R.I.P. Dodd-Frank: Wall Street Is Unleashed — Again

R.I.P. Dodd-Frank

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 21, 2019 ~ Yesterday the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the regulator of national banks, and the FDIC, which provides the taxpayer-backstopped Federal insurance to deposits at these banks, announced that they were going to “simplify” the Volcker Rule. Under the Trump administration, “simplify” is code for “gut.” The Volcker Rule was part of the 2010 financial reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank. It outlawed deposit-taking banks from using those deposits to make wild gambles for the house, known as proprietary trading. It also required the banks to end their ownership of hedge funds and private equity funds where the banks can secretly dump losing positions or hide enormous losses in hard to price instruments.  Wall Street hated the Volcker Rule so much that it made sure the rule never came into being. It has stonewalled the implementation of the rule for … Continue reading

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Have Flagrantly Flaunted the Volcker Rule for Nine Years: Now It’s to Be Gutted by Federal Regulators

Wall Street's Magic Hat Trick - The Volcker Rule

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 20, 2019 ~ Two of Wall Street’s crony regulators announced today that they are going to “simplify” the Volcker Rule’s ban on proprietary trading at Wall Street banks, providing another big win for Wall Street and another big nightmare for Main Street. The financial crash on Wall Street in 2008 was the deepest economic upheaval in the U.S. since the Great Depression. Millions of honest, hardworking Americans lost their jobs, and then their homes, as a result of the economic collapse. Many of these Americans have yet to fully recover financially after more than a decade has passed. The promise of the Obama administration was that its Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law in 2010 would put an end to the reckless gambling casino on Wall Street that had brought on the collapse. One of the … Continue reading

Jeffrey Epstein Learned His Sexual Depravity from Wall Street; Then Took It to the Next Level

Jeffrey Epstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 19, 2019 ~ From 1976 to 1981, Jeffrey Epstein worked for the Wall Street investment bank, Bear Stearns. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking of underage girls, dozens of whom he allegedly sexually assaulted after grooming them first with “inappropriate touching.” Bear Stearns collapsed in the early days of the 2008 financial crisis and was purchased by JPMorgan Chase. One of the last acts of Bear Stearns’ CEO, Jimmy Cayne, was to make a $2 million payment to a woman who charged that the legendary Chairman of Bear Stearns, Ace Greenberg, had engaged in “inappropriate touching.” The young woman was said to have had a witness to her charges. In a 2017 report by the New York Times, a former Managing Director of Bear Stearns, Maureen Sherry, reported that “…it … Continue reading

Should This Be Illegal – Banks Recommending a Stock to the Public then Secretly Trading It in their own Dark Pool?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 16, 2019 ~ The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 99.97 points yesterday but the mega Wall Street bank, Citigroup, closed in the red, down 0.15 percent. That decline follows a dramatic loss of 5.28 percent on Wednesday,  a day that the Dow was down only 3.05 percent. Citigroup’s closing price yesterday was $61.32. The stock has lost more than 88 percent of its value since 2007, despite its attempt to dress up the share price with a 1-for-10 reverse stock split in 2011, which left its long-term shareholders with 1 share for each 10 shares previously held. Citi’s share price has also been dropping like a rock since July 24 of this year when it closed at $73.01. But that hasn’t triggered a rethink on the part of its competitor banks on Wall Street who have “Buy” or “Overweight” ratings on Citi’s stock … Continue reading

Yesterday’s Market Plunge Shines Harsh Light on Big Banks and their Derivative Counterparties

Citigroup Stock Chart, August 14, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 15, 2019 ~ As we’ve previously reported, five mega banks on Wall Street hold the fate of the entire financial system of the United States in their crony, frequently soiled hands. Yesterday’s trading action clearly showed the ugly warts between those banks and their derivative counterparties in the insurance industry. And even though their crony regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, allows the banks to trade their own stocks in darkness in their own internal Dark Pools, someone else clearly got the upper hand yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a whopping 800 points or 3.05 percent but each of the five mega banks outpaced the Dow’s losses on a percentage basis. That’s not a good thing when Congress has left the fate of a nation in such perilous hands – especially when those very same banks caused the greatest financial crash … Continue reading

