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Previously published on Krebscycle.

''All in all I think we hit the jackpot.'' Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden after signing the bill deregulating Thrifts and Savings and Loans



If you go back to the savings and loan debacle, we got more than a thousand felony convictions of the elite. These are not, you know, tellers or something.

Bill Black to Bill Moyers



Sen. Alan J. Dixon (D-Ill.), joining several Democratic senators in proposing a special strike force last week, said: "This country is being robbed blind, and the crooks are getting away scot-free."[...]

S&L fraud cases "are hard cases to make," said Douglas Tillett, the Justice Department spokesman. "We have to bring evidence and prove guilt--members of Congress can hold a press conference and not be accountable for their grand ideas."

LA Times June 1990

and also


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has not given the investigation and prosecution of fraud in the multibillion-dollar savings and loan scandal the priority the public demands, a House panel concluded in a report released Sunday. [..]

In addition, the report said, the department has failed to address issues that have hampered investigation and prosecution of savings and loan fraud, such as the FBI's lack of document subpoena authority and inadequate pay for FBI agents and for prosecutors. [...]

The cases, like other fraud committed by white-collar criminals, are difficult to prosecute. The crimes are intricate, the perpetrators often well-known, once-respected members of the business community.

There seems scant opportunity to recover much of the billions of dollars in losses suffered by S&Ls, federal officials believe. They feel that the money has melted away along with the collapse of real estate values in many markets

LA Times November 1990

Well that was during the Bush years, how about during Clinton:

Justice data showed that since the beginning of fiscal year 1989, Justice charged 494 individuals (164 insiders) with some form of criminal misconduct in 304 cases associated with 171 RTC thrifts (23.7 percent of the 723 RTC thrifts).


Justice defined an “insider” as any former thrift chairman, chief executive officer, major shareholder,
director, officer, president, vice president, attorney, or branch manager.

GAO Report August 1993

Insiders - those branch managers and officers and vice presidents of huge powerful institutions, no doubt. Like:

Otha B. Chandler Jr. 50, a senior loan officer at Savers Federal in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Janis Lee 42, a clerk in charge of handling new customer accounts at Surety Federal Savings Bank in Vallejo, California, skimmed some $100,000 for herself from dormant accounts.

Luann Price Brent Price Luann, 42, a loan officer at Eureka Federal S&L in Eureka, California, and her husband, Brent.

Roderick D. Reed 42, president of FirstSouth Savings in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Robert Mikkelsen 53, executive vice president of Baldwin County S&L in Robertsdale, Alabama, pushed through a $1.5 million loan for three business associates, supposedly to develop a marina on a piece of swamp known as the Quarantine Property. 

Stephen Croff 42, chief loan officer at Gold River Savings in Carmichael, California, invented four fictitious borrowers and lent himself $198,000 to open a pizza parlor. 

Ronald Jacoby Simon Abelson Daniel Jessup Jacoby, 47, a former S&L president, Abelson, 33, and Jessup, 39, set up a straw mortgage scheme to get loans for condominiums from First Federal Savings and Loan Bank of Newton, Kansas

(All the material in italics above are quotes from a great article that appeared in Fortune in 1990)

Globally powerful banking titans, like the Vice President of Baldwin County S&L in downtown Robertsdale Alabama!

  One of the most successful prosecutions of one of the biggest crooks was of a guy named Don Dixon (the New York Time headline writers and journalists were obviously cracking themselves up about this story of hicks who hit that jackpot President Reagan mentioned). Don was the CEO of Vernon S&L, Vernon Texas - known a Vermin TX to some of the reporters who covered the story. Vernon  being the capital of Wilbarger County and - as everyone knows - the  financial center  of the North Wichita Falls Metropolex. Dixon actually stole a lot of money, but was this guy in the power elite?

There were some really connected people who got caught up in the unbreakable net of the implacable and righteous prosecutors.

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement.

A friend who also donated funds to the Republican set up a fund to help defer costs Neil incurred in his S&L legal defense[ Wikipedia]

And his partners too:

NEWPORT BEACH — Developer Bill L. Walters, who told a congressional committee in June that he was broke after defaulting on nearly $100 million in loans obtained from a Denver thrift with the help of Neil Bush, is now living in the lap of luxury here.

In February, a trust for Walters' wife, Jacqueline, bought a $1.9-million gated estate near Newport Bay, according to county records reviewed by The Times. State records also show that his wife's trust bought a mobile home on prime oceanfront property just northwest of Laguna Beach for $250,000.[...]

Walters is a one-time business associate of Bush, a son of President Bush. The activities of Neil Bush, Walters and Kenneth Good, another business partner of Bush, have become the focal point of federal investigations into the failure of Silverado Banking, Savings & Loan Assn. in Denver.

LA Times July 1990

but justice prevailed in the end

SANTA ANA — Dealing a blow to federal banking and thrift regulators, a bankruptcy judge has ruled that the government failed to prove that former developer Bill L. Walters hid millions of dollars in assets from creditors and intentionally lied about his earnings.

The long-awaited decision, released Friday, all but clears the way for Walters to be freed from as much as $220 million in debts while he continues to live in luxury in a rented beachfront home in the Emerald Bay area of Laguna Beach and reportedly jets to Europe to consult with bankers and investors.


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