Books by Jake Bernstein

Panama Papers Secrecy World BookA two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist takes us inside the world revealed by the Panama Papers, a landscape of illicit money, political corruption, and fraud on a global scale.A hidden circulatory system flows beneath the surface of global finance, carrying trillions of dollars from drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, and other illegal enterprises. This network masks the identities of the individuals who benefit from these activities, aided by bankers, lawyers, and auditors who get paid to look the other way.

In Secrecy World, the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Jake Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it evolved, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca―a trove now known as the Panama Papers―as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein shows how shell companies operate, how they allow the superwealthy and celebrities to escape taxes, and how they provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe.

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Jake Bernstein Cheney
Dick Cheney is the most powerful yet most unpopular vice president in U.S. history. He has thrived alongside a president who from day one had little interest in policy and limited experience in the ways of Washington. Yet Cheney’s quiet, steady rise to prominence over a span of three decades occurred largely behind the scenes. Now veteran reporters Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein reveal the disturbing truth about the man who has successfully co-opted executive control over the U.S. government, serving as the de facto “shadow president” of the most dominant White House in a generation.

The Best Business Writing 2013

2013 best business writing

Part VII: Adventures in Finance

Death Takes a Policy: How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges

ProPublica’s Jake Bernstein draws you right into the story of Joe Caramadre with a beautifully crafted description of a Rhode Island lawyer whose avidness for playing the angles may have taken him too far. Did Caramadre sharply exploit a legal loophole to extract a bonanza from an insurance product called a “variable annuity,” or did he commit fraud at the expense of dying people and their families. According to Rhode Island law, Caramadre or one of his clients could buy an annuity on the life of someone who was not expected to live long and then pocket a profit when that person died. A little unsavory, perhaps, but was it also illegal? Insurance companies were losing on that claim in civil suits, but then came criminal charges.

The Best Business Writing 2012

2012 best business writing

Part II. The Financial System and Its Discontents

The “Subsidy”: How a Handful of Merrill Lynch Bankers Helped Blow Up Their Own Firm

When the protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered in New York’s Zucotti Park in the fall of 2011, they probably didn’t have in mind this particular story by ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative group. But they might well have. In the third installment of a series that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger show the extent to which Wall Street pay incentives perverted the financial system toward destructive ends. With remarkable clarity, the story shows that in 2006, as the housing market cooled, executives at a unit of Merrill Lynch that made mortgage bonds resorted to paying off members of another unit to buy securities they realized would soon collapse. The sole purpose: to keep the money-machine going and earn bonuses, no what the eventual cost to the firm or to society.