Markets Wake Up to a Dicey Global Economy Outlook; Dow Plunges

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 14, 2019 ~ If you are long stocks, this is one of those mornings when you may be tempted to pull the covers over your head and take a mental health day away from financial news. As of 8:44 a.m. this morning, Dow futures were registering a plunge of 394 points; the big Wall Street bank stocks were down about 3 percent in pre-market trading; news was out in the Eurozone that its largest economy, Germany, had contracted by 0.1 percent in the second quarter. Eurostat further dampened the outlook with a report that “in June 2019 compared with May 2019, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.6% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.5% in the EU28.” The drumbeat of bad economic news led to a flight to safety into U.S. Treasuries, with the 30-year Treasury Bond reaching an all-time low … Continue reading

Shhh! Don’t Tell the Public There Was a Frightening “Glitch” in Stock Markets Yesterday

Nightly Business Report Had to Guess Where the U.S. Stock Market Closed on August 12, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 13, 2019 ~ Where did the U.S. stock market actually close yesterday? It’s pretty much an open question. To give you an idea of just how bad the so-called “glitch” was yesterday, Bill Griffeth, the co-anchor of the CNBC show, the Nightly Business Report, had to deliver this warning to his viewers before reporting the prices of the closing stock market indexes yesterday. “By the way, toward the close, there was a technical issue with trading computers. It’s not clear if all of the volume was reported or if some of the prices of the indexes were affected. You might see different numbers elsewhere but these were the numbers we had of the close today.” (See video below of the program.) Griffeth’s quaint phrase “technical issue with trading computers,” is not accurate. It was not a problem with trading computers but rather the … Continue reading

Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Adds to the JPMorgan Body Count

Jes Staley

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 12, 2019 ~ Jeffrey Epstein, the accused pedophile and sex trafficker of underage women to powerful men around the world according to allegations in court documents, was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan on Saturday morning. The Justice Department is reporting the death as a suicide, despite the fact that Epstein should have been monitored by police around the clock because of an earlier attack or attempted suicide just weeks before in his jail cell. Epstein had close ties to JPMorgan Chase. He now joins a dizzying roster of suspicious deaths connected to JPMorgan Chase – particularly among its technology executives, who allegedly jumped to their death from JPMorgan buildings; died in two separate cases of murder-suicides in seven months; died of alcohol poisoning or, in the most recent case of Doug Carucci in March of … Continue reading

Malaysia Indicts 17 of the “Untouchables” at Goldman Sachs

Malaysia Attorney General Tommy Thomas

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 9, 2019 ~ When it comes to serial and systemic frauds perpetrated by big banks on Wall Street, the U.S. Department of Justice typically punts. It will either not charge the bank itself or it will issue a felony charge along with a non-prosecution agreement that lets the bank settle the charges without a trial. These tactics by the Justice Department are why Wall Street crimes remain serial and systemic in nature. This morning, the Attorney General in Malaysia stunned Goldman Sachs with an indictment of 17 of its former and current executives. That came on the heels of criminal charges filed last December by Malaysian authorities in the same matter against three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries and two former Goldman employees, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng. Indictments announced this morning included charges against Richard J. Gnodde, Goldman’s top international banker in London and … Continue reading

L Brands’ Lawyers Have a Lot More to Worry about than just Jeffrey Epstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 8, 2019 ~ The Chairman and CEO of L Brands, Leslie (Les) Wexner, came out yesterday with a statement accusing Jeffrey Epstein of swindling “vast sums of money” from Wexner and his family. L Brands is the parent of retail chains Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and Pink. Epstein is the accused sex trafficker and assaulter of dozens of underage girls who has mansions in multiple locations but is currently occupying an 8′ x 8′ jail cell in Manhattan while he awaits trial. Pretty much anyone who was closely connected to Epstein is under some form of investigation, including his sex trafficking co-conspirators who solicited underage girls for him; the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office that allowed his private limo and driver to pick him up six days a week from his jail cell for a so-called daily 12-hour “work release” program … Continue reading

Central Banks Are in Panic Mode — for Good Reason

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 7, 2019 ~ On July 30, 2019, the day before the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, cut interest rates by one-quarter of one percent, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note closed the day at 2.06 percent. Early this morning, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury stood at 1.65 percent, a stunning decline of 41 basis points in 8 days. A yield evaporation on U.S. sovereign debt that resembles a snow cone in July is not consistent with a strong economy. It is consistent with a seriously sputtering economy and a stock market out over its skis in terms of valuation. In addition to the collapsing yield in the benchmark 10-year, we now have a seriously inverted yield curve with the 3-month T-bill yielding 2.01 percent this morning versus the 10-year T-note yielding 1.65 – a difference of 36 basis … Continue reading

U.S. Financial System Rests on 5 Mega Banks; and They Tanked Yesterday

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 6, 2019 ~ By the closing bell of yesterday’s broad stock market selloff, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been down over 900 points in the afternoon, closed with a loss of 767 points or 2.90 percent. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index closed even deeper in the red with a loss of 2.98 percent. But those losses looked mild compared to what happened to four of the biggest banks on Wall Street yesterday. Bank of America, parent of the giant retail brokerage chain, Merrill Lynch, closed with a loss of 4.42 percent. Morgan Stanley, which had been pummeled in the big bank selloff in December, lost 3.87 percent while Goldman Sachs was not far behind with a loss of 3.67 percent. The bank with the most foreign exposure and a monster bailout in 2008, Citigroup, which in a fair and efficient … Continue reading

Wall Street to Come Under Scrutiny in September House Hearings

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 5, 2019 ~ Maxine Waters, the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has announced a roster of hearings coming this September. Two of the hearing topics particularly caught our eye as both timely and critical. On Tuesday, September 24, the Committee will hold a hearing titled: “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission: Wall Street’s Cop on the Beat.” If Chair Waters wants to really open eyes as to what the SEC has become – Wall Street’s bad cop on the beat – she will invite the following individuals to give testimony that day: James Kidney, Darcy Flynn, Gary Aguirre, and Harry Markopolos. Testimony from these individuals will show that while the SEC has, throughout its history, had dedicated and honest career attorneys who want to stop the crimes and corruption on Wall Street, there always seems to be a roadblock thrown … Continue reading

The New York Fed Bailed Out Financial Gangs on Wall Street and Ended Up Owning a Gang-Riddled Mall in Oklahoma City

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 2, 2019 ~ On April 3, 2008 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Tim Geithner, appeared on a panel of witnesses before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. The subject of the hearing was the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented actions the prior month to bail out the collapsing investment bank, Bear Stearns, and facilitate its purchase by JPMorgan Chase. Putting Bear Stearns into the hands of JPMorgan Chase, now a three-count felon, was like returning a garden snake to a pet store and walking out with a python. The New York Fed had crafted a deal where $30 billion of toxic assets were going to be purchased from Bear Stearns to prevent JPMorgan from bearing the risk of sizeable losses when it took over the firm. The New York Fed put up $28.82 billion in … Continue reading

Bernie, It’s Time to Audit the New York Fed

New York Fed Headquarters Building in Lower Manhattan

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 1, 2019 ~ On July 21, 2011 the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), released the first-ever government audit of the Federal Reserve in its 98-year history. The audit came about as a result of the determined efforts of Senator Bernie Sanders to force transparency on the secretive Wall Street bailout actions of the Federal Reserve during the 2008 financial crash and the years that followed. Sanders successfully tacked an amendment on the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 that mandated a top-to-bottom audit of how much the Fed had spent on its bailout and the financial institutions to whom it went. Sanders issued a statement saying this on the day the findings were released: “The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to … Continue reading

