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Posts Tagged ‘Center For Public Integrity’

Stanford Financial Investors: Insult on Top of Injury

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 3rd, 2013 8:37 AM |

If bulls and bears dominate the landscape on Wall Street, there is little doubt that pigs rule the roost in Washington.

I know I am stating the obvious with that assertion but a recent report detailing the ongoing nightmare for those who invested money in Stanford Financial provides more evidence that Washington continues to resemble little more than a sty these days.

Let’s navigate as The Center for Public Integrity recently revealed how those who had put money into Stanford Financial continue to be abused. (more…)

Car Title Loans: “There to Rip You Off”

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 18th, 2011 9:10 AM |

What is your mental image of a business which earns a 300% annualized rate of interest?

Did somebody say, “shady characters hanging out on a street corner with a large wad of bills”?

Who said, “guys driving around in cars with dark tinted windows”?

How about, “typical loan sharks”? Perhaps all of the above?

Is there a legitimate business in our nation today which might be able to charge a 300% annualized rate of interest? Well, I guess that would depend on how one defines legitimate. I think it would be safe to say that if you are doing business with somebody who charges a 300% annualized rate of interest, you would want to be VERY CAREFUL. What type of business has got these kind of rates?  (more…)

Increasing Pressure on DSK and the Euro-Zone

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 23rd, 2011 8:58 AM |

Despite areas of concern both here at home and around the world, most eyes remain fixated on developments within the Euro-zone at large and specifically on the case of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The temperatures are rising on both the dethroned former international banker extraordinaire and the peripheral countries of the EU. Our market is opening sharply lower this morning on the heels of weakness in the EU. Let’s navigate.

People the world over want to know what really happened a week ago this past Saturday in the suite occupied by DSK at the Sofitel Hotel in New York City.  (more…)

Who is More Effective, Wikileaks or SEC?

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 31st, 2011 10:13 PM |

If you were a senior accountant at a firm and suspected senior officials of perpetrating a fraud, would you run the risk of professional suicide and bring the information to the SEC or maintain cover and contact Wikileaks? What do you think? Do the right thing and hope you are protected or put your trust in the great equalizer known as Wikileaks?

Let’s not lose faith in Uncle Sam, right? Go straight to Washington and let them do their thing protecting America, yes? Well, maybe not.

Let’s check in with somebody who went to Washington while blowing the whistle on one of the greatest frauds in the history of our nation. Of whom do I speak? Sherron Watkins. Sherron who? Remember Enron? (more…)

“I Just Can’t Trust Them…”

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 20th, 2011 7:06 AM |

Screw me once, shame on you!! Screw me twice, ….

You know how that works. Yes, indeed, we do know how that works. In fact, Americans know all too well that they were badly screwed by many within the financial industry. In the spirit of fairness, there were also many consumers who screwed the system by knowingly falsifying info on mortgages and loans. From both ends, the biggest loser over the course of the last decade has been our virtues of truth, transparency, and integrity. Rest assured, though, that pursuit goes on and it is having ripple effects across Wall Street specifically and the financial industry as a whole.

I see clear evidence of this dynamic in a recent commentary at The Center for Public Integrity. Why are banks very concerned and scrambling to protect their franchise value? (more…)

Aiding and Abetting Mortgage Fraud

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 19th, 2010 4:54 AM |

While selected Wall Street banks and their cronies in Washington may want to downplay the depth and impact of the mortgage fraud embedded in our national foreclosure crisis, anyone with a modicum of ‘sense on cents’ knows that this fiasco has many players with their hands in the till. Our friends at The Center for Public Integrity recently highlighted the manner in which those in the legal profession have aided and abbeted this enormous fraud. Let’s navigate.

The role of lawyers in the foreclosure process has garnered less attention, but they play a big role, especially in those states that require banks to go to court to get a foreclosure order. (The same states where the lenders have suspended foreclosures). In these states, banks are required to produce a notarized affidavit of a loan officer and submit the mortgage documents. Those documents, though, are difficult to produce, thanks to the securitization craze.

As CNBC notes in this helpful primer to the foreclosure crisis, every time a mortgage changes hands, the new owners are supposed to receive an “assignment” of the mortgage notes from the buyers. For securitized loans, the mortgages are assigned to a specially created investment vehicle.

