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Taibbi Is Back With The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Tyler Durden's picture


Matt Taibbi strikes again.

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

How America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape

Someday, it will go down in history as the first trial of the modern American mafia. Of course, you won't hear the recent financial corruption case, United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm, called anything like that. If you heard about it at all, you're probably either in the municipal bond business or married to an antitrust lawyer. Even then, all you probably heard was that a threesome of bit players on Wall Street got convicted of obscure antitrust violations in one of the most inscrutable, jargon-packed legal snoozefests since the government's massive case against Microsoft in the Nineties – not exactly the thrilling courtroom drama offered by the famed trials of old-school mobsters like Al Capone or Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo.

But this just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.

The defendants in the case – Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm – worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street – not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more – these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from "virtually every state, district and territory in the United States," according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being ­cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.

In fact, stripped of all the camouflaging financial verbiage, the crimes the defendants and their co-conspirators committed were virtually indistinguishable from the kind of thuggery practiced for decades by the Mafia, which has long made manipulation of public bids for things like garbage collection and construction contracts a cornerstone of its business. What's more, in the manner of old mob trials, Wall Street's secret machinations were revealed during the Carollo trial through crackling wiretap recordings and the lurid testimony of cooperating witnesses, who came into court with bowed heads, pointing fingers at their accomplices. The new-age gangsters even invented an elaborate code to hide their crimes. Like Elizabethan highway robbers who spoke in thieves' cant, or Italian mobsters who talked about "getting a button man to clip the capo," on tape after tape these Wall Street crooks coughed up phrases like "pull a nickel out" or "get to the right level" or "you're hanging out there" – all code words used to manipulate the interest rates on municipal bonds. The only thing that made this trial different from a typical mob trial was the scale of the crime.

USA v. Carollo involved classic cartel activity: not just one corrupt bank, but many, all acting in careful concert against the public interest. In the years since the economic crash of 2008, we've seen numerous hints that such orchestrated corruption exists. The collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, for instance, both pointed to coordi­nated attacks by powerful banks and hedge funds determined to speed the demise of those firms. In the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama, we learned that Goldman Sachs accepted a $3 million bribe from J.P. Morgan Chase to permit Chase to serve as the sole provider of toxic swap deals to the rubes running metropolitan Birmingham – "an open-and-shut case of anti-competitive behavior," as one former regulator described it.

More recently, a major international investigation has been launched into the manipulation of Libor, the interbank lending index that is used to calculate global interest rates for products worth more than $3 trillion a year. If and when that case is presented to the public at trial – there are several major civil suits in the works here in the States – we may yet find out that the world's most powerful banks have, for years, been fixing the prices of almost every adjustable-rate vehicle on earth, from mortgages and credit cards to interest-rate swaps and even currencies.

But USA v. Carollo marks the first time we actually got incontrovertible evidence that Wall Street has moved into this cartel-type brand of criminality. It also offered a disgusting glimpse into the enabling and grossly cynical role played by politicians, who took Super Bowl tickets and bribe-stuffed envelopes to look the other way while gangsters raided the public kitty. And though the punishments that were ultimately handed down in the trial – minor convictions of three bit players – felt deeply unsatisfying, it was still a watershed moment in the ongoing story of America's gradual awakening to the realities of financial corruption. In a post-crash era where Wall Street trials almost never make it into court, and even the harshest settlements end with the evidence buried by the government and the offending banks permitted to escape with no admission of wrongdoing, this case finally dragged the whole ugly truth of American finance out into the open – and it was a hell of a show.


This was no trial scene from popular lore, no Inherit the Wind or State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson. No gallery packed with rapt spectators, no ceiling fans set whirring to beat back the tension and the heat, no defense counsel's resting a sympathetic hand on the defendant's shoulder as opening statements commence. No, the setting for USA v. Carollo reflected the bizarre alternate universe that exists on Wall Street. Like so many court cases involving big banks, the proceeding looked more like a roomful of expensive lawyers negotiating a major corporate merger than a public search for justice.

