Why Isn’t it a Crime

The following is an excerpt from my book in progress, whose working title is “How to Steal $10 Trillion and Avoid Jail.” All rights reserved. Copyright 2013.

Imagine you have $1,000 in your hand. You are on your way to the bank to make the deposit into your savings bank when you meet a friend of yours who works at the bank. He offers to take your deposit to the Bank and make the deposit. You have known him and the Bank for years and he and the Bank are considered pillars of the community.

His proposal would save you the trouble of making the trip to the Bank. So you agree and you hand him the money and the deposit slip. But you are still cautious. Who knows? Maybe he’ll get hit by a truck on the way to work? So he offers to give you a “deposit receipt” that says “this will acknowledge receipt of $1,000 from Jack Pension for deposit this day into his account at First National Bank on the Corner.” Satisfied, you go on about your day. Your “friend”, Will Faraday, goes to work at the Bank.

When Will Faraday gets to work, he walks up to a Teller, gives her the money and a deposit slip — for an account owned by Will Faraday, with the express intention of using the money to buy some new electronics for himself at Best Buy. Later he goes to Best Buy and buys a new TV and stereo system for $850 and gives them a check for that amount drawn on his account at First National Bank on the Corner — the same account into which he deposited your $1,000. Without your knowledge and consent, you have financed Will Faraday’s purchase of electronics at Best Buy in the amount of $850.

Later that day, Will Faraday meets his brother, Carl Faraday, and offers to sell him the TV and stereo for $1,000. He agrees. He hands $1,000 in cash to Will Faraday and Carl Faraday goes home pocketing the $150 “profit” that he will later declare and pay taxes on as a trading profit. He also still has the TV and stereo which Will has promised Carl he will deliver later. So far, Will Faraday has pocketed $1,000 from you, $1,000 from his brother and he also has $850 worth of TV and stereo equipment. Total “revenue” for Will Faraday is therefore $2,850 — all from a simple “deposit” of $1,000.

Meanwhile you think you have $1,000 in your bank account. You forgot to ask Will Faraday for the deposit receipt for his deposit of $1,000 into your account. You figured that the deposit receipt you received from Will Faraday was enough. After all he works right at the prestigious bank. Will Faraday meanwhile has deposited into his own account $1,000 from you, and $1,000 from his brother, leaving him with $2,000 in deposits and leaving you with zero in deposits. When the check comes in from his purchase at Best Buy, his account is debited $850. He now has $1,150 in his account that he never would have had but for your giving him $1,000 for deposit into your account. He also still has the TV and the stereo equipment.

When brother Carl asks for delivery, Will Faraday tells him he decided to keep the TV and Stereo and he will pay back the $1,000 that Carl gave him. But Will tells his brother Carl that he has spent the money on household bills. So he will give Carl a note that says it will be paid in a month, with interest at 6% per annum, which means that Carl will receive interest at a higher rate than he can get at the bank which only pays 5%. Carl agrees (after, it is his brother). Will signs a note to Carl for $1,000 payable with interest at 6% in a month. Carl needs the money so Carl sells the promissory note from Will to his neighbor Sally. Carl properly endorses the note, delivers it and signs an assignment to Sally.

So far, Will Faraday has succeeded at getting Cash of $2,000, plus TV Stereo Equipment worth $850. Carl gave Will $1,000 but received the $1,000 from Sally, so he considers himself out of the picture unless of course Carl knew that the money was taken under false pretenses from you, Jack Pension. Carl and Sally send notice to Will about the transfer of the note. At this point Will owes Sally $1,000, and the bank which was used as a depository institution owes nothing unless Jake deposits the money into a checking or savings account.

Your savings account at the bank is a contract by which the bank agrees to pay you interest for leaving your money in the account. In this case the agreement is that the bank will pay you 5% on your balance, payable annually. So you expect to get a statement showing the Bank has paid you 5% on the $1,000 you handed to Will Faraday which is $50 per year in interest income.

So Will Faraday, who has access to your account as an officer of the bank, simply deposits $50 into your savings account and fabricates a new statement from the Bank showing the deposit of $1,000 and deposit of the interest earned of $50. He sends the statement to you and you, Jack Pension, are none the wiser as to what is really happening.

