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October 10th, 2008
10:44 AM ET

Culprits of the Collapse – #9 Richard Fuld


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So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?
That’s the question we’ve begun investigating.
We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse.
#9 on our list: Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld. CNN's Joe Johns reports

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Tina

    Much as I don't like the idea of CEOs and other top executives of huge companies getting overpaid to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars every year, I believe that if they're the hardest working people in their companies and/or they're largely responsible for making the companies successful, up until this collapse happened, that is, then they deserve the rewards that go with their immensely demanding jobs. I believe that's how things work in America, right? Anyway, to believe that any particular group of people are solely to blame for this serious financial crisis we're sunk in is likely to lead to everyone pointing a finger at everyone else, which isn't going to help the situation at all. The have-nots will start blaming the have-lots, then soon there will be anarchy. We"ll then be on the fasttrack to hell with no way back. Blame should be the last thing on our minds right now, especially since I believe that so much of the blame, if we must indulge in that, should also go to natural calamities like hurricanes, bushfires, the consequences of global warming, etc., and also costly mistakes in judgment by both the government and the private sector in working for globalization and in fighting our enemies, corruption in government as well as in the private sector, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the horrible events of September 11, 2001, and so on. I'm not saying that a specific group of overpaid and overspending company executives don't deserve to be blamed, but I do believe that blame should not be laid only on them, especially not in this almost "McCarthyist communist witchhunt fashion". It's totally un-American and unproductive, in my view. I would rather that you put together a report on what every citizen should try to do to help our country get back on its feet. And, Anderson, please speak with a more reasonable speed so that we can understand what you're saying.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:58 am |
  2. EJ (USA)

    I realized you're not going to be able to do this list without coming across as partisan but at the same time telling the truth.

    The #1 person would have to be the President... but would 360 really say that? I doubt it. 360 would probably chicken out and say "current and past Presidents" which would take the responsibility off of GW Bush for his role in this crisis.

    #2 would be Congress for the last several years

    The other problem I see is that – if you make this list – then people might try to hold these people specifically responsible while others that might make an extended list get away with it. The American (& global) public is mad and we tend to try to want to punish someone or something. You would just have to make sure the top 10 are really more culpable than the next 10. And when you think about – if GWB is #1 – how could he get punished? Congress has refused to punish him for just about every illegal and/or questionable act he has committed – and there's no way we can punish him. He's pretty much a lame duck President. So that's where I see there could be an issue with your list.

    But I admire you for trying!

    October 13, 2008 at 1:55 am |
  3. Charlene Gregory

    I sold my home in Jan 2007. I had lived in it for 24 years and had refinanced it 4 times thru the years each time reducing the interest rate by 2%. I did not take any equity out until the last time when I was preparing to retire and paid off all my bills. But that is all I took. When the paperwork was given to me at the time of closing I noticed the young hispanic man had borrowed the total amount of the mortgage. I told my realtor that he would not be in it a year and I was told it is not my business. That young man did not speak English and his realtor did not even walk him thru the house before closing. There were billboards all over Las Vegas in Spanish advising why pay rent when you can own. These were the people who were hurt not the ones who refinanced and spent their money on new cars, boats and other expensive items. Has anyone thought about the idea of lowering the mortgages to the current value of the home and how this will affect the local and state governments by reducing the amount of taxes collected? What a mess and I believe it is both Political parties responsibility for wanting to line their own and their own pockets.

    October 10, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  4. Ron

    Some comments are very dumb and suggest we do illegal acts to these culprits.....................No, just do what they have done to others and take away all their bonuses and salary earned while telling lies................Look, the excuse that "I was not aware" "Not to my recollection" and "that was not my responsibility" are how lawyers tell you to lie without lying...........can't be prosecuted for having a faulty brain.....and that goes for incompetence, greed and forgetfulness, unfortunately for us victims of these (rich) criminals

    October 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  5. Charlene Gregory

    I think it is strange that Mr Flud's excuse was that he took the actions he took based on the information he had at the time. Is not that the same excuse we went into Iraq? Also President Bush's cousin George H Walker also a Lehman executive who was dismissive about the suggestion the executives not take a bonus this year and told them not to worry and he was embarrased about the suggestion that was put out without his approval.

    October 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  6. marie

    Please continue this type of reporting! We need the names of congressmen involved in setting up these greedy crooks. Name the public officials who have been asleep at the wheel. Let them plead dumb or greedy. Let the American public decide the penalty for ignorance and greed.

