Surprise! DoJ’s mortgage-fraud prosecutions claim turns out to be … fraudulent

posted at 8:01 am on August 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Bloomberg News caught the Department of Justice in a particularly noteworthy Friday-night news dump over the weekend.  The Obama administration, stung by accusations from the Left that it hadn’t gone after fraudulent mortgages and the lenders that helped fuel the bubble, claimed that a year-long initiative run by the Mortgage Fraud Working Group in the DoJ had charged 530 people who had victimized 73,000 people.  When Bloomberg’s reporters began digging into the claim, the DoJ stonewalled — and then finally admitted it cooked the books themselves:

The Justice Department made a long-overdue disclosure late Friday: Last year when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder boasted about the successes that a high-profile task force racked up pursuing mortgage fraud, the numbers he trumpeted were grossly overstated.

We’re not talking small differences here. Originally the Justice Department said 530 people were charged criminally as part of a year-long initiative by the multi-agency Mortgage Fraud Working Group. It now says the actual figure was 107 — or 80 percent less. Holder originally said the defendants had victimized more than 73,000 American homeowners. That number was revised to 17,185, while estimates of homeowner losses associated with the frauds dropped to $95 million from $1 billion.

Hey, they only inflated those claims by 80% and 9o% — or looking at it from the other direction, 500% and 900%.  Shouldn’t they get a chance to round up to the nearest 1000%?  If you’re wondering what prompted this sudden outbreak of honesty, Bloomberg explains that two of its reporters had figured out the fraud:

The government restated the statistics because it got caught red-handed by a couple of nosy reporters. Last October, two days after Holder first publicized the numbers, Phil Mattingly and Tom Schoenberg of Bloomberg News broke the story that some of the cases included in the Justice Department’s tally occurred before the initiative began in October 2011. At least one was filed more than two years before President Barack Obama took office.

Jonathan Weil then played phone- and e-mail-tag with the DoJ spokesperson for a month, who promised Weil a list of those charged with fraud under the MFWG project.  And promised. And promised.  Instead, Weil wrote a column blasting Justice for stonewalling him.

The DoJ has finally corrected the record — late on a Friday, when few press outlets were around to note it.  As it turns out, the original figure included people prosecuted or just sentenced in the same fiscal year, even though they had been charged with crimes long before the MFWG came into being.  The victims were not limited to distressed homeowners, as the DoJ had originally claimed, and as Eric Holder himself bragged.

This isn’t the first time Holder has been caught cooking the books, Weil reminds us:

This was the second time, mind you, that Holder’s Justice Department had pulled a stunt like this. In December 2010, Holder held a press conference to tout a supposed sweep by the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force called “Operation Broken Trust.” (The mortgage-fraud program was part of the same task force.) As with the mortgage-fraud initiative, Broken Trust wasn’t actually a sweep. All the Justice Department did was lump together a bunch of small-fry, penny-ante fraud cases that had nothing to do with one another. Then it held a press gathering.

At least on that occasion, the Justice Department promptly provided me with a list of the defendants’ names and case details when I asked for them. That is how I was able to determine for a December 2010 column that the government’s Broken Trust numbers were inflated. Among the handful of cases on the list that I spot-checked, one defendant was sentenced to probation before the operation’s supposed start date. Another person on the list had no record of criminal charges. Other cases had nothing to do with any actions by the task force. The Justice Department still hasn’t restated the Broken Trust numbers — even though those statistics clearly were in error, too.

And people wonder why no one trusts government. Remember when Democrats and the media got so exercised about politicization at the Department of Justice when President Bush asked six political appointees in the US Attorney corps to resign?  Good times, good times.


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This is Obama’s america, in about 4 more years they won’t have to bother releasing a correction.

rob verdi on August 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

More Phony Scandals™

Electrongod on August 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Isn’t it the thought that counts?!

Shy Guy on August 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

This regime is so thoroughly corrupt, it’s getting harder to keep up with it all.

TarheelBen on August 12, 2013 at 8:09 AM

It now says the actual figure was 107 — or 80 percent less. Holder originally said the defendants had victimized more than 73,000 American homeowners. That number was revised to 17,185, while estimates of homeowner losses associated with the frauds dropped to $95 million from $1 billion.

Rounding error. Right?

In the meantime, Drudge is reporting that Bo was airlifted to Martha’s vineyard on V-22. No room in Air Force One???? WTF? How much did that cost the American taxpayer? BTW, the White House is still closed for public tours because of lack of funding.

