January 22nd, 2012
Econintersect: William K. Black had a leadership role in the resolution of the Savings & Loan Crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was on the team of regulators that brought thousands of banking criminals to justice, including more than 1,000 top executives. In Black’s own words:
“If you go back to the savings and loan debacle, we got more than a 1,000 felony convictions of the elite. These are not, you know, tellers or something. We today have zero convictions, zero indictments, zero arrests of any of the elite, non-prime lenders that, through their fraud, drove this crisis.”
Below is a video of 17 minutes of a lecture on the nature of the ciminology of the current crisis which is going unindicted The video is followed by breaking news on the web of fraud that is becoming further revealed as time goes on.
Dislosure: William K. Black is a frequent guest contributor to Global Economic Intersection.
The Huffington Post revealed this week that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who's Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud. The article by Scot J. Paltrow was based on investigations by Reuters. Paltrow discusses the thousands of cases referred to Holder and the Justice Department that have been ignored.
The failure to pursue criminal indictments at high levels in the banking and mortgage industries has been getting more attention from political figures and legal scholars in addition to Prof. Black. An example comes from an excerpt from Paltrow (emphasis added):
In an interview in late 2011, Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written about foreclosure practices said, "I think it's difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history."
Holder has resisted calls for a criminal investigation since October 2010, when evidence of widespread "robo-signing" first surfaced. That involved mortgage servicer employees falsely signing and swearing to massive numbers of affidavits and other foreclosure documents that they had never read or checked for accuracy.
Recent calls for a wide-ranging criminal investigation of the mortgage servicing industry have come from members of Congress, including Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., state officials, and county clerks. In recent months clerks from around the country have examined mortgage and foreclosure records filed with them and reported finding high percentages of apparently fraudulent documents.
On Wednesday, John O'Brien Jr., register of deeds in Salem, Mass., announced that he had sent 31,897 allegedly fraudulent foreclosure-related documents to Holder. O'Brien said he asked for a criminal investigation of servicers and their law firms that had filed the documents because they "show a pattern of fraud," forgery and false notarizations.
An article on GEI Opinion today by Washington's Blog discusses the nature of the conflicts of interest surrounding Holder, Breuer and other members of the Justice Department.
Perhaps there will be some attention finally paid by the American people to the lecture that Prof. Black has been delivering for the past several years.