    October 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  7. Heidi

    this list should be bigger then 10

    October 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  8. Sharon from Indy

    AC360:
    Putting a face on the monsters that inhabit the gluttony of class warfare in this country is rather profound.

    I believe the "executive" branches of investment bankers have their own fraternity or boys club just rotating from one bank to another while collecting millions upon millions of dollars.

    Yes, Americans need a face or two to blame . But is Congress getting off too easy?

    October 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  9. Timber

    If it looks like a rat, and smells like a rat, chances are it is a rat.

    I find it very hard to believe that the recent and very rapid collapse of the global economy is due to sub-prime mortages. Sure there are issues that needed to be corrected, and a free enterprise market would have flushed it out. The sub prime market share is only a small portion of the global economy. Am I the only one who hasn’t ruled out the culprit of this crisis is no more than that of a well aimed and executed terrorist cyber attack? Given the fact that global economies communicate solely in a digital environment, a computer virus or someone capable of hacking could cause widespread havoc. Hopefully someone at the federal govt., G7 or other entity is looking at all possible scenarios and not just reacting to panic. Seems to have terrorist written all over it. Same as 9-11, it was right under our noses and nobody saw it until it was too late.

    October 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  10. Joe - CT

    I would love to see these names posted on CNN.com. List the names, the congressional district and exactly how much their sweet tooth cost us?? Then maybe we could even post this on the walls of EVERY voting booth in the country with a sticker on the lever, "did your representative screw you too? look before you cast!!!"

    October 10, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  11. Frank - Columbus, OH

    These guys will be brought to justice, just let it take its natural course.

    As for the bailout, rather 700 bil and counting coming from China, the Middle East, etc. it will come at a cost to us. Who would you rather own these companies or would you rather foreign investment? Ask yourself that.

    October 10, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  12. Joe - CT

    I applaud you for naming and posting the names of these criminals. However, where are the names of ANY member of Congress that needed a "sweetener" in order to vote "yes" to do SOMETHING to save the American economy? Where is the list of those THIEVES that STOLE $140 BILLION???

    October 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  13. omaira

    Want to know the name of the people/companies that invented these securities, why the rating agencies give them AAA ratings and why the SEC did nothing about it. It is FRAUD and these people should be penalized too.

    October 10, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  14. Elaine C., Ambler, PA

    It is always stunning to me how so many very intelligent people jump into these Ponzi schemes so quickly rationalizing away violations to basic common sense. Like the sex scandals, they always think they are smarter than everyone else and will get out before the house of cards tumbles. The most dangerous people on earth are the smart egomaniacs who are unwise and uncaring.

    Of course this list can go well past 10, and I challenge the CNN bean counters to allow Anderson to keep reporting on this beyond the usual headline news story. Seeing how deep and hard this has hit us, I suspect that that is where his journalistic interests are rather than rating scores. People are angry and they have every right to know who made these decisions that are now even rippling into the world economy.

    October 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  15. Shocked&Awed

    Rediculous! Congress has the lending responsibility for Fannie and Freddie?

    Who told you that? Palin?

    October 10, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  16. pamela

    How about adding the democratic congress who ignored all warnings from Greenspan and others that freddie and fannie needed reformed. The chose to allow the lending to continue..house after house after house money was shovled out with not one hope of ever being paid back. The democratic congress fought not to reform the two. Obama sais the lending was "fine" well we are not fine. The congress and Obama are clueless and dangerous.

    October 10, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  17. Szalo

    Good JOB Anderson
    Expose those criminals!
    They need to sell all their assets and distribute among the American People!!!

    October 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Concr3t3

    Good job, AC!! Keep up the good work!! Make examples of these evil bastards.

    October 10, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  19. carlos

    maybe I am missing a link or something..I see people's names as "culprits", but I see not info to back up the claim. Where is the whole article explaining why these guys are on the top 10 list.
    Another problem we are having here is looking to wall street and not at the government's role in this mess. Also, looking back to the real start of these issues..this crap did not just start in the past 8 years there was plenty of legislation,e tc. that paved the way for the corruption and absolute ignorance that caused the mess.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  20. Al

    Lynch mob mentality and deservedly so! After all, these 10 "culprits" (sorry AC, but I have a better word to describe them) have caused the losses of tens of billions of dollarsand the ruination of how many peoples life savings? So does white collar crime pay? I say "no."