The trial began on April 16th in a federal court in Lower Manhattan. The courtroom, an aerielike setting 23 stories up, offered a panoramic view of the city and the East River. Though the gallery was usually full throughout the three-plus weeks of testimony, the spectators were not average citizens come to witness how they had been robbed blind by America's biggest banks. Instead, there were row after row of suits – other lawyers eager to observe a long-awaited case, one that could influence the outcome in a handful of civil suits pending across the country. In fact, the defendants themselves, whom the trial would reveal as easily replaceable cogs in a much larger machine of corruption, were barely visible from the gallery, obscured by the great chattering congress of prosecution and defense attorneys.

Only the presence of the mostly nonwhite and elderly jury, which resembled the front pew of a Harlem church, served as a reminder that the case had any connection to the real world. Even reporters from most of the major news outlets didn't bother to attend. The judge in the trial, the right honorable and amusingly cantankerous Harold Baer, acknowledged that the case was not likely to set the public's pulse racing. "It is unlikely, I think, that this will generate a lot of media publicity," Baer sighed to the jury in his preliminary instructions.

Read the full article at Rolling Stone

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Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:28 | 2548635 Rahm
Rahm's picture

Bend over.  Grab ankles. It's time to be Royally Fuct!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:28 | 2548645 SilverTree
SilverTree's picture

I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:37 | 2548686 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Where's our attorny general..., oh, that's right!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:51 | 2548747 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

His prosecution of the New York financial mafia is never fast and furious.  He's too busy being a key cog in "the most transparent administration in history".  This shows once again that the 2008 election was the biggest crock of bullshit this country has ever seen. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:59 | 2548778 pods
pods's picture

Thought for a minute you were talking about NY DAs.  They have had some bad ass ones, Spitzer (say what you will) was not someone I wanted sniffing around.

Or even Vacco before that.  

PlaceHolder is nothing more than a waterboy for the big guys.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:14 | 2548815 ITrustMyGut
ITrustMyGut's picture

spitzer r0x0rd! of course... he was hit... couldnt allow that now, can we...


oh.. I <3 Matt taibbi... in a brotherly love kinda way...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:19 | 2548827 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

Enron fixing electricity rates, creating fake "outages", then double billing happened in the energy sector.  Are we to think that the Wall Street banks are sacrosanct and don't behave in the same way?

LOL.  Taibbi is just scratching the surface here.  Good piece, but the corruption runs much deeper.  It has to, because insolvent institutions have no other recourse than to steal.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:38 | 2548897 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

I've heard that colossal amounts of drug money get laundered through municipal bonds. Sounds like criminals control the whole municipal bond system from top to bottom.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 19:03 | 2549016 sunaJ
sunaJ's picture

This is a great article by Taibbi.  Beyond the monetary sums that these guys were gutting from the public, the true damage comes in the form of taint and the cost of protecting each other.  Once Bill Richardson or any other individual in the public trust takes such money, then they are known to be corruptible, and will always have to protect their criminal compatriots, divert the public interest to protect their own, lie and become vulnerable to blackmail.  It is a selling out of the soul.  Enjoy your money, fuckers, because your life is pathetic.

I am for citizens getting in on the mafia action, too, if that is the only way to get anywhere in America nowadays.  I'm all for the breaking of some legs of these fucking moral gnats.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:02 | 2549416 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

private ownership of firesale prices what Koch brother was all about in Wisconsin. He doesn't care about teach pension as he doesn't reside in WI, but he wanted his puppet in there so that Walker would sell state utility assets at below market prices.


In Chicago’s case, Mayor Richard Daley sold 75 years of meter revenue – worth an estimated $5 billion – for $1.2 billion. So he gets 20 cents on the dollar for the city’s parking meters in 2008, and then in 2009 the city still has a budget problem that’s now worse, because there’s no parking meter revenue anymore, ever. meter rates went from .25 cents an hour to $1 an hour in the first year of the deal, and then to $1.20 after that. Now $1.75.

