In 2013, DOJ lawyers showed JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon a draft of a 92-page complaint against his bank. Dimon coughed up $13B to settle the case, and the complaint was sealed, leaving us all to wonder exactly what kind of red-handed fraud convinced Dimon to part with what was then the largest financial misconduct settlement in US history. Read the rest
It's been a whole day since we learned about another example of systematic, widespread fraud by America's largest bank Wells Fargo (ripping off small merchants with credit card fees), so it's definitely time to learn about another one: scamming mortgage borrowers out of $43/month for an unrequested and pointless "home warranty service" from American Home Shield, a billion-dollar scam-factory that considers you a customer if you throw away its junk-mail instead of ticking the "no" box and sending it back. Read the rest
When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest
Rolls Royce just arranged for a "deferred prosecution" with UK prosecutors over revelations that it had committed jailable offenses by bribing overseas officials in order to secure their business; under this arrangement, prosecutors have allowed Rolls Royce to pay to have the prosecution halted and to have their executives immunized from criminal repercussions for their actions. Read the rest
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
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
Wells Fargo's Board of Directors have finally exercised their right to claw back part of the hundreds of millions of dollars taken home by two senior executives who were compensated on the basis of the fraudulent earnings the bank took in while opening 2,000,000 secret accounts in their customers' names, taking money out of those customers' real accounts to pay for the fees and penalties accrued by the fake accounts, and trashing their customers' credit in the process. Read the rest
After Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf recited a drawn-out No True Scottsman Fallacy disguised as a hollow apology at the Senate Banking Committee's Wells Fargo hearing, senator Elizabeth Warren tore into him.
Warren slammed Stumpf for failing to fire any senior executives linked to the scandal, while Wells Fargo's aggressive sales tactics helped pump up the bank's stock price.
She said Stump's personal holdings of Wells Fargo stock increased by more than $200 million while the fake accounts "scam" was going on, thanks in part to the bank's success in selling tons of products to customers that they didn't need.
"You squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket," Warren said.
Stumpf barely blinked, no doubt thinking that whatever Warren was saying, it was worth $200 million. Read the rest
Carrie Tolstedt is the Wells Fargo executive who presided over a titanic, multi-year fraud through which at least 5,300 of the employees who reported to her opened up fake accounts in Wells' customers' names, racking up fees and fines, trashing the customers' credit ratings, and, incidentally, pulling in record revenues for Tolstedt's department, which Wells' management recognized by giving her a $125M parting gift when she left the company at the end of July, just weeks before the scandal broke. Read the rest
5,300 Wells Fargo employees created 2 million phony bank accounts and racked up huge fees, raking in commissions from their employer for being such great salespeople for the bank's services; meanwhile, the fees associated with the 2 million fake accounts created the appearance of much greater earnings for the bank, which it trumpeted to its investors. Read the rest
The headline figure of a $5B settlement that Goldman will have to pay after admitting to the toxic-asset fraud that led to the global economic collapse is just window-dressing: in the fine print are exemptions and giveaways that could cut that number in half. Read the rest
No one at Goldman Sachs will go to jail despite the company's world-destroying, multi-billion-dollar frauds that culminated in its unloading billions' worth of worthless mortgage-backed securities on its customers just before the crash. Read the rest
Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider are two artists who spent more than a year working with prisoners to identify CEOs who presided over terrible crimes without any personal penalties, and paired convicts with CEOs, commissioning portraits of the rich people whose impunity protected them from the inmates' fate. Read the rest
After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in which BP killed 12 people, millions of marine and land animals, and one ecosystem, two scapegoats were located to fit up for criminal manslaughter charges: the supervisors aboard the platform at the time of its explosion. Read the rest
The doctrine under former AG Eric Holder (documented in Matt Taibbi's brilliant The Divide) was to allow executives to pay fines that were less than the profits from their crimes. Read the rest