Category Archives: Banking and loans

Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous interest these days to both the FBI and the IRS.

In Hastert’s case, you have to wonder how he could have thought that making regular cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 would keep him from attracting the attention of regulators (had he never heard of Eliot Spitzer?) One thread of the FIFA investigation (NYT’s take here) involved a soccer official who had stopped filing personal income tax returns and later cooperated with investigators, as The Daily News first reported.

People! Simple Rule #1: If you look like you’re trying to hide something financial, you’re probably trying to hide something financial. And it’s darned hard to get away with in this age of heightened bank reporting.

Credit rip-offs find their way to desperate medical patients

Just when I thought I’d seen every variation of the financial industry taking advantage of consumers at their most vulnerable, here comes an excellent piece in The New York Times about medical professionals steering patients toward medical credit cards and lines of credit charging 20 percent or more annually. Imagine being told you need a… Continue Reading

How the economy went bad, in one easy column

When someone asks if I can explain how the entire American economy fell into the dumper, I’ve typically tried to explain the phenomenon of collateralized debt obligations, or maybe recommended reading Michael Lewis’s The Big Short . (After you read it I guarantee that for at least 10 minutes you will understand exactly what a… Continue Reading

Why real estate prices keep falling

When clients are considering buying a home and ask me about the tax consequences and what I think is going to happen with real estate prices, I can usually answer the tax question easily. For the question about what’s going to happen with prices, I have to say, “I don’t know.” The problem is, with… Continue Reading