Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Banks Didn't Filho

I'm trying to shovel these files at you as fast as I can:

"Banks took little note of busy Ponzi suspect" by Neil Weinberg Bloomberg News  October 09, 2015

NEW YORK — The United States requires banks to know their customers. But several big ones, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo, may have missed getting acquainted with Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho.

Filho, a 48-year-old self-proclaimed Brazilian billionaire living in Orlando, came under US investigation in 2009 in connection with an alleged conspiracy involving drug trafficking, money laundering, and a Ponzi scheme. He and others forfeited tens of millions of dollars worth of Lamborghinis, gold bars, and other assets, according to court documents. In 2013, he agreed to forfeit another $25 million in accounts registered to his children and businesses.

That was all a matter of public record in mid-2014, when Filho started opening new bank accounts. He set up at least 17 in the name of his company — DFRF Enterprises, derived from his initials — and signed his own name.

Filho’s banking flurry is detailed in several fresh cases against him, including an August criminal indictment alleging he used some accounts in a scheme that promised investors income from nonexistent gold-mining operations. He faces similar allegations in separate lawsuits filed this year by the Securities and Exchange Commission and by a group of investors.

“If the banks had just Googled this guy, they would have known enough to stay away,” said Evans Carter, a Framingham attorney who brought the investors’ class-action suit early this year.

Filho, arrested in July, was due to appear at a hearing Thursday in Boston connected to the criminal charges. He couldn’t be reached for comment on the recent charges and hasn’t responded through the courts to the civil actions. His public defender did not respond to requests for comment, and two attorneys who have previously represented him declined to comment.

He was due to appear at a hearing in Bo$ton and the Globe had to pick up a Bloomberg piece?

The Justice Department didn’t bring charges against Filho or any others in the earlier probe that resulted in the asset forfeitures. In the current matter, neither the SEC nor US prosecutors have accused any banks of wrongdoing.

Oh, the $cum went right back to the $ame behavior, huh?

Must be the lack of jail.

Still, the latest allegations against Filho — including that he duped 1,400 people into signing up for a pyramid scheme — offer an anecdotal spot check of how some big banks are doing as a first line of defense against financial crime. 

Look at this bankerspeak suck job.

And you wonder why I'm sick of the propaganda pre$$titues? 

By the time Filho went to open his accounts, US authorities had already penalized global banks more than $10 billion since the financial crisis for providing services to suspected money launderers, sanctions violators, or other criminals. Six months earlier, JPMorgan had agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion, admitting lapses in handling accounts for Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.

The banks where Filho allegedly opened the new accounts included the North American units of JPMorgan and Wells Fargo & Co., as well as RBS Citizens of Massachusetts, according to the class-action suit. The suit named Filho and the banks among the codefendants. After the plaintiffs reached an undisclosed settlement with Filho in April, they voluntarily dismissed their complaint against JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Citizens, Carter said.

That's actually rather surprising to me, although I'll bet it gave Wells Fargo a bit more energy.

Those banks all declined to comment.

Filho also used an account at Citigroup’s Citibank as part of the scheme, according to the indictment. Citigroup has been cooperating with authorities, spokesman Mark Costiglio said.

In other words, once he got caught, they got caught. Then they "cooperated."

Several global banks have bolstered their compliance departments in recent years, in part to ensure the banks don’t run afoul of so-called Know Your Customer laws.

JPMorgan spent an extra $2 billion from 2012 through 2014 to improve its compliance and cybersecurity efforts, it said last year.

Citigroup, which has said it is cooperating with a US money-laundering investigation related to its Mexico unit, has spent about $1.5 billion to boost the number of staff with some form of compliance or control function to 30,000.

It's a revolving door you can't see through due to all the $wirling cash.

By October 2014, a few months after beginning to open bank accounts, Filho was promising investors his company would pay up to 15 percent interest monthly — “fully guaranteed” — the SEC alleged.

He talked up his company at an October 2014 promotional event for DFRF held aboard the Spirit of Boston party boat in Boston Harbor, the SEC says. A video of that event was posted on YouTube a few days later, among the first of several promotional clips posted in at least four languages. In one video, a promoter said DFRF had 80 gold mines, with more than $1 trillion in reserves, according to the SEC.

If this is all taking place in Bo$ton, why isn't the Globe all over it? 

Filho and other promoters told investors the operation insured their funds and donated one-quarter of its profits to charity.

The mines were a fiction, as were the other claims, the SEC said in its June 30 suit.

In the year through May 2015, Filho brought in $15 million from investors and paid more than $6 million to himself, including for a Rolls-Royce, two Lamborghinis, and two Ferraris, the SEC suit says, which accused Filho of selling unregistered securities and mail fraud.

Also in May, Boston-based Eastern Bank Corp. was looking into suspicious activities in one of DFRF Enterprises’ accounts, according to the federal indictment. Before that account was closed, Filho allegedly wired $1.8 million to a DFRF account at Citibank.


Related(?)TelexFree trustee says alleged fraud swells to $3 billion

"Citi to shut Mass. banks, end theater sponsorship" by Deirdre Fernandes and Don Aucoin Globe Staff  September 23, 2015

Citigroup Inc. will pull out of the Massachusetts retail banking market in January, closing its remaining 17 branches and taking with it the sponsorship of the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston’s Theater District.

The New York financial giant said it will maintain its private banking office for wealthy customers and continue to serve institutional and commercial banking clients here.

Which is also for whom the Globe is written.

