America’s Financial Sector, Infested with Criminals?

Charles Ferguson: How Financial Criminalization Crashed the Economy, and the Culprits Got Off Scot-Free

It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the American (and global) financial sector has become criminalized, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behavior that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident.

It is important to understand that this behavior really is seriously criminal. We are not talking about neglecting some bureaucratic formality. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in concealment of criminal assets and activities by others; and directly committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression.

Charles Ferguson: How Financial Criminalization Crashed the Economy, and the Culprits Got Off Scot-Free

I agree with Charles Ferguson. I’ve been following our financial disasters over the last five years and they are in many ways criminal enterprises, not that the Obama Administration seems to care.

We live in a nation with two standards of justice, one for the little people and one for a privileged elite.

I do not think I need to tell you of the horrible effects of injustice. The criminals will break the law again. The criminals will gain in power. The criminals will become even richer.

That is quite the lesson for our children and the larger society. Don’t work. Don’t labor. Steal. That’s the way of American Investment banking.

James Pilant

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The Subprime Crisis Explained (via You Tube from Meta View TV)

This is a graphed presentation of the mortgage crisis as it unfolded in 2007. I very much enjoy the graphed presentation as you can see the amounts of investments and their loss rate as time goes by. This crisis is still important because it is a key event in the creation of our current economic difficulties, the so called “Great Recession.”

James Pilant

Crisis Jones Comments on a Previous Post – Ethics (via Linear perspective)

Crisisjones has this comment for “Ethics (via Linear perspective).”

An extension of what has become business as usual. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The more attention we bring to these issues the greater the chance that honest folks will put an end to it.

There is an emerging situation of monumental proportions RE The New Madrid Fault, and NLE 2011.

We reported on this yesterday at There is an audio report (23) that has potentially life saving information.

PLEASE my friends, email the link to this report to EVERYONE you know.

The people on The New Madrid Fault Line need to know what is coming on May 11.

Thank You and May GOD continue to Bless Us All.


Crisis Jones posts regularly. You might want to visit and perhaps mart it as a favorite.

James Pilant

PB POST | Lawyer Ben-Ezra held in contempt over ‘fraud’ in foreclosure filing (via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge)

I like this. Too long has the foreclosure industry lived without legal retribution for their crimes. I have argued for months that robo signing and false affidavits were contempt of court. Well, at least one judge agrees with me.

I like this site. If you have the slightest interest in the mortgage crisis, it should be on your favorites.

James PIlant

PB POST | Lawyer Ben-Ezra held in contempt over 'fraud' in foreclosure filing Lawyer held in contempt over ‘fraud’ in foreclosure filing By Kimberly Miller and Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writer A day after federal mortgage giant Fannie Mae fired the prominent law firm of Ben-Ezra & Katz, a Miami judge found the firm’s founding partner, Marc Ben-Ezra, in contempt of court for filing “sham” foreclosure documents and “wasting the court’s time.” On Thursday, Fannie Mae cited document “execution issues” as th … Read More

via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge

Google Foreclosure Maps–no longer available (via Dregs of the Future)

Take a long last look at accurate maps of the foreclosure crisis. Google says they have low usage. Maybe they just have a high level of influence suggesting a better use of their time. Well, it’s gone. Here’s one more look.

James Pilant

Google Foreclosure Maps--no longer available  Searches for real estate foreclosures on Google Maps are censored no longer possible. Google has announced removal of all real estate listings from their Google Maps platform on February 10th of this year (2011). Google posted this: In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real es … Read More

via Dregs of the Future

American Business’ Ethical Collapse

But there is yet another factor underlying this crisis that is the broadest of all, pervasive throughout our society today. It was well expressed in a letter I received from a Vanguard shareholder who described the global financial crisis as “a crisis of ethic proportions.” Substituting “ethic” for “epic” is a fine turn of phrase, and it accurately places a heavy responsibility for the meltdown on a broad deterioration in our society’s traditional ethical standards.

This is a quote from an article by John C. Bogle. It directly faces the question of the collapse of business ethics and the role in played in the financial melt down of 2008.

Generally speaking, articles dealing with the crisis focus on derivatives, Sallie Mae, the business press, rating agencies, etc. They all share blame and a lot of it. I have always been convinced that the underlying problem was greed, self interest, the corrosive effects of Milton Friedman’s bizarre doctrine of economic utopia, and the replacement of critical scrutiny by frantic cheerleading in the financial press, and I have some more villains to name.

Bogle doesn’t dodge the ethical question. He wonders how we got here and how we can get out. He longs for the day when businessmen understood the value of trust and fair dealing. I’m not surprised to find that Mr. Bogle has no simple solution. It took four decades of worship of the financial means of production of little more than electronic impulses to triumph over the creation of actual goods. This isn’t going to be easy, and it it likely to fail subjecting this country to a chain of financial meltdowns each one of which will severely damage the lives of millions of Americans who will bear the chief cost not only of their way of life but paying for the meltdown themselves out of their “widow’s mite.”

Here’s Bogle discussing his beliefs:

Among those in the know, someone who believes in doing what is right. So, I would pay attention to this gentleman.

James Pilant

Alain Sherter

Alain Sherter’s work appears on BNET. He is a great writer and thinker whose work often points in original directions. His outrage over the ethical shortcomings of American business mirrors my own.

Here’s a sample of his writing

Banks that foreclose on a home must first prove they own the mortgage. So affirmed the top Massachusetts court today in ruling against U.S. Bancorp (USB) and Wells Fargo (WFC) in a decision could boost homeowners fighting foreclosure and end up costing banks billions.

One financial expert told Bloomberg the ruling could “open the floodgates” to similar suits in the state and bolster cases around the nation. Financial pundit Barry Ritholtz also called the ruling a victory for the rule of law and property rights, noting in a related post discussing the case:

This is more than a technical issue; at risk is whether we, as a nation, are going to allow corporate entities to violate existing law, or even worse, attempt to create their own, extra-legal, non democratic policies.

Certainly investors seem worried. U.S. Bancorp and Wells shares immediately dipped on the news, with broader bank stocks also tumbling. It’s no secret why. As the “robo-signing” furor has shown, banks for years have flouted legal requirements to document their right to seize homes. Foreclosure affidavits were rubber-stamped or even faked. Local laws regarding property transfers were ignored. Financial firms eager to mince mortgages up into securities violated rules intended to establish a clear chain of title in foreclosure cases.

Alain Sherter’s regular column, Financial Folly, is an invaluable guide to the shenanigans of the financial world. I recommend him to you.

James Pilant