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60 Minutes: The Case Against Lehman Brothers

60 Minutes: The Case Against Lehman Brothers


The case against Lehman Brothers

April 22, 2012 4:00 PM

Steve Kroft talks to the bank examiner whose investigation reveals the how and why of the spectacular financial collapse of Lehman Brothers, the bankruptcy that triggered the world financial crisis.

The case against Lehman Brothers

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Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Latest SEC/Goldman Sachs Sweetheart Deal Is The Worst One Yet

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Latest SEC/Goldman Sachs Sweetheart Deal Is The Worst One Yet


HuffPO-

The sweetheart deals just keep coming. Lawbreakers at one bank after another are let off the hook as their shareholders write a check. And then they go out and repeat the illegal behavior they promised not to do in the last settlement.

It shouldn’t be surprising that this keeps happening over at the SEC – especially as long as Robert Khuzami continues to serve as Director of the Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

But while each of these deals has been shameful, destructive, and outrageous, the $22 million agreement with Goldman Sachs which the SEC announced today – another one in which the guilty party “neither confirms nor denies wrongdoing” – looks like the worst one yet.

The SEC has the power to shut Goldman Sachs down for what it did, and the offenses it describes are felonies. But they just gave out another slap on the wrist – no, make that a pat on the wrist – with today’s announcement.

The Worst Thing

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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Alison Frankel | Securities lawyers beware: The SEC may be coming after you

Alison Frankel | Securities lawyers beware: The SEC may be coming after you


Alison Frankel-

If you’re a lawyer who advises securities issuers, there was an ominous confluence of events Friday. Kenneth Lench of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division said publicly, according to Bloomberg, that the SEC is considering enforcement actions against lawyers who helped put together dubious transactions involving complex securities. And quicker than you could say Janus Capital v. First Derivative, the full Commission issued a notice that it’s reviewing the scope of protection the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling offers secondary-player defendants in enforcement actions. (Hat tip: Securities Law Prof Blog.)

The Janus decision, you’ll recall, held that Janus Capital wasn’t liable for the alleged misstatements its mutual funds made in an offering prospectuses. The Supreme Court said that only the funds “made” the offending statements, no matter how much of a behind-the-scenes role the parent company played. Janus hasn’t turned out to be an absolute bar on claims against financial advisers — National Century bondholders won a summary judgment ruling last month that permits them to proceed with their securities fraud case against Credit Suisse — but continued the line of Supreme Court rulings that has made it increasingly difficult for investors to tag secondary players with liability.

[ON THE CASE -REUTERS]

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SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against Wells Fargo for Failure to Produce Documents in Mortgage-Backed Securities Investigation

SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against Wells Fargo for Failure to Produce Documents in Mortgage-Backed Securities Investigation


Litigation Release No. 22305 / March 23, 2012

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Wells Fargo & Company, Civil Action No. CV-1280087 CRB Misc. (N.D. Cal. March 23, 2012)

.

.

SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against Wells Fargo for Failure to Produce Documents in Mortgage-Backed Securities Investigation

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has filed a subpoena enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Wells Fargo & Company. According to the filing, the Commission is investigating possible fraud in connection with Wells Fargo’s sale of nearly $60 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities to investors. Pursuant to subpoenas dating back to September 2011, the bank was obligated to produce (and agreed to produce) documents to the Commission, but has failed to do so. Accordingly, the Commission filed its Application for an Order Requiring Compliance with Administrative Subpoenas.

The Commission’s action relates to its investigation into whether Wells Fargo made material misrepresentations or omitted material facts in a series of offerings between September 2006 and early 2008. The Commission’s application explains that, in connection with the securitization of the loans, a due diligence review of a sample of the loans in each offering was performed. Certain loans within that sample would be dropped from the offering for failure to comply with Wells Fargo’s loan underwriting standards. However, according to the Commission, it does not appear that Wells Fargo took any steps to address similar deficiencies in the remainder of the loans in the pool, which were securitized and sold to investors. The Commission is investigating, among other things, whether Wells Fargo misrepresented to investors that the loans being securitized complied with the bank’s loan underwriting standards.

The staff in the Commission’s San Francisco Regional Office issued several subpoenas to Wells Fargo since September 2011 seeking, among other things, materials related to due diligence and to the bank’s underwriting guidelines. According to the Commission, Wells Fargo agreed to produce the documents, and set forth a timetable for doing so, yet has failed to produce many of the materials.

