Financial Coup d’Etat & Your 401k

In 1997, I had approximately $500,000 of assets sitting in a 401(k) at T. Rowe Price. The funds represented a portion of the money I saved while working on Wall Street. After I left the Bush Administration, I used these funds, along with the proceeds of the sale of my house, to start a company called the Hamilton Securities Group.

It was not long before Hamilton Securities was successful and repaid my 401(k) the funds that had given it life.

Financial Coup d’Etat & Your 401(k)

A few years later, the federal loan sale program for which Hamilton served as financial advisor was the target of a highly politicized “investigation” by the federal government. A new Housing Secretary was eager to assist the Federal Reserve and Treasury in engineering a housing bubble: honest people had to go.

After a year of beating back false allegations, the government put my 401(k) under audit. My company’s chief financial officer and I looked at each other and said, “Uh-oh.” Somebody was trying to prevent me from borrowing the money.

Sure enough, a few months later the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a pretext to withhold monies owed to Hamilton and demanded several hundred thousand dollars of contract close-outs. Our bank received anonymous tips which persuaded them to pull our credit line. Our insurance company breached its obligation to fund our attorneys. And (surprise, surprise) our auditors said that the audit meant I could not arrange a loan from my 401(k) to Hamilton Securities. We were to learn in time that the auditors were quite dirty in the affair.

Fearless by nature, I closed out my 401(k) without blinking an eye, paid $225,000 in taxes and penalties, and loaned the remaining money to Hamilton Securities for contract compliance and legal expenses. I hired an excellent attorney on contingency and sued the federal government for the monies owed.

And we eventually won.

The moral of the story was that if you stand in the way of the largest housing bubble and pump and dump in history, it pays to have a nest egg.

After winning the case, my accountant hoped that some or all of the settlement would repay Hamilton’s legal expenses. Thrilled at the possibility, she said, “The first thing we’ll do is set up a new 401(k).”

“No,” I said. “I will never have an IRA or 401(k) again.” To this day, I never have. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

I assumed that my situation was unique – I hold highly visible positions – and that most people had nothing to worry about. There are numerous benefits to building savings in a 401(k) or IRA, although many of these plans are restricted in their investment choices. With persistence, someone can usually make such investment vehicles work for them. So, I had never considered the possibility of overt or covert confiscation of IRAs and 401(k)s until I read one of Franklin Sanders‘ comments about gold confiscation:

“Finally, gold and silver today don’t represent the huge pool of wealth they represented in 1933. [Solari note: the US government confiscated gold in 1933.] Why risk wide-spread disobedience to steal such a tiny plum? If the government wants to steal a big pool of wealth, they’ll snatch your pension funds and IRAs, not your gold.”

In fact, if you look at the value of most 401(k)s and IRAs lately, a great deal has already been “confiscated.” The mainstream media has described these losses as part of the normal economic cycle, but this is a fallacy. The losses are the result of a financial coup d’etat, including fraudulent housing bubbles, pump and dump schemes, naked short selling, precious metals price suppression, and active intervention in the markets by the government and central bank. Which begs the question, where is all this going?

I began hearing questions about whether it was safe to leave money in 401(k)s and IRAs late last year. These questions were due, in part, to a report in the Carolina Journal that floated the idea of federally-managed retirement accounts. And there were other concerns: the ease with which financial interests have manipulated Congress, the passage of the highly unpopular bailout package in 2008, and the growing federal deficit. These issues have raised the possibility of greater financial losses in 2009, increased capital controls, and possible constraints on 401(k)s and IRAs.

Enter the Wall Street Journal. Last week, a front-page article in the Journal examined recent 401(k) losses: Big Slide in 401(k)s Spurs Calls for Change. Here’s an excerpt:

“About 50 million Americans have 401(k) plans, which have $2.5 trillion in total assets, estimates the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. In the 12 months following the stock market’s peak in October 2007, more than $1 trillion worth of stock value held in 401(k)s and other “defined-contribution” plans was wiped out, according to the Boston College research center. If individual retirement accounts, which consist largely of money rolled over from 401(k)s, are taken into account, about $2 trillion of stock value evaporated.”

