Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016) Movie Script

I owe everything to George Bailey.
Help him, dear father.
First time I saw
"it's wonderful life,"
I had tremendous respect for George Bailey,
who is the main character.
He did so much good for the community.
Mr. and Mrs. Martini, welcome home.
George was lending
money to the community residents
to buy houses...
Me Giuseppe Martini...
I own my own house!
And that's exactly the same purpose
when we started a bank.
It was our motivation to help a lot of people,
a lot of immigrants.
Here you are, George.
Merry Christmas!
This movie touches me so much.
The family, the friends.
I always watch it.
Every year, I watch.
That makes me cry because that's the part...
I wish this story could end
the same way as "it's wonderful life"...
But in reality, it is not that simple.
Today, we are announcing the indictment
of 19 individuals
on charges including
mortgage fraud,
securities fraud,
and conspiracy,
as well as the indictment
of Abacus Federal Savings Bank,
a federally chartered bank that has been catering
to the Chinese immigrant community since 1984.
If we have learned anything
from the recent mortgage crisis,
it's that at some point these schemes unravel
and taxpayers can be left holding the bag.
The D.A. made such a big parade,
bringing people from Washington,
all these tough law enforcement officers,
and making such a big announcement
that we are part of the cause
of financial crisis of 2008.
Almost laughable.
Mr. Sung is entitled to his opinions,
but in Abacus' loan department,
mortgages were based upon false documentation.
We have evidence of conspiracy, larceny,
and systemic fraud.
If that prosecution goes through,
that bank is gonna go out of business.
There's no question about it.
They're gonna lose their charter,
and it's gonna enormously impact that community.
Too big to fail, you know,
turns into small enough to jail,
and Abacus is small enough to jail.
When I walk around here, of course,
I feel very much at home.
Incidentally, this is a very tasty noodle shop
if you go in there.
I was born in Shanghai in the year 1935.
At the age of 16, I emigrate to the United States
and went to law school, and I moved to Chinatown.
There was not many Chinese lawyers,
and I knew I wanted to be
a part of the community,
so I did a lot of pro bono work.
This...this building
with the Chinese national flag,
this a Chinese community center.
And in there is...
I represented the association
for years and years and years.
This association sponsored a school,
and I obtained the permanent charter
from department of education.
And people in the community,
older people particular, remembers me,
know what I've done.
Back when I was a lawyer, there was no bank
that was owned by Chinese
and serving the Chinese.
This is Chinatown, New York City,
warm, colorful, cheerful,
a wonderful place for sightseeing.
This man is on his way to the bank.
What is about the bank
that makes our man feel at home?
The very design...
beautifully bright
with the primary Chinese colors,
and he sees home in the soft, sweet smile
of the teller.
At that time, banks in this community
had several hundred millions dollars of Chinese deposit,
and I went to a bank to try to borrow money,
but they do not lend money
and deal with the community.
He always told us stories
that they were willing to take his deposits,
but they weren't willing to give him credit, loans,
so that's why he started the bank
because he felt that wasn't fair
to the community.
I remember when we were children,
and my dad was excited about this venture
that he was gonna start,
and he involved us in the decisions
of what would be the symbol for the bank,
and I remember we would all try to design something.
Abacus, you know, is the Chinese calculator.
China regard Abacus as a national treasure,
so we say we'll name the bank Abacus.
Hello. Can you open for me?
We serve people who've never even dealt
with the banking system before,
and you try to bring them into the banking system.
An example of that is the safe deposit boxes.
Have you ever seen so many Bo...
heh heh...boxes?
There are 8,000-plus boxes in this vault.
The Chinese people, particularly the immigrants,
they rent houses in very tight quarters.
There's no place for them to place their valuables
except in a bank vault.
So it starts with the safe deposit boxes.
Then they're willing to put their money into the bank
and then let the money grow, and then later on,
they will take that money and use it to buy a home.
You get a clear sense of what your mission is
at the actual closing.
Many of the borrowers bring
their whole family with them,
and they bring their children,
their grandmother,
and by the time they walk out, they're all superhappy,
and you feel good to be a part of that process.
We talked to Heather, right?
I remember her.
Where is she right now anyway?
Do you have the chicken feet in there?
Oh, ok. That's always special.
That's the chicken butt.
That's the butt.
The chicken butt.
You don't want to eat that.
I like it.
She doesn't need the butt.
She can eat it.
I never thought my girls would work in Chinatown
because we lived in greenwich, Connecticut.
Tom would be commuting every day, you know,
like, an hour and a half each way,
so he didn't see them that much in those days.
They had no idea, anything, not a faintest idea
about the Chinese community.
In fact, Heather still doesn't.
She hates the city, you know?
She's like me.
We both have headaches,
and at home when we don't want them to understand,
we speak Chinese.
You always said to me,
"if you come work for the bank,
"the benefit will be you have
a 9-4 job."
9-4? He said that?
Because long time ago, people could
leave at 3:00 for the bank.
He said you could have children,
you could have a family.
You know what he said to me?
He said, "if you wish to work with me,
"remember, this is your own choice,
and don't think it's gonna be easy."
You gave it two different stories.
You know, people ask me
"so why in the world you wanted to get
into banking?"
It's not because I needed a job.
I was practicing law, I was busy,
but I said to myself, "it's time for me to do something
for the society."
That started from ye-ye's time.
My grandfather. My grandfather.
He always thought that was
the honorable thing to do.
That's not unusual.
A lot of people in Chinatown, your generation,
they believed that was honorable
to be entrusted...
to be trusted.
Entrusted with the public funds.
Yeah, that's right.
Do you have a copy of the payoff letter for me?
Yes, I do.
This whole 5-year ordeal began
in December of 2009.
I had a closing that day involving one
of our loan officers Ken Yu.
Ken Yu worked with us around 4 years.
The staff really liked him.
He was very popular, he had some charisma,
and he was doing a good job.
It was a normal closing
there was the sellers' attorney,
and there was the buyers',
but there was a lot
of tension in the closing.
They weren't getting along.
They were arguing over things.
The attorney asked me a question
about additional monies that the borrower said
that she was paying.
It didn't make sense to me,
so I called Ken Yu,
and I asked him "what are these checks?"
He just goes, "oh, blah, blah, blah,"
hedging and not answering.
Vera was very upset.
This girl gave thousands of dollars, I'm told,
to this loan officer, and she thought
they would be applied towards her closing costs,
and they weren't.
It was very shocking.
I said, "this loan cannot close."
That was Friday.
Then on Monday,
Ken came in, and I fired him that day
because he was lying all over the place.
Ken Yu stole money,
and he was running
a money laundering operation
on his own unbeknownst to everybody here.
Obviously committed fraud.
I referred the case to our compliance officer,
and then we hired an outside consultant,
a former federal prosecutor
who was highly experienced in fraud
and anti-money laundering investigations.
During our investigation,
we found two other loan officers
who were engaged in wrongdoing,
nothing at the level of Ken Yu,
but we fired them nonetheless,
and some other staff also resigned.
