Shortly after President Obama announced the formation of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force in January, it became clear that it was just a name, with no staff, no resources and no central direction. Like every one else who is following the refusal of the Obama Administration and its cowardly prosecutors to investigate Wall Street for crimes in the run-up to the Great Crash, I figured this was just a name given to a collection of prosecutors around the country who were already working on fraud cases.
The official website of the FFETF confirms this. Just check out the press releases since June 1, 2012.
1. CEO of Axius Inc. and Finance Professional Indicted for Alleged Roles in Scheme to Bribe Stock Brokers and Manipulate Stock Prices. The indictment says that two people tried to use a network of corrupt stockbrokers to manipulate the price of Axius, Inc. Actually the contact was an undercover agent. This case is attributed to the FFETF in the press release.
2. Peter Madoff, Former Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Managing Director at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Pleads Guilty in New York to Securities Fraud and Tax Fraud Conspiracy . Bernie Madoff’s son pleads guilty. “These cases were brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group.” Whatever.
FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Patrick Kiernan reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing these complex economic investigations stating, “This investigation has sent a strong message to the community at large, and the real estate community specifically, that abuses within the real estate industry will not be tolerated.
The fraud ran from 2004 to 2007.Five years later, the community is warned. Ho-hum.
4. Barclays Bank PLC Admits Misconduct Related to Submissions for the London Interbank Offered Rate and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate and Agrees to Pay $160 Million Penalty. Manipulate a rate that affects trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps, and pay $160 million. No one goes to jail.
5. Fake New Jersey Hedge Fund Manager Indicted for Defrauding Victims in Two Scams. This one is $4 million, and took place beginning in 2009.
6. Another boring insider trading case from the spineless Preet Bharara. It’s all of $6.2 million in profits.
7. Loan Officer Sentenced to 54 Months in Prison for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Resulted in More Than $9.2 Million in Losses. Hit the little guy, not the bosses at Countrywide or WaMu or Long Beach or ….
8. Three Former Executives Convicted for Roles in $200 Million Fraud Scheme Involving Fair Financial Company Investors. Apparently the government can convict people in Southern Indiana for securities fraud, just not in Manhattan. And thank you, FFETF.
9. More insider trading; thanks Preet, and thanks FFETF.
10. More mortgage fraud, this one in the range of $8 million. Apparently it didn’t require the assistance of the FFETF. Nor does it involve New Century.
11. Another Madoff case, thanks to the FFETF.
12. Two officers of Sentinel Financial were accused of wire and securities fraud for stealing money from clients. Apparently that’s illegal in Chicago, but not in London, as we learned from MF Global. I guess Sentinel was too businesslike to lose $1.9 billion. And we are so lucky that the FFETF was on the job.
I’ve gone back through February looking at the press releases, and this is a fair sample of the work of the FFETF. There is not a single case related to fraud in the creation, sale or operation of real estate mortgage-backed securities, the frauds that led to the Great Crash. The FFETF is a random collection of people working on cases that can be tied to financial fraud.
The FFETF and its 20 subpoenas and its 50 or more personnel and whatever else we hear from them are a sham. Wall Street has nothing to fear from the FFETF and its co-chair, Eric Schneiderman.