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Antitrust & Fraud Cases

In 2008, Oakland filed antitrust and fraud lawsuits against some of the nation's most powerful financial institutions.

In April, the city filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against some of the nation's most powerful financial firms, including AIG Financial Products, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase Wachovia Bank and others. The lawsuit charges the companies with conspiring to gouge taxpayers in Oakland and other American cities through illegal price fixing and bid rigging in the municipal bond market.

According to Oakland's complaint, financial companies and brokers agreed among themselves to give cities artificially low bids for Guaranteed Investment Contracts, which cities use to earn interest on municipal bond funds. By conspiring to avoid competitive bidding, the financial companies were able to give cities abnormally low interest rates, thereby cheating taxpayers out of a legitimate rate of return on their money.

This collusion among competitors is a clear violation of federal and state antitrust laws, which prohibit any agreement by companies to fix prices, rig bids or allocate specific customers.

Press release: Oakland sues major financial firms for bid rigging, conspiring to cheat taxpayers

Read the lawsuit

ABC 7 News: Oakland files suit against financial firms (April 24, 2008)

Another lawsuit filed in August charges major bond insurance companies of defrauding taxpayers.

The lawsuit accuses major bond insurance companies of charging California cities and public agencies millions of dollars to guarantee their debts, while at the same time covering up financial shenanigans that made it impossible for the firms to provide the services they were paid for.

Press release: City of Oakland lawsuit: bond insurance companies defrauded taxpayers

Read the lawsuit