Privatization, is code word for tax the shit out of average workers to foreign interests.
Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:56 | 2549730 Sojourner.
Sojourner.'s picture

If 75 years of meter revenue is worth 5 billion, the yearly value would be 66,666,666. . That was a devilish deal right out of the gate!!!

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 01:40 | 2549982 sunaJ
sunaJ's picture

+1 for being Rainman and possessing a healthy sense of irony.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:56 | 2548762 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

He will be under the choomwagon soon...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:54 | 2549051 Arnold Ziffel
Arnold Ziffel's picture

He's too busy prosecuting the Sheriff in NM who makes prisoners wear pink alleged violation of their civil rights....

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:03 | 2549251 SV
SV's picture

It's actually AZ, Maricopa county to be specific.  If you're going to slur the stupid, get your act together - sheesh!  /s

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 17:24 | 2552538 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Yeah, because that's a little known fine print in the constitution.  I forgot.  What color does their civil right specify?

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 08:48 | 2550402 R_J
R_J's picture


© Ramones

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:39 | 2548696 Silver Bug
Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:46 | 2549038 wisfool
wisfool's picture

The best line in the article:

"Siffert tried to lay this outrageous load of balls on the jury using a faux-folksy analogy"

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:54 | 2549391 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

What the govt. will do is allow the banks to pay a fine or into settlement for all the states for pennies on the dollar but the states can't sue or prosecute the banks after. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:29 | 2548647 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

The crooks were not insiders, so they go on trial.

The biggest crooks in the US never go on trial.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:37 | 2548687 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Sound like fall guys to me.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:40 | 2548699 YHC-FTSE
YHC-FTSE's picture

+1 Exactly.


And why the hell is this important story in Rolling Stone along with 100 great guitar riffs? That should tell you volumes about the complicity and overwhelming reach of these crooks in the msm. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:42 | 2548718 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Don't forget the article they're touting that austerity doesn't work.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:43 | 2548720 pods
pods's picture

I think that Taibbi gets all the publicity that he needs from RS.  People see it there, here, everywhere.

Remember where the term Vampire Squid was born?


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:54 | 2548755 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Reputable news outfits, such as CNBC, would never report such a blatantly pointed story as this.  They are too busy slobbering on the knobs of all of the criminals that they interview on a day-to-day basis.  They would never take a principled stand and ghive up their access to the insiders of the criminal syndicates. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:41 | 2549027 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

America is fixated on reporting on the size, shape or transfrmation of some actresses back side or breasts. The bulk of the population is being ground down to nothing more than B Grade mince either through propaganda, moronic entertainment or financal destruction caused by unemployment or huge debt.

This sorry state of affairs has a long way to go because the crooks control the whole apparatus of government and finance and while they do they will not be volunteering to put there buddies on the witness stand or the front line in Afghanistan.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:00 | 2548781 YHC-FTSE
YHC-FTSE's picture

That's true. There's no doubt that it works for Taibbi, but perhaps I'm just blinkered and old fashioned in thinking that RS has far less reach and punch than say, The Economist or FT in its readership. I'm afraid to admit that I'm a publication snob, but it looks like I'll have to change my ways if I want quality/reality in my news. Should have done it years ago.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:28 | 2548847 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Given that more young people get their news from The Daily Show than the MSM, Rolling Stone is not a bad place to attract eyeballs not yet affected by cataracts.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:31 | 2548867 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

digging into who owns the FT and The Economist - and you'll understand why Rolling Stone (not without blemishes, history) is doing this reporting while others remain silent.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:15 | 2548973 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

well said Cath

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:33 | 2549669 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

the economist is British Empire's Wall street journal.  pro rich capitalists, anti labor, but not necessarily pro American empire.


