Obama's legacy: eight years of not holding executives criminally responsible for their companies' misdeeds

The most remarkable criminal justice story of 2017 is that the FBI has arrested a real corporate criminal, a VW executive who tried to engineer a coverup of the Dieselgate scandal, and that he might go to jail -- it's remarkable because the Obama administration spent eight years resolutely not sending criminal executives to jail, preferring instead to let their corporations buy their way out of criminal sanctions with huge fines, a doctrine pioneered by Obama Attorney General Eric Holder back when he worked for Bill Clinton's administration. But while Clinton rejected this idea, Obama put it into practice. Read the rest

New Senator from California can't explain why she didn't prosecute Trump's Treasury pick when she was AG

Kamala Harris was just sworn in as a senator from California, but her last gig was as California's Attorney General, and in that role, she decided not to prosecute Trump Treasury Secretary pick Steve Mnuchin, whom her office had identified as presiding over "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians -- that is, stealing their houses. Read the rest

Leaked doc shows Trump Treasury pick presided over the "widespread" theft of Americans' homes

Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Secretary of Treasury, has a checkered past (he once foreclosed on a 90 year old customer who was $0.27 short on her mortgage payment) but a leaked memo from the California attorney general's Consumer Law Section reports that Mnuchin's leadership of Onewest Bank involved "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians, through which the bank was able to fraudulently confiscate their customers' homes. Read the rest

Feds charge hedge-fund managers with $1B embezzlement

According to a federal indictment, Platinum Partners founder Mark Nordlicht and four others faked the hedge fund's books for years to allow them to siphon off one billion dollars to their personal accounts, swindling 600 investors. Read the rest

Wells Fargo says that its customers gave up right to sue by having their signatures forged

Even though disgraced Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has left the building, his most outrageous legal theories live on: on Wednesday, the company filed a motion in a federal court in Utah seeking dismissal of a class action suit by the customers it defrauded -- the bank argues that since customers sign a binding arbitration "agreement" when they open new accounts, that the customers whose signatures were forged on fraudulent new accounts should be subject to this agreement and denied a day in court. Read the rest

Trump Administration: a climate denier for the EPA, a Goldman-Sachs banker for Treasury

Donald Trump, who once claimed that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese has indicated that his EPA transition team will be led by Myron Ebell, who claims that accession to the Paris Climate Accord is unconstitutional, that global warming is "modest" and "nothing to worry about" and even that "a warming trend would be good for other people" because "more people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves." Read the rest

Senate investigates Wells Fargo retaliations against whistleblowers

One after another, ex-Wells Fargo employees have come forward to reveal that when they blew the whistle of millions of frauds committed against the bank's customers, the bank's management fired them and blackballed them from the banking industry for life, by falsifying claims of wrongdoing on a semi-secret list of corrupt bankers that is consulted by the industry before they make new hires. Read the rest

Better Business Bureau yanks Wells Fargo's accreditation

The scandal-haunted bank has been de-accredited by the Better Business Bureau, a punishment meted out to companies that violate the BBB Standards of Trust, which include "tell the truth," "build trust," "honor promises" and "embody integrity." (via Reddit) Read the rest

Wells Fargo's new CEO previously denied that the bank's sales culture had any problems

Yesterday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced his "early retirement" from the scandal-haunted company, with the CEO seat being filled by former COO Tim Sloan. Read the rest

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigns

First he was flayed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, then Congress had a go, then everyone got to gnaw on the fact that he'd done some seriously criminal stuff, then it emerged that he'd been a party to the bank's frauds since at least 2008, then we learned that his $200B bonus would be subsidized by taxpayers, then we learned that he walked through one of the bank's notorious boiler rooms every day, then his board of directors clawed back a couple million. Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower: once I complained, they started denying me bathroom breaks

Yesterday, I predicted that a lot of Wells Fargo whistleblowers were going to come forward, given how terribly Read the rest

Icelandic Supreme Court: all nine top bankers are guilty of market manipulation

All nine of the top Icelandic bankers from the KaupĆ¾ing market manipulation case have been found guilty by the country's Supreme Court, which reversed the district court that had acquitted two of the defendants last year. Read the rest

Whistleblower docs: Wells Fargo was opening fake accounts in 2005

Dennis Hambek was a Wells Fargo branch manager. In 2005, he found Wells Fargo employees creating fake accounts in their customers' names (in order to meeting the company's punishing sales quotas and avoid being blackballed across the industry). He sent a certified letter about the practice in 2006 to Carrie Tolstedt -- the bank exec who oversaw the fraud and retired weeks ahead of the scandal with a $125,000,000 bonus -- and held onto the receipts. Read the rest

RBS deliberately crushed more than 1,000 healthy UK businesses to seize and sell their assets

RBS, the bank that UK taxpayers bailed out during the financial crisis, after its reckless speculation drove it to bankruptcy, ran a fake "restructuring unit" that was pitched to business customers as a way of helping them weather the market turmoil, but was actually a loan-sharking operation that cranked up interest rates and imposed high penalties, deliberately driving healthy businesses into bankruptcy so that the bank could snap up their assets (illegally sharing information between business units so that RBS always beat the other bidders) and then selling them off to keep the bank profitable. Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower describes bank's culture of blackballing threats and coerced corruption

On the latest Planet Money podcast (MP3), a former San Francisco Wells Fargo banker describes the bullying and coercion she faced from senior management while working at the bank's head office, and how the bank forced her out when she blew the whistle on fraud and then blacklisted her with other banks, forcing her out of the sector altogether. Read the rest

Petition: make the FBI explain why they didn't bring criminal charges against bank execs

Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren published an open letter to FBI director James Comey observing that, in revealing details of its investigation into the Clinton email scandal, the Bureau had seemingly abandoned its longstanding policy of not sharing its deliberations, meaning that there was no longer any reason to keep secret its reasoning for not bringing criminal charges against the bankers who did trillions of dollars' worth of damage to the world economy, sparking wars, starvation, and personal ruin for millions of people. Read the rest

Wells Fargo started demanding fraud of its employees in 1998; Illinois cuts Wells off from state business

Wells Fargo made a habit of firing employees who didn't make unrealistic sales targets, turning a blind eye to the fraud they had to commit in order to keep their jobs (and firing the whistleblowers who reported the fraud). Read the rest

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