Citigroup Still Committing Mortgage Fraud as Late as 2012

Bloomberg’s Bob Ivry has a great piece out on mortgage whistleblower Sherry Hunt, who just won a false claims suit against Citigroup.

By 2006, the bank was buying mortgages from outside lenders with doctored tax forms, phony appraisals and missing signatures, she says. It was Hunt’s job to identify these defects, and she did, in regular reports to her bosses.

Executives buried her findings, Hunt says, before, during and after the financial crisis, and even into 2012.

In March 2011, more than two years after Citigroup took $45 billion in bailouts from the U.S. government and billions more from the Federal Reserve — more in total than any other U.S. bank — Jeffery Polkinghorne, an O’Fallon executive in charge of loan quality, asked Hunt and a colleague to stay in a conference room after a meeting.

The encounter with Polkinghorne was brief and tense, Hunt says. The number of loans classified as defective would have to fall, he told them, or it would be “your asses on the line.”

Neil Barofsky noted that this behavior implies that the banks are still engaging in the same set of unchanged risky and damaging patterns of behavior that led to the initial crisis.

Citigroup behaving badly as late as 2012 shows how a big bank hasn’t yet absorbed the lessons of the credit crisis despite billions of dollars in bailouts, says Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“This case demonstrates that the notion that the bailed-out banks have somehow found God and have reformed their ways in the aftermath of the financial crisis is pure myth,” he says.

The HUD Inspector General reports unsealed after the settlement show that robosigning was still going on as late as this year.  It’s just not a surprise that Citigroup was covering up fraud in their mortgage unit as late as this year.

After all, why shouldn’t Citigroup do so?  It worked out for their executives last time, didn’t it?

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. Sleeper

    Move along –

    After all this is just the result of paperwork errors not criminal activity.

    Nothing to see here.

  2. Amateur Socialist

    I think the Bloomberg editor must have missed a small error:
    “…shows how a big bank hasn’t yet absorbed the lessons of the credit crisis *despite billions of dollars in bailouts*…’

    Should probably read ” *because of* billions of dollars in bailouts…”

    That makes more sense overall. Probably just an oversight at deadline I’m sure.

  3. Woodrow Wilson

    “It’s just not a surprise that Citigroup was covering up fraud in their mortgage unit as late as this year.” –

    Of course this will continue, at all the TBTF’s. No? First, CONgress doesn’t listen to their citizenry, at least my “Representatives” don’t, and the bailouts prove they don’t. Second, Yves et al., carry some weight in the “blogosphere” and are basically summarily dismissed. This of course in light of day-after-day, week-after-week of corrupt, fraudulent and outright crimnal exposure.

    What has changed? Voter apathy is the same. The rhetoric is the same. Democrat and Republican lies are the same. Brainwashed Americans unfortunately still believe in the lies, and eat up all the misdirection.

    Until voter apathy turns into true outrage, prepare to be pillaged for years to come, by your own government and their crony friends.

    We live in a Plutocracy.

  4. Norman

    If ever the time was ripe for a true 3rd party candidate, it sure is now. It’s mind boggling to think that in this great country of ours, that there isn’t “one” individual willing to stand up to this continuing criminal enterprise, asking nothing in return!

      1. Warren Celli

        Phony baloney millionaire Roseanne Barr (net worth 80 mil), with a more street talk gutsy Jill Stein platform knock off, will gladly absorb your system validating and legitimizing third party vote. How about that Hollywood, huh! Third party efforts, as energy dissipating ploys conducted by the elite, are a sign of nervousness. The smell of fear is in the air.

        But don’t get excited, third parties are a waste of time on a par with writing to Santa. There is NO residual. Remember: Never have so many been conned by so few. And when you lose you will still have a despicable psychopathic drone dropping serial killer in the White House who picks his own victims and jokes about the process.

        The first person out of the gate to run a parallel paper election in the commons, open to all, out side the system, and in tandem with a proactive boycott of the system, and including a grass roots Constitutional rewrite will break the <1% global stranglehold on humanity. It is a matter of reverse co-opting the elite orchestrated Arab Spring globally.