Shortly after, we notified Fannie Mae.
They actually not only fired the loan officer
and canceled the closing.
They went straight to the office
of thrift management,
which was their regulator,
and they told them about it.
So it was perfect evidence of a bank finding out something
that shouldn't be happening and taking steps
to make sure this didn't happen again.
The couple unfortunately lost
down payment on this house,
which was, you know, quite a chunk of money.
It was 10% of the house's price,
and they were very upset.
And at that point, the borrower, she calls me.
She's like, "you know, there's this money
"that he's taken from me,
so what are you gonna do?"
And I said to her...
I remember I was furious.
I'm like, "what am I gonna do?"
Because I'm thinking to myself,
"maybe she's in cahoots with Ken Yu
to defraud the bank."
I said, "if you have a problem,
"you should go file a complaint
at the police precinct."
A complaint was filed
with the local precinct.
The initial D.A.'s office investigation
was focused solely on the employee
who had been accused of a theft.
The D.A.'s office started asking
us questions.
Everybody who asked us
for something we gave them.
We thought we actually went beyond what
we were supposed to do.
My compliance officer actually put together binders
for her staff, and so basically,
the beginning of the case was handed to her team
in binder form.
You know, at first, you think that they're here
to figure out what's going on for us
because they're law enforcement.
I don't know where and at what point
we transitioned to...
in their mind, yeah, to what...
in their mind and then us realizing
"wait a minute.
You know, maybe we're the target."
We spent a lot of time investigating
and ended up absolutely convinced
that the loan department was corrupt
pretty much through and through.
Mr. Wong ran the loan department,
and widespread fraud was occurring in front
of him every day.
The office was convinced that the knowledge
of that corruption went up to
high enough people in the bank
that the bank was legally responsible for it.
Let me assure you that we do not take lightly
the charges that we announce today.
In fact, the last time this office filed
an indictment against a bank was BCCI in 1991.
Now these defendants, the bank and former employees
and managers from its loan department,
are charged with engaging in a systematic scheme
to falsify and fabricate loan applications
to the federal national mortgage association,
commonly known as Fannie Mae.
When the actual indictment occurred,
I think the greatest fear was that it would
directly involve Jill,
and that was something
that was incomprehensible to us,
just knowing how we were raised,
that she could ever be guilty of something like that.
I mean, I think they definitely were
looking at trying to get us, to get me, yeah,
because I'm the CEO and President,
but they did not charge me individually
because they did not have any evidence
to support that I was involved in the wrongdoing.
We felt that the provable evidence stopped
at a certain level,
but that the individuals who were charged
were high enough in the corporation
to charge the corporation.
I was at the district attorney's office
as a prosecutor for 7 years,
the very division that was bringing this prosecution
against the family bank,
and when I found out what they were doing,
I had to go to my bureau chief
to let him know that,
you know, this was going on,
there's a potential conflict here,
and it made me so angry that that very same office
where I had served and been trained could do that.
To know that they were doing this against my family,
who is me.
That's where I come from,
and then to know that my reputation in the office
was one of utmost integrity.
It just...
Made no sense.
What was especially interesting
was the way the D.A. pursued the public relations aspect
of this prosecution.
Reporters in this town were treated
to this extraordinary photo opportunity,
this almost stalinist-looking chain gang.
I'm a former prosecutor.
I'm not soft on crime.
I've never seen a spectacle like this.
These people were humiliated intentionally
for no good reason.
It is not the district attorney's office's
decision whether or not to put
people in handcuffs,
but people who are brought into court
who have been charged with crimes
are put into handcuffs.
That's a decision that's made
by the court officers.
I won't go into it more than that
because, you know, it's not
something I'm involved with.
Court officers don't come outside
of the courtroom.
They were led down the hallway
by the district attorney investigators.
I got off the elevator,
and I saw what was happening.
I had never seen that in my entire time
at the D.A.'s office.
I mean, this was like the case of the century.
He never would have done that with...
with a black group
of employees, you know.
I mean, everyone would see that for what it was,
and they actually staged it so much so
that 3 of the people that were in that chain
had already been arraigned,
had already posted bond
and were out awaiting trial.
The D.A. had added charges
to Mr. Wong's indictment.
Usually, you don't even have to go
through the process again.
They just add the charges,
you get arraigned again, the bail is transferred,
and that's that.
Instead, they had me turn him in,
and the next thing you know,
I see him chained to 15 other people,
being herded like cattle down the hallways
of 100 centre street.
I've been doing this for 25 years,
and I'd never seen that happen before.
I'm sure there are security issues
behind the decision, but those decisions
can also have implications
and...and create feelings
that are...that don't reflect
the view of the office or my view,
and...and to the degree that happened here,
I think it was...it was very unfortunate,
but it...it happened.
It's a humiliation for me. It's a...
And that's where I saw
incompetence combined with arrogance.
My deputy bureau chief,
he's always so inspirational,
and he would always refer to the inscriptions
outside 100 centre street
about having faith in justice,
but I don't...i don't believe that anymore.
I decided to leave the D.A.S office.
It really angered the Chinese community,
but so what?
They're not gonna decide an election for Vance.
That's it. Ha ha ha!
You've done that many times?
My whole life.
The is the association
where my great-grandfather was,
my grandfather, my dad.
Back in the days with the exclusion act,
people do not have rights.
This is where they would all come.
Family associations like this one
are the only place where they felt welcome.
Like Mr. Sung, what drives me
is the sense of community.
This case is about an attack
on our community.
We're easy prey.
I think that's what's going on.
People have reason to be fearful of authority
or what can happen to them,
you know, the retribution, the years of oppression
that happen from the street vendors,
from the small businesses,
from people just writing tickets because they can.
It's more than just Abacus savings bank
being cleared.
It's about exonerating our entire community,
no matter what we do,
be it the little guy selling vegetables
or a bank that's doing business.
I told Mr. Sung, "I'm glad they pick on you
because you're a fighter."
Cyrus Vance just felt this is easier to attack,
especially it's a family bank,
but he doesn't realize tom is not easy
to be pushed around.
And my girls, they are tough,
smart, capable women, so courageous.
Although this is David versus Goliath,
David, being Abacus Federal Savings Bank,
has a slingshot, and that is, you know,
they're a whole family of lawyers.
I was gonna be able to fight this.
They're almost gleeful.
They're like,
"we're gonna have our day in court now.
"We're actually gonna be able to show
that they were wrong."
They made a decision
that they were not going to plead guilty
to something that they didn't feel
the bank was guilty of.
That is a courageous choice,
and it's an expensive choice.
The D.A.'s office has hundreds of lawyers
and took 5 years to do
their grand jury investigations,
and it is a daunting task to fight the government.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
This is a simple case about a bank
that was converted into a criminal conspiracy
fueled by greed.
Defendant Abacus Federal Savings Bank
engaged in an ongoing mortgage fraud conspiracy.
They routinely falsified
and faked mortgage documents
and then deceived the federal
national mortgage association,
commonly known as Fannie Mae.
