Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bank ripped off states, cities, pays $137 million

Some men rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen

Here's someone new to blame -- the banks, not public service employees -- for the financial mess that state and local governments find themselves in.

Bank of America is paying $137 million because it ripped off hundreds of U.S. counties, towns, school districts, transit systems and airport authorities. The bank rigged bids for municipal bond financings, which ultimately cost taxpayers millions.

Federal prosecutors said the Bank of America scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Christine Varney, the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, told reporters
Stay tuned to this channel -- I think you will see a lot more activity in the coming weeks and months. We are committed to getting restitution, full restitution, to all the municipalities that were victims of this scheme.
Bank of America stole from so many different institutions that officials haven't figured out yet who all gets a piece of the $137 million. We do know that Pennsylvania schools, cities, airports and transit systems will get a share. Reports the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Besides the $2 million for Montgomery County, from the bank's role in a 2001 bond sale, it is also paying $1.1 million to Downingtown Area School District, for bond issues in 2001 and 1998; $321,000 to Chester County from a 2001 bond issue; and $34,500 to the North Penn School District from a 1999 deal, according to the $9 million settlement between the bank and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, BofA's main regulator.
Also, Bank of America will pay $331,000 to New Jersey Transit Corp., stemming from a 2002 bond issue, as part of its $36 million settlement with SEC.
And the bank will pay a total of $4 million to Philadelphia, the city airport and its parking authority, SEPTA, and more than 100 other Bank of America clients across Pennsylvania as part of a $67 million settlement with attorneys general in 20 states...
Stay tuned.