—that’s how you spell “schadenfreude”: The Associated Press has a fascinating story about the rise and fall of David Stern, a top Florida foreclosure attorney and operator of a “foreclosure mill”, is in serious trouble.
The key paragraph:
The Florida attorney general's economic crimes division is investigating three law firms, including Stern's, over allegations that they created fraudulent legal documents, gouged homeowners with inflated fees, steered business to companies they owned and filed foreclosures without proving the bank actually had a legal interest in the loan. Florida authorities characterize the foreclosure process at these law firms as a "virtual morass" of "fake documents" and depicted Stern's operations as something akin to the TV show "Lost" - only instead of people that went missing, it was paperwork. Stern's employees churned out bogus mortgage assignments, faked signatures, falsified notarizations and foreclosed on people without verifying their identities, the amounts they owed or who owned their loans, according to employee testimony. The attorney general is also looking at whether Stern paid kickbacks to big banks.The “big banks” the piece refers to are Goldman Sachs, JPMorganChase, GMAC, and CitiGroup—Stern worked with all of them.
This is all good and fine—but one glaring truth simply must be pointed out: Since the start of the Global Financial Crisis—aside from the Madoff Scam—not one person has even been charged with a crime, let alone gone to jail.
And even people who, it is clear, were involved with and knew of the Madoff Scam—such as JPMorgan—aren’t being prosecuted.
The rich really are different from you and me: When they scam, they don’t go to jail.