Daily Archives: April 22, 2016

Singer Prince blasted Wall Street, Freddie Gray’s death, enslavement, Warner Bros…

Alternet:

Here are some of Prince’s most political, and historic, moments.

“Ol’ Skool Company”

In March 2009, during the throes of the Great Recession, Prince premiered the song “Ol’ Skool Company” on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

“The fat cats on Wall Street, they got a bailout. Think it was AIG,” Prince sang in the single, referring to the insurance company American International Group Inc., which was bailed out by the government amid an enormous scandal, with a hefty price tag of $182 billion tax dollars.

“Everybody’s talking about hard times, like it just started yesterday,” he says in the studio recording of the song.

People I know they have been struggling, at least it seems that way. Fat cats on Wall Street, they got a bailout, while somebody else got to wait.”

“$700 billion but my old neighborhood, ain’t nothing changed but the date.”

In the past year, with the meteoric rise of self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who has harshly criticized Wall Street and its role in the 2008 to 2009 economic crisis, these kinds of comments may not seem surprising. But Prince’s remarks predated even the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement.

Wall Street’s Problem Isn’t Too Big to Fail. It’s Too Big to Nail.

Start with having the IRS auditing the banks for possible violation for REMICs. 

Start seizing top bankers’ wealth when they take too many risks, and you’ll fix things fast.

April 22, 2016

 

The main problem with Wall Street isn’t that, as Bernie Sanders says, the banks are too big to fail. It is that the bankers who run them are too big to nail—to be held financially and personally liable for the bad or corrupt decisions they make. This is now, sadly, documented history. The heart of the subprime mortgage mania—the real reason it could go on for so many years, nearly sinking the world economy in the end—was that no one was really held responsible for any of his or her bad decisions. Ever.

Bank executives weren’t held responsible during the bubble as it was building, when banks stopped caring about their own mortgage lending standards because the bankers knew all those bad loans would be bundled into securities that could be sold around the world, thus relieving the bankers’ firms of liability (though many banks also fecklessly kept substantial amounts on their books). Executives weren’t held responsible during the crash, when they were bailed out by the federal government and barely had to promise any change of behavior in return. And they weren’t held responsible long afterwards, when the Justice Department and the SEC failed to convict (and barely put on trial) a single senior executive, or even to send any to the poorhouse by levying fines and penalties. No personal accountability whatsoever, from start to finish; on the contrary, bankers, traders and executives were rewarded for their reckless behavior with big bonuses. Is there any better recipe for encouraging more greed, mania and irresponsibility by Wall Street—no matter how big the bank you’re working at is?

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/wall-street-too-big-to-fail-too-big-to-nail-213841#ixzz46alGdEXe

Former LIBOR Trader Banned and Censured by UK Conduct Regulator

Lexology:

United Kingdom April 21 2016

On April 12, 2016, the FCA announced that it had banned former LIBOR trader Paul White from performing any financial regulated activity and publicly censured him. The FCA found that Mr. White was “knowingly concerned” in RBS’s breach of the principle requiring firms to observe proper standards of market conduct and that he lacked the requisite fitness and propriety required of a person responsible for benchmark submissions. Mr. White was the Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc LIBOR submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland between March 8, 2007 and November 24, 2010. During that time Mr. White received requests from RBS JPY and CHF derivatives traders and external JPY derivatives traders requesting submissions that would benefit their trading positions and took those requests into account when submitting the RBS JPY and CHF LIBOR rates to the British Bankers Association (the former administrator of LIBOR). The FCA issued a warning notice to Mr. White in 2014 but its proceedings were suspended pending the Serious Fraud Office’s criminal investigation into individuals who had formerly been employed at RBS. The SFO announced in early March this year that it was closing its FX LIBOR investigation on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

The FCA’s Final Notice is available at: http://www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/final-notices/paul-white.pdf 

Journalists will not share Panama Papers with Justice Department

The media group that coordinated the Panama Papers investigation into offshore companies said on Thursday it would not participate in a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, wrote to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists seeking additional information from the group to aid his investigation into tax avoidance claims, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

The group on Thursday told prosecutors in Bharara’s office that it would not release unpublished data to them.

Read on.

Trump Institute Fired Veteran For ‘Absences’ After He Was Deployed To Afghanistan

Senior Master Sgt. Richard Wright was terminated days after he returned from a 2007 deployment.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been vocal about the need to take care of U.S. veterans. He’s said that if elected, he’ll “put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty.”

