How Congress Helps the TBTF Banks Steal Your Money with Impunity
Well I won't back down, no I won't back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down
There is a very important article on Jesse's Cafe Americain blogspot, “Warren Pollock and Ann Barnhardt On the Increased Risk to Customers In the US Financial System,” that illustrates how the US bankruptcy laws now enable theft brazen theft of customer funds by the largest banks. I have written about this issue in the past on ZH, but Pollock and Barnhart really do a nice job of presenting the issue.
My friend and mentor Walker Todd of AIER, who worked as a legal counsel at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Cleveland, states the situation succinctly:
“Basically, there is a new 7th Circuit opinion saying that there is no reason to impose a constructive trust on a lender's takings of customers' funds from client commodity firms that were used (inappropriately) to secure the firms' borrowings, as long as the lender can say that it did not know WITH CERTAINTY that customers' funds were being repledged. Negligence and misappropriation (vs. knowing criminal intent) are now a sufficient excuse for letting the lender keep the money and go to the head of the line for distributions in bankruptcies of the client commodity firms. Spread the word.”
Walker goes on to say that this decision does rise to the level of “what were they thinking’ when the Powers That Be think that somehow this is saving or strengthening the financial system. He refers to the now infamous 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation, where the banks made themselves senior to the very customers and savers they are supposed to protect. Pollock summarizes the situation nicely in the article:
"The way I read it was that basically you no longer have property rights. If you have your money in any (US) financial institution, you now have no property rights because in a crisis situation a bankruptcy judge now has the right to say that all of this speculation (by the banks and brokers) takes precedence over your savings."
Another veteran attorney that I have quoted often in past articles about creditor rights comments thusly:
“This decision is just further incentive to steal. And if you do it in Fl., state attorneys say they will not prosecute theft when conducted without the use of violence. So, unless the broker threatens to injure customers that do not turnover money, in Fl., it's freedom to steal.”
I won't go over all of the fine post from Jesse's Cafe Americain, but here are a couple of basic recommendation to readers of ZH and investors generally about the custody of customer funds:
First, no customer should EVER use a broker-dealer as custodian, either for securities or cash. The 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation and the Seventh Circuit decision make clear that customers of a broker dealer have no legal protection from the predatory behavior of the large banks that clear for these firms.
Second, no customer should maintain funds in a depository about the FDIC insured limit if that bank has a broker dealer subsidiary. Based on my reading of the Seventh Circuit decision, it is entirely possible for a bank to place a broker dealer affiliate into bankruptcy and then raid the customer accounts to protect the bank. Keep in mind that the Seventh Circuit is simply interpreting the law as changed by the lobbyists for the TBTF banks.
Third, everyone in the financial markets needs to start pressing members of Congress to repeal the 2005 bankruptcy reform laws in its entirety. The bankruptcy reform legislation passed during Bush II is one of the most hideous laws ever passed by the national congress. And this travesty was supported and encouraged by the Fed and other regulators, proof again that the zombie banks are calling all of the shots in Washington.
The liberal notion of “regulation” begun in the 1930s has become a bad joke. This legal decision shows that the only way we can regain control of the US politically is to see the largest banks broken up. Unfortunately, neither of the political candidates for the presidency is likely to do anything of the kind. At the end of the day, the only alternative for people who will not live as slaves to the big banks may be to seek the peaceful overthrow of the government of the United States, at least as it currently exists today. Shall we start the revolution now? Or wait for the big banks to take everything that we have and more?