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William K. Black

William Black
Personal details
Born (1951-09-06) September 6, 1951
Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of California, Irvine

William Kurt Black (born September 6, 1951) is an American lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator.[1] Black's expertise is in white-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics. He developed the concept of "control fraud", in which a business or national executive uses the entity he or she controls as a "weapon" to commit fraud.


  • Background 1
  • Savings and Loan Scandal 2
  • The Real News Network appearances 3
  • Bill Moyers Journal appearance 4
  • Testimony before Congress on the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers 5
  • Publications 6
    • Selected works 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Black earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Black is currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the Department of Economics and the School of Law. He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007 and previously taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and at Santa Clara University.[2]

Black was litigation director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) from 1984 to 1986, deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) in 1987, and Senior VP and the General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco from 1987 to 1989, which regulated some of the largest thrift banks in the U.S.[3]

Savings and Loan Scandal

Black was a central figure in exposing Congressional corruption during the Savings and Loan Crisis. He took the notes during the Keating Five meeting that were later published in the press, and brought the event to national attention and a congressional investigation.

According to Bill Moyers,

"The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, 'get Black — kill him dead.' Metaphorically, of course. Of course."[4]

The Real News Network appearances

Black has appeared many times on The Real News Network from 2008 to date, providing insights and analysis into the corporate looting/ plundering of the United States' and global economies.

Bill Moyers Journal appearance

On April 3, 2009 Black appeared on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS and provided critical commentary on the U.S. banking crisis.[5] In the interview with Bill Moyers,[6] Black asserted that the banking crisis in the United States that started in late 2008 is essentially a big Ponzi scheme; that the "liar loans" and other financial tricks were essentially illegal frauds; and that the triple-A ratings given to these loans was part of a criminal cover-up. He said that the "Prompt Corrective Action Law" passed after the Savings and loan crisis mandated that ailing banks should be put into receivership. Black also stated that trying to hide how bad the situation is will simply prolong the problem, as happened in Japan's lost decade. Black stated that Timothy Geithner is engaged in a cover-up, and that the administration does not want people to understand what went wrong or how bad the banking situation is today.

Testimony before Congress on the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers

On April 20, 2010, Black testified before the House Financial Services Committee in a hearing titled "Public Policy Issues Raised by the Report of the Lehman Bankruptcy Examiner." He testified about the role that Alt-A mortgages, what he called "liars' loans," on residential real estate played in the downfall of Lehman Brothers. His testimony was that "Lehman’s failure is a story in large part of fraud. And it is fraud that begins at the absolute latest in 2001, and that is with their subprime and liars’ loan operations."[7] As explained in his prepared statement, his reference was to Aurora Loan Services, Inc., which was a subsidiary of Lehman: "Lehman’s principal source of (fictional) income and real losses was making (and selling) what the trade accurately called 'liar’s loans' through its subsidiary, Aurora. (The bland euphemism for liar’s loans was 'Alt-A.') Liar’s loans are 'criminogenic' (they create epidemics of mortgage fraud) because they create strong incentives to provide false information on loan applications."[8]

On the same page in his prepared testimony Black referenced an article from the Denver Post dated September 16, 2008, the day after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. The article reported on the uncertain fate of Aurora Loan Services, which was based nearby, and quoted Lehman's chief financial officer as saying the previous week that, "The majority of our write-downs were in Alt-A driven by an increase in.. . delinquencies and loss expectations." The article also said that Lehman was "among the first of its peers to originate home loans and securitize them for sale across the globe, and it fueled the growth of the Alt-A loan."[9]


Black is the author of, among others, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry, 2005, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-72139-0.[10][11][12]

Bill Black wrote many articles for the Huffington Post from 2009 to date, focusing on financial and political fraud and chicanery and (legal and illegal) corruption.

