News related to Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud

2012

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12/31/08 Barbara Kiviat 

Time

When your racketeering operation begins to unravel and the Feds are looking to yank you off 

to prison, maybe a "phony" public relations piece with color pictures will help fool everyone again. It apparently fooled this Time reporter. (MSF)

12/29/08

***

Part I: The Beautiful Machine

Part II: A Crack in The System

Part III: Downgrades And Downfall

Robert O'Harrow Jr. 

Brady Dennis

with Bob Woodward
Washington Post

Greed on Wall Street and blindness in Washington certainly helped cause the financial system's crash. But a deeper explanation begins 20 years ago with a bold experiment to master the variable that has defeated so many visionaries: Risk.
12/29/08 Firms charge thousands to modify mortgages "It is very, at times, frustrating to find a homeowner who has paid a for-profit company $3,000 to $5,000 in an upfront fee, when they could have gotten the same or better assistance free."
12/27/08

***

Saying Yes, WaMu Built Empire on Shaky Loans 

Former employees say that with Kerry Killinger in charge, WaMu became a loan factory, ignoring borrowers’ incomes.

PETER S. GOODMAN and GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

WaMu set up what insiders described as a system of dubious legality that enabled real estate agents to collect fees of more than $10,000 for bringing in borrowers, sometimes making the agents more beholden to WaMu than they were to their clients. WaMu gave mortgage brokers handsome commissions for selling the riskiest loans, which carried higher fees, bolstering profits and ultimately the compensation of the bank’s executives. WaMu pressured appraisers to provide inflated property values that made loans appear less risky, enabling Wall Street to bundle them more easily for sale to investors.
12/27/08 George Bush's See No Evil Hear No Evil Mortgage Policy

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'

The Provocateur There is no doubt that as President, Bush deserves plenty of blame for what is happening. The question is how much and for what.  Those within the industry knew the dirty little secret of the "record home ownership". It was being created by marginal loans and many of these loans were fraudulent. The reason there was record home ownership was because fraud was being created on a scale not seen before in the industry's history. In other words, on an unprecedented scale there was fraud on mortgage loan applications that lead to an unprecedented level of fraudulent loans. These fraudulent loans became a part of mortgage bonds and filtered their way through many different investment vehicles.
12/26/08 The Many Lessons of the Mortgage Crisis The Provocateur The financial industry is one of the most corrupt we have. Yet, the regulators in charge of watching the industry stood by while fraudulent loans were created en masse. The amount of fraud in mortgages increased exponentially in the last half a decade, and yet, the enforcement of this fraud was nearly non existent. this is known as a moral hazard in which risky behavior that should have been punished was in fact rewarded.
12/26/08 A Mortgage Paper Trail Often Leads to Nowhere Gretchen Morgenson - New York Times In the interests of fairness, modification programs should require life-of-loan histories from servicers and a justification of each entry. New loans, especially ones backed by taxpayers, are no place to bury dubious fees or extra borrower payments to cover those that were allegedly, but not actually, missed.
12/26/08 Judge delays Poconos home fraud trial against JPMorgan Chase

Move is made in effort to get sides to discuss a settlement.

Matt Birkbeck

The Morning Call

Testimony from current and former Chase employees indicates that JP Morgan Chase officials knew about the scam, and even established unusual underwriting guidelines to approve the mortgages, many of which didn't go into default until after they were sold by Chase to the secondary market, chiefly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
12/26/08*

What Really Happened - Foreclosure- Eviction? No Way.. Get Even!

Robert Paisola What you probably don’t hear too much about is the less than 2% of homeowners that learn about the fraud that occurred in the “housing/sub prime mortgage crisis”, discover what their rights are, and fight their lender in court. Why don’t you hear about them? Because they are winning.

This letter will explain how to be part of that 2%.
12/25/08 Rezko attorney 'owns' Obama mansion
Lawyer at firm where Democrat worked receives tax bill
Jerome R. Corsi
WorldNetDaily
Several of the transactions remain under investigation, because the millions of dollars Rezko borrowed against the properties to make redevelopments are gone, while many of the properties remain boarded up and uninhabitable.
12/24/08 Cincinnati sues banks over foreclosures

Cincinnati wants Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo to pay for what officials say is neglect of foreclosed-upon properties that's worsening blight in city neighborhoods.

Jane Prendergast  jprendergast@enquirer.com The German banking company didn't own even one parcel in the county three years before. But Deutsche officials denied owning any houses here, saying the bank acts only as a trustee for investment groups that buy up subprime mortgages.
12/24/08 Once Trusted Mortgage Pioneers, Now Pariahs MICHAEL MOSS and GERALDINE FABRIKANT

New York Times

Last month, the United States attorney’s office in San Francisco announced dual inquiries into whether World Savings engaged in predatory lending practices or misled investors about its financial well-being.
12/23/08 Investor Who Lost Money in Alleged Scheme Seeks Relief From SEC KARA SCANNELL - WSJ A New York woman who lost nearly $2 million investing with Bernard Madoff has filed a claim against the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the agency was negligent in failing to detect an alleged decades-long fraud.
12/22/08* Where'd the bailout money go? Shhhh, it's a secret MATT APUZZO, Associated Press After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.
12/22/08 It Isn't Surprising That SEC Missed Madoff's Scam Eric W. Bright, CFA
Pennyfarthing Investment Management, L.L.C.
It is time to rethink the structure of the regulatory system because what we have isn't working.
12/22/08 Law enforcement officials predict that the next two years will be banner ones for the exposure of financial fraud. Financial Arrests Worldwide "This is probably the biggest surge in financial crime maybe since the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s,"
12/22/08 Metropolitan Money Store CEO Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud James Comtois

National Mortgage News

“Jennifer McCall’s entire business model was a sham. Her ‘money store’ was in the business of ripping off homeowners and mortgage lenders by submitting fraudulent paperwork to support loans that would never be repaid, ” said Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.
12/21/08

Lawyers Sought to Help in Foreclosure Cases

Homeowners Get Pro Bono Assistance

Washington Post With state officials expecting a fresh surge in foreclosures in the coming weeks and months, organizers of the pro bono project say they are going to need more lawyers.
12/21/08** Mortgage Creditor Denied Bankruptcy Attorneys Fees Jill Michaux, Topeka Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist A mortgage creditor may not include attorneys fees in its chapter 13 bankruptcy proof of claim unless the loan documents expressly allow creditor attorneys fees for bankruptcy proceedings, Judge Janice Miller Karlin ruled this week.
12/20/08 Anatomy of a Florida Foreclosure Defense BrokenCredit.com There are links to pleadings and orders in one of April Charney's ongoing Florida foreclosure defense cases
12/20/08 $4 million class settlement with Ameriquest approved H.J. CUMMINS - Star Tribune Allegations against Ameriquest included charging borrowers higher-than-promised interest rates and improper discount points, and failing to disclose prepayment penalties.
12/19/08*

'Angel' of foreclosure defense bedevils lenders

Florida attorney trains hundreds of others to help troubled borrowers

Mike Stuckey - MSNBC.com Over and over again, she said, in her cases and those of other attorneys she met, she found sloppiness, fraud and outright criminality in the nation’s mortgage lending industry. Regardless of why her clients have been unable to pay their mortgages, she maintains that nobody deserves to lose a home to the unethical and illegal foreclosure procedures that she claims are now being used by many banks and loan servicers.
12/18/08 Hamilton commissioners call for state foreclosure freeze

Hamilton County commissioners Wednesday voted to support a statewide, six-month moratorium on home foreclosures.

Cincinnati.Com

 

"We don't want homeowners to lose their home because ... (the foreclosure) comes hours or days before a bill is adopted ... that would provide help or relief," said Commissioner Todd Portune.
12/18/08*

When foreclosure limbo becomes a lifestyle

Like millions in U.S., Florida woman lives with housing uncertainty

Mike Stuckey - MSNBC.com She considers Lewis’ struggle to save her home part of what began as a “giant Ponzi scheme” by the financial sector that has now progressed to a “looting of the country.  said Lewis’ attorney, April Charney.
12/18/08

Grim choice: Walking away from a mortgage

For many, it's either pay the mortgage or put food on the table

Associated Press Shackle was never late with a payment, she said. Despite her pleas, she said she couldn't get the lenders to refinance once the collapse of the housing market had slashed the home's value to about $150,000.
12/17/08 Deed in Lieu and Defending Foreclosure in Court -- Do Both Foreclosure Fish

Homeowners should look into their legal options as well as their non-legal options for avoiding foreclosure. Stopping the lawsuit in court or getting additional time is the best solution to begin with. Borrowers are encouraged to consult with a lawyer if they feel the need to; even spending $1,000 on an attorney would be worthwhile if they received an additional 6 months to work out another solution to foreclosure without having to pay the mortgage.

2/17/08 The End of the Fed as We Know It Daniel Politi - Slate.com After all, it was legal for banks to give risky mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, bundle a group of them into bonds, and then receive premium ratings for these bonds. "If that isn't a pyramid scheme, what is?"
12/17/08 AG takes himself out of Madoff fraud probe Pete Yost and Marcy Gordon, Associated Press Credible and specific allegations regarding Madoff's financial wrongdoing going back to at least 1999 were repeatedly brought to the attention of SEC staff, said Cox. Cox said he was gravely concerned by the apparent multiple failures over at least a decade to thoroughly investigate the allegations or at any point to seek formal authority from the politically appointed commission to pursue them.
12/16/08 Wells Fargo wants YOU in Foreclosure!

Cyrus Rafizadeh

www.predatorix.com

Servicers DEPEND on engineering defaults and fabricating foreclosure so they can engage in litigation, sue borrowers, steal their equity, make advances, and get judgments two to three times the principal balance even after the real estate has sold for well over the original loan amount.
12/16/08 Australian Couple Loses Home Via Facebook AP The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack's application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by email.
12/16/08 Countrywide & Bank of America Drop off Trusted List The Consumer Warning Network Wouldn’t it be nice to see Bank of America actually try to help all those homeowners who’ve been driven into default by Countrywide’s predatory loans, instead of fast-tacking the foreclosures?
12/15/08 Mortgage fraud cases are booming DON THOMPSON 

 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

"Let's not lose sight of the fact that there is immense criminal fraud involved in this financial crisis," said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.  "We have a duty to put these people in prison,"  
12/15/08*

Alleged Madoff fraud has worldwide exposure

with VIDEO

JOE BEL BRUNO and JANE WARDELL, AP Business Writers

The list of investors who say they were duped in one of Wall Street's biggest Ponzi schemes is growing, snaring some of the world's biggest banking institutions and hedge funds, the super rich and the famous, pensioners and charities. "There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you've had somebody decide to be unscrupulous," said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job," Nicola Horlick, of Bramdean Alternatives

12/14/08*

A Second Mortgage Disaster On The Horizon?

60 Minutes: New Wave Of Mortgage Rate Adjustments Could Force More Homeowners To Default  

with VIDEO

Scott Pelley - 60 Minutes Nearly two trillion tax dollars have been shoveled into the hole that Wall Street dug and people wonder where the bottom is.  It turns out the abyss is deeper than most people think because there is a second mortgage shock heading for the economy. In the executive suites of Wall Street and Washington, you're beginning to hear alarm about a new wave of mortgages with strange names that are about to become all too familiar. If you thought sub-primes were insanely reckless wait until you hear what's coming.
12/12/08* “Produce the Note!” - Rallying Cry to Fight Foreclosure The Consumer Warning Network The “produce the note” approach has become a rallying cry for a growing number of lawyers who say homeowners can fight foreclosure-and win.
12/12/08

Major hurdles stand in way of foreclosure relief

Georgia woman's struggle to save home leads into red-tape nightmare with Bank of America.

with VIDEO

John W. Schoen

MSNBC.com

Bank of America told her she didn’t qualify for a modified loan because she was not yet behind in her payments, she said. After she eventually fell behind, she was told she had to be in her house for a year to qualify for a new loan. After 12 months in her home, she said she was told she didn’t qualify for a new loan because she hadn’t made 12 consecutive, on-time payments.
12/12/08 Ex-Nasdaq Chair Arrested on Fraud Charge in NYC

*Article includes formal Complaint

Associated Press A former Nasdaq stock market chairman was arrested on a securities fraud charge Thursday, accused of running a fraudulent investment business that lost at least $50 billion before he confessed to senior employees it was a "giant Ponzi scheme".
12/12/08 Bayview Financial Executive Accused of Mortgage-Securities Scheme EVAN PEREZ-WSJ Mr. Gordon reviewed portfolios of Bayview loans and plucked out certain mortgages that he wanted to make more valuable before securitization. On some, he simply used a pen to increase the credit scores of borrowers, making the loans appear less risky and more valuable to investors, according to investigators. On others, he changed internal codes used to classify mobile homes or vacant land and reclassified them as single-family homes. (It is that easy to do. MSF)
12/11/08 When the bottom falls out

For homeowners facing foreclosure, it's the end of life as they know it -- and it's getting worse.

Peter Zuckerman and David Holley, The Oregonian Until a few years ago, people typically went into default because of medical bills, lost jobs, divorces or similar life changes, experts say. Now, they add, the reasons for defaulting are different: frozen credit, declining incomes, falling house prices, predatory lending, irresponsible buyers and a lack of government oversight of banks.
12/10/08 General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations -- Money to Come from U.S. Rescue Program Russ Dallen
Latin American Herald Tribune
General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker. According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the U.S. government.
12/9/08 CEO Compensation: What Recession? Consumer Warning Network Among the big winners was former Countrywide Executive Angelo Mozillo, whose total 2007 compensation was $124.69 million.  That’s terrific, especially since his company collapsed and was taken over by Bank of America this year, and he’s under federal investigation for his compensation package. 
12/9/08** Deceptive and Unfair Mortgages L. Jed Berliner, Massachusetts Foreclosure Defense Attorney Mortgages are “presumptively” deceptive and unfair if they have these four characteristics, says the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
12/9/08

Lawmaker: Fannie Mae CEO made poor choices

Waxman argues that Fannie and Freddie ignored dangerous Alt-A loans

Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch Rep. Elijah Cummings argued that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac moved heavily into sub-prime loans because executives sought to make a profit on risky mortgages. "People in my district have been left holding a bag," said Rep. Elijah Cummings. "I speculate it was about profit. I speculate it was about greed."
12/9/08 Fannie, Freddie execs turned aside warnings ALAN ZIBEL, AP "Their own risk managers raised warning after warning about the dangers of investing heavily in the subprime and alternative mortgage market. But these warnings were ignored" by the two chief executives, said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee's chairman. "Their irresponsible decisions are now costing the taxpayers billions of dollars."
12/8/08 EMC Mortgage - Is This Their Last Days? Personal Finance Analyst …We just heard the EMC division (Correspondent) was given notice. According to the email we received “Some have until May 30th (to work) to receive small severance.” The tipster said “They have roughly 30 people left plus some sales staff”
12/8/08** Why You Don’t Owe the Money

The harder the homeowner fights the better the results.

lvinglies Your “lender” was paid in full by the mortgage wholesaler, who was paid by the investment banker and investors who were bailed out by insurers and the Federal Government with your own tax money. There is no debt left. Zero.
12/8/08 Homeowners who modified loans are in trouble again ALAN ZIBEL, AP Many experts claim the bulk of loan modifications don't actually provide much financial relief for borrowers. The government's data don't include enough detail about the types of the loan modifications that were made, said Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "The quality of the (modifications) are not what they should be," she said.
12/8/08 To the Rescue Asher Hawkins Lend America aims to make money on a government program that helps underwater borrowers and banks shed bad mortgages. Lend America's Ashley pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced in 1996 after the feds targeted Liberty Mortgage Banking, run by his dad. He was given probation and told to fork over $30,000 to Freddie Mac .
12/7/08 Some Homes Saved From Foreclosure, Here's How - Updated Daily kos A South Carolina court dismissed a MERS action to foreclose for lack of standing even though MERS filed an affidavit wherein a person claiming to be an officer of MERS claimed that MERS was holding a promissory note. The South Carolina court vetted the MERS affidavit claim that it was the holder of the note after being apprised of the fact that MERS had previously told the Nebraska Court of Appeals that it never held promissory notes.

Several court in New York have been routinely dismissing foreclosure actions brought by MERS or its members because they continually fail to produce promissory notes. (That is because MERS does not hold notes. MSF)

12/5/08 Fighting Foreclosures

treasury_list.jpg

 

 

 

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur delivering the four-column list of 2007 Lucas County foreclosures to the Treasury Department.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's visit to the Treasury to urge action on foreclosures

(Click here to read Marcy's letter to Secretary Paulson.)

The $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has not been an effective tool at the local level because it fails to address the root of our economic woes—rising foreclosures. The $300 billion Federal Housing Administration program designed to help modify troubled mortgage loans has been similarly ineffective: The program has received fewer than 200 applications nationwide since taking effect on October 1, and as of December 10, not a single loan had been modified. If nothing is done, another 600 families will lose their homes in Lucas County by the end of January, as will thousands more nationwide.