First of all, as I have pointed out many times, money does not simply disappear. It goes somewhere. The fact that $2 trillion has suddenly “evaporated” may mean that some, even greater, corresponding value is now under new ownership. And, in this case, the owners are no longer ordinary investors. If you have doubts about this, see my definition of “pump and dump”.

The Journal article also raised the possibility of changes in the structure of 401(k) accounts:

“Congress has begun looking at ways to overhaul the 401(k) system … One such plan called for establishing accounts that would receive annual contributions from the federal government, and would offer a guaranteed, but relatively low, rate of return. Another proposed automatically investing contributions in an index fund that holds stocks and bonds, with the mix getting more conservative as workers approach retirement.”

So, the solution is that the victims cede even more power to the perpetrators. Who’s pushing these ideas? Why is the Wall Street Journal floating such a trial balloon on the front page?

I live in an area with increasing tornado activity, but I am not planning on selling my home because of these risks. I know how to track storm warnings. I have a disaster preparedness kit and I know where the town’s storm cellar is located. With this in mind, I am not advising anyone to pull their money from a 401(k) or IRA. But, I do think we should understand the rules associated with this process. We should also make it clear to Congressional representatives that any tampering is not acceptable.

38 Comments

  1. In the fall of 2007, in anticipation of a widely-predicted economic downturn, I thought to liquidate my IRA accounts and use the funds to reduce my debt load. I chose instead to reposition the investments. Then, as reality began to hit this past fall and I watched the value of my repositioned investments begin to fall, I had an epiphany. I had been caught in a pincer movement – either take a heinous tax and penalty hit, or let the fraudsters bleed the accounts. It was suddenly very clear to me how brilliant the 401(k)/IRA legislation had been in locking up trillions of dollars of retirement money into a Great Ponzi Scheme. Once again, “they” had succeeded with the old “make a law, make a business” ruse. Although I still have those retirement accounts, albeit at much-diminished values, I will never again contribute to them. The same goes for my partner’s 403(b) account. Yes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, duh!

  2. Lets go to the Movies and review “Three Days of the Condor” with Robert Redford. This movie still brings chills to my spine after all these years and the ‘Big Oil, CIA and Survailence” themes map well onto the “Enemy of the State”. You might also consider reviewing Gene Hackmans 1974 thriller “The Conversation” which accurately portrayed state-of-the-art survailence technology in the late 60’s. One more movie I would like to hear you review is “V for Vendetta” with its take away messages that “The people should not be afraid of their Government; the Government should be afraid of their people” and that “Ideas are Bulletproof”.

    All the best to you and your family.

    Gordon

  3. Okay,
    I would like very much to close my 401k account. The funny thing is, I am told that inorder to receive my 401k monies,I have to be terminated and or fired.
    I, too have had my share of IRA accounts, but mysteriously, I have no accounts anymore. I too, have been fooled, but I am getting wiser, thanks to your expertise and your site.
    Chi-Megwetch(Thankyou).
    Jay Saros

  4. Gordon:

    Three Days of the Condor is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. For sure, we will do it. One of the greatest quotes every to come out of Hollywood about the challenge before us:

    Higgins: It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
    Joe Turner: Ask them?
    Higgins: Not now – then! Ask ’em when they’re running out. Ask ’em when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask ’em when their engines stop. Ask ’em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won’t want us to ask ’em. They’ll just want us to get it for ’em!

    Here it is on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eovei355l4o

    V for Vendetta is on the list, although not soon. I will go back and take a look at “The Conversation.”

    Thanks, Gordon!

  5. At 48, I wonder if I’d be better off cashing in my remaining IRA ‘retirement’ money, and upgrading to a larger house, where I could rent out rooms, and share expenses and resources. If hyperinflation is coming so fast and quick, wouldn’t it be better to buy anything we could possibly need now? Is there still time to make a change like this?

