Behind the financial crisis: A fraud investigator talks

Tom Borgers was tasked by a Congressional commission to investigate the causes of the financial crisis and found repeated examples of mortgage fraud. So why have no high-ranking bank executives been prosecuted?

"It's been three years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy," Steve Kroft begins his 60 Minutes piece this week. "[Yet] there has not been a single prosecution of a high ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm."

60 Minutes producer James Jacoby wanted to find out why, and one of the first people he spoke with was Tom Borgers, a man who literally helped write the book on the financial meltdown.

Borgers was a senior fraud investigator for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a bipartisan panel set up by the Obama administration to examine the causes of the crisis. In the end, the FCIC issued a 500-page report on its findings, required reading for James and associate producer Maria Gavrilovic.

One of Borgers' chief responsibilities at the FCIC was finding, vetting, and interviewing whistle-blowers, and he was therefore helpful in leading the 60 Minutes team to sources including Eileen Foster and Richard Bowen, the whistle-blowers who are the centerpiece of the 60 Minutes piece, "Prosecuting Wall Street."

When Steve Kroft and Borgers sat down together, it was a great interview: honest, direct, and full of useful information. "I think he felt a real duty to make sure that a lot of their findings were followed up upon," James told Overtime. "Most people who leave those commissions don't really ever talk about it." Which is why we are thrilled to feature Borgers this week on Overtime.

A seasoned fraud investigator, Tom Borgers worked for the government in the wake of the Savings & Loans scandal, preparing and directing criminal referrals, and responsible for the recovery of multi-million dollar claims. During that time, Borgers saw hundreds of bank executives prosecuted and sent to prison, a stark contrast with what's happened in our current economic crisis.

Borgers tells Kroft that the FCIC found evidence of trillions of dollars of fraud and gross negligence, and that in the area of mortgage fraud, he found crimes committed by "mortgage originators, underwriters, banks . . . across the board." Yet still, no prosecutions . . . so far.

Despite that, Tom Borgers' personal contributions have been recognized. In 2010, he was awarded the Examiner of the Year Award by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, DC. It noted his "selfless and tireless service to the United States people" through his work at the FCIC. That same year, he was also honored with a Special Act of Service Award by the FCIC. In February of 2011, he became a managing director of a financial consulting firm in New York City.

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