Witness Drops Bombshell at House Hearing: Hedge Funds Are Getting “100 Times” Leverage on Crypto 

Alexis Goldstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 1, 2021 ~ Yesterday, the House Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a critically important hearing on the crypto craze that has engulfed U.S. financial markets. The hearing was titled: “America on ‘FIRE’: Will the Crypto Frenzy Lead to Financial Independence and Early Retirement or Financial Ruin?” Before the witnesses could testify, the Republican Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Congressman Tom Emmer of Minnesota, delivered Alice in Wonderland opening remarks that downplayed the legitimate concerns of the hearing and effectively characterized crypto as the best innovation since sliced bread. (Emmer is a former registered lobbyist in Minnesota and his Congressional campaign coffers are stuffed with money from the financial services industry.) It didn’t take long, however, for that farcical assessment to collapse under the weight of testimony from a Wall Street veteran, Alexis Goldstein, who is the current Director of Financial Policy for … Continue reading

Gensler Throws a Wrench in SEC’s Revolving Door; Appoints Career Prosecutor as Crime Chief

Gurbir S. Grewal

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 1, 2021 ~ SEC Chair Gary Gensler has selected the sitting Attorney General of New Jersey, Gurbir Grewal, age 48, to be his Director of Enforcement. The selection has pleased progressive public interest groups who have been advocating for years against allowing former Wall Street defense attorneys to take the top leadership positions at the SEC. The nonpartisan watchdog group, Better Markets, Tweeted a quote from its President and CEO, Dennis Kelleher, saying that Grewal “appears to be the opposite of a Wall Street defense lawyer, which is a welcome break with the past and exactly what the SEC division of enforcement needs.” Gensler came under withering criticism from progressives when he appointed a law partner from Paul Weiss for the job in April, Alex Young K. Oh. She abruptly resigned after just six days on the job when it became clear she was … Continue reading

High-Rise Building Collapses: In the Past 50 Years, 174 People Have Died and Hundreds Injured. The Typical Collapse Is During Construction – Not 40 Years Later

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 30, 2021 ~ On Thursday, June 24, the day that the 40-year old Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Florida collapsed suddenly at 1:23 a.m., the Sun Sentinel newspaper ran this headline later that day on its website: “Buildings don’t just fall down. Why did the condo in Surfside?” If you’ve been carefully following the news over the past half century, you know that a number of tall buildings have fallen down in the United States. But the vast majority of those have been from a domestic or foreign terrorist attack or gas explosions. What the majority of Americans do not realize is that the biggest risk to a high-rise building collapsing comes during the construction phase – and the reasons for that should greatly concern all Americans. We did research in the federal government’s various archives and located four high-rise buildings and one … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Has Exited 15.7 Million Square Feet of U.S. Office Space Since the Crash of 2008 But Somehow Managed to Grow its Assets by 62.9 Percent

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 28, 2021 ~ Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has found a new magic hat trick: how to shrink and grow at the same time. Between March 31, 2009 and December 31, 2020, the assets at JPMorgan Chase’s bank holding company grew by an astonishing $1.3 trillion or 62.9 percent according to data archived at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). That stands in striking contrast to the next largest bank holding company in the U.S., Bank of America, whose assets grew by just $496.2 billion or 21 percent over the same period. The first thought that might come to your mind is that perhaps this staggering growth in assets came as a result of the Federal Reserve allowing JPMorgan Chase to purchase Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual during the 2008 Wall Street crash. That can’t be the reason, … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Spent $59.5 Billion Buying Back Its Stock from 2017-2019 while Its Bank Tellers Didn’t Make Enough to Pay for Basic Living Expenses

Senator Sherrod Brown Introducing His Worker Dividend Plan in 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 28, 2021 ~ According to the 10-K (Annual Report) forms that JPMorgan Chase has filed with the SEC for years 2017, 2018, and 2019, it has bought back a total of $59.5 billion of its own common stock, thus inflating its share price by that sum of money. In 2019 the bank bought back a whopping 212,975,185 shares for $24.12 billion; 181,504,483 shares in 2018 for a total of $19.98 billion; and 166,557,198 shares in 2017 for $15.4 billion. Notice that the growth in the dollar amount of the buybacks grew by 56.6 percent from 2017 to 2019. Who benefitted tremendously from this boosting of the share price? Insiders. According to the proxy JPMorgan Chase filed with the SEC on April 7, Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, owns 9,385,141 shares of the bank’s common stock – the bulk of which … Continue reading

