27 July 2009

The Bull Market in Financial Fraud in the US

Does it, should it, surprise us that there is a bull market in financial fraud in the United States, to accompany the bubble economy and the deterioration in government and corporate financial statistics and accounting?

A society where the capital allocation in the bond and equity markets have become the domain of organized manipulation, theft, and insider trading? Where the major media is owned by a handful of corporations dedicated to selectively spinning the truth for their own benefit and point of view? A nation whose very money supply has become a thinly disguised Ponzi scheme?

A wise old hand of many years in government of our acquaintance told us once that he did not think there were more people of questionable virtue in the world today. Rather it is the tolerance of bad behaviour from the top down that emboldens those who are so inclined to lie, cheat, and steal in greater numbers than at other times.

All that is required for society to decline is for good people to do nothing. Those who tolerate or ignore such widespread deceit are enablers. The rest of the world must begin to stand up to the American Wall Street crowd, first in their own countries, their regions, and then in all free economies.

The Economist
Fraud reporting
Jul 21st 2009

The rise in financial crime in America

OVER 730,000 counts of suspected financial wrongdoing were recorded in America last year, according to recent data from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Institutions such as banks, insurers and casinos are required by law to report suspicious activities to federal authorities under 20 categories. Financial institutions filed nearly 13% more reports of fraud compared with 2007, accounting for almost half of the increase in total filings.

The number of mortgage frauds alone rose by 23% to almost 65,000. But not all categories saw an increase: incidents suspected terrorist financing fell. Just under half of all filings are related to money laundering, a proportion that is little changed in over a decade.

Hat tip to Tim Dossman for the article.