They took Fannie Mae's money for loans,
riddled with lies, all the while promising
that the loans contained
truthful and verified information.
The defendants did this
over and over and over again,
and between 2005 and 2010,
the bank earned millions of dollars servicing
and selling fraudulent loans to Fannie Mae.
The defendants conspired
to steal money from Fannie Mae
and did, in fact,
steal money from Fannie Mae.
Historians tell us that Abraham Lincoln
loved riddles, and one of his favorites
went like this.
If you call a tail a leg,
how many legs does a dog have?
And the answer is 4
because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
Calling Fannie Mae a victim
of grand larceny and fraud
is like calling a dog's tail a leg.
We have no loss, we have no harm,
we have no larceny,
we have no fraud.
You're on speaker.
So how did everything go today?
It was a very long day.
We're exhausted.
Long day.
I'm so tired.
Don't get me wrong.
I think the lawyer all did a very, very good job,
but the feeling, the emotion
was a little bit lacking.
A good, strong...
He did not touch the emotion.
Presentation of your case requires emotion.
Of course, there were so many other things
that could have been said
or should have been said.
You got to let your attorney at this point,
who's been living with this case
and feels very strongly about it,
you got to let him...
let him...
I think he was...
leave him be, let him do it.
He spent the most time talking
about how we stopped that closing,
and he showed you what steps we took after that.
If you...the jury has to be convinced
by document evidence.
Extremely thorough.
I agree with you.
The facts are brought out,
the laws are brought out.
He said...
He actually said...
this 30-year business.
He's not finished.
That's not his point.
Let him finish it.
You keep on interrupting.
Let him express his feelings.
He has to.
The jurors are not allowed to consider...
we're allowed to express our feeling, too.
Yeah, but you don't have to be jumping around.
I haven't been jumping around.
I haven't been talking actually is...is...
you're talking back to me again.
I got to do work.
I have to sign off on loans.
That loan's been sitting on my desk for 3 days now.
I want to give a loan out to people.
You know what?
Don't get so excited.
I'm not.
I'm just saying I got to get things done.
Let it go, let it go.
Heather, I'm hanging up on you now, ok?
Rocket. Let's go.
Ok, Jill.
We'll leave you be.
Get out, get out, get out, get out.
Come on.
We have to work now.
Let's go!
So there were 180 or so counts
in this trial.
And let's also remember
that there were, I think, 10 guilty pleas here.
The D.A., his case was built
basically on the fact
that he arrested all these very
low-level loan officers.
They started going to people's houses,
many people at 6:00 in the morning,
knocking on their door and demanding...
not forcing but demanding that
people come down to the district attorney's office
and speak to them, and they got a lot of statements
from a lot of people using that tactic.
We're talking about Chinese people,
many of whom are...have come from a police state,
and in China, people are terrified of that,
the knock on the door.
Good morning, Mr. Yu.
Good morning.
When the court officer swore you in,
he asked you your name.
You said Qui Bin Yu.
Is there another name that you go by?
Ken Yu.
Here's this gentleman, Ken Yu,
who was how the bank found out
about this misconduct in the first place,
the guy that the bank fired.
Not only was he falsifying documents
in order to put through loans,
he was stealing money from customers.
That guy ends up being the D.A.'s office star witness.
Mr. Yu, I'd like to direct
your attention to the Ariel Chi case.
Ms. Chi was the borrower that you stole money from, right?
Yes, sir.
Isn't it true that you asked Ms. Chi
for a cash tip, as well?
No. I never asked her for a cash tip.
I don't remember that part.
Mr. Yu, you had a telephone conversation with Ariel Chi.
Is that correct?
Correct, sir.
And at the time, you didn't know
that Ms. Chi was actually tape recording that conversation
with the assistance of
the district attorney's office, correct?
Yes, sir.
The D.A.S office was trying to get him
to implicate the bank.
This recording was brought into trial
through our attorneys
on cross examination of Ken Yu.
Let's just get right into it.
You told me after closing
that I'm supposed to go
and give you cash, right?
To make things...
I mean...legally, you're not supposed to do that,
but, hey, it's after the closing.
I mean, everything else is legally not right,
so, you know, I think another one...
It's just unwritten rule that, uh...
it happens in every case that I see.
You know, at the end, you, like,
you show some appreciation.
Does this refresh your recollection
that you did ask her for a tip?
I noticed that he couldn't look at me.
That's very telling.
He couldn't look at me, but I was, like,
"I'm gonna look at you."
I was like, "I'm gonna burn you with my eyes."
I was looking at him intently, as well, too.
"I dare you to say what you want to say."
He got on the stand and perjured himself
over and over and over again
in ways that a defense lawyer just doesn't get
in a career more than once or twice.
The jury laughed at him multiple times.
Abacus...you told me that Abacus knew, right?
We don't say it to the bank.
It's just individuals, the people
who work for the bank.
I'm an employee of the bank,
and so is the other underwriter.
So then...ok, but, like, Abacus,
like, the bank they know that everybody's
thing is made up, right?
I...i will say that.
Now you had a long pause there,
didn't you, Mr. Yu?
I was driving.
So that long pause is because you were driving,
you were distracted?
That's your testimony?
I cannot recall, but I was definitely driving.
You'll say that if you get in trouble.
Is that what you meant there?
I say that because...
that's a very...
Mr. Yu, I'm asking you...
it's a strange way to answer that question,
and I'm asking you what you meant by...
I...i will say that.
I will say that.
I believe that.
Well, the jury can decide what your tone suggests.
It became quite clear
that he had no trouble lying.
If that's how he's comfortable acting,
I would have thought that he would be comfortable
saying much more to try to directly link
Mr. Tam and Mr. Wong and Jill Sung
with what had happened,
but even he didn't do that.
But you also had to not let go of the fact
that he didn't get this way overnight.
He had years of this type of behavior
that was just overlooked on numerous occasions.
What role did the bank's management play
in what had happened?
How much they actually were not
aware of what was happening
versus turning a blind eye
because things were going well
and the results were good?
Ken Yu was clearly a bad egg.
By using Ken Yu, which is the worst of the worst,
the D.A.'s office is saying,
"this is the face of the institution,"
and the jurors would believe
that and find that credible.
If the bank was in such cahoots with this person,
then why would we fire him?
We would want to save him.
What the D.A. accused Abacus Bank of was ridiculous
and really nothing considering
what the big banks were doing.
All the too big to fail banks,
Morgan Stanley, Goldman sachs,
J.P. Morgan chase, and citicorp
have admitted to massive crimes,
and they've been accused of even worse.
Virtually every major financial company
and big bank in this country
and many of the foreign banks, as well,
were engaged in a far-ranging fraud scheme
whereby they were issuing
huge numbers of home loans,
particularly to middle...
and low-income borrowers,
and then they were repackaging
those loans and selling them
to investors
but disguising them as high-rated securities.
Those were extremely dangerous toxic loans
that were likely to blow up and did blow up
in huge numbers after 2008.
