8.3/10
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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016)

A small financial institution called Abacus becomes the only company criminally indicted in the wake of the United States' 2008 mortgage crisis.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Neil Barofsky ...
Himself
Ti-Hua Chang ...
Herself
Jiayang Fan ...
Himself
Roman Fuzaylov ...
Himself
Polly Greenberg ...
Herself - Chief, D.A.'s Major Economic Crimes Bureau
Linda Hall ...
Herself
Don Lee ...
Himself
David Lindorff ...
Himself
Kevin Puvalowski ...
Himself
Chanterelle Sung ...
Herself
Heather Sung ...
Herself
Hwei Lin Sung ...
Herself
Jill Sung ...
Herself - Abacus bank executive
Thomas Sung ...
Himself - Founder, Abacus Federal Savings Bank
Vera Sung ...
Herself - Abacus bank executive
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A small financial institution called Abacus becomes the only company criminally indicted in the wake of the United States' 2008 mortgage crisis.

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6 October 2016 (USA)  »

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Excellent film about witch hunt by Manhattan D.A.'s office
17 October 2016 | by (Pennsylvania, United States) – See all my reviews

Very well-done documentary about small (2,651st largest bank in the U.S. at the time) family bank in Chinatown New York prosecuted for financial crimes after 2008, has interviews with all the major players (bank employees/owners, prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, audio from witnesses, etc.)

Absolutely head-scratching as to why the D.A. thought this was a good place to satisfy public outrage over the Great Recession (politics and racism are hinted at but not fully explored). (I do wish this angle has been pursued in more depth.)

Basic plot: low-level employees are fleecing home buyers into giving them cash fees and then falsifying their loan applications so they get approved by higher-ups, the government decides this is evidence of a systematic conspiracy and tries to go after the bank itself (this despite it having an extremely low default rate, which makes it strange that Fannie Mae is named the defendant in the case because overall it got much more money from this bank proportionally than from thousands of others, particularly the giant ones who not only didn't get prosecuted but actually got bailouts (courtesy of you and me)).

Also shows incredible scenes such as the bank employees shackled together in a chain gang and paraded into the courthouse in front of news cameras (which by all accounts is an unheard-of practice nowadays); the Manhattan D.A. (Cyrus Vance Jr.) and one of his underlings ("Polly Greenberg" iirc) are both masterful in denying any kind of prejudicial motivation in selecting and prosecuting Abacus (the case took five years and cost taxpayers ten million USD and resulted in *zero* convictions).

Anyone need anymore evidence that giant corporations run this country? Anyone?


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