Author and journalist Matt Taibbi has returned to writing for Rolling Stone magazine with an article profiling JPMorgan Chase whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann. Taibbi is most acclaimed for his books, Griftopia and more recently, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. The ACLU of Illinois is pleased to be welcoming Mr. Taibbi as the guest speaker at the first annual ACLU Lunch on April 17, 2015 in Chicago.
The Rolling Stone article reveals what Taibbi refers to as "one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history." For years, JPMorgan Chase was engaged in a massive scam reselling bad mortgages as above-subprime securities. Taibbi writes about when Fleischmann first became suspicious of the scam:
A few months into her tenure, Fleischmann would later testify in a DOJ deposition, the bank hired a new manager for diligence, the group in charge of reviewing and clearing loans. Fleischmann quickly ran into a problem with this manager, technically one of her superiors. She says he told her and other employees to stop sending him e-mails. The department, it seemed, was wary of putting anything in writing when it came to its mortgage deals.
"If you sent him an e-mail, he would actually come out and yell at you," she recalls. "The whole point of having a compliance and diligence group is to have policies that are set out clearly in writing. So to have exactly the opposite of that – that was very worrisome." One former high-ranking federal prosecutor said that if he were taking a criminal case to trial, the information about this e-mail policy would be crucial. "I would begin and end my opening statement with that," he says. "It shows these people knew what they were doing and were trying not to get caught."