Financial News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on banking and finance
PBS' Frontline program on [January 22] broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable. What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs ... as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." As [documented in the] 2011 book on America's two-tiered justice system, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, the evidence that felonies were committed by Wall Street is overwhelming.
Note: To watch this highly revealing PBS documentary, click here or here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between government 'regulators' and the financial powers they 'regulate', click here.
It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions. Clearly, the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too big to jail. When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished. The deterrence that comes from the threat of criminal prosecution is weakened, if not lost. In the HSBC case, prosecutors may want the public to focus on the $1.92 billion settlement. But even large financial settlements are small compared with the size of international major banks. More important, once criminal sanctions are considered off limits, penalties and forfeitures become just another cost of doing business, a risk factor to consider on the road to profits. If banks operating at the center of the global economy cannot be held fully accountable, the solution is to reduce their size by breaking them up and restricting their activities — not shield them and their leaders from prosecution for illegal activities.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government collusion with financial corruption, click here.
A German man committed to a high-security psychiatric hospital after being accused of fabricating a story of money-laundering activities at a major bank is to have his case reviewed after evidence has emerged proving the validity of his claims. Gustl Mollath, 56, was submitted to the secure unit of a psychiatric hospital seven years ago after court experts diagnosed him with paranoid personality disorder following his claims that staff at the Hypo Vereinsbank (HVB) – including his wife, then an assets consultant at HVB – had been illegally smuggling large sums of money into Switzerland. Mollath was tried in 2006 after his ex-wife accused him of causing her physical harm. He denied the charges, claiming she was trying to sully his name in the light of the evidence he allegedly had against her. He was admitted to the clinic, where he has remained against his will ever since. But recent evidence brought to the attention of state prosecutors shows that money-laundering activities were indeed practiced over several years by members of staff at the Munich-based bank, the sixth-largest private financial institute in Germany. A number of employees, including Mollath's wife, were subsequently sacked following the bank's investigation. The "Mollath affair", as it has been dubbed by the German media, has taken on such political dimensions that it now threatens to bring down the government of Bavaria.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
Britain’s biggest bank is at the centre of a major ... investigation after it opened offshore accounts in Jersey for serious criminals living in this country. Tax authorities have obtained details of every British client of HSBC in Jersey after a whistleblower secretly provided a detailed list of names, addresses and account balances earlier this week. Among those identified on the list are Daniel Bayes, a drug dealer who is now in Venezuela; Michael Lee, who was convicted of possessing more than 300 weapons at his house in Devon; three bankers facing major fraud allegations and a man once dubbed London’s “number two computer crook”. The disclosures raise serious questions about HSBC’s procedures in Jersey, with the bank already preparing to pay fines of around $1.5 billion in America for breaking money laundering rules. The bank is legally obliged to report to the authorities any suspicions about the source of money deposited in its accounts. The list identifies 4,388 people holding Ł699 million in offshore current accounts and they are also likely to have billions of pounds more in investment schemes. Several celebrities and other well-known figures are understood to be identified in the client data. The HSBC Jersey client list is understood to be heavily dominated by senior figures in the City. Dozens of bankers are understood to have deposited six-figure sums offshore with some institutions said to have “clusters” of employees taking advantage of the accounts. Doctors, mining and oil executives and oil workers are also heavily represented in the list.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption and criminality, click here.
Few countries blew up more spectacularly than Iceland in the 2008 financial crisis. The local stock market plunged 90 percent; unemployment rose ninefold; inflation shot to more than 18 percent; the country’s biggest banks all failed. Since then, Iceland has turned in a pretty impressive performance. It has repaid International Monetary Fund rescue loans ahead of schedule. Growth this year will be about 2.5 percent, better than most developed economies. Unemployment has fallen by half. Iceland’s approach was the polar opposite of the U.S. and Europe, which rescued their banks and did little to aid indebted homeowners. Nothing distinguishes Iceland as much as its aid to consumers. To homeowners with negative equity, the country offered write-offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value. The government also provided means-tested subsidies to reduce mortgage-interest expenses: Those with lower earnings, less home equity and children were granted the most generous support. In June 2010, the nation’s Supreme Court gave debtors another break: Bank loans that were indexed to foreign currencies were declared illegal. Because the Icelandic krona plunged 80 percent during the crisis, the cost of repaying foreign debt more than doubled. The ruling let consumers repay the banks as if the loans were in krona. These policies helped consumers erase debt equal to 13 percent of Iceland’s $14 billion economy. Now, consumers have money to spend on other things.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion of most major governments with the financial sector whose profiteering contributed to the global economic crisis, click here.
