Years of collusion, massive taxpayer rip-off... another day, another scandalpalooza, another reason to be astounded that the GOP still insists on siding with Wall Street:
The secret conversation was part of a conspiracy stretching across the U.S. by Wall Street banks in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market. [...]
West Virginia was just one stop in a nationwide conspiracy in which financial advisers to municipalities colluded with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Wachovia Corp. and 11 other banks.
They rigged bids on auctions for so-called guaranteed investment contracts, known as GICs, according to a Justice Department list that was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24 and then put under seal. Those contracts hold tens of billions of taxpayer money.
This little escapade affected states from California to Pennsylvania. There were more than 200 deals, 160 state agencies, local governments and non- profits.
“The whole investment process was rigged across the board,” said Charlie Anderson, who retired in 2007 as head of field operations for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt bond division. “It was so commonplace that people talked about it on the phones of their employers and ignored the fact that they were being recorded.”
My jaw has dropped, my eyes are popping out of my head. A major conspiracy became so commonplace that those involved were desensitized. Think about that. It's reminiscent of the occasions when crimes are committed in the streets as passers-by ignore them without stopping to help and continue to go about their business.
This is a long, substantive article, so please go read the whole thing. The scope is mind-boggling:
Court records in the broadest-ever criminal investigation of public finance shed new light on how Wall Street’s biggest banks were cheating cities and towns during the same decade in which they were setting the stage for a global economic collapse.
As the banks were steering the world’s financial system to the brink of catastrophe by loading more than $1 trillion of subprime mortgage loans into opaque debt investments, they were also duping public officials across the U.S.
16 other companies-- 16-- have been cited but not charged:
Eighteen employees at 16 other companies, including units of General Electric Co., UBS AG and FSA, then a unit of Brussels lender Dexia SA, are also cited as co-conspirators by the Justice Department, according to the list under seal. None have been charged in the case.
None have been charged. There have been immunity offers, of course. And there will be hell to pay if the punditiots ever stop talking about beauty pageants and start explaining the details of how America got screwed, and yet "none have been charged."