“It is worth repeating that there have been no criminal convictions of any top executives at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. This is bad enough. But using cockamamie data to mislead the public about the government’s prosecutions of financial fraud ought to be a crime.”
Eric Holder Owes America Some Answers
Eric Holder has said he doesn’t know if he will stay on as U.S. attorney general, now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected. Here’s something to help them decide: A story about how the Justice Department got caught fudging its numbers on financial-fraud prosecutions — again.
About five weeks ago, on Oct. 9, Holder held a news conference to trumpet the results of the government’s Distressed Homeowner Initiative, which he called “a groundbreaking, yearlong mortgage-fraud enforcement effort” and “the first ever to focus exclusively on crimes targeting homeowners.”
Holder said the multiagency initiative, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, ran from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30 and resulted in 285 indictments and complaints against 530 criminal defendants “for allegedly victimizing more than 73,000 American homeowners.” He also credited the program with 110 civil complaints against more than 150 defendants.
It took two days to discredit the figures. On Oct. 11, Bloomberg News reported that the numbers for the criminal cases included fraud charges against a Chicago lawyer that were filed in October 2006, two years before Obama was elected. The lawyer, Norton Helton, was sentenced in January to 15 years in prison.