Are you facing foreclosure?  Click here for help.

12/4/08 Evergreen president sent to jail.

Indicted on 68 counts for widespread mortgage and securities fraud. 

Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal
Jurors said they would be able to judge Willan solely on the evidence they would hear rather than personal feelings they might have about the nation's frightening home foreclosure statistics and the growing publicity about the crisis on Wall Street.
12/4/08 FBI director aims for more mortgage fraud prosecutions 9News.com -Denver "Any number of people who have had to default on their mortgages, who have been adversely affected economically and otherwise as a result of this, and to the extent that it's attributable to criminal activity, we have the obligation to identify those persons and make sure they spend time behind bars," he said.
12/4/08 FDIC ModSquad: Not A Welcome Sight For Investors

 

By Candice Workman Nonas, CEO, Fundamental Credit Capital Partners

 

This raises the question about the services ability, not their willingness, to use this workout option and the 40 percent modification re-default rate raises questions about how the mod is being implemented. Loans from the most toxic vintages -2005, 2006, and 2007, need more than modification, they need a complete re-underwrite.
12/3/08 The Case for Fraud: "HUD is a sewer"  takeitorleaveit It’s just another instance of our government at work, of criminal confluence of public and private interests with the government as the major enabler of fraud, illegal activity, and profiteering.
12/3/08 South Florida: Attorney convicted Vanessa Blum
SunSentinel.com
The attorney could be sentenced to more than 10 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud.
12/3/08 Colorado Realtor Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud and Witness Tampering LawFuel.com Arvin Weiss, age 58, of Englewood, Colorado, was sentenced today to serve 84 months (7 years) in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock for mortgage fraud and witness tampering.
12/3/08 Fla. called No. 1 in mortgage fraud Michael Van Sickler

 St. Petersburg Times

In the Broward case, prosecutors said Gaines, as a title agent, aided his co-conspirators in falsifying closing documents that made it look like borrowers could repay loans. Gaines, 57, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February. The maximum sentence is 45 years in prison.
12/8 Confidence Will Be In The Eye Of The Beholder Jack M. Cohen - Cohen Financial Greed, stupidity and the lack of oversight got us into this position.
12/2/08 It took 90 minutes for Daily News to 'steal' the Empire State Building WILLIAM SHERMAN
DAILY NEWS
"Once you have the deed, it's easy to obtain a mortgage," Farrell said. Many crooks have done just that:
12/2/08 A People’s Bailout Or A Politicians’ Bailout? The Pelosi-Paulson centralized government, politician defined, bureaucratically implemented bailout system fails to meet the test of any of these four words of reform. It will not lead to more honesty, productivity, creativity or effectiveness.
12/2/08 Mortgage Security Holder Stands-Up – Could Cost Bank of America $80 Billion Mr. Mortgage In all of the recent events surrounding bailouts and loan modifications, one very prominent party in this whole mess has been missing – the mortgage security (MBS) holders. Not any longer. With $7 trillion in securitized mortgages out there, this could be the very first of a major story unfolding over the next year. One in which the MBS holders finally stand up and banks, investment banks and mortgage lenders become ultimately responsible for the loans that they made and eat their own trash.
12/2/08

Hurst man with cancer still fighting today's planned foreclosure of home  

ANDREA JARES - Star Telegram The court filings also say that Hartman’s home-equity loan is unconstitutional under Texas law because it is for more than 80 percent of the home’s value. The Ameriquest loan was for $116,000, while the Tarrant Appraisal District values the home at $78,500. Hartman’s attorneys say that the loan fees were also unlawfully high.

Engle said mortgage companies have shut off the utilities of some of his clients and winterized their homes even before foreclosure. But Hartman’s case is particularly severe, he said.

12/2/08 Foreclosures: Delay could help ... or hurt DICK HOGAN • dhogan@news-press.com Green said the reason for the decline may be the sheer volume of what's come before. "We're running out of places to foreclose on."
12/1/08 Departing US Atty Garcia: Keep Focus On White-Collar Crime Chad Bray , Dow Jones Newswires Garcia, said that white-collar crime and terrorism are the top priorities for the office and likely always will be. Given the current financial upheaval, white-collar prosecutions will have added importance, Garcia said.
12/1/08 What an Obama Administration Means To Your Mortgage Christy Trotter Obama blamed the financial crisis on lax government regulations, so look for tougher regulations, new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud violators, more funding for enforcement programs, more detailed loan disclosure laws, new counseling programs and other consumer protections.
12/1/08 ‘Expect foreclosures, expect horror stories’ lender wrote after White House nixed crackdown on bad mortgages
Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press
“Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories,” California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job.
Bowing to aggressive lobbying — along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK — regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.
12/1/08 Mortgage-Bond Holders Get Voice

Greenwich Financial's William Frey Challenges Loan Servicers Like Bank of America

RUTH SIMON - WSJ The lawsuit doesn't take issue with the actual settlement but focuses instead on who should bear the costs. Noting that the attorneys general accused Countrywide of "widespread predatory lending," the lawsuit alleges that Countrywide plans "to pass most or all" of the cost of the settlement to investors. It seeks to compel Countrywide "to purchase every mortgage loan on which it agrees to reduce the payments."
11/30/08 Fighting foreclosure: How one couple got caught in mortgage crisis Yoshiaki Nohara, Herald Writer The Bergers hope to get a mortgage modification through a settlement with Washington and 10 other states reached in October by their lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. The nation's biggest mortgage lender rose by selling risky loans and then fell when those loans turned bad and triggered the nation's financial crisis.
11/30/08

No, Virginia, there isn't any bailout help for you

John F. Wasik - Bloomberg

Your own bailout The subtext of the bailout is this: You're on your own. If you need to borrow and clean up your credit, it's up to you to fix any problems. If you're facing a mortgage-rate reset you can't afford, jump on it now and ask your lender to offer better terms. Many have said they will.

11/30/08 Nowadays, the bank says what a house is worth Lisa Prevose, New York Times Worse, sometimes the only available comps include a foreclosure or a short sale. Because such properties typically sell below market rates, they can drag down a neighboring house's perceived value.
11/28/08 A Win-Win Bankruptcy Reform Rich Leonard - Washington Post More sophisticated than many borrowers, she realized she was getting an adjustable-rate mortgage. What she didn't realize was that, in the biggest "bait-and-switch" ever pulled by an entire industry, her ARM was not tied to the prime rate or any other index, as adjustable-rate mortgages have traditionally been.
11/28/08 Foreclosures Overwhelm Legal Aid Programs Ari Shapiro - NPR Legal aid attorneys say some people being kicked out of their homes might have been able to stay if they'd had legal help — help that isn't there for everyone.  
11/27/08
NEW CENTURY FINANCIAL
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The suit accused the company of accepting consumer money to process loans that the company knew it could not afford to fund, making false statements and making loans to consumers with poor credit histories that the company knew were not in the consumer's best interest.
11/27/08 Akron asks for federal money to stem foreclosures Fox19 - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said Wednesday the city would use the money to negotiate with banks and to restructure loans to keep homeowners in their homes.
11/26/08 Citigroup bailout slammed by New Yorkers Reuters The bailout of Citigroup has made people in New York angrier than they were about any of the other government rescues of financial institutions this year. "They were bailed out before, this is the second bailout, so what's going on? Are they going to ask for another bailout soon?"
11/24/08 Citigroup dodges bullet

Government will guarantee losses on more than $300 billion in troubled assets and make a fresh $20 billion injection.

David Ellis, CNNMoney.com Another corporation responsible for the mortgage meltdown, causing many innocent homeowners to have their homes stolen, get a handout for a job well done. MSF
11/24/08

Bailouts of Citigroup et al Present Additional Defenses Against Collection of Virtually Any Debt

LivingLies Think about it. You are a taxpayer and your tax dollars are absorbing the “losses” associated with write-offs of your debts (mortgage, credit card, auto-loan, student loan etc.) whether you pay or not! The reason for the toxicity of those assets the government is eating up is NOT because of defaults, it is because the paper is bad to begin with. In plain words, those debts are not enforceable because the securitizers and investment bankers didn’t follow the rules and intentionally defrauded both the investors who put up the money and the “borrowers” who were in actuality the unwitting parties to a scheme to issue unregulated securities under false pretenses. Unless the “bailout” goes to the actual victims of the fraud instead of the perpetrators, how are we ever going to show our faces in the world financial markets again?
11/24/08

The Fed Is Out of Ammunition

A discredited dollar is a likely outcome of the current crisis.

CHRISTOPHER WOOD -WSJ The issuance of nonagency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in America has plunged by 98% year-on-year to a monthly average of $0.82 billion in the past four months, down from a peak of $136 billion in June 2006. There has been no new issuance in commercial MBS since July. This collapse in securitization is intensely deflationary.
11/24/08 Early Read Finds Many Loan Mods Falling Short Kate Berry - American Banker "We're going backwards," said Alan White, an assistant professor at Valparaiso University School of Law. "The voluntary modifications are putting people underwater more than they already are and those terms are contributing to the failure rate."
11/23/08

White paper

MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE Daniel A. Edelman

A mortgage company which does not have to hold the loans it originates is likely to be less careful about the quality of loans originated. In addition, securitization makes it more difficult for anyone to renegotiate loans or work with borrowers. 

11/21/08*

Former Regulator: Clear Fraud in Financial Crisis -- Why Isn't Anyone in Jail?

with VIDEO

Aaron Task But nearly two years into the bursting of booms in housing and mortgage securities, scant few related arrests have been made — and most of those have been focused on individual mortgage brokers vs. major industry leaders.
11/21/08 Citi Weighs Its Options, Including Firm's Sale David Enrich - WSJ Executives at Citigroup Inc., faced with a plunging stock price, began weighing the possibility of auctioning off pieces of the financial giant or even selling the company outright, according to people familiar with the matter.
11/21/08 Lawyer to lenders: Prove you own mortgages

Class-action filed against GMAC - Deutsche Bank

Thomas Grillo - BostonHerald The suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court alleges that since 2004 GMAC Mortgage, Deutsche Bank National Trust, Harmon Law Offices and Ablitt Law Offices foreclosed on properties despite the fact that they do not own or were not assigned the mortgages.
11/21/08 Fannie, Freddie to Suspend Foreclosures During Holidays Aparajita Saha-Bubna -WSJ The temporary foreclosure suspension announced Thursday applies to 10,000 borrowers with Fannie-owned mortgages and 6,000 with Freddie-owned mortgages in occupied single-family and two- to four-unit properties with foreclosure sales scheduled between Nov. 26 and Jan. 9. Fannie and Freddie, which are under government control, last week said they would begin to modify the loan terms on potentially hundreds of thousands of mortgages that are at least 90 days past due.
11/21/08 Citigroup stock dive rebuffs claim by Treasury's Paulson Tom Petruno -LA Times
Once the government started pumping capital into banks last month, many investors assumed that the biggest institutions were at least assured of survival.
But the market clearly has major doubts about Citigroup, even with $25 billion in government capital now on its books.
11/20/08 Fannie Mae 

Lender Letter 04-08: Issuance of a Temporary Halt to Foreclosures and Evictions

Fannie Mae

The temporary halt on foreclosures is designed to allow affected borrowers facing foreclosure to retain their homes while Fannie Mae works with FHFA to implement the streamlined modification program scheduled to launch December 15, 2008. The

foreclosure halt will apply to all portfolio mortgages and all MBS pool mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and to foreclosures of homes that are already in process with foreclosure sale dates scheduled during the halt period. Servicers and foreclosure attorneys (or trustees) must institute the halt on foreclosures for eligible homeowners no later than November 26, 2008.

11/19/08 FHA-Backed Loans: The New Subprime
The same people whose reckless practices triggered the global financial crisis are onto a similar scheme that could cost taxpayers tons more
Chad Terhune and Robert Berner BusinessWeek Some of the same people who propelled us toward the housing market calamity are now seeking to profit by exploiting billions in federally insured mortgages.  They're giving mortgage firms licenses to dole out 100%-insured loans despite lender records blotted by state sanctions, bankruptcy filings, civil lawsuits, and even criminal convictions.
11/19/08 Senate Testimony on Foreclosures 

The Foreclosure Crisis and the Financial Crisis

Adam J. Levitin

The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented home foreclosure crisis. At no time since the Great Depression have so many Americans been in jeopardy of losing their homes. Over 20 million homes entered foreclosure in 2007 and another one to two million are expected to enter foreclosure in 2008. We are on pace for 6.5 million homes, or 12.7% of all residential borrowers, to be in foreclosure by 2012. Nearly a quarter of a million homes were actually sold in foreclosure or otherwise surrendered to lenders in 2007. At the end of the first quarter of 2008, one

in eleven homeowners was either past due or in foreclosure, the highest levels on record. Already nearly 20% of homeowners have negative equity in their homes, and by the time the housing market stabilizes, 40% of homeowners will have negative equity positions.

11/19/08 Homeowner Bailout: Do You Qualify?

with video

Consumer Warning Network After shifting gears and deciding that buying toxic assets wasn’t such a good idea after all, the federal government announced two new bailout plans that finally focus on homeowners. (It never focused. MSF)
11/19/08 Senate Testimony on Foreclosures  David G. Kittle - Mortgage Bankers  
11/18/08 Foreclosure Fraud: 

My three children should have never been exposed to this emotional rollercoaster of insecurity by Barclays Bank, the law-breaking mortgage holder, Homeq Servicing, or my government.

AHRC News Services They are not being held accountable for their mistake and I have tried every government entity to take action. I have had a loan with them for about 4 years. I have been in my house for 16 years and successfully made 81 months on-time payments with the last mortgage company and the all the companies that held our mortgage before.
11/18/08 Lawmakers, Treasury lock horns on foreclosures Reuters Under stiff questioning from lawmakers who charged Treasury was making up strategy as it went along, Paulson conceded he hadn't totally ruled out using bailout funds to help homeowners, but said he had "reservations" about a proposal.
11/17/08

4-Part series

Solving the Foreclosure Crisis Chip Parker

 Jacksonville Consumer Attorney

Can a local community implement a strategy to combat a global problem?  Absolutely, and in this four part series, I will discuss how Jacksonville and other cities can fight foreclosures.  After all, as we wait for the federal government to take real action, real middle class Americans are being displaced from their homes.
11/17/08 Pushback on Freddie Mac Buybacks? Bank Lawyer's Blog While an unnamed attorney is quoted as stating that JPMorgan Chase inserted language in the P&A Agreement to protect itself from buyback liabilities, I couldn't find it.
11/17/08 Postal Service investigates boss's VIP mortgage MATT APUZZO - AP Countrywide, a leading subprime lender, is at the heart of the mortgage crisis. It has been criticized for using initially low teaser rates that later ballooned higher than borrowers could afford.
11/16/08 How to Ground The Street Eliot L. Spitzer As one lawyer for a company charged with malfeasance stated in a meeting in my office (amazingly, this was intended as a winning defense): "You're right about our behavior, but we're not as bad as our competitors."
11/14/08

*****

Foreclosure Mess: Two Different Plaintiffs Claim to Own Same Mortgage Amir Efrati - WSJ Last month Ms. Fredenburg was served with not one but two foreclosure lawsuits from two different plaintiffs that both claimed to own her promissory note and mortgage and said she owed them each more than $276,000. That, of course, is impossible. (Click here and here for the two complaints.)
11/13/08 Foreclosure rates up 25 percent year-over-year ADRIAN SAINZ, AP The collateral damage in the financial markets forced the government to pass a $700 billion financial rescue package last month. The plan was initially to buy bad assets from banks, but Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that the rescue package won't purchase those troubled assets.
11/12/08 Plan to purchase illiquid mortgage-related assets on hold Maya Jackson Randall, Michael R. Crittenden and Damian -WSJ Treasury has just $60 billion left in its rescue fund, and either the current or next administration will have to turn to Congress to request the second half of the promised $700 billion. Treasury has so far committed $250 billion to banks and is spending an additional $40 billion to buy preferred shares in American International Group Inc., the big insurer.
11/12/08

New AIG Rescue Is Bank Blessing

Buyers of Insurer's Default Swaps Would Recover Most of Their Money

SERENA NG and LIAM PLEVEN - WSJ

A person familiar with the government's rescue plan says it wasn't specifically designed to benefit individual banks at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and AIG, which will end up bearing the risk of the CDOs. However, officials wanted to give banks sufficient incentives to sell the securities so that AIG could cancel the swaps. 

