Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity
and Subprime Scandal
By Danny Schechter
$29.99 hardcover; $16.99 paperback
Plunder explores how the financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity, uncovering the connection between the collapse of the housing market and the economic catastrophe that followed. It argues that the wrong doing committed by a few individuals distracts from the real story, implicating the best-known institutions that financed and profited from fraudulent sub prime lending. This connection is now being investigated by the FBI as part of a probe into what it calls a "fraud epidemic." Plunder shows how these firms created special securities to repackage and resell these dubious loans after they were re-rated as Triple A. These firms then bet against many of these toxic assets with credit default swaps and other insurance scams. By leveraging these investments, they recklessly put trillions of dollars and the world economy at risk. The book examines how the crisis developed, from the mysterious collapse of Bear Stearns, an 85-year-old investment firm that disappeared in a week to the shadowy world of trillion dollar hedge funds. It also delves into the complicity of the major media outlets, which failed to sound the alarm or investigate wrongdoers.
DANNY SCHECHTER, "The News Dissector" has spent decades as a truth teller in the media, with leading media companies and as an independent filmmaker with the award-winning independent company Globalvision. A graduate of Cornell and the London School of Economics, Schechter was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a multiple Emmy Award winner at ABC News, where he was among the first to cover the S&L crisis. In 2007, his film In Debt We Trust was the first to expose Wall Street's connection to subprime loans, predicting the economic crisis that this book investigates. Schechter is a blogger, editor of Mediachannel.org, and author of nine books. He has reported from 53 countries, and lives in Gotham. He owns no derivatives or tranches.