And yet, as former federal bank regulator William Black explains, as quoted on the financial website Naked Capitalism, "massive fraud is what caused the economic crisis."
"As one example, he explains that everyone involved knew that the CDOs which packaged subprime loans were not AAA credit-worthy (which means that they are completely risk-free). He also said that the exotic instruments (CDOs, CDS, etc.) which spun the mortgages into more and more abstract investments were intentionally created to defraud investors"
His conclusion: "The entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts."
This enterprise was also complicated because it connected several separate industries into a chain of criminality stretching from community-based mortgage brokers and appraisers to investment bankers and ratings agencies to insurance companies like AIG skilled in the arts of leveraging a housing bubble into a global crisis that led to losses of trillions.
For my film on financial crime, I turned to a convicted white collar criminal for insight, Sam Antar, once the CFO of the long-closed Crazy Eddys, an infamous New York electronics chain. He admits he and members of his family stole millions until they were caught.
Of the financial crisis, he says:
"This crime has been 10, 15 years in the making. It's been going on. We're only finding out about it for one specific reason: the tanking economy. Imagine if the economy didn't tank? Imagine if this was allowed to go on for 4 or 5, 6, 7 years? Imagine how big it would've gotten then?"
"How did they get away with it?" I asked.