Pursuant to its Application, the Commission is seeking an order from the federal district court compelling Wells Fargo to comply with the Commission’s administrative subpoenas and to produce all responsive materials to the staff. The Commission notes that it is continuing to conduct a fact-finding inquiry and has not concluded that anyone has broken the law.

 

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2012/lr22305.htm

alarm image: DealBreaker

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SEC sends Wells notices, Big banks could face mortgage fraud charges

SEC sends Wells notices, Big banks could face mortgage fraud charges


Since the DOJ failed miserably with mountains of evidence of fraud throughout the loans, lets see what the SEC will do.

CBS-

The SEC appears to be on the verge of doing what the Justice Department has yet to attempt — prosecuting the biggest players responsible for the mortgage securities fiasco that trashed the U.S. economy.

The securities watchdog has sent so-called Wells notices to Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC), indicating that the agency may recommend enforcement proceedings against the banking firms. The investigation seems to focus on whether the companies misrepresented the quality of securities based on subprime mortgages that they bundled and sold to investors in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

[CBS]

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Goldman, Wells Fargo May Face SEC Mortgage-Securities Claims

Goldman, Wells Fargo May Face SEC Mortgage-Securities Claims


Bloomberg-

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. were warned by federal regulators that they may face civil claims tied to sales of mortgage-backed securities.

Goldman Sachs received a so-called Wells notice Feb. 24 from the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to disclosures for a late-2006 offering of $1.3 billion in subprime residential mortgage-backed securities, the firm said today in an annual financial report. Wells Fargo said it also got an SEC notice as the government examines whether it properly described facts and risks in offering documents.

[BLOOMBERG]

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Judge in SEC’s Bear Stearns case catches Rakoff fever w/ Transcript

Judge in SEC’s Bear Stearns case catches Rakoff fever w/ Transcript


Alison Frankel-

U.S. District Judge Frederic Block of Brooklyn federal court will probably, in the end, approve a $1 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and former Bear Stearns fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin. He said as much in open court Monday, presiding over a settlement hearing rather than the civil trial scheduled to begin that day. But for everyone except Cioffi, Tannin, and their lawyers, the real story at Monday’s hearing was Block’s stream-of-consciousness musings on the appropriate role of a judge overseeing an SEC case. If there was any doubt that U.S. Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff has inspired soul-searching in the nation’s federal judiciary, the utterly compelling transcript of the hearing before Block should put it to rest. (My Reuters colleague Jessica Dye attended the hearing and sent me the transcript.)

[REUTERS LEGAL]

[ipaper docId=81760377 access_key=key-2h32czmobto6y44oejqe height=600 width=600 /]

 

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S.E.C. Changes Policy on Firms’ Admission of Guilt

S.E.C. Changes Policy on Firms’ Admission of Guilt


Oh Boy! What will they do now without these magical words?

NYT-

The Securities and Exchange Commission, in a fundamental policy shift, said Friday that it would no longer allow defendants to say they neither admit nor deny civil fraud or insider trading charges when, at the same time, they admit to or have been convicted of criminal violations.

The change is the first time that the S.E.C. has stepped back from its longstanding practice of allowing companies to settle fraud charges by paying a fine without admitting wrongdoing. The new policy will also apply to cases where a company or an individual enters an agreement with criminal authorities to defer prosecution or to not be prosecuted as part of a settlement.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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Former Ameriquest Employee fired after he reported illegal activity, sued under the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002

Former Ameriquest Employee fired after he reported illegal activity, sued under the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002


Those of you who’ve had any dealings with Ameriquest may find this interesting…


Via William McCloskey

William McCloskey worked for Ameriquest from November 2004 till March 2005. William was fired after he reported illegal activity behind the walls of his Ameriquest branch, which virtually mirrored all of the widespread reports about the company (to local detectives, the PA Attorney General, the S.E.C. and the F.B.I).

William sued Ameriquest Mortgage Company under the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The act pertained to publicly traded companies and issuers of securities under Section 15(d) and 12h-3 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

[WJM 7]

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KABOOOM! Judge Rakoff Says S.E.C. Misled Two Courts in Citi Case

KABOOOM! Judge Rakoff Says S.E.C. Misled Two Courts in Citi Case


NYT-

The federal judge overseeing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud case against Citigroup became even more direct in his criticism of the agency’s actions on Thursday, accusing the commission of misleading both his court and the federal court of appeals.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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In Challenging S.E.C. Settlement, a Judge in Wisconsin Cites a Court in New York

In Challenging S.E.C. Settlement, a Judge in Wisconsin Cites a Court in New York


One by One, judges are going to finally have enough of the ponzi’s.