But there was this notion that
we couldn't bring criminal action against them
because the collateral consequences
of an institution that was so large,
so internationally connected
that indicting them
or bringing criminal charges
against them could wreck
the entire financial system.
So you have
these enormous offenders,
and they commit crimes.
"We'll just take money."
They'll cut a check
and make it all go away.
I think every American was upset
at the crisis that we went through.
There was behavior that was less than ethical,
and I think Americans were upset
that the security
against which loans were made
were often fictitious,
and in Abacus, there was some truth to that, too.
It's clearly not a big, big bank.
And clearly it was not
representative of the entire
financial community,
but I think the principle was the same.
It shows, I think, very graphically
this difference in how we deal
with a certain kind of offender
versus everybody else.
Mr. Sung was not offered the same deal.
He wasn't offered a chance to just pay a fine.
He wasn't offered a chance to plead guilty
to some minor thing.
He wasn't offered the chance
even of deferred prosecution.
He didn't get any of that offered to him.
The D.A. told us
"you have to accept a plea of guilty
for felony plus a fine."
Now what is our choice?
They wanted a conviction,
and Vance was gonna go after it.
I think if you were gonna pick a bank to pick on,
a family-owned company wedged
between a couple of noodle shops
in Chinatown is about as easy a target
as you could possibly pick.
I think the characterizations
that this was somehow a cultural bias
on the office's part, eh, entirely misplaced
and entirely wrong.
We devoted enormous amount of effort
into protecting immigrant communities,
and I felt that our handling
of the bank was consistent
with how we would have handled the bank
if we were investigating a bank that serviced
the south American community
or the Indian community.
There was nothing different that we did
or purposefully designed
to treat this bank differently.
It was important for prosecution to show
how exactly loan managers
knew what was happening.
I think the most compelling
piece of evidence they had
was the seating chart
of the Abacus loan department.
The loan officers who had been indicted
were scattered around the floor,
and somewhere in the middle
was the loan office manager.
This was all happening
around Mr. Tam's desk.
How would he not be aware
of this type of behavior
when this was going on
on a routine daily basis?
It's not so simplistic
as they would like you to believe
as a simple drawing as to where someone sat.
But on top of that, they brought Ken Yu,
who was a consummate liar,
and he speaks a different language than Mr. Tam.
He conducts business outside of the bank.
Actually, at one point, they cross-examined Ken
because Ken said, "oh, the guy gave me cash.
I was counting from my table."
When the borrower came in to testify,
the borrower said, "no.
I met him in the lobby
of the bank."
We were able to show
that the loan officers were taking steps
to hide their misconduct from the underwriters
and the more senior levels of the bank.
They would stop talking when an underwriter
would come to the floor.
They would forge signatures to make sure
the signatures would match up.
When the underwriter looked at the file,
everything would look normal.
If the borrower tells me that
he works at a local deli
and the income on his tax return is $300 a week,
that's not enough to get a mortgage loan from us,
but instead of turning him down,
what I would do is ask "is there an employer
that can verify a higher income?"
And when you would record that information,
did you believe it to be truthful?
Of course not.
And who were you trained by?
That would be Mr. Tam and Mr. Wong.
It was absurd.
You had loan originators that were gonna make
commissions by getting these loans through,
and then you had people like Mr. Wong,
who had no incentive whatsoever
financially to do this.
So they did everything they could to hide
their crimes from Mr. Wong
because they knew he wasn't involved
and that he would deny loans,
which he did many times.
He would deny people where the income
couldn't be verified
or where it seemed like
the income was out of line.
There was one denial he did
where there were fraudulent documents that he uncovered,
and his denial of loans
cost the originator his commission.
I think the people who went to the bank
and got the loan didn't fully understand perhaps
that what they were doing was lying,
but I think that ultimately
the unintended losers here
were the borrowers in the community.
We were actually contributing
to the revival of the community.
It is absolutely mind-boggling
for him to say that.
When the indictment came down,
Sung saw it as a existential threat
to his bank and rightly so
because so many institutions fail
just...just from having that indictment.
We already went through a crisis in 2003
that almost closed down the bank.
Still no sign
of a former Chinatown bank manager
charged with embezzling
more than a million dollars.
The FBI is looking for Carol lin,
who ran the canal street branch
of Abacus federal savings.
Word of the alleged scam sent off panic waves
among bank customers.
So in 2003, I happen to be doing
a story in Chinatown.
My photographer at the time said to me,
something going on up the block.
Back it up, back it up!
Back it up!
Chaos in Chinatown as thousands of investors
make a run on Abacus Federal Savings Bank,
demanding their money after hearing
that a former bank manager was being investigated
for embezzling a million dollars.
When the rumors spread in the Asian community,
the run for the dough was on.
Take a walk.
Go elsewhere.
Do something else today.
Cops struggled to control the crowd,
one even bitten by an elderly woman
demanding her money.
Many struggled to avoid being crushed in the crowd.
In that short period of time,
people withdraw something like $44 million,
putting us in a liquidity crisis.
Associated press report that we have not seen
this type of run since the thirties,
since the depression.
Don't look now, but there's something funny going on
over there at the bank, George.
I've never really seen one,
but that's got all the earmarks of being a run.
You have to understand something about Thomas Sung.
To me, he's like Jimmy Stewart
out of "it's a wonderful life."
I'll be back in a minute, Mary.
He's the small-town banker, but the town is Chinatown.
I went to the police department,
asked them give me a bullhorn.
I went on the line, and I said to them...
"I'm here."
You're...you're thinking of
this place all wrong,
as if I had the money back in a safe.
Well, your money's in Joe's house...
that's right next to yours...
and in the Kennedy house and Mrs. Maitland's house
and a hundred others!
And I actually went out and shake hand with them,
"feel my warm hand. I'm here.
I'm the real person."
After I did that, the run subsided.
Relative calm in Chinatown,
in sharp contrast to Tuesday's mad rush
on the Abacus Federal Savings Bank...
the ceo of the bank assuring investors.
They knew that everything was ok.
The people came back.
They came in, deposit money.
They thank us.
If I did not have that rapport with the people,
then I would have been much more worried
that the D.A. indicted the bank.
But if verdict is guilty, there is the possibility
that Abacus would not survive.
I never supported him with the bank.
I have to be honest.
I told my husband. I said, "banking is not good."
I felt it's a troubled business.
There are too many banks.
You know, not every one is successful.
And not every one will really
appreciate what happens,
you know, if something wrong with the bank.
When you have a false document,
you enhances the ability of Fannie Mae
to ask you to take back the loan.
I really felt my girls
should go to do something else
that they'd like to do.
I didn't want them to work at the bank,
but they went in, you know,
because they want to help their father.
They are fiercely loyal to tom.
You agree that income and assets
is a material fact that
has to be accurately represented.
So I had never, until now,
found a motivation really
to come work for the bank.
And this year, when the trial started,
I just...i was having nightmares myself.
I mean, Vera and I were sharing a room
back at my parents' house in Connecticut,
and we were both waking each other up.