  6. A few years ago, many investors who realized that our markets were being manipulated organized NCANS, the National Coalition Against Naked Shorting. The first thing NCANS did was publish a letter to Bush to tell him we didn’t want the Federal Government taking over our retirement accounts. The small percentage they had been talking about didn’t seem like much until you put it all together… on Wall Street. We thought we’d been effective until they went after the treasury.

    We’ve raised awareness, but there has been a real struggle with the financial media to address the manipulation of stock. Members had their phones bugged, our banking records were stolen, people were ridiculed in the financial press for taking a stance against criminal activity.

    It is very interesting that Goldman Sachs had Madoff blacklisted, yet the CEO who then became Secretary of the Treasury never mentioned it. Madoff was so bad that Goldman Sachs wouldn’t trade with him and advised clients against him, but nobody at Goldman who knew cared enough to have him investigated. Surely, the Secretary of the Treasury is in a position to have a 30 billion dollar fund investigated. One has to wonder if Madoff is the norm and he really didn’t stand out.

    This is completely off-topic, but it is so inspirational and we all need a little of this. Regenerative medicine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxhi4Q8EDTU

  7. I have ZERO doubt that the plan is to screw all Americans out of these retirement funds. It just makes sense. The govt is already gettng desperate for sources of ‘revenue’ and as the stock market & economy continue to collapse they will become even more desperate.

    We are repeating the 1930’s all over again – same kind of collapse, same knid of frauds, same kind of govt ‘interventions’. In 1933 FDR closed the banks, devalued the dollar and snatched the gold. The govt is best thought of as an organism – and any organism has as it’s primary goal, it’s own survival. The survival of the citizens/taxpayers is irrelevant. The IRA’s, 403’s and 401k’s WILL BE confiscated – you can see and read about the plans being made already. I moved half of my IRA money out last year and the other half should be out in the next few months – this minimizes the tax hit.

    Ms. Fitts I would like congratulate you on your bravery – there are only a very few Americans in the public spotlight willing to tell the truth.

    If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend taking a look at Strauss & Howes book, The Fourth Turning. These guys predicted 911, Bush’s re-election, and the current economic debacle – and they did it in 1997.

  8. Thank you for your insight Catherine. As part of the revised Pension Protection Act (2007) Employers have been given greater latitude to direct the default option for retirement plans. Prior to passage of this legislation an employee who did not make an investment election was defaulted to a stable value fund (money market or similar) per regulations. The default election for many plans, in fact all plans I work with, is now a time/age based portfolio.

  9. Catherine,

    What do you think about todays newest development over at HUD?

    Heres a video of the story from MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann

    Please watch it, im dying to hear your take on this one.

    With Respect,

    J.P.

    PS – The HUD story story starts at 1 minute 30 seconds into the video.

    .msnbcLinks {font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #999; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 425px;} .msnbcLinks a {text-decoration:none !important; border-bottom: 1px dotted #999 !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px;} .msnbcLinks a:link, .msnbcLinks a:visited {color: #5799db !important;} .msnbcLinks a:hover, .msnbcLinks a:active {color:#CC0000 !important;} Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

  10. I am sure the gov will bail me out so I don’t have to file bankruptcy. Or maybe the CEO of GM will donate a mere 8 hours of his pay to me (~$50,000 total, if I remember correctly) and then I would have no problem. Or maybe the gov will reward me with just 17/1,000,000 of the money I tried to save it from wasting. (Especially since the gov wasted it anyhow.) Funny, I haven’t been able to get a decent job since then. Must be bad luck.

  11. JP:

    I listened to the piece. My guess is the testimony is being promoted to support greater control over the appraisal industry by the people who engineered the housing bubble. The prime predatory lenders are the beneficiaries of the bailout — Citicorp, JP Morgan Chase, etc. Seems to me this is pretty obvious already.

