Wall Street Crime and Main Street Punishment
--by George Washington
Here are some recent improprieties by the big banks:
--Laundering money for drug cartels. See this, this, this and this (indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis)
--Laundering money for terrorists
--Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this 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 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
--Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion--without even buying or storing any gold. And raiding allocated gold accounts.
--Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this).
--Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See , this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car.
--Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure.
--Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing
--Engaging in insider trading of the most important financial information.
--Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, , this and this.
--Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this and this.
--Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this.
--Otherwise manipulating markets. And see this.
--Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this and this.
--Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees.
--Cooking their books (and see 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
this and this.
But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?
The big banks no longer do very much traditional banking. Most of their business is from financial speculation. For example, less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits. Instead, they are mainly engaged in financial speculation and derivatives.
A huge portion of the banks’ profits comes from taxpayer bailouts. For example, 77% of JP Morgan’s net income comes from taxpayer subsidies.