Inner City
        Press' Bank Beat Reporter


     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Bank Beat.  We aim to scrutinize the industry, from high to low. Our other Reporters cover Community Reinvestment, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.   ICP has published a (double) book about the Bank Beat-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, an interactive map, and ordering information. The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters." See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site. Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere, which include bank-related topics.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER  Click for March 1, 2011 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.  Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

January 30, 2023

In Suit Against Cairo Amman Bank For Hamas Bombing Chart of Transactions Due by Jan 27

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 26 – Julie Averbach sued Cairo Amman Bank for allegedly helping Hamas, by transferring its and its leaders' money through JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered Bank; it had a correspondent banking relationship with Citibank. 

On January 19, 2023 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

 The complaint describes a Hamas bombing in Jerusalem.

On January 19, Judge Parker ordered that the plaintiffs must provide the defendants with an updated chart of transactions by January 27, and that the motion to dismiss is due by February 17.

The case is Averbach et al v. Cairo Amman Bank, 19-cv-4 (Woods / Parker)


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January 23, 2023

Guldi on Trial For Defrauding Ditech Financial Hears his Laughing Calls from Jail in Marcy NY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 18 – George Guldi was imprisoned in the Marcy Correctional Facility in New York on March 28, 2017 when he received in the mail a notice that a lender "has received your payment in the amount of $253,236.00."

His mind began to whirl. 

 Now Guldi is on trial, presided over by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

On January 18, he sat at defense table as audio of his jail calls with Victoria Davidson was played for the jury. 

 In it, Guldi is surprisingly upbeat, laughing frequently. Davidson said, What kind of attorney do you need?"

Guldi replied, "The kind I was."

Davidson says, Ha, ha, who's too smart for his own good." 

 The trial in involves the multiply-sued bank Wells Fargo, on which Inner City Press also reports. The prosecutors' gloss: "George Guldi and Victoria Davidson - the defendants are charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and wire and bank fraud conspiracy in connection with their alleged involvement in 2017 in a scheme to fraudulently induce Ditech Financial LLC, a mortgage lending business, to wire them more than $250,000."

The case is US v. Guldi et al., 19-cr-126 (Hellerstein)


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January 16, 2023

Zilberberg Bank Fraud Trial Is Delayed With Niece Loan Nearly Excluded, New FDIC Docs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 11 –   Mendel Zilberberg was indicted for bank fraud while he was a board member of Park Avenue Bank. His trial was to start on January 23, 2023. 

On January 11, 2023 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels held an in-person final pre-trial conference.  Inner City Press went to cover it.   

But even as the next defendant, in a gun case, had his family setting up in the gallery, in the well of the courtroom Zilberberg's lawyer Ben Brafman was conferring with the prosecutors.

   When Judge Daniels took the bench, the parties asked for an adjournment, in light of 20,000 pages of FDIC documents just produced. No new trial date was agreed. Instead, a March 28 pre-trial conference was scheduled. 

 Judge Daniels asked about a related loan, to Zilberberg's niece.

 The prosecutor emphasized that she was a special education teacher, and did not have a business for the business loan. Judge Daniels said it might be cumulative, and/or prejudicial. 

 Brafman said the jury could be confused by the issue of taking advantage of a younger relative. Judge Daniels asked a letter in two weeks, response in 10 days. Then the US Marshals brought the next defendant out.

 This case is US v. Zilberberg, 19-cr-802 (Daniels)

January 9, 2023

HSBC Is Sued For Firing Whistleblower Exposing Front Running Sarb Ox Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 2 – Stephen Callahan sued HSBC for firing him for exposing front-running.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York where Inner City Press found it, recounting HSBC paying a $100 million fine for front-running, then fire the plaintiff for complaining. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is cited. 

 Callahan says he heard HSBC's Brian Yip tell junior trader Russell Dean to "always" by or sell for the Bank before putting a price on a transaction for a customer. Then on March 7, 2022, Callahan was suspended by HSBC.  

HSBC Holdings plc's response was due December 30, but on December 28 a request was made to extend its time to February 6, 2023.  

The case is Callahan v. HSBC Holdings plc, et al., 22-cv-8621 (Oetken)

Goldman Sachs Indicted Insider Trader Goel Disputed Audio Now Attacks Subpoenas

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 4 – Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Brijesh Goel was arraigned on insider trading charges on the morning of July 28, 2022. Inner City Press there - although the arraignment had not be listed in the docket, nor announced by prosecutors.