You issue a check for the $50 in interest and deposit it into your checking account. Later Will figures out that he can form a corporation that will issue the interest payments “for the Bank.” The Bank of course has no idea that Jack Pension is supposed to have $1,000 more in his savings account than he really does. Or, maybe the Bank does know because what Will Faraday is doing is well known to the officers of the bank. Will’s “personal service” is bringing in lots of new customers.

Because you already have deposited money on a regular basis into your savings account there is plenty of money there to cover your withdrawal of the $50 in interest you thought you earned from the bank. But truth be told, the $50 came from Will Faraday’s account and was deposited in your account not as interest from the Bank but as repayment of the money Will Faraday took from you. Or, Will played the odds and simply didn’t deposit the interest at all knowing there was enough money in the savings account from your multiple deposits from deposits in prior months and years.

Bottom Line: The number of transactions and amount of money involved in this scheme is already mind boggling. From a simple “favor” of depositing $1,000 into your savings account like you do every month, Will Faraday has taken your money, taken another $1,000 from his brother, acquired TV and stereo equipment worth $850. Carl has paid $1,000 to Will which he has kept and accepted a note for $1,000 from Will, his brother. The note as a negotiable instrument is the same as cash so we have another $1,000 in “cash” created. Carl negotiates the note to Sally with another $1,000 changing hands. $4,850 in “funds” were created and changed hands in this simple deal.

It doesn’t take long before Will Faraday starts doing more “favors” and running deposits from other people in his neighborhood and then all over town. With over a thousand “depositors” he has created almost 5 million dollars in transactions — per month!

He is able to pay Sally the $1,000 plus interest in full without touching the original money because people are giving him “deposits” all over town. And he and his brother are issuing notes all over town that promise to pay interest 20%-30% higher than market rates. Instead of 5% at the Bank they are offering 6%, 7% or even 8%. It is high, but not so high that everyone would know there is something wrong.

This is the essence of a PONZI scheme. As long as people keep giving deposits for their savings account to Will Faraday he can pay the interest expected by the “depositor” without raising any suspicion.

If you or one of the other “depositors” comes in and wants to withdraw all their money, Will Faraday simply explains to them there was an error in posting and hands them their money (secretly transferring the shortfall from one of his own accounts).

But if everyone stops giving Will Faraday deposits then it is only a matter of a short period of time before the shortage becomes obvious and he goes to jail — unless of course he can’t be caught because he has taken up citizenship in a country that does not recognize extradition OR, more likely, the Bank that was used realizes it could be sued for negligent supervision — it knew that Will Faraday was paid $25,000 per year but it saw his various individual and new corporate accounts swell into tens of millions of dollars.

The Bank also knows that being drawn into a scandal of this size would ruin the Bank and everyone would take their money out leaving the Bank insolvent — which nobody wants. So the Bank asserts its influence with prosecutors and the courts, and before charges are even brought there is a settlement in which some money is returned to the “depositors” and no charges are brought against the Bank or Will Faraday, even if he will never work in Banking again. To quiet down public outrage, Will Faraday throws his brother Carl Faraday under the bus, and Carl gets to spend 6 years in a minimum security prison for white collar criminals.

Is it theft? No because Will Faraday didn’t use a gun to take the money. Instead he used false promises, which is fraud. And when it comes to fraud, prosecutors are more likely to consider the matter to be a civil matter than a criminal one. But it might be theft if brother Carl had started trading in notes and buying insurance on the money Will owes him. But it would not be theft of money. In all probability, if it was theft, it would be theft of identity.

REALITY CHECK FOR MORTGAGE SECURITIZATION: If you substitute a pension fund for Jack Pension, and change the wording of the “deposit receipt” from Will Faraday and change the “promissory note” to a prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement, you will see that the Pension Fund expected the money to be deposited into a trust which in turn was supposed to buy mortgages, whose interest income would be higher than the usual market rates.

