A hustler, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a person who obtains money by fraud and deception.” Eight financial institutions did precisely this. The corporations tricked taxpayers’ into believing their money was safe while institutions actually used U.S. funds for personal expenses.
As thousands of homeowners struggled to make payments on mortgages and thousands of families lost homes, CEO’s were enjoying bonuses and luxury rides on Special Investment Vehicles, also known as, private jets. The eight banks also claimed to set out bonuses to shareholders instead of paying it to taxpayers.
According to Congressman Barney Frank, the U.S. government funded over $300 billion from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to the following banks: Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co., Morgan Stanley, State Street Corp., Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs & Co.
This was an attempt to bail these financial institutions out of their economic stress.
The House of Financial Services Committee members questioned Citigroup CEO, Vikram Pandit, who was given $45 billion in cash from TARP funds, and shorted taxpayers over $19 billion dollars. Bank of America did not deny the allegation of paying themselves $30 million in fees to qualify for TARP funds. In 2007, the average compensation for all eight CEOs was $25 million. Altogether, taxpayers were under compensated $78 billion by eight of the financial institutes.
These banks took $78 billion from the governments hand without skipping a beat. Money given to these institutions as means of salvaging America’s economy, were swindled away in $100,000 personal company cars, private jets and million dollar apartments.
Usually, when a person is caught taking money that does not belong to them; he or she faces some form of consequence. Legally, corporate hustlers can disguise their schemes as dividends, expenses, and programs like Credit Default Swap, where the financial institution provides insurance for losses on securities in the event of a default, according to Time magazine.
It’s amazing that these banks are not being tried and persecuted for causing a detrimental financial impact on America. Ordinary hustlers go to jail or prison, but corporate hustlers take a few dollars off his or her salary or promise to go without bonuses for a year or two.
Kisha Payen is a senior broadcast student from Miami. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.