Daily Archives: February 27, 2015

Ex-Wells Fargo employees to face insider trading trial, judge rules

Feb 26 (Reuters) – An administrative judge has cleared the way for U.S. regulators to take two former Wells Fargo & Co employees to trial in a closely watched case testing the limits of insider trading laws.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Administrative Law Judge Jason Patil in an order Wednesday called it an “exceedingly close matter” of whether a recent federal appellate court ruling on insider trading required tossing the charges against Gregory Bolan and Joseph Ruggieri.

The SEC alleged that Bolan, a research analyst, tipped Ruggieri, a trader, about upcoming upgrades and downgrades in ratings of various companies, allowing Ruggieri to make more than $117,000 in profits for Wells Fargo.

 The SEC, which brought the case in September, said Bolan also tipped off a friend, who was able to reap $10,000. The friend has since died.

Why JPMorgan Chase wants a ‘Wonderful Life’ bank

JPMorgan executives are the latest top bankers to claim they want to be more George Bailey than, well, J.P. Morgan.

These days, JPMorgan is emphasizing dog treats over derivatives.

On Tuesday, at the bank’s annual investor day, when CEO Jamie Dimon took the mic, one of the first things he told investors to do was check out one of the bank’s branches. “Around the country, people bring in their dogs and sit around for social reasons,” said Dimon. “We give out little doggie bones.”

The buzzword these days in big banking is simplicity. And on Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase executives became the latest top bankers to claim they want to be more George Bailey than, well, J.P. Morgan. The bank said it will cut $2.8 billion in expenses from its investment banking division in the next three years. About $1.5 billion of those cost reductions will come from “business simplification.”

Read on.

Fraud Verdict Against Countrywide & Bank of America Upheld

BofA’s “hustling” attempt to overturn a $1.27 billion judgment against it and Countrywide—along with the individual defendant identified in the next paragraph, the “Defendants”—in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for fraud in the sale of loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has proved unavailing.

Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York recently rejected the Defendants’ motion for a judgment in their favor or in the alternative, for a new trial. The judge characterized the Defendants’ attempt to meet their burden as one that they “utterly failed” to meet and stated that the evidence of material misrepresentations supporting the verdict was “overwhelming.” Indeed, Judge Rakoff viewed the Defendants “continuing contention that there was insufficient evidence of a material misrepresentation to support the jury’s verdict” as one that “border[ed] on the frivolous.”

Read on.

Revolving door: US Attorney Anne Tompkins heading to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Top Wall Street firm specializes in financial, securities and corporate law

Departing U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins is joining a legal firm linked to one of her biggest cases – the lawsuit against Bank of America over soured mortgage bonds.

Tompkins, the top federal prosecutor in western North Carolina since 2010, will be joining the Charlotte office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, a Wall Street firm that specializes in financial, securities and corporate law, sources tell the Observer.

Cadwalader’s 40-plus local attorneys operate out of the Carillon building on West Trade Street, which also houses Tompkins and her staff.

Such moves are both common and potentially controversial for prosecutors at Tompkins’ level. A formal announcement of her new duties is expected after Tompkins leaves the Justice Department on March 9.

Redefaults Continue to Plague HAMP

It’s all about securitization, folks…HAMP was never set up for securitized loans sold by Wall Street! And add to that, homeowners’ income is fickle due to the uncertainty of  job salaries.

The Home Affordable Modification Program continues to disappoint.

As of Dec. 31, one in three struggling homeowners who received a loan modification through HAMP ultimately redefaulted on those loans, a new report has found.

Meanwhile, the program that was supposed to help some 4 million families avoid foreclosure has helped only a fraction of that amount, according to a report the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Christy Romero, presented to Congress last month.

Funded through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, HAMP was created in 2009 as a way to help millions of homeowners who had fallen behind on their mortgages stay in their homes.

Read on.

Foreclosure: The Movie… (finally!) coming to a screen near you

In new film, neighborhood of foreclosed homes drives man insane

You can say a lot of things about the foreclosure crisis, but you can’t say that moving into a neighborhood destroyed by foreclosures could drive a man insane after he falls victim to ancient curses while living a haunted house.

Until now!

Those very events are the plot of a long-delayed movie now available on DVD and various on demand platforms. “Foreclosure,” which first hit HousingWire’s radar in 2010, (yes, 2010! How’s that for a scoop!?!?) tells the story of Bill Landopolous, played by Michael Imperioli, who moves into a house in Queens, New York with his son and father-in-law.

But, as it so often is in the movies, this house is more than just a house.

From the official plot synopsis:

In Foreclosure, Michael Imperioli plays a man whose lucrative business during a long bull market selling his expertise on financial markets in a small town crumbles when the foreclosure crisis hits and he loses his own home. He goes on the road with his father-in-law Raymond and son Steven until they move into a house bequeathed to Raymond by his late brother-in-law Calvin.

The three hope to put their cares behind them and start afresh but ominous premonitions start when a local police officer points out all the numerous foreclosures, bank-owned properties and short sales that have depopulated the once-attractive neighborhood he patrols.

Read on.