Skip to comments.Ex-BofA chief Lewis charged with fraud
Posted on 02/04/2010 1:31:17 PM PST by lbryce
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday it was bringing civil charges against senior Bank of America executives, including former company CEO Ken Lewis, for their role in the company's controversial purchase of Merrill Lynch.
Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had struck a $150 million settlement agreement with BofA over its decision to pay billions of dollars in bonuses to former Merrill employees.
The lawsuit contends that the bank's management team understated the losses at Merrill in order to get shareholders to approve the deal, then subsequently overstated the firm's willingness to terminate the merger to regulators weeks later in order to get $20 billion of additional aid from the federal government.
"Bank of America and its officials defrauded the government and the taxpayers at a very difficult and sensitive time," Cuomo said at a press conference Thursday, joined by federal bailout cop Neil Barofsky, whose office aided in the investigation. "I believe that Bank of America officials exploited this fear."
Bank of America's last-minute decision to purchase the ailing Merrill in September 2008 has remained a central issue in the wake of the financial crisis, prompting both federal and state probes into the matter.
Cuomo's office, which has been aggressively pursuing an investigation into the merger and subsequent bonuses paid to former Merrill employees, said it was charging Lewis and Bank of America's former chief financial officer Joe Price with fraud.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...
The depression of the 30s was engineered to re-consolidate banking power in the hands of a few, and it looks increasingly like this one is the same.
Cuomo is doing the type of work that we need done. The Clinton and Bush justice departments were a damned sad joke on the issue of securities and other forms of financial fraud.
Fraud charges here...asset seizures over there in Italy...
you are joking right?
This current Administration defrauded the voters and the taxpayers at a very difficult and sensitive time.
I thought the feds engineered that purchase . . .
Lewis is being made a scapegoat. In the dark days of Fall 2008, Paulson and Geithner were scrambling to find commercial bank partners for tottering investment banks like Merrill Lynch and Lehman. BoA stepped up to buy Merrill. When Lewis was informed of worsening Merrill Lynch losses in late 2008 and told regulators he wanted to back out, they basically blackmailed him to go forward with the deal. Cuomo is just grandstanding, as he usually does. If Geithner, Paulson, and Bernanke have any character they will tell Cuomo to back off.
Exactly - if they indict Ken Lewis - they should also indict the three stooges. And - add Bawney and Dud into the indictment as they put up the road blocks to the reform the Bush administration had asked for.
Wrong. This is nothing but showboating by Cuomo and part of a overall land grab and punishment by the same folks who brought you Obama. Don’t forgot that Ken Lewis crossed the administration when he testified before Congress last year. This is payback.
There is nothing conservative about falling for populist ploys. PT Barnum had a word for people who do.
Your point is well taken, will concede the intellectual high ground to you on this. I did say the indictment was politically motivated.
Are they going to charge the Federal government with aiding and abetting, collusion?
When the great bank, Bank of America, sold their reputation to Nations bank. they didn’t keep the name Nations because of Nations awful Rep.
Now they have destroyed the rep of the old B of A.
This makes me sick. Jerks.
“There is nothing conservative about falling for populist ploys. PT Barnum had a word for people who do”
I tend to agree and will wait on further developments and information. Don’t count on the press to give this a fair coverage. It may take some time before we know the truth.
Note to self: Lay down with dogs and get fleas.
The feds blackmailed Lewis to do this...he is being scapegoated...
“I hope Cuomo and other LEO’s start at the bottom and chew their way up the whole systemically corrupt pyramid.”
Fat chance of that happening. Show trials only, I’m afraid. No touching the political corruption with a politican running the show trials.
More likely just a form of free campaign advertising for Cuomo. If you seriously think he’s interested in law enforcement, think again. He’s interested in becoming governor of New York.
This all stinks to high heaven, there’s an empty prison in illinois lets fill it up with the criminals in DC
>>with a politican running the show trials.
They’re ALL politicians; and the only reason SOME of them get away with this crap is because the people who elect them DON’T HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.
IF the citizens of this country are more interested in consuming Bread and “Super Bowl” Circuses from the South end of the political system’s digestive tract; more interested in that than in participating in the process of their own governance - THEN THEY GET THE GOVERNMENT THEY DESERVE.
But that doesn’t mean some of us won’t continue stupidly banging our heads against the wall; because once in a while a brick falls out and the light shines though - and THAT makes it all worth the effort.
Discovery in this case should be very, very interesting. Word is that Ken Lewis is going to be calling Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, and other insiders as witnesses.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo I believe is going to make a run for governor in the Democratic primary against our current non-elected, impotent governor-figurehead so all these indictments, prosecutions will look good on his electoral resume.WTH?
