feeder funds and the willingness of the feeder funds to obtain verifying information from Madoff. For example, the memo reported that personnel at one feeder fund “seem[ed] very defensive and almost scared of Madoff. They seem unwilling to ask him any difficult questions and seem to be considering his ‘interests’ before those of the investors. It’s almost a cult he seems to have fostered.” The Equity Exotics Analyst further wrote that there was both a “lack of transparency” into Madoff Securities and “a resistance on the part of Madoff to provide meaningful disclosure.”

The October 16 Memo ended with the observation that: “[t]here are various elements in the story that could make us nervous,” including the fund managers “apparent fear of Madoff, where no one dares to ask any serious questions as long as the performance is good.” The October 16 Memo concluded: “I could go on but we seem to be relying on Madoff s integrity (or the [feeder funds’] belief in Madoff s integrity) and the quality of the due diligence work (initial and ongoing) done by the custodians . . . to ensure that the assets actually exist and are properly custodied, If some[thing] were to happen with the funds, our recourse would be to the custodians and whether they had been negligent or grossly negligent.”

The Head of Due Diligence responded by complimenting the Equity Exotics Analyst on the October 16 Memo, making reference to other long-running fraud schemes, and suggesting in a joking manner that they should visit the Madoff Securities accountant’s office in New City, New York to make sure it was not a “car wash.”

* * *

JPMC’s Redemptions From Madoff Feeder Funds

On October 16, 2008 — the day of the October 16 Memo — an Equity Exotics employee requested by e-mail a “list of all external trades and the exact counterparty trade” for each of the Madoff-related feeder funds, noting that “[t]le list needs to be exhaustive as we may be terminating all of these trades and we cannot afford missing any.” The Equity Exotics Desk, which had already placed redemption orders for approximately $78 million from the Madoff feeder funds between October 1 and October 15, thereafter sought to redeem almost all of its remaining money in the Madoff feeder funds.

In addition to redeeming its positions in the Madoff feeder funds, JPMC sought, with the assistance of legal counsel, to cancel or otherwise unwind certain of the structured products issued related to the performance of the Madoff feeder funds. In an attempt to unwind these transactions, JPMC told the distributors of the Madoff notes that it was invoking a provision of the derivatives contract that enabled it to de-link the notes from the performance of the Madoff feeder funds if JPMC could not obtain satisfactory information about its investment. For example, in a letter dated October 27, 2008,JPMC warned that it would declare a “Lock-In Event” under the terms of the contract unless the recipient — a distributor that the Equity Exotics Analyst had spoken to as part of his due diligence underlying the October 16 Memo — could provide the identity of all of Madoff Securities’ options counterparties by 5:00 PM the following day.

In the Fall of 2008, the amount of JPMC’s position in Madoff feeder funds fell from approximately $369 million at the beginning of October 2008 (which was down slightly from its high-water mark of $379 million, in July 2008) to approximately $81 million at the time of Madoff s arrest, on December 11, 2008 — a reduction of approximately $288 million, or approximately 80% of JPMC’s proprietary capital invested as a hedge in Madoff feeder funds. During the same period, JPMC spent approximately $19 million buying back Madoff-linked notes and approximately $55 million to unwind a swap transaction with a Madoff feeder fund that eliminated JPMC’s contractual obligation with respect to those structured products. When Madoff was arrested, JIPMC booked a loss of approximately $40 million, substantially less than the approximately $250 million it would have lost but for these transactions.

At the same time, the Equity Exotics Desk also held through the time of Madoff s arrest a gap note providing JPMC with $5 million in protection if the value of a Madoff feeder fund collapsed completely. In a November 28, 2008 e-mail, an Equity Exotics banker declined a third party’s request to buy this protective gap note from JPMC, and described the gap note as being “as of today. . . very valuable” to JPMC.

D

JP Morgan Pays $2 Billion to Avoid Prosecution for Its Involvement In Madoff Ponzi Scheme Washington’s Blog

JP Morgan Pays $2 Billion to Avoid Prosecution for Its Involvement In Madoff Ponzi Scheme Washington’s Blog.

JP Morgan: Ponzi Schemer

Bernie Madoff has said all along that JP Morgan knew about – and knowingly profited from – his Ponzi schemes.

So JP Morgan has agreed to pay the government $2 billion to avoid investigation and prosecution.

While this may sound like a lot of money, it is spare sofa change for a big bank like JP Morgan.

It’s not just the Madoff scheme.

As shown below, the big banks – including JP Morgan – are  manipulating virtually every market – both in the financial sector and the real economy – and breaking virtually every law on the books.

Here are just some of the recent improprieties by big banks:

  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See thisthis 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 hereherehereherehere,herehereherehereherehere and here
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See thisthisthisthis 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 thisthisthisthis and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See thisthis 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 thisthis and this.

The failure to go after Wall Street executives for criminal fraud is the core cause of our sick economy.

And experts say that all of the government’s excuses for failure to prosecute the individuals at the big Wall Street banks who committed fraud are totally bogus.

The big picture is simple:

  • The big banks manipulate every market they touch
  • The government has given the banks huge subsidies … which they are using for speculation and other things which don’t help the economy. In other words, propping up the big banks by throwing money at them doesn’t help the economy
  • The big banks own the D.C. politicians … so Congress and the White House won’t do anything unless the people force change
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