Feds Convict Warren Ballentine: Not One Subprime Banker Prosecuted

Feds Convict Warren Ballentine: Not One Subprime Banker Prosecuted


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)

— Across the nation, black homeowners were disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis, with more than 240,000 blacks losing homes they had owned. (American Prospect, Oct. 2014)

— 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.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke