Shahien Nasiripour of Huffington Post has been doing some of the best reporting on investigations into foreclosure fraud and servicer abuses. His latest is that an inspector general for HUD has charged Bank of America with having “”significantly hindered” a federal investigation into the firm’s faulty foreclosure practices on potentially billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans.” Nasiripour reports:
The bank withheld key documents and data, prevented investigators from interviewing bank employees or asking certain questions, and was slow to provide information, according to a June 1 declaration by William W. Nixon, a fraud examiner and assistant regional inspector general for audit for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general’s office.
Due to Bank of America’s “reluctance,” Nixon resorted to asking the Justice Department to issue so-called civil investigative demands last December to compel testimony, a “less effective” means of carrying out its investigation, Nixon said. His office can’t compel testimony on its own.
Bank of America, the largest handler of home loans in the U.S., threw up roadblocks to the investigation, Nixon said, like preventing his team from performing a “walkthrough” of the bank’s documents unit.
The bank also failed to fully comply with subpoenas issued by Nixon’s team. HUD’s internal watchdog issued two subpoenas requesting documents and information, and what was returned was incomplete, had conflicting information, and in some cases, the bank provided excerpts of documents rather than the complete record.
There’s a lot more bad behavior documented by HUD in the request to the DoJ to get Bank of America to be responsive.
Hopefully this sort of affront raises some ire at the Department of Justice and at HUD. The extent to which these banksters are comfortable lying, dissembling, and hiding evidence from federal investigators is staggering. Only the reluctance of the federal government to actually take out a stick and pursue criminal charges for banksters is more staggering. While Bank of America is entitled to pursue a path of self-preservation, it is the lack of accountability and meaningful investigations by oversight bodies in the federal government (and to a lesser extent, the states) which institutionalizes the two-tiered system of justice that the banksters seek to put in place. This is an opportunity for the DoJ to do the work needed to fight against privileging of elites in the halls of justice. We shall see what course of action the federal government takes.