 Goel's case is assigned to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel, who held the arraignment.  

 Even afterward, the docket did not contain any notice of the arraignment - in contrast to the July 27 arraignment for insider trading of former Indian Congressman Steve Buyer, Inner City Press story here, video here.

  Goel, represented by defense lawyer Reed Brodsky who was still not listed on the docket - no notice of appearance? - after the proceeding, pleaded not guilty.

Assistant US Attorney Joshua Naftalis said his office agreed to release on $1 million bond, and no contact with "CC-1."

   Brodsky, too, was concerned about CC-1. He specifically asked that all information about debriefing sessions with CC-1 be provided in two or three weeks, so that he or successor counsel can decide by the September 14 next conference whether to file motion.

This was incorporated into Judge Castel's Rule 5(f) order.

  Goel is accused of feeding inside information to his graduate school friend and squash partner Akshay Niranjan, at Barclays. 

 Brodsky said Goel "could not consent" to excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act. But then after conferring, he did not oppose. Time was excluded. 

On November 17, another conference was held, and Inner City Press was there. Brodsky said that the audio in the case is inaudible. Judge Castel said this came up before him recently - yes, in US versus former Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernandez, as Inner City Press reported. Brodsky said he might make a motion, unlike JOH's counsel Raymond Colon.

Brodsky had other motions, some of which Judge Castel asked why he had "sat on" until this conference. When the time came to set the trial date, Brodsky asked for October, but Judge Castel put it at June 12 with motions due before that.

On January 4, 2023 Goel filed a motion against the US Attorney's Office subpoenas before a trial date was set, citing US v. Tuzman, 15-cr-536. It includes an email from AUSA Joshua Naftalis, including that "trial subpoenas issued before the trial date was set... all these subpoenas have been withdrawn."

Inner City Press will continue to cover the case - watch this site.

 The case is US v. Goel, 22-cr-396 (Castel)

January 2, 2023

For Enabling Epstein JPM Chase  & Deutsche Bank Face Trials Now JPM Moves to Dismiss

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 30 – J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank were sued for their enabling of Jeffrey Epstein, in lawsuits filed on Thanksgiving in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where Inner City Press found them in the docket.

  The separate lawsuits allege that "without exorbitantly large amounts of cash, Epstein's operations could not run, as newly recruited victims were each paid hundreds of dollars in cash immediately after Epstein sexually abused them, as hush money."

   But there's more, and Inner City Press is on it. For now, the JPM Chase complaint is on Patreon, here.

On November 29, both cases were assigned to SDNY Judge Jed S. Rakoff, as "related" to a previous case against Deutsche Bank he has. Both had a proceeding on December 5 that Inner City Press covered.

In the courtroom along with David Boies, Bradley Edwards, Sigrid McCawley et al was former SDNY prosecutor Robert Boone (Inner City Press covered him in the Michael Avenatti - Stormy Daniels criminal case), now representing JPMorgan Chase.

Both cases have the same pre-trial schedule, going forward but for now they have different trial dates: " barring further order of the Court, trial of the cases will proceed separately, with 22-cv-10018-UA starting trial on August 7, 2023 and 22-cv-10019-UA starting trial on September 5, 2023. SO ORDERED."

Buried on Friday, December 30 - filed after 8 pm - JPM Chase moved to dismiss, making analogies fto impunity for banking for Iran and AL Qaeda. Apparently, JPM owes no duty to anyone.

Earlier on December 30, Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss the complaint, emphasizing that while the plaintiffs point to Jes Staley at Chase and that Paul Morris worked there then at DB, there's no showing that Morris knew Staley. But Morris identified Elstein as a client, and DB "onboarded" him. Watch this site.

Latein December 2022, US Virgin Islands filed suit against JPMorgan Chase, stating that "JP Morgan knowingly facilitated, sustained and concealed the human trafficking network operated by Jeffrey Epstein from his home and base in the Virgin Islands and financial benefited from this participating by failing to comply with federal banking regulations." Judge Rakoff ordered: "ORDER: Barring any objection from plaintiff Government of the United States Virgin Islands, which must be made by joint telephone call to Chambers no later than 5:00 PM on January 4, 2023, this case is hereby consolidated for all pretrial purposes with Doe v. Deutsche Bank, 22- cv-10018 and Doe v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 22-cv-10019. Further, except for any motion to dismiss, this case will be governed by the case management plan dated December 5, 2022, previously entered in those cases."

Deutsche Bank complaint on Patreon here

Maximum Maxwell book here.

Meanwhile, the UN has yet to answer Inner City Press on why SG Antonio Guterres maintained a rep on the board of Ghislaine Maxwell's Terramar Project (instead bannign the Press); Norway won't answer on its AMbasador Mona Juul and Terje Roed Larsen taking $130,000 personal loan from Epstein.

The JPMC case is Doe 1 v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 22-cv-10019 (Rakoff)

Also now Government of the United States Virgin Islands v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 22-cv-10904 (Rakoff)

Watch this site. 


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December 26, 2022

Umpqua Bank Evidences Loan Disparities As Ponzi Lawsuit Against It Proceeds in NDCA

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, Dec 20 – Umpqua Bank now has a Ponzi scheme class action lawsuit against it proceeding to trial. This while its 2021 nationwide mortgage lending record, reviewed by Fair Finance Watch using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, is disparate.

In 2021 nationwide Umpqua made 16,883 mortgage loans to this, with 1560 denials to whites - which making only 178 loans to African Americans, with 27 denial to African Americans.

  Inner City Press, which covers the DOJ and regulators, is questioning their lack of action on these disparities. In the lawsuit, per counsel,

An Umpqua Bank employee admitted that she removed Casey’s name from PFI’s bank records at the company’s request, even though Umpqua documents show it knew Casey was a convicted felon with a history of financial crime.

An Umpqua Bank employee regularly transferred funds to Casey’s personal bank accounts from PFI bank accounts, which she knew were used to intake money from new investors.

PFI’s private banker at Umpqua warned PFI that an investor’s concerned attorney had contacted the bank, but the banker assured PFI that “they got nothing from us.”

Umpqua’s automated fraud monitoring system repeatedly warned the bank of suspicious activity involving investor money.

 So where are the regulators, other than rubberstamping mergers? Watch this site.

The case is 20-cv-5905 (NDCA).

December 17, 2022

SBF at SDNY Triggers Creepy Dough Questions Awaiting Extradition Like OneCoin Rhino Horn

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

LITERARY SDNY, Dec 13 – The Sam Bankman-Fried indictment was set to be unsealed in the morning, but where? Kurt Wheelock did a stand-up vlog in Foley Square, leaning his cell phone against the short thermos he brought Balkan soup in to microwave for lunch, in the courthouse press room.

   In it he explained where he was going to go, once he got inside, and teased the issue of Bankman-Fried's bought influence in the United Nations, from which Kurt was still banned, just as SBF had bought Washington.  

  The House Financial Services Committee hearing, entitled "The Collapse of FTX," was to start in half an hour. Kurt had time to look for the unsealing.   He swiped into the courthouse, agreeing with the Court Security Officer manning the turnstile that yeah, it was too cold too fast, and took the side elevator up to the 5th floor where the SDNY Magistrates Court is. 

  It's called the Arraignment Court, but it is also where indictments fresh out of the Grand Jury across the street are brought to the Magistrate on duty, to be ordered unsealed (if they are), and wheeled out to a District Judge.

  But the Mag Court's door was locked. A woman down the hall in the Plexi-glassed booth of Pre-Trial Services waved to Kurt and he waved back, adding a shrug as if to say, Crazy Mag Court, no way to know when it is open and processing new arrests. Then he took the elevator up to the 8th floor, to walk to the other side of the building. 

  That hallway is glass on one side, facing the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and, between them, buildings Kurt had come to love. He would sometimes shoot his vlogs out on the balcony, with the bridges behind him, and the EDNY courthouse on Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn on the horizon behind him. But what new news was there to report? That the Mag Court's door was locked?  In fact, Kurt did report that, as a tweet on top of a tweet.

This SFB crypto fraud case was going to be big, bigger than the OneCoin scam that Kurt had covered when he first got to this courthouse, after being thrown out of the UN. Bankman-Fried's FTX was an actual crypto exchange, not a fake crypto without even a blockchain like the OneCoin of Ruja Ignatova and her brother Konstantin.

  And FTX's Bankman-Fried, unlike Ruja who had disappeared just before being arrested, was in custody now in the Bahamas. He was fighting for bail this morning down there, and when he would arrive in New York and SDNY would largely ride on the outcome of that bail hearing. 

