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State Street Sued For "Unconscionable Fraud" Against Calpers And Calstrs

Tyler Durden's picture





 

From the Office of the California Attorney General:

Brown Sues State Street Bank for Massive Fraud Against CalPERS and CalSTRS

SACRAMENTO - Seeking to recover more than $200 million in illegal
overcharges and penalties, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today
announced that he has filed suit against State Street Bank and Trust --
one of the world's leading providers of financial services to
institutional investors -- for committing "unconscionable fraud"
against California's two largest pension funds -- CalPERS and CalSTRS.

The suit, which was unsealed today by a Sacramento Superior Court
judge, contends that Boston-based State Street illegally overcharged
CalPERS and CalSTRS for the costs of executing foreign currency trades
since 2001.

"Over a period of eight years, State Street bankers committed
unconscionable fraud by misappropriating millions of dollars that
rightfully belonged to California's public pension funds," Brown said.
"This is just the latest example of how clever financial traders
violate laws and rip off the public trust."

The case was originally filed under seal by whistleblowers -
"Associates Against FX Insider Trading," who alleged that State Street
added a secret and substantial mark-up to the price of interbank
foreign currency trades. The interbank rate is the price at which major
banks buy and sell foreign currency.

Subsequently, Brown launched an independent investigation into the allegations.

Brown's investigation revealed that State Street was indeed
overcharging the two funds. Despite being contractually obligated to
charge the interbank rate at the precise time of the trade, State
Street consistently charged at or near the highest rate of the day,
even if the interbank rate was lower at the time of trade.

Additionally, State Street concealed the fraud by deliberately
failing to include time stamp data in its reports, so that the pension
funds could not determine the true execution costs by verifying when
State Street actually executed the trades. Commenting on this
deception, one State Street senior vice president said to another
executive that "…if providing execution costs will give [CalPERS] any
insight into how much we make off of FX transactions, I will be shocked
if [State Street] or anyone would agree to reveal the information."

Brown's office estimates that the pension funds were overcharged by
more than $56.6 million over eight years. The lawsuit asks for relief
in the amount of triple California's damages, civil penalties of
$10,000 for each false claim; and recovery of costs, attorneys' fees
and expenses. It is estimated that damages and penalties could exceed
more than $200 million.

Under California's False Claims Act, anyone who has previously
undisclosed information about a fraud, overcharge, or other false claim
against the state, can file a sealed lawsuit on behalf of California to
recover the losses. They must notify the Attorney General as well.

Such a case is called a "qui tam" case. If there is a monetary
recovery, the law provides that the whistleblower "qui tam plaintiff"
receives a share of the amount recovered if the requirements of the
statute are met.

A copy of the complaint is attached.

 

n1823_statestreet

 


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Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:13 | Link to Comment Dixie Normous
Dixie Normous's picture

STT must be removed from the market place immediately!

They suffered a GAP DOWN.

Impossible!

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:36 | Link to Comment VegasBD
VegasBD's picture

If they arent willing to hide their stuff off balance like everyone else, then they should be listed 'off index' so their stock slump doesnt affect any of the averages...

whats sad is by the time i typed that joke out, it almost sounds plausible. =\

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:13 | Link to Comment MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

California dreamin'
On such a winter's day

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:20 | Link to Comment Rama V
Rama V's picture

Who gets sued for MBSs?

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:58 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:03 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

There are many interesting and potentially lucrative income streams for states to uncover if they choose to.  What do the banks have to worry about?  They will just get some free money from the fed and pay it off ala BAC and the SEC.  This is just a confirmation of the bankers are thieves mantra which all of society already believes and our weak politicians and most of the media & judiciary seek to perpetuate at out expense.  After all, failure is no longer a part of free enterprise and capitalism in America.  Especially for some few special well connected cases who reside outside of judicial or regulatory reach.

Thanks to folks like Cas Sunstein and his impact upon the discussion of a new interpretation of the doctrine of judicial exclusion within the Obama administration, it appears that this process has been extended to systemically important institutions to the national security interests of the United States as determined by the President or his assignee.

"Prosecuting government officials risks a “cycle” of criminalizing public service, [Sunstein] argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton — or even the “slight appearance” of it."

http://jonathanturley.org/2008/07/21/obama-adviser-cass-sunstein-rejects...

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:26 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

LOL Miles.

When you condense it all down, it's basically I shouldn't sue them because they would then sue me when the time was right and power has shifted.

What this really means is my hands are just as dirty as their hands are and if I start throwing rocks, I can expect a barrage of boulders through my window real quick.

Dude, we don't discuss our thieving in public. Didn't you get the memo? We take our grievances to the head of the bankster families and accept the decision. Keep this up and it's all out war and everyone hits the mattresses.

And that ain't good for bidness.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:56 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:52 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:55 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:34 | Link to Comment PolishHammer
PolishHammer's picture

Fed Printing Press:  Increasing the Number of Slices

Pie size: Constant to Shrinking

No of Claims on Pie:  Increasing Every Day

 

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:34 | Link to Comment VegasBD
VegasBD's picture

and the pension wars begin.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:49 | Link to Comment Cursive
Cursive's picture

Correctamundo.  This is the opening salvo.  These stories will become as ubiquitous as state bankruptcy discussions.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:38 | Link to Comment Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

More banker scum.  This pond is huge.

