Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged fraud

37 notes

But here’s the thing: most of the crimes Wall Street people commit involve highly specific, highly individualized transactions that won’t fit Eric Holder’s bag of cookie-cutter statutory definitions. That is not the same thing as saying they’re not crimes. They are: the crimes of the crisis period were and are very basic crimes like fraud, theft, perjury, and tax evasion, only they’re dressed up in millions of pages of camouflaging verbiage.

Or, even more often, the crimes have also been sanctified in advance by ‘reputable’ law and accounting firms, who (for huge fees) offered their clients opinions that, if X and Y are signed in accordance with Z, and A and B are stipulated by the parties, and everyone’s sitting Indian-style and facing the moon when the deal is agreed to, then it’s not fucked up and illegal when Goldman Sachs tells you it’s a co-investor in your deal when it’s actually got $2 billion bet against you.

You know that look a dog gives you when you show it something confusing, like an electric razor or a lawn sprinkler? That’s the look federal prosecutors give when companies like Goldman wave their attorneys’ sanctifying opinions at them. They scratch their heads and say: ‘Oh, wow, well since this was signed in Australia by three millionaire lawyers wearing magic invisibility cloaks, it really isn’t fraud! They’re right!’

Matt Taibbi, “Goldman Non-Prosecution: AG Eric Holder Has No Balls

Taibbi has consistently hammered the Obama administration on their non-action regarding Wall Street when other liberal writers have been content to look the other way, or worse, think history suddenly stopped on January 20, 2009. History did not stop, nor did the effects cease from the massive fraud perpetuated by Wall Street. 

Read Griftopia. And think about this: In 2008, Wall Street gave Barack Obama the most contributions of any other candidate. This year, they’re investing in Mitt Romney and the GOP by ratio of nearly 3:1 thus far. They know which side their bread is buttered on — it’s both. But the GOP side looks especially buttery in 2012.

Filed under Matt Taibbi Wall Street politics crime economy Barack Obama Eric Holder fraud Election 2012 2012

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Exclusive: Iowa futures broker forged bank records for years

This is a big deal:

Russell Wasendorf Sr., the sole owner and chairman of stricken futures broker Peregrine Financial Group, Inc., intercepted and forged bank documents for more than two years to cover up hundreds of millions of dollars in missing money, a person close to the situation told Reuters.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday alleging fraud, misuse of customer funds and making false statements to regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said the discrepancy between PFGBest’s reported balance and its actual cash had been going on since at least February 2010.

The scheme apparently began to unravel after the NFA began to press Wasendorf, who was an early advocate of electronic trading, to allow the regulator to confirm balances electronically and directly with the bank, rather than in a hard copy via mail, the person said.

NFA “started getting suspicious. He was resisting this new way of confirming the balance,” the source said.

Wasendorf only recently signed the authorization, a decision that would quickly have led regulators to uncover the discrepancy, the person said. PFGBest’s total segregated funds requirement was around $400 million, meaning more than half is missing.

When is the need for stronger regulation going to become clear? Though this fraud is small compared to others that have happened, it’s not any less troublesome.

Filed under Financial system Futures fraud banking economy politics PFGBest Peregrine Financial Group forgery

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Election Law Experts Say James O’Keefe Allies Could Face Charges Over Voter Fraud Stunt

James O’Keefe’s people pull more felony-level shenanigans:

It was one of the few — if not the only — coordinated efforts to attempt in-person voter fraud, and it was pulled off by affiliates of conservative activist James O’Keefe at polling places in New Hampshire Tuesday night. All of it part of an attempt to prove the need for voter ID laws that voting rights experts say have a unfair impact on minority voters.

Now election law experts tell TPM that O’Keefe’s allies could face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring ballots under false names, and that his undercover sting doesn’t demonstrate a need for voter ID laws at all. Federal law bans not only the casting of, but the “procurement” of ballots “that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.”

Hamline University law professor David Schultz told TPM that there’s “no doubt” that O’Keefe’s accomplices violated the law. Election law expert Rick Hasen, who writes the Election Law Blog, joked in an email to TPM that O’Keefe’s team should “next show how easy it is to rob a bank with a plastic gun. Who in their right mind would risk a felony conviction for this? And who would be able to do this in large enough numbers to (1) affect the outcome of the election and (2) remain undetected?” Hasen wrote.

However, O’Keefe’s video did make a great point - the current system worked. An observant poll watcher caught a man trying to vote using the name of another man who had died 10 days prior:

Someone did, in fact, catch on to the scheme when a man dressed in a suit and tie tried to vote as a dead man known to the poll watcher. The man left before police arrived and said the poll watcher would “soon find out” why he tried to vote under a fake name, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday night.

So, if he commissioned this crime, that might be a violation of his probation - particularly conditions five and nine. O’Keefe’s three year term of federal probation stemming from his attempt to wire-tap Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office phones.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under James O'Keefe politics fraud New Hampshire election fraud voting voter fraud federal law crime Voter ID laws GOP conservative conservative Project Veritas

47 notes

I called it. Sort of.

In my post about Newt Gingrich not qualifying for the Virginia ballot, I highlighted Gingrich’s pathetic, desperate, last-minute attempt to clear the threshold of 10,000 signatures, with 400 from each congressional district. Politico discovered, that while Newt was reassuring donors at a fundraiser he had more than enough signatures to get on the ballot, he was seeking to pay folks one dollar per signature collected.

Paying-per-signature ups the risk of fraud because people have more motivation to defraud your campaign. Guess what Gingrich is now blaming for his failure to get on the ballot?

