When The Government Compounds Crimes Rather Than Fights Them: The Case of Mortgage Fraud.
By Danny Schechter
We were all victims of the financial crisis that began in 2007 (not 2008) but some of us suffered more than others. And, hundreds of millions of us are still living with the painful aftermath as its consequences began to be felt worldwide.
The first order of business in Washington back then was to bail out the victimizers, who have done quite well, thank you very much, in rebuilding their citadels of profit.
They were only marginally impacted by some fines that were finally assessed in lieu of jail sentences.
That money was paid by the financial institutions, and their shareholders, not by decision-makers who were never held accountable. It was written off as a "cost of doing business" just as fraud became a way of doing business.
We have all read about the outrageous compensation schemes that offending executives have been rewarded with, even as the media has finally discovered deepening income inequality.
Many of the people who were hurt the most were homeowners conned into taking unaffordable loans. Their numbers are huge--as many as 14 million families were dislocated through foreclosures of questionable legality-- enforced by complicit courts and compromised law enforcement agencies.
These victims have been disproportionately minorities, and not just the mortgage holder that was harmed but their families, neighborhoods and children.
This crisis devastated black and Latino communities who were encouraged to buy into the American "dream" of home ownership.
But, they were hardly the only ones who lost everything as a result of scams and frauds.
The Obama Administration made saving Wall Street its priority through the efforts of pro-business functionaries, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Peter Orszag, the boy wonder White House Budget Director who is now fighting his ex-wife in divorce court to hide the millions he's made since slithering from government to CitiBank.
Of course the "progressive " Obamatons knew about the millions who were forcibly dislocated, some to go homeless, others to live in cars and forests or packed into the overcrowded residences of relatives. Their dispossessions had other costs: marriages, kids school districts and even voting registration status.
Five years later and 17 months ago, the Attorney General got around to addressing this deplorable, or should I say, criminal situation. He announced the Distressed Homeowners Initiative in what Bloomberg called a "carefully scripted event."
He announced charges against 530 criminal defendants, including 172 executives. It now turns out that the math was more than a bit dodgy, according to business writer Jonathan Weil .