11/12/08 UBS Executive Indicted in U.S. Inquiry LYNNLEY BROWNING

New York Times

In a move that could spell bigger trouble for UBS, the indictment also referred to unindicted co-conspirators who “occupied positions of the highest level of management within the Swiss bank.” The individuals, the document said, sat on committees that oversee legal, compliance, tax, risk and other issues. The indictment also referred to unindicted senior bankers and the managers and “desk heads” who oversaw them.
11/12/08 Lawmakers Now Debate Loan Modification LOUISE STORY

New York Times

The problem is that financial executives have competing views on whether mortgages that were packaged — or securitized, in industry parlance — can be modified or not. These mortgages are no longer owned by the banks that service them; they are instead owned by numerous investors, and some in the industry think the investors might sue banks that modify mortgages. (Why wasn't this considered before now? MSF)
11/11/08* The End of the Wall Street Boom

Michael Lewis - portfolio.com The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.
11/11/08 Fed Lends $1.1 Trillion, Won't Say to Whom MSN Money Since September 14th, when the Federal Reserve relaxed collateral requirements for new lending, it’s doled out over $1.1 trillion to faltering financial institutions. Now, Chairman Ben Bernanke and company won’t say where the money went.
11/11/08 Fannie, Freddie Boost Effort to Minimize Foreclosures Dawn Kopecki and Rebecca Christie - Bloomberg Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, will accelerate anti- foreclosure efforts by streamlining loan modifications to lower monthly payments for more struggling homeowners. (What about the investors? MSF)
11/11/08 America Discovers That Bailout Will Be Used To Pay Wall Street Bonuses

``The executives in companies that get bailout money should have their base salaries reduced by 10 percent for 2009 and they should pay back a substantial portion of their 2007 bonuses to the government for the financial devastation they oversaw, fostered and, in some cases, directly caused,'' said S. Woods Bennett, a 57-year-old lawyer in Baltimore. ``Their sense of entitlement is appalling.''...
11/11/08 Mortgage Servicers To Face Scrutiny From US House Wednesday Dow Jones U.S. House lawmakers are expected to put heavy pressure on mortgage-servicing firms at a Wednesday hearing, even as financial firms seek to show they are taking more aggressive steps to help struggling borrowers.

"We're ready to say that next year we will have to rewrite the servicer laws," House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank , D-Mass., said Tuesday.

11/11/08 Even Law Firms Feel Strain of Layoffs and Cutbacks JONATHAN D. GLATER

New York Times

In downturns of years past, law firms exploited corporate failures and bitter, protracted lawsuits to keep busy and keep billing. But in this still-unfolding crisis, the embittered and the bankrupt have been relatively slow to appear, at least in court.
11/11/08

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Feds to Speed Up Home Loan Modifications

FoxBusiness They wait until the dam broke rather than stop the leak when it started more than a decade ago.  "Encouraging" banks rather than "forcing" them has already proven to be a failure. MSF
11/11/08 Citi Gives Lifeline To At-Risk Homeowners CBS News The lack of oversight along with the complicity of the courts, lawyers and law enforcement is causing this scam to collapse upon itself. The banks believed they would never get caught.  MSF
11/10/08 Hurst man down on his luck, and soon out of his house ANDREA JARES

Star Telegram

He said he didn’t know that Ameriquest Mortgage was going to give him an adjustable-rate mortgage and guarantee the loan with the house that he had owned for seven years.
11/10/08 Fed's bailout for AIG swells to more than $150B
JEANNINE AVERSA - AP
When the government offered an emergency loan to insurer American International Group  in September, eyebrows shot up at the $85 billion price tag. Now it looks like pocket change.
11/10/08 U.S. Attorney well known for the successful prosecution of public-corruption could resign amir.efrati@wsj.com And last month, Mr. Garcia took the unusual step of confirming a report about his office's joint investigation -- with the New York attorney general's office -- of potentially improper trading in the credit-default swap market.  (Was he pressured to resign? MSF)
11/6/08 What Obama will do to keep people in homes and improve housing Amy Hoak, MarketWatch Obama wants to increase funding for federal and state law enforcement programs to crack down on mortgage fraud, create new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals guilty of fraud and require "industry insiders" to report suspicious activity.
11/6/08 NY lawsuit: Bear Stearns built a 'house of cards' Associated Press A company that insured groups of mortgage loans for a subsidiary of Bear Stearns accused the investment bank in a lawsuit Wednesday of building a "house of cards" through fraud and misrepresentations.

Ambac Assurance Corp., based in Manhattan, sued EMC Mortgage Corp., of Lewisville, Texas, in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

11/6/08 Mortgage Insurance Battles May Lie Ahead DSNews Mortgage insurers, hit with a flood of claims, are casting a cold eye at the fraudulent loan practices and underwriting that ran rampant as the housing bubble inflated -- and are rescinding coverage when they find fraud in the applications.
11/6/08**

Union, community activists back anti-foreclosure fighter

Workers World

 Los Angeles bureau

“I believe that after the $700 billion dollar bailout this home no longer belongs to the banks. It belongs to the American people who paid for that bailout.

"This is not just about me, this is about every person facing foreclosures. ... We cannot let the banks steal our American dream.

11/6/08 Taxpayers May Pay Executives' Legal Bills MATT APUZZO - AP When the government took over mortgage giants Fannie Mae  and Freddie Mac , taxpayers inherited more than just bad debts. They're also potentially on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in legal fees for the executives at the center of the housing market's collapse.
11/6/08 Grapevine man sentenced in mortgage fraud case DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR.

Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Reading this makes you wonder how much prison time the corporate criminals will get for running this scam thousands of times. MSF
11/6/08 Homeowners Fighting Back with a Forensic Loan Audit Dean Mostofi 

National Loan Audits

According to the Truth in Lending Act even a small mistake with calculating the borrower’s annual percentage rate could be an actionable violation, enabling the borrower to rescind the loan. Therefore, the threat of a lawsuit is often sufficient to persuade an otherwise uncooperative lender to negotiate an attractive work out with the borrower.
11/5/08 Ambac To Sue Bear Stearns Subsidiary EMC Mortgage Over Bad Home Loans CNN Money Culminating a nearly year-long process to be reimbursed for bad loans in securities it insured, Ambac Financial Group Inc. (ABK) will file a complaint over four transactions it insured for a Bear Stearns subsidiary EMC Mortgage..
11/5/08 The Blame Game Jay C. Hammond, freelance journalist and researcher The question now seems to be whether the FBI has the resources to investigate current and ongoing mortgage fraud, let alone those alleged crimes that contributed to the current situation.
11/5/08

How President Barack Obama Plans to Fix Our Housing Situation

----------------------------------------------------------------

PROTECTING HOMEOWNERSHIP & CRACKING DOWN ON MORTGAGE FRAUD

Prime Real Estate Las Vegas

-------------

Obama/Biden

Home ownership has, and will remain, the poster child for the American Dream. Throughout their campaign, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have had a written policy on how they plan to address these issues if they were so fortunate to be chosen. Well...they were chosen. Now it is up to all of us; red, white and blue, to make sure they keep the promises they made to all of us.
11/4/08**

Dems Target Private Retirement Accounts

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs

Karen McMahan Carolina Journal  Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.
11/4/08** The 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room: 

Servicers Profit While Investors Face Losses

Archana Sivadasan - RGE monitor An environment of increasing delinquencies provides servicers with incentives to pursue their own self interests at the expense of investors and borrowers. Existing compensation structures, lack of oversight, informational asymmetry and consolidation of the mortgage servicing industry ensure servicers can act in their own interests with limited impunity.
11/4/08 Foreclosure prompts arson, divorce, sentence
Rebecca S. Green
The Journal Gazette
Setting his house on fire in an attempt to prevent foreclosure led Tuesday to an eight-year prison sentence for a 36-year-old Fort Wayne man.
11/4/08 ProServe Mortgage employees arrested for mortgage fraud kvbc.com Investigators claim the two women forged a loan application after the victim, a 69-year-old woman, told them she did not want the loan and could not afford it.
11/3/08 No Hope For Homeowner Loans From HUD — Not One

The HUD release is included in this report.

Peter G. Miller / FHALoanPros.com HUD reports that for the first 15 days of October it had 42 loan applications and approved just, well, actually, it didn’t approve ANY. Not one.  If you have an interest in the Hope for Homeowners program please speak with a lender and ask if it is actually possible to get funding under this program. To date the answer is no.
11/3/08 UBS faces Lehman notes claims The Strait Times UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, faces dozens of claims in the US from clients who bought '100 per cent principal protected notes' issued by Lehman Brothers Holdings that are now almost worthless.
11/3/08 Mortgage Modifications Go Mainstream - BE CAREFUL! Mr. Mortgage There are very strict rules you should adhere to when getting a mortgage modification.  For those of you not wanting to read the rest of this post, check out the YouTube version by clicking HERE.
11/2/08 AREI collapse hurts many

Firm likened to Enron after probe finds fraud

By Scott Mobley Redding.com AREI faced a flurry of lawsuits from furious investors claiming they'd been bilked in a Ponzi scheme. The firm had reportedly been losing $18 million a year while still taking on new investors.
11/2/08 Bush & the FBI

Chalk another score up for George Bush’s lawless style of governing. 

Weatherdems Weblog [m]ost Americans realize that a group of gambling Wall Streeters likely perpetrated fraud against the U.S.  Thanks to the cowboy president, they’ve gotten away with it.
11/2/08 Legalized Theft And Fraud Karl Denninger / iStockAnalysis The only way to make the "value" go up as the loan passes through various hands is for the buyer to get screwed, and the only way it can happen consistently (instead of the random "who got the best deal" outcome in a free, fair, and open market) is when that screwing is intentional and willful - that is when the sellers commit fraud.

[t]he private parties who were screwed over the last 20 years have woken up and aren't willing to be ripped off any more.

11/1/08 JPMorgan Chase becomes latest bank to beef up loan modifications From wire reports (We believe JPMorgan is not going through with foreclosures because they know it would be committing fraud upon the courts. MSF)
11/1/08 Bernanke Says the U.S. Needs to Maintain a Role in Mortgage Securities SUDEEP REDDY -WSJ Bernanke wants to hold on to the “GSE Business Model”, the same Model that gave us “servicers” like Countrywide, EMC, Fairbanks, Ocwen, etc. etc. (90% + of all mortgages). These “servicers” whose bread is buttered, according to the GSE Business Model, by fraudulent conduct and fees and have no pecuniary interest in addressing customer complaints? It would seem to us that padlocking the GSEs doors would be the appropriate action to assure taxpayers of no rerun of the current debacle; the genesis of which is the conduct of the various players in the “GSE Business Model”. It simply does not work. The sooner the government gets out of the mortgage business---the better. ” MSF
10/08

Bulletin

Foreclosures and Crime:

A Geographical Perspective

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

What will the impact be on children growing up in these rapidly declining foreclosure neighborhoods? Will they be more likely to suffer academically and socially as they are forced to move from their established social fabric?

10/08

 

http://www.foreclosurefish.net The fact that the homeowners will often miss a payment also leads them to blame themselves for the situation, rather than the mortgage company’s fraud and mistakes. The entire foreclosure lawsuit is often nothing more than a distraction, a legal method of stealing a home that relies on the desperation and ignorance of the owners to fail to recognize the scam.
10/31/08 Frank Says Bonuses, Acquisitions Violate Bailout Plan Ian Katz - Bloomberg Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending -- for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions, etc. -- is a violation of the terms of the act.''
10/31/08 Bush administration denies funding for FBI probe of mortgage mess PAUL SHUKOVSKY 

AND 

DANIEL LATHROP
SeattlePI.com

Tony Adamski, the FBI's former head of financial crime investigations, said Thursday that he had more than 1,000 agents dedicated to financial crimes during the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s and early 1990s -- a crisis that pales in comparison with today's financial meltdown.  Nationwide, only about 180 agents are investigating mortgage fraud in what has been called the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression. 
10/31/08 JPMorgan Expands Loan Modification Plan Associated Press The loan-modification program will also be offered to customers with loans held by Washington Mutual and EMC. JPMorgan acquired Washington Mutual last month after the bank became the largest in the nation’s history to fail. EMC was a mortgage unit of Bear Stearns Companies, which JPMorgan acquired in February. 
10/31/08 Don't Cry For Justice Michael Maiello - Forbes Securities attorney Jonathan Kord Lagemann starts off today's Forbes.com Investor Team discussion with a harsh accusation against the securities industry. His clients are not investing, he says, because they know that if they need to go to arbitration they stand virtually no chance of recovering any of their losses, even if there's fraud or mismanagement involved. "If you have to be made whole through arbitration, particularly if you're a foreigner, you cannot win,"
10/31/08 $20 billion of the BAILOUT is to pay BONUSES this year. Ian Katz -Bloomberg Year-end bonus payments at nine banks that received $125 billion from the U.S. are being investigated by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who are demanding details on compensation plans. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch & Co. have already set aside $20 billion to pay bonuses this year. 
10/31/08 National Century's Poulsen convicted on all counts
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Jurors convicted the chief executive of National Century Financial Enterprises in Columbus today of orchestrating the largest fraud involving a privately run company, a scheme that cost investors $1.9 billion.

- Exec: Founders kept their wallets full

- Former worker: I faked figures for National 

  Century's CEO

- Former worker: Ledgers falsified

- National Century faked receivables, agent says

- Witness says National Century CEO offered her 

   money to 'forget' key points of testimony

- Audit data falsified, former VP tells court

- Witness: Faked numbers hid risky investments on 

   National Century's books

10/31/08 'A case of staggering fraud,' says prosecutor
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Terpening said it's inconceivable that the fraud at National Century could have gone so long with banks, rating agencies and auditors looking in.
10/30/08 Dutch Bank Fortis Named in Subprime Securities Fraud Suit MATTHEW C. MCNALLY, ESQ., Andrews Publications The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, says Fortis acquired a portfolio of poorly performing mortgage-backed securities in last year's purchase of Belgium's ABN AMRO and then hid from investors that the deal had ruined its balance sheet.
10/30/08
It's a boom time for lawyers

Mortgage fraud cases, getting a piece of the financial bailout, staying out of trouble in a downsizing - all can translate into billable hours for the legal profession.

Carol J. Williams

Los Angeles Times

The loose-leaf binders on Beverly Hills attorney Paul Kiesel's blond wood shelves contain hundreds of stories alleging deception, loss and heartache.

Kiesel is representing struggling homeowners who contend they were misled about the terms of their mortgages.
10/30/08

Your Loan Modification Questions Answered

Anthony Dean - The Feldman Law Center A Loan Modification ought to be done by a Law Office which will stop foreclosure.
10/30/08 Feds probe Countrywide's 'V.I.P.' program Lisa Myers & Amna Nawaz, 

NBC News

The wide-ranging criminal investigation into wrongdoing at Countrywide - once the nation's largest mortgage originator - now includes serious scrutiny of a loan program that provided special mortgage deals to the well-connected and powerful, including two U.S. senators.
10/28/08 US to "beef up" mortgage fraud investigations BobsGuide Some observers had previously blamed a lack of mortgage fraud investigations for contributing to the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, which triggered the current financial crisis.
10/28/08 You Too Can Profit From the Government Bailout! The Consumer Warning Network It turns out that businesses are already cropping up on how to profit from the taxpayer misery.
10/27/08 FBI Probe of JPMorgan Fees Focuses on Swaps Roiling Muni Debt William Selway and Martin Z. Braun

Bloomberg

While JPMorgan has been relatively unscathed by the subprime crisis that hit Bear Stearns Cos.,

Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman and other Wall Street firms, a little-known part of the largest bank

in the U.S. made a tidy profit peddling a different kind of corrosive debt to hundreds of counties

and school districts earlier this decade.

10/25/08 Poconos mortgage suit against JP Morgan Chase set for February | Of The Morning Call U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner on Friday set a Feb. 2, 2009 trial date in Harrisburg. Conner scheduled the trial date after denying yet another bid by Chase to dismiss the case, saying the record supports the conclusion that Chase aided the alleged scheme.
10/25/08 All Fall Down THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Long Beach Financial,” was moving money out the door as fast as it could, few questions asked, in loans built to self-destruct. It specialized in asking homeowners with bad credit and no proof of income to put no money down and defer interest payments for as long as possible.
10/24/08 Bailout anger to generate "wave" of indictments BobsGuide Public anger over the $700 billion "bailout" of US banks will likely lead to a "wave" of criminal prosecutions for white-collar crime, experts have said.

Analysts told news channel CNBC that outcry over the "vast" amount of taxpayers' funds being pumped into the financial system will generate demands that bankers involved in the crisis be held accountable for their actions.
10/24/08 Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation EDMUND L. ANDREWS

The New York Times

Critics say Greenspan encouraged the bubble in housing prices by keeping interest rates too low for too long and that he failed to rein in the explosive growth of risky and often fraudulent mortgage lending.
10/23/08 California Foreclosures Soar By 228% CBS13.com A total of 79,511 homes were lost in the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared to 24,209 in the same period last year, MDA DataQuick said.
10/23/08 House GOP leader asks Bush to cut off ACORN funds JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Boehner said he and other Republicans were also asking the Justice Department to investigate ACORN's connections to the home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying ACORN "appears to have played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that led to the current financial meltdown."
10/22/08 Tester wants financial crisis investigation Queen City News Angered by news that the FBI is struggling to find enough agents to investigate crimes linked to the nation’s financial crisis, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has told the nation’s top law enforcers that Montanans demand more accountability to “make sure no white collar crime goes unpunished”.