In exchange the Pension Fund received a mortgage bond issued by the trust — which is a promissory note under another name. But the Pension Fund managers didn’t actually receive the mortgage bond. It was generally “uncertificated” which means no physical bond was ever printed and the Bank that did the underwriting for the issuance of the mortgage bonds merely kept records on one of several manual or computerized systems were in use. It might surprise many people that paper records of “securitization” were kept so they could be destroyed — along with the notes and closing documents with borrowers, whose names, credit scores and signatures would be traded in ways they never imagined, much less consented.

And if you substitute a Bank with the same or different initials as Will Faraday it would be trusted. Like the simple transaction described above, the Bank took the money into its own account and never deposited the money into the Trust, thus making it obviously impossible for the Trust to buy or fund mortgage loans. And the closing with borrowers saw closing agents apply wire transfers from strangers to the closings with a “lender” that was operating under the control and supervision of a cluster of people and companies. In the same way that the Bank diverted the money from the Trust, the bank diverted title from the Pension Fund at the closing, leaving out the Pension Fund entirely.

Like Will Faraday the Banks fabricated statements and made payments out of incoming purchases of “mortgage bonds” for as long as the mortgage bonds were being purchased.

The comparison doesn’t end there. Like Will Faraday buying $850 worth of TV and stereo equipment, the Bank only set aside 85% of the Pension Fund money for the actual purchase or origination of loans. The Bank skimmed 15%-25% of the Pension fund money and said it was a proprietary trading profit. Since the Bank stock was being publicly traded at a multiple of its earnings, each dollar of profit produced as much as $10-$15 dollars in value on the stock market.

But the skimming of the money as “proprietary trading profit” caused a shortfall, the only cure for which was either to put the money back (which the Bank had no intention of doing) or to increase the nominal interest rates far above the interest rate expected by the Pension Fund. If paid, the extra interest would, over time, make up for the difference between the amount of money the Pension Fund gave the Bank and the amount of money actually used to fund mortgages. Theoretically it would cover the theft by the Bank. In actuality the Bank knew that the higher interest rate represented higher risks or even caused higher risks, and that they needed to find another way to cover up the shortfall caused by the bank taking part of the money meant for mortgage lending and putting it in their own pocket as trading profits.

But the higher interest rates could only be achieved if people with good credit were steered into loans given to people with bad credit. And when they ran out of people with good credit they were forced to go to people with bad credit and sell them on the idea that they could afford to buy a $500,000 house, no money down, and pay only $300 per month in a teaser payment.

No Bank would assume the risk of any of the loans because the likelihood of default was enormous compared to the loans of yesteryear when everything was checked out about he borrower, the property and the proposed deal. The basic rule was that at no time would the banks ever be subject to the risk of loss on any loan subject to claims of securitization. The object was to get signatures and that is exactly what they did. The Banks collected signatures on tens of millions of loan transactions including refi’s that sometimes were as close together as 1 month. Anything goes. Applications for loan were doctored by originated and then further tweaked as necessary by “aggregators.” There was even a case where a dog literally was approved for a loan in California.

Only people with minimal financial sophistication or language problems would be likely to fall this ruse. So the Banks hired originators and mortgage sales people many of whom had previously been convicted of economic crimes — because it was just those people who had the skills necessary to sell a doomed financial transaction. This enabled people who had been flipping burgers at McDonald to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year because they were so highly paid to do their work and not confess to their methods.

The “nominal” interest rates rose on the promissory notes even as the availability of loan money was in a state of over-supply on steroids. But the closing papers indicated a payment that anyone could afford, giving the impression of much lower rates. The borrowers, whether they were new homeowners or getting refinancing on a home that had been in their family for generations were assured that because of these new innovations on Wall Street they would never be the ones to pay the loan off. And that representation, paradoxically enough, was the only true statement in the whole scheme.

The next thing that had to be done was to figure out a way to both cover the theft of the Pension Fund money and make even more money. Meanwhile you, Jack Pension, were completely unaware of what was going on and that Will and Carl were even fabricating documents that implied you were part of the deal as well as your savings account. You might even find out later that lawsuits and foreclosures were being filed in your name on deals you knew nothing about.