And I...
and I realized, I was, like, "I can't go on
in my own career right now anymore."
It's, like, I have to help my family now.
- 'Cause I think the law...
- no, I'm saying...
the document represents a material fact.
I...I'm saying if it is truly material...
listen to me.
If it is truly material, the loan will go in default.
Differentiation may not make...
I get really frustrated sometimes.
This is probably a factor of being the youngest.
But sometimes I just, like, whatever I say,
it's just not heard.
Papa, if that's the...
you are not convincing.
If that's the form...
if that's the form
that you choose to use...
I'll tell you what is tongue in cheek.
Papa, if that's...
she said, "no harm, no foul."
If that's the form...
I never said that.
Hold on. I have a question, papa.
She said that.
I didn't say that.
If that's the form that you choose to use...
she used that word.
To represent...
- if that is the form...
- she uses that word.
That's not...
that's not true.
I...i just told you...
I'm not using those...
there is harm.
It's very difficult.
Ok, nothing more for me to say.
This is my office. Sorry.
As you can see, my desk is now piled extremely high,
but I think it's always been a mess.
That's just my personality.
My father has always said, "as an attorney,
you should be neat and organized."
Maybe I'm just not cut out to be an attorney.
Uh, is there anything, Tracy, on your desk,
anything urgent I need to get done before the weekend?
We haven't been having many closings
because of the effect of the trial.
I've been waking about 5:00 in the morning,
getting work done early in the morning,
banging out all these e-mails and answering e-mails
and then go to court and then
just come back to the office.
I actually try to get
more work done during lunch,
and then we would run back to court.
Did you ever tell the person
that you spoke to at Abacus Bank
that you were a manager at Becky's nail spa?
I was not a manager.
The person told me that my income was very low,
so it's better I have to be a manager.
Otherwise, I can't get the loan.
The prosecution, over and over,
tried to suggest that
the borrowers were innocent,
that it was the loan officers
who were inducing the borrowers
to falsify documents to qualify their loans.
On this loan file, why does it say you're a manager?
I don't know.
Did you tell anyone that you were a manager?
What we were able to show
with witness after witness,
that it was not just the loan officers.
Borrowers were trying to fool the bank
in order to put through loans.
Mr. Lin, you had your employer sign
the verification of employment form
for the loan file, is that correct?
And he signed as the co-owner of the China sun.
Did anybody co-own the restaurant with Mr. pen?
I don't really know.
You don't know if Shu Qin Lin was also a co-owner
of the China sun restaurant?
I only meet this person a few times.
I don't know if this person's
a co-owner of the restaurant or not.
Shu Qin Lin you only met a few times,
and you don't know if she's a co-owner?
They didn't tell me.
I didn't ask.
Ok, Shu Qin Lin, spelled s-h-u q-i-n l-i-n.
You don't know who that is?
I know who that is.
You do know who that is.
So, who is that?
You can say, she's like a sister.
Is she like a sister, or is she your sister?
She's my sister.
There was a string of witnesses
who were just abject liars,
to the point where it became a concern of ours
that the jury's going to think that
that everyone that the bank deals with...
former employees and customers...
are just full of shit.
So, the trial's been going on
for the 9th weeks now, right?
Is it 9?
Day 52.
You've been counting?
It's around day 52.
I've been keeping track of the number of days
since...since the jury was...yes.
That happened...
since January 12th.
I just cannot believe
how this thing could be dragged out so long.
The weeks in trial and the expenses involved...
The expenses.
The millions of dollars that's spent to defend yourself.
And witness after witness...
of course they would know they are lying.
So you bring these people out, day after day,
for 9 weeks,
and what is the effect on the community?
People get the wrong impression,
that Chinese are not law-abiding.
That...that's just too bad.
Well, we can hopefully win this case and make a statement.
Or even if you win the case...
The damage...
Well, to us...
the shame on the community is done.
Chinese immigrants come from a culture
in which so much financial transactions are based on trust
and trust that's not underwritten by a piece of paper,
on trust that's an intimate understanding,
you know, between members of a community
or between family members.
I don't think any of the borrowers think
that they are really committing a crime,
even if some of these loan documents are falsified.
One particular individual had been approved
for an $800,000 mortgage loan,
but on their tax return, they were earning only $24,000 a year
and I think this was as a couple.
There were a lot of gasps across the jury panel.
How does this even happen?
I know I would have a very difficult time going into a bank
and getting approval, you know, for even
a couple hundred thousand dollars for a loan.
Because they work primarily in a cash economy,
a lot of the borrowers had money that they
did not report to the IRS.
Only when they're purchasing a house
did it become necessary for them
to prove how much money they had,
but then they were trapped in this
position of not having the paper trail.
Maybe folks in that community
don't...don't pay, you know,
100% of their taxes.
These are all issues that if
they have a problem with a, you know,
with any immigrant community that operates in cash, ok,
they have the wherewithal to do something about that.
Um, the IRS does, too.
Abacus isn't the FBI.
There's no bank regulations that
require the bank to basically serve
as a police force against its own customers.
There'd be chaos if your bank basically was the IRS.
No one will want to bank with any bank.
You can say that our responsibility
was to provide credit to the community,
not to be a policeman.
And I remember Mr. Sung said this to me,
with regard to a restaurant, you know.
He said, a guy comes to him to
modernize his restaurant.
And he said, "I don't even need to ask him his...
his income
"because I eat at that restaurant,
and I see how full it is.
"So, you know, when he comes in and asks me for a loan,
I'm ready to give him the money".
That's the kind of thing a community bank can do,
and in the Chinese community, that's what they were doing.
They knew their community.
They were making these loans.
The prosecution had insisted since the beginning of the trial
that many of the documents
that were part of the mortgage package
were fraudulent, and that included,
in many cases, gift letters...
gift letters written by relatives or friends.
There was knowledge throughout the loan department
that what was being put forward as unencumbered gifts
were, in fact, loans.
And the source of those loans?
Money that came from...
Who knows where.
In Chinese culture,
the line between a gift and a loan is very blurry,
to the extent where there isn't even really a distinction
when it's coming from your parents or your relatives.
This is what immigrants have always done.
Jewish families did it.
Irish families did it.
Italian families did it.
Chinese families do it.
If I receive, you know, $50,000 from my mother,
there isn't a paper document that says
I must return that sum.
But, you know, if I end up caring for her in her old age,
that's a form of payment,
and I remember sitting in the courtroom
hearing how perplexed they were
when they were answering this question, when, you know,
repeatedly they were being badgered.
You know, "is this a gift, or is this a loan?
Can you clarify?"
They said, "well, you know,
if I can pay it back, I will.
But, you know, if i...if I can't, we're a family."
So, gift letters actually had to be
from a relative or spouse.
But it came to surface that these loan officers
sometimes were listed as the gift donors.
Mr. Yu, at the top of this
gift letter certification,
it reads that you are making a gift of $9,000
to your cousin Qi Zen Chen.