“Thousands of Montanans have told me over these past few weeks that we need to find the criminals who brought us into this situation and send them to their 8 by 10 cells,”

(MSFraud has been told that is going to happen.)

10/21/08*

Former Regulator: Clear Fraud in Financial Crisis -- Why Isn't Anyone in Jail?

with video

Yahoo Finance "The DOJ has refused to emulate its successes in the S&L debacle, and even dealing with Enron, by creating a large task force that would take on the major fraud participants," Black said. "In this context, that would mean creating a large task force to investigate major, nonprime lenders."
10/20/08 Lenders told they can't hide Todd Ruger

Herald Tribune

Homeowners and their attorneys, and even judges, cannot get a call back, making it impossible to dispute a debt or work out deals other than foreclosure until the case is in front of a judge.  "The lenders are just not talking to them," Chief Circuit Judge Lee Haworth said.
10/20/08 Prosecutors subpoena ex-Lehman CEO Richard Fuld DAVID B. CARUSO
Associated Press
Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether anyone at Lehman may have misled investors about its health or the value of its assets.
10/19/08 F.B.I. Struggles to Handle Financial Fraud Cases ERIC LICHTBLAU, DAVID JOHNSTON and RON NIXON

New York Times

According to previously undisclosed internal F.B.I. data, the cutbacks have been particularly severe in staffing for investigations into white-collar crimes like mortgage fraud, with a loss of 625 agents, or 36 percent of its 2001 levels.  Was the cutback used to intentionally limit investigations into white-collar criminals? MSF
10/19/08 Ten percent of $700 Billion rescue package may go to bonuses

(this information gets filed under "things you can't make up)

Douglas McIntyre

Blogging Stocks

Wall Street walked into the path of its own oncoming stupidity. Of the $700 billion in Treasury rescue money, as much as $70 billion could go to bank and brokerage bonuses. There will be hell to pay either way.
10/19/08 Freddie Mac arranged stealth campaign Pete Yost, Associated Press Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.
10/18/08*
The Reckoning

Building Flawed American Dreams

 

DAVID STREITFELD and GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

Mr. Cisneros promised that Lago Vista would be ringed with jogging paths and maple trees.

The paths were never built, and few trees provide shade from the Texas sun. The adjoining “lake” — at one point a run-off pit for an asphalt plant — is fenced off, a hazard to neighborhood children.

10/17/08 Chicago Sheriff Will Resume Home Foreclosure Evictions AP Dart halted such evictions last week because deputies often found they were removing innocent people who paid their rent on time without knowing their landlords were in foreclosure.
10/16/08

FDIC Chief Raps Rescue for Helping Banks Over Homeowners

 DAMIAN PALETTA - WSJ "Why there's been such a political focus on making sure we're not unduly helping borrowers but then we're providing all this massive assistance at the institutional level, I don't understand it," FDIC Chairman Bair said. "It's been a frustration for me."
10/16/08 Dallas-based Highland Capital shuts down two key funds BRENDAN M. CASE / The Dallas Morning News The U.S. financial crisis claimed its latest North Texas victim Thursday, as Dallas-based Highland Capital Management LP told its investors it would shut down two key funds following losses on risky loans.
10/16/08 Countrywide ABS investors to contest funding of predatory lending settlement Grais & Ellsworth LLP

Countrywide is obligated to repurchase each loan not made in compliance with predatory or abusive lending laws and must pay trusts 100% of unpaid principal and interest, plus "any costs, expenses and damages incurred by the Trust Fund resulting from any violation of any predatory or abusive lending law.  (Congress gives cash to Bank of America as a reward for violating the Guidelines. Bank of America now wants to pocket the cash and stick it to the investors. When the investors put their money into this dog, did they think it wouldn't eventually bite back? MSF)

10/15/08 Pasadena woman facing eviction is found dead in burning home Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times A series of financial setbacks left Wanda Dunn facing eviction from the house in Pasadena where her family had lived for generations.
Dunn, 53, told neighbors that she would rather die than leave.
10/14/08 Forrest Gump Explains Mortgage-Backed Securities: Submitted to solari.com/blog This was too funny and truthful to leave it alone.   
10/14/08* THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL MELTDOWN OF 2008 Variety A compendium of articles and editorials on the Financial meltdown and bank bailout programs
10/14/08

Suicides from financial crisis cause concern

Associated Press A record 500,000 had entered the foreclosure process. And that trend is expected to continue through next year, despite the current programs from the government. One counselor said half of her clients were on some form of antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. The agency has seen a decrease in overall funding, but it has expanded foreclosure counseling
10/13/08 Bailout, Part Two

Is there anyone on the planet who didn't see this coming?

Liz Moyer and Brian Wingfield

Forbes.com

The plan puts another $250 billion into the same banks, such as Bank of America  Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as some kind of sick reward for stealing our homes, money and tanking our investments. MSF
10/13/08 San Diego Sues Washington Mutual, Seeks Foreclosure Freeze  The Truth About Mortgage.com The suit claims WaMu’s “predatory” lending practices caused scores of California residents to lose or be in jeopardy of losing their homes as a result of foreclosure.
10/10/08*

Denmark Offers a Model Mortgage Market

There is a safe way to securitize home loans.

George Soros - WSJ “The Business Model of Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) in which profits accrue to the private sector but risks are underwritten by the public has proven unworkable. It would be a grave mistake to preserve the GSEs in anything resembling their current form”. - MSF
10/10/08 What Power Should a Sheriff Have in Terms of Evictions? http://awearnessblog.com I've heard stories that back in the Great Depression neighbors banded together and fought off the sheriff, sometimes with guns, to save each others' homes. Will that happen again?
10/9/08 Wrongful eviction leads to apparent suicide   volunteertv.com

Attorney Herb Moncier says, "The sheriff's department cannot go into a persons house and evict them without legal process."  But Moncier says, "It appears clear from that file that there was not a writ of possession."

10/9/08 Lawsuit demands sheriff obey eviction orders AP Accredited Home Lenders has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to force the county's sheriff to resume evicting people from foreclosed homes.
10/8/08 Disgraced chief of failed bank Lehman Brothers pocketed £172million before collapse

MailOnline

The disgraced head of the giant investment bank whose collapse set off a panic which led to the US economic rescue package took home more than £172 million since 2000, he told the U.S. Congress.

Richard S Fuld Jr, chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, ignored a warning that the bank's 'liquidity can disappear quite fast' and dismissed suggestions that staff may not get their bonuses. 

10/8/08 Who will spend our $700 billion? Meet 35-year-old Neel Kashkari Michael Rainey

Blogging Stocks

By most accounts, HOPE NOW has been a failure, largely because it serves corporate interests more than the needs of subprime mortgage holders.
10/8/08 Illinois Sheriff Orders Deputies to Stop Evicting Residents of Foreclosed Homes

CHICAGO  —  Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he's ordered his deputies to stop taking part in evictions of properties that have been foreclosed upon. 

Associated Press

Dart says the change goes into effect Thursday. He says the decision comes because many of those being evicted are people who've been faithfully paying rent and didn't even know about the foreclosures. Dart says he thinks he's the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to stop such evictions during what's become a major foreclosure crisis around the nation. Dart says the number of mortgage foreclosures in Cook County has skyrocketed this year and that he expects that number to climb much higher.

10/8/08* THE FED NOW OWNS THE WORLD'S LARGEST INSURANCE COMPANY -- BUT WHO OWNS THE FED? Ellen Brown - OpEdNews “Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.”  -  The Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1930's.  

If the Fed’s money comes ultimately from the taxpayers, that means we the taxpayers are paying interest to the banks on the banks’ own reserves – reserves maintained for their own private profit.

10/8/08 Lawsuits allege predatory lending practices Brendan Riley, Associated Press The clients include his law partner who is battling with Countrywide Financial representatives who moved ahead with foreclosure proceedings on three properties she owns even though she was current on all mortgage payments.
10/7/08 Bank of America in Settlement Worth Over $8 Billion Ruth Simon - WSJ The bank agreed to settle claims over risky loans originated by Countrywide Financial.
10/7/08 Retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion so far JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press "Unlike Wall Street executives, America's families don't have a golden parachute to fall back on," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the panel chairman. "It's clear that their retirement security may be one of the greatest casualties of this financial crisis."
10/7/08 AIG Exec Defends Spa Treatments after Fed Bailout Consumer Warning Network AIG actually tried to defend this ill-timed junket calling it “standard practice in our industry.” CEO Edward Liddy said it is simply a reward for top performers of the company.  Apparently he forgot that the company failed.
10/6/08 Attorney General Abbott Reaches Agreement With Countrywide, Helps Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure AG of Texas Bank of America estimates that up to 30,000 Texas homeowners will qualify for the loan modification program.  (What about all the others who were ripped off? MSF)
10/6/08 Bank of America Selling Stock, Cutting Dividend The Street At the May 2008 shareholder's meeting, investors warned Lewis to stay clear of Countrywide's junk.  Lewis rejected their advice. 
10/6/08**

 

FBI, SEC, Federal Reserve 'Failed to Connect the Dots' to Wall Street

"They not only knew it - they encouraged it".

With VIDEO

 BRIAN ROSS, RHONDA SCHWARTZ, and JOSEPH RHEE 

ABC News

"The failure to connect the dots," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told ABC News, "is completely reprehensible and should now lead to strong and effective indictments and prosecutions for fraud."
10/6/08 The Treasury Department has announced a government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Can they do that? Cory Ure

saltlakecitymortgage.wordpress.com

This sent shock waves through the investor community because it would also effectively wipe-out any equity shareholders of Fannie and Freddie have, but guarantee the borrowers rights.
10/6/08 Some Ohioans Likely To Get Subprime Home Loans Reworked

Call Hotline For Eligibility

NewsNet5.com Homeowners with mortgages from Countrywide Loans and who are nearing foreclosure could soon save their homes. Eight thousand Ohioans have risky mortgages with Countrywide and many of them live in the Cleveland area.
10/5/08 Bank on this: Bank failures will rise in next year MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer Enfeebled by huge losses on risky home loans, the banking industry is now on the shakiest ground since the early 1990s, when more than 800 federally insured institutions failed in a three-year period. That was during the clean-up phase of a decade-long Savings-and-Loan Meltdown that wound up costing U.S. taxpayers $170 billion to $205 billion.
10/5/08 Europeans scramble to save failing banks MATT MOORE, 

AP Business Writer

The leaders of Germany, France, Britain and Italy met Saturday to discuss the growing meltdown which has leapfrogged across the Atlantic from the U.S.
10/5/08 German officials meet to seek Hypo Real rescue Reuters So far, four German banks have been bailed out in the wake of the credit market turmoil stemming from the United States.
10/5/08 Germany in new bid to rescue Hypo Real Estate bank economictimes.indiatimes.com Germany's finance ministry said on Sunday it is working on a new attempt to save Hypo Real Estate (HRE), the German mortgage lender caught up in the wave of Western bank failures. [Western banking scam is what is should be called. MSF]
10/4/08 Pressured to Take More Risk, Fannie Reached a Tipping Point CHARLES DUHIGG

New York Times

Disregarding warnings from his managers that lenders were making too many loans that would never be repaid, he steered Fannie into more treacherous corners of the mortgage market, according to executives.

For a time, that decision proved profitable. In the end, it nearly destroyed the company and threatened to drag down the housing market and the economy.

10/4/08 Series of loans precedes senior's loss of her home

High appraisal part of trouble, official says

Betty Lin-Fisher
Beacon Journal
Loans such as the one Addie Polk had from Countrywide Home Loans could be characterized as irresponsible and possibly predatory, consumer advocates said Friday.
10/4/08 US mortgage crisis: 90-year-old woman shoots herself to avoid eviction

America's financial crisis has claimed its latest victim: a 90-year-old woman who seemingly shot herself rather than be evicted from her home of 38 years.

Telegraph.co.uk Addie Polk, of Ohio, is being treated in hospital after she was found lying on the floor by police who were trying to serve her an eviction order. "It appears they're evicting her over her mortgage. She's lived in the house, the neighbours said, something like 38 years and in the last couple of years fell prey to some predatory lending company or financial institution," said Akron police spokesman.
10/4/08

Audio File

In Philly, A Meeting Before Foreclosure NPR Courts mandate lenders MUST meet with borrowers before the foreclosure process goes through.  Keeping  families in the home may be the best lenders can get.
10/4/08

Akron woman's foreclosure gets U.S. response

Kucinich takes plight of owner who shot herself to Congress; Fannie Mae forgives mortgage

Phil Trexler,
Betty Lin-Fisher
and Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal

The shots that 90-year-old Addie Polk fired into her chest as she was about to be evicted from her foreclosed Akron home were heard in Washington, D.C.  By mid-afternoon, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) announced it would dismiss its foreclosure action against Polk, forgive her mortgage and allow her to return to the home where she's lived since 1970.

10/3/08

Fannie Mae forgives loan for woman who shot herself

CNN "This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world," Kucinich said after telling her story. "This bill fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, are facing the loss of their home. [The bailout will help Wall Street's criminal enterprise who stole homes and wealth through fraud and created this crisis. MSF]
10/3/08 Lawmaker Accused of Fannie Mae Conflict of Interest Bill Sammon - FOX News "It’s absolutely a conflict," said Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute. "He was voting on Fannie Mae at a time when he was involved with a Fannie Mae executive. How is that not germane?
10/3/08 House Approves Bailout on Second Try DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

The New York Times

The House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday to the $700 billion bailout for the financial system, reversing course to authorize what may be the most expensive government intervention in history.
10/2/08 Financial Crisis: So much for tirades against American greed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Telegraph.co.uk

Last Thursday he told us that the financial crisis was an "American problem", the fruit of Anglo-Saxon greed and inept regulation that would cost the United States its "superpower status". Pleas from US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson for a joint US-European rescue plan to halt the downward spiral were rebuffed as unnecessary.
10/2/08 Bailout Fixes Nothing, Banking System Collapse Approaches Climax Jim Willie
The Market Oracle
Bailout Fixes Nothing.  It only puts the cost on American taxpayers.  Wall Street insiders get to keep their huge bonuses.  This is a MASSIVE FRAUD on America!
10/2/08 PIGGY POLS IN HOG HEAVEN WITH PORK-PACKED PACT DAPHNE RETTER

New York Post

Congressional deal-brokers yesterday slopped a mess of pork into the $700 billion financial rescue bill passed by the Senate last night - including a tax break for makers of kids' wooden arrows - in a bid to lure reluctant lawmakers into voting for the package.
10/2/08 Jax Legal Aid gets $200,000 to Fight Foreclosures Angela Williams

First Coast News

"We're expecting people to come see us who are behind on their house payments, who need relief, want to know what their options are," said Michael Figgins with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, or JALA. "They may have actually been served with foreclosure papers so we're going to focus solely on foreclosures, and saving homes in our community."
10/2/08 Loads of Pork, Little Accountability in Senate Bailout Bill: Will the House Balk? Aaron Task The Senate bill is also laden with pork, including:
  • $223M for Alaskan fisherman
  • $192M for rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • $128M for auto racing
  • $33M for companies operating in American Samoa
  • $10M for film & TV production
  • $6M for producers of wooden arrows
10/2/08 Lehman Bankruptcy Gets Ugly Matthew Goldstein

BusinessWeek

The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy is quickly becoming one giant mess.

Scores of hedge funds that had hundreds of millions in cash and other securities parked with Lehman’s prime brokerage operation in London have had their accounts frozen. A number of these hedge funds have filed formal objections with the bankruptcy court and at least one fund, New York-based Bay Harbour Management, is mounting a legal challenge to the court’s hastily-approved sale of Lehman’s brokerage arm to Barclays Capital.

10/2/08

The Bailout: Business Lobbyists Bear Down

  Lobbyists for everyone from carmakers to air-conditioning companies to AARP tell Congress they need the Paulson plan to pass

Jane Sasseen and Theo Francis

BusinessWeek

Over the past several days, as the bill appeared to falter amid intense public opposition, they have launched a massive, coordinated lobbying effort to help keep it on track.
10/2/08 What They Said About Fannie and Freddie Wall Street Journal The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. [The big lie.]
10/2/08

The Fatally Flawed Bailout Bill: A Detailed Analysis

MyDD What happens when a President with a disapproval ratingover 70%, and a Congress with a disapproval rating over 75%, get together and write legislation?  

You end up with an inexcusable, $700 billion dollar give-away to Wall Street, a badly drafted bill, riddled with massive loopholes, a bill polished up for public consumption to appear to do "x," when in fact, it does "y.

