Iowa’s attorney general said yesterday that he will bring criminal charges over the foreclosure scandal. But most of the press doesn’t have the news.
This is a story the rest of the press might want to report. The ante just got upped a bit on this scandal.
This isn’t necessarily just another politician blowing smoke. BusinessWeek put the longtime AG, Tom Miller, on its cover a couple of years ago with the headline “They Warned Us About the Mortgage Crisis.” He and other state attorneys general tried to crack down on predatory lending but were preempted by the Bush administration. And he’s heading up the joint investigation by all fifty states into the scandal. It’s worth following what he has to say.
Especially when it’s “we will put people in jail.”
That’s also notable, since as we discussed last week, no major executive has gone to jail for the financial crisis and its fallout. It’s unclear, of course, if Iowa will be able to prosecute executives or just the low-level employees who implemented the fraud. (UPDATE: I’m told that Miller’s office says he was indeed just talking about low-level employees and not bank executives.)
Iowa’s attorney general, who is leading a nationwide probe of questionable home foreclosures, met struggling homeowners on Tuesday and said he may bring criminal charges in his state.
“We will put people in jail,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said, referring to cases in his state he plans to prosecute with the U.S. Attorney in southern Iowa…
“Meeting face-to-face with people who have been caught up in this terrible foreclosure mess has only strengthened my resolve to get to the bottom of it and make the system better,” said Miller.
And the Des Moines Register, which misses the “we will put people in jail” quote:
Miller’s office said it’s working on a partnership with the U.S. attorney’s office in Iowa’s Southern District to jointly investigate criminal mortgage fraud cases.
This one’s worth watching.Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: Foreclosure, Fraud, Mortgage, Preemption, White Collar Crime