Former employees of the fraudulent WMC Mortgage Corp. are coming forward with claims that General Electric Co. bought them out so it could profit from subprime mortgages. What GE came away from the bargain with was a hefty amount of cash, WMC employees say, as its staff pushed home loans on people who couldn't pay them back. WMC salespeople didn't necessarily need credentials—even former strippers and shoe salesmen could make money hawking subprime mortgages—but the best ones earned a million dollars a year or more. A former compliance manager at the company says sales reps often used falsified paperwork, forged income documentation, and other tricks to get their loans approved and sold to Wall Street investors. Employees say GE ignored warnings from WMC whistle-blowers as early as 2004 and made little effort to investigate the mortgage fraud. The industrial giant lost more than $1 billion after shutting the lender in 2007.
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