TBD on Ning

finally...but where are the prison terms for the executives?

they would seek a court trial if they weren't blatantly guilty

Bank of America Nears $17 Billion Settlement Over Mortgages

The New York Times

Bank of America and the Justice Department have reached a tentative deal that would cost the bank nearly $17 billion to settle an investigation into its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to people briefed on the matter, the latest eye-popping rebuke of a giant bank.

The agreement, which is not final and could still fall apart, would represent a record for the government. It would be the largest sum the Justice Department has ever extracted from a single company.

The bank has agreed to pay a roughly $9 billion cash penalty to the United States Treasury — last month, Citigroup agreed to pay a $4 billion penalty — while providing the remaining money in the form of relief to struggling homeowners, the people briefed on the matter said. Just a few weeks ago, the bank was offering only $3 billion in cash, a figure that temporarily caused talks to break down.

A breakthrough came last week on a phone call between Attorney General Eric Holder and the bank’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, one of the people said. Earlier in discussions, when the two sides were far apart, the Justice Department turned down a request for Mr. Moynihan to meet with Mr. Holder.

Despite the huge penalty, critics contend that the government crackdown has amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist. No Bank of America employee will face charges, and the case against the bank is civil, rather than criminal.

The settlement ends months of on-again, off-again negotiations between the Justice Department and Bank of America, which has already paid more than $50 billion to settle lawsuits by private investors and regulators largely related to its Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch units.

The deal will bring a measure of closure to the bank as it concludes the largest remaining legal issue from the financial crisis.

During the talks, the bank had argued with federal prosecutors that it should not be penalized for mortgages that Countrywide and Merrill had sold before it agreed to buy those firms in 2008. In the case of Merrill, the bank argued that federal regulators pressured it to go through with the acquisition.

But that argument was significantly weakened last Wednesday when Judge Jed. S. Rakoff, of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, ordered Bank of America to pay $1.3 billion for the sale of defective Countrywide mortgages, calling the scheme a “brazen fraud.”

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the news of the tentative deal.

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They should have put the high ranking executives in prison and given the money to the people they bilked.

management of all these big banks and mortgage companies, in collusion with wall street brokerage houses, made conscious decisions to break laws governing transactions and then when the shit hit the fan, tried to fob the blame and the cost off onto customers and the government. we would not have had the financial meltdown and the need for the tarpa legislation were it not for them. thus the 17 billion is small potatoes compared to what they cost US. and dollars to donuts, the 17 billion is much less than the profit they made to begin with in their fraudulent practices..

i'd wanna know what they knew and when did they know it .. and i'd start with the little guys at the bottom and work my way up .. and start hangin guys by their thumbs along the way .. maybe even waterboard a few of em just to get the message across .. and i don't even have a mortgage .. do i sound just a bit .. pissed ?? 

The real victims who had lives destroyed will get zilch..the people who should be in prison are still rich.

sad but true lifey .. sad but true .. 

Yeah Bernie Madoff went to prison because he cheated rich people. It seems that cheating poor and middle class is okay.

i think you're getting it....

speak of the devil....

Madoff trustee cannot void Merkin, Fairfield settlements: Court

18 Hours Ago
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Irving Picard, Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee, speaks regarding the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, December 17, 2010 in New York City.
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Irving Picard, Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee, speaks regarding the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, December 17, 2010 in New York City.

In a setback for the trustee seeking money for the former customers of imprisoned fraudster Bernard Madoff, an appeals court refused to void two settlements benefiting investors who sued "feeder funds'' that sent their money to Madoff.

Friday's unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York leaves intact a $410 million settlement with J. Ezra Merkin, a Wall Street hedge fund manager who oversaw the Ariel Fund and Gabriel Capital, and an $80 million settlement with Fairfield Greenwich.

The Merkin settlement had been negotiated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and also resolved claims by Bart Schwartz, the receiver of the Ariel and Gabriel funds.

Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, claimed the settlements impeded his ability to recoup fraudulent transfers that Madoff made to Merkin and Fairfield, and which belong to the firm's estate.

Read MoreMadoff trustee alleges Madoff sons knew of father's fraud

Writing for the appeals court, however, Circuit Judge Robert Sack said Picard "is incapable of establishing either that the settlements would in fact have an immediate adverse economic consequence for the BLMIS estate, or that the estate is likely to suffer irreparable harm'' if the settlements go ahead.

Amanda Remus, a spokeswoman for Picard, said the trustee is reviewing the decision, and will keep pursuing his own cases related to Merkin and Fairfield in Manhattan bankruptcy court.

The decision upheld rulings last year by U.S. District Judges Jed Rakoff and Victor Marrero allowing the respective Merkin and Fairfield settlements.

"This ruling is a victory for justice and accountability,'' Schneiderman said in a statement. He said Merkin's former investors, which include charities, should begin receiving money "in the coming months.''

<p>Andrew Madoff responds to new allegations</p> <p>Bernard Madoff's son, Andrew Madoff, responds to new allegations from trustee Irving Picard that he knew of his father's fraud. CNBC's Scott Cohn reports the details.</p>

Merkin's lawyer, Andrew Levander, was not immediately available to comment.

Picard has recovered $9.83 billion for Madoff customers who lost roughly $17.5 billion of principal in a decades-long scheme that collapsed in 2008.

Madoff, 76, is serving a 150-year prison term.

Picard had argued that he could block the Merkin and Fairfield settlements under an "automatic stay'' provision in federal bankruptcy law, and a separate federal law protecting investors of failed brokerages.

Read More Scam of the century —The Bernard Madoff scandal

But Sack said Picard had no legal right to any Merkin or Fairfield assets, and that the stay did not cover disputes over whether the feeder funds breached duties to their own investors.

Sack also said it was only "factually likely, as opposed to legally certain,'' that the settlements affected the Madoff firm's estate at all.

"The decision makes clear that a trustee like Irving Picard doesn't have the ability to block litigation or settlements of separate claims brought by investors that arise from a complex fraud,'' said Stuart Singer, a lawyer representing Fairfield investors.

In March, the 2nd Circuit heard arguments on how much of the "fictitious profits'' that Madoff sent to selected customers may be clawed back by Picard. It has yet to rule.

—By Reuters

I still believe that someday, there is going to be a Second American Revolution, but it's going to look a lot more like the French Revolution next time - I.E., plutocrats and aristocrats and their pet politicians, dragged screaming out of their beds in the middle of night and beheaded on their front lawns, in front of live internet feeds.

And I think that there will be a small-scale war between actual military veterans, augmented by National Guardsmen, and the cops, who are being transformed from those who "protect and serve the poor and innocent", and into a taxpayer-funded private security force for the rich and entitled. And the vets will win, because they still see themselves as serving and defending something, while with cops it seems to be becoming more and more a belligerent wage-slave / I'm-Gonna-Take-My-Frustrations-Out-On-Somebody-Who-Can't-Fight-Back situation - And it's going to be ugly.




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