Fair warning to the trolls. I really am not in the mood for nonsense this morning.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Why should we have to put up with this sh!t? Liars, thieves, and traitors – all. If we don’t deal with this soon, even our present commentaries could carry a death sentence…

HomeoftheBrave on August 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Nothing to see here lets focus on reince instead
-lsm

Infuriating what they get away with….

cmsinaz on August 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Ya’ll ain’t got nuttin to worry about, just chill…..

ted c on August 12, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Just another thing for the media to ignore. They are the group that need investigation for fraud, by claiming they’re objective when few in America trust that they are.

Like with all the other scandals of this Administration, nothing will come of it. Holder and Obama will skate by yet again without so much as a tough question from the lapdog media.

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 8:15 AM

OT: The left’s outrage of the day. In Missouri a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask (gasp). The left is furious – crying racism. How is an Obama mask racist? I seem to recall Nixon, Reagan and GWB masks being very popular.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/11/rodeo-clown-dons-obama-mask-gets-chased-by-bull-crowd-goes-nuts-libs-want-heads-to-roll/

TarheelBen on August 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Nothing to see here lets focus on reince instead
-lsm

cmsinaz on August 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

They just like saying “Reince Priebus.” :0

Seriously. GWB’s “scandals” included a mission accomplished banner and legally firing 18 non-performing US Attorneys (one of which I can personally attest should have been fired).

With this administration, the scandals are becoming too numerous to keep straight and the media could care less. But hey, we know that from the time they left Florida to the time they ended up at Martha’s Vineyard the rat-eared coward changed into kakhis and the shaved Yeti put on a white and yellow summer dress. Priorities.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

And the media keeps felating this man (Obama). I swear the MSM suffers from battered wife syndrome.

NotCoach on August 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

One thing is impressive, though. Investigative reporters doing actual investigations? I sure hope their taxes were properly filed; President Choom isn’t the least bit shy about siccing the IRS, DOJ, DHS, ATF, and all of the rest of the alphabet on those who speak the truth to power.

RoadRunner on August 12, 2013 at 8:19 AM

The left’s outrage of the day. In Missouri a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask (gasp). The left is furious – crying racism. How is an Obama mask racist? I seem to recall Nixon, Reagan and GWB masks being very popular.

TarheelBen on August 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Don’t try making sense of it. Remember that during the election “Chicago” and “Golf” were deemed to be racist. The system is rigged and the left will do anything to keep this worthless evil bastard in power. Since Bo was flown in separately, it truly is a shame that Air Force One didn’t experience engine troble taking out the filthy rat-eared bastard, the shaved-yeti, and their worthless brats.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

And the media keeps felating this man (Obama). I swear the MSM suffers from battered wife syndrome.

NotCoach on August 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

A lot of truth in that analogy.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM

It is over for these four banks.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/03/28/risk-is-back-americas-big-banks-are-knee-deep-in-derivatives/

The DOJ is making sure of it. They have $200 TRILLION plus in derivative poison they are holding and the Feds will not let them get rid of it.

Be very very concerned.

PappyD61 on August 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM

HN
Priorities

Tarheel Ben…. lsm to reporr this outrage in 5.4…..3.
Another distraction

Nevermind the 8 years of attacks on W

cmsinaz on August 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM

OT: The left’s outrage of the day. In Missouri a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask (gasp). The left is furious – crying racism. How is an Obama mask racist? I seem to recall Nixon, Reagan and GWB masks being very popular.

TarheelBen on August 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

I am sure Chris Matthews will apologize for White America shortly.

Electrongod on August 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM

(cough) Penny Pritzker (coughcough)

Stu Gotts on August 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM

This is Obama’s america, in about 4 more years they won’t have to bother releasing a correction.
rob verdi on August 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

They don’t really have to now. They stonewalled for a year before saying anything. Why did they even bother?

JAGonzo on August 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Remember all of the rants and raves from the left and Teddy Kennedy about Ashcroft?Those were the good old days.

docflash on August 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

When it comes to honesty,integrity and ethical behavior Eric gets a zero.

tim c on August 12, 2013 at 8:25 AM

NotCoach on August 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

We need to stop saying these things as they are vague and misleading. We should all be referring to the lsm as the fifth column. They should be called the tyrant’s propaganda arm. We should call them the ministry of propaganda. The Amerikan Pravda. There is no sense in calling them a bunch of prostitutes. That means nothing to the masses. As the downfall continues and our rights are eroded away, the press is a complicit and willing partner of the regime in this and should be held accountable, down to specific, high-profile individuals who have access to large mediums. These entities are truly traitorous.