But it will end its support of the nonprofit arts center — which operates the Citi Wang Theatre, the Citi Shubert Theatre, and, for a short while longer, the Colonial Theatre — when the naming rights contract comes up for renewal in November 2016.

The Colonial is closing.

“Do you know anybody who wants naming rights?’’ cracked Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., president and chief executive of Citi Performing Arts Center, in an interview with The Boston Globe Wednesday evening.

Ha-ha.... ha.

Spaulding said Citigroup has been “an incredible partner’’ but that the bank’s departure will not spell doom for the arts center. The bank’s financial support, while enough to warrant naming rights, amounted to less than 10 percent of Citi Performing Arts Center’s roughly $30 million budget, he said.

“We will be fine,’’ said Spaulding.

That's good, because I was thinking of all the sad-sack regular people across this state who banked at Citi and will now have their whole en$lavement upended. Globe obviously wasn't.

Perhaps the greatest impact of Citi’s departure will be on the customers of Citigroup’s 17 branches, which are primarily in the Boston area.

Oh, I'm sorry; on second thought (and last, as it will turn out)....

Citigroup burst into the Boston area nearly 10 years ago, hiring bank managers from local competitors, opening branches in prime locations, such as the Back Bay, Wellesley, and Cambridge, and inking a $34 million contract to put its name on the Wang Center for the Performing Arts. At its peak, Citigroup had more than 30 branches in the Boston area.

But between the financial crisis and its failure to grab a foothold in the market, Citigroup has struggled here.

The bank has now decided to focus more on its target markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., said Andrew Brent, a bank spokesman.

Oh, so THAT is WHERE all the MONEY has GONE!

Significant investments are planned for “enhancing our digital channels and building a new branch model in our major, target markets,” he said in a statement. Citi’s retail banking presence in Boston, he said, does not provide the needed scale.

Although it runs the fourth-largest US bank by assets, Citigroup never had more than a 1 percent market share in Massachusetts. By comparison, Bank of America Corp., the state’s largest retail bank, holds 18 percent of the market.


"Brian T. Moynihan, the Boston banker and lawyer who became chief executive of Bank of America, is facing the first shareholder challenge of his five-year tenure as concerns mount over his leadership and the bank’s performance. Moynihan, a Wellesley resident, has shepherded the nation’s second-largest consumer bank through the financial crisis and its aftermath, settling billions of dollars in federal lawsuits over bad mortgages and faulty foreign-exchange practices, shedding unprofitable units, closing hundreds of branches, and shoring up capital to withstand another economic shock. But shareholders are wondering whether the 55-year-old executive, known for hard work and sharp thinking rather than salesmanship, is best able to lead the bank into a new era of growth. On Tuesday, they’ll vote during a special meeting on whether to bless a decision made last year — without consulting shareholders — to expand Moynihan’s authority by making him chairman of the board of directors as well as CEO. Moynihan is expected to win the vote, and even if he doesn’t, he would still run the bank’s operations, fetching a $13 million salary. But a smaller margin of victory — less than 60 percent of the vote — could weaken Moynihan, analysts said. “Now, if he loses the vote, it does mean a damn thing. He’s gotten a clear no vote of confidence,” Richard Bove, a financial analyst with Rafferty Capital Markets LLC, a New York brokerage firm. “The board of directors has gotten a clear vote of no confidence. It’s going to create a crisis for the management for Bank of America.”

Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan retains CEO, chairman titles

Crisis averted!

Bank of America drops some small towns and cities

Those are municipalities, not citizens. 

The drawbridges are being pulled up, folks, as this economy collapses. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled branch.

Soon after Citigroup opened in Boston, the economy entered a downturn, and the bank took $45 billion in government aid designated to help banks during the financial crisis. It was also one of the hardest hit by the recession and credit crisis and weighed down by legal bills, including a $7 billion settlement last year with the Justice Department over its sale of faulty mortgages. 

Awwww, poor looting Citi!

I'm finding it difficult to wielld you any links. From what I $ee not much has changed.

The bank’s performance has improved in recent years, but its revenues have been flat lately.

In this age of economic recovery and all?

Citigroup has been aggressively cutting expenses, in part by trimming its branches. In 2013, it closed all of its Philadelphia branches.


The arts are also a tough business, and Citi’s departure may raise anxieties, especially since it is the second unhappy surprise this month for the normally placid theater district, following the announcement that the Colonial Theatre will soon close for at least a year while it undergoes extensive renovations. A spokesman for Emerson College, which owns the venerable theater, said that “not continuing to operate it as a theater’’ was among the options being considered.


Get the elites that fund it to give more of a tax break to them so they can go have fun then.

I'm not against the arts, far from it. They have been part of the human story since the beginning of time. 

I am, however, against elite in$titutions that entertain the ruling cla$$ crying poverty. 

The Citi news could also raise wider concerns about the solidity of corporate sponsorships in an arts community that’s perennially concerned about funding.


The decision facing Citi Performing Arts Center now, Spaulding said, is whether to seek sponsorships from “one corporation, several corporations, one individual, several individuals.’’

For now, the theater community will wait to see what name, or names, eventually take the place of Citi.

Said Spaulding: “We’re hopeful that somebody else — as early as tomorrow — will say: ‘I know the value of that.’ ”


At least all that stolen loot is going for good causes, huh?

Also see:

Jailing bankers when all else fails

The writer must be befuddled because the Globe is busying promoting Bernanke's book.

Time to abandon this pos for the day despite still having a lot of digging to do.