To the judges who aren’t turning a blind eye… thank you.

NYT-

A federal judge in Wisconsin has challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission over a proposed settlement of fraud charges against a publicly traded company, citing as a precedent the agency’s pending case against Citigroup.

That represents a significant expansion of the impact of the Citigroup case, in which Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in New York threw out a proposed settlement between the company and the S.E.C.

Judge Rakoff said he had rejected the Citigroup settlement because there were no established facts on which to base a decision whether the settlement was “fair, reasonable, adequate and in the public interest.”

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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William K. Black: What if the SEC investigated Banks the way it is investigating Mutual Funds?

William K. Black: What if the SEC investigated Banks the way it is investigating Mutual Funds?


New Economic Prospectives-

The Wall Street Journal ran a story today (12/27/11) entitled “SEC Ups Its Game to Identify Rogue Firms.”

“Rogue” is an interesting word with a range of definitions. When it is used as an adjective its meaning is: “a playfully mischievous person; scamp.” The trivialization of the most destructive elite frauds is one of the most common forms of what criminologists call “neutralization” of the moral content of wrong doing. Neutralization increases crime.

The actual story makes it clear that the criminals that the SEC was identifying were not “rogues.” They were the CEOs of seemingly legitimate firms. The SEC is identifying “accounting control frauds” – the frauds that cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. The SEC is not identifying a few rotten apples, but roughly 100 hedge funds likely to have engaged in accounting fraud. The WSJ describes the SEC’s identification system:

“The list is the low-tech product of a high-tech effort by the SEC to crack down on fraud at hedge funds and other investment firms. After the agency failed to detect the $17.3 billion Ponzi scheme by Bernard L. Madoff, who wowed investors with steady returns over several decades, SEC officials decided they needed a way to trawl through performance data and look for red flags that might signal a possible fraud.

In 2009, the SEC began developing a computer-powered system that now analyzes monthly returns from thousands of hedge funds. Officials won’t say exactly how it works or how much it cost to build, but the agency has announced four civil-fraud lawsuits filed as a result of what it calls the “aberrational performance initiative.”” The SEC should be applauded for finally understanding that “if it’s too good to be true; it probably isn’t true.” Our agency put a similar system in place in 1984 to identify the S&L accounting control frauds that were driving that crisis. A quarter-century later, the SEC began to follow our well-trodden trail – but only with regard to felons inhabiting the middle of the fraud food chain (hedge funds). 

The SEC has, inevitably, discovered that accounting fraud is common among …

[NEW ECONOMIC PROSPECTIVES]

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An Inconvenient Truth – Joe Nocera

An Inconvenient Truth – Joe Nocera


Once gain both the twins were part of the ponzi using MERS, exactly as the rest of the other shareholders (Banks) sought it out to be…a Strawman!

NY Times-

There is so much about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that we should be angry about.

In their heyday, these strange hybrids — part corporation, part government agency — were the biggest bullies in Washington, quick to bludgeon critics who dared suggest that their dual missions of maximizing profits while making homeownership affordable for low- and moderate-income Americans were incompatible. They steamrolled their regulator and pushed back at any suggestion that their capital was inadequate.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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[VIDEO] Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Execs Accused of Fraud

[VIDEO] Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Execs Accused of Fraud


U.S. government investigates mortgage bosses for financial recklessness but are not looking into any jail time.

 

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The SEC’s Fraud Suits Against Fannie & Freddie Executives

The SEC’s Fraud Suits Against Fannie & Freddie Executives


Leave it up to Abigail to set the record straight!

Abigail C. Field-

The SEC has sued former executives of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for repeatedly lying to investors about their companies’ subprime portfolios. The complaints are very detailed and strong, alleging multiple securities law violations and violations of Sarbanes-Oxley. The complaints try to force the executives to give up their ill-gotten gains, pay penalties, and ban them from being a director or officer of a public company. Interestingly, the complaints are backed by separate cooperation and nonprosecution agreements with each company.

[REALITY CHECK]

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Regulators sue former top Fannie, Freddie execs

Regulators sue former top Fannie, Freddie execs


Just more of the same, except they still hold millions from the fraud!

