Banking Once Again Remains Untouchable In The Irish Judicial System
Every week you hear of ordinary members of the public being sent to Mountjoy prison because they did not have a €20 dog license, or couldn’t pay for a TV license. Hundreds of them. I even know a man they want to jail because he sat on the grass in St Stephen’s Green.
Yet if you work in a bank or run a bank you just don’t seem to be able to go to jail, no matter what you do. Every bank broke the terms of their license, the banking regulations, the central bank act, the theft and fraud act, and many more, as well as a host of torts, but nobody goes to jail. This article (see text below) highlights the most recent low level case in Ireland which centred around forging documents in the bank.
Now forging documents is a very serious crime, especially when those fake documents are used later to repossess property and indebt a man or woman for life. We see it every week in court now and not one judge will rule against a bank who has committed fraud.
For example there was a case recently where a bank was relying on documents signed by the wife of the defendant to take possession of his property. the document was apparently signed by his wife, yet his wife had died 2 years prior to the document being signed. The document and signature had clearly been forged by the bank, yet the judge would not rule that a criminal fraud had taken place, instead saying it was a “mistake” and moved on with the case against him. This is how deep the corruption of justice by banking has gone.
Forging documents is even more serious when they are used for creating currency out of thin air to inflate the value of the bank… and eventually destroy the economy, and the lives of millions with it.
So the judge in this case says the defendant didn’t benefit from this. Really? Did he not get his bonus for reaching the targets? And may I ask what benefit did the man without the dog license get that warranted jail time ?
Now we have no personal animosity against this particular defendant or any defendant, and undoubtedly in the circumstances it may well be that the real fault lies above the head of this man, who is simply being used as a scapegoat or a patsy to make it look like something is being done.
The real criminals inhabit the upper echelons of the banks, and it may also stretch to the complicity of the regulator or the government, as most large scale crimes are perpetrated at multiple levels on a need to know basis only, and all this man may have known was that he had to meet his targets or lose his job.
All that comes out of this are questions:
Why did the bank not want to provide evidence against the accused, what have they to hide ?
Why did the DPP not enter a motion for discovery for the information and get a court order for same ?
Why did the police investigation and prosecution not extend to the managers who told him, and others, to do this; and why did it not extend to the directors who passed the policy down from the boardroom, who would be ultimately responsible for the policy ?
Why did the banks auditors or the regulatory authority not discover and report these frauds, and if they did why was it allowed to continue for three years ?
And on a grander scale:
Why did certain banks suddenly embark on a rush to double or triple their loan books between 2006 and 2008, leading up to the crash, that defied all logic, economics, regulation and monetary policy ?
Why did none of the world’s financial press or finance ministers throw up the red flag, instead reassuring everyone that it was all fine and to keep investing and spending ?
More interestingly, what was spoken about and agreed upon when all 3 of the above implicated groups met a number of times prior to this sudden change in banking and regulatory enforcement etiquette ?
The most worrying question of all is… Why is the judicial system at all levels protecting banking regardless of seriousness the crimes the commit ?
As we reported in November, two members of DDI brought to the court’s attention serious fraud, along with statutory and regulatory breaches by a bank and the regulator, that warranted long prison sentences. The issue was so serious that the judge suggested they bring the evidence to the banking enquiry. However, regardless of the evidence the judge still ruled in the bank’s favour. Somehow their hands seem to be tied when it comes to banks.
This is not just an Irish problem either, this is international. Similar and much worse cases in the UK have ended the same way recently. Only a handful of low level scapegoats have paid a price. And for anyone who says the US is jailing bankers that is not true either. They have only been fined, and those fines will simply be covered by the customers. The only banker who went to jail was the one who swindled ‘other bankers’ in a ponzi scheme.
Those of us who have spent some time in court watching cases and supporting lay litigants can tell you that is doesn’t mater how much evidence you bring in to court against a bank, or how many laws and regulations they break, you will never see an Irish court rule against them.
Banks have a 99.9% success record in Irish courts, and NAMA has 100%. By that reckoning you would be convinced they did absolutely nothing wrong to cause the country’s ruin, and so it must be all our fault. The only people who seem to be able to knock the banks back that 0.1% are experienced lay litigants like DDI’s Ben Gilroy who spends most of his days in the courts helping people fight back; but he and the small number of others like him are few and far between.
We have a serious justice deficit in this country and it has been going on for a long time. It is absolutely essential that there is equity and the equal application of law is maintained or the judicial system loses all credibility and respect. From our experience it has already fallen a long way from that lofty perch and there will need to be a huge overhaul of the system.
We intend to return the system to the ideals upon which it was founded. Justice for all, not injustice for all outside a privileged clique. The ending of politically appointed judges and jobs for life is also up for discussion. We need to devise a way where judges are elected based on how they perform and how they apply the law in a way that is acceptable to the people of this country. Until the people have control over their courts and police we fear the problem of protecting the State against the people at any cost will persist.
Sadly it appears the only way Irish people can get justice is to exhaust their Irish remedy and go to Europe for some common sense and a binding ruling on the Irish judicial system. This needs to change and it will be a priority for DDI in the future.
Ex-bank worker who forged documents avoids jail
Published 13/12/2014 | 02:30
A former bank official who pleaded guilty to forging documents for mortgages told detectives everybody was doing it, and those who met their targets were treated like heroes.
Aidan Corcoran of Castan, Doughiska, Galway, pleaded guilty to 11 sample counts of using falsified P60s and payslips in the names of various people at ACC Bank in Galway city on various dates between 2006 and 2008.
Judge Rory McCabe imposed a six-month suspended sentence for each count.
In his statement to gardai, Mr Corcoran gave a description of the culture in place in banking at the time.
He had joined the bank, age 21, in 1999 but had received little training.
He said ACC bank had “wanted a bigger slice of the pie” and wanted to increase its loan book quickly. It had based its growth model on that of Anglo Irish Bank. “We had to hit the targets and there were no excuses,” he said.
He told detectives he had attended bank conferences in 2009 where teams who met their targets were taken on stage to tell their colleagues how they had achieved it.
“It was grow, grow, grow, get as much business and you were a hero if you hit your targets,” he added.
However, those who missed targets on two occasions could be moved on or demoted, according to Mr Corcoran.
The documents falsified by Mr Corcoran related to different customers with loans worth €6.1m. However, the court was told that some of the documentation was only added after the loan had already been sanctioned and was not relied on by the bank when considering the loan application.
Det Paul McHugh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said the loan value where the bank had relied on the documents was just over €2m. Det McHugh told the court he had asked ACC to provide details of any loss incurred as a result of the affected loans but the bank had failed to do so. He agreed with Judge McCabe that as a result, he could not ascertain if there had been any loss at all.
Det McHugh told the court Mr Corcoran had not been the only person in the bank falsifying documents.
“There were other false documents found in loan files that Aidan Corcoran had no dealings with,” he said.
The court heard Mr Corcoran had no previous convictions.
Det McHugh said Mr Corcoran had made no monetary gain and his motivation had been to meet the targets.