        This is a last chance opportunity. The Onotron (the technology) will soon so heavily embody the morality of the psychopathic self anointed elite that it will be set in stone with no reversal possible other than chaos and the death of humanity. It is time to put on your thinking caps kids.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          1. Warren Celli

            Lambert said; “Is the Onotron like the Tinatron?”

            What is the Tinatron? Do you mean Trinitron? I use to have one hooked up to an old Mac Quadra back in the pre-flat screen days.

            The Onotron is the aggregate of the deceptive externalized tools of dominance created by all of humanity. As such, the Onotron (those deceptive externalized tools of dominance in their aggregate) embodies the morality of those that created them, and it/they also control their creators, with greater control over their creators each day. The Onotron is what we are very rapidly now morphing into.

            Lambert said; “As far as parallel structures, the Interactive Voter Choice System is one such. It’s not paper-based, though.”

            It also leaves out to many citizens as not all have internet access and computers (proves out the Onotron here as the power of the system you suggest falls to those with the computers, and yes, a computer is a deceptive externalized tool of dominance). Project this same dynamic to the few on up the line with supercomputers and control of those who create them and control them — Goldman, JPM, Imf, WB, US Military, CIA, etc., and you can see the reason for haste in regaining control of the morality.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. enouf

      Yes, and his name was Ross Perot, and it occured in 1992 ..once he/we failed, we all knew we were all going down ..hard. But ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?

      Happenstances such like that MTV interview with then candidate(?) Clinton when a college age female asked ‘Boxers or Briefs?’ (remember that nonsense?) and the MSM ran with that as News! … should’ve known then you were all doomed, even then, if not since much earlier; ~Nixon era.


  5. monday1929

    Citigroup is a Psychopath. Those who rise within Citigroup are Psychopaths. Citigroup plays a key role in laundering illicit drug money through their international payments infrastructure They are Terrorists by any definition of the term. The politicians they own are thus aiding and abetting terrorism. They have no other choice, really.
    The best thing is to either resign oneself to living in a Fascist state or to prepare to act.
    Or, one can write endlessly on well-intentioned blogs.

  6. Jill

    “China has many laws. It does not have the rule of law”. This is precisely the state of affairs in the US.

    Laws are useful to punish the poor, those the elite classify as their “enemies”, to steal money from the middle, working class and poor and to get away with brutality up to and including torture and murder. Laws have become tools of oppression and criminal “opportunity”. Only the return of the rule of law will stop this.

    Crimes of every sort will continue until enough people understand that you don’t accept the suspension of the rule of law because “your side” is the one doing it.

    The clear message of this administration has been if you are our banking community friend you can do whatever you want to whomever you want. This is causing a breakdown in the ability to conduct normal business affairs. We are close to achieving a state like Russia or Nigeria.

    1. Warren Celli

      Agreed and worth repeating…

      “Laws are useful to punish the poor, those the elite classify as their “enemies”, to steal money from the middle, working class and poor and to get away with brutality up to and including torture and murder. Laws have become tools of oppression and criminal “opportunity”. Only the return of the rule of law will stop this.

      Crimes of every sort will continue until enough people understand that you don’t accept the suspension of the rule of law because “your side” is the one doing it.”

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  7. Fraud Guy- Also

    Last Saturday, I was with Shaun Donovan, HUD secretary, and saw him asked about this topic on a panel at his 25th Harvard College reunion. The essence of the question was, “Why hasn’t HUD taken the mild step of disqualifying banks like Citi and Deutsche from participating on an ongoing basis as originators of FHA loans. Both banks have ADMITTED wrong-doing in the course of settling recent FHA fraud claims for hundreds of millions of dollars. Isn’t the banks’ continued participation in the program proof that the banks own us?”

