… Read the rest
TACOMA — When Michael Fenter was arrested coming out of a Tacoma bank last fall with $73,000 in a bag and a gun at his hip, just about everyone had the same question: “Why?”
A marine carpenter who, with his wife, had realized a longtime dream to run a Port Townsend farm, Fenter had no criminal record, no drug problem and no clear motive. In letters to the court, friends and family called him “honest,” “gracious,” “wholesome” and “gentle.” They knew nothing of his secret life.
He pleaded guilty in March to robbing four banks in Seattle, Tacoma and California and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Calling it “one of the most perplexing cases” he’s ever considered, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle sentenced Fenter on Monday to 10 years in prison, and ordered him to make restitution to the banks. He walked away with $86,000 from the first three robberies, and that money has never been accounted for.
Tag Archives | Bank Outrage
Investors are well aware that money markets pay next to nothing in interest these days. Now one bank has announced a policy to actually charge clients a fee to hold their cash. The policy by Bank of New York Mellon Corp. will apply to some large depositors to hold their cash, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a letter reviewed by WSJ, Mellon advised that it will charge 0.13% plus an additional fee if the one-month Treasury yield dips below zero on depositors that have accounts with an average monthly balance of $50 million "per client relationship." "In the past month, we have seen a growing level of deposits on our balance sheet from clients seeking a safe-haven in light of the global interest rate and credit environment," the bank told the Journal in an emailed statement.
Having déjà vu? Top Wall Street firms will once again break their own salary record this year. If that’s not a sign we’re in economic boom times, I don’t know what is! MSNBC reports:
… Read the rest
Wall Street pay is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year, according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.
Some three dozen top banks and securities firms will pay $144 billion in salary and benefits this year, the paper said. That’s a 4 percent increase from the $139 billion paid out in 2009, according to a survey conducted by the Journal. Compensation is expected to rise at 26 of the 35 firms surveyed, including banks, investment banks, hedge funds, money-management firms and securities exchanges.
Large Wall Street banks are unlikely to accelerate bonus payouts, however, to help their employees avoid the higher tax rates that may be coming when tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration expire on January 1.
In Britain, the police are raiding Hedge Funds to bust insider traders. In America, the Hedge Funds are still raiding us, even as public opinion calls for a crackdown on Wall Street. One recent poll, in a nation that seems so divided on everything, showed 82% for aggressive action. 82%!
A new Bloomberg survey says the public wants the government to punish the financial fraudsters. “57 percent of Americans have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street, versus fewer than one-quarter who have a favorable opinion. Banks are viewed badly by 54 percent of poll respondents, and 60 percent have a negative opinion of insurance companies.”
In a sense, reformers have won the fight of public opinion, but the financial reform battle promises to be even tougher than the health care fight.
The public is just not as informed about complicated financial issues. Their eyes glaze over with all the talk of derivatives and credit default swaps.… Read the rest
A new poll by the ultimate Wall Street insiders at Bloomberg shows that most Americans want criminal punishment for the banksters, just as Danny Schechter shows in his new film Plunder: The Crime of our Time:
… Read the rest
Most people interviewed in the Bloomberg National Poll say they don’t like Wall Street, banks or insurance companies and favor letting the government punish bankers who helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Almost seven out of 10 people surveyed support using current bank regulators for consumer protection, backing positions held by the financial industry and Republicans over President Barack Obama’s proposal to establish an independent agency…
As the country struggles with a 9.7 percent unemployment rate while financial stocks surge, 57 percent of Americans have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street, versus fewer than one-quarter who have a favorable opinion. Banks are viewed badly by 54 percent of poll respondents, and 60 percent have a negative opinion of insurance companies.
… Read the rest
What’s it like to walk in Bernie Madoff’s shoes? You’ll get a chance to buy them, along with the billionaire swindler’s monogrammed socks, size 40-short suits and other items from his New York City and Montauk homes at an auction to be held in Morris County this spring.
James Plousis, U.S. Marshall for New Jersey, has worked out a deal to use donated space at the county’s public safety academy in Parsippany for a Madoff auction, likely to be held in April or May.
“We want to run an auction for as little cost as possible, so that just about every penny we make can go back to the victims,’’ Plousis said Wednesday. “I called Sheriff (Edward) Rochford in Morris County and he and the freeholders were very accommodating to us.’’
The planned auction will include furniture, rugs, clothing, utensils, wall hangings and hundreds of pairs of shoes — just about everything seized from Bernard and Ruth Madoff’s three-bedroom New York penthouse and three-bedroom Montauk home, Plousis said.
As described by the inimitable Matt Taibbi, for Rolling Stone:
… Read the rest
On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.
The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks.
BBC News reports on a study analyzing the true societal value of different occupations. In many cases, it seems one’s salary is inversely proportional to the value one generates for society as a whole:
The research, carried out by think tank the New Economics Foundation, says hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid.
[Meanwhile,] leading bankers are a drain on the country because of the damage they caused to the global economy…They reportedly destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn.
By devising schemes to cut the amount of money available to the government, tax accountants destroy £47 in value for every pound they generate.
Today, and today only, you can help us finish the film PLUNDER, the story of the financial crisis as a crime story but you have to do it by 5 PM EST TODAY (Jan. 20, 2010). You can be a part of this film for as little as $1.00. [Back This Project]FAQs: How do I make a pledge?
First, enter your pledge amount and select a reward. On the next page we’ll ask you to log in or sign up with Kickstarter.com, and then we’ll send you to Amazon Payments to complete your pledge with a major credit card.