by Teri Buhl – teribuhl.com
Fallout from JP Morgan trading losses, which led to rater Fitch downgrading their debt yesterday, aren’t the only financial worries the banking behemoth is facing. Nestled in that shocking 10-Q filed Thursday is an admission that their regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, thinks some of the details that lead to the explosive Ambac mortgage security fraud suit against the naughty stepchild of JPM, Bear Stearns/EMC, are worthy of an enforcement action. Yep- the SEC is giving or finally gave them a Wells Notice, which means according to their 10-Q (and their 10-K) in January 2012 the SEC’s investigation into the sins of Bear’s Mortgage team run by Tom Morano, Jeff Verschleiser, Mike Nierenberg and the subsequent cover up by JPM was worthy of a civil suit along with some penalties.
JPM’s 10-Q states “In January 2012, the Firm was advised by SEC staff that they are considering recommending to the Commission that civil or administrative actions be pursued arising out of two separate investigations they have been conducting… In both investigations, the Firm has submitted responses to the proposed actions.”
We see JP Morgan admit one of the Wells notices relates to the fraud actions first brought forward in the Ambac suit with this line from the 10-Q, “The second involves potential claims against Bear Stearns entities, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC relating to settlements of claims against originators involving loans included in a number of Bear Stearns securitizations.”
They are talking about a phrase I first coined called the ‘double dipping scheme’.
It’s black letter law that Wells submissions to the SEC are discoverable in civil litigation. So lawyers in the monoline suits against JPM/BEAR will surely be trying to get a copy of the wells notice via discovery.
I first reported the SEC started an investigation into these alleged securities violations (and possible criminal actions) after I saw the securities regulator approach the lawyers and whistleblowers in my Bear Stearns investigative report at The Atlantic the day after the story came out. Now a year later it appears all the ‘shitty deal’ emails, internal Bear Stearns documents, and over thirty whistleblowers who’ve come forward in the monoline suits lead by the New York office of law firm PBWT was enough to get the SEC to stand up to JPM and hopefully say ‘what you did violated securities laws and harmed investors’. Talk about another wave that could lead to tsunami style damage to Jamie Dimon’s ‘fortress balance sheet’.
How many billions in damages JP Morgan will have to pay out is not yet determined but inside their Mortgage-Backed Securities and Repurchase Litigation note on the 10-Q the bank tells us “There are currently pending and tolled investor and monoline claims involving approximately $120 billion of such securities.” (Full Story)