    And I hope these men pay and pay dearly. Otherwise the lessons of history will never be learned.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  21. Dismayed

    I agree with Alan. This list is a terrible idea. It smacks too much of a witch hunt... I honestly thought better of AC...

    The whole idea that you can find 10 guys "responsible" for a world-wide credit crisis is somewhat ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, as figureheads of companies that engaged at risky financial deals they deserve to be fired and seeing as how they failed at guiding their companies, they definitely do not deserve the golden parashutes.

    But stringing these guys up, because WE panicked and started hoarding our savings is not the answer. One of the roots of the current economic crisis is the loss of investor confidence (I must admit I myself was seriously considering pulling out my savings from WaMu when I heard they were going under).

    Pointing fingers, starting witch hunts is NOT going to help this crisis. It will pump up the news network ratings, and it will cover the butts of politicians so they can say they "did something" about the crisis.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  22. JimBrau

    The majority of Americans participated in the greed fest – some just got more than others.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  23. Morte

    I agree with others who suggest that "naming names" is not very useful. The economic crisis extends globally and it is not fair to pull an arbitrary ten people out of the countless numbers who failed to provide the foresight and direction to avoid this mess in the first place. Some took advantage of the system and others in power stood idly by while the system teetered on collapse. Let's find 10 people who can fix this instead of wasting time and print on the culprits. We can learn from mistakes and previous failures, but we need to focus on applying those learnings to make things better.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  24. Pamela Steel

    Thanks for doing this. I agree, we need to know who these people are and they need to know that we know who they are. It's good for everyone's soul!

    October 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  25. middle class in Seattle...

    Take away all the thieves "treasures"...money, homes, yachts, cars etc. Then, prosecute them as any other middle class American would be prosecuted for behaving the same way. Politicians included!
    I'm sick of the rich, greedy bastards in our society getting away with this!

    October 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  26. Chris

    I think number one on the list should be the american public.

    After all it was the people who purchased homes they could not afford who caused the problem.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  27. Tsylechka

    Their activity was based on fraud and should be prosecutable. The sentence then may include property confiscation.

    It is not right that even after the bailout they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on company retreats, spa, etc.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  28. chubs230

    If they don't include Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Franklin Raines on this list, then the press should be included on this list in their place.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  29. Sarah - Omaha

    vkarthik – George Bush didn't cause this. Idiots in Congress who supposedly oversee the banking industry caused this.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  30. RegS

    There are many good comments here. Let me add another....since this is a worldwide crime that greatly affects Chinese holdings of US securities let them be tried over there. They will be treated like other CEO criminals with the sentence being carried out quickly by their military. The fact that we can't (and won't) properly prosecute these and other lesser criminals in the US shows our inherent weakness.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  31. Mary

    Hi Anderson love the series,I havent heard anything about these crooks paying back their millions in perks,is that even a possibility???????

    October 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  32. Alex

    Hey Anderson,
    Since you are frontin all these fine upstanding folks, how about making your 'Rouge's Gallery" a bit more accurate and add the 11th culprit in this deal....I think he still resides on Pennsylvania Avenue for a few more weeks.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  33. Jim

    Jail is nothing compared to the eternal fires of HELL these people face. Every word has been recorded every action seen, the guilty will be punished .From the least up to the greatest the poorest to the richest, the weakest to the most powerfull.WOE unto the inhabitants of the earth who trust in riches for they shall see their wealth blown away before their eyes- their gold & silver they shall cast into the streets as worthless because it will not save them on the day of judgement.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  34. Irma Blanco

    These guys MAKE AND TAKE Calculated risks all the time – it is in their scope of business to do so. BUT obviously they lost touch with their scope of work and GREED got the best of them.
    Why should me and you – the average working class americans – that have to get up and go to work and earn our money the good old fashion way – HAVE to PAY FOR THEIR GREED!
    They should all be stripped of their profits – INCLUDING their homes.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  35. Irma Blanco

    These guys MAKE AND TAKE Calculated risks – it is in their scope of business to do so. BUT obviously thei lost tousch with their scope of work and GREED got the best of them.
    Why should me you and i the average working class americans – thathave to get up and go to work and earn our money the good old fashion way – HAVE to PAY FOR THEIR GREED!
    They should all be stripped of their profits – INCLUDING their homes.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  36. Alan

    I think this series is a very bad idea, despicable as the offending individuals may be. This encourages a lynch mob mentality. I saw a letter to the editor recently saying "Please give us these people's addresses." Belle in Las Vegas is right. Unfortunately, we are now also seeing encouragement of the mob mentality at some campaign events. Is the guy who yells "Kill' em" better than Obama or William Ayers?