Also Wednesday, CNN reported that Gingrich, campaigning in Iowa ahead of Tuesday’s caucuses, said that someone his campaign hired to help him get on the Virginia ballot submitted fraudulent signatures.

"We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud," Gingrich reportedly told a woman at a campaign stop in Algona, Iowa.

Never mind the Board of Elections and the Republican Party of Virginia advises 15,000-20,000 signatures… 

It’s Virginia’s fault, this guy’s fault, etc. Not Newt’s fault, even though they didn’t begin collecting signatures until around Thanksgiving. Nope. Not his fault. Note he didn’t say the campaign is taking legal remedies against the signature gatherer, nor did he name the person.

If this is true, I called the fraud. Not that it matters - with such a low amount of signatures, over 90% would have to be valid. The Virginia GOP sets the standard for acceptance without per-signature review at 15,000, and advises such a large amount, simply because “many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition" and people make mistakes with addresses - they may give a current address versus what’s on the voter registration. 

Then we get to the it’s everyone’s fault but mine because reasons… Again Newt, no one to blame but yourself. 

Filed under Newt Gingrich politics Virginia Primary Election 2012 GOP Conservative Conservatives Seriously? Fraud ballot petition problems

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Former AIG CEO Sues Claiming Taxpayers Need To Pony Up $25 Billion More

Brass ones. And not in a good way:

For many years, insurance behemoth AIG was so poorly managed that the American taxpayer eventually had to invest nearly $70 billion in the incompetently run company to prevent its collapse from taking the entire U.S. economy along with it. Former AIG CEO Maurice Greenberg, however, thinks that the American people haven’t done enough to protect his massive fortune, so his company filed a lawsuit demanding even more taxpayer money.

For reals. He’s suing on the basis that when the government seizes or takes over property (aside from property used in illegal activity, i.e. RICO seizures) the government must provide ‘just compensation’ - typically, fair market value. ThinkProgress points out that when we bailed out AIG, the fair market value was nearly nil.

See?

Now, let’s say AIG’s assets were involved in illegal activity. Just kidding! Quite a bit of what companies like AIG did was legal - or borderline legal. Deregulation doesn’t make tanking the market illegal - it makes it a near certainty.

Filed under AIG Maurice Greenberg Wall Street Economy politics fraud Financial markets economic crisis financial crisis the 1%

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The Anti-Choice Plot to Lure Desperate Women to Christian Pregnancy Centers

There’s one of these clinics in Laramie. When I called there to write an article about the center and its mission several months ago, they said they wouldn’t talk to me unless I was pregnant and in need of counseling. I called there a few weeks later, told the counselor who answered the phone that was pregnant (I am not) and that I was thinking about having the baby instead of getting an abortion. She invited me to participate in “Earn While You Learn,” their version of parenting classes. From their website:

This program allows you to earn points toward items you need while you learn about the following:

  • The basics of the Bible
  • Sexual integrity
  • Prenatal development
  • The ten basic needs for children to succeed
  • Balancing discipline and love with children

The counselor also said “millions of women” are “permanently damaged” by the “unnaturalness” that is abortion, and that further, if I wanted to seek an abortion, I was probably past the point I could get one. Never once did she ask how far along I was, and I didn’t volunteer that information. She asked if I wanted to come in, I declined, so she wanted to pray with me on the phone. Before I said yes or no, she began a rambling prayer for me and my “unborn heavenly child.” I hung up when she finished and felt slightly queasy.

I can only imagine what these places actually do to women, particularly when they are in a vulnerable position. Adding “basic” health care for free is only going to make this worse. I wonder if there’s an “Earn While You Learn” for that - basic Bible lessons in exchange for basic health care. To me, that’s akin emotional blackmail.

Filed under Heart to Heart CPC Crisis Pregnancy Centers fraud politics abortion reproductive care reproductive rights fear

15 notes

liberalsarecool:

A Reuters investigation has discovered that over 2,000 business are registered at a single-family home in Wyoming.

The house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains. It is the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business-incorporation specialist that establishes firms which can be used as “shell” companies, paper entities able to hide assets.

Wyoming Corporate Services will help clients create a company, and more: set up a bank account for it; add a lawyer as a corporate director to invoke attorney-client privilege; even appoint stand-in directors and officers as high as CEO. Among its offerings is a variety of shell known as a “shelf” company, which comes with years of regulatory filings behind it, lending a greater feeling of solidity.

Read the full article here.

My husband, Andrew Simons, ran for Secretary of State in Wyoming in 2010 as a Democrat. His opponent championed what he had done to drive shell companies from the state. In Wyoming, they must have a physical presence and this apparently counts…

This is one practice Andrew wanted to change - companies should actually be here, versus just a mailbox and a representative.

So Wyoming, embarrassed yet? You should be. 

(Source: liberalsarecool)

Filed under Wyoming Andrew Simons Secretary of State politics Business fraud Max Maxfield corporations

37 notes

The Real Housewives of Wall Street Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs? 
By Matt TaibbiApril 12, 2011 9:55 AM ET
America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we’re broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year’s retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.
Most Americans know about that budget. What they don’t know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.
Read more…

The Real Housewives of Wall Street
Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?

By Matt TaibbiApril 12, 2011 9:55 AM ET

America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we’re broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year’s retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.

Most Americans know about that budget. What they don’t know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.

Read more…

Filed under Wall St. Matt Taibbi fraud bailout economic crisis economic collapse economic violence class war Rich versus Poor Rolling Stone Wall Street