Democratic Debate July 30, 2019: Highlights that Sizzled

Democratic Debate Hosted by CNN, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 31, 2019 ~ Last night’s Democratic Debate could have covered all the positions in the field at Yankee Stadium and had one player left over. In fact, the debate roster should have been limited to nine contenders instead of ten because former Maryland Congressman John Delaney was clearly batting for the other team. Time and time again, Delaney sounded like a die-hard Republican. And Delaney was aided and abetted by CNN moderator Jake Tapper, who phrased one question to Senator Bernie Sanders this way: Tapper: “Let’s start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let’s start with you. You support Medicare For All, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone. Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, … Continue reading

Citigroup Is the Latest Casualty in Wall Street’s Trading Nightmare

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 30, 2019 ~   Here’s how to sum up the stock (equity) trading slowdown on Wall Street in one sentence: there are too many trading firms chasing too few investors wanting to trade. Wall Street has spent tens of billions of dollars over the past decade jazzing up its artificial intelligence/micro-second trading technology and too little time building confidence among the American people that Wall Street is a safe place to handle investment savings. The average American has moved the stock allocation portion of their portfolio to low-cost, passive index funds because of the risks and high fees in Wall Street’s proprietary funds. Hedge funds are now sitting on their hands as they bleed assets, shell-shocked from attempting to trade a market that can flip on a dime with each new Tweet from the President of the United States. Bloomberg News reported last … Continue reading

JPMorgan and Sidley Austin Were Involved in the Mysterious $6.7 Billion Company Chaired by Jeffrey Epstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 29, 2019 ~ Jeffrey Epstein, the accused sex trafficker of underage school girls, presided over a $6.7 billion offshore company as its Chairman from November 9, 2001 to at least March 19, 2007, a period during which he is accused of committing his sex trafficking crimes against minors. The company is Liquid Funding Ltd. and it had two offshore connections: it was incorporated in Bermuda on October 19, 2000 by the Appleby law firm, known for setting up offshore companies in secrecy jurisdictions like the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Cayman Islands, and Jersey. Liquid Funding’s investment manager was Bear Stearns Bank Plc in Dublin, Ireland – a non-U.S. regulated institution, which was later merged into JPMorgan Bank Dublin. A Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Bear Stearns, prior to its epic collapse in 2008, indicated that Bear Stearns owned 40 percent of Liquid … Continue reading

The Company Under Scrutiny in the Jeffrey Epstein Case Has Semi-Nude Young Females on its Board of Directors’ Page

Photo that Sits Atop L Brands' Board of Directors' Page

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 26, 2019 ~ The above photo is a screen shot taken at 7:45 a.m. this morning of a larger photo of semi-nude young females that appears above the Board of Directors’ page of the L Brands’ website. L Brands is the company founded by Leslie (Les) Wexner, its Chairman and CEO for the past half century. L Brands owns the retail chains Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and Pink. Since July 6 when Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and indicted for sex trafficking of underage girls and sexually assaulting dozens of them at his homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and elsewhere, there have been steady media reports linking Epstein to L Brands and Wexner, including reports that Epstein attempted to involve himself in the selection of models for Victoria’s Secret, potentially luring his future victims. That backdrop makes the above photo, which presents … Continue reading

82% of Wall Street Bank Analysts Have a Buy Rating on Citigroup: Run for Cover

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 25, 2019 ~ If you are buying stocks based on what your stockbroker (a/k/a “financial advisor”) is telling you the research analysts at his brokerage firm are recommending, our headline above should provide a cautionary warning. On July 21, Philip Van Doorn, a reporter for Dow Jones’ MarketWatch, published a chart showing that 82 percent of bank research analysts on Wall Street have a “buy” rating on the stock of Citigroup. According to MarketBeat.com, among the stock analysts making “buy,” “outperform,” or “overweight,” recommendations on Citigroup are those receiving a paycheck from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Bank of America – all of whom have a vested interest in wanting Citigroup – and each other — to stay strong because they are all interconnected as derivative counterparties. All of these banks are in a unique position to … Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren Says Another Economic Crash Is Coming: Is She Right?