  Kurt quickly learned that the US versus SBF indictment had been unsealed, by the Magistrate Judge on duty this week, James Cott. Kurt got a stamped copy, uploaded it to his DocumentCloud and tweeted it. He updated the story on his website, then ran back to the Magistrates Court. How had it been unsealed? When?  

 This same question, or at least one of timing, was asked in the House Financial Service hearing by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She grilled SBF's corporate successor as CEO about the timing of FTX's offers to Bahamian authorities, his scheduled appearance at this morning's hearing, and his arrest the evening before. Ray said his focus was on trying to track down the missing assets, like at Enron. But this fraud was different.

  Before AOC's line of questioning to a by-then largely empty hearing room, Committee Chair Maxine Waters had turned 180 degrees and said she hoped SBF would be held accountable. From the other side of the aisle came pleas to not throw the crypto baby out with the Bankman-Fried bathwater.

    But one thing was inescapable: SBF had been showering members of Congress with money to promote crypto legislation he favored. Now that FTX had collapsed with billions of dollars missing, and he was indicted, would the bill go on? 

  Word came that the US Attorney for SDNY Damian Williams would be holding a press conference just up St. James Place or alley from the courthouse. The rumor was that it would be at 1 pm, then the notice went out: 2 pm. Maybe it was in deference to the still-ongoing House Financial Services hearing.

  This gave Kurt time to run up to the 23rd floor of the courthouse - by elevator of course - and check in on an ongoing trial, of doctors and lawyers involved in a trip and fall insurance fraud ring, and then on the sentencing of a man extradited from Senegal for illegal trafficking of rhino horn. His extradition had been smooth. But would SBF's be?

  In the OneCoin case, Ruja Ignatova's spy who had tipped her off to impending arrest, a man named Frank Schneider, had contested his extradition to NY from France for months. Bankman-Fried could probably do the same in Bahamas, given the money he had thrown around there, like another expatriate, pedophile fashionista Peter Nygard of Canada (himself also with extradition to SDNY delayed, amid Zoom hearings behind COVID masks in Canada). 

 At 1:50 Kurt walked over to the prosecutors' office and put on the COVID mask they had gone back to requiring. The press conference was not in the lobby as usual but rather upstairs in the library, where Williams had spoken about but not taken questions on the repatriation of stone sculptures to Cambodia. Kurt took a seat in the fourth row and tweeted. Slowly, since the cell phone reception wasn't strong. Maybe by design? 

  Williams spoke, then the FBI, SEC and CFTC. The SEC guy, something of a fixture now at these press conferences, turned the floor back over to Williams rather than to his CFTC counterpart, who looked on, bemused.

 This mirrored the competition on who would regulate crypto -- or "creepy dough" as Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City had insisted on calling it at the House Financial Services hearing. Creepy Dough indeed.

  When it came time for Q&A, still wearing his COVID mask, Kurt asked Damian Williams if his Office or DOJ would be going after the politicians who'd taken SBF's money, and about the bill he'd bought that was still pending. Then if he would be asking to remand SBF to jail pending trial. 

 That's a lot of questions, Williams quipped. Then he dodged all of them, saying he would not expand on the indictment, nor speak about bail with Bankman-Fried still in the Bahamas.

Lot of questions indeed. Kurt would be digging into them - Creepy Dough, more on Patreon here


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December 12, 2022

Disberry Sues Bank of New York For Sloppy Colgate Pension Process Leading to Theft

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 8 – Paula Disberry worked for Colgate-Palmolive for eleven years, but then with a role for Bank of New York Mellon her ERISA pension benefits were stolen. She sued. 

On December 6, 2022, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Colleen McMahon held a proceeding. Inner City Press went and covered it.  

 Judge McMahon asked Disberry's lawyer why she was suing the Bank of New York. It appears that amid rapid fire requests to change and pay out the pension from people who stole the PIN from her mailbox, BONY never emailed or called Disberry to ask, Is this you?   

Questions arose about the requirement, or not, to exhaust administrative remedies.

Before turning to a sentencing in an illegal re-entry case, Judge McMahon promised the parties a ruling and that if she does not dismiss the case, four months for discovery.

The case is Disberry v. Employee Relations Committee of the Colgate-Palmolive Company et al., 22-cv-5778 (McMahon)

December 5, 2022