Fraudclosure: New Jersey Lawmaker, Bill Pascrell, Calls on FBI to Provide Files Tied to Financial Crisis

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“While the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have secured financial settlements from several major financial institutions in recent years, the investigations into potential criminal activity remain hidden from the public”

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Rep. Pascrell Calls on FBI to Release Investigative Files from 2008 Financial Crisis

Congressman requests release of materials from financial crisis given release of sensitive case files in Secretary Clinton ‘fishing expedition’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, yesterday called on Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey to release unclassified case files from the agency’s investigation into the financial institutions at the center of the 2008 financial crisis, our country’s worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. The FBI letter is available here.

“The FBI, as early as 2004, expressed concerns about mortgage industry practices. It has been reported that the agency identified suspected mortgage fraud more widely by 2008. It was at this point that the agency opened criminal inquiries into at least 14 companies as part of its investigation into the subprime-mortgage crisis. Reports indicate that the agency focused on accounting fraud, securitization of loans, and insider trading,” Rep. Pascrell stated in the FBI letter. “However, several years later, no senior executives have been charged.”

“Due to the public interest in this issue and the role of Congress to provide oversight, I write to request the FBI’s investigative files for these cases. This should include witness interview transcripts, notes, reports, and memoranda produced throughout the investigations,” Rep. Pascrell wrote to Comey.

“The FBI has responded to the Republican leadership’s fishing expedition, so let’s start asking the questions that matter. Why weren’t there any executives prosecuted following the massive fraud foisted upon the American people in the run-up to 2008? The FBI’s response to the financial crisis can teach us how to approach such disasters as lawmakers, but it can also shine light on a situation that citizens are still feeling the negative effects of,” Rep. Pascrell said today. “If we’re reviewing FBI files, let’s review something that could be useful in avoiding another Wall Street meltdown.”

Rep. Pascrell sent a copy of the FBI letter to U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asking the committees support his request for information. The letter to Chaffetz and Goodlatte is available here.

“As you have clearly demonstrated over the past couple of months, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform may at “any time” investigate “any matter” pursuant to House Rule X,” Rep. Pascrell wrote to the chairmen. “Further, the House Judiciary Committee provides oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). With this in mind, I write to ask you to support my request to the FBI pertaining to the 2008 financial crisis that severely strained our economy and the lives of millions of Americans.”

Below is the content of the FBI letter.

September 6, 2016

Director James Comey
Federal Bureau of Investigations
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Comey:

The 2008 financial crisis was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Spurred by reckless lending and fraudulent activity at the highest level among major Wall Street institutions, nineteen trillion dollars in household wealth was lost. Unemployment peaked at 10.1% in October 2009. Credit tightened and spending froze, and foreclosures swept the nation. And without government intervention, of the 13 largest financial institutions in the United States, 12 may have failed completely.

The FBI, as early as 2004, expressed concerns about mortgage industry practices. It has been reported that the agency identified suspected mortgage fraud more widely by 2008. It was at this point that the agency opened criminal inquiries into at least 14 companies as part of its investigation into the subprime-mortgage crisis. Reports indicate that the agency focused on accounting fraud, securitization of loans, and insider trading.

However, several years later, no senior executives have been charged.

There remains public interest in whether financial institutions committed illegal activities, such as those cited in settlements under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).

It is known that Merrill Lynch understated its mortgage holdings risk by hundreds of billions of dollars. Lehman Brothers misled investors about the company’s financial position immediately before its collapse. Bear Stearns executives may have kept profits that should have gone to investors to offset losses. And mortgage securities fraud has been alleged at Countrywide and A.I.G.

While the Department of Justice and SEC have secured financial settlements from several major financial institutions in recent years, the investigations into potential criminal activity remain hidden from the public. Since 2009, 49 financial institutions have paid billions in fines and settlements to the government and private plaintiffs. (In some cases, these settlements paid by corporations were treated as tax-deductible corporate expenses.)

Due to the public interest in this issue and the role of Congress to provide oversight, I write to request the FBI’s investigative files for these cases. This should include witness interview transcripts, notes, reports, and memoranda produced throughout the investigations.

It is my belief that as much unclassified material as possible from these investigations ought to be made public.

Please have your staff contact Elaina Houser of Congressman Pascrell’s staff at (202) 225-5751 with any questions about this request. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

SOURCE: http://pascrell.house.gov

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Comments
One Response to “Fraudclosure: New Jersey Lawmaker, Bill Pascrell, Calls on FBI to Provide Files Tied to Financial Crisis”
  1. mike Drouin says:

    The revealing statement by the FBI was ,”The FBI , as early as 2004 ,expressed concerns about the Mortgage industry practices ” The largest sub – prime , ” alleged lender ” OPTION ONE , was put out of business by the State of California , because their ” Lending practices were deemed , Hazardous , and injurious to the public !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So the FBI knew as early as 2004 , an illegal scam was being perpetrated against the American people , and Just like Clinton’s E-mails , they chose to do NOTHING about it !!!!

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