Senator Elizabeth Warren at Democratic Debate June 26, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 24, 2019 ~ On Monday, Democratic presidential contender Senator Elizabeth Warren posted a column on Medium that carried the provocative headline: The Coming Economic Crash — And How to Stop It. Warren’s column came just 11 days after we titled our own article: Is There a Stealth Financial Crisis? Alarm Bells Are Ringing. Warren wrote about economic trends like the fact that the U.S. manufacturing sector is already in recession and the staggering amount of household and corporate debt. We wrote about the striking similarities to the early warning signs that ushered in the 2008 financial crash and those happening right now: like being locked out of withdrawing money from a mutual fund because of a run on the fund and an inability to find a buyer for its illiquid investments; and a major international bank firing a big chunk of its labor … Continue reading

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Has Gone to Defcon 1 Over Bank’s Ties to Jeffrey Epstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 23, 2019 ~ Yesterday afternoon, Jamie Dimon had his world rocked. And not in a good way. Dimon is the Chairman and CEO of the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, which has over 5,000 retail branches blanketing the U.S. and has scooped up $1.6 trillion in deposits, much of it from moms and pops who have no idea that the bank is a three-time felon. When you’re a 3-count felony bank and still on probation until January of 2020, you really don’t want to see your name appear in the New York Times connected to the most radioactive felon in the United States right now, Jeffrey Epstein, the man newly indicted on July 6 on charges of sex trafficking of underage girls and sexually assaulting dozens of them. But that’s what happened yesterday afternoon. The New York Times published a … Continue reading

Jeffrey Epstein Chaired a $6.7 Billion Company that Documents Suggest May Have Received a Secret Federal Reserve Bailout

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 21, 2019 ~  According to a database created by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists containing files leaked from the law firm Appleby, Jeffrey Epstein, who is under indictment as a sex trafficker and assaulter of underage girls, was the Chairman of Liquid Funding Ltd. from November 9, 2001 to at least March 19, 2007. The offshore business had been incorporated in Bermuda on October 19, 2000 and according to the Fitch ratings firm, it had $6.7 billion in outstanding liabilities in 2006. In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2003, Bear Stearns, the Wall Street investment bank that Epstein had resigned from under murky circumstances in 1981, confirmed that it was a 40 percent owner of Liquid Funding Ltd., writing as follows: “At November 30, 2002, the Company had an approximate 40% equity interest in Liquid Funding, Ltd. … Continue reading

Senator Compares Facebook’s Libra Association to Spectre in James Bond Movie

Spectre Logo

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 17, 2019 ~ Yesterday the U.S. Senate Banking Committee assembled to hear Facebook’s David Marcus explain how the company wants to create a global digital currency called Libra, to be run by a Switzerland-based global organization called the Libra Association, made up of 27 members from the fields of payment systems, technology, telecommunications, blockchain services, venture capital, nonprofits and academic institutions. Given Facebook’s serial history of abusing the privacy rights of its users and selling their data without their permission, not to mention its role in facilitating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, we immediately went to check out the names of the nonprofits that had signed up to monitor this sprawling international monetary system cooked up in a Facebook lab in a year’s time. We were hoping to see names like American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, Consumer Federation of America, … Continue reading

Jeffrey Epstein’s Curiously Nimble Trading in LinkedIn Stock Raises Red Flags

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 16, 2019 ~ Is Jeffrey Epstein, the accused sex trafficker and sexual assaulter of dozens of underage girls potentially guilty of financial crimes as well? His criminal profile suggests that may well be worth investigating. Bernie Madoff knew he was no genius and could never compete with the physics and math geniuses employed by the major trading firms on Wall Street. So he simply generated fake investment statements to reassure his thousands of clients of his trading prowess and didn’t buy one stock for their portfolios over the decades he was looting their assets, according to prosecutors. But the criminal profile that emerges for Jeffrey Epstein is that of a man so arrogant and confident of his genius that he felt he could beat anybody – by hook or by crook, or by hiring ruthless lawyers to intimidate and compromise Federal prosecutors. Armed … Continue reading