10/2/08 Commentary: We Need to Indict Companies Randall D. Eliason
Legal Times
Corporate criminal liability has fallen out of favor, replaced by a Justice Department policy of deferred prosecution or nonprosecution agreements for corporate defendants. Under these agreements, a corporation may agree to pay fines and restitution, cooperate in ongoing investigations, hire outside monitors and take other steps, in exchange for avoiding criminal liability.
10/1/08
Fed Made $30 Billion Deal to Manage Assets of the Collapsed Bear Stearns
Justin Rood - ABC News Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has been pressing top officials for months to provide details on a deal the Federal Reserve made for a private firm to manage $30 billion in financial assets from the collapsed investment bank Bear Stearns. [Headline should read: "Feds bail out Wall Street criminals. MSF
10/1/08 The GOP Blames the Victim

Capitalism sure is fragile if subprime borrowers can ruin it.

THOMAS FRANK

Wall Street Journal Opinion

The genesis of it all is the GSE BUSINESS MODEL. The players involved hijacked the American mortgage business. All players, including the investors reaped their returns at the expense of the borrowers--------------UNTIL IT CAUGHT UP TO THEM.  It’s a compilation of 20 years of bad behavior by all the players (don’t worry about it, i.e. government guarantee). Subprime is merely the tipping point----we have been warned about Freddie and Fannie turning America’s prime asset to the dogs of socialized-capitalism with the assistance of congress and the judiciary (letting them get away with it).  

When Rudman issued his $70 million dollar whitewash report, he assured everyone that the bad boys were gone and the new guys are cooperating.  "The $70 mm lie." (MSF)

10/1/08 Merrill Lynch Directors Are Sued for Losing Bet on Subprimes FindLaw Merrill Lynch & Co. officials breached their duty to investors by wrecking one of the world's leading traders with subprime securities and selling it to Bank of America for a fraction of its value, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware state court.
9/30/08 S.E.C. Move May Relax Asset Rule FLOYD NORRIS

New York Times

Here is how they intend to call a worthless asset - worthwhile.  That’s right; rewriting the dictionary to suit the conditions. MSF
9/30/08 Paulson Bailout Failure: First Shot in the Next Class War Ian Welsh

firedoglake

Over the last 30 years the US had a class war, and the middle class lost almost every battle. Congress's refusal yesterday to spend over $700 billion bailing out the nation's richest people did not confirm that the US was a banana republic, as Paul Krugman would have us believe, where the top 1% of the population steals from the poor and the small middle class to take for themselves.
9/30/08
Democrats and Republicans must share the blame for the failure to pass a $700-billion bailout plan.
Jonah Goldberg - LA Times When a reporter for Forbes magazine asked a Treasury spokesman last week why Congress had to lay out $700 billion, the answer came back: "It's not based on any particular data point." Rather: "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
9/30/08

Slide show: As banks broke down, 

                                            CEOs cashed in

MSN Money Many CEOs who led their banks and brokerages into the subprime abyss collected millions through salaries, stock options and bonuses. Equilar, an executive-compensation research firm in Redwood Shores, Calif., helped columnist Michael Brush take a look at what some of the key players earned over the past three years as the nation's banks went bust.
11/20/07 They Own Nothing! Jerome R. Corsi

WorldNetDaily.com

"The holders of those slice-and-dice derivatives could have zero legal redress or collateral in foreclosures,"

9/29/08 How J.P. Morgan Raised $11.5 Billion in 24 Hours Posted by Heidi N. Moore

WSJ Blog

Comment: Rejoyce!!! Put Jamie Dimon on the phone for a couple of months and all the problems will be resolved.  [Pull the money out of the offshore accounts where some of it is hidden. MSF]
9/29/08 HUD Readies $4 Billion for Foreclosure Prevention DIANA GOLOBAY
HousingWIRE
 
9/29/08

VIDEO: Homeowners struggle to work with lenders Laura Anthony

abc 7

Roberson held up her end of the deal, making more than $30,000 in payments since January. Last week, Litton Loan Servicing sent her a letter, denying her modification, with little explanation. "It's heartbreaking you know I'm just giving away my money for me to probably be on the streets next month,"
9/29/08 Bailout plan rejected Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com The fate of the Bush administration's $700 billion financial bailout plan was abruptly thrown in doubt Monday as a House vote turned against the controversial measure.
9/29/08

More On Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack 

HOME EQUITY THEFT REPORTER

Justice Schack finds himself wrestling with the

employment status of one Margery Rotundo, a mortgage company executive whose name appears to regularly show up on documents filed with the court in

foreclosure cases involving different plaintiffs.

9/29/08 Forget Political Rhetoric: Bailout will not save the economy – Part 1 Chip Parker, Jacksonville Consumer Attorney PSAs frequently place restrictions on servicers’ ability to modify mortgages. Sometimes the modification is forbidden outright, sometimes only certain types of modifications are permitted, and sometimes the total number of loans that can be modified is capped (typically at 5% of the pool). Additionally, servicers are frequently required to purchase any loans they modify at par (100 cents on the dollar). This functions as an anti-modification provision. Moreover, all PSAs prohibit the servicer from undertaking any action, including many modifications, that would threaten the MBS’s pass-thru tax status. - Adam J. Levitin, associate professor at Georgetown University Law Center
9/29/08 Fannie, Freddie get federal grand jury SUBPOENAS Reuters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage finance giants that were taken over by the government this month, said on Monday they were subpoenaed for documents as part of a federal grand jury investigation into their accounting.
9/29/08 Wall Street Woes Inspire a New Wave of Lawsuits Ted Allen - RiskMetrics Group Investors sued Fannie Mae and its officers, alleging that they made “materially false and misleading statements” about the firm’s business and prospects and misrepresented the company’s financial statements.
9/28/08
What Lincoln would have said to Paulson's $700 Billion Ransom
Ellen Brown - Web of Debt “These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people’s money to settle the quarrel.” – Abraham Lincoln, speech to Illinois legislature, January 1837
9/28/08 US bailout fuels protests in streets, online Parveen Chopra The bailout has spontaneously inspired street protests in the US and outrage gone viral across the web.
9/27/08 A Memo Found in the Street BARRY L. RITHOLTZ - Barron's

But here's a news flash for you, D.C.: We could not have done it without you. We may be drunks, but you

were our enablers: Your legislative, executive, and administrative decisions made possible all that we did.

Our recklessness would not have reached its soaring heights but for your governmental incompetence.

9/27/08 Let the Borrowers/Victims be Heard at future Hearings and Investigations Denise Richardson  givemebackmycredit.com Jack Wright, victim of mortgage servicing fraud and founder of msfraud.org says, "People were denied equal protection and due process under the law by a mostly incompetent judiciary who aided and abetted the corporations in their "torture of huge numbers of people"... Washington MUST allow homeowners to testify at the Bailout Hearings.
9/26/08* Greed, Stupidity, and Fraud: Lessons from Tax Law

Updated weekly so you may have to search the site for the above article.

Prof. James Edward Maule If the mortgage fraud laws are enforced, and the government's allegations are proven, then the defendants ought to be required to disgorge profits. If they stashed the cash overseas, there needs to be a way to retrieve it. Though advocates of the bailout toss that aside as an impossibility and as something that would cost to much to achieve, the people of this country are owed the effort.
9/26/08 CEO pay crackdown is toothless

Congress has made a lot of noise about ensuring wealthy CEOs don't profit from the proposed bailout. But so far, it looks like executives won't have much to worry about.

Michael Brush

MSN Money

Bank CEOs negotiate big paychecks by arguing they need rich rewards to compensate for the headaches of the mortgage mess... [that THEY CREATED]
9/26/08

Valley mortgage fraud complaints on the rise

with video

jbernstein@abc15.com The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is reporting an even larger increase of complaints.  Felecia Rotellini, says her department that oversees and regulates mortgage brokers, banks and escrow agents has seen an increase of 79-percent. "It is overwhelming" says Rotellini.
A review of records reveals the Department of Financial Institutions currently has 123 open investigations into allegations of mortgage fraud.  However, the cases are piling up and a shortage of investigators is creating long delays.
9/26/08 BAILOUT IGNORES ALL THE EMPTY HOUSES Bob Sullivan

http://redtape.msnbc.com

"The only way to stop the free-fall of housing prices is to stop foreclosures," Kathleen Day, spokeswoman for the Center For Responsible Lending, warned. "If you don't do something for consumers, this is going to be unfair and ineffective."
9/26/08 The Mortgage Servicing Sector Has Failed & Is In Complete Chaos Moe Bedard - LoanSafe Criminally prosecute and fine lawless mortgage servicers.
9/26/08 Bailout Talks Disintegrate Into Verbal Brawl; Fate Uncertain Fox News "This meeting ended bad — real bad," one source told FOX News. Others described the tone as "angry" and "heated," saying Democrats were upset with House Republicans in particular who would not drop their opposition to the administration's proposal.
9/26/08 Washington Mutual becomes biggest bank to fail in US history
AP Business Writer
As the debate over a $700 billion bank bailout rages on in Washington, one of the nation's largest banks - Washington Mutual Inc. - has collapsed under the weight of its enormous bad bets on the mortgage market.
9/25/08 Bailout Plan Stalls After Day of Talks DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

New York Times

The status of a rescue plan for the nation’s financial system was in doubt, at least for the moment, on Thursday as lawmakers emerged from a White House meeting with President Bush to say that negotiations have a ways to go.
9/25/08 Key lawmakers: We have a plan Tami Luhby, CNNMoney.com The proposal will help homeowners, curb executive pay packages at participating firms and provide oversight of Treasury's actions.
9/25/08 The case against a federal bailout Steve Chapman - Chicago Tribune It would add to the liabilities of a government that is already living way beyond its means. It would give unprecedented power to a couple of officials who have proved highly fallible in trying to avert this alleged crisis. And it poses the risk of abuse and corruption because the government has no way to gauge the value of what it will buy.
9/25/08 Plan's Basic Mystery: What's All This Stuff Worth? Vikas Bajaj
New York Times
A big concern in Washington — and among many ordinary Americans — is that the difficulty in valuing these assets could result in the government's buying them for more than they will ever be worth, a step that would benefit financial institutions at taxpayers' expense.
9/24/08* UPDATE 2-U.S. court sides with bank in mortgage loan case Martha Graybow - Reuters UK "This decision is a gift to certain members of the banking industry at the expense of the consumers who were misled," the Andrews' attorneys, from law firm Demet & Demet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said in a statement, adding they would ask for a rehearing by the full appeals court and for a U.S. Supreme Court review.
9/24/08 The Biggest Mortgage Fraud in History: Paulson Plan
DEMarco
The committee never addressed the issue of why the bankers would oppose homeowner relief. Could it be that they actually favor foreclosures? Could it be that a situation where millions of foreclosed homes across America can be bought today for dimes on the dollar is somehow to their advantage?
9/24/08 Wall Street Scrutinized for Fraud, Fat Paychecks Derek Kravitz

Washington Post

While lawmakers mull how big a bailout to approve and whether to impose limits on Wall Street compensation, the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation points out that many of them have received substantial contributions from finance, insurance and real estate firms. For example, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has raised some $13 million since 1989 from such companies, 30 percent of his total contributions. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has taken $2.4 million from those firms, or roughly 31 percent.
9/24/08 China banks told to halt lending to US banks Reuters The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.
9/24/08 FBI Subprime Probe Adds Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Lehman

Fannie and Freddie, as well as AIG, already restated their books earlier this decade and corrected billions of dollars in accounting errors.

Robert Schmidt

Bloomberg

It just shows you that the FBI is a political entity,'' said Michael Volkov, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at the Dickinson Wright law firm in Washington. ``While the administration is seeking an ungodly amount of money with a blank check, the FBI comes right behind it to say, `Don't worry we'll get a few scalps.'''
9/24/08 FBI investigates US execs for mortgage fraud Laura Stavro-Beauchamp

MortgageStrategy.co.uk

FBI agents are now looking to see if the businesses deceived borrowers by providing "misinformation" about the terms of sub-prime loans.
9/24/08 Congressional Backbone Needed Nader.org Congress needs to show some backbone before the federal government pours more money on the financial bonfire started by the arsonists on Wall Street.
Congress should hold a series of hearings and invite broad public comment on any proposed bailout.

9/23/08

D.C. Heist - Wall Street Hijacks Washington

On the evening of September 18th 2008, the American democratic system was replaced by a financial dictatorship.

Gerald Calente

 Rense

Publisher's Note: If you are a "nobody" who cares about "the amount of money," and does not believe "the secretary ought to have the authority to purchase these toxic instruments," take action NOW. While signing petitions or calling the White House or Washington representatives often proves fruitless, in this emergency we suggest you call, write, pester, hound, and protest. 
9/23/08 Homeowner on Bailout: People like me are left out and we’re the victims Candace Weaver for the 

Center For Responsible Lending

They gave me a very expensive repayment plan that was impossible to pay.  The only way to stop the foreclosure, was to agree to it.  I paid the mortgage company over $7,000 in about six weeks.  Of course, the plan failed as the monthly payment under their plan was hundreds of dollars more than my regular mortgage payment.  They immediately restarted the foreclosure that had been placed on hold.

9/23/08

Mortgage Meltdown: The American Proactive Way to Curing the Wounds

Neil Garfield

No taxpayer money spent, no blank checks, just recognizing that the wild ride of inflated appraisals and secret “gotcha” terms must be turned around for the purpose of restoring wealth to the people it was taken from.

9/23/08 An Updated Summary of the Real Estate Boom Turned Mortgage Crisis Turned Financial Crisis The Provocateur How did we get here? Here is a detailed analysis as I see it today and have seen it for nearly the last seven years from inside the mortgage industry.
9/23/08 Record-Breaking Foreclosure Legal Suit : Government Repo Homes Blog  governmentrepohomes.com  Most borrowers were so psychologically cowered down that they humbly accepted the notices and surrendered to foreclosure. Davet has brought about a change in thinking and interpretation of the law.  The question has come up whether the plaintiff filing for foreclosure has the right to do so.
9/23/08 FBI Investigating Potential Fraud by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman, AIG Associated Press The inquiries will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals that ran them, the senior law enforcement official said.  Officials said the new inquiries bring to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation over the past year.
9/23/08 Readers blame Bankers, mortgage lenders and President Bush for mortgage meltdown. With more than 870 votes cast by Monday evening, bankers and mortgage lenders were the leading culprits, garnering 34 percent of the votes, followed by Bush with 25 percent.
9/22/08 When Banks Steal from Their Customers GoodTradeLines Unfortunately, it turns out that some of the most successful thieves are those very banks we assumed had our backs.
10/23/07 What Do Phone Sex & Mortgage Servicing Have in Common? Katie Porter - CreditSlips.org The hitch--that other number required them to pay $9.99 A MINUTE. Frustrated, the debtor's attorney went the formal route and filed a claims objection, which I've put below the jump.
9/21/08 TRILLIONS INVOLVED and WHY? ONLY REPORTED IN UK BY US! britanniaradio.blogspot.com Explains the real financial catastrophe coming. No collateral for the loans in a nutshell. Here is the problem... 
9/21/08 Mad as hell - taxpayers lash out

We asked you what you had to say about the bailout, and we heard you loud and clear: 'No way!'

David Goldman, CNNMoney "It is time for the financial institutions of this country to be called to the mat. We should be expecting and demanding responsible and ethical business practice, not rewarding it at the expense of taxpayers."
9/21/08 How to Stop the Credit Crunch and Save the Financial System The Market Oracle The latest plan is for a Government "Bad Bank" to be set up, funded by Treasury Debt converted to cash by the Fed and used to "buy" (without a pricing mechanism?) poorly performing or defaulted privately invented securitized assets. It is being touted as the cleansing of the financial world to achieve nothing more than the ability to re-create the same conditions that existed over the past 80 years.
9/21/08 Bailout Won't Stop Foreclosures that Push Down Everyone's Property Values Center for Responsible Lending The government plan announced by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Bernanke fails to deal with the root cause of the crisis -- families in foreclosure -- and instead is purely and simply a bailout of the lenders who created this disaster. The bailout will not solve our economic problems because it will do virtually nothing to stop the foreclosure epidemic. Continuing foreclosures will drag down the economy even further.
9/21/08 Foreclosed properties may get fee

Summit hopes to raise more than $400,000 a year off purchases made at sheriff's auctions

Rick Armon
Beacon Journal
Is this "task force" stopping the ILLEGAL foreclosures and keeping the RIGHTFUL owner in their home? Do the sheriffs even know how to tell the difference between a legal and illegal foreclosure by reading the foreclosure notice?  The task force is NOT going to COMBAT predators if they continue to expedite illegal foreclosures; they have become the ENABLERS. MSF
9/21/08 Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley To Be Bank Holding Companies Wall Street Journal The steps effectively mark the end of Wall Street as it has been known for decades, and formalizes a quid-pro-quo that regulators have warned about in the months after Bear Stearns's near collapse -- in return for access to the Fed's emergency lending facilities, the firms would need to subject themselves to more oversight. The step could have far reaching effects on their profitability and their business models.
9/20/08** Bear Stearns provided fuel for subprime boom

Bear Stearns was a major funding source for hundreds of thousands of subprime and exotic mortgages, providing the jet fuel to the boom.