    The predatory lending that occurred was engineered with the aggressive help of the HUD Inspector General’s help — see http://www.dunwalke.com — and involved tremendous armtwisting of appraisers to give inflated appraisals. Now stories of little guys will be used to support a call for even more centralized control of the appraisal industry.

    The real solution is the DECENTRALIZATION of appraisal regulation.

    Bottom line: Why in the world are you listening to MSNBC?

  12. I’m glad to hear that Three Days of the Condor will be discussed. Boy, that is a great movie and chilling is a great description of it. One of the few movies I enjoy watching every couple of years. Seems due for a remake given the current political climate.

  13. Thanks for your site, Catherine – it is very informative.

    I pulled about half of my $150K IRA out in mid-2008 to pay down debt and purchase some property. The other half I put with a different IRA custodian specializing in foreign stocks and precious metals. I would have pulled the whole amount if it wasn’t for the ~50% tax and penalty hit. What I need is a way to avoid the tax and penalty this April… At best I will only be able to pay the IRS in installments… Maybe if I file an extension the dollar will tank and the gov’t will default by then…

  14. Catherine…i wonder if the President Elect will make good on a campaign utterance regarding retirement withdrawals. If memory serves me correctly:No early withdrawal penalty for amounts up to $10000.00.I won`t hold my breath!I will, however, continue to read you!

  15. Alabama State Rep. Thomas E. Jackson Urges Congress to Initiate New Pecora Investigation

    January 16, 2009 (LPAC)–Alabama State Representative Representative Thomas E. Jackson (D 68th District) on Jan. 14 sent a letter to three members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation, urging them to act to convene a new Pecora investigation of the financial crimes that have led to the current financial breakdown crisis.

    Rep. Jackson’s letter cited the well documented fraud that has been perpetrated by scores of Wall Street firms, hedge funds, and other financial institutions. He noted that during the original Pecora Hearings, which investigated the causes of the 1929 Stock Market crash and ensuing Great Depression, numerous luminaries from Wall Street, including banking mogul Jack Morgan himself, were brought before Congress to testify. The hearings, he wrote, provided the leverage for President Franklin Roosevelt to ram through a series of reforms, including the Glass-Steagall Act, and paved the way for the entire New Deal package; a moratorium on foreclosures and the great infrastructure projects which put millions back to work.

    In his letter, Representative Jackson noted the call for a New Pecora Commission by Lyndon LaRouche, and quoted LaRouche’s demand for an immediate investigation with full transparency in light of the fact that many members of Congress approved the Paulson-Bernanke bailout swindle against their own best instincts, and that now, three months, and at least $8 trillion later, we are in an even bigger hole. Representative Jackson ended by asking the members of Congress to initiate the hearings to provide the leverage to put today’s financiers into federal bankruptcy, and then move to implement a full package of Roosevelt-styled programs to save our economy.

  16. Hi,
    Also on this account, From:
    http://www.larouchepac.com/news/2009/01/20/larouche-stop-londons-fraudulent-bail-out-schemes.html
    LaRouche: Stop London’s Fraudulent Bail-out Schemes
    January 20, 2009 (LPAC)–American statesman Lyndon LaRouche today denounced the City of London’s continuing insistence on cooking up desperate bail-out schemes for the bankrupt international financial system, which they are trying to impose on the United States as well, such as the absurd idea of creating a “bad bank” loaded down with toxic assets. “This is a bunch of hyperinflationary nonsense,” LaRouche said. “We should put these things through bankruptcy reorganization.”

    “That’s what you do: you put them through bankruptcy. You can do it by bankruptcy proceeding, you know. You can say that those things which are of value to the government and to the people will be protected; and those other things won’t. They will just sit out there, waiting for their disposition.

    “And that’s what they’re not doing,” LaRouche continued. “You’ve got a bankrupt system, and they refuse to put it into bankruptcy! What they are doing instead, is they are getting to an inflationary valuation of fraudulent assets. Here you have a bank that’s bankrupt. The assets are worthless. Everybody agrees the assets are worthless. But they are going to try to keep them alive. What is that, but fraud?

