The Bankster Suicides

06/03/201513 Comments
hughesbuilding

The building from which Thomas Hughes (reportedly) jumped to his death

by James Corbett
TheInternationalForecaster.com
June 3, 2015

29 year old investment banker Thomas Hughes died in the early morning hours last Thursday after apparently falling from the 24th floor of his Manhattan apartment building. The Daily Mail’s coverage of the incident is revealing, not because it sheds light on what actually happened to Hughes, but because it deftly buries the most interesting aspects of the case under a sea of speculation and hand-waving.

Exclusive: Father of investment banker, 29, fears son turned to drink and drugs to cope with stress and jumped to his death after a ‘Wolf of Wall Street cocaine party’!” blares the typically unwieldy tabloid title, and sadly the reporting does not rise above the level of that headline. After noting that Hughes is in fact the 12th person in high finance so far this year to take their own life (if that is indeed what he did), we are promptly informed that this has prompted a “renewed focus on the demands that Wall St places on young bankers.”

And his father’s “fear” that Thomas “jumped to his death after a ‘Wolf of Wall Street Cocaine party’?” If you can cover up the sidebar on the right-hand side of the DM’s clickbait-infested site long enough to actually read the article, you’ll find out that this is not what his father was actually saying. “I wish I would have crystal clear answers. If you met him you would say this is the opposite person who would seem like the kind of person who was considering taking this type of action,” the father was quoted as saying after asserting that his son was “enjoying his work.”

So what is happening here? Why are MSM outlets like the Daily Mail rushing to wrap this up as ‘just another suicide of an over-stressed banker’ before the police have even identified the body (which was unrecognizable after impact)?

jpmorgan-chase-bankThe answer might just lie in Hughes’ resume. Although he worked for Park Avenue investment bank Moelis & Company at the time of his death, his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) profile indicates he interned at JPMorgan Chase before going on to stints at UBS and Citibank.

Although you could be forgiven for having blinked-and-missed-it in the midst of the wall-to-wall coverage of the earth-shatteringly important Caitlyn Jenner kerfuffle, those three banks were part of the sextet that were just found guilty of manipulating the $5 trillion a day foreign exchange market and collectively fined an impressive-sounding but ultimately trivial $6 billion for the crime.

While this connection in and of itself may not be the answer to the Hughes riddle, it takes on a new light when we look at some positively ghoulish information on “dead peasants insurance” in the banking industry. For those who don’t know, “dead peasants insurance” is known in the business world as “COLI” or “corporate-owned life insurance,” or on Wall Street as “BOLI,” i.e. “bank-owned life insurance.” These are life insurance policies that are taken out by corporations for their employees. In the event of the death of that employee, the corporation gets the pay out, often behind the back of the employee’s family.

Although it is traditionally painted in the media as little more than a tax deduction scheme, Ellen E. Schultz uncovered an altogether more sinister possibility. In her 2011 book Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers, Schultz published a memo from an insurance agent to Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. discussing these types of insurance policies. The agent notes how firms like Procter & Gamble and Diebold were ‘suffering’ from low employee death rates (and thus low life insurance payoffs), but one firm had a significantly higher rate:

“A company the agent called NCC had a better death rate, he noted. People were dying at 78 percent expected mortality. ‘However, this includes three suicides within the first year which is highly unusual’— NCC had not had one suicide in twenty-five years until 1990. ‘Without these suicides, NCC would be running at 33% expected mortality. This fact highly concerns me.’”

boliAs Wall Street on Parade pointed out in an explosive report on the subject one year ago, Wall Street, too, is heavily invested in these types of insurance policies. That report detailed how Wall Street’s four largest banks hold as much as $681 billion in life insurance in force on their employees, past and present, and JPMorgan holds up to $179 billion of that total.

And now, coincidentally, JPMorgan has been experiencing an unusual number of ‘suicides’ and unusual deaths of young workers since the so-called “bankster suicide” phenomenon began in December of 2013.

This list includes the likes of Andrew Jarzyk, another former tech intern at JPMorgan who went missing and was found dead in the Hudson River in 2014 in circumstances that have still never been explained.

Or Gabriel Magee, the Vice-President of IT at JPMorgan who apparently threw himself from the 32nd floor of the bank’s London headquarters after sending his girlfriend a text that he would be home late that evening.

Or Kenneth Bellando, a former JPMorgan analyst whose JPMorgan-employed brother was mentioned in a senate investigation into Morgan’s $6.2 billion Whale derivatives disaster that slammed the bank for lying to regulators.

Although there has been a larger pattern of bankster deaths identified by others in the past year and a half, it’s the JPMorgan pattern that sticks out: young interns and analysts, many of them tech workers for the banking giant, are ending up dead in unusual circumstances.

Could this be, as the Daily Mail and its ilk are all too keen to suggest, simply a case of overworked young investment bankers choosing the easy way out? It’s a possibility. But could it be something much more sinister? A heartless scheme to help meet the company’s dead peasant mortality projections? Or an attempt to silence potential whistleblowers about the systems JPMorgan is using to game the markets? These, too, are possibilities, though ones that will never be broached by the lapdog media.

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  1. bubromer says:

    Great article, thank you James. It’s anecdotal in a sense but it has been shown that high finance and banking attracts a high proportion of people who register as psychopathic – see the book Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths Go To Work by Robert Hare – and by inference I would not deem it outlandish to suggest that working in that world is a dangerous, even life threatening, enterprise.

  2. PJ says:

    Ah, so that’s what the banker suicide phenomenon is presumably all about. Makes sense. For a while I thought it might’ve been a rogue and out-of-control vigilanty assassin/avenger-type doing payback for ’08…
    Great article. Thanks, James.