HomeoftheBrave on August 12, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Execution is still the punishment for treason, right?

Flange on August 12, 2013 at 8:31 AM

What else do you expect from an administration that takes not one, not two but three airplane trips (assuming the girls are showing) to move the First Family and dinn…er…Dog to Martha’s Vineyard.

That’s right – Bo got his own plane trip, and the girls are still not in Massachusetts.

Steve Eggleston on August 12, 2013 at 8:32 AM

You cannot trust this administration ON ANYTHING.

The ONLY surprise is that they didn’t railroad those that they claimed were guilty but were not. I mean, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is now in a halfway house. We need some more political prisoners.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 8:33 AM

When it comes to honesty,integrity and ethical behavior Eric gets an absolute zero.

tim c on August 12, 2013 at 8:25 AM

I presume you weren’t referring to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celcius, where negative is a possibility.

Steve Eggleston on August 12, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Remember when Democrats and the media got so exercised unreasonably outraged about politicization at the Department of Justice when President Bush asked six political appointees in the US Attorney corps to resign?

.
That still pisses me off. They serve at the pleasure of the president! Besides, they’re attorneys… they can get jobs in politically connected law firms.

ExpressoBold on August 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

You cannot trust this administration ON ANYTHING.

The ONLY surprise is that they didn’t railroad those that they claimed were guilty but were not. I mean, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is now in a halfway house. We need some more political prisoners.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 8:33 AM

The difference – the mortgage hustlers had money that probably was redirected payable to OFA.

Steve Eggleston on August 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Does RICO apply to political parties or corrupt administrations?

meci on August 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM

Remember when Democrats and the media got so exercised unreasonably outraged about politicization at the Department of Justice when President Bush asked six political appointees in the US Attorney corps to resign?

Remember when President Clinton fired 93 US Attorneys and the Democrats said NOTHING?

Conveniently, they don’t.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM

We’re not talking small differences here. Originally the Justice Department said 530 people were charged criminally as part of a year-long initiative by the multi-agency Mortgage Fraud Working Group. It now says the actual figure was 107 — or 80 percent less. Holder originally said the defendants had victimized more than 73,000 American homeowners. That number was revised to 17,185, while estimates of homeowner losses associated with the frauds dropped to $95 million from $1 billion.

Despite the fact of the reporting, notice how the manner in which Forbes reports these matters tends to soften the blow for the DOJ.

First, sure, we’re told that DOJ claimed 530 people were charged when, in fact, only 107 were charged. But going on to say “80 percent less” seems mealy-mouthed. Readers’ eyes glaze over when asked to deal with percentages and fractions. Why not make readers’ eyes bulge by saying Holder inflated these numbers by five times or, sticking with percentages, overstated the actual figure by nearly 500%.

Second, regarding the homeowners victimized, again, we’re told that DOJ claimed associated losses were $1 billion when, in fact, the figure is $95 million. Still, by phrasing the correction “dropped to $95 million from $1 billion,” Forbes, again, seems to pull its punches. Dropped? How about stating plainly that the DOJ inflated its loss figures by ten times.

Forgive the quibbling, but so much of the bad news “reported” about the Obama administration is not reported in stark and accurate terms intended to inform readers in a common-sense and readily understandable way. Instead, too often we get glancing jabs written by people who are wringing their hands over the fact that they actually have to report bad news about their fellow travelers.

BuckeyeSam on August 12, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Holder held a press conference to tout a supposed sweep by the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force called “Operation Broken Trust.”

No irony there. /

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM

When will it stop?Never with this bunch!

Pardonme on August 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

The Most Transparent Administration Evah!

Yeah, easy to see right-through this escapade.

TimBuk3 on August 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Most transparently crooked and dishonest administration ever.

rbj on August 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM

The drip, drip, drip, of never ending *excrement* that comes out of this administration just wears me out. The media has made them bulletproof, and they know it.