    “This is fraud! They are committing a fraud against the people.

    “President Obama has to push through to have all of this declared illegal. He should say: `This is fraudulent. We found that the evidence shows that it was fraudulent.’ Because obviously you cannot have the United States being destroyed by this kind of operation.

    “This is tantamount to treason,” LaRouche emphasized. “It just cannot be tolerated. So therefore these guys have to be told: `We’re calling you back in, buddy.’ And the new Pecora Commission is going to find itself with some questions that the old one didn’t quite have. It would appear that history has learned nothing from the experience of the Pecora Commission.” LaRouche concluded.

  17. There’s a $ucker born every minute! And this is especially true of faster poo food Amerikans.

    As a whole (and ass-a-hole) the Amerikan consumer citizens are the most manipulated and ignorant population on the planet. Not only are they hopelessly clueless and $tewepid, butt they’re damn proud of it! I rest my case with the $ellection and re-$ellection of George W. Bush, a dry drunk $ociopath who pretended to be President under Dick Darth Cheney, one of the world’s most evil men.

    401k? 403b? 529a? Keogh retirement plan? Mutual fund investment? IRA Roth? Annuities? Pensions? All these things are paper $cams. And if ewe folks think your $cam paper will be there down the road, ewe are one of the $uckers!

    There are two rules in poker. The first rule says that ewe folks gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. The $econd rule of poker (the Wall $treet casino) is so ovbious that the players forget about it. The $econd rule of poker says… NEVER EVER HIRE SOMEBODY ELSE TO PLAY POKER WITH YOUR MONEY. If ewe have a mutual fund, then ewe are a $ucker!

  18. If you must lose your job to access your 401K and if you are on good terms with your employer, have them fire and then rehire you. Access your money and hide it or put it into something real. I know several people that have done this. Good luck.

  19. I have been concerned about my IRA account. So I recently moved it from one brokerage firm to a bank that I hope is more secure. (These days there just seems no way to do due diligence to protect oneself to make a sound call.) Anyway, as I was completing the rollover forms, the bank personnel told me “Oh! I meant to tell you! Last December, Pres. Bush signed into a law a waiver so that persons who normally are REQUIRED by law to take a min. distribution from their IRA accounts will NOT have to do so for 2009.” She was just so tickled to share this terrific news with me. I turned to my spouse with raised eyebrows and said, “Oh my goodness! The feds are deperate for people to leave their funds IN. Maybe we should be liquidate the account rather than just trying to roll it over into something we THINK might be safer.” The bank woman never grasped the dangerous signal that was represented by this unqiue waiver to the public that they do NOT have to take a min. distribution (unless it is the FIRST year of their required distribution). Pres. Bush signed the law on December 23, 2008. Surprised me — and has me concerned.

  20. Perhaps we should look at the various savings plans from nature’s perspective. Is it possible on a finite planet to (sustainably) save up more “food” than what will keep for a season or two? A second question might be: Is it possible to live well with only a winter’s worth of nuts stored away? A third: How do we get the capital to build the nut houses?

    Is it safe to say that almost all of the savings that exist are paper only? Those of us familiar with fractional lending know that this is so. It may well be that only the Silent generation (see The Fourth Turning book mentioned earlier) will benefit from our brief foray into thinking that we can save up for retirement in a big way.

    How do we shrink our footprints and live well? I think that it would look something like this:

    http://www.rancholapuerta.com/index.html

    Those who have saved up some nuts will provide the capital and have access to the infrastructure at the lesser of cost of market — thereby eliminating the ill effects of inflation and deflation. Those who have not saved up nuts — and have a propensity to learn — would work 20 hours per week building and operating the infrastructure. It will be a helluva lot more fun than getting a business degree and working in institutional investment management knowing that there won’t be any nuts for your pension fund clients at the end of this era.

    Maybe we can start building our spa on a farm in Tennessee?