38 Responses

  1. US Bank and SN Servicing has submitted Forged documents in our federal bankruptcy case too and we will never stop perusing them in court for damages. We are also asking our Federal judge to prosecute their current attorney out of Jacksonville Florida who continued to defend this case knowing that forged document are before a federal court. All the offending parties at SN Servicing and their attorneys are committing a serious crime against our country. We have filed a formal complaint with the FBI and the US attorney general and many great Judges all across this nation are finally stopping them from this kind of fraud on American families. US Bank and SN servicing and their attorneys are also violating a serious consent order that was to protect the people from these crimes but they could care less. Please feel free to have your clients join a class action suit so that we can end their behavior with a multi billion dollar punitive damage suit. Join us, call Ray Shelton in Florida at 352 274 8467


  2. “mean, nasty, snarly”…that is exactly what you are.

    “…the future of (the) planet and humanity”… will involve compassion and patience—not mean-spirited bullying.


  3. ukg- thanks for the detailed response. The trust in question would be Encore Credit Mortgage Loan Receivables Trust 2005-1. I looked at the 8k, 10k a d various others. They filed a 15D in2006. I can contact you with my email if you think that is better. Or, we can just post for all to see. Thanks


  4. ian, you’re referencing a 15-15D. Because there are allegedly less than 30 certificate holders, they are not obligated to report. Those numbers, however, are in the ABS terminals where they are traded. Many loans exist long after the borrower defaults. Even mods are resecuritized. If you could be more specific regarding the trust name, I could help. One thing to remember, kiddies: these are all UNREGISTERED SECURITIES. Even though they show up in the SEC, they went dark after the downgrades, extinguishments, writedowns, trigger events, swaps to TARP. what have you.
    Reading some prospectus’ from Countrywide, I’ve found that they in particular went so far as to admit that loans were being purchased from other SPV’s that Cwide originated. Shortfalls in the trusts would be met with a shifting of loans .


  5. Judge Gerold Johnson also states he does not have to answer the attorney and takes the fifth.


  6. Is anyone here familiar with a certain “CWMBS 2/3/2004 ‘Relief Letter’ alluded to in various SEC docs by which any reports filed w SEC by custodian bank are not obligated to report certain financial or nonfina cial info? I gather that any MBS which had CW MBS as master servicer would be using this approach. Thanks


  7. @Christine: yup. buy a gun, it’s coming to your town sooner than you think.


  8. Scotty, where’s Scotty?
    Dude, they finally figured it out.
    Wish you well, my friend.


  9. Great decision in Wisconsin submitted to me by a friend. Glad she had her eyes open. This is big.



  10. Why be optimistic?

    Incredible 2-minute visual of the power retaken by the people since 1979. Simple map replaying all the uprisings worldwide. Humanity has been preparing to reclaim its place.




  11. never again is said when refering to never again the holocaust. nothing to do with jdl


  12. Deb,

    “for fear of loosing – what they think they have”

    You just put your finger on it. “What they think they have.”


  13. I’shanah tova to the people of the covenant.


  14. Hey A Man What does “Never Again” mean? Is that like a JDL rallying cry?


  15. REQUEST FOR RESEARCH ASSISTANCE – PROJECT UNENDORSED NOTES/BK/ Litigation and certified copies from county records. Only un endorsed notes allegedly securitized and claimed by trust.
    FYI, sometimes the notes are endorsed on the back. Everyone should call the Court and request to examine

    the “original” if it was filed in the case. Many times copies of the notes do not contain the endorsement and then

    they show up in court with an original with an endorsement. Just saying….people may get confused.

    “Virginia Parsons”
    To: “deadlyclear2”



    Our goal is to provide the Mortgage Fraud Taskforce with 1,000 examples of unendorsed notes used by trusts in foreclosures and bankruptcies.

    Our research results will also be published on this website.

    Please send me copies of any unendorsed mortgage note used by a trust in a foreclosure or bankruptcy action in a PDF format and I will send it to the Housing Justice Foundation; or you can fax it directly to (561.355.0893).

    1. We are at this time looking only for mortgage notes claimed by trusts.

    2. The last page of the note is most important – showing that the note was not endorsed.

    3. Please also give the name of the court and the case number where the note was filed.

    4. Please do NOT send copies of mortgages, riders, entire case files – we are only seeking the NOTES.

    5. Please do not include any case where the note was endorsed by an Allonge attached to the note.

    As always – please share this information with your friends and family.