EMC Mortgage serviced hundreds of thousands of these mortgages and had more than 475,000 loans in its portfolio 2007

Syndicated Columnist

But the FTC's complaint and Sept. 9 settlement found that EMC hit mortgage customers with unauthorized fees, misrepresented how much money they owed, harassed homeowners with debt-collection techniques including "property inspections" that were designed to get collectors into houses illegally, and failed to tell national credit-reporting bureaus that borrowers were disputing derogatory reports about them from EMC.
9/20/08 The Wall Street Bailout Plan, Explained DAVID STOUT

The New York Times

Q. So is it fair to say that Americans who are neither rich nor reckless are being asked to rescue people who are? What is in this package for responsible homeowners of modest means who might be forced out of their homes, perhaps for reasons beyond their control?

A. Yes, you could argue that people who cannot tell soybean futures from puts, calls and options are being asked to clean up the costly mess left by Wall Street. To make the bailout palatable to the public, it is being described as far better than inaction, which administration officials and members of Congress say could imperil the retirement savings and other investments of Americans who are anything but rich.

9/20/08 Federal Ownership of Troubled Securities Alone Will Not Stop Foreclosures that Drag Down the Economy Center for Responsible Lending Under the bailout proposal, the government would simply become one of the investors that forecloses on homes.
9/20/08 Battle may be brewing over $700 billion mortgage bailout request KEVIN G. HALL
McClatchy Newspapers

$700 BILLION Bailout!!!

9/19/08*

Sue Them, Jail Them, Make Them Pay for Meltdown

Ann Woolner 

 Bloomberg news columnist

Criminal prosecution allows the government to seize ill-gotten gains. Snip the straps off those golden parachutes and grab them. Take over bank accounts, investment accounts, mansions, private planes and yachts.
9/19/08 Paulson Argues for Need to Buy Mortgages DAVID STOUT

New York Times

“We’re talking hundreds of billions” of dollars, Mr. Paulson said at a briefing.

Mr. Paulson, our data shows trillions-not billions. MSF

9/19/08 Paulson Bailout Plan a Historic Swindle William Greider The Nation If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public--all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims.
9/19/08 New bailout planned Jeanne Sahadi - CNN Money The federal government, in what will be its most far-reaching attempt yet to contain the financial crisis, is poised to establish a program to let banks get rid of mortgage-related assets that have been hard to value and harder to trade.
9/18/08 It's the Derivatives, Stupid! Why Fannie, Freddie and AIG Had to Be Bailed Out Ellen Brown 

Until recently, most people had never even heard of derivatives; but in terms of money traded, these investments represent the biggest financial market in the world. Derivatives are financial instruments that have no intrinsic value but derive their value from something else. Basically, they are just bets. You can "hedge your bet" that something you own will go up by placing a side bet that it will go down.

9/18/08

Commentary: Blame boards of directors for financial mess

Nell Minow These outrageous pay packages juxtaposed with losses in share value and jobs diminishes our credibility and increases our cost of capital. In today's global economy this is an expense we clearly can no longer afford. So we should not be surprised that executives took [your] money and ran.
9/18/08 Washington Mutual is looking for a buyer E. Scott Reckard and Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times Written off by Wall Street investors, Washington Mutual Inc. put itself on the auction block Wednesday, looking for a buyer strong enough to absorb the huge mortgage loan and credit card losses racked up by the nation's largest savings and loan.
9/18/08

Russian stock markets closed until Friday

CNN The government is struggling to stem a dizzying drop in share prices and restore confidence in the economy -- a slide that has recalled memories of the 1998 financial collapse.
9/18/08 How We Got Here: It's Housing, Stupid

The nation's financial system is in the midst of a massive shakeup and many on Wall Street and in Washington are pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame.

Chris Isidore

CNN Money

The Wall Street crisis has been caused by plunging housing prices. So despite the billions of dollars being thrown at the problem, experts say more trouble lies ahead.

"I would hesitate to say the worst is behind us,"

9/17/08** FTC Settlement Doesn't Help the HomeOwners who Lost their Homes due to EMC's Fraud Denise Richardson 

Give Me Back My Credit

Even assuming that EMC or Bear pays the $28 million, why didn't the FTC take action sooner? Regulators have had deaf ears for years with regard to consumer complaints and allegations of mortgage servicing abuse.
9/17/08 Senate Majority Leader Reid: "No One Knows What to Do" Mike "Mish" Shedlock U.S. lawmakers are considering setting up a Resolution Trust Corp-type fund to buy up toxic mortgage assets as was done in the Savings & Loan Crisis to dispose of bad debts.  The greed and corruption behind the S&L "cleanup" is what created the mess we are in now, but no one wants to go there.   [MSFraud.org]
9/17/08 Worst Crisis Since '30s, With No End Yet in Sight Jon Hilsenrath, Serena Ng and Damian Paletta - Yahoo Finance The financial crisis that began 13 months ago has entered a new, far more serious phase.

Lingering hopes that the damage could be contained to a handful of financial institutions that made bad bets on mortgages have evaporated. New fault lines are emerging beyond the original problem -- troubled subprime mortgages -- in areas like credit-default swaps, the credit insurance contracts sold by American International Group Inc. and others firms.

9/17/08 Will the Levee Break? An Ocean of Bad Debt Rises despite Fed Rescues   in Knowledge@Wharton The rescues, bankruptcies and dizzying write-downs signal a reckoning for Wall Street wizards who engineered the credit crisis with opaque securities based on risky subprime home loans and the assumption that housing prices would never decline.
9/17/08 Morgan Stanley And Goldman Plummet as Crisis Mounts By REUTERS Shares of Wall Street firms Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs plummeted on Wednesday and Britain's biggest mortgage lender neared a sale in the latest signs of extreme distress in the financial industry.
9/17/08 Bad mortgage brokers ran wild, Florida admits MATTHEW HAGGMAN AND ROB BARRY

MiamiHerald.com

The investigation, carried out by the Inspectors General of the State Cabinet Offices, concluded the state's regulatory system was ``insufficient to protect the people of the state of Florida.''
9/17/08 Lenders to FHA: Thanks but no thanks for your help

At a congressional hearing today in Washington, lenders didn't seem terribly enthusiastic about the program, dubbed Hope for Homeowners.

Les Christie, CNNMoney.com Testifying before Congress, lenders praised the FHA's foreclosure prevention program but indicated that they'd prefer to handle their own mortgage workouts.
9/17/08 Government steps in again, bails out AIG with $85B JEANNINE AVERSA, IEVA M. AUGSTUMS and STEPHEN BERNARD, AP Business In the most far-reaching intervention into the private sector ever for the Federal Reserve, the government stepped in Tuesday to rescue American International Group Inc. with an $85 billion injection of taxpayer money.
9/17/08* Fed’s $85 Billion Loan Rescues Insurer AIG By EDMUND L. ANDREWS, MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH

The New York Times

AIG’s troubles and why they matter: American International Group is a giant insurance company that provided $440 billion of insurance to investors who bought securities backed by mortgages. Now our government wants to bail them out with our tax dollars!

AIG followed for years the “GSE Business Model”  ( largest financial scam in history). The investors now desiring to be made whole, knew or should have known, that they were active players in the scam---IN NO WAY SHOULD TAX DOLLARS BAIL THEM OUT FOR THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR!!! 

This is the same GSE business model that victimized borrowers nationwide. [MSFraud.org]

9/17/08 Stocks tumble after government bailout of AIG MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer Bonds should not have defaulted if there was PMI insurance on the mortgages.  The feds should be able to recover money from the banks. [MSFraud.org]
9/16/08 Capitol Strives to Define ‘Homeless’ RACHEL L. SWARNS

New York Times

The House and the Senate are considering an expansion of the definition to include people precariously housed: those doubled up with friends or relatives or living day to day in motels, with money and options running out.
9/16/08 Lehman Brothers' creditors moving quickly

It looks like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. will be dismembered at break-neck pace.

Hilary Potkewitz

crainsnewyork.com

"As each day passes, value is dissipating quickly – people are walking out the door and clients are taking their accounts elsewhere.”
9/16/08

Fed pumps $70B into nation's financial system

Play Video CNN  – Fingers of blame point at Fed

JEANNINE AVERSA
The Associated Press
In the last few days, the American financial system has been badly shaken as bad bets on dodgy mortgage-backed securities claimed more Wall Street giants.
9/15/08

Fannie, Freddie chiefs lose 'golden parachutes'

Government denies departing executives millions in separation payments

Zachary A. Goldfarb

Washington Post

"The Federal Housing Finance Agency notified [Mudd and Syron] that 'golden parachute' payments contemplated under their contracts would not be paid," the agency said in a statement.
9/15/08 Filing seeks NovaStar unit’s involuntary bankruptcy Kansas City Business Journal NovaStar Mortgage has about $77.1 million in principal amount of unsecured notes outstanding to NovaStar Capital Trust I and NovaStar Capital Trust II, which issued the trust preferred securities to the holders and secured the notes. NovaStar Financial has guaranteed NovaStar Mortgage’s obligations under the notes, the SEC filing said.
9/14/08 LEHMAN BROTHERS’ Mortgage Troubles (nationally & locally); Evidence of Foreclosure Fraud, Deception, and Conspiracy with Wells Fargo; Deceptive Judicial Filings Barbara Ann Jackson

Law & Grace, Inc.

The latest events surrounding LEHMAN BROTHERS further amplifies my point about FORECLOSURE FRAUDS being carried out by via deceptive collections and Wells Fargo through use of the judicial system to further real estate racketeering and IRS fraud. In conjunction with the big Lehman Brother picture, the following is a small (local) component affecting Lehman’s decline.
9/13/08 Jamie Dimon regrets the purchase of Bear Stearns and paradox of deleveraging Andy Bebut

The Wall Street Examiner

It simply turns out that the purchase was too costly. By Peabody calculations the real purchase price, including all hidden fees and losses, was not $10 as was publicized, but $106 per share.
9/12/08** How Paulson Would Save Fannie Mae Peter J. Wallison - AEI.org The Treasury Department's bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is flawed because it gives Congress the power to make all future decisions about the structure of the GSEs, even though policymakers have no incentive--and indeed, have many disincentives--to fix the systemic problems underlying the GSE model.  The most astonishing thing about Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is that he intends to use taxpayer funds to resuscitate the companies and return them to profitability.
9/12/08 What We're Hearing Paul Muolo Lehman Brothers (and Aurora Loan Services) may be sold in a deal brokered by the government. The rumor mill was working overtime dishing out speculation on Merrill Lynch, whose share price was sinking to a new 52-week low. There was also talk the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was contemplating the takeover of two depositories.
9/11/08 Democrats call for foreclosure freeze JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

BusinessWeek

It was the latest sign of mounting congressional pressure on James Lockhart, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to ensure that the companies use their clout in the mortgage market to help homeowners caught in the housing crisis.

The senators -- Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Charles Schumer of New York -- want the companies to "take whatever actions are necessary" so more families "do not have to suffer the economic and personal disaster of foreclosure."

9/11/08

Book

PLUNDER: Investigating our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal

Danny Schechter www.newsdissector.com

“Plunder speaks truth to power about the infectious greed of the financial services sector that hoodwinked our nation.” – John Taylor, President & CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition

9/11/08 Bailout for Billionaires Wall Street Journal In structuring his rescue, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson gave a haircut to holders of both common and preferred stock. In the process, he socked it to many small banks that had much of their capital in Fan or Fred shares. He was right to do so, and he should have wiped them out given how much those holders had profited over the years from a government guarantee. But, strangely, Mr. Paulson also decided to give Fan and Fred's subordinated debt holders an entirely free pass. Why? And who are these guys?
9/11/08 Bailouts Will Push US into Depression: By CNBC.com

The estimated $300 billion cost of the Fannie/Freddie bailout will probably be considered as a loss that the government will have to take, therefore passing it on to taxpayers.  "We already have $3 trillion of debt, as far as the U.S. government is concerned. These debt figures across the U.S. economy are rising very sharply." When the government can no longer pass the United States' "immense debt" on to taxpayers, it will turn to the holders of U.S. dollars, leading to the eventual downfall of the currency, Hennecke said.

9/11/08 Fraud alleged in downfall of MILA Inc. Eric Fetters
Herald Writer
"I think Mr. Sapp knew things were bad in 2004 and, whether it's human nature or greed, he decided to take as much money out of the company as he could," said Brian Esler, a partner in Seattle's Miller Nash LLP
9/11/08 When Banks Steal from Their Customers Nancy Castleman Several of these cases resulted in large monetary judgments that returned more than $320 million to homeowners. But how many haven't been discovered yet? Any one of us might be a victim in a yet to be discovered scam … run by the very banks we’ve trusted with our money.
9/10/08 12 Confessions Of A Home Mortgage Collector The Consumerist A former Wells Fargo Home Mortgage home collector has stepped forth from the shadows to tell you what's really going on. Here's his confession.
9/10/08 Investor Lawsuits Surge Against Lenders PR NEWSWIRE Four investor class-actions against IndyMac Bancorp Inc. were tracked, while three investor lawsuits against Downey Financial Corp. were covered. Franklin Bank Corp. faced at least two shareholder lawsuits.
9/10/08 Citigroup Busted for Skimming from the Dead creditbloggers.com For more than a decade, a giant American bank, Citigroup, secretly employed a bold policy for relating to its customers: Stealing from them. Citigroup, the largest bank in the U.S., recently confessed that it stole more than $14 million from its own customers between 1992 and 2003.
9/10/08 Ralph Nader on Bailing Out Fannie and Freddie Put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said, “I have clearly stated three critical objectives: providing stability to financial markets, supporting the availability of mortgage finance, and protecting taxpayers - both by minimizing the near term costs to the taxpayer and by setting policymakers on a course to resolve the systemic risk created by the inherent conflict in the GSE structure.”

Over at the multi-trillion dollar companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the shareholders have lost about 75 percent of their stock value in one year. Farcically regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Fannie and Freddie were run into the ground by taking on very shaky mortgages under the command of CEOs and their top executives who paid themselves enormous sums.

Too bad it is all a little late for the small shareholders, and pensioners and taxpayers who pay the bill for speculators and executives, many of whom seem to escape with lots of money.

9/10/08 Lose your house, lose your vote Eartha Jane Melzer

Michigan Messenger

“The Republican-led state Senate has not moved on the anti-predatory lending bill for over a year and yet [Republicans] have time to prey on those who have fallen victim to foreclosure to suppress the vote.”
McCain’s regional headquarters are housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott. The firm’s founder, David A. Trott, has raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the Republican nominee.
9/10/08 Fannie/Freddie bailout puts three banks in capital danger zone Peter Cohan

Bloggingstocks

Two happy campers are the recently departed Fannie and Freddie CEOs who stand to make $23 million in severance for their handiwork.

Meanwhile, after a pop on Monday, stocks are not far from where they were before this latest weekend bailout. If their blunders weren't so costly to taxpayers, the Keystone Cops running this place would be comic relief.

9/10/08 The Hidden Bailout Of $1.4 Trillion In Fannie / Freddie Credit-Default Swaps Truthspace’s Research This single event could have led to a cascading series of failures that might have bankrupted Wall Street - and much of the rest of the financial world - by the end of the week. That isn’t happening, and indeed, the media is treating this as something close to a non-event.
9/9/08 Fannie and Freddie: Guess Who’s Going to Pay? Consumer Warning Network Hold your nose. The stench of the S&L crisis of the 80’s fills the air once again. It all came rushing back over the weekend when the Treasury Department announced that the federal government was going to bail out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and take them over. Remember the S&L crisis?
9/9/08 Bear Stearns and EMC Mortgage to Pay $28 Million to Settle FTC Charges of Unlawful Mortgage Servicing and Debt Collection Practices   Federal Trade Commission STIPULATED FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER

JOINT MOTION FOR ENTRY OF STIPULATED FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER

FTC COMPLAINT AGAINST EMC & BEAR STEARNS

9/9/08 Fannie and Freddie:

A "Failed Business Model"

Henry Paulson's plan is a major disappointment.

Peter J. Wallison What's worse, after blaming the collapse of the Fannie and Freddie on a "flawed business model," the plan will preserve that model indefinitely, allowing the shareholders of what are now insolvent entities to recover some value.
9/9/08 Fannie Mae's Patron Saint Wall Street Journal

In April 2004, Fannie announced a multibillion-dollar financial "misstatement" of its own. Mr. Frank was back for the defense. Fannie and Freddie posed no risk to taxpayers, he said, adding that "I think Wall Street will get over it" if the two collapsed. Yes, they're certainly "over it" on the Street now that Uncle Sam is guaranteeing their Fannie paper, and even Fannie's subordinated debt.