City of London is a major competitor to New York City's wall st. you won't get rid of curropt bankers unless you attack London as they employee more bankers than NYC.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:16 | 2548975 YHC-FTSE
YHC-FTSE's picture

Thanks mate. Interesting background on Wenner of RS, particularly his treatment of Hunter S Thompson, and I see what you mean about the economist: 50% Pearson and 50% Rothchild Banking. I can't believe I mentioned a Rothchild in my post! I swear I sound more like a tinfoil hatter with each passing day on ZH. I'll have to change my definition of a tinfoil hatter from "an eccentric" to "somebody who knows more facts than me". 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:25 | 2549474 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Jann has some very interesting "backstory" if you sniff around - this was just the sanitized "wiki" lite story, heh.

I always start from the premise of that "six degrees of kevin bacon" line - there's a lot of inbreeding and mutual palm-greasing at "the top" and fewer players than we realise.

tho' the majority have some things in common. . .

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:11 | 2549633 Cynthia
Cynthia's picture

Speaking of guitar riffs, here's David Gilmour performing one of the greatest guitar riffs in the history of rock:

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:30 | 2548653 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Execute all of them and watch at least some confidence return to the markets overnight.  

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:51 | 2548751 Tirpitz
Tirpitz's picture

Hearings in the morning, hangings in the afternoon. Publicly.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:56 | 2548759 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Good luck getting at the crooks when they are so well guarded by the thugs of the NYPD and their own private security details.  Now, if you wanted to beat the hell out of some of the Occupy crowd I'm sure the boys in blue could look the other way for a few minutes.  That is the reality of the den of thieves known as Lower Manhattan.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:49 | 2549370 Rollerball
Rollerball's picture

Lower Manhattan is a den of the occult.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:45 | 2549036 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Do we really need a hearing?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:51 | 2549376 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

If you hang everyone that is guilty, no one would be left.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 05:28 | 2550113 RECISION
RECISION's picture

Could we at least make a really good start though...?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:31 | 2548655 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

Tabbi deserves either a Pulitzer or the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Too bad all he'll get is a soggy demise in a hot tub.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:31 | 2548659 billwilson
billwilson's picture

Taibbi for Treasury Secretary ... or Attorney General. We might then get a little action.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:51 | 2549044 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Why not president?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:31 | 2548663 Biff Malibu
Biff Malibu's picture

I guess I'll have to cancel my subscriptions to all the major Wall Street news sources and just start getting Rolling Stone instead.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:37 | 2548681 CommunityStandard
CommunityStandard's picture

You had subscriptions to Wall Street news sources?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:37 | 2548682 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I'm shocked...shocked that the banks weren't prosecuted.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:39 | 2548698 caimen garou
caimen garou's picture

It's all fun and games until someone wakes up with a cut off horses head in the bed!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:40 | 2548701 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Only 5 years for these fucking punk-banksta asswipes. Jesus H.!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:40 | 2548708 janus
janus's picture

big props to mad-matt!

mighty warrior in 'the fight' (to begin all other fights).

can't wait to read the rest...


this may be enough for me to renew my RS subscription.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:41 | 2548710 pods
pods's picture

I think that Taibbi is on to something with this.

Every time the taxman comes looking for property taxes or a city wants to float a bond, someone will bring up how the people are going to get screwed.

Happening in my small town with a bond issue being floated.

People will and are waking up to the reality that everyone has a hand in their pocket and that some banker has drilled a small hole in the bottom of our collective piggy bank and is catching the pennies slipping out.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:51 | 2548750 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture



I figure most of public pension deals are just dripping with fraud also.  Governor/Mayor/County Executive is more than willing to commit the pension to some shyster who paid for all their lap dances at the super bowl. The shyster drills the money into bonds with unrealistic yields so the Duly Elected People's Representative(s) can underfund pensions.  Gov/Mayor/CE can then righteously claim they saved the taxpayers, all the while setting them up for a bigger bill down the road.  Tell me Ed Rendell, that is how it works, right?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:57 | 2548767 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Don't puss out with an "i figure"....  you know...  this is certainty...  this is how we got here...  slow at first, then all of a sudden.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:08 | 2548802 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Sorry, my T-count may be low today.