    Send to Virgina at “VA@DC”
    Virginia Parsons


  16. A claim Neil G. has stated is crucial to cause the banks to prove they have standing!

    Bavand first argues that the trial court erred when it granted MERS and OneWest’s joint CR 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, she argues that a material procedural defect in the appointment of RTS as successor trustee under the deed of trust made the trustee’s sale invalid. We agree that Bavand has stated sufficient facts


  17. Neil, No Disrespect intended, but, if you want to publish this, be sure to invest in a Proofreader. many grammatical and spelling mistakes.

    Otherwise, GREAT POST. Maybe the OTHERS will understand finally.

    TY for being so diligent on this issue which effects ALL Americans.


  18. ML,

    Whatever, delusional moron. Whatever. Stop addressing me: it’s a waste of my time to read you and answer.


  19. Like a computer that might crash, it doesn’t mean America is finished, just a little extra work to restore. Christine your hope of the US being finished is a pipe dream
    Americans one by one are working on restoring our Great Republic.


  20. If my understanding is correct, this only means that JPM’s idea is to use the gold as leverage in case of a complete crash of the US economy.

    It’s not what will happen. JPM will become one of the thousands of banks worldwide to be seized by the people and whose assets will be used to clean up this planet. My take on it based on the recent BRICS developments and Obama’s failure to start a war. It’s all good.


    JPMorgan Closes Precious Metals ‘Sell’ Recommendation, Goes “Tactically Overweight” Commodities

    2013-09-10 — zerohedge.com

    “the firm quietly went long commodities – specifically base metals and copper (in addition to energy) – and the firm also closed it “sell” (i.e., underweight) in precious metals. This is not surprising: we had noted the ongoing purchasing of gold by JPM over the past two month (in part to restore its depleted gold vault inventory) when the yellow metal not only stabilized but promptly entered a bull market, returning 20% in a short period of time. And as gold was rising, JPM was advising its clients to sell. It seems JPM now has more than enough gold stashed away, and as the September shock is set to unwind, even JPM may be seeking the safety of gold, and the usual other hard asset suspects, if and when events escalate out of control, resulting in another “risk off” phase.”


  21. Really? The US is coming down and everybody knows it!


    Iran Ruling In Europe Draws Anger From U.S.

    2013-09-10 — nytimes.com

    In a setback for the United States’ attempts to isolate Iran, a European Union court threw out sanctions Friday on seven Iranian companies, including four banks, rejecting arguments that they were acting as front companies to bypass the punitive measures.

    The General Court in Brussels, the union’s second-highest tribunal, ruled that the bloc wrongly imposed sanctions against the Iranian companies as part of its efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a decision that immediately drew the ire of American officials.

    [Iran doesn’t need nuclear. Besides, Iran/Persia didn’t become one of the oldest civilizations on earth by creating weapon of mass destruction. That’s a typically American trait… Welcome to the new consciousness, where “shoot first or be shot” no longer applies.]


  22. Really? How did that happen?????????????????


    BofA Cuts Jobs as Mortgage Slump Traps JPMorgan, Wells Fargo
    By Hugh Son & Dakin Campbell – Sep 10, 2013 10:37 AM ET

    Mortgage lenders including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) that feasted on refinancings as interest rates reached all-time lows are now warning that the drop in demand may be steeper than expected.

    Even Bank of America Corp., which fell to fourth in U.S. mortgages last year as it scaled back after buying Countrywide Financial Corp., is reducing capacity further as surging interest rates crimp demand. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm is eliminating 2,100 jobs and closing 16 offices by Oct. 31, said two people with direct knowledge of the plan…

    … ‘Slightly Negative’

    An increase in lending for home purchases won’t be enough to replace a drop in refinancings, JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake said in her presentation. The bank’s pretax-profit margins and income on mortgage lending will be “slightly negative” in the third and fourth quarters as the firm takes time to adjust its fixed costs. [Slightly negative, huh? They really lie through their faces! They’re coming down and they frickin’ know it!]