Is Qi Zen Chen your cousin?
Did you make a gift of $9,000 to Qi Zen Chen?
He gave me $9,000 in cash, and we went downstairs
and got the certified bank check in his name.
Tell us how it came to be that Qi Zen Chen gave you $9,000
and then you gave him a check.
This particular customer did not have any credit scores.
Can you tell us from this document who approved this loan?
That would be Ms. Vera Sung.
If Ken Yu is signing a gift letter, "Ken Yu,"
that would be disturbing.
That's not what happened.
The Chinese name of Ken is not known,
but people just called him Ken.
Ken Yu clearly knew that
and purposely put his Chinese name
on that check for that reason,
to obfuscate that it was him
who had given a "gift" to the borrower.
Mr. Yu, what is the commitment letter?
That the bank agrees to give this borrower a loan
if all the conditions were met.
Right. And gift letters, for example,
have to be in the file before you close,
but not before the commitment letter goes out,
isn't that right?
You are right, sir.
So the verification of employment that you helped fake,
the gift letters that you helped fake,
were done after Vera Sung approved
this loan on behalf of the board of directors,
isn't that right?
In this case, yes.
It's trying for us because it's our father's legacy.
And he's passed that legacy on to us.
And Vera always...when she
wants to be very mean to me,
she'll point out, "it happened under your watch, right?"
So she can be very mean to me.
She's like, "You! You know, it happened under you..."
I'm such a mean older sister.
So, you know, so, then I could sit there and be like,
"wow, you know, I really failed."
So much time has gone by.
Our father was 75, and now he's 80.
People don't understand...
there are some long-term effects
from going through such a traumatic experience.
"This bank will surely continue to seek vindication
"not simply for the ultimate
acquittal of the bank itself,
"but for the larger Chinese immigrant community
"that it has served for 31 years.
"The raw display of power by the D.A.
"Will always remind us
and other minority communities
that our human rights
can easily be trampled upon."
It's a little bit counterintuitive
the way you write it.
You want to tell people that you cannot allow
something bad to go on...
That's what I told him...
and so you're saying, "human rights
can easily be trampled upon,"
and I don't read it...
I don't want people to think
you're saying that it can be.
In other words, it should be
a normative sentence not...
no, no, no.
"Should not be trampled upon."
The cost has been great, but it's very different
per each member of the family
because we all handle stress
in a very different way.
See, chanterelle, this is all in here,
but he changed my words again,
and then he didn't put it in properly in here.
A little bit dry.
Because that's just chicken.
No Mayo, that's why, right?
But there's cheese.
My father, especially, is able to handle
stress in an incredible way.
If you...if you don't like your sandwich...
are you ok?
But you said it's dry.
As he's gotten older,
I think he feels that he's
done what he's wanted to do.
Um, he's a little more philosophical,
and to know that he's done
the best that he can do
is good for him.
If it's too much chicken,
you don't have to eat all of it.
No, i...
he said... he says it's...
did it come with avocado?
He complained.
He said it's dry.
Did they put...oh, they didn't put mayonnaise.
They didn't put...yeah, but they put avocado,
did they put the avocado?
They put avocado, but he says it's dry.
I asked him if you wanted avocado.
Now go on and eat.
He says, "it's dry, but I'm easy."
This is how he is.
He's very calm, and I'm very...
I'm like jumping beans. I'm
always running around, you know.
That's how I am.
And it drives me nuts.
My mother, I think, probably feels
things the strongest.
She's a very emotional person,
and I think defines herself,
to a large degree, by the
perceptions that others have,
so...It hurts her.
I felt I lost my face.
You know, Chinese always
want to save their face.
I was embarrassed to even see
my friends because nobody know...
I really don't know too much
about the banking,
and how I'm going to explain everything.
All I can say is, we did not do it.
Yesterday was horrible, so torturous, you know.
I just couldn't stand people thinking
of my children that bad, you know.
The prosecutor is saying that Jill lied, so that
really bothered me.
I felt like screaming.
Of course, Vera always tell me,
"don't talk, don't move,"
so I had to sit there with just...
suppress myself, you know.
That's why I couldn't even eat lunch yesterday.
I had a stomachache.
Ms. Roma, is the federal
national mortgage association,
otherwise known as Fannie Mae,
in the business to make money?
Fannie Mae is in the business
of providing home ownership
and, as a result of that,
Fannie Mae does make money, yes.
This whole case ultimately
came down to Fannie Mae.
Fannie Mae was the alleged victim in the case.
The prosecution's premise
was that the 30 loans that were in the indictment
that we had sold to Fannie Mae were not good,
because the documentation themselves
were not what they were supposed to be.
The bank can do whatever it wants.
The bank could keep those loans, it could service those loans
and care not a wit about the documentation.
That was the bank's choice...
keep them or sell them.
It chose to sell them.
In selling the loans to Fannie Mae,
they simply passed the risk off to unknowing purchasers.
Ms. Roma, Fannie Mae doesn't want to lose money, does it?
Absolutely not.
And it doesn't want our lenders to lose money either.
And you are familiar with the default rate of Abacus loans
during the indictment period, correct?
Yes, I am.
During the 5-year period of the alleged fraud,
Abacus sold a little over 3,000 mortgages to Fannie Mae.
The number of defaults of those 3,000 totaled 9.
Would you say that that is a low default rate?
The default rate is low.
Would you say it's microscopically low?
Objection to the characterization!
Sustained as to the word "microscopic."
Abacus Federal Savings Bank
had one of the nation's lowest default rates,
not the highest, one of the lowest.
But that's not what we're looking at.
We're looking at, you know, was there falsified information,
and was it sold, and it was.
These loans had not lost any money.
They're performing.
It was clear financially who was benefiting
was Fannie Mae from that transaction.
People got their loans.
They got their houses.
It was...it was almost ridiculous!
It was almost literally ridiculous!
Larceny is about stealing.
To bring larceny charges against the bank
when the supposed victim actually
made hundreds of millions of dollars,
it just...it's outrageous.
My view is, if I take $5.00 out of your wallet,
uh, I've taken your money.
If I...Ultimately, if I give that back to you,
or if you don't, in the very end,
actually have any loss because
the money gets back to you,
that's still, in our view, a larceny.
If I sold Fannie Mae a loan for $5.00,
not only did they get their $5.00 back on time,
as what they thought they were going to get it,
they also got $3.00 to $4.00, $5.00 back in interest,
which makes it $10, so tell me
how that is considered larceny.
There are two types of mortgage fraud
that generally occur.
We call them fraud-for-profit and fraud-for-home.
There are a certain number of people who commit the crime
of mortgage fraud because they lie on their application
to get a loan for the home that they want to live in.
Is it technically a crime?
Is it a crime that is worth the resources
of a state or federal government? Absolutely not.
These have low default rates on these types of loans.
The losses are relatively minor.
The other types of fraud, fraud where there really was never
any intention to pay the mortgage,
it was just about reaping profit as quickly as possible,
or fraud that went into these
complex securities that were built,
when the knowledge that there
was little to no chance that
these loans are gonna get repaid,
that's where the resources need to go.
