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How Wall Street fraudsters ripped you off, again

Just as you’re struggling to finance a summer vacation, or simply to pay the freaking rent, how would you like to open your wallet and hand over a wad of cash to a gang of international con artists who commit fraud as casually as they order a five-course dinner?

Really? That’s how you feel about it? Well, tell it to the U.S. Department of Justice, because that’s just what’s going down as a result of the LIBOR scandal.

To recap: Bank hustlers manipulated the world’s most important set of benchmark interest rates and thereby impacted the prices of upward of $500 trillion worth of financial instruments. The LIBOR scam devastated state and municipal budgets, squeezed pension yields and ripped off bank shareholders. In a case of jaw-dropping fraud, greedy traders rigged up the benchmark so that they could cash in on bets on derivatives, while banks submitted fake numbers to make themselves look financially healthier. One Barclays official was fond of fudging numbers in exchange for champagne. “Dude…I owe you big time!” gushed a trader in an email to Barclays’ Mr. Fix-It. “Come over one day after work and I'm opening a bottle of Bollinger."

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