When the Justice Department recently closed its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, it became all but certain that no major American banks or their top executives would ever face criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis. Justice officials and even President Obama have defended the lack of prosecutions, saying that even though greed and other moral lapses were evident in the run-up to the crisis, the conduct was not necessarily illegal. But that characterization of the financial industry's actions has always defied common sense - and all the more so now that a fuller picture is emerging of the range of banks' reckless and lawless activities, including interest-rate rigging, money laundering, securities fraud and excessive speculation. The financial crisis, fomented over years by big banks and presided over by executives, involved reckless lending, heedless securitizations, exorbitant paydays and illusory profits, all of which led to government bailouts and economic calamity. Is it plausible that none of that broke the law and that none of the people in positions of power and authority knew what was going on? The statute of limitations, generally five years for securities fraud and most other federal offenses, is running out, precluding the possibility of bringing many new suits dating from the bubble years. The result is a public perception that the big banks and their leaders will never have to answer fully for the crisis. The shameless pursuit of Wall Street campaign donations by both political parties strengthens this perception, and further undermines confidence in the rule of law.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between government and the big banks, click here.
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson, 1816. When Thomas Jefferson spoke those words, banks were local and very small compared with the financial behemoths of today. Banks are more dangerous now than in Jefferson's time, and they are totally out of control. During the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt referred to banks as the "money changers in the temple of our civilization," and little has been done since. It is well past the time that people on Wall Street live by the rule of law - not just pay fines - and some executives go to jail for their conduct. In 2008, the much-publicized Troubled Assets Relief Program bailed out banks and Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion with taxpayer money. While the banks were bailed out of the trouble they caused, they continued to pay out enormous executive bonuses with taxpayers' money in multimillion-dollar year-end gifts. JPMorgan received $25 billion from the government in 2008 and gave out nearly $9 billion in bonus money that year. When the derivative-driven housing market collapsed in 2008, Citigroup and Bank of America, the major banks in that market, and eight other top Wall Street firms got $1.2 trillion in then-secret loans of taxpayer money from the Federal Reserve. The Fed even went to court in an attempt to hide the identities of those banks from the public. Regulating the banks and bringing the rule of law to Wall Street banks is necessary now. Sending a few Wall Street banksters to jail would stop some of the abuse as well.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the corrupt relationship between government and the financial sector, click here.
Money laundering. Price fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street. These days, the business sections of newspapers read like rap sheets. GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Wells Fargo and Bank of America tied to a bid-rigging scheme to bilk cities and towns out of interest earnings. ING Direct, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank facing charges of money laundering. Barclays caught manipulating a key interest rate, costing savers and investors dearly, with a raft of other big banks also under investigation. Not to speak of the unprecedented wrongdoing that precipitated the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, it's clear that the unrepentant and the unreformed are still all too present within our banking system. A June survey of 500 senior financial services executives in the United States and Britain turned up stunning results. Some 24 percent said that they believed that financial services professionals may need to engage in illegal or unethical conduct to succeed, 26 percent said that they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, and 16 percent said they would engage in insider trading if they could get away with it. That too much of Wall Street remains unchanged is not surprising. Simply stated, the banks and their leaders have paid no real economic, legal or political price for their wrongdoing and thus have not felt compelled to change.
Note: The author of this article, Phil Angelides, is a former state treasurer of California and the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the corrupt relationship between government and the financial sector, click here.
Who's buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they're doing much of it in secret. It's a perfect storm - the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it. The first is the greatest concentration of wealth in America in more than a century. The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. The trend started 30 years ago, and it's related to globalization and technological changes that have stymied wage growth for most people, "trickle-down economics," ... tax cuts and the steady decline in the bargaining power of organized labor. The second is the wave of unlimited political contributions, courtesy of ... one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that held that corporations are people under the First Amendment, [meaning] that virtually any billionaire can contribute as much to a political campaign as he wants. The third is complete secrecy about who's contributing how much to whom. Political fronts posing as charitable, nonprofit "social welfare" organizations ... don't have to disclose their donors. As a result, outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS are taking in hundreds of millions from corporations that don't even tell their own shareholders what political payments they're making. Separately, any one of these three would be bad enough. Put the three together, and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
Note: The author of this article, Robert Reich, is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. secretary of labor, and author of the newly released Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It.
