lucius_gantt_1.jpgBankers, money changers, predatory lenders and financial criminals are jumping for joy after the United States government unveiled a plan that would allow each and every one of the crooks who conspired to steal trillions of dollars from innocent citizens to escape jail time.

Think about it. If your checking account is a penny overdrawn, you get punished but if you lie, cheat, falsify documents and take homes from everybody but the rich, you get bailed out by politicians.    

Government talks about the great proposed settlement deal with Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo whereby the banks agreed to pay $5 billion in cash to try to remedy complaints about dubious mortgage practices and foreclosure abuses. But even if you settle with Ali Baba and four other crooks, there are still 35 thieves left to continue to rob you blind.

Let me explain. What is the settlement for persons who have mortgages allegedly owned by foreign banks like HSBC or for homeowners who had mortgages with companies like Countrywide and Freemont Investments and Loans? What is the relief for homeowners who have complained against Litton Loan Services or Owen Loan Services about being often and consistently lied about being mortgage note holders?

American mortgage notes were bought, sold and perhaps given away to who knows who? The banks can't find original loan documents, assignments and transfers. Transfers were alleged to have been illegally made by a Mortgage Electronic Reporting System (MERS) that was designed and created by bankers themselves and has no legal standing in most states in the union.

The mortgage settlement has to be a joke if you consider that 11 million victimized borrowers are underwater on their loans to the tune of at least $700 billion. A government proposed $17 billion in write-downs would be about 2.4 percent of the total negative equity weighing down borrowers across the United States.

If you couldn’t trust banks to operate fairly and legally before, what makes you think any settlement with the bankers will be honored today or tomorrow?

For example, all of us, if we ask around, would find someone who was told he or she got bank modifications on a mortgage loan that would lower interest rates. Instead, as soon as they could, the bankers raised interest rates and refused to comply with agreed-upon modification rates because the money changers know that politicians will do nothing about it as long as they get banks to contribute to their political campaign coffers.

Don’t take The Gantt Report’s word for it. Philip Olsen, a former Nevada Supreme Court settlement conference judge, said, “It’s astounding that in a huge percentage of cases, lenders are not complying” with settlement agreements.

Don’t expect the government to do anything to resolve and stop bank scams, mortgage frauds and other financial crimes. The only way to stop bank misconduct is to pick one bank at a time and have all depositors withdraw their money from that bank. If African Americans alone withdrew all of their money in one day from, say, Bank of America, that bank would soon have to close its doors.

After that, move on to the next bank until we find a bank that we can trust not to steal from us.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book  Beast Too: Dead Man Writing.

He may be reached at

Photo: Lucius Gantt