9/8/08
Ex-Argent Mortgage VP Sentenced For Fraud

 

North Country gazette A former vice president of Argent, a subsidiary of one of the nation’s largest subprime lenders has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that spanned more than two years.
9/8/08 A 'Failed Business Model'

Henry Paulson's plan is a major disappointment.

Commentary by 

Peter J. Wallison

A conservator does not have the power to make any significant changes to the business model of a company; rather, its focus is to guide the company back to stability. Why anyone would sustain what Paulson himself called a flawed business model is hard to understand.
9/8/08 U.S. Seizes Control Of Mortgage Giants

Takeover of Fannie And Freddie Aims To Revive Housing, Financial Markets

Washington Post The government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac yesterday in a dramatic bid to restore faith in the embattled mortgage giants and arrest a vicious cycle that has driven the nation's economy into a steep downturn.
9/8/08 Washington Mutual Forces Out CEO DAN FITZPATRICK and PETER LATTMAN - WSJ WaMu's shares have fallen about 85% in the past year, and analysts say its financial position is among the worst of any major U.S. financial institution. WaMu has large holdings of mortgages made in regions where house prices have fallen sharply.
9/7/08 Fannie & Freddie: The End of the American Dream? E.J. Manning an insightful commentary about finance, trust, drama and taxpayer slavery by E.J. Manning
9/7/08 A Tangled Web With Many Raveled Threads FLOYD NORRIS

The New York Times

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were intended to serve at least two masters — the investors who put up capital and a government that wanted to help the housing industry and extend home ownership. In the end, they failed to serve either one very well.
9/7/08

U.S. Outlines Fannie-Freddie Takeover 

MICHAEL R. CRITTENDEN - WSJ "In the end, the ultimate cost to the taxpayer will depend on the business results of the GSEs going forward," Mr. Paulson said
9/7/08 Cox’s ties to mortgage firms may explain inaction on foreclosures Eric T. Campbell
The Michigan Citizen
“Cox is holding forums to try and help mortgage fraud victims with many of the same companies that he should be investigating for causing the problem in the first place,”
9/7/08 Mortgage fraud cases escalate Sandy Hodson

The Augusta Chronicle

In this scam, a person convinces a homeowner facing foreclosure that the home can be saved by signing over the title. Once the scam artist has the title, he can take out a line of credit for himself.
9/6/08 Company president sentenced in mortgage fraud case Maggi Martin

Cleveland.com

The president of Shaker Title Services was sentenced to seven years in prison for her role in mortgage fraud that involved 31 houses in Cleveland.
9/6/08 Nonprofit 'Common Law' trains homeowners to be their own lawyers RACHEL MONAHAN
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Legal Services had so many foreclosure cases last year it had to stop taking new ones, she said. The group has now expanded its foreclosure unit. But even with an enlarged foreclosure practice, they can only take a fraction of the cases, Attie said. There is one more complication to finding free legal assistance for homeowners in trouble. Pro bono lawyers from elite city law firms are also not much help to homeowners facing foreclosures: Many of the firms represent the banks that are trying to take their homes.
9/6/08 Mortgage Fraud: Should the Lender be Sued by the Borrower? mortgageforensics A mortgage broker submits a fraudulent loan file to a lender, which promptly funds the loan. The borrower - whose identity has been stolen by the mortgage broker - doesn’t even know that he is now the proud owner of an overpriced white elephant, which promptly goes into default.
9/6/08 Fannie, Freddie takeover possible Peter G. Gosselin

 Los Angeles Times

Doubts about the stability of Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee more than $5 trillion worth of mortgages -- about half of all U.S. home loans -- have dogged investors since the U.S. housing finance market began to unravel a year ago.
9/6/08 U.S. to take control of Fannie and Freddie Glenn Somerville and Al Yoon

Reuters

The U.S. government plans to put government sponsored mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under federal control, in what could be the largest financial bailout in the nation's history.

The two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) own or guarantee almost half of the country's $12 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt.

9/5/08 TAKE A LOAD OFF FANNIE:
BAILOUT OR NATIONALIZATION FOR THE MORTGAGE GIANTS?
Ellen Brown

The Web of Debt

They are called “government-sponsored enterprises” (GSEs), although they are entirely privately owned and specifically disclaim government backing on their prospectuses. The market has taken these disclaimers with a wink and a nod and has assumed that the GSEs are “too big to fail,” forcing the government to save them from their reckless investment schemes.
9/5/09

Lenders See Foreclosure Situation Worsening

Bad economic situation can lead to emotional problems as well

ConsumerAffairs.com The Mortgage Bankers Association says with home prices falling and loans harder to get, more Americans are simply giving up trying to sell their homes and are just walking away.
9/4/08 Lehman May Shift $32 Billion of Mortgage Assets to `Bad Bank' Yalman Onaran - Bloomberg The bad bank, nicknamed Spinco for now, would have about $8 billion of equity coming from Lehman. Spinco would borrow the remaining $24 billion from Lehman or outside investors.  The New York-based bank would replace capital put into Spinco, whose shares would be owned by current Lehman shareholders.
9/3/08 Countrywide/Bank of America - A Direct Threat to Borrowers & Shareholders mrmortgage.ml-implode.com You will not believe this story.  This sure looks as though Countrywide/BofA has conspired to deceive a homeowner and shareholders.  They are getting these borrowers at their weakest moment with a plan that is portrayed as ‘help’ but will ultimately lead to disaster.
9/3/08 FBI Responds to LA Times Article on Mortgage Fraud http://www.flippingfrenzy.com Consumers and consumer lawyers have been going to  the FBI since 1998, but were summarily ignored and turned away. - MSFraud.org
9/3/08 Fighting Foreclosure: Subprime Borrowers Battle (and Beat) Lenders in Court Amanda Stutt - The Village Voice A series of startling court decisions nationwide have ruled against subprime lenders attempting to foreclose on borrowers after failing to legally establish ownership of the loans in question because they had been 'transferred' multiple times.
9/3/08 2 Credit Suisse brokers accused of $1B subprime fraud Associated Press They are charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, carrying maximum total sentences of 25 years and up to $5.25 million in criminal fines.
9/2/08 Pushing the bailout to $2 trillion moneyBlog In a move which could push the value of the assistance program well above $1 trillion, Paulson is considering casting an extremely wide net of salvation. According to Bloomberg, "The change to potentially allow purchases of instruments such as car loans, credit-card debt and other devalued assets may force an increase in the size of the package as the legislation proceeds through Congress." 
9/2/08 Foreclosure Defense: Fed Bailout Discharges Mortgage Liability Neil Garfield - LivingLies's Weblog Mortgages and notes are satisfied twice over and the borrowers have already paid through taxes and should not be made to pay twice by paying off a non-existent debt to a party that has been twice paid or more and has already signed off its rights to enforce the note or mortgage.
9/1/08* Mortgage servicers sucking loans dry? Alex Ulam

The Real Deal

"I have had people in the [servicing] industry tell me that their best customer is the one who is always 30 days late," said Howard Glaser, a former official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the president of the Washington, D.C.-based Glaser Group, a mortgage industry consulting firm.

"If you can keep the borrower on the hook and paying late fees, that is where the profit is in servicing," Glaser said. "Otherwise, if everybody is paying on time, there isn't a tremendous amount of profit.


"There is an element of 'suck the loan dry, and then once you have gotten everything out of it that you can, you leave the carcass on the side of the road.'"
8/30/08 Fewer Loans, But Still More Fraud Ken Harney - Washington Post "Mortgage fraud used to be a crime of opportunity," he said. "Now it's a crime of necessity for people who are desperate to maintain lifestyles they became accustomed to" during the housing boom years.
8/29/08 Still in a home, by the skin of her teeth Kari Huus - MSNBC This summer, Kennebeck shared her home with a friend who lost her house last spring after a year-long struggle to keep up mortgage payments. The woman, who asked not to be named, had been working two jobs — even three for a time — but finally gave up after her water was cut off.
8/28/08

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES 14th COMPANY FOR MORTGAGE RESCUE FRAUD

www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today continued her aggressive legal fight against mortgage fraud by filing a lawsuit against a Clearwater, Fla., company which operates a rescue fraud scheme that preys on vulnerable homeowners on the verge of foreclosure. This is the 14th lawsuit Attorney General Madigan has brought against mortgage rescue fraud companies.
8/28/08 Mortgage Fraud Is on the Rise, Infecting the GSEs Jimmy Lathrop - Seeking Alpha If we have these Government Sponsored Agencies, and the banks are getting money at 2 percent, and a 30 year mortgage is hovering at around 6.87 percent, how are the GSEs helping the homeowner?
8/28/08 Crisis In Progress: Loan Spreads Widening Further SA Editor
Judy Weil
Potential downgrades of residential mortgage-backed securities pitched as some of the safest investments may force money managers and other holders to unload up to $469 billion in the bonds
8/28/08 Man Simulated Robbery to Pay Mortgage TheTruthAboutMortgage.com The latest involves a Long Island truck driver behind on his mortgage who executed an elaborate fake robbery in order to pocket the money and make good on his commitments
8/28/08 Struggling Lehman Plans to Lay Off 1,500 JENNY ANDERSON and ERIC DASH - NY Times Lehman has already laid off 6,000 people since June 2007, mostly in its mortgage origination and securitization businesses.
8/27/08 The Greatest Government Bailout of All Time Martin D. Weiss, Ph. D. In this issue of Money and Markets, Dr. Weiss discusses how a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout may give temporary relief to some investors, but it will merely spread chaos among most others.

8/27/08

Quote of the day: China hopping mad about GSEs

At the end of last week, the warning came. The Chinese officially warned Hank Paulson et al. that they better get their act together on Fannie and Freddie. The Chinese own a ton of GSE paper and they would be hopping mad to see their investments lose value.

Credit Writedowns “If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. “If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.”
-Yu Yongding, former adviser to China’s Central Bank
8/27/08

When Banks Fail, What Does it Mean to My Mortgage?

Bryan Quinn - active rain If you happen to hold a mortgage with a bank that goes down, the first thing you need to know is that your mortgage does not go away, so keep paying your mortgage payments on time every month.
8/27/08
A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.
Richard B. Schmitt

Los Angeles Times

Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s. By some estimates, it has made that costly debacle look like chump change. But it's also clear that the FBI failed to avert a problem it had accurately forecast.
8/27/08 Alabama county mulls bankruptcy; could be largest failure in history Zac Bissonnette
BloggingStocks
The culprit? $3 billion in bonds with rapidly escalating interest rates resulting from the exact same short-sighted financial planning that got so many home owners into trouble
August 08* Bringing Down Bear Stearns BRYAN BURROUGH -Vanity Fair

The blow-by-blow from insiders in what some believe was the greatest financial scandal in history. 

August 08* The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 Catherine Austin Fitts This article originally appeared as a nine-part series on the Catherine Austin Fitts Blog.
8/24/08 State’s AG sues Countrywide over loans indystar.com The state is asking that the court order Countrywide to end those practices and void prepayment penalties and loans that originated from them.
8/22/08 Buffett Says Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac `Game Is Over' Josh P. Hamilton -Bloomberg "They were able to borrow without any of the normal restraints. They had a blank check from the federal government.''

8/22/08

What's behind propping up a criminal enterprise...

Freddie, Fannie Failure Could Be World `Catastrophe'

Kevin Hamlin - Bloomberg "If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,'' "If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.''

8/21/08

Mortgage-fraud prison time for former Eagle Mountain mayoral hopeful By Donald W. Meyers
The Salt Lake Tribune
In 4th District Court, Richard Culbertson was sentenced Thursday to four concurrent terms in prison on three counts of communications fraud and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal activity.  .
8/21/08

White paper

RESOLVING THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS:

MODIFICATION OF MORTGAGES IN BANKRUPTCY

Adam J. Levitin

Joshua S. Goodman

[m]any homeowners who are unable to meet their mortgage payments are losing their homes in foreclosure, thereby creating significant economic and social deadweight costs and further depressing the housing market. (and the banks stole our money in the process. MSF)

8/21/08

Cuomo campaign against financial fraud shames UK Tony Bonsignore - Citywire Cuomo alleges that the vendors, which include Citigroup, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS, sold the securities to retail investors under false pretences, knowing that the underlying value of the assets was not as high as investors believed.
8/21/08 Fannie And Freddie Debt Gains, Deep Share Dive Abates Debt investors bet the securities will get a U.S. guarantee even if shareholders are wiped out by a federal rescue of the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), which own or back almost half of all outstanding U.S. mortgages.
8/20/08 Banking on Congress Nader.org The U.S. economy and the banking sector currently face a significant amount of uncertainty from ongoing housing sector problems, financial market turbulence and potentially weak prospects for consumer spending. These problems could lead to significantly higher loan losses and weaker earnings for insured institutions.
8/19/08 Some big-name funds may ride Fannie and Freddie to ZERO LA Times With shares of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continuing their slide today to new multi-year lows, the market once again is signaling that the two companies’ common shareholders are likely to be wiped out.
8/17/08 Pa. AG should scrutinize Countrywide Pocono Record The suit says the Countrywide, under former CEO Angelo Mozilo, promised troubled buyers they could refinance, then crammed unconscionable legal fees into the renegotiated loans that actually put them deeper in debt.

8/16/08

Warning: Mortgage lenders’ practice of filing falsified IRS tax form 1099-A’s or 1099-C’s. Barbara Ann Jackson

LawGrace.org

If that 1099 is replete with false information, there could be severe tax effects and a lot of needless untangling to be burdened with.
8/15/08* Countrywide Cashing in on Surprising Group of Homeowners Consumer Warning Network “It’s absolutely unconscionable,” said Jill Bowman a Florida Attorney representing hurricane victims in class action lawsuits against Countrywide.  “They promised these people help and got all the good publicity that went along with that, but now that the cameras have turned away, they’re trying to stick these disaster victims with the very penalties and financial hardship they promised they would not impose.

8/15/08

Judge Rejects Countrywide Settlement Over Lending Practices REUTERS A federal bankruptcy judge has rejected a settlement involving the mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corporation, saying he was not convinced that it was fair to nearly 300 borrowers who claimed to have been hurt by the company’s abusive practices.
8/14/08 The Great Consumer Crash of 2009 James Quinn - Seeking Alpha The millions of exotic mortgages (subprime, alt-A, ARMs, no-doc, and negative amortization), which have started to blow up, has led to a tsunami of foreclosures. In 2005 there were less than 600,000 foreclosures in the U.S. In the 1st two quarters of 2008 there have been more than 1,350,000 foreclosures, with the pace accelerating.
8/14/08
The Debt Trap

Home Equity Frenzy Was a Bank Ad Come True

LOUISE STORY

New York Times

Not long ago, such loans, which used to be known as second mortgages, were considered the borrowing of last resort, to be avoided by all but people in dire financial straits. Today, these loans have become universally accepted, their image transformed by ubiquitous ad campaigns from banks. (Today is the Day. Meet your goals now. (Wells Fargo ad.))
8/14/08 SEC asks National City for subprime mortgage docs Associated Press The SEC has requested certain documents concerning the bank's loan underwriting experience, dividends, bank regulatory matters and the sale of First Franklin Financial Corp.
8/13/08 Law firm sued in $20M real estate case kathleen.kerr@newsday.com Investors are named as plaintiffs in the suit, which charges that law firms in Bristol, Conn., and Roseland, N.J., also helped facilitate and cover up the Cobalt investment scheme.
8/12/08 One Third of New Owners Owe More Than House Is Worth Bob Ivry - Bloomberg For homeowners who need to sell, this is a gravely serious situation,'' ``It can also be harmful to communities where the number of unsold homes adds more to inventory and puts downward pressure on prices.''
8/12/08 Freddie to Stop Buying Subprime Loans in N.Y. State Dawn Kopecki Bloomberg Freddie will stop buying subprime loans issued in New York state as a new law takes effect that holds investors accountable for mortgage fraud.  
8/11/08 Terrorism, the mob and America's mortgage mess Diane Francis Attempts by Eliot Spitzer, and other attorneys general, to police or tighten up regulations or laws were fiercely opposed in court by the Bush administration.
8/11/08 Countrywide tries to silence critic Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department has challenged a deal Countrywide Financial Corp. has cut in a Pittsburgh bankruptcy court, saying Countrywide is trying to silence an active critic.

8/11/08 Cuomo expands auction-rate securities probe

The state attorney general is now including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wachovia Corp. in his investigation.

Associated Press "This is an industry-wide problem," Mr. Cuomo said in an interview. "This is not about one or two institutions. We are now working with the other players in the industry."