Former Citigroup Chairman & CEO Sanford I. Weill, the man who invented the financial supermarket, called for the breakup of big banks in an interview on CNBC Wednesday. “What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail,” Weill told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” He added: “If they want to hedge what they’re doing with their investments, let them do it in a way that’s going to be mark-to-market so they’re never going to be hit.” He essentially called for the return of the Glass–Steagall Act, which imposed banking reforms that split banks from other financial institutions such as insurance companies. He said banks should be split off entirely from investment banks, and they should operate with a leverage ratio of 12 times to 15 times of what they have on their balance sheets. Banks should also be completely transparent, Weill said, with everything on balance sheet. “There should be no such thing as off balance sheet,” he said.
Note: For deeply revealing and reliable major media reports on corruption and criminality in the operations and regulation of the financial sector, click here.
The global bank HSBC has been used by Mexican drug cartels looking to get cash back into the United States, by Saudi Arabian banks that needed access to dollars despite their terrorist ties and by Iranians who wanted to circumvent United States sanctions, a Senate report says. The 335-page report released [on July 16] also says that executives at HSBC and regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ignored warning signs and failed to stop the illegal behavior at many points between 2001 and 2010. The problems at HSBC, Europe's largest financial institution, [are] indicators of a broader problem of illegal money flowing through international financial institutions into the United States. The report on HSBC is the latest of several scandals that have recently rocked global banks and highlighted the inability of regulators to catch what is claimed to be widespread wrongdoing in the financial industry. The British bank Barclays recently admitted that its traders tried to manipulate a crucial global interest rate, and multiple major banks are under investigation. JPMorgan Chase disclosed last week that its employees may have tried to hide trades that are likely to cost the bank billions of dollars. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has come under particularly harsh criticism for showing too much deference to the banks it regulates.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on regulatory and financial corruption and criminality, click here. For our highly revealing Banking Corruption Information Center, click here.
Once more the big banks are exposed in systematic fraudulent activity. When Barclays agreed to a $450 million fine for trying to rig the Libor, its CEO offered the classic excuse: Everyone does it. Once more the question remains: Will CEOs and CFOs, as well as traders, be prosecuted? Or will they depart with their multimillion dollar rewards intact, leaving shareholders to pay the tab for the hundreds of millions in fines? The Barclays settlement exposed that traders colluded to try to fix the Libor rate. This is the rate used as the basis for exotic derivatives as well as mortgages, credit card and personal loan rates. Almost everyone is affected. Fixing the rate even a few hundredths of a percentage point could make Barclays millions on any single day — money taken out of the pockets of consumers and investors. Once more the banks were rigging the rules; once more their customers were their mark. The collusion was systematic and routine. Investigations are underway not only in the United Kingdom but also in the United States, Canada and the European Union. Those named in the probes are all the usual suspects: JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others. This wasn’t rogue trading, ... it was more like a cartel. The Economist writes that what has been revealed here is “the rotten heart of finance,” a “culture of casual dishonesty.”
Note: For key investigative reports on the criminality and corruption in the financial industry and biggest banks, click here.
The Libor scandal has confirmed what many of us have known for some time: There is something smelly in the London financial world and the stench is now overwhelming. The Financial Services Authority report [made it] clear just how widespread, how blatant was the fixing of the benchmark interest rate Libor and Euribor by Barclays. Brazen is the only word for it. The emails and phone calls reveal that on dozens of occasions those who stood to gain by the decisions asked for favors (and got them) from those who helped set the interest rates. And all the time the world believed Libor was somehow a barometer of what banks were lending to each other. It wasn't. It was the rate at which a bank was prepared to corrupt the money markets for its own narrow, venal gain. It is the way the traders, the rate submitters -- everyone involved in this cesspit -- [were] running to do wrong which makes it so egregious. With one or two feeble exceptions, no one ever seemed to stop and say "this is against the rules." Or, heaven forbid, "this is wrong." I have no doubt that Barclays wasn't the only one up to this. The FSA report makes it clear that other traders were putting pressure on their rate setters too. Libor and its cousin Euribor are the rates used to determine hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of highly specialized financial contracts called derivatives. Businesses and household loans are set by this benchmark. It is the backbone of the financial world and now it has been proven to be bent and crooked.
