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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 14, 2014

 
The Justice Department sends another message --- "we're liars!"

by digby

This is just pathetic:
Four years after President Obama promised to crack down on mortgage fraud, his administration has quietly made the crime its lowest priority and has closed hundreds of cases after little or no investigation, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said on Thursday.

The report by the department’s inspector general undercuts the president’s contentions that the government is holding people responsible for the collapse of the financial and housing markets. The administration has been criticized, in particular, for not pursuing large banks and their executives.

“In cities across the country, mortgage fraud crimes have reached crisis proportions,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a mortgage fraud summit in Phoenix in 2010. “But we are fighting back.”

The inspector general’s report, however, shows that the F.B.I. considered mortgage fraud to be its lowest-ranked national criminal priority. In several large cities, including New York and Los Angeles, F.B.I. agents either ranked mortgage fraud as a low priority or did not rank it at all.

RThe F.B.I. received $196 million from the 2009 to 2011 fiscal years to investigate mortgage fraud, the report said, but the number of pending cases and agents investigating them dropped in 2011.

“Despite receiving significant additional funding from Congress to pursue mortgage fraud cases, the F.B.I. in adding new staff did not always use these new positions to exclusively investigate mortgage fraud,” the report says.

Mortgage fraud was one of the causes of the 2008 financial collapse. Mortgage brokers and lenders falsified documents, sometimes to make mortgages look safer, other times to make the property look more valuable.

The inspector general focused much of its report and most of its recommendations on fixing internal systems that produced inaccurate data that wildly overstated the government’s results.

Mr. Holder, for example, announced in 2012 that prosecutors had charged 530 people over the previous year in cases related to mortgage fraud that had cost homeowners more than $1 billion.

Almost immediately, the Justice Department realized it could not back up those statistics, the inspector general said. After months of review, it became clear that only 107 people were charged.

The $1 billion figure, it turned out, had been drastically inflated. It was actually $95 million, the inspector general said. Yet Justice Department officials repeated those claims for months, even after it was obvious the figures were wrong, the inspector general said.
That's the Justice Department we're talking about. You know, the department that puts legal pot workers in jail for years to "send a message" and pursues Real Housewives with Javert-like zeal for filling out phony W-2s a decade ago. That's right, that Justice Department, the one that puts people in jail all day long for lying to them.

This administration has faced no crisis as grave as the financial crisis and no crimes that harmed more people. That crisis set back an entire generation, which may not ever recover to the point at which it can achieve the hopes, dreams and ambitions it had before this happened. And this administration has completely failed to hold the people who did this accountable for their actions. In fact, those people have been rewarded. I guess they figured that Bernie Madoff was Wall Street's Jesus and he "died" for Goldman Sach's sins.

Not that the administration saw these people as having sinned at all.  Recall the recently disclosed Fed minutes which featured these comments by the then NY Fed Governor Tim Geithner:
To Mr. Geithner, the nattering naysayers raising alarms about the financial system’s soundness were a bigger problem than the one that they were trying to draw attention to. “There is nothing more dangerous in what we’re facing now,” he said, “than for people who are knowledgeable about this stuff to feed these broad concerns about our credibility and about the basic core strength of the financial system.”
Nothing to see here folks ...


Oh, and by the way, they're still lying.

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