Selected works

  • The U.S. Banking Industry in Transition in Real World Banking, eds. Dan Fireside & Amy Gluckman (Dollars & Sense 2008)
  • When Fragile Become Friable: Endemic Control Fraud as a Cause of Economic Stagnation and Collapse, in White Collar Crimes: a Debate, K. Naga Srivalli, ed., Hyderabad, India, The Icfai University Press (2007: 162-178)
  • Corruption Kills, International Handbook of White-Collar Crime, Henry Pontell & G. Geis eds. (Springer 2007)
  • Control fraud v. the protocols, Crime, Law & Social Change, Volume 45, No. 3 (April 2006: 241-258)
  • The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry, University of Texas at Austin Press (April 2005)
  • “Control frauds” as financial super-predators: How “pathogens” make financial markets inefficient, Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 34. No.6 (December 2005: 734-755)
  • Control Fraud as an Explanation for White-Collar Crime Waves: The Case of the Savings & Loan Debacle, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 43, No. 1 (February 2005: 1-29)
  • The Dango Tango: Why Corruption Blocks Real Reform in Japan, Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 14, Issue 4 (October 2004: 602-623)
  • The Imperium Strikes Back: The Need to Teach Socioeconomics to Law Students, San Diego Law Review, No. 1 (Winter 2004: 231-256)
  • Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Enron Uses Its High Tech Information System to Defraud, CISIC 2003 Conference Symposium edition (McGraw-Hill 2003)
  • Re-examining the Law & Economics Theory of Corporate Governance, Challenge Vol. 46, No. 2 (March/April 2003: 22-40)
  • A Tale of Two Crises, Kravis Leadership Institute Leadership Review, fall 2002
  • Why do the Non-Heathens Rage?, Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 8(3) (2001: 225-276)
  • The Savings and Loan Debacle of the 1980's: White-Collar Crime or Risky Business? (with K. Calavita e H. Pontell) Law and Policy. Vol. 17, No. 1 (January 1995: 23-55)
  • Ending Our Forebearers' Forbearances: FIRREA and Supervisory Goodwill, Stanford Law & Policy Review 102 (Spring 1990)


  1. ^ "University of Missouri - Kansas City" (PDF). 
  2. ^ UKMC Faculty and Staff
  3. ^ "UMKC School of Law". Retrieved 2009-04-05; also see  
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Bill Moyers Journal". April 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Bill Moyers Journal. Transcripts". PBS. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "Prepared Testimony of William K. Black" (PDF). Committee Hearing: Public Policy Issues Raised by the Report of the Lehman Bankruptcy Examiner.  
  9. ^ Griffin, Greg (September 16, 2008). "Local Lehman arm led in Alt-A loans".  
  10. ^ William K. Black, 2005. The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. Description and chapter-preview links via scroll.
  11. ^ William K. Black, 2005. "'Control Frauds' as Financial Super-predators: How 'Pathogens' Make Financial Markets Inefficient," Journal of Socio-Economics, 34(6), pp. 734-755 (press Zoom). Abstract.
  12. ^ William K. Black, 2009. "Those Who Forget the Regulatory Successes of the Past are Condemned to Failure," Economic & Political Weekly, 44(13), pp. 80-86,. Abstract.

External links

  • Back Bill Black Support Site
  • William K. Black, UMKC School of Law
  • Vita
  • Why Elite Frauds Cause Recurrent, Intensifying Economic, Political and Moral Crises, Lecture at UMKC Department of Economics
  • "Former Regulator Talks Fraud and Big Bank Getaway", Making Sen$e with Paul Solman, PBS, Feb. 17, 2010
  • The Black Financial and Fraud Report, weekly reports by Bill Black on The Real News Network
  • William K. Black Criticizes the Bailout Plan -- Might Destroy the Obama Presidency, The Young Turks (talk show), April 6, 2009
  • "Dollars and Sense, several articles"
  • "Concept of control fraud"
  • "Boston Globe, Black criticizes McCain"
  • "The Hindu, Black criticizes deregulation"
  • "Review from Barnes and Noble"
  • "Bill Black: Not Dead Yet - 5 YouTube videos"
  • , PBSBill Moyer's JournalVideo and transcript of April 23 2010 appearance on
  • 2011 interview with David McWilliams re Savings and Loans and Irish banking crisis
  • 2013 TED talk at TEDxUMKC: How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is)

By William K. Black:

  • "Two documents... Huffington Post"
  • "Americans can do anything, Huffington Post"
  • "Adam Smith was Right"
  • (The Nation subscribers only) Trust but Verify" article in The Nation with James K. Galbraith"
  • "Finance's Five Fatal Flaws"
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