    October 10, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  37. Edward Yatkowsky

    Talk about Chutzpah. Richard Fuld walks away from Lehman with $500 million after he misleads investors about Lehman's strengths and then puts Lehman into bankruptcy eliminating jobs and causing workers to loose their entire savings. How can this man sleep at night? The answer is simple. Greed overrides guilt every time. While Lehman is legally bankrupt, Mr. Fuld is morally bankrupt. He doesn't have to count sheep; he counts his money to fall asleep while the rest of us count the amount of money we've lost at the hands of Mr. Fuld and his Wall Street companions.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  38. Kandy

    After hitting the US financial hub on 9/11/2001, there was some downturn in the stock markets & people of America got to know what terrorism is like. But alas, look at these 10 culprits ! They have made Osama bin laden look like a small time thief ! America should treat them at par with International terrorists (maybe more than that). This breed of terrorists don't kill in an instant... but they kill us by financially torturing innocient citizens every single day !!

    October 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  39. vkarthik

    George Bush will occupy top 3 spots.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  40. Kathy - Phoenix

    Instead of pleading The Fifth, these guys are pleading "Stupidity" using the wording similar to "At the time I was not aware...." when questioned.

    I'm sorry but this is not acceptable. I believe lie detector tests should be used in this investigation.

    Cassano's quivering voice, sweaty pores and erratic blinking are all consistent with that of a person who is lying. Verbal denial of knowledge of involvement in the Fall of Wall Street should not be an option for the players in this game. They knowingly gambled with the earnings of hard-working Americans and lost - they just didn't expect the floor to drop while they were still on it.

    Time to go to jail - the facts speak for themselves. Somehow I don't think it will happen though. Going through the motions of investigating the decision makers involved in this crash is a mockery if their words aren't spoken attached to a lie detector machine.

    We have the tools to find the liars, why aren't we using them in this matter?

    October 10, 2008 at 11:26 am |
  41. Jim

    If the average person caused the collapse of their own small company they would not be bailed-out. Why are these crooks being bailed-out and left to keep their 20 cars, yauchts, 7 houses and mulit-million bonus packages? No wonder America has lost confidence in the markets – anyone w/ 1/2 a brain doesn't have any confidence in these creeps. Lets see if Congress finally musters up the testicles & ovaries to punish these criminals.

    October 10, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  42. Tom

    Barney Frank and Chris Dodd better make this list, we'll see

    October 10, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  43. Belle in Las Vegas

    No offense folks,

    But America is a land of laws and justice. The FBI is doing their jobs, they are investigating. Justice will be served.

    This is NOT the first time the market has adjusted to true value...speculation drives values up...remember the internet bubble? The housing bubble has blown apart.

    What ISN'T working is have those that are supposed to represent the American people be so focused on themselves they forget they are elected to serve the people. I have a feeling no one on Cooper's list will include Chairpersons of OVERSIGHT. FINE BLAME WHOMEVER, but where will that get us? Angry?

    IF we are so wrapped up in anger solutions will never come. It is time to pool the best minds of America (Which is NEITHER candidate for President, by the way) and come up with solutions.

    Anger and accountability can come later.

    October 10, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  44. georgette

    Anderson, how do we begin to hold those responsible, responsible? it's a world wide crime,,,do we had them over to other countries after we take them to trial????

    October 10, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  45. Brian O'Halloran

    #1 = Barney Frank

    October 10, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  46. James

    Why aren't these guys, being prosecuted ? Greed is the cause, from CEO to legislators. Everyone who voted for the bailout should be voted out of office.

    October 10, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  47. Greg

    Seize all his assets and put him in jail for life...teach these up and coming hot shots at Harvard Business School how severe the pentalies will be when they get out of line.

    October 10, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  48. Allen

    Let’s hang these Ten Most Wanted thieves on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange live and on prime time national television.
    Then confiscate (times 3) ever dime they have stolen.

    October 10, 2008 at 10:48 am |