Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not a single banker went to jail for the mortgage mess in America. The wall street bankers need to go to jail; not any protestor fighting to just survive and want a home and job. America owes that to our children. It has been three years since the financial crisis ruined the American economy. There has not been a single prosecution of a high ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm; even though fraud and financial mis-management is a major cause of the meltdown of our economy.
WHY? For example lets look at the Mortgage Company we used to see countless advertising all over America. We’ve all heard of Countywide Financial. Well, lets look closely at this disgusting sham of a company. Eileen Foster was a senior executive at this company who believes that there are people at her company that belong in jail. She would only disclose their names to a grand jury.
WHY? Hasn’t she ever been asked or was summoned to talk to the Justice Department even though she was Countrywide’s Executive Vice-President in charge of fraud investigations? At the height when everyone was seemingly being able to purchase a home, Countywide was the largest mortgage lender in the country. The loans it made were among the worst with 1/3 of the loans ending up in foreclosure or default even then many because of mortgage fraud right at the companies hands.
It was her job to monitor and investigate allegations of fraud happening from Countrywide’s employees and to make sure they were reported to the Board of Directors and the Treasury Department. She admits that she saw fraud throughout the system everywhere. It wasn’t a few individuals it was the normal way to conduct business there by all. In 2007 she sent a team to Boston to investigate banking practices at one of their branches. The investigators found evidence that the loan officers were forging and manipulating borrowers income and asset statements to help them get loans they weren’t qualified for and couldn’t afford.
Signatures were being cut off of one document and glued to another document, photocopied to look new. The loan officers doing this were well compensated with bonuses and commissions. What was going on in Boston was also going on all over America. After she found out what was going on the company began concealing evidence of fraud from her in violation of company policy and Countrywide’s internal financial control system.
She will not disclose his name but someone high up in the top levels of management told employees to circumvent her office and instead report suspicious activity to the personnel department who routinely fired whistleblowers and rewarded the highest earning loan officers. She took her information to the audit department but no actions were being taken.
In 2008 Countrywide merged with Bank of America. During the merger she was told to downplay the severity of the situation. She finally refused to go along. The very next day she was fired.
It should be a crime to retaliate against someone for making reports of mail fraud, bank fraud and Mortgage fraud. They treated her as if she was the problem and not all the fraud the company was participating in.
She was told to sign a 14 page document that in essence would buy her silence in exchange for a large amount of money. She refused to simply be bought off. At this point she wanted them to be accountable to answer questions to a federal investigator and worry about being exposes and being held accountable for committing a crime.
Eileen has spent the last 3 years trying to clear her name. This fall she finally won a federal whistle blower complaint against Bank of America for wrongful termination and was awarded nearly 1 Million dollars in back pay and benefits. Yeah, she got some of her dignity back but it still does not solve the problem of the bad guys going to jail!
WHY? Has the Justice Department failed to go after Countrywide for mortgage fraud?
WHY? Haven’t the Justice Department used the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 where Bush signed a law to prevent corporate fraud after the Enron, Pico and WorldCom mess? It was supposed to restore confidence in American corporations and financial markets. It was supposed to hold CEO’s and CFO’s accountable for the bad practices of their companies.
Countrywide has gone out of business. It’s CFO settled out of court and paid a record 22 Million dollar fine which only represented 5% of the compensation he received between 2000 and 2008. He got no jail, forced to pay a relatively small amount of money compared to the millions he was able to take out of the company.
The Department of Justice CAN put people in jail however the Securities Exchange Commission cannot put someone in jail. So, being under the scrutiny of both agencies is a loophole that doesn’t require jail time. Our government will just take money too !

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