Florida Condo Collapse: Nobody Told Homeowners that their Building Was Sinking “at an Alarming Rate”

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 25, 2021 ~ Surfside is a town just north of Miami Beach, Florida. It was incorporated in 1935. At approximately 1:23 a.m. yesterday, part of a 12-story high-rise collapsed in the town leaving 99 people missing and four confirmed deaths as of early this morning. The condo building is known as Champlain Towers South and is located at 8777 Collins Ave. in Surfside. A report in USA Today has now left the whole town of Surfside on edge. According to the report, Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, co-published a study with Simone Fiaschi in April of last year that found that the condo building “had some kind of unusual movement,” and had been sinking at the rate of 2 mm per year during the course of the study, which looked at satellite data from … Continue reading

Here Come Wall Street Rental Communities: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 24, 2021 ~ If you’ve been following our reporting of JPMorgan Chase since Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon has been at the helm, you’re aware of one striking fact: this bank has a pattern of getting into bed with unsavory characters: Bernie Madoff, check. Racketeering traders, check. A sex trafficker of children, Jeffrey Epstein, check. Money launderers, check. The guy who bragged on his resume that he knew how to game electric markets, check. Despite an unprecedented record of five felony counts from the U.S. Department of Justice since 2014, to which it admitted guilt, and the reputational damage this has done to its brand, JPMorgan Chase’s asset management unit made the unusual decision last year to form a joint venture with an SFR (Single-Family Rental company) whose tenant complaints are so eye-popping that they fill pages on the internet and have been the … Continue reading

Fed Chair Powell Misleads House Hearing on Wall Street’s Bailout Programs

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 23, 2021 ~ Yesterday the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis convened a hearing at 2 p.m. to receive testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The title of the hearing was “Lessons Learned: The Federal Reserve’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.” During Powell’s opening statement, he said this: “Our emergency lending tools require the approval of the Treasury and are available only in unusual and exigent circumstances, such as those brought on by the crisis. Many of these programs were supported by funding from the CARES Act. Those facilities provided essential support through a very difficult year and are now closed.” It’s factually incorrect for the Fed Chairman to say that it can only make emergency loans with the approval of the Treasury. Months before there was any case of COVID-19 anywhere in the world the Fed was making hundreds of billions … Continue reading

Another Choice Offering from Wall Street: A Doughnut with 11-25 Grams of Fat from a Company Awash in Red Ink with a Checkered Accounting History

Krispy Kreme Doughnut, Chocolate Iced Glazed with Sprinkles

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 22, 2021 ~ A preliminary prospectus has been filed with the SEC to bring Krispy Kreme, the doughnut retailer, back to trade in U.S. public markets. JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup will be three of the four Lead Book-Running Managers on the deal according to the preliminary prospectus. Those same three Wall Street underwriters have the distinction of just last week being banned from participating in a big European Union bond offering because of their past cartel activity in Europe. Morgan Stanley is to be the fourth Lead Book-Running Manager on the deal. Krispy Kreme’s net losses have been escalating over the past three years according to its SEC filing. Net losses in 2020 were $60.9 million; $34 million in 2019; and $12.4 million in 2018. During the company’s prior history as a publicly-traded company, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the company … Continue reading

Experts Have Been Warning for Months of an Unprecedented Stock Market Bubble Set to Explode

Michael J. Burry

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 21, 2021 ~ One thing is for sure. When the current stock market bubble does eventually crash, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is not going to be able to sit before Congress and tell lawmakers that nobody could have seen it coming. Wall Street veterans have gone on record repeatedly in recent months to warn of a coming crash. Last week Michael Burry, who heads the hedge fund Scion Asset Management and was immortalized in “The Big Short” movie for making a fortune shorting subprime debt before it collapsed in the 2008 crash, took to Twitter with the latest of these warnings. (The Tweets were subsequently deleted after they were heavily publicized in the business media and retweeted.) On Tuesday, Burry Tweeted this: “People always ask me what is going on in the markets. It is simple. Greatest Speculative Bubble of All Time in … Continue reading