Looks like taxpayers will also be picking up this tab!

 

Reuters-

Six former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were sued by U.S. regulators on charges of misleading investors about the mortgage finance companies’ exposure to risky home loans in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

The case is one of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s biggest actions against high-level financial industry executives, although the regulator did not specify a dollar amount for damages in the alleged fraud. Many lawmakers consider Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at least partly responsible for the 2008 crisis, saying they encouraged lax lending to home buyers that led to a massive real estate bubble.

[REUTERS]

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The “Banker Gangs” Are Still on the Loose, and the Justice Department Still Won’t Come Clean

The “Banker Gangs” Are Still on the Loose, and the Justice Department Still Won’t Come Clean


HuffPO- Richard (RJ) Eskow

No financial executives have gone to jail, despite an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that a group of organized “banker gangs” conducted a widespread Wall Street crime wave that made them rich and while throwing millions into poverty. The Justice Department’s failure to act against these bankers is matched only by its declining credibility — a problem it only makes worse whenever it tries to defend itself.

An interview with an outgoing Justice official in today’s Wall Street Journal is merely the latest in a sad parade of weak excuses and implausible arguments, and it comes on the heels of Justice Department official Lanny Breuer’s poor 60 Minutes showing this week on the same topic.

Stop. Just stop. If nobody at Justice can get the job done, it’s time for the Administration to bring in a whole new team and start again. Did everybody in the banking business break the law? No. Very few did. But some of the ones that did appear to be very well-placed, and if they’re not punished they’ll do it again and again.

[HUFFINGTONPOST]

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SEC official: Feds conclude that many allegations of financial wrongdoing can’t succeed as criminal prosecutions

SEC official: Feds conclude that many allegations of financial wrongdoing can’t succeed as criminal prosecutions


WSJ-

A former top U.S. official in charge of investigating the financial crisis said the government has concluded that many inquiries of wrongdoing by financial executives can’t succeed as criminal prosecutions.

“There’s been a realization and a more deliberate targeting by the Department of Justice before we launch criminally on some of these cases” said David Cardona, who was a deputy assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation until he left last month for a job at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Justice Department has decided it is “better left to regulators” to take civil-enforcement action on those cases, …

[WALL STREET JOURNAL] subscription needed

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HERO Judge Rakoff May Have Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Testify

HERO Judge Rakoff May Have Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Testify


Judge Rakoff just keeps wowing us, day after day!

Sure he will do all in his power to squirm out of this one.


REUTERS-

Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein may be asked to testify in a market regulator’s insider-trading case against a former director of the Wall Street bank, a judge ruled.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Rajat Gupta, a former board member at Goldman and Procter & Gamble, of giving inside tips about the two companies to his friend Raj Rajaratnam in 2008 and 2009.

[REUTERS]

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Judge Rakoff’s Ruling in S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets

Judge Rakoff’s Ruling in S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

U.S. SECURITIES COMMISSION,
AND
EXCHANGE
Plaintiff,

v-

CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC.,
Defendant.
————-

[ipaper docId=74108307 access_key=key-1emgh0xyn9gh44ecppdn height=600 width=600 /]

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Judge rejects $285M Citigroup settlement, says the case should go to trial so the public can know the truth

Judge rejects $285M Citigroup settlement, says the case should go to trial so the public can know the truth


Get all these cases away from the regulators reach and into the hands of the people.

One by one they all will go down.

Seek the Truth.

 AP-

A federal judge in New York has struck down a $285 million settlement that Citigroup reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing a need for truth about the financial markets.

Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the settlement Monday. The deal would have imposed penalties on Citigroup even as it allowed the company to deny allegations that it misled investors on a complex mortgage investment. The SEC has accused the bank of betting against the investment in 2007 and making $160 million, while investors lost millions.

The judge wrote that there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth about the financial markets. He set a July 16 trial date for the case.

[ASSOCIATED PRESS]

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Analysis: SEC targets low-level bankers, spares top execs

Analysis: SEC targets low-level bankers, spares top execs


REUTERS-

 

The U.S. government is not taking advantage of an enforcement tool that could potentially hold top Wall Street figures accountable for their role in the recent financial crisis, despite its prior success.

Broker-dealers, investment advisers, and others regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission are required to supervise their representatives. If a trader engages in misconduct, the SEC can sue the management with “failure to supervise.”

[REUTERS]

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