    Donovan gave an embarrassingly evasive answer. He tried saying, “I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.” When that didn’t work, he switched to the Administration talking point that Yves has highlighted so many times before, “The Obama Administration has put people in jail for financial fraud. But it’s so hard. Almost everything that was done in the financial crisis wasn’t actually illegal, blah, blah, blah…” Of course, the situation he was asked about was illegal, by the admission of the banks themselves, and nobody was asking about why people hadn’t gone to jail, just why the banks hadn’t been disqualified from continuing eligibility to make money off the taxpayers in a government program.

    Donovan was basically humiliated in front of his college classmates, which I hope did some good.

    1. French Wrapper

      Frat boy doesn’t call the shots at HUD, implying bespectacled DeMarco is the sole speed bump to housing nirvana. No sir, the marching orders are handed to them by the big bad Banksters. Leave it to the media to produce a relentlessly retarded distortion of reality, while millions upon millions in lobbyin’ loot are sprayed forth in torrents to facilitate “governance.” Why didn’t you punch bitch-boy in the stomach Fraud Guy- Also? That would have made ‘da papers.

  8. LadyLiberty

    What about MF Global? And the other criminal banksters? obama is way worse his administration doesn’t punish any of them look it up they are free to steal and rob with his blessings. Recently he also made taxpayers patsy’s again for derivatives!

    As An Encore to Bailing Out the Big Banks, Government to Backstop Derivativees Clearinghouses … In the U.S. and Abroad

    Dim Prospects for Financial Crisis Prosecutions

    Justice Dept. Going Easy on Corzine?

  9. Ms G

    Uh oh, just as Vikram Pandit pulled off a super-duper brand-burnishing coup, landing the sponsorship for one of Mayor Mike Helicopter’s pet “green” projects (for a mere $41 million over 5 years) — a brand new Bike Share program named “CITI SHARE” and all the bicycles are CITI BLUE with CITI emblazoned on the handlebars! See here

    HUD IG report and whistleblower suit call for rebranding, pronto!

    BANKSTER-BIKES, brought to you by Citi and Helicopter Mike . . . .

    P.S. Though Citi and the Mayor have been stingy with program detail, newspersons were able to tease out a few bits and pieces, including a whole lotta fees here, there and everywhere for the hapless target audience. And of course the fee collecting part is . . . ding! . . . outsourced to a private vendor. It’s the Mike City Way!

  10. Jim A

    Just a little misundersanding of her duties. She was hired to NOT find fraud, not to find fraud. Of course the easiet way of decreasing the level of defective loans would be to buy fewer of ’em.

  11. Aaron Layman

    Very, very sad.

    I recently tried to put a client into a Bank of America VA foreclosure, to no avail. The asset manager sold it to another buyer in what was supposed to be a cash deal. Turns out, it ended up closing with a $180,000 loan and only 10 percent down. Buyer restructurued the terms at closing, and Bofa closed it anyway. Trying to dig into details since buyer’s agent said the buyer was intending to rent it out. I don’t know of any bank in the country currently doing investor loans with only 10 percent down. This is the kind of shit we get when criminals are running our largest banks.

    1. Johnny Fraudclosure

      “Very very sad. (I don’t mean that family that got foreclosed on, good riddance losers.) Jee, very very sad. I was tryin’ to close another deal and make bucks, very very sad. Darn bank, so sad. (F**k that previous family, what am I a social worker?) But yes sady sad sad. Darn sady Banker. There outa be a law”

  12. sierra

    Citi is a “criminal enterprise” writ large…and trying to hide in a tiny space.
    Citi has a history of making bad decisions in the housing markets…go back to the early 1990’s when they were fined approx. $270M for outright fraud in poor neighborhoods….this is all well documented…….
    And then we have the gall to bail out these SOB’s….

    1. Johnny Fraudclosure

      Story book history for 100s of years: stolen land, raping the environment, defrauding smaller investors, corrupt deals with the local and federal governments, war, war, war, and more war great depression, 1980, financing global catastrophe, deregulatin’, pillage, looting and burning, including Robert Rubin.

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