  21. Catherine,
    Just because you were caught up in political wranglings doesn’t make you qualified to be an investment advisor or another’s financial advisor. In fact, you would be violating securities law, giving investment advice without becoming registered as an investment adviser.

    You are responding more from a position of governmental paranoia, which is certainly understandable. But the fact that people are losing money and how they are relating to your being attacked by the government is quite disingenuous. Market volatility is quite dissimilar to what happened to you.

    My advice would be to not get in government at all. And if you think keeping money out of an IRA or 401k will protect your money from the govt, it won’t. The gov’t can go anywhere. What would have protected you is not use your ERISA qualified plan monies to fund a private securities transaction (loaning your company money). That had warning signs all over it.

    But most people are no where near in the same situation as that and they are well advised to keep pumping money into their IRA and 401k.
    Andrew Orr, CFP

  22. When we look at the real value of value (demand of something vs. real need and sustainable level of supply), then there are 5 categories which stand out: food, water, clothing, shelter and savings for a rainy day. Of the activities which people perform, 20% should be going to each of these. Any activity that doesn’t go toward these things is luxury.
    Currently, only 2% of the population works to provide food.
    The ‘economy’ which is usually in mind is a wasteful one, and an unnecessary one. As we see things start to decline, look more toward a 2% level of equity vs. the peak instead of this current 40% temporary plateau.
    Until we reset the culture of cars, roads, nowhere houses and marketing of marketing, we will not have a sustainable economic model. Peak oil triggered some changes, but is not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is Blind Faith in Systems of systems combined with a ‘net consumptive’ instead of a ‘net useful’ culture. Sure, there may be some bumps in the stock market, some temporary stays of execution for the banks, but the fundamental idea that someone can just ‘make up’ value and then sell that perception is in the midst of failure now. People are looking for real answers and they aren’t getting any to the following questions:
    “What is money worth?”
    “Why am I working when rich people don’t?”
    “What is government for?”
    “What are people for?”
    “What is my value to the universe?”

    This Depression is a lot worse than the last one because the last one could be bought off with cheap energy and massive resource exploitation. It’s time for everyone to question the paradigms of Blind Faith which have sold them a bill of goods about working, living, and competing for no real reasons.

  23. The original message disappeared, so here is posted again below.

    Catherine, your situation is not unique, the same has happened to just about every “honest people that have to go” such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, small business owners, etc. No matter if these people are of any color, rich or poor — if a person has integrity there is plenty for them to worry about.

    By the way, a few months ago I did send President Obama your name and website for him to consider you as an adviser in his cabinet. Could you give us the name and contact information of the “excellent attorney on contingency” you hired to sue the federal government for the monies owed? I am sure many of your followers could use his services.

