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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goldman Sachs: Counterfeit Value

From, "one of the very best (and most engaging) summaries of our broken financial system on the entire Web."
Unhinged: When Concrete Reality No Longer Matters to the Market (and What to Do About It)
by Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D.


Exhibit 3: The Double Whammy Scam: Profiting from Designed Failure and Placing Bets Backed by Counterfeit Value
A recent government suit alleges that Goldman Sachs colluded with a billionaire short seller, John Paulson, to defraud investors and “construct a package of mortgage linked derivatives designed to blow up” so Paulson could make a fortune.
Continuing from AP reporter, Bernard Condon’s, article in the Washington Post, (Does Goldman Case Tarnish Cassandras of the Crash? April 21, 2010):

So-called short sellers, like Paulson, profit when stocks, mortgages or other assets they bet against lose value. In other words, the game of guessing which way prices would go was allegedly rigged in this case. That sounds bad enough. But some Wall Street veterans say the real tarnish on our erstwhile housing heroes is the package itself - regardless of whether it was designed to fail. By just linking to mortgages but not actually containing any, the Paulson package and others marketed by banks upped bets on housing to more than even the mortgages in existence, making the overall losses much bigger now that boom has turned to bust. "Normally short sellers add rationality to a runaway marketplace," says Charles Smith, who oversees $1 billion at Fort Pitt Capital Group. "But in this case they were adding rocket fuel to the fire." The fuel here is devilishly difficult to understand. Called synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), these packages contained a series of wagers on whether thousands of homeowners would continue to pay their loans.
The key thing to grasp about them, and the part that explains how they magnified housing losses, is that they don't actually own any mortgages and so aren't limited by the number of such loans. Instead, these investments merely make "reference" to real mortgages to determine which side of the wager wins. (my emphases)
Did you catch that? This language confirms the divorce of concrete reality and the market: 1) “Linking to” mortgages but not containing any, 2) not actually owning any mortgages but being able to bet on them, 3) making “reference” to real mortgages to determine which side of the wager wins, 4) wagering bets not “limited” by material assets. The last point could theoretically involve an infinite number of bets and infinite returns on those bets.
This is well analyzed except for one point: The core of this dealing is deceptively simple, even if the instruments themselves are deliberately complex. Industry bettors simply concoct counterfeit value by leveraging their own abstract, self-assigned-value assets between themselves in a ping-pong ascending scale beyond the value of the underlying concrete assets.
The bet has both replaced and exceeded the thing it refers to. There is no “there” there. Real money is siphoned in fees from the “marks,” the pension funds who are told they are investing in highly rated, stable instruments, and then the U.S. taxpayer is asked to take up trillions of dollars of real debt in order to cover a counterfeit, undisclosed bidding/betting war.
Should I be able to make a “reference” to the Bank of England, or food, or oil, simply collect billions of real money if I bet right, and lose my never-there-to-begin-with counterfeit wealth if I don’t?
Who is the “house” in this casino in which someone can wage a series of bets on assets that actually exceed the value of the assets themselves? It’s always going to be the American taxpayer, the public, bailing out an unregulated, morally and financially reprehensible private market. Usually when someone says, “You really hate America,” it’s a disgruntled conservative with a chip on his shoulder.
Well, these profiteers actually make huge sums of money by destroying America, robbing it blind, and then sticking the American citizen with the check for any downside bets. Now let’s see why very little is currently being done to correct this. 


Read the rest here


Anonymous said...

Vote them all out....

"We're An Oligarchy And It's Getting Worse"

Kelly Wilson said...

That post was wonderful in its insight into the criminal and absurd workings of CDO's...but the thing is, few care...well, that's not true - the ones that have a duty of care, the media, are sleeping at the wheel...well, that's not true also as they're just part of the agenda...bottom line is - people should be going to jail for this sh*t...this massive, monumental deception and fraud, but they're not...and they’re not because the system and market and gov't has lost all semblance of what is right, honest and true.

Btw, what you’ve done with this site is simply fantastic…..epic effort and superb……

Anonymous said...

Your loss is their must feel good to be such a favored client of Goldman's.

Goldman Sachs Hands Clients Losses in ‘Top Trades’

ZH drives the point by saying," The observation there being that the only way Goldman scores something like a perfect 63 out of 63 quarter is by literally raping its clients, along the lines of what Goldman is currently facing civil and criminal probes for allegedly doing in the CDO space. And while our rant has been public for quite some time, yesterday was the first time the Bloomberg also decided to join the fray. "

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