:’) Well put.
Isn’t this the deal where the FED held a gun to BOA and “made” them go through w/the merger?
This a page out of Elliot Spitzer’s play book.
Does this make Cuomo customer number 6?
The story as told by Frontline was completely opposite. The Merrill guy along with his gubermint buds were the bad guys here and Lewis is getting the shaft for trying to do the right thing. And I’m finding that credible. Something really rotten is going on.
>>Fat chance of that happening.
More movement from Cuomo than we see from the RINO camp.
O BOy!....Don’t see any one in the government being held accountable for their actions.
One party rule.
Who ya gunna call? Ghost busters?
Barney Frank should go to prison, except he would probably like it.
“What about LEO?”
you mean Holder, the guy who called off the FBI investigating the NOI voting place thugs?
No, I’m sorry to say that we are de facto no longer a republic governed by the Rule of Law. We have evolved into a kleptocracy like much of the rest of the world politics have replaced reason, tradition, natural law and decency. Democratic attorneys general are the locus of much of the war on private property and free enterprise, as companies are forced to avoid shakedowns by contributing to political campaigns and democrat pet causes and programs like the Community Reinvestment Act. These individuals less enforce the law than manipulate it for political and personal gain.
It’s not a question of defending Lewis, whose record is mixed at best, but rather of recognizing the real motivation of his attackers.
What you believe all of this has to do with RINOs escapes me.
Your page cites a quote attributed to Edmund Burke. I suggest that you read him more closely.
You’re right. A lot of senior banking execs are compromised.
Bankers are easy targets for faux populists like Cuomo who’s all mobbed-up himself. Nothing will come of it but a lot of free publicity for Candidate Cuomo. Sorry to disappoint.
[What you believe all of this has to do with RINOs escapes me.]
These individuals masquerading as “Republicans” on the GOP ticket are nothing of the sort. The GOP today generaly merely constitutes the left prong of a dialectic sheeple fleecing mechanism; a mechanism that you correctly call a Kleptocracy.
Replace the Kleptocratic RINOS with real American Republicans - and maybe LEO will start enforcing American Law again. Simple.
BTW, you ever notice there’s no mention of either Republican or Democratic parties in the words enscribed within the Jefferson memorial?
Maybe because Jefferson’s ideals were AMERICAN ideals - not “party” ideals.
My thoughts exactly.
Word is that Ken Lewis is going to be calling Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, and other insiders as witnesses.
Cuomo has to be aware of the Pandora's box that the discovery process could open. He may score points for going after a big shot banker, but does this not seem like an awfully risky move on his part?
Cuomo is a sleazy, slimy piece of shit who makes Spitzer look like a choir boy. Bringing charges and lawsuits without evidence just to try and win political points should subject his sorry ass to jail time. The SEC is already on record confirming that Lewis and B of A did nothing wrong. This will never go to trial. Cuomo will drop the charges when he feels he has gained all the political advantage he can. Never mind the extreme costs to Lewis and others both financially and personally. My apologies to other sleazy, slimy pieces of shit everywhere if I have slandered you by comparison to Cuomo.
I agree that voters should have higher standards just as politician should have higher standards of behavior.
The American-American culture and it’s ethics; sometimes referred to as the “white culture” and other times as “Judeo-Christian culture” has been dillegently demonized and cleansed by the liberal elite. Good is stupid and evil is smart.
Like you, I wish it were better than it is within the general population.
Compare what the banks have done (include Freddie and Fannie) with the Enron scandal.
During Enron, nearly everyone in that company was either questioned, prosecuted, or threatened with prosecution. It's main crime was that it had 3 or 4 sets of books, moving around cash and investor's money into different areas. It was all well and good, as investors made lots of money, until the bottom fell out.
It became a MSM and Democrat fire storm, mainly because they thought they could tie all that was Enron to GW Bush (he knew the CEO of the company). Never mind that most of Enron's huge climb (and millions of its cash contributions) came during Clinton's tenure and went towards Democrats.
When Franklin Raines, head of the Federal National Mortgage Association, testified, it was "hands off." Congresswoman Maxine Waters saw to that.
There are so many people that need to be indicted, prosecuted, and incarcerated because of this scandal. Yet, no one is going after them with 1/1000th of aggressiveness in which the Govt went after Enron.
Thats what happened in Japan in their recession, is still happening, it began in 1992 qned ran to 2002 , and them went back in to recession with us.
They went from 20 national banks to 5 survivors. It will be the same here , we will have one quarter of the banks we had in 2008 by the time this is over, or less.