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:49 | Link to Comment blueskyscottsdale
blueskyscottsdale's picture

the pension funds are scum themselves. They give their asset management business to their buddies who give the pension fund kick backs. Pension funds do not allocate the funds according to who are the best asset managers. When you go to these investment conferences for institutional investors, the pension fund trustees are either missing the presentations because they're a) playing golf b) at the bar or c) sleeping through the conference. What I have seen happening at pension funds makes them exactly the same kind of scum as State Street

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 12:51 | Link to Comment blueskyscottsdale
blueskyscottsdale's picture

the pension funds are scum themselves. They give their asset management business to their buddies who give the pension fund kick backs. Pension funds do not allocate the funds according to who are the best asset managers. When you go to these investment conferences for institutional investors, the pension fund trustees are missing the presentations because they're a) playing golf b) at the bar or c) sleeping through the conference. What I have seen happening at pension funds makes them exactly the same kind of scum as State Street. The pension fund trustees couldn't give a damn about the state employees whose interests they are supposedly protecting. I think pension fund trustees are all scum. I have not met a single one worthy of any respect.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:40 | Link to Comment Steak
Steak's picture

The federal government needs State Street to help implement monetary policy.  This will be an important test case to see if too big to fail is also too big to prosecute.

I for one don't believe any meaningful penalty will ever be assessed against any TBTF, regardless of the size and scope of fraud. 

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Test Steak?

Color me cynical

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:41 | Link to Comment Yankee
Yankee's picture

California is such a cry baby!

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:43 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 16:07 | Link to Comment ZeroPower
ZeroPower's picture

Indeed, a few pips here a few pips there and soon youve got $52.86MM in extra profit!

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:46 | Link to Comment mmlevine
mmlevine's picture

Doesn't every corporate FX desk work the same way - quote above/below the current market - to make a few pips?  Always been that way - an easy way for the trader to (eh em) make money.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:59 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Since the concept of contract law and personal property rights derived from them have already been compromised the next steps will be even easier to accomplish.

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 01:53 | Link to Comment agrotera
agrotera's picture

HI MK! Do you practice law?  Wouldn't it be good if US citizens could use this qui tam to stop the TBTF fraudulent bailout scheme that is rolling!

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:49 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:00 | Link to Comment lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

( DJ ) 10/20 12:57PM *WSJ: State Street Denies Any Allegations Of Wrongdoing

In other news President Clinton did "not have sexual relations with that woman"

Guess it all depends on how you define "wrongdoing" and "sexual relations"

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:04 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Lizzy, we are on the same page on this one...

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:28 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:06 | Link to Comment trillion_dollar...
trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

The unfortunate thing about this is that one of those two blood sucking interests is going to win something.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:10 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

Not enough there for criminal RICO? wire fraud? stealing?

 

 

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Of course, the law suit wasn't filed because of the illegal actions against the people of California per se or even because it was the right thing to do.

It was because one group of criminals got screwed by another group of criminals.

CalPERS and CalSTRS are not shining examples of doing-the-right-thing pension funds by a long shot.

"Unconscionable fraud" means they were screwed while unconscious or sleeping. Take your pick.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:45 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:49 | Link to Comment Screwball
Screwball's picture

The cheerleader channel CNBC just interviewd Brown (I think it was, couldn't see the TV very well) the AG.  Tits Cabrera and Beaker were in prime form.  Funny video once they post it.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:31 | Link to Comment Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Wow - I saw that exchange between Jerry, Michele and Dennis the Menace.  Must see TV for the hilarious hi-jinx. (watch for Jerry's comment on "Eastern establishment" bankers). Have a little populist fun.  

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:44 | Link to Comment Screwball
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:03 | Link to Comment Green Sharts
Green Sharts's picture

Beaker's first instinct is always to defend Wall Street and "free market capitalism", which in his warped view apparently doesn't include things like respect for fiduciary duty and abiding by contracts.  Tits, a hard core conservative, was so eager to jump on Jerry Brown that she pissed all over her own show and network by snickering at him for coming on the show. Brown did a nice job of throwing that one back in her face.  Apparently Griffiths ducked under the desk in embarrassment once the little attack dogs started yapping.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:04 | Link to Comment bonddude
bonddude's picture

That was fucking funny. Ole MCC just raises her voice and screams a question that her open to an ass whoopin. Just throw those expensive breasts out there and start screaming. That doesn't work with Jerry, who is pretty darn quick.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:23 | Link to Comment mmlevine
mmlevine's picture

Beaker and MCC were made out to look like complete fools.  Good for Jerry for standing up for what is right.

One can only wonder what other cases are under "seal".  This could get very, very interesting.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 17:54 | Link to Comment MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Thanks for posting that. There are adults and children. It is so refreshing to see someone looking rock solid and not like a maniac or a weasel. Might have made my day.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 14:06 | Link to Comment Green Sharts
Green Sharts's picture

I'd think CalPERS and CalSTRS would have preferred to settle out of court with State Street instead of embarrassing themselves publicly with an admission that they were stupid and incompetent enough that a bank could routinely screw them on foreign exchange transactions for many years without being detected.  CalPERS and CalSTRS are fiduciaries for their plan beneficiaries and one of their fiduciary responsibilities is to ensure that they receive the best possible trade executions for their plan beneficiaries.

My guess is this lawsuit opens the door for class action lawsuits against CalPERS and CalSTRS on behalf of plan beneficiaries for breach of fiduciary duty.

Based on the whistleblower reference, apparently it took a former State Street employee ratting them out for CalPERS and CalSTRS to figure out what was going on.  The whistleblower is in line for a nice payday.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:14 | Link to Comment Green Sharts
Green Sharts's picture

Responding to my own post, after viewing Jerry Brown kick the crap out of Beaker and Tits Caruso-Cabrera, I understand why State Street couldn't settle out of court.  Brown said similar lawsuits against State Street from other state pension funds are coming.

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:50 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 10/20/2009 - 16:14 | Link to Comment Anonymous
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