But that’s not what the Trump Institute, a get-rich-quick real estate seminar, did for Richard Wright, a senior master sergeant in the Air Force reserves who worked for the company in 2006 and 2007. Wright was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring of 2007. When he came home to his job, the Trump Institute fired him. “All of your absences,” Wright’s boss at the Trump Institute told him, had forced the company to “reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.” It is a violation of federal law to penalize an employee for absences caused by military service.

When Wright accepted a job at the Trump Institute in December 2006, he thought he’d be working directly with Trump.

“Having a chance to work with him was a dream come true,” Wright, now 48, said of Trump in an email to The Huffington Post.

Dozens of former customers of the Trump Institute and Trump University, a real estate instruction program, have also described being told that Donald Trump was personally overseeing the programs that bore his name, and that instructors were “hand-picked by Mr. Trump.” Judging from the information on the Trump Institute’s (now defunct) website, it’s easy to see why:

THE TRUMP INSTITUTE

It was only after Wright started the job that he realized Trump had little to do with the day-to-day operations of the Trump Institute.

Read on.

New York county legislator, former city official among victims of mortgage fraud conspiracy

Unbelievable…

Own mortgage company allegedly defrauded by lawyer, broker, appraiser, Realtor

A mortgage company owned by a New York country legislator and a former Syracuse city auditor is among the alleged victims of a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved a lawyer, a mortgage broker, a real estate appraiser, and a Realtor working together to defraud lenders out of more than $4 million.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York, a federal grand jury handed down a 24-count indictment charging Gregory Gibbons, a mortgage broker; Julio Rodriguez, a real estate appraiser; Laurence Savedoff, a lawyer; and Tina Brown, a Realtor, with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud affecting financial institutions, wire and mail fraud affecting financial institutions, and bank fraud.

The group, all of New York City, is accused of perpetrating a scheme where they allegedly inflated the true income, asset and employment information of borrowers in an effort to obtain mortgages on behalf of those borrowers.

According to the U.S. Attorney, to secure a loan, the group would allegedly submit, falsified employment documents that included, in some cases, phony income, assets, and places of employment.

Read on.

Not-so-close call: Bankers face stricter pay rules

Small, work-from-home loan originators at some credit unions dodged the latest regulatory attempt to force them them to open commercial offices.

Wall Street bankers, however, aren’t as lucky.

According to Nathaniel Popper writing for the New York Times’ Dealbook, the other side of those same regulations mean the Too-Big-to-Fail banks on Wall Street, and the bankers who work there, face stricter pay rules.

Think of the new rule this way:

Small credit union loan officers: 1

Wall Street fat-cat Banksters: 0

At least that’s how it’s playing out in the press.

See related coverage tone and feel:

Huff Po: The Feds Are Finally Cracking Down On Wall Street Bonuses

Business Insider: Wall Street pay has crashed, and now things are getting worse

[And my personal favorite, because of the stock photo] New York Magazine: Wall Street Executives Won’t Get Bonuses for Crashing the Financial System Anymore

Read on.

Wrongful Foreclosure Lawsuits Post Yvanova in Californiaand Cutting Edge Foreclosure Defense

An upcoming seminar co-hosted by Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC

Attorney CLE Credit 6hrs

April 23, 2016 | Los Angeles, CA

9:00am – 4:00pm

Co-Hosted by:

Rodriguez Law Group, Inc.
Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC

Sponsored by:

CFLA

Read more: http://www.certifiedforensicloanauditors.com/wrongful-foreclosure-lawsuits-04.23.16.html#ixzz46ZxF0ejI

Why Haven’t Bankers Been Punished? Just Read These Insider SEC Emails

Right after the financial crisis, an SEC lawyer fought a lonely struggle to get his agency to crackdown harder on Goldman bankers. He lost.

Propublica:

This story was co-published with The New Yorker. It is not subject to our Creative Commons license.

In the late summer of 2009, lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were preparing to bring charges in what they expected would be their first big crackdown coming out of the financial crisis. The investigators had been looking into Goldman Sachs’ mortgage-securities business, and were preparing to take on the bank over a complex deal, known as Abacus, that it had arranged with a hedge fund. They believed that Goldman had committed securities violations in developing Abacus, and were ready to charge the firm.