Note: For an incredibly incisive interview between Eliot Spitzer, Matt Taibbi, and a top banking expert on how the LIBOR scandal undermines the integrity of all banking, click here. For astounding news on the $700 trillion derivatives bubble, click here. For a treasure trove of reliable reports on the criminality and corruption within the financial and banking industries, click here.
The Barclays Libor scandal may have shocked the British public, but Joseph Stiglitz saw it coming decades ago. And he's convinced that jailing bankers is the best way to curb market abuses. [Former World Bank Chief Economist] Stiglitz wrote a series of papers in the 1970s and 1980s explaining how when some individuals have access to privileged knowledge that others don't, free markets yield bad outcomes for wider society. That insight (known as the theory of "asymmetric information") won Stiglitz the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001. And he has leveraged those credentials relentlessly ever since to batter at the walls of "free market fundamentalism". It is a crusade that [includes] his new book The Price of Inequality. When traders working for Barclays rigged the Libor interest rate and flogged toxic financial derivatives – using their privileged position in the financial system to make profits at the expense of their customers – they were unwittingly proving Stiglitz right. "It's a textbook illustration," Stiglitz said. "Where there are these asymmetries a lot of these activities are directed at rent seeking [appropriating resources from someone else rather than creating new wealth]. That was one of my original points. It wasn't about productivity, it was taking advantage." He argues that breaking the economic and political power that has been amassed by the financial sector in recent decades, especially in the US and the UK, is essential if we are to build a more just and prosperous society. The first step, he says, is sending some bankers to jail.
Note: For key investigative reports on the criminality and corruption in the financial industry and biggest banks, click here.
An anonymous insider from one of Britain's biggest lenders ... explains how he and his colleagues helped manipulate the UK's bank borrowing rate. Neither the insider nor the bank can be identified for legal reasons. It was during a weekly economic briefing at the bank in early 2008 that I first heard the phrase. A sterling swaps trader told the assembled economists and managers that "Libor was dislocated with itself". What the trader told us was that the bank could not be seen to be borrowing at high rates, so we were putting in low Libor submissions, the same as everyone. How could we do that? Easy. The British Bankers' Association, which compiled Libor, asked for a rate submission but there were no checks. The trader said there was a general acceptance that you lowered the price a few basis points each day. According to the trader, "everyone knew" and "everyone was doing it". There was no implication of illegality. After all, there were 20 to 30 people in the room – from management to economists, structuring teams to salespeople – and more on the teleconference dial-in from across the country. The discussion was so open the behaviour seemed above board. In no sense was this a clandestine gathering. Libor had dislocated with itself for a very good reason – to hide the true issues within the bank.
Note: For an incredibly incisive interview between Eliot Spitzer, Matt Taibbi, and a top banking expert on how the LIBOR scandal undermines the integrity of all banking, click here. For a treasure trove of reliable reports on the criminality and corruption within the financial and banking industries, click here.
Wall Street bankers could have averted the global financial crisis, so why didn't they? In this exclusive extract from his book Inside Job: The Financiers Who Pulled Off the Heist of the Century, Charles Ferguson argues that they should be prosecuted: The Securities and Exchanges Commission has been deservedly criticised for not following up on years of complaints about [Bernard L.] Madoff. But not a single bank that had suspicions about Madoff made such a call. Instead, they assumed he was probably a crook, but either just left him alone or were happy to make money from him. It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the global financial sector has become criminalised, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behaviour that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis of 2008 was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident. This behaviour is criminal. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in major financial frauds and in concealment of criminal assets; and committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression. And yet none of this conduct has been punished in any significant way.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corruption and criminality in the finance industry, click here.
