Posted by Al Lewison June 30, 2011 Courts /
Why aren’t these big mortgage guys going to prison?
Well, at lease a few of them are.
Lee. B. Farkas, former chairman of Florida-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, just got 30 years. Taylor Bean wasn’t exactly Countrywide Financial, but it had been one of the largest privately held mortgage companies in the nation. Click here to read more on his sentence.
And click here to read what I wrote about the case last week when the stay-at-home CEO Farkas hired received his sentence.
Posted by Al Lewison June 27, 2011 Courts /
A Citigroup executive today was arrested for embezzling $19 million from the bank, prosecutors allege.
Click here to read the news release from Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
Gary Foster, a former vice president in Citigroup’s treasury finance department was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport Sunday morning after he arrived on a flight from Bangkok.
It was Citigroup that brought the alleged heist to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney. But $19 million? You sure don’t get that kind of loot with a gun.
It will be interesting to learn how Citi noticed the money was missing. Was the alleged scheme that good, or are Citi’s financial controls that bad? In a world of billions and even trillions, perhaps missing millions can easily go unnoticed.
“The defendant allegedly used his knowledge of bank operations to commit the ultimate inside job,” Lynch said.
The old saw says the best way to rob a bank is to own one. Maybe it’s good enough to just work at one.
Posted by Al Lewison June 24, 2011 Courts /
When I say, “I messed up,” it’s usually because I forgot the milk at the grocery store, showed up late to a meeting, inserted a typo in my column or mispronounced a name on TV.
I never knew the expression could be used to explain a multibillion-dollar fraud and a subsequent mortgage meltdown.
Paul R. Allen, 55, of Oakton, Va., former CEO of Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, used these words at sentencing earlier this week. Taylor Bean had been one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage lenders until it collapsed in 2009. And it’s collapse resulted in the failure of Alabama.-based Colonial Bank, the sixth-largest bank calamity in U.S. history.
Posted by Al Lewison June 21, 2011 Economy /
How many bailouts will Greece get before the inevitable default, or technical default, on its debt?
We’re headed for two and counting, perpetuating the myth that Greece can somehow avoid the inevitable.
What a Greek default will do to the rest of the world’s economy is a subject of rampant conjecture at this point – but it probably won’t be good. So it looks like it’s time once again to brush up on Greek mythology.
Click here to read the anthology of Greek myths I put together the last time Greece was headed to Hades. And click here for a quick summation of the situation in the New York Times.
Americans are woefully unprepared for emergencies, at least financially, according to a new study by Bankrate.com.
The website reports only one in four Americans has savings set aside to cover six months of expenses in the event of unemployment, an unexpected illness or some other tragedy. And another 22% say they would have at best three months covered. Click here to read the report from Bankrate.com.
“Those most likely to have an adequate savings cushion are individuals in their 50s and 60s, and higher-income households,” says Greg McBride, a financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “But even among these groups, at least half do not have six months’ expenses in an emergency fund.”
The results are hardly surprising in a nation with stubbornly high unemployment, continued home foreclosures and a tide of personal bankruptcies. For many Americans, an emergency fund is an untapped credit card.
And when you read the news and read about signs of a looming global financial collapse, you may wonder what good money is going to be in the future anyway. The study didn’t ask about canned food, gold coins and ammunition.
Posted by Al Lewison June 17, 2011 Mr. Ponzi /
This columnist gig really pulls me out of my socioeconomic bubble.
One day, I could be interviewing a billionaire. The next, a homeless person.
Two-time convicted felon Barry Minkow has expanded my horizons even further.
Homebuilder Lennar Corp. recently won a $584 million judgment against the man who brought us the ZZZZ Best Ponzi scheme in the late 1980s. Minkow is to be sentenced July 7 after pleading guilty to a charge related to trading Lennar stock illegally. Interest on this judgment will mount, and in time, could eclipse $1 billion.
I don’t currently know a single individual this deep in the hole.
Click here to read my latest column about Minkow on MarketWatch. Click here to read the story I broke on the judgment against Minkow. And click here to check out this report from 10 News in San Diego, Calif. Sounds like Minkow, whose been working as a church pastor, left town owing members of his flock a little money.
And click here to read how Minkow’s own attorney describes him in court. It’s amazing his transformation story went as long as it did, considering his many problems.