March 27, 2009, - 7:22 pm
Hey, Chris Hansen, Stick to Child Molesters: NBC New “Reporter” Whitewashes Career Criminal Iranian Mortgage Defrauder
By Debbie Schlussel
Perhaps NBC News “reporter” Chris Hansen got a little too comfortable ambushing alleged child predators and forgot how to do real reporting. While he has an abundance of good looks and telegenic qualities, he makes up for it in a lack of doing his homework and for deliberately omitting glaringly important aspects of a story in his aim to “get” a target.
Tonight, part two of his three-part “Inside the Financial Fiasco” series airs on NBC’s “Dateline.” But if part one, “A Front-Row Seat to the Mortgage Meltdown,” is any indication, Hansen either whitewashes or deliberatly neglects important facts about his interview subjects when they conflict with the false slant he wants for a story.
Last Sunday Night, when his mortgage mess special aired (and earlier, last week, on NBC’s “Today” show), Hansen told us about and interviewed Kourosh Partow, an Iranian-born mortgage broker. Hansen’s aim here was to pile on Countrywide bank. Hansen told us that Partow was fired from Countrywide and did jail-time for liars loans he orchestrated at Countrywide in Alaska.
To get a firsthand account of what it was like working for Countrywide Financial, one of the nation’s biggest sub-prime lenders, producer Richard Greenberg trekked to Alaska to talk to a man named Kourosh Partow. Partow ran Countrywide’s operations there. Greenberg convinced Partow to speak to me on camera. As you’ll see in our story, Partow told us about so called “liar loans” and how in his days at Countrywide, “If you had a pulse, we give you a loan. If you fog the mirror, we give you a loan.” Partow served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud for processing liar loans for a real estate speculator. Countrywide executive [DS: sic] have called him a rogue, but Partow insists the practice of faking loan applications was rampant and everyone in the business knew it.
But, while I have no doubt that many mortgage brokerages and banks–including Countrywide–did liars loans and either looked the other way or encouraged it, that’s only a tiny part of the Kourosh Partow story, the tip of the iceberg, which Hansen strangely neglected to mention. Perhaps that’s because the truth shows us that Partow is a multiple repeat crook, who put one over on Countrywide and continued to do crooked business as he had at another institution in another state. The complete Kourosh Partow story betrays Partow’s claim–and Hansen’s corroborating report–that he only did time for liars loans that “everyone does” because Countrywide wanted him to.
As a reader in the mortgage business notes, Partow’s record should have been exposed by Hansen, who chose, instead, to whitewash his background in order to further vilify Countrywide. Nice journalistic ethics. Hansen also didn’t mention Partow’s Iranian background, which is relevant to the story:
Mr. Partow had been convicted by the Feds. Mr. Partow had lost his mortgage license in Wisconsin for forgery on mortgage loan documents. He moved to Alaska where at the time Alaska did not have licensing or background checks for mortgage lending. Countrywide hired him, and he repeated his same criminal patterns.
Kourosh Partow fled the country and went back to France, then to Iran where he knew he would not be extradited. He is Iranian. The Feds arrested his wife when she returned to America to withdraw more of their money they had left behind. The Feds did not have grounds to keep her, but would only release her if Kourosh returned. Kourosh did return, was arrested, stood trial and was convicted.
The sick thing was although convicted, he is already on the streets, and having not served much jail time.
Now, that’s the story Chris Hansen should have told, but it didn’t suit his aim of just dumping on Countrywide Bank. So none of these “tiny,” “irrelevant” details of the Kourosh Partow story made Hansen’s shallow “in-depth” (non)”investigative report.”
Some of Kourosh’s fellow Iranians were in on and prosecuted in his mortgage fraud schemes, including Azem Limani, Bekim Hasipi, Dzevid Limani, and Agim Delolli.
So, here is an Iranian immigrant, a two-time convicted felon, blaming the mortgage industry and Countrywide, conveniently forgetting that he’s a career criminal in more than one state.
Oh, and guess what? Partow is a Democrat. Shocker.
More of what Chris Hansen didn’t tell you about Kourosh Partow:
Hey, Chris, time to go back to “To Catch a Predator,” because there at least you are at home with men who lie to their audience only slightly more than you do.
Read more about Kourosh Partow, Chris Hansen’s model mortgage broker who only did it because they made him and “everybody does it”:
* Wall Street Journal
* FBI Press Release
* DoJ Press Release
* Juneau Empire