Question: A group proposing a change in monetary policy based on the writings of Stephen Zarlenga (monetary.org) [argues] that the government should print the money, not the Fed or any other private body. H.R. 2990 proposed by Dennis Kucinich is based on these ideas. Are they reasonable to you? Paul Solman: As the Treasury borrows more and more money by issuing bonds and selling them to all comers, it commits itself, "with the full faith and credit" of the United States, to pay back its creditors in full. That means it will either raise taxes in the future or -- and this is the relevant point -- get the Fed to create more money by purchasing bonds on the open market. This is called "monetizing the debt." There's a legitimate case that the Fed has too much power, is insufficiently beholden to the people in what's supposed to be a democracy, since no one on the Fed is chosen by popular election and private bankers are heavily represented on its board. This has long been the argument of financial journalist William Greider, author of a major book on the Fed, "The Secrets of the Temple." Greider: "The idea of giving the Federal Reserve still greater power [is] dangerous. First of all it rewards failure. But secondly, it puts them in the position as arbiter of who shall fail and who shall succeed. It asks to be able to choose what are the 30 or 40 or 50 banks and industrial firms that it regards as systemic risks for the society and ... it will protect those from failure. The government stands behind them and the rest of us are on our own."
Note: If you look at the top of any U.S. currency bill, you will see the words "Federal Reserve Note." Thus, though U.S. dollars are printed by the Treasury, they are issued and controlled by the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned, though subject to minimal federal oversight. To see just how much control the Federal Reserve has over the issuance of U.S. currency, see their webpage at this link. For lots more on hidden manipulations of the Federal Reserve, click here.
We have finally reached the point in our financial history where even bankers hate bankers. Last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issued its 2011 annual report with a 34-page essay, "Why We Must End Too Big To Fail—Now." The report [dubs the nation's largest banks] "a clear and present danger to the U.S. economy." It begins with a letter from regional Fed president Richard Fisher. "More than half of banking industry assets are on the books of just five institutions," he complains. "They were a primary culprit in magnifying the financial crisis, and their presence continues to play an important role in prolonging our economic malaise." This is a member of the Federal Reserve itself — an institution that bears responsibility for our banking system devolving into an untenable oligarchy that buys off politicians, captures regulators and eats up our money. This is a member of the establishment saying Too-Big-To-Fail, or TBTF, must die. "The term TBTF disguised the fact that commercial banks holding roughly one-third of the assets in the banking system did essentially fail, surviving only with extraordinary government assistance," the essay reads. Their executives paid themselves fortunes to execute failed mergers and acquisitions and accumulate unimaginable piles of toxic debts. We saved them to save the financial system. But now we must break them up so they don't put us in this ridiculous situation again.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the criminal practices of the biggest banks and financial firms and the collusion of government agencies, see our "Banking Bailout" newsarticles.
The current surge in gas prices has almost nothing to do with energy policy. It doesn't even have much to do with global supply and demand. It has most to do with America's continuing failure to adequately regulate Wall Street. Oil supplies aren't being squeezed. Over 80 percent of America's energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, we're starting to become an energy exporter. Demand for oil isn't rising. Oil demand in the U.S. is down compared to last year at this time. The American economy is showing only the faintest signs of recovery. Meanwhile, global demand is still moderate. Europe's debt crisis hasn't gone away. China's growth continues to slow. But Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices. Hedge-fund managers and traders assume that mounting tensions in the Middle East will hobble supplies later this year. Wall Street speculators also assume global demand for oil will rise in the coming year. These are just expectations, not today's realities. But they're pushing up oil prices just the same, because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading. Where there's money to be made, Wall Street will find a way of making it. And when it comes to oil, so much money is at stake that gigantic sums can be made if the bets pay off. Speculators figure they can hedge against bad bets. Financial speculators historically accounted for about 30 percent of oil contracts, producers and end users for about 70 percent. But today speculators account for 64 percent of all contracts.
Note: This article was written by Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at www.robertreich.org. For lots more reliable information from the major media on energy manipulations, click here.
A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country. The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city. "The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done - but it's likely those numbers are comparable nationally," Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters. Across the country from California, Jeff Thingpen, register of deeds in Guildford County, North Carolina, examined 6,100 mortgage documents last year, from loan notes to foreclosure paperwork. Of those documents, created between January 2008 and December 2010, 4,500 showed signature irregularities, a telltale sign of the illegal practice of "robosigning" documents. Robosigning involves the use of bogus documents to force foreclosures without lenders having to scrutinize all the paperwork involved with mortgages. The practice was at the heart of the foreclosure scandal that led to a $25 billion settlement between the U.S. government and five major banks last week.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the illegal foreclosures made by the biggest banks and financial firms, the collusion of government agencies, and more, see our "Banking Bailout" news articles.
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