Once again, it’s always interesting to see the cases federal prosecutors pursue and the ones they don’t.
Chicago Tribune: “Prosecutors alleged that Ballentine acted as the real estate lawyer at closings involving nearly 30 fraudulent loans. He knew that the buyers did not qualify to buy the properties in Chicago and the suburbs, authorities said.”
A whole thirty loans? I’m so impressed. The case reminds me of one of the biggest failures of President Obama and Eric Holder: Failing to prosecute bankers for the subprime mortgage ripoff.
Ballentine’s attorney says he made a whopping $8,000 for whatever federal prosecutors in Chicago are knocking themselves out to prosecute him for. While they attempt to impress everyone with this Mickey Mouse conviction of a talk show host, we sit here knowing these facts of bankers targeting bad mortgage deals at Black borrowers as Ballentine is about to be sent to prison:
— Former Chase Banker Admits His Bank Pushed Minorities Into Subprime Loans (Think Progress, Dec. 2011)
— Ex-loan officer claims Wells Fargo targeted black communities for shoddy loans (Washington Post, June 2012)
— A Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the wealth of blacks plunged 53 percent during the recession, driven by falling home prices. The average net worth of a black household in 2009 was $5,677, according to the study, the lowest of any racial group. (Washington Post, July 2012)
— After years of record prosperity, homeownership rates among black Americans have plunged to the lowest level in 16 years. Unemployment has reached levels not seen since the 1980s. (Washington Post, July 2012)
So banks paid a fine? So what. Before this all started, Ballentine was on the radio for three hours a day on Radio One in 37 cities. To review: The radio talks show host is facing 30 years in prison while the subprime gangsters got zero time. And yes, that’s my one and only take from the Ballentine prosecution.