I did forget the parts about the public employees supporting the elected official with endorsements, and the inflated yield bonds being the stuffee component of the Magnetar deals.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:55 | 2548756 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Good point, pods.  Max Keiser even said himself that both the ECB and Wall St banks like Goldman have been using debt by sovereigns to extract wealth via "Office Space" style.

The best trick that the Devil had was convinced the world he didnt exist.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:01 | 2548787 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

I like Max but the thought of he and Stacy Herbert in con-gress somehow displeases me.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:41 | 2548711 irishlink
irishlink's picture

why did this even make it to court,? Something smells fishy here ,,,,Is the TPTB trying to send a message that all is well in the USofA and the Financial system when it is truly rotten to the core or it is a warning to the mandarins in the banking world not to get too cocky in their Ivory Towers

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:46 | 2548732 CommunityStandard
CommunityStandard's picture

Lawyers.  They are the ones who have no allegiences, are not afraid to play dirty, and go wherever they can make a buck.  They can't ever take on the big guys, but a few low level guys?  Easy.  And to stretch out the case for years and years?  Even better.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:00 | 2548783 Judge Arrow
Judge Arrow's picture

Yes, why - well, crookss depend on stupidity - and they probably figured this case was too invisible to matter -  and too recondite to be understood - the proscecuters here had to be low level true believer guys who went under the AG radar, too - one can't be cynical enough when hearing this stuff

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:45 | 2548730 km4
km4's picture

Love Taibbi's ending....

Over the years, many in the public have become numb to news of financial corruption, partly because too many of these stories involve banker-on-banker crime. The notorious Abacus deal involving Goldman Sachs, for instance, involved a hedge-fund billionaire ripping off a couple of European banks – who cares? But the bid-rigging scandal laid bare in USA v. Carollo is a totally different animal. This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, and turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or a church fund to pay for lap dances.

Who ultimately loses in these deals? Well, to take just one example, the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Finance Authority, the agency that issues bonds for the state's hospitals, had their interest rates rigged by the Carollo defendants on $17 million in bonds. Since then, more than a dozen New Jersey hospitals have closed, mostly in poor neighborhoods.

As Carollo showed us, in open court, this is what Wall Street learned from the Mafia: how to reach into the penny jars of dying hospitals and schools and transform their desperation and civic panic into fat year-end bonuses and the occasional "big lunch." Unlike the Mafia, though, they were smart enough to do their dirt without anyone noticing for a very long time, which is what defense counsel in this case were talking about when they argued that towns and cities "were not harmed" by the rigged bids. No harm, to them, means no visible harm, i.e., that what taxpayers didn't know couldn't hurt them. This is logical thinking, to the sociopath – like saying it's not infidelity if your wife never finds out.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 17:34 | 2552558 mkkby
mkkby's picture

"Since then, more than a dozen New Jersey hospitals have closed, mostly in poor neighborhoods."

Wow.  That cuts to the chase.  HANG THE BASTARDS!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:47 | 2548734 Tirpitz
Tirpitz's picture

Taibbi and the Rolling Stones magazine have replaced the Wall Street Journal and Barron's long ago in investor related content.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:26 | 2548840 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

WSJ and Barrons are accomplises and a diversion/propaganda tool for these bankster crooks.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:49 | 2548740 JR
JR's picture

Hey, Matt, can't we all just get along?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:57 | 2548758 midgetrannyporn
midgetrannyporn's picture

The Federation wants a piece of the action.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:57 | 2548769 Hubbs
Hubbs's picture

Damn, this Taibbi guy really knows how to nail the story right on the terms that even I can understand.  

First came the vampire squid, then these bloodsucking hagfish. What piece of slime from the depths will Taibbi be able to haul in next?



Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:07 | 2548957 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Squid attack can be unpleasant.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 19:49 | 2548992 Bob
Bob's picture

He already fished out BAC a couple times, finding it "A raging hurricane of theft and fraud."

albeit "Too crooked to fail."

Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they'll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world's worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt's funeral. They're out of control, yet they'll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:35 | 2549512 msjimmied
msjimmied's picture

LOL! I read Taibbi for his wonderfully colorful language, he paints visuals with it! I don't know how many were sending out sensor probes to see what the reaction was on various sites after the "Vampire Squid" piece, but you get a pretty good read as to the blog's level of evolution with their comments. You knew where they stood. But that's just one subject, I've bookmarked every article that made me stop and open a good bottle of wine so I could savor the glorious download. Anyhoo...the first few days, there was a flurry of smear campaigns deriding Taibbi and who he works for. An army of trolls was dispatched to sites all over the virtual universe to diminish him. Then we had the incredibly verbose Lucas Van Praag trying to take him down with words longer than his dick. There were very erudite BS filled articles in the Atlantic, and other places I will not research and pull them up now, I do have a lazy gene...I must admit for a while I was worried, I had little faith in our people, but I was wrong. Goldman's reputation has not been the same since, or the banking industry for that matter. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:58 | 2548771 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Makes you wonder how many other "deals' like this are currently in progress under the radar.  We need to clone Taibbi to the 100th power.  A free, active press is one of the cornerstones of democracy; too bad we don't have much of one left.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:10 | 2548808 Crack-up Boom
Crack-up Boom's picture

Superlative article!  Just wish more people would read it.  Maybe Taibbi should go on "Dancing wth the Stars" ...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:11 | 2548809 Rainman
Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:16 | 2548822 realitybiter
realitybiter's picture

I thought the scam was going to be straight out of Goodfellas:

"......and now the guys gotta come up with Paulie's money every week....trouble with the bills, the cops, bad -so what FU pay me...and then run up the  bills....who cares, no one is getting paid anyway....and then finally, when there is nothing left, you bust the joint out, you light a match...."



Isn't this how banking works in America?  You screw over as many people as possible, extracting as much wealth from them as possible, and in the end you BK them and collect on the insurance....either through deceibt in BK, or taxpayers...FU, pay me!!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:25 | 2548830 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

the goobermints spend a lotta money don't they?

and lobbyists and special intersts pay them a lotta money to suggest how they might spend it better for thePeople don't they?

this IS the system which TPTB are trying to keep from FAILING

protect yourself as you think best

try to remember that even on zH, the election (prez) is about who is gonna boss this mess and control the rules and their politically- and status-selective enforcement

very much like controlling opinion, which is done by these same people using the very same boilerplate legal controls which is why the only people interested in this case were boilerplate lawyes such as we might fund at the SEC and the CFTC and consumer divisions and so on

tyranny by boilerplate

for every dollar these guys stole, there was some muddle-headed nanny in charge of giving it away for us

same as in the courtroom, really

the reason these guys went down is that this case was singled out and kept from being moved to a "better mafia court-location" ot a "better mafia-owned prosecutor"

the poor jurors may never figure out wtf happened here   L0L!!!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:23 | 2548834 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Mortgage Rates: Another Week, Another Record Low

by CalculatedRisk on 6/21/2012 03:55:00 PM

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:28 | 2548841 CustomersMan
CustomersMan's picture


Dear Mr. Dimon, Is Your Bank Getting Corporate Welfare? (A: Yes)


`` JPMorgan receives a government subsidy worth about $14 billion a year, according to research published by the International Monetary Fund and our own analysis of bank balance sheets. The money helps the bank pay big salaries and bonuses. More important, it distorts markets, fueling crises such as the recent subprime-lending disaster and the sovereign-debt debacle that is now threatening to destroy the euro and sink the global economy. How can all this be? Let's take it step by step.''

original article


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:27 | 2548843 ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

Taibbi on Imus:

And more to come from him on this topic...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:34 | 2548877 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Pulitzers for Matt and Tylers too.

Rolling Stone gets the story the fin-rags won't touch.

Again. Wonder why?  (snark)

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:38 | 2548898 adr
adr's picture

So what did they get, 5-10 years for stealing billions?