Whay galls me is that Freddie and Fannie are at the center of this boondoggle and NOBODY is talking about the :”greedy government and greedy fannie/freddie, as if the greedy bankers did this all alone .......NOT!!!!!!
Makes me want to puke.....but instead I just moved ALL of our money off shore....ALL OF IT!!!
The American dream house - Fannie Mae gives minorities a chance
The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 1999
Author: Franklin D. Raines
A decade after the Berlin Wall collapsed, a wall of injustice still divides minority families from the American dream of owning a home. We must tear down this wall, and the free market is the greatest bulldozer.
For instance, Fannie Mae brings private capital, management and efficiency to the task of expanding affordable homeownership in America. At the center of the housing finance system, Fannie Mae is a major force in the expansion of minority homeownership.
Since Fannie Mae doesnt make home loans ourselves, we back mortgage lenders by buying or securing loans they make in the primary market; the company does not serve minority borrowers directly. Nevertheless, Fannie Mae outperforms the overall market when it comes to financing minority lending, according to data provided to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Federal Reserve data gathered under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Last year, Fannie Mae financed $46 billion in home loans for more than 450,000 minority families, 77 percent more than the previous year.
By far, Fannie Mae is the largest single source of funds for minority homebuyers in the nation. Notably, Fannie Mae finances more minority homeowners than the federal government does through the FHA.
In his column, Minority housing gap: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac fall short, which ran Nov. 17, Martin Luther King III called for more progress in mortgage lending to minorities. We couldnt agree more. Yet Mr. King suggests that Fannie Mae does less than the primary market when it comes to lending to minorities. Not so. Evidence to support this assertion, sourced to an Urban Institute study, was based on interviews with a handful of lenders, not solid loan data analysis. Another source, a U.S. General Accounting Office study, relied on outdated HUD data.
In fact, when HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo recently proposed to increase the percentage of the business Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac does with underserved families, as tough as the new targets are, Fannie Mae immediately signed up. This means we will devote 50 percent of our business to low- and moderate-income homebuyers.
However, Fannie Maes commitment to underserved families goes well beyond the HUD mandate. Five years ago, Fannie Mae launched our Trillion Dollar Commitment, a pledge to invest $1 trillion to help 10 million underserved families become homeowners or obtain decent rental housing by 2001. We targeted lower-income families, residents of central cities and rural areas and others for whom mortgage finance has always been difficult to obtain. No company in the world has ever made such a commitment, but next year we will meet our goal ahead of schedule. Furthermore, over the 1990s Fannie Mae has carefully studied, surveyed and identified the specific barriers to minority homeownership, including income, credit, misinformation and even discrimination. Then weve systematically developed breakthrough strategies to dismantle the barriers. They include 3 percent down payment mortgages, technology that reduces closing costs and nearly $10 billion in experimental mortgages to challenge outdated assumptions about credit. Thirty-three percent of borrowers using our special community lending products were minority families.
To reach families where they live, Fannie Mae has opened 44 local Partnership Offices across the nation and launched over $300 billion in local investment plans with lenders, city housing agencies, non-profit organizations and others. Fannie Mae also helps banks meet their Community Reinvestment Act requirements. Over past two years, we purchased over $3 billion in CRA loans; by 2002, well buy $10 billion more. The Wall Street Journal Business and Race column described our impact on the housing finance industry this way: Fannie Maes moves have rewritten the business plans of major lenders. To fight the information barrier, the Fannie Mae Foundation has pioneered consumer outreach to help families understand what it takes to buy a home and feel comfortable and confident with the process. An astounding 7.3 million consumers have responded, and 40 percent are minorities. Indeed, the Foundations new homebuyer education campaign, `Your Credit Matters, brought 24,000 responses fromminority families in the first 60 days.
These strategies have helped minority homeownership grow at a faster rate than that of white families, and minority homebuyers report they feel less discrimination. The racial divide still exists. Bridging it must be the first priority of the housing finance system. On this 50th anniversary of the National Housing Act, Fannie Mae is proud to lead the market to make the American dream of homeownership as diverse as the nation itself. Yet we will not be satisfied until the wall is down and the minority housing gap is closed.
Franklin D. Raines is chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae.
No direct link - related link:
70.5 million families, or 67%, now own homes
Tulsa World - November 13, 1999
Author: DANA SIMON, World Staff Writer
In July, Cuomo announced a policy to require the nations two largest housing finance companies to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages over the next 10 years to provide affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action by HUD raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent in 2001. The percentage will first increase to 48 percent in 2000.