    Question for Corbett:

    Why is there not a corbettreport forum? Or is there? Maybe I’ve missed it?? Look at how Tsakiris does it. He’s got the skeptiko podcast site w/ comment sections under each show, kinda like this here. But then he’s got the skeptiko-forum where the real commentary action takes place. There’s no community here. I have a lot of questions. Who is going to answer them? I have a lot of comments. Who will read them?

    • DUDE! I’ve been thinking the same thing. Corbetteers.com

      You’re welcome James.

      There are enough resources between the bulk of us to take osintel to the next level …. oscointel. The only reason i don’t post more is because it doesn’t seem to fit along with the video content. But I’m not waiting for orders from headquarters.

      • On that note James, you have have spoke before about how your site is a defunct template with a host of addons. What format is the script? Forgive my lack of jargon. Html? Css? Other? I have some resources, and will see what i can do from my end.

        • Corbett says:

          Oh, that was before the site upgrade last year. Now I’m on a current theme that seems to be working more or less fine on my end. But please do report any bugs or problems if you see them.

  3. stevekelly911 says:

    >>>“renewed focus on the demands that Wall St places on young bankers.”
    The ultimate false-flag operation in my opinion;
    1) Hire younger plebs from the infinitely long line of qualified paper pushers until they know too much and then kill them.
    2) Make a killing on life insurance policies for the corporation itself.
    3) Blame the deaths on the fact that banks are getting a hard rap from regulators, and that finding profits are made harder, so we should all go easy on bankers because of this collateral damage of human tragedy.

    … meanwhile, no-one from a TBTF Board or a Chief Executive has taken a dive (yet), because only the middle managers need to die to cover up high crimes, because important chief executive and board directives are only ever verbal or simply implied and controlled, whereas middle managers have to keep up with the paperwork to please regulators, thus they see too much and are expendable.

    I worked in an environment like this once as a middle manager and analyst, and it is harder to get a written directive from an ivory tower dweller, than it is to get a pay rise. Meaning that at the end of the day, any criminal investigation will require a testimony, and of course, dead men tell no tales … the Board lives to fight another day, and the controlling investors maintain their detached firewall of responsibilities; LTD.

    My half sister was a high up secretary to a top branch manager at ENRON when it went belly up, so we were half expecting to get a call in the middle of the night about such a suicide (dodged the bullet on that one though luckily).

  4. Perhaps this is what Stanley Fischer meant when said bankers should be punished for financial crimes.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-01/fischer-says-bankers-should-be-punished-for-financial-crimes

    And everyone knows, this guy is the real architect at the Fed, and Yellen is more of a figurehead because it’s cool to “elect” women “leaders” (as this gets brownie points from the duped masses).

  5. Muessin says:

    This is a nice investigative effort to make visible the patterns in which these suicides occur.

    Having said that, there is another indication to solidify the suspicions derived from these emerging patterns that is kind of important:

    Do these insurance policies in question stipulate denial of payments in case of suicide?

    To the best of my knowledge suicide is ruled out as a cause of death for claims in all life-insurances, as it obviously sets very questionable incentives.

    I am no expert, and I hope to see more knowledgeable comments here.

    • Corbett says:

      You raise a very important point, Muessin. I know there was a FOIA request to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to disclose details about the nature of these BOLI policies. The OCC’s response? No info can be given because it’s a trade secret:

      Insurance policies pertaining to bankers’ suicides classified as containing ‘trade secrets’

      If anyone has any more specific info on these policies I’d love to see it.

      • Muessin says:

        Ok, thanks James – the Wall Street on Parade blog article mentioned in that RT report is also very interesting and ties in with the WSOP piece mentioned above in James’ article , with some more details on the data and the sources they tapped.

        A memorble quote:

        “The Wall Street banks are using a process called “separate accounts” for large amounts of their BOLI assets with reports of some funds never actually leaving the bank and/or being invested in hedge funds, suggesting lessons from the past have not been learned.”

        The article goes on quoting a Bloomberg report that explains how Wachovia et al. got fleeced by Citigroup run hedge funds speculating on their insurance accounts to the tune of $315 million dollars. A practice that is also alluded to in the WSOP piece mentioned above in James’ article.

        Throwing all these millions and billions for third-party life-insurances around… dumping them in “competitor’s” hedge funds… you couldn’t come up with that in a script…

  6. lincolnlea says:

    I think Shakespeare was only half right with his “first, kill all the lawyers”. I ‘d put bankers first !!

  7. BuddhaForce says:

    TOP JPMorgan BANKER JIMMY LEE DIES “UNEXPECTEDLY” AT AGE 63.
    http://nypost.com/2015/06/17/jimmy-lee-top-jpmorgan-banker-dead-at-62/

    Not a suicide but, seems rather mysterious. He was exercising one morning, felt a shortness of breath, went to the hospital, then died. Jamie Dimon said he died “unexpectedly.”

    As the dean of the banking industry, Lee scored many of JPMorgan’s biggest deals, including Comcast’s $30 billion purchase of NBCUniversal and General Motors’ $23 billion initial public offering.

    More recently, he helped the bank secure a lead position on Alibaba’s record-setting $25 billion IPO last year.

    While Lee was considered larger than life, he was also a team player. He came to Dimon’s defense when he was under fire for the disastrous $6 billion London Whale trade, saying Dimon “has moral courage running through his veins.”

    Also…

    Lee built his career at Chemical Bank, where he became a key figure in the syndicated loans and eventually leveraged buyouts. Some call him the inventor of the syndicated loan market.

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