James Kidney, a longtime SEC lawyer, was assigned to take the completed investigation and bring the case to trial. Right away, something seemed amiss. He thought that the staff had assembled enough evidence to support charging individuals. At the very least, he felt, the agency should continue to investigate more senior executives at Goldman and John Paulson & Co., the hedge fund run by John Paulson that made about a billion dollars from the Abacus deal. In his view, the SEC staff was more worried about the effect the case would have on Wall Street executives, a fear that deepened when he read an email from Reid Muoio, the head of the SEC’s team looking into complex mortgage securities. Muoio, who had worked at the agency for years, told colleagues that he had seen the “devasting [sic] impact our little ol’ civil actions reap on real people more often than I care to remember. It is the least favorite part of the job. Most of our civil defendants are good people who have done one bad thing.” This attitude agitated Kidney, and he felt that it held his agency back from pursuing the people who made the decisions that led to the financial collapse.

While the SEC, as well as federal prosecutors, eventually wrenched billions of dollars from the big banks, a vexing question remains: Why did no top bankers go to prison? Some have pointed out that statutes weren’t strong enough in some areas and resources were scarce, and while there is truth in those arguments, subtler reasons were also at play. During a year spent researching for a book on this subject, I’ve come across case after case in which regulators were reluctant to use the laws and resources available to them. Members of the public don’t have a full sense of the issue because they rarely get to see how such decisions are made inside government agencies.

Kidney was on the inside at a crucial moment. Now retired after decades of service to the SEC, Kidney recently provided me with a cache of internal documents and emails about the Abacus investigation. The agency holds the case up as a success, and in some ways it was: Goldman had to pay a $550 million fine, and a low-ranking trader was found liable for violating securities laws. But the documents provided by Kidney show that SEC officials considered and rejected a much broader case against Goldman and John Paulson & Co.

Kidney has criticized the SEC publicly in the past, and the agency’s handling of the Abacus case has been previously described, most thoroughly in a piece by Susan Beck, in The American Lawyer, but the documents provided by Kidney offer new details about how the SEC handled its case against Goldman. The SEC declined to comment on the emails or the Abacus investigation, citing its policies not to comment on individual probes. In a recent interview with me, Muoio stood by the agency’s investigation and its case. “Results matter. It was a clear win against a company and culpable individual. We put it to a jury and won,” he said.

Kidney, for his part, came to believe that the big banks had “captured” his agency — that is, that the SEC, which is charged with keeping financial institutions in line, had become overly cautious to the point of cowardice.

Additional Evidence Of Mind-Boggling Fraud Emerges from The New York Primary

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Well the results are in, and the state of the state in New York is very, very bad.

The Daily Beast reports:

Alba Guerrero was dumbfounded. She’d arrived at her polling place in Ozone Park, Queens only to be told that she had been registered as a Republican since 2004.

 

That was news to her. She remembers registering to vote for the first time as a Democrat so she could vote for Barack Obama in the general election in 2008. When she recently moved from Manhattan to Ozone Park, in Queens, she re-registered at the DMV, she says, and even checked online on March 9th to be sure she was registered at her new address.

 

But when she showed up to vote for Bernie Sanders at PS63 on Tuesday, she says she was told she couldn’t. New York is a closed primary, where only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary—and voters had to be registered by last October. She was told—very politely, she wants to make clear—by poll workers to take it up with a judge. She was given a court order in nearby Forest Hills.

 

Guerrero drove to the Queens County Board of Elections and pled her case, but Judge Ira Margulis initially turned her away.

 

“The judge tells me, ‘No, that’s it—2004.’ He shows me, I’m registered as a Republican. He says there’s nothing we can do,” she said.

 

But on her way out she saw a Board of Elections worker holding something with her name on it. It was her 2004 voter registration, replete, she remembers, with her name, her social security number, her birthday—and someone else’s signature.

 

“I said, ‘Excuse me, that’s not my signature,’” she said. “It’s not my handwriting. It showed completely different signatures.”

Sure enough, the signatures are strikingly different. Next to a box checked “Republican,” her 2004 signature is written in clear, deliberate, legible cursive and includes her middle name. Her more recent signature is a loopy, illegible scrawl. She insists she’s never changed it in her life, and says she can produce old tax forms to prove it.

 

So Guerrero went back to to Judge Margulis and showed him the discrepancy.

 

“He allowed me to change for that day,“ she said.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted at 11:50 a.m., “There’s nothing more punk rock than voting. #GetOutAndVote”, had to change his tune by the end of the day. WNYC reported this morning that 126,000 Brooklyn Democrats had been removed from the voting rolls since last fall.