  23. Oops. Wrong link. Computer fouled up…



  24. Very good piece of lawyering.

    B. If a court lacks jurisdiction, then the judgment is void,
    and a void judgment is a nullity.
    Foreclosure filings more than quintupled between 1995 and 2009. By that time, it had become apparent that banks were sometimes suing and foreclosing on Notes and Mortgages they did not own.(Id.)
    Judge Boyko said in 2007: “You have been doing this so long, you think it’s legal.



  25. Years back I told a postioned attorney at the New York Country registers office about the foreclosure fraud, and fraudulent title transfers that we on In Internet were picking up being facilitated by companies such as Fidelity Title companies etc in the land records all over this country and also wished him Shana tova and his last message to me was
    “I’ll get back to you”.


  26. Yes
    But collectively the people must see it first- in the mind. Not to be fearful of doing the hard thing for fear of loosing – what they think they have


  27. EULE,

    Bankers’ brain? Best oxymoron so far…


  28. HOW THE BANKERS BRAIN IS WORKING , should be your book title


  29. Record $175 Billion Due Makes Banks Worst Losers
    By Kyoungwha Kim – Sep 9, 2013 8:18 PM ET


    This is it. It’s unraveling one day at a time. Time to return to healthy priorities and start fixing the mess instead of remaining consumed by fear of the unknown and dreams of revenge and vengeance. There is no unknown: the system is collapsing. All we need to do is remain steady, do what needs to be done to best weather the storm and start building the future of planet and humanity. Nobody needs banks or oil for that and both are becoming obsolete and useless. All we need is a vision of the future we want for ourselves. So, people can either focus on the worst case scenario and remain paralyzed by abject fear (and mean, nasty, snarly as a by-product of their fear) or they can focus on all the good signs of the impending undoing of the second Tower of Babel and visualize what comes next.

    If you analyze the signs, what comes next is incredibly wonderful.


  30. Hi Neil Garfield and Family Shana tova Umetuka (Happy New Year)and G’mar Hateema Tova to you and your family



  31. Christine’s analogy, or I might say the prosecutor’s analogy, that banks shouldn’t be prosecuted because too many people would be damaged is insane; look at the millions of people that are loosing their homes due to the bankster’s actions. And they are not stopping their actions after they are fined pennies on the dollar. I think this country might be becoming a banana republic where the laws of the land are not worth considering unless the establishment wants to use them against the little guy …… The only way to stop the banks is to throw them all in jail like they did in the savings and loan situation; some other countries have.


  32. And there won’t be any war in Syria. This country keeps agitating for one, as a last ditch effort to salvage the banks and the unjust, unfair and destructive economy but the rest of the world is ready to wipe the US out if it allows to safeguard humanity and the planet.

    We’ve crossed to the other side. Apparently, only imbeciles like Obama and Kerry haven’t gotten the memo.



  33. UKG,

    If the main goal people have is to see prosecutions, they may, indeed, be disappointed. What I’m looking at is something else: while 4 million people are kept hostages to the foreclosure situation, orchestrated completely artificially in order to distract us and delay as much as possible the release of new technologies allowing humanity to get off fossil fuels while remaining the slaves of the banks and big industries, brain power is still very active worldwide and coming up with new inventions every day.

    No one may end up jailed but one thing is certain, sooner or later, banks will collapse: the system itself is crumbling, one invention at a time. If I no longer depend on utilities to get my heat, AC, power and clean water, what the hell do i care what happens to Jamie boy or the Stumpf? If that technology is used worldwide and it allows me to travel and decide on what kind of project I’d like to be involved and where, those guys might vanish: I couldn’t care less! In the end, equality of opportunity is what I’m staring at and it’s coming. Once 80% of the cost of producing anything and all middlemen have been eliminated, the sky IS the limit. Literally!



  34. Big Banks Have a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card
    SEP 9, 2013 10:00am ET
    Large banks are now virtually immune from criminal prosecution.

    It’s true and not for any of the dark or nefarious reasons that some would have you believe. The reason for their potential immunity can be traced back to a 1999 pronouncement by the Department of Justice regarding the federal prosecution of corporations.

