Did you buy a house in good faith, at the peak of prices, only to see the value of that house collapse when the housing market collapsed? Would you like to know why house prices skyrocketed and then collapsed? Are you upside-down in your house? Maybe you are concerned about losses incurred by your retirement system? Would you like to know if your losses were knowingly inflicted, and maybe find out who got rich in the process?
Then this article might interest you. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:
- Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial [note: Ally is formerly GMAC] have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit’s supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a “sack of s***.”
- By JPMorgan taking over Bear, it became the successor of interest in Bear Stearns. As the lawsuit lays out, JPMorgan is responsible for the flagrant accounting fraud started by Bear designed to avoid, and has continued to avoid, recognition of vast off-balance sheet exposure relating to its contractual repurchase agreements. This allowed executives to reap tens of millions of dollars in compensation from a bank that wouldn’t have been able to buy Bear without tax payer assistance.
- In 2007, when Ambac started to realize something was very wrong with its high-rated bonds, it demanded Bear provide loan-level detail and reviewed 695 non-performing loans in its portfolio. Ambac’s audit concluded that 80 percent of the loans showed an early payment default.
So when you knowingly loan money to anyone who can fog a mirror to buy a half million dollar McMansion (or trade securities made of up these loans), even when 80% of those loans quickly default, you’re still entitled to tens of millions of dollars of bonuses, courtesy of the U.S. Taxpayer. It’s a great gig when you can get it. For the rest of us, sorry about paying too much for your house.