In addition, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of HUD, insured nearly 1.3 million home mortgages in the 1999 fiscal year many of them going to minorities and central city residents. FHA has insured more than 6.8 million home mortgages since 1993. Without FHA insurance, many families would be unable to get mortgages to become homeowners. On Jan. 1, FHA began insuring home mortgages loans of up to $115,200 in communities where housing costs are relatively low and up to $208,800 in communities where housing costs are high. This was the second increase in the loan limits since October 1998 and will open up homeownership to more families in the years ahead.
The National Partners in Homeownership a coalition of 66 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, nonprofit groups and all levels of government has also helped boost homeowner- ship. The Partners group was created in 1995. It has implemented initia- tives to make buying a home more affordable, faster and easier. Activi- ties to increase homeownership also are being carried out by 157 local homeownership partnerships established to support the national strategy. Amongthe activities developed by the Partners are homeownership counseling sessions, homebuying fairs, and help with locating homes.
On top of these initiatives, the Community Reinvestment Act a federal law that requires lenders to make loans to all segments of the communities they serve has resulted in more loans to people in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods since it was enacted in 1977. A significant portion of these funds has been used for mortgage lending that has boosted homeownership. Community groups estimate that lenders have pledged more than $1 trillion in CRA loans since 1977.
GAPS SEEN IN LOANS TO BLACKS AND HISPANICS
Boston Globe - September 16, 1999
Author: Bruce Butterfield, Globe Staff
But ACORN officials said their study should raise concerns about the long-term commitment of big banks everywhere. Other housing advocates in Boston agree, though they note that minority lending by major banks has shown signs of improving recently.
The ACORN study agreed. Minority home lending in Greater Boston improved between l997 and l998, particularily for Hispanic borrowers, it found.
The number of Hispanic loans rose dramatically, by 37 percent in Greater Boston, outdistancing for the first time the increase in loans to whites, which was 12 percent.
Loans to African-Americans reversed their downward trend in the final year of the four-year study, posting gains as well. But the gain was just 5 percent.
In Washington, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo , citing the ACORN study and another by the Urban Institute that disclosed wide discrimination in minority lending, said he would use the findings to help fight Congress over proposed cuts in spending for housing discrimination laws.
The ACORN study was based on a survey of mortgage data from major lenders in 41 cities.
MORTGAGE-LOAN DISCRIMINATION IS STILL COMMON, STUDIES FIND
Miami Herald, The (FL) - September 16, 1999
Author: TONY PUGH, Herald Washington Bureau
At a time of record home ownership, two new reports suggest mortgage lenders still routinely discriminate against minorities.
Last year, blacks were twice as likely to be rejected for conventional loans as whites in each of 41 cities examined by the grassroots housing activist organization ACORN , the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The same study found Hispanics were at least 11/2 times more likely than whites to be denied a mortgage loan.
A study commissioned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that the discrimination typically begins early in the process of buying a house, sometimes in pre-application inquiries in which minority buyers receive less time and information from loan officers and are quoted higher interest rates.
In Miami, ACORN said, blacks make up 20.6 percent of the population but got only 6 percent of conventional mortgage loans in 1998. But Hispanics, who make up about 49 percent of the population, got 57.1 percent of the loans in 1998.
The studies, released Wednesday, contain information obtained through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and also relied on white and minority ``testers, who posed as home buyers with similar credit and income but received vastly different treatment.
``Nothing else can explain it, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said. ``All the numbers are same. All the facts are the same. The only difference is the color of the skin.
$7.5 MILLION STUDY WILL TARGET HOUSING BIAS
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA) - November 17, 1998
Author: Tony Pugh
Warning the housing industry to think twice before you discriminate, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced Monday a $7.5 million study to document the extent of housing bias against blacks, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians.
The yearlong study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development will include more than 3,000 individual tests of mortgage lenders, rental agents and real estate agents to see if customers are treated differently because of their race or ethnic origin.
Cuomo said the effort would be the most comprehensive and sophisticated analysis of housing discrimination ever conducted.
Testers will look for evidence that lenders and others steered minorities to certain neighborhoods and lending institutions, provided less favorable credit assistance, quoted higher security deposits and fees to minority renters and withheld information about the availability of homes or rental units.
If proven to be racially motivated, such activity would violate federal fair housing laws.
We will not hesitate to enforce the law, Cuomo said. And if youre a large organization, dont think youre immune from the law. Were serious.
Local housing advocates with the Oakland-based nonprofit group Acorn have for years called for HUD and other agencies to monitor the rate of lending to minorities in the East Bay.
HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo
What does he know....when will we know it?
Thanks, maggief. I don’t know what Andrew thinks he’s doing by scapegoating Ken Lewis, other than showboating. Indict Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the Black caucus. Almost everyone knows that Ken Lewis was forced to absorb Merrill Lynch.