During the housing bubble, however, the notes and other critical documents were often either not properly transferred or simply not created. Other records vanished along with failed brokers and lenders. This means that lawyers charged with putting together the paper trail often have a tough job. Over the past few years, some have used shortcuts. (more…)

Caroline Herron’s Lawsuit Targets Fannie Mae’s Mismanagement of Mortgage Modification Program

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 11th, 2010 7:17 AM |

Have executives at Fannie Mae worked to benefit their own financial interests versus promoting the well being of American taxpayers and homeowners looking to permanently modify their mortgages? Is Fannie Mae merely a perpetual train wreck or has something even more nefarious gone on inside the halls of our national stepchild?

In recently reviewing The Center for Public Integrity, I was not shocked — but certainly dismayed — to read Whistleblower: Fannie Mae Bungled HAMP Anti-Foreclosure Program,

Fannie Mae executives bungled their stewardship of the federal government’s massive foreclosure-prevention campaign, creating a bureaucratic muddle characterized by “mismanagement and gross waste of public funds,” according to a whistleblower lawsuit by a former Fannie Mae executive and consultant. (more…)

Coast Guard Logs Indicate White House Knew Early on that Gulf Disaster Might be Bigger Than Exxon Valdez

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 9th, 2010 6:45 AM |

Any investigation ultimately comes back to two questions:
1. What did they know?
2. When did they know it?

In order to determine the answers to these critical questions, investigators need to have real transparency and integrity in their pursuit of information. To this end, Sense on Cents welcomes adding a link to our Watchdog category (right sidebar) for the The Center for Public Integrity.

In the pursuit of transparency and integrity to understand what really happened in the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Center reviewed logs from the Coast Guard. What did they learn? (more…)

“The Subprime 25”

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 6th, 2009 8:09 PM |

I came across the Center for Public Integrity in my travels today. I commend them and those supporting this initiative.

They produced a very interesting piece today: Who’s Behind The Financial Meltdown?

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6, 2009 — The top subprime lenders whose loans are largely blamed for triggering the global economic meltdown were owned or backed by giant banks now collecting billions of dollars in bailout money, according to Who’s Behind the Financial Meltdown?, a new investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

“The mega-banks that funded the subprime industry were not victims of an unforeseen financial collapse, as they have sometimes portrayed themselves,” said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. “These banks were deliberate enablers that bankrolled the type of lending that’s now threatening the financial system.”

These are among the findings that emerged from the Center’s computer analysis of government data on nearly 7.2 million “high-interest” or subprime loans made from 2005 through 2007, a period that marks the peak and collapse of the subprime boom. The analysis also revealed “The Subprime 25“ — the top 25 originators of the high-interest loans, accounting for nearly $1 trillion and about 72 percent of industry — who reported subprime loans during that period.

The Center found that U.S. and European banks poured huge sums into the subprime lending market due to unceasing demand for high-yield, high-risk bonds backed by home mortgages. The banks — including household names like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse/First Boston, and Goldman Sachs & Co — made huge profits while their executives collected handsome bonuses until the bottom fell out of the real estate market.

According to the analysis:

• At least 21 of the top 25 subprime lenders were financed by banks that received bailout money — through direct ownership, credit agreements, or huge purchases of loans for securitization.
• Nine of the top 10 lenders were based in California, including all of the top 5 — Countrywide Financial Corp., Ameriquest Mortgage Co., New Century Financial Corp., First Franklin Corp. and, Long Beach Mortgage Co.
• Twenty of the top 25 subprime lenders have closed, stopped lending, or been sold to avoid bankruptcy. Most were non-bank lenders.
• Eleven of the lenders on the list, including four recipients of bank bailout funds, have made payments to settle claims of widespread lending abuses.

A second story in the package, “Predatory Lending: A Decade of Warnings,” details the troubling history of congressional oversight involving abusive lending practices. The story traces how obscure laws passed by Congress in the 1980s paved the way for creation of the subprime lending industry, and documents how lawmakers essentially ignored repeated warnings that high-cost loans represented a systemic risk to the American economy.

Included in the Center’s online package are extensive maps and tables detailing the extent of the companies’ subprime lending nationwide, the banking industry’s backing of subprime lenders, and political contributions and lobbying expenditures by the real estate and financial industries.

Although this particular piece does not present any new information, I always appreciate a venture dedicated to bringing increased integrity and transparency into our business and political worlds. I am adding this site to my favorites.

LD






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