Shouldn't the government and the DoJ be at least as interested as two whistle-blowers in making sure that taxpayers weren't defrauded in the bailouts? It is reprehensible that the government and the Department of Justice of the United States have to rely on whistle-blowers to protect the taxpayer and prosecute the fraudsters!
Claiming Fraud in A.I.G. Bailout, Whistle-Blower Lawsuit Names 3 Companies
By Mary Williams Walsh - The New York Times
The first known whistle-blower lawsuit to assert that the taxpayers were defrauded when the federal government bailed out the American International Group was unsealed on Friday, joining a number of suits seeking to settle the score on losses related to the financial crisis of 2008.The lawsuit, filed by a pair of veteran political activists from the La Jolla area of San Diego, asserts that A.I.G. and two large banks engaged in a variety of fraudulent and speculative transactions, running up losses well into the billions of dollars. Then the three institutions persuaded the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to bail them out by giving A.I.G. two rescue loans, which were used to unwind hundreds of failed trades.
The loans were improper, the lawsuit says, because the Fed made them without getting a pledge of high-quality collateral from A.I.G., as required by law.
“To cover losses of those engaged in fraudulent financial transactions is an authority not yet given to the Fed board,” said the plaintiffs, Derek and Nancy Casady, in their complaint, filed in Federal District Court for the Southern District of California.
Senior Fed officials have stated repeatedly that they had to take unusual steps in 2008 because the global financial system was close to breaking down. The Casadys’ lawyer, Michael J. Aguirre, argued that even so, the Fed was required to comply with its own governing statutes. He said that when the Fed bailed out a nonbank, it was required to secure the loan with the same liquid, high-quality collateral it required when lending to a troubled bank.
A spokesman for A.I.G., Mark Herr, said the Casadys’ lawsuit was “devoid of merit” and said Mr. Aguirre appeared to be recycling old and discredited legal theories.
Separately, A.I.G. is now among the companies turning to the courts in hopes of recovering losses from 2008, and seeking restitution from some banks.
A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said he was not familiar with the Casadys’ lawsuit and could not comment on it. A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
The litigation shines a critical light on the Federal Reserve’s on-again-off-again power to bail out nonbanking institutions like Wall Street firms and insurance companies. The Fed first got that authority during the Great Depression, but Congress revoked it in 1958. And then, as the legal walls between banking and other financial services began to fall in the 1990s, Congress once again gave the Fed the power to make emergency loans to nonbanks.
The relevant language is contained in a single, murky sentence inserted in a bill passed the day before Thanksgiving in 1991, as members of Congress were rushing to catch their flights home. Former Senator Christopher Dodd added it at the request of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms, which were still stinging from a major market crash in 1987 and eager to empower the Fed to step in if a similar problem happened again.
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