BettyRuth on August 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Well this is….shocking.

workingclass artist on August 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Obama’s strengths are these:

1 The people who don’t pay taxes (or certainly not their fair share) overwhelmingly support him.
2 The people who do pay taxes (and didn’t support him,)wind up paying for all the social welfare costs for people who do support him. In other words, the funding for Obama’s socialism comes from his enemies! Clever these Democrats!
3 And now, germane to this thread, one of the two reasons Obama gets by with scandal after scandal after scandal after scandal is that their sheer number (like a denial of service cyber attack) overwhelm the imagination and makes it virtually impossible to concentrate on any one item and they also create “scandal weariness”. A denial of service cyber attack causes a web site to be overwhelmed and shut down. A plethora of scandals, almost daily, causes the human mind to shut down.
4 But even point 3 would not be enough to hold Obama harmless were it not for the protective umbrella of an obsequious MSM.

The bottom line is–no matter what happens-Obama will always survive.

MaiDee on August 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

As long as the people telling the lies don’t suffer any consequences…which Holder has not, they’ll just keep on telling them.

scalleywag on August 12, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I know lying is lying and we can just add this to the pile that never stops steaming but it doesn’t rank up there with jobs created or saved, the debt, deficit, denying health care to 30M people, the number of illegals, sequester damage, not spying on Americans, slowing walking requests from Conservative groups, etc etc. You’d think by now even the fellow travelers would get tired of being lied to. OP Broken Trust is aptly named.

Kissmygrits on August 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Phony results from a phony administration. No wonder Barry likes to talk about ‘phony scandals’.

GarandFan on August 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

The Justice Department still hasn’t restated the Broken Trust numbers — even though those statistics clearly were in error a lie, too.

FIFY, Weil.

GWB on August 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM

BuckeyeSam on August 12, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Low info voter: “Let’s see… $95 million is almost a billion. Isn’t it?”

Vince on August 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I know lying is lying and we can just add this to the pile that never stops steaming but it doesn’t rank up there with jobs created or saved, the debt, deficit, denying health care to 30M people, the number of illegals, sequester damage, not spying on Americans, slowing walking requests from Conservative groups, etc etc. You’d think by now even the fellow travelers would get tired of being lied to. OP Broken Trust is aptly named.

Kissmygrits on August 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM

If people won’t vote because they’re guy didn’t get nominated or they’re too lazy to find out who or what they’re voting for, it really doesn’t matter does it?

Vince on August 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM

they’re guy

Their guy.

Vince on August 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Keep hammering the Friday night news dumps. That pattern bothers me more than anything.

teejk on August 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

OT: The left’s outrage of the day. In Missouri a rodeo clown donned an Obama mask (gasp). The left is furious – crying racism. How is an Obama mask racist? I seem to recall Nixon, Reagan and GWB masks being very popular.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/11/rodeo-clown-dons-obama-mask-gets-chased-by-bull-crowd-goes-nuts-libs-want-heads-to-roll/

TarheelBen on August 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

I’d take that rodeo clown as president in place of the present clown in a heartbeat.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The bottom line is–no matter what happens-Obama will always survive.

MaiDee on August 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

You forgot the bestest one:

5. Any criticism of Barky or his presidency is a priori proof of racism, and thus cannot be tolerated in our enlightened world.

bofh on August 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

So how many of these were actually prosecuted by the Bush administration?

Enquiring minds want to know.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM

“Operation Broken Trust.”

Sounds like a great name for this administration.

Oxymoron on August 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

The Obama administration is a criminal enterprise.

AZCoyote on August 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM

More Phony Scandals™

Electrongod on August 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

No. Acutually more Phony Success™. From a long long line of Phony Successes™.

NOMOBO on August 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM

The head of the DOJ is a 4-time Felonious Perjurer and continues to break the law by refusing to release documents to Congress as directed by SEVERAL subpoenas … and the President has his back!

IRS persecution of citizens / Obama’s enemies, Illegal data collection of EVERY American citizen, militarization of the DHS & the police, a crooked/criminal DOJ, Obama running gun-running ops to Mexican Drug cartels & Islamic Extremists (Libya, Syria…)…

With all this going on, who the h#ll is surprised? If you are one of the ones who ARE surprised – wake the h#ll up! Then again, never mind – it’s already too late!

easyt65 on August 12, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Bloomberg News caught the Department of Justice in a particularly noteworthy Friday-night news dump…

The DoJ has finally corrected the record — late on a Friday, when few press outlets were around to note it.

You’d think that decent and diligent reporters with attention-spans greater than that of a fruitfly would love a Friday night release: it would give them the weekend to go through things carefully and thoroughly for a big story the next Monday and a week’s worth of talk. (I mean, you’d think.)

Tzetzes on August 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM