On December 3rd, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Department of Justice collected $23.1 billion to settle civil and criminal actions for the 2015 fiscal year, www.doj.gov 12/3/15 press release.  These large financial settlements that eliminate corporate criminal liability prove that our government is administering a two-tiered system of justice in our country.  Banks like JP Morgan are allowed to break the law then pay money to escape criminal prosecution.  

As part of its recent $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department, JP Morgan signed a "Statement of Facts" that contained admissions that the bank approved loans "in bulk" without reviewing those loans on a "case-by-case" basis.  JP Morgan "knew loans did not comply with underwriting guidelines but were sold and marketed to investors; however, JP Morgan did not disclose this" www.doj.gov, 11/19/13 Statement of Facts, pages 1 and 4.  

But, wait a minute!  I'm in jail for tricking JP Morgan into making loans that didn't meet the bank's lending guidelines.  At both of my criminal trials, JP Morgan dispatched corporate representatives to falsely inform jurors that the bank ONLY makes loans that meet its underwriting guidelines; all loans made outside those guidelines were fraudulently obtained.  JP Morgan executive Alfio Savarino told jurors in federal court that JP Morgan "underwrote to the policy" and evaluated every single loan "manually," trial transcript pages 1199 and 1125.  In state court, JP Morgan's Tim Pritchard told jurors the same lie:  JP Morgan only makes loans that meet the bank's lending guidelines.  

But the Justice Department's very own web site contains admissions by JP Morgan that prove my innocence!  Since the bank KNOWINGLY made no money down loans that didn't meet its guidelines, the bank wasn't tricked or defrauded into making these loans.

Allowing JP Morgan to break the law and get away with it is one thing.  But JP Morgan has been permitted to offer false trial testimony and blame innocent citizens for the bank's crimes.  The Justice Department simultaneously portrays banks as "innocent victims" of mortgage fraud schemes who are entitled to restitution even though these same banks have admitted wrongdoing and paid money to settle claims concerning the very same properties at issue in so-called mortgage fraud trials.  

Consider, for instance, the property located at 3233 Dellwood Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio -- that's Count 33 in USA v. Anthony Viola, CR-08-506, N.D. Ohio.  I'm in jail because I supposedly tricked the bank into making a no money down that didn't meet the bank's lending guidelines on that property.  Prosecutors told jurors at my trial that all loans "would have to satisfy the lender's guidelines before any money was disbursed," Page 15, 5/1/13 Government Statement of Facts.  But this same Dellwood property was also Count 83 in a case where lender executives were indicted for knowingly closing no money down loans that didn't meet the bank's lending guidelines.  In that case, State of Ohio v. Karen Harris, et. al., CR-11-551555, the indictment says that "high ranking officials" at banks "approved loans for funding knowing that the stipulations for such loan approval had not been met by falsely stating in mortgage documents that said stipulations had been satisfied ... The loans should never have been approved," pages 6 and 11, indictment.  Finally, please note that I was acquitted of wrongdoing on the 3233 Dellwood property at my second trial, that's Count 1 in State of Ohio v. Viola, CR-536877, Judge Daniel Gaul presiding.

The Justice Department is playing a double game with banks like JP Morgan.  In order to pursue multiple theories of criminality concerning the exact same properties, prosecutors break the law by hiding key evidence from jurors while segregating evidence into different "buckets" so they can use different evidence concerning the same properties in different courtrooms.  In November, 2015, I wrote Attorney General Lynch, asking her to stop allowing banks to buy their way out of criminal liability.  I further requested that banks be required to withdraw false trial testimony because their settlements with the Justice Department containing admissions proving they lied to jurors.  I also asked Attorney General Lynch to end her policy of allowing the rich powerful to pay money to avoid jail while innocent people remain in jail based on false lender testimony under oath at criminal trials.  

On December 3rd, AG Lynch once again restated her support for allowing corporations to pay money and avoid jail; she said, "The collections ... are a significant return on public investment that our actions deliver.  I want to thank prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible.”

That's what the Justice Department says, but we want to know your thoughts. Do you think this is fair?

Tony Viola