The latest shocking revelation:
Fraud: Spurring the crisis?
Charleston Gazette editorial
Disturbingly, two top federal investigators testified last week that big-time white-collar fraud might have driven part of the U.S. mortgage crisis that helped drag the nation's economy into a tragic tailspin.
FBI Deputy Director John Pistole told a Senate hearing that an "exponential rise" in mortgage scams is overwhelming his agency. He said the FBI has 530 such probes in progress "including 38 corporate fraud and financial institution matters directly related to the to the [sic] current financial crisis." The cases involve "financial statement manipulation, accounting fraud and insider trading," he said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., exploded:
"I don't think we've paid enough attention to the mortgage and financial fraud that have so dramatically contributed to the economic downturn. It is now becoming clear that unscrupulous mortgage brokers and Wall Street financiers were among the principal contributors to this economic collapse. I want to see people prosecuted. Frankly, I want to see people go to jail." [link]
On second thought, I can't blame the imbeciles at the Gazette entirely for this bit of silliness. Patrick Leahy deserves some of the credit as well, though I'm reluctant to include John Pistole since the quote attributed to him doesn't relate at all to the Gazette's intended argument.
Look. Here are a few facts that these wild-eyed morons should try to get their brains around:
1) There are an estimated 150 million home mortgages currently extant in the USA.
2) Those mortgages have a combined value of somewhere in the neighborhood of $10.5 trillion.
3) Pistole tells us that his office currently has 530 "probes" in process.
4) That's a very concerning 0.00000000004% of the total financial contracts in place (530 divided by 150,000,000) (that's assuming those 530 "probes" become 530 convictions).
That (potential) fraud "might have driven part of the U.S. mortgage crisis that helped drag the nation's economy into a tragic tailspin"?
Are they serious?
Unfortunately, they are.
But they're also out of their freaking minds.