The return of the ninja bandits

by twit

Via the Associated Press on September 24, 2008:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned.

Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), and insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) also is under investigation.

[…] Just last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller put the number of large financial firms under investigation at 24. He did not name any of the companies under investigation but said the FBI also was looking at whether any of them have misrepresented their assets.

Over the past year as the housing market cratered, the FBI has opened a wide-ranging probe of companies across the financial services industry, from mortgage lenders to investment banks that bundle home loans into securities sold to investors. Mueller has previously said the FBI’s hunt for culprits in the nation’s subprime mortgage crisis focused on accounting fraud, insider trading, and failure to disclose the value of mortgage-related securities and other investments.

This is so much funnier now that we know all about McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’ ties to Freddie Macupdate: so much funnier

“John McCain’s campaign manager and Freddie Mac essentially had what amounts to a secret half a million dollar lay-a-way plan. For almost three years and as late as last month, Freddie Mac made secret, monthly payments of $15,000 to Rick Davis’s firm, apparently in exchange for providing special access to a future McCain White House. If McCain knew about this, his presidential campaign should be in serious trouble. If he didn’t know about it, he ought to fire Rick Davis immediately,” said David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch.

but it does sound awful familiar

According to Local6.com on June 18, 2008, there are ninja bandits on the loose in Florida:

Several men dressed in ninja costumes forced people into a cooler at gunpoint during the fourth robbery of a Central Florida drug store in a week.

now wherever did they get such an idea? The New York Times has a suggestion on June 16, 2008:

Between early 2004 and mid-2007, a period of unprecedented wealth on Wall Street, seven of the nation’s largest financial companies earned a combined $254 billion in profits.

But since last July, those same banks — Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — have written down the value of the assets they hold by $107.2 billion, gutting their earnings and share prices. Worldwide, the reckoning totals $380 billion, much of which reflects a plunge in the value of tricky mortgage investments.

More downbeat news is expected this week, when several big banks, including the ailing Lehman Brothers, are scheduled to report results for the latest quarter.

hmm… learn something new every day, via McClatchy on June 8, 2008:

“In fact, we believe that what lies ahead will be worse than what is behind us,” Whitney and colleagues at Oppenheimer & Co. wrote in a lengthy report last month about threats faced by big national banks, including Bank of America, Wachovia and others.

The warning is scary considering what’s already behind us in the credit crisis — the resignation or firing since last August of CEOs at almost every large commercial or investment bank;

if you are going to commit a robbery, it pays to be stealth about it

The Dow Jones industrial average has fallen below the 12,000 mark for the first time since March.

A jump in oil prices Wednesday afternoon is adding to investors’ worries about the economy. Stocks have declined following renewed concerns about the financial sector…

UPDATE! On June 19, 2008, MSNBC reports that recent arrests bring the tally to around 300 ninjas bandits taken into custody since March, 2008:

Two former Bear Stearns managers were arrested Thursday on charges linked to the collapse of a hedge fund that bet heavily on subprime mortgages before the market collapsed, federal authorities said.

The FBI says it has arrested about 300 real estate brokers since March — including dozens over the last two days — in its crackdown on incidents of mortgage fraud that have contributed to the country’s housing crisis.

UPDATE! From the BBC on June 19, 2008, that will be over 400 ninja bandits apprehended so far:

The property market investigation, known as Operation Malicious Mortgage, relates to a number of types of alleged mortgage fraud.

“Operation Malicious Mortgage and the Bear Stearns case demonstrate that the Department of Justice is determined to detect and to punish mortgage fraud and to help restore stability and confidence in our housing and credit markets,” said deputy US attorney general Mark Filip.

The Justice Department said it was pursuing 144 cases against the 406 defendants.

Sixty of them were arrested on Wednesday alone.

update:  well damn, (and thank you fleshbucket) for this BBC article about:

… severe political pressure on mortgage providers to lower their lending standards, spawning the now infamous “NINJA” loans for borrowers with “No Income, no Job or Assets.”

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One Response to The return of the ninja bandits

  1. Pingback: a last hurrah for the cowboy mafia « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

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