Monday, May 14, 2007

A Picturebook Ameriqan Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, Roland E. Arnall headed a boiler room subprime lending enterprise that made Enron look like Doctors Without Borders, according to a killer report by NPR's Chris Arnold.

In July, 2005, Arnall was nominated by George W. Bush to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of Ameriquestia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

On which day it was already quite well documented that his company, Ameriquest, was under investigation in 30 states for Extraordinary and Plenipotential Predatory Lending practices.

Some congresspeople apparently had reservations about the presidential wisdom of making an Ambassador out of a man whose trainers, according to Arnold's report, used the film Boiler Room to educate salespeople in the finest points of how to rip off financially strapped homebuyers.

Ameriquest's success (billions of dollars of refinanced loans) was built on a "culture of deception," a former loan officer tells Arnold, who spoke with four ex-employees of Ameriquest. These folks describe straight-up fraud techniques, loans that were essentially financial time bombs. Some loan officers allegedly whited-out income numbers on W-2s and bank statements, enhancing income figures to qualify loan applicants for loans they couldn't afford. This was called taking the loan to the art department.

Vin Diesel shows Ameriquest trainees the ropes.

But Ambassador Arnall hadn't emulated the Ken Lay Action Figure in vain:
Along with his wife, Dawn, Arnall was listed as a Bush Ranger for the 2004 campaign, and the Washington Post reports that the couple has raised at least $12.25 million for the president since 2002, making the couple the president’s single largest fundraisers.

In the ensuing $325 million Settlement with 49 states' Attorneys General, Ameriquest admitted no wrongdoing.
"This agreement is good for consumers and good for the company," the company said in a written statement.

The active citizen and philanthropist had the joy of presenting his creds to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix on March 8th, 2006.

And the company lived happily ever after.

Update: Phil unearths predatory philanthropists. And Mark Winston Griffith on the Myth of the Risky Sub-Prime Borrower.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

All cases were from the states? Why no federal investigations, given that this smells RICO to the core?

Alberto: "It would be a matter of State if Mr. Arnall's firm were to be indicted?"

W: "Xacly, Gonzie - we need to give all our career criminals this extra degree of protection."

5/14/2007 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is Stealing homes and getting AWAY with it.

11/15/2007 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW Ameriquest SUCKS!

11/15/2007 8:03 AM  

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