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The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders…

The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers…

by Michael W. Hudson

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In many ways this was the most painful book of the many I’ve read about the financial crisis, because it focused lower down on the chain: the subprime mortgages packaged in securitizations, telling the stories of the people who sold them (twenty-four-year-olds making $150,000 a year and blowing it on drugs and cars, using the money as an excuse not to look any further into what they were doing, or experienced salesmen who let the money seduce them too, unless they got so sick of themselves that they had to quick) and the people who signed up (often under incredible sales pressure, and even that wasn’t enough—there was plenty of outright fraud in what they were told and in forgery of their signatures on false documents), as well as the people who made the long-term, big money and walked away with almost all of it (in one case, also with an ambassadorship) and the regulators who tried to fight this system but lost again and again because the lenders were more politically powerful and willing to donate huge sums to keep it that way (and we all know that government regulation is a bad idea).

It’s an enraging story and it’s not fixed, though I’m experiencing at least some schadenfreude with the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling pointing out that the entities foreclosing on a lot of these loans have no proof that they own them, because these experienced and sophisticated businesses who insist that unsophisticated homeowners are responsible for every piece of paper those homeowners (allegedly) signed—wait for it—didn’t keep actual records, or transfer them as the securitizers promised to do in the contracts they signed with the banks and investors. Ooops. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer industry. ( )
2 vote rivkat | Jan 12, 2011 |
Loved it! White collar crime in little old Orange County? OMG! Tell me it isn't so! It's books like this that should help us rethink our glorification of wealth accumulation and face what really happens to a people who are consumed by making money. The millionaire you know may be a monster. Thank you to Michael Hudson and others like him who use their talents to expose the truth instead of sitting silently, as most do. ( )
1 vote Just1MoreBook | Dec 13, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805090460, Hardcover)

Who killed the economy?

A page-turning, true-crime exposé of the subprime salesmen and Wall Street alchemists who produced the biggest financial scandal in American history

"It's hard to have a guilty conscience if you don't have a conscience. Anything that benefited production - that benefited me and benefited my wallet - I'd do it."

The sales force at Ameriquest Mortgage took this philosophy to heart. They watched the Hollywood white-collar-crime flick "Boiler Room" as a training tape, studying how to pitch overpriced deals to unsuspecting home owners. They learned how to forge signatures on mortgage paperwork and create fake documents in "cut-and-paste" operations they dubbed "The Lab" or "The Art Department."

In this stunning narrative, award-winning reporter Michael W. Hudson reveals the story of the rise and fall of the subprime mortgage business by chronicling the rise and fall of two corporate empires: Ameriquest and Lehman Brothers. As the biggest subprime lender and Wall Street's biggest patron of subprime, Ameriquest and Lehman did more than any other institutions to create the feeding frenzy that emboldened mortgage pros to flood the nation with high-risk, high-profit home loans.

It's a tale populated by a remarkable cast of the characters: a shadowy billionaire who created the subprime industry out of the ashes of the 1980s S&L scandal; Wall Street executives with an insatiable desire for product; struggling home owners ensnared in the most ingenious of traps; lawyers and investigators who tried to expose the fraud; politicians and bureaucrats who turned a blind eye; and, most of all, the drug-snorting, high-living salesman who tell all about the money they made, the lies they told, the deals they closed.

Provocative and gripping, The Monster is a searing exposé of the bottom-feeding fraud and top-down greed that fueled the financial collapse.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:18 -0400)

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Presents a critique of the subprime-mortgage industry and its relationship with Wall Street that charges a group of entrepreneurs with using high-pressure sales tactics and triggering the current economic crisis.

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