The founder of what was once one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders was convicted of fraud on Tuesday for masterminding a scheme that cheated investors and the government out of billions of dollars. It is one of the few successful prosecutions to come out of the financial crisis.One of the few "successful" prosecutions? Now, we're not lawyers or anything, but isn't it hard to have a "successful" prosecution if you don't have any prosecutions? Can someone clear that up for us?
After more than a day of deliberations, a federal jury in Virginia found Lee B. Farkas, the former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, guilty on 14 counts of securities, bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.Or as they call it on Wall Street: Lunch.
“There’s no question that it is very momentous and a very significant case,” said Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the criminal division of the Justice Department.Darn straight, Mr. Breuer. Course it's not hard to have a "very momentous and a very significant case" when that's the only case you got. Competition's not real stiff if you get our point. Just saying.
The Justice Department has yet to bring charges against an executive who ran a major Wall Street firm leading up to the disaster. An earlier case against hedge fund managers at Bear Stearns ended in acquittal. Prosecutors dropped their investigation into Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief of Countrywide Financial, which nearly collapsed under the weight of souring subprime home loans.Oh we totally understand. After all, if you don't win, why try? OK, here's our guess: If Angelo had robbed a Seven Eleven of a couple hundred dollars and some cigarettes instead of wrecking the lives of thousands of people, wouldn't be no investigation dropping going on then would there Mr. Dee part ment O Justice? Huh?
Six other Taylor, Bean & Whitaker executives — including its former chief executive and former treasurer — have already pleaded guilty. Some agreed to testify against Mr. Farkas at his trial.Nothing personal there, Mr. Farkas. Jus' bidness, yo? The invisible hand of the market flipping you the bird and whatnot.
Mr. Farkas took the stand during the trial to defend his actions and deny any wrongdoing. During the course of the fraud, prosecutors said, Mr. Farkas pocketed some $20 million, which he used to buy a private jet, several homes and a collection of vintage cars.Man! That dude has some seriously big pockets, but we think we see your problem Mr. Farkas. See, it's not just wrong if you get caught, it's wrong when you do it too. It's understandable that little bit of esoteric moral philosophy would slip by you, being the type of person that would make Blackbeard look like a Sunday School teacher and all.
“Today’s verdict ensures that Farkas will pay for his crime — an unprecedented scheme to defraud regulators during the height of the financial crisis and to steal over $550 million from the American taxpayers through TARP,” Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the TARP program, said in a statement.Yeah, well good for you and all that Ms. Romero, but $550 million? If Farkas worked for one of the big three banks he could have paid the whole $550 mill back out out of his bonus and still had enough left over to go with the Mahogany trim on the yacht.