And throwing your hands up in the air
and suggesting that, well, gee,
any time a crime is committed,
we put all of our resources in to prove it, is just not true.
I mean, today, walking over to my office,
the light was red.
And I confess,
I walked across the street against a red light.
I am absolutely guilty of jaywalking,
and I could have gotten a ticket.
Did I get one? No.
It would have been a complete
waste of the NYPD's resources
to issue me a ticket and
divert them of the real crime
that's going on in the city,
and that's where it all comes back into these...
this...this idea of discretion.
And regulators and prosecutors have
to act with the necessary discretion
of when to bring charges and when not to bring charges.
Neil is certainly entitled to his opinion.
Uh, I...
Disagree with the characterization
that this was jaywalking
because I think it was
systemic and over a long term,
and ultimately the risk was
passed without notice to...
You know, to third parties.
There should probably be regulatory
punishment for that type of behavior,
without a question, but who got hurt? Who lost money?
Who are the...the...the taxpayers that got hurt?
Who are the investors that got hurt?
Who are the individuals that lost their homes?
Who are the people that got tricked
into mortgages they couldn't afford
and got thrown out on the street?
Who lost their life savings?
What financial system collapsed?
What gdp took a hit because of
the actions that Abacus did?
And as far as I can tell, none.
Frankly, if every bank had...had underwritten as well as Abacus
during the indictment period,
we wouldn't have had a financial crisis.
We really need to talk about one issue right now,
which is whether or not we should have Jill testify.
It's really difficult,
like we keep switching back and forth.
As of yesterday, rusty believed that she should testify.
Kevin, took a different position.
He was a little bit more hesitant.
And papa feels so far that Jill should testify.
Actually, rusty and papa have the same opinion.
And i...
And he thinks that a jury might not feel much
towards a corporate institution,
whereas if you put a personal face to it,
such as Jill,
they'll begin to see and feel and realize that the
consequences of a conviction are...are serious.
However, other people believe
that if they haven't made their case
then you leave it at that.
Also, nothing has been truly said of Jill...
To implicate her in anything.
Right. I feel like I have yet
to hear a reason to put Jill on.
In fact, if you don't put her on,
it's not because you're trying
to hide anything, but because
there's no...no...
there's nothing to defend.
Nothing to defend.
Excuse me! Excuse me!
Am I in the voice or what?
Yes. Yes.
The mother is speaking.
That's a very good question.
She's not here right now.
She didn't even want to have this conversation yesterday.
The feeling that we got from her was
that if she needs to testify she will,
but she would feel terrible if
somehow she didn't testify well
and that would result in a negative, um, outcome.
Yeah, she would...
she would blame herself.
I just wanted to...papa, I know you feel
strongly about Jill testifying,
and I had felt the same way, but one...
you're not anymore? Ok.
Have changed your mind.
Yes, changed my mind.
So, how would we feel if Jill didn't take the stand
and we did not win the case?
Would we have regrets?
I can answer that, I can answer that.
I have given the matter a
careful and thorough analysis.
If the outcome is not for me,
I do not and should not feel regretful.
They have said, it's their theory,
that these kinds of documents are so obviously false,
that Mr. Tam and Mr. Wong and the bank's
other underwriters should have caught that,
and the fact that they didn't catch them
suggested that they were involved in the fraud.
That's what they're telling you,
ladies and gentlemen.
But here's the problem.
Fannie Mae,
the best underwriters in the country,
all they do, all day, every day,
is look at loan files from all over the country.
They are the gold standard, and they didn't
see anything wrong with these documents.
So, if the best there is doesn't see anything wrong,
how can that be criminal?
It's not.
And here, I'm gonna show you again,
Fannie Mae's e-mail from 2012,
because it sheds some light
on this very issue.
"We recognize that you have very unique needs
"that are closely linked to the borrowers you serve.
"While doing anything customized in this environment
"is very difficult,
"the team is committed to doing whatever we can
to develop solutions that meet the needs
of your culturally unique clientele."
Ladies and gentlemen, Fannie Mae itself
is conceding here that this is Chinatown.
It's a thousand small businesses, first generation,
special needs...and the bank serves that community.
Does that pose challenges to the bank?
It would be a lot easier to deal
with a bunch of investment bankers
who have w2s and tax returns all the time.
That would be easier,
but the bank has chosen to serve
this community, challenges and all.
Abacus' own narrative that they are trying to give you
is that they are trying to assist hard-working,
first generation immigrants live the
American dream as a community service.
That's admirable, and it's great,
and Abacus Federal Savings Bank
is free to do that and then hold
the risk on their own books.
What they are not free to do is take risks
with other people's money and not tell them.
They cannot take those risks and pass it off
to somebody else without telling the truth.
Thank you.
5...6 bowls. 6 bowls.
And then she tried to say that these loans
seemed to be representative
of our entire loan portfolio,
which is not true.
She literally rolled her eyes at...
at your mission
and building this bank for this community,
to serve the community
and to help these people
search for the American dream.
She just cast it aside.
Isn't it fortunate, at my age,
I can hardly hear everything that's said in the court?
- That's because you...
- that's a blessing.
Selective hearing.
Did you observe in the beginning
that the honorable cy Vance himself
attended the beginning part?
I did not see it.
I have seen him on TV,
and he is much smaller in person.
Ha ha! Yeah!
As a family we've always been very close,
but we've unified even more
during this time which is great.
Why are you laughing at me?
She was just in tears,
and now she's bursting out laughing.
The judge sounds like "the godfather."
No, he said he has to save his voice for the jury charge
'cause that's gonna be in a few hours.
Are you not eating any rice?
Are you on a diet?
No, I'm not.
The defendants are each charged with
20 counts of grand larceny in the second degree,
one count of grand larceny in the first degree,
48 counts of falsifying business records in
the first degree,
9 counts of residential mortgage
fraud in the second degree,
1 count of residential mortgage
fraud in the first degree,
and one count of conspiracy
in the fourth degree.
Jurors, your responsibility in this case
is extremely important;
however, it is limited to this case.
You have not been asked to
make some general assessment
of corporate governance in America
or whether banks are good or not.
You're not here to send a message to anyone.
You're here to determine whether
the people have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt,
that the defendants here on trial
are guilty of one or more of
the crimes charged in this case.
If they were going to vindicate all of us,
we would hope that it happen quickly, you know what I mean?
And like, "oh, we heard this evidence. It's not worth it."
Just vindicate everybody.
This is a really nerve-wracking time,
not knowing what the jury's going to decide
and wondering how come they
didn't come back already.
At this point, now, I think it's really bothering me.
It's like, why can't they see
what seemed so apparent in the trial?
Hate waiting in court.
It's boring and annoying.
I'd rather be doing work,
but our lawyers want us to be here in court.
In case the jury have questions,
they want the jury to see
we're still here and we can help pick out the documents.
So, I'll have to bring a lot of work-
a picnic basket of work.
