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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Staggering Impunity

May 23rd, 2012

Charles Ferguson, the director of Inside Job and author of the soon to be released examination of the 2008 collapse, Predator Nation, wants to know where the hell the prosecutions for rampant criminal activity are:
"Almost all the prospectuses and sales material on mortgage-backed securities sold from 2005 through 2007 were a compound of falsehoods. But it starts even earlier in the food chain. We also know that mortgage originators committed securities fraud when they misrepresented the characteristics of loan pools, and the nature and extent of their due diligence with regard to them, when they sold pools to securitizers (and accepted financing from them). Most or all of the securitizers (meaning nearly all the investment banks and major banking conglomerates) then committed securities fraud when they misrepresented the characteristics of the loans backing their CDOs, the characteristics of the resulting mortgage-backed securities, and the nature and results of their due diligence in the process of creating those securities. The securitizers also committed securities fraud when they made similar misrepresentations to the insurers of, and sellers of credit default swap (CDS) protection on, those securities."
The utter lack of consequences for this illegality and, worse, the excuse-making by conservatives that the downturn was somehow a "glitch" in legitimate capitalism very nearly ensure another crisis. Possibly quite soon.
"In some cases, we already have clear evidence of senior executive knowledge of and involvement in these frauds. For example, quarterly presentations to investors are nearly always made by the CEO or CFO of the firm; if lies were told in those presentations, or if material facts were omitted, the responsibility lies with senior management. In some other cases, such as Bear Stearns, we already have evidence from civil lawsuits that very senior executives were directly involved in constructing and selling securities whose prospectuses contained lies and omissions."
And yet, not one CEO or CFO involved has been charged with so much as a misdemeanor. It's long past time we admitted that these are not titans; they are simply extremely ambitious thieves.

1 comment:

  1. "Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king" --Bob Dylan