    My website: http://www.geocities.com/aguilar.teresa/MyFedCase.html

    Best Regards, Tess

  24. Love the website and info,I read your stuff somewhat regularly. I would like to add some obvious facts. In my life I have seen 5 1/4% interest on a passbook savings account. I have seen almost everybody I know go from no credit-card and savings, to many credit-cards and very little savings. Our society has went from saving to borrowing. Instead of earning interest, everybody pays interest. Look how much of our econmy depends on people spending money to maintain itself. Look who controls it and manipulates it. My point that I’m trying to make is that there is a reason for everything. Why does the gov’t let you write of interest on a home-equity loan, to a bank? Why is it that to get any “tax relief” on an investment or retirement savings it has to go into the stock market, and to get it back your penalized severly? Let’s look at the recent events with “the markets”. Trillions have been “lost”, lost to who? That money didn’t vaporize, it changed hands. If people lost 35-50% of the savings, was the paltry return worth the huge risk that we know see? How about saving for retirement on 10% of gross earnings and making at best a 7-10% return, then negating it with a huge mortgage on a mcmansion type home. What about the bankruptcy bill in the Fall of 2005. The financial community has wanted that for a long time, they have paid a lot of money over the years to get one, politicans have “promised” something that they never delivered, and when or if they do, the lobby moneys stops. What a coincidence, they pass a law right before the housing bubble burst!
    Is it any wonder how the current economic situation come to be? Anybody remember Reagen/Bush 1? I do, that’s why I pulled everthing out of the markets starting in 2000. Did I do any market research and analysis, risk analysis, consult with a planner? No, I just assumed that a son of a Bush would have the same or similar agenda as his father, the birds of a feather-flock together theory. Common-sense and knowledge of history or the past costs you nothing. To those who think that they should pull out their money, yes, you may make back the gains, but when? Is your broker/planner telling you that it will? They don’t care if you lose anything, just that you leave it with them. It’s not their future at stake! The person above with the CFP of CPR might even be an EMT, of course he said what he said. Laughable, maybe a slight bit of truth, but SURELY not unexpected! Market fluctuation, downturn, information does not imply future earnings,blah blah blah, actual mileage may vary. I’m not trying to imply anything, just consider the source. One of my few, finely honed skills, is my ability to state the obvious.
    After reading what I typed above, where did the bailout/TARP money go to? The reasoning was the banks were too big to fail, apparently not, they were failing. What do they teach at the “ivy-league” schools, poison-ivy?

  25. Andrew Cuomos anouncement of the HVCC plan to protect real estate appraisers from coercion is the most classic example of trojen horse regulation I have ever seen. A couple facts about this proposal. First it was the result from an investigation he did into WAMU and eappraisa in whchi first american, owners of eappraise were fined large amounts. His regulation in effect steers business to his defendants. Sounds funny to me. Another fact is that when he was asked why WAMU was not charged he stated that he did not have federal jurisdiction over WAMU although he feels the moral obligation to save the nation from appraisal coercion. He also never charged one individual appraiser. Appraisals are perfomed by individuals and their certifications. It is obvious he did not want to lose such a valuable resource for the next run on the system these gentlemen will be needed. Finally, JP morgan, wells fargo, Citi, WAMu and Countrywide all utilized Appraisal management companies. How did that work out for them.

    I have been an appraiser for 20 years who has seldom worked in the last 4 years as I would not go along. I have several people who I have trained and the funny thing is it is still happening today. The most unethical and unprincipaled are still prospering in my business. The worst appraisers are still being sought by lenders. They apparently will never learn.

    Catherine,

    Do you know who was responsible for removing the appraiser rotating list at fannie and freddie? Allowing brokers to chose their appraiser has never been viable for quality lending decisions to be made. The rotating list is not perfect but This method of protection is far better than the one in place or currently offered by mr. Cuomo and the past wall street executives in charge of the GSE’s.

  26. I’m new to Solari Report. I have been listening to Catherine for the past year or so and that’s why I’m here. My burning question is what do I do with my IRA. I want to get out, but with so little in it and have little income I’m in need of advice about how to do this without too much more loss in tax. I am supposing I will have to pay Fed taxes on the withdrawal. Where best to put the money so I can then begin to grow some. I don’t trust “standard” brokers. HELP! Also I have a small self directed gold IRA.

    • Alison:

      What you are looking for is personal investment advice – for legal reasons that is not something I can do on the Solari Report.

      I generally do not think taking funds out of an IRA is cost effective currently – obviously government policies can change, so that could change in the future.

      I will cover areas of opportunity in the upcoming equity review – so recommend you listen to that one.

  27. Ms. Fitts – was perusing some of your earlier work that you recently Feb 22 2022 reminded/reposted for help given the current chaotic times; a Quick Question – if someone gave $$$ to a trucker in a BOA account, could the feds or LE capture and seize other accounts in the same SSN, such as 401 or retirement accts held by a different bank, say Vanguard? Assume the answer is of course, don’t be naive…. but just wanted to ask.
    Thanks for leading the charge!
    We think of you and are praying for your safety and wisdom, and that you will continue to share your experience with us.
    God Bless You.
    Sue

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