Death to any three letter executive is the only sentence worth pursuing.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:44 | 2548909 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I thought the Mafia specialzed in raising your rates not lowering. Like for example the Government.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:50 | 2548923 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

god bless you, matt!!!!!!!!!! you are a hero

i have seen the mentality of these b-school students first hand....they learn their arrogance and win at any cost philosophy at home, in school, and is entrenched and cultivated by our racketeering education system...america is royally fucked unless it finds the moral high ground and courage to punish these wall street assholes.....the very same scum who murdered john kennedy through the bush crime syndicate.....

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:18 | 2548978 veyron
veyron's picture

"the bid rigging was so incredibly common the defendants simply forgot to be ashamed of it" Makes me sick

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:37 | 2549018 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

GE Capital ... so the sacrificial lamb for Wall Street is essentially a group of not ready for prime time dupes from Off-Wall-Street.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:37 | 2549019 CustomersMan
CustomersMan's picture

"Whistles Were The Only Thing Not Being Blown By Wells Fargo"

2012-06-21 — Seen on ImplodeOMeter


Steve Dibert illustrates rather colorfully how far afield Wells' feigned innocence is from the truth -- ``I can tell you that on the wholesale lending side we were also enticed with "special perks" by lenders.  Both Wells Fargo and Countrywide aggresively enticed us to write large volumes of sub-prime loans.  Where Wells Fargo offered their retail loan officers trips to family friendly 5-Star Caribbean resorts, the perks we received on the wholesale lending side more resembled a Hunter S. Thompson novel filled with naked women, booze and drugs.''

original article

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:44 | 2549035 10044
10044's picture

This dude is playing with fire, poor sud thinks he lives in a free society

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:49 | 2549041 RECISION
RECISION's picture

... so, nothing we didn't already deduce anyway...

Just proof.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:53 | 2549050 Northeaster
Northeaster's picture

I raised this issue with my local press/media last year, no response.

My guess is they have no one on staff that remotely understands any of this, hell, I barely do. However, in my neck of the woods, the entire systems stinks. City property sold off to a PE firm that also uses a law firm lobby that also represents the city on the bond issuance. Nothing to see here right?

No one gives a fuck, or they're too ignorant, don't care, or are like me, just don't have the expertise to dig deeper to expose it. Anyone that has an interest and knows this arena, let me know, I'll post it all the players right here. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:58 | 2549060 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

If anyone told you 6 years ago that the only magazine willing to publish financial truth was RS, you'd wonder what loony bin they'd escaped from.


RS is also the mag which published Kennedy's expose on the pharma meeting with CDC to cover up vaccine problems.

Of course, no surprise here, the CDC's board of directors is made up of all the big name pharmaceutical companies.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 02:31 | 2549103 BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture


To make a good point

(of protest) the Muppets and their Puppeteers, there should be an internet page called MMDL.

(password known among Fight Club C4I as ''2 down load virus'' lol)

All the names of the usual suspects need to be posted with their profile in corruption and given ratings...

(called; ''I'm in the Moody's'' Lol)


''drill teeth like you are POTUS on NDAA Bath Salts'' ''Terminate with TD 2012 Private Drone Prejudice''.

...and this one is for you Mr.Down Arrow--->

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 19:46 | 2549208 W10321303
W10321303's picture

No Problem! The Seton Hall Law School already determined that there is NO legal liability.

The GODFATHER Clinton made certain of that....

Can we say SPECULATION, boys and girls?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:15 | 2549281 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

the longest running cartel of criminals is the NY FED, END THE FED!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:17 | 2549286 Conax
Conax's picture

It's great that a story like this comes out in Rolling Stone. If it had been in a Wall street rag nobody but the rats of Wall street would have seen it.

I'm glad it isn't too long, the readers of RS wouldn't stick with it to the end. Matt packs a lot of info into a concise article. I don't read RS, so thanks to Tyler for for posting it. Zh is on top of things for us.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:24 | 2549298 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

This wasn't obvious before?  Why did WAMU, Wachovia, National City, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fail, while the others did not. There was enough bailout money for all of them. The system is rigged.  Wall Street is right in the middle of the Mafia's main turf. This was obvious 50 years ago. Maybe the government should just nationalize all banks just like they did with "numbers" aka The Lottery.  It's not like these bankers are so skilled they do good at their job.  They lost this country trillions of dollars, because their computer do 70 percent of the work and they just sit back and relax, and make guesses on what will happen.  We  might as well make a random person the one with the money to gamble.  It's like sitting at a roulette table and saying bet on black 25 because I think thats where its going. 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:30 | 2549324 fuu
fuu's picture

"The courtroom, an aerielike setting 23 stories up, offered a panoramic view of the city and the East River."

I feel like we're in The DaVinci Code here.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:33 | 2549508 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

23 enigma strikes again!!!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:43 | 2549349 MasterB
MasterB's picture

Yamn ...

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:43 | 2549352 tom a taxpayer
tom a taxpayer's picture

Matt - You deserve a Pulitizer. You also deserve a Pugilister, to be created in your honor as a fighter, a boxer, a gladiator!

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:45 | 2549355 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Bank locally...keep the money inside the community.

The added bonus is you starve the Chase's of the world of needed assets to run their schemes.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:06 | 2549432 CharliePrince
CharliePrince's picture

taibbi is the   hunter thompson  of  finance

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:35 | 2549494 chump666
chump666's picture

lol.  Wow, Wall Street is a legalized Mafia if you didn't know that then, now is a little too late.

Oliver Stone could, I mean could have made a f*cking classic (Wall Street 2 is f*cking embarrassing movie, hope now with Scorsese's next movie...) delving deep into the connection between the NY Fed/Fed, Wall Street Banks and the US goverments a intrinsic link of con jobs, cover ups and scams. 

Thing is Wall Street is probably on shaky ground with the interconnected derivative trades (JPM CDS mess + small coincidences leading to something big equation  = FUBAR on the horizon) and liquidity issues. It still needs the Fed to fund their operations with the hope that Obama will come in again and bailout the street again.

All and all the whole system is ready to blow.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:47 | 2549703 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

If some of the local DA's wake up to any screwing their community received due to the price fixing, they are permitted to sue for treble damages.

This just might get interesting before this year is out, what with all the local government's budget issues. If enough of these local DA's were to sue, in front of local juries, we might see quite a few of these banks going under.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 02:06 | 2550007 CaptainObvious
CaptainObvious's picture

+1000 for Matt Taibbi, the man who coined the awesome term "vampire squid".

So these fuckers in effect placed shadow taxes on me, and their penalty is five years in prison and paying 1% in fines and they still get the bond business?  Five fucking years?  1 lousy goddamn percent in fines?  And they STILL get the sonsabitchin' bond business?!!!

These are the original vampire squids.  And the government has been investigating this for years and still gave these fuckers TARP money?!

America...stick a fork in her.  She's done.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 05:50 | 2550127 AbbeBrel
AbbeBrel's picture

I love Taibbi's articles ; don't get me wrong.   But this *particular* story is SOOO old news.   The current crisis about fractional reserve lenders creating huge piles of mortgages and propping up govmints, i.e. the level of Bankster and Guvmint collusion in the complete absence of regulation (i.e. it is all legal) puts a story like this into deep and boring shadows.   Lewis is terrific in tipping the trillion$ in crisis coverage, even if isn't technically a scam.   Sorry Matt.  - AB

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 07:26 | 2550211 DelusionalGrandeur
DelusionalGrandeur's picture

Another great investigative journalist, Mark Mitchell of specifically "The Miscreants Global Bust-Out" a story so rich with detail and facts it's difficult to wrap my head around at times.

I often wonder how much more the blatant theft and nefarious actions have to be before someone with a spine in the DOJ stands up and says "enough is enough!" Oh wait, good old Holder is in Copenhagen basking in presidential exxxecutive privilege while "plotting his revenge."

Ican't figure out for the life of me why I should be proud to be an American.

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