Day after day, the jury did not come back.
And, in fact, the jury was asking for various documents...
some, you know, unfavorable for the prosecution,
some unfavorable for the defense.
The first note came back, and they said
they wanted the list of the loans that
the D.A.'s office was claiming were bad.
And then they wanted all the loan files for those loans.
And then they wanted all the denial files.
It got to the point when we were actually trying to analyze
the handwriting on the notes.
We all know we didn't do anything.
I mean, it's impossible that we're found guilty on all counts.
It's just impossible.
We're driving ourselves mad trying to speculate,
"oh, this person must be thinking this,"
and maybe they're thinking quite the opposite.
There was 3 different occasions where we were a hung jury.
Everyone felt very strongly in their view on it
and had good, substantial enough evidence to why.
The fact that there had been wrongdoing at the bank,
was not really in dispute.
The real crux of this case
was whether you could link what had happened
to Mr. Wong, Mr. Tam, and Jill Sung.
Where we had the toughest time,
was the falsified business records
and because there was too many hands that were
that was touched throughout
the bank for the loan approval process
for things to go unnoticed.
So, for me, that called into a major question was,
was there a conspiracy behind this.
There was one specific juror, not Jessica,
who felt that we as a jury had
a sort of broader responsibility
given the context of the financial crisis in 2008,
to make an example out of this bank,
that we were somehow doing a disservice to...
to the public,
to maybe the criminal justice system,
by allowing them to walk free.
We sent a note on June 3rd to the judge
that we were hopelessly deadlocked.
8 were on the not guilty side.
4 was on the guilty,
and I was one of the 4 on the guilty.
Hello? Hi. Ok.
So they were dismissed today,
and they came back with a note again
saying that they are deadlocked
and that both sides are adamant.
And one of the jurors actually came out,
and she already told us yesterday
she was planning to go and see her brother in Florida,
who has this really bad illness,
and so the judge promised that by tomorrow night
she would be gone, out of here.
So the judge gave them what they call an Allen charge,
which basically said, "go back and try to do this."
So that means that by the end of tomorrow
either there will be a verdict,
or there'll be a mistrial.
Tomorrow. That's it.
Tomorrow will be the last day,
whether or not there's a unanimous verdict,
the judge will discharge the jury.
By the end of tomorrow,
it will either be a mistrial or a verdict.
It's over by the end of tomorrow
unless cy Vance, in his infinite wisdom,
decides to retry the case.
Jill, why are you calling mom?
Mommy's concerned about papa's well-being.
He's 80 years old, and he's been up
since 5:30 A.M., and he has nothing to eat for dinner.
We need to get you home,
so let's get you some food.
Papa, you do.
Can you hear mom?
So we're gonna put him on a trai...
he will go home now, mommy.
You got to go home, papa.
Mommy's worried.
Ok. We'll eat.
You got to eat now.
It's killing you.
After such a long trial
and so many charges against them,
there's gonna be very little possibility
that, you know, the bank will be completely exonerated.
The jury's gonna find them guilty of something.
If we go down on one, it's a defeat.
You know, it's got to be 80 to nothing.
You're either a felon, or you're not.
If you're convicted on one felony,
it would be very serious ramifications for the bank.
"New York times" article on Friday, June, 5, 2015.
"After a 4-month trial, a jury found
"Abacus Federal Savings Bank and two of its senior officers
"not guilty of grand larceny and other charges on Thursday,
"rejecting the Manhattan district attorney's attempt
"to prove that the bank systematically lied for years
"to the federal national mortgage association.
"After the court clerk read the 240 counts
"and repeated words 'not guilty'
"after each one, members of the Sung family wept
and embraced one another."
How do we feel?
How do you feel?
I feel relieved.
So many emotions.
Very, very happy,
but I was told not to express any feelings.
No, no.
During the trial.
Now you can express your feelings.
I feel very happy.
I'm really looking forward
to all of us
being able to move on.
My father...we had to text him,
and actually you got up and called him.
He didn't respond do the text,
so then I called him.
He answered the phone
and just sort of took a step back
and started microwaving his vegetables
and said, "um, what?
There's a verdict?
Oh. Should I come?"
Like, you know, processing.
I didn't feel great about it,
but I wouldn't have felt great
if the verdict had been guilty.
The way that the law was read to us
is that under each charge all of the different elements
had to be met.
In my mind, there were quite a significant few
that 3 of the 4 requirements were met but not all of them,
and even though that you felt strongly
that there was guilt in some aspect,
you could not vote a guilty verdict,
and that's where the change came for the 4 of us
to move over to the not guilty side.
It was doing the right thing.
By the end of it, it was difficult to believe
that the prosecution had spent however many years it took
to actually build the case to then...
after they saw what all of their work had yielded...
that they would have thought that they had enough evidence
to take this case to trial and win.
Abacus was not exonerated.
It was not exonerated.
Exoneration is when a person is proven innocent.
I don't think there's anything here that says
that Abacus was proven innocent.
Poor loser comes to mind.
There's a right thing to say
when a prosecution office loses a case.
"We respect...
although we disagree with the verdict,
we respect the jury's verdict period."
Of course I'm very happy at the time.
I'm very happy at the time.
I feel relief
because it has been long time,
and I just want...
want...want to resume my normal life.
"The bank's founder Thomas Sung...
"'this wrongful prosecution has
exhausted a small community bank
"'such as ours.
"'This is a gross injustice,
"'not only to a small bank,
"'but it's casting a shadow on our community.
This is totally prejudicial and incorrect.'"
Not guilty.
Not guilty. Not guilty.
Not guilty.
The D.A. has totally and unequivocally lost.
Now this part is critically important.
We Chinese have to learn from other minorities
when it comes to the community's interest,
you must let those who are in power know
that this shall never happen again.
Everybody's fair game,
and the question is what are we gonna do about it?
I think we need to vote,
and we need to challenge people
to keep them accountable.
Ok. I'm so glad you are all here
in a very happy occasion,
and I want to thank everybody's support and dedication
this last 5 years that we went
through this unusual experience,
and let's look for happier days to come.
Hear, hear. Hear, hear.
Let us eat cake!
Let's eat cake!
Let them eat cake.
This is really good, though.
It's green tea.
Black bean, green tea.
There's many different flavors.
It's not really a celebra...
I mean, we were vindicated, and that's great,
but our goal was never to go through a criminal trial
and be vindicated.
Our goal was to serve our community, right,
so this is such a waste.
It's a tragedy.
We have a lot of cake.
We may have too much cake.
The fact that they find innocent
give all of us hope that the America that we believe in
still...you still have a chance,
but it will cost you $10 million.
The Chinese has a saying.
If you want a really hard, sharp steel make a sword,
you had to go through fire.
This experience should make my daughters stronger,
make them better person.
I got a text from a friend,
who is part of the Chinese immigrant community,
and she said that she looked
at the news this morning
and felt proud of being Chinese American,
so that actually makes all of this worthwhile.
Ok. Take care. Bye!