    In that memo addressed to all U.S. Attorneys, the DOJ outlined the factors to be considered in determining whether to prosecute corporations. One of those factors is “collateral consequences”. In determining whether to file criminal charges against a bank, or any corporation, U.S. Attorneys were ordered to weigh the impact that the prosecution would have on unrelated parties. The prosecutors were to take into account the “disproportionate harm to shareholders and employees not proven personally culpable”. It is this concern for innocent parties that may make banks practically bullet proof (at least from criminal charges).

    The top ten banks in this country currently employ over a million Americans. Millions more are shareholders in major banks, either directly or through investment funds. Any criminal action brought against one of the larger banks would almost certainly cause serious collateral consequences. How serious? Well, consider that during Rudolph Giuliani’s term as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York he brought criminal charges against four financial firms: Drexel Burnham, Republic New York Corporation, Bankers Trust and Daiwa Bank. Of the four, Drexel was closed, Republic and Bankers Trust were acquired and Daiwa no longer has branches in the U.S. Each outcome resulted in significant layoffs and substantial losses for their investors. Yet these firms combined had less than a quarter of the employees of today’s megabanks.

    So while it is prudent to consider all the reasonable options when trying to determine how best to chastise wrongdoers in the financial community, I would argue that criminal prosecution is no longer a viable option. Anyone who has ever worked at a large global bank knows that it is only possible to manage such behemoths by creating silos or fiefdoms within these giants. While a few in senior management may have some sense of what is happening throughout the organization, there are tens of thousands of regular employees who know little of what is happening outside of their branch or department.

    Prosecutors recognize that the likelihood that “criminal enterprise” runs throughout an institution or permeates the culture is minimal. There are probably a few “bad eggs” in any large organization, but a criminal prosecution of one of the nation’s megabanks would have far-reaching consequences. The benefit of ridding the financial world of such malefactors would be far outweighed by the harm to the multitudes of innocent parties.

    To be clear, the guidelines on federal prosecution of corporations do not preclude bringing criminal charges against a company. The memorandum recognizes that some collateral consequence is to be expected, stating, “Virtually every conviction of a corporation, like virtually every conviction of an individual, will have an impact on innocent third parties, and the mere existence of such an effect is not sufficient to preclude prosecution of the corporation.”

    But it is time that we addressed the matter frankly. The idea of bringing criminal charges against one of the nation’s larger banks has become untenable. The potential cost in jobs, probable shareholder losses and market turmoil would be horrific. The satisfaction of pursuing criminal charges against a major financial institution cannot be justified in exchange for rooting out what is likely only a handful of wrongdoers. Our prosecutors are sensible enough to recognize that despite the potential short-term fanfare that such a criminal filing might bring, it cannot justify the awful cost in jobs and market losses that is certain to occur.

    Criminal charges will still be brought against individuals. Civil fines will continue to be levied against banks with the dual purpose of compensating injured parties and modifying illicit behavior. However, we must accept that the collateral consequences of bringing criminal actions against major banks have become too great and any threat to prosecute is almost certainly an idle one.

    Richard Magrann-Wells is a senior vice president and the Financial Services Practice Leader for Willis North America.



  35. “His proposal would save you the trouble of making the trip to the Bank. So you agree and you hand him the money and the deposit slip.

    Meanwhile you think you have $1,000 in your bank account. You forgot to ask Will Faraday for the deposit receipt for his deposit of $1,000 into your account. You figured that the deposit receipt you received from Will Faraday was enough.”

    Great analogy. And it illustrates completely why, In my views, everyone in this country, everyone without exception, bears some liability in this debacle. Institutionalized laziness, complacency and apathy, . The three ingredients without which none of it could have taken place. All it would take to things to be fixes is for people to get off their butt and… take action! But still today, fewer than 5% of homeowners fight and… everybody keeps his money in the banks and dutifully (or fearfully) keeps paying the salary of the morons who concocted the scheme.

    You want things to get better? Take a public stand, kick your representatives out and stop feeding the monster you created out of laziness and apathy. And ignorance. And arrogance.


  36. thank you neil, l’shanah tovah


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