Bailout blooper: bank seized for failure to pay taxes


A lot of people are having a tough time paying their taxes these days, but that's still not likely to generate much sympathy for the former Wachovia bank in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania. After the branch -- the rural town's only bank -- closed last month, an enterprising local reporter started digging through public records and discovered that the property was sold at auction the previous September after the bank blew off its tax bills for two years.

Wachovia, a big player in the mortgage market before the credit crisis hit, had been on the rocks and was bought by San Francisco banking giant Wells Fargo last September. Wells Fargo took $25 billion in TARP bailout money from the government, yet the subprime scofflaw managed to avoid paying a comparatively measly $9,600 in back taxes.