8/11/08**

The GSE Business Model is Fatally Flawed

George Soros We need to recognise that the business model o the GSEs is fatally flawed. They are public/private partnerships in which the risks are borne by the public sector while profits accrue to the private sector: management and shareholders. The companies have been plagued by accounting problems and other irregularities; their managements have spent enormous sums lobbying Capitol Hill. This is not a business model that deserves to be perpetuated.
8/11/08 Mortgage-Market Trouble
Reaches Big Credit Unions
MARK MAREMONT - WSJ

Five of the nation's largest credit unions are reporting big paper losses on mortgage-related securities, a sign that housing-market distress is spreading even to the most risk-averse financial sectors.

8/9/08 ResCap suing brokers who originated bad mortgage loans

The Bloomington-based warehouse lender alleges that defendants misrepresented data on borrowers and should buy back the troubled loans.

DAVID PHELPS, Star Tribune The Bloomington-based investor has filed more than a dozen federal lawsuits in Minnesota against mortgage companies, claiming that they failed to do adequate due diligence on borrowers and provided inaccurate information about the financial wherewithal of loan applicants.

8/8/08

Jury gives woman $1.25M in lawsuit over mortgage

A six-member jury convicted Wells Fargo of fraud, negligence and other charges

Baltimore Business Journal  

 Eli Segall

Thomas, 41, said that her case "destroys the myth" that the subprime mortgage meltdown is fueled by homebuyers taking loans they can't handle.

"They make it seem like it's the person's fault, but they don't know what's going on behind the scenes."

8/8/08 You have remedies and defenses!!! Neil Garfield - LivingLies's Weblog More and more lawyers are getting the same message but it is proceeding slowly. Some states have made it official: if you don’t own the note (which is the case in most foreclosures) then you can’t foreclose. But lawyers are slow on this one because they underestimate the value of the service they could be performing, underestimate the fees they could be earning and overestimating their own knowledge.
8/8/08 A Small Victory for Debtors in Texas Mortgage Servicing Case Mona Lewandoski

From Warren Reports

A New York Times article of March 30 described the “foreclosure machine:” the law firms and default servicing companies that represent and assist mortgage lenders in foreclosing and pursuing claims in bankruptcy and regular courts. The article gives several examples of questionable practices, including payment by volume of motions filed rather than by the legitimacy of those motions. This can lead to homeowners having to fight off baseless motions in court, or paying to settle a case that never should have been brought. As the article explains, bankruptcy judges and the U.S. Trustee (the powerful office that oversees the integrity of the bankruptcy system) have already noticed this abuse of the system. A recent Bankruptcy court ruling in Houston is the most recent example.
8/8/08 Ex-Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo is under formal SEC investigation

The probe is focused on whether he violated insider-trading law and whether the mortgage lender's disclosures misled investors.

Kathy M. Kristof and E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times Bank of America Corp., which acquired Calabasas-based Countrywide last month, said in a regulatory filing Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission was conducting a formal inquiry of the lender and that it had responded to subpoenas from the federal agency.
8/8/08 UBS to Spend $19.4 Billion to Buy Back Securities THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Swiss bank UBS has reached a $19.4 billion agreement to buy back bonds in the biggest settlement yet over claims that banks misled investors to buy auction-rate securities.
8/8/08 Fannie Posts Deep Loss,
Slashes Dividend Payment
JAMES R. HAGERTY and APARAJITA SAHA-BUBNA  - Wall Street Journal

“No Problem--------instead of tapping the taxpayers, go to the contractually bound lender/servicers for violating the Fannie Mae Guidelines…..just like all the investor lawsuits are doing!!!” (MSF)

8/8/08 A $2.3 Billion Loss for Fannie Mae CHARLES DUHIGG

The New York Times

Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest mortgage finance company, offered additional evidence on Friday that the housing slump was deepening by reporting a $2.3 billion loss in the second quarter.
8/7/08 Fannie and Freddie: Giving Away the Farm

EllenBrown

  www.opednews.com

Last week, Congress passed a housing bill that gave the Treasury Department a blank check to inject billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, snatching them from insolvency.  To accommodate this blank check, Congress obligingly raised its debt ceiling by $800 billion.  Ouch!  That’s nearly a trillion dollars.  Why was it necessary to incur this potentially crippling public debt to bail out two completely private, for-profit behemoths, which have run themselves into bankruptcy with their own risky investment schemes?  Policymakers said it was essential to maintain the country’s creditworthiness with foreign lenders, which today hold about one-fifth of Fannie and Freddie securities.
8/7/08 2 Banks Buying Back $17 Billion in Securities ERIC DASH and LOUISE STORY 

New York Times

Merrill Lynch, without entering into a settlement, offered to buy back $10 billion of similar securities that it had sold to thousands of individuals.
8/5/08 Citigroup Agrees to Buy Back Securities for $7 Billion Eric Dash - New York Times Citigroup announced an agreement on Thursday to buy back more than $7 billion of auction-rate securities from investors to settle claims that it misled clients about the dangers of the investments.
8/5/08 Suit blames Washington Mutual for pending foreclosure By Kimberly Blanton
Boston Globe Staff
The Pestanas said they tried at least twice to determine the amount they could pay to reinstate their loan, but Harmon Law either did not call back or could not give them an amount.
8/5/08 Freddie Mac Chief: Don't Blame Me Aaron Task - Yahoo! "Everybody understood that at some level the company was putting taxpayers at risk," he told the Times.  Of course history has shown as housing prices began declining in 2006, choices that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae made have proved disastrous.
8/5/08 At Freddie Mac, Chief Discarded Warning Signs CHARLES DUHIGG

New York Times

David A. Andrukonis, recalled telling Mr. Syron in mid-2004 that the company was buying bad loans that “would likely pose an enormous financial and reputational risk to the company and the country.”  

Mr. Syron was told to slow the firm’s mortgage purchases. Instead, they accelerated.

8/4/08 What Banks And The Government Are Not Telling Us About 2009—The Next Shoes You Hear Drop May Be Very Loud Ones James Quinn

Cutting Edge News

The U.S. banking system is essentially insolvent. The Treasury, Federal Reserve, FASB, and Congress are colluding to keep the American public in the dark for as long as possible. They are trying to buy time and prop up these banks so they can convince enough fools to give them more capital. They will continue to write off debt for many quarters to come. We could have a zombie banking system for a decade.
8/4/08 Barrett promises help after parking ticket foreclosure rrutledge@journalsentinel.com Mayor Tom Barrett promised Monday to try to help a disabled man after the city foreclosed on his house to collect fines that resulted from a $50 parking citation, but the mayor stopped short of saying the city would drop its pursuit of the $245,000 house.
8/4/08 Housing Lenders Fear Bigger Wave of Loan Defaults VIKAS BAJAJ - New York Times

The first wave of Americans to default on their home mortgages appears to be cresting, but a second, far larger one is quickly building.

8/3/08 Greedy bankers, lousy government led to housing mess

Were it not for rotten governance in Washington, however, the greedsters could never have gotten away with their highway robbery.

When greed’s in charge, no society works.

For the ability to torture huge numbers of people, greed easily beats the combined powers of the six other deadly sins.

8/3/08 Foreclosure Defense: Why People are Ignoring Their Rights Neil F. Garfield

Livinglies's Weblog

I’m trying to provide the necessary information for homeowners and their lawyers to defend their property, get damages from their lender, and potentially walk from the foreclosure house with free and clear title and no note instead of walking from their homes.
July/08

Report

A Perfect Storm:

Easy Money and the Mortgage Meltdown

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis in New York State

New York State 

Commission of Investigation

It is therefore not surprising that many Americans, including New Yorkers, want to achieve the dream of owning and living in their own houses. For many New Yorkers, however, that dream has turned into a nightmare.

July/Aug Who Wrecked The Economy?

FORECLOSURE PHIL

Years before Phil Gramm was a McCain campaign adviser and a lobbyist for a Swiss bank at the center of the housing credit crisis, he pulled a sly maneuver in the Senate that helped create today's subprime meltdown.

David Corn

Mother Jones

Only an expert, or a lobbyist, could have followed what Gramm was saying. The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the SEC nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swaps—and would thus "protect financial institutions from over-regulation" and "position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century."
7/31/08 Freddie Mac Doubles Financial Incentives to Servicers Who Help Borrowers Avoid Foreclosure MortgageDailyNews Freddie Mac also announced it is extending the time for foreclosures so servicers will have more time, if needed, to negotiate workouts with delinquent borrowers in Washington, DC, and 20 states with relatively fast foreclosure processes.
7/30/08

Hedge funds investing in delinquent mortgages

AP Hedge Funds have always invested in delinquent mortgages so they could foreclose on them and even the performing loans that ended up in the pool.

7/29/08

WELLS FARGO CREATES FRAUDULENT MORTGAGE, FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURE, AND FRAUDULENT NEGATIVE CREDIT INFORMATION

In the course of defending numerous foreclosure actions around the United States, we have come across some fairly horrendous fact patterns, but to date, the story  described here (a true story, by the way) is unprecedented.

The brokers confirmed that a closing did not take place, and that there were no loan closing documents executed in favor of Wells Fargo by the victim.

Foreclosure Defense Nationwide In the days that followed and within the legally prescribed period to decline the transaction, she decided for her own reasons not to pursue the purchase. She notified the broker and signed a Release of Purchase Agreement. These events occurred in late September, 2007.

Six months later on March 21, 2008, she received a call from a representative of Wells Fargo advising her that she was being placed in foreclosure, as Wells Fargo claimed that she was in default on a mortgage which Wells Fargo had placed in her name on the property which she had decided not to purchase in the fall of 2007. She advised Wells Fargo that she had properly declined to go through with the purchase and had signed a release of the purchase agreement. However, Wells Fargo stated that they were in possession of a mortgage in her name for the subject property, were proceeding with the foreclosure, and that Wells Fargo had placed the loan and foreclosure on her credit report.
7/27/08 How One Borrower Beat the Foreclosure Machine By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

NY Times

After enduring six years in foreclosure hell, almost losing her home twice, Ms. Palmer has escaped intact.
7/26/08 Some Judges Stiffen Foreclosure Standards AMIR EFRATI –Wall Street Journal

The work of the Brooklyn court -- which formed a committee to discuss foreclosures about five years ago, long before the housing crisis emerged -- looks prescient now as it has rejected dozens of foreclosure actions since the crisis began by identifying mistakes or suspicious information. Among the most energetic members of the Brooklyn committee is Justice Arthur Schack, who says barely any of the foreclosures he has denied eventually are completed.

7/26/08 Congress Passes Housing Bill MICHAEL R. CRITTENDEN -WSJ The bill includes tax breaks for homeowners, a $300 billion program to refinance loans for struggling borrowers, and a dramatic rescue plan for embattled mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
7/25/08

Bush to Sign Housing Bill Quickly, but Quietly

with reader comments

Henry J. Pulizzi and Michael R. Crittenden - WSJ This is exactly why Ken Lewis of Bank of America bought Countrywide—betting on a government sponsored bailout.  Let’s hope that the “investors” aren’t dumb enough to make the same mistake twice. The investors will determine if they want to place their money on this "house of cards" again. (msf)
7/25/08 NAB Will Shock Wall Street ROBERT GOTTLIEBSEN - Business Spectator.com

The National Australia Bank's decision to write off 90 per cent of its US conduit loans will have dramatic repercussions around the world. Wall Street will be deeply shocked when they understand the repercussions of what NAB has done.

7/25/08 Subprime Legal: Judges Scrutinize Mortgage Docs, Deny Foreclosures

with reader comments

Amir Efrati - WSJ In foreclosure filings, one judge has found that numerous mortgage-related companies, including units of Wall Street banks, all claim to share the same address: a suite of a West Palm Beach, Fla., building. “The Court ponders if Suite 100 is the size of Madison Square Garden to house all of these financial behemoths or if there is a more nefarious reason for this corporate togetherness,” the judge wrote in a recent decision.
7/25/08 The Fannie/Freddie Bailout Is a Scandal Dick Armey

In WSJ Opinion section

Americans who work hard, pay taxes and play by the rules can't seem to get fair representation in Washington, D.C., these days.
7/25/08

New York Sues UBS for Securities Fraud

with VIDEO

By LOUISE STORY

New York Times

“Once they knew the auctions were failing, they removed their personal money and corporate money from the auctions and were still bringing consumers into the auctions,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Now people have their funds locked up in a way they can’t access them.”
7/24/08 San Diego sues Bank of America to halt foreclosures Reuters City Attorney Michael Aguirre plans to file similar lawsuits against Washington Mutual Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Wachovia Corp in an effort to make the lenders negotiate with mortgage borrowers facing foreclosure.
7/24/08 Will Hollywood end up homeless? Another celebrity foreclosure Beth Pinsker -Wallet Pop  
7/24/08 Mother, 53, Kills Self Before Foreclosure AP A wife and mother fatally shot herself soon after faxing a letter to her mortgage company saying that by the time they foreclosed on her house that day, she would be dead.
7/24/08 Did you see Home Foreclosure Fraud in Courts?

AHRC Invites you to share your stories

AHRC News Services You can contribute to the solution in many ways. One of the ways is to share your stories on AHRC for a series on: America's Courts and the Home Foreclosure Fraud. Please send a copy of the case and ruling. 
7/24/08 WaMu Slumps as Gimme Credit Cites Liquidity Concern Ari Levy - Bloomberg ``We won't use the phrase `run on the bank,' but we would be remiss if we did not observe that many creditors have quietly been pulling funds,''
7/23/08 City Attorney Sues Countrywide To Stop Foreclosures

        San Diego News

The lawsuit, which also names Countrywide parent company Bank of America, seeks an injunction to stop further lender foreclosures and calls for civil penalties of up to $100,000 for each alleged violation.
7/23/08 Debtors Win Victories Against Mortgage Servicers Katie Porter In the last few weeks, several courts have issued opinions ruling that mortgage servicers' actions have harmed consumers. Some of you follow this issue closely, but if you need an introduction, I've previously posted a bit on the basics of mortgage servicing and why it's an important component of the foreclosure problem.
7/23/08 Receivership or Conservatorship for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Failing Banks Walker F. Todd

American Institute for Economic Research

In all three bailouts—Bear Stearns, IndyMac, and the GSEs—federal watchdogs have demonstrated a disturbing willingness to abandon their traditional supervisory and regulatory roles. More alarmingly, their actions are part of a larger drift that began in the 1980s: Increasingly regulators are moving away from their charge to protect the taxpayer that was established in 1933. 
7/22/08

More Than $1 Trillion Needed to Solve Housing Crisis  with VIDEO Aaron Task Yahoo Finance The housing bill, which earmarks $300 billion to backstop mortgages after lenders agree to lower mortgage payments, is "a step in the right direction" but "doesn't do enough," he says, predicting the government will ultimately need to spend more than $1 trillion
7/22/08 Judge B. J. Bjork retires after facilitating fraudulent home foreclosures in Riverside homeowner associations Sharon Stephens - AHRC.se B.J. BJORK was the judge in an alleged fraudulent foreclosure sale of New York attorney George Harder's Palm Springs home by David Peters of Peters & Freedman. Some have reported that Peters has been selling the homes he forecloses on, to his long time associate Carlos Sosa, a lawyer in Los Angeles. Bjork denied George Harder 's request to postpone his trial to come from New York for the case in Riverside, California. Bjork held the trial without Harder and ruled for Peters & Freedman and Sosa. George Harder lost his home.
7/21/08 Junk Fees–A Profit Center for Your Mortgage Servicer Däna Wilkinson, Attorney at Law Now, because so much consumer debt is packaged into securities and sold to investors, repayment of the loans takes on less importance to those lenders than the fees and charges generated when loans are made.
7/21/08 Fannie and Freddie's Enablers Wall Street Journal You'll love this one. In the strange accountability of Washington, the same folks who put taxpayers on the hook for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now demanding ransom to let taxpayers bail them out. It's as if Andy Fastow insisted that Enron shareholders pay his fines after his fraud cost them their life savings.
7/21/08

FDIC Faces Mortgage Mess After Running Failed Bank

 

Subprime Lender Superior Bank Made Problem Loans On Regulators' Watch

MARK MAREMONT -WSJ

It turns out that the U.S. government itself was one of the lenders giving out high-interest, subprime mortgages, some of them predatory, according to government documents filed in federal court.

The unusual situation, which is still bedeviling bank regulators, stems from the 2001 seizure by federal officials of Superior Bank FSB, then a national subprime lender.

7/21/08 One Down, More Need to Go loansharks.blogspot.com The FDIC paid out roughly $700 Million in the fiasco. And over a thousand depositors in the bank had amounts of more than the $100,000 threshold that weren't covered, so they're out of luck to the tune of $40 Million - their suit against the owners and managers was dismissed in 2004.
7/21/08 A Top Obama Fund-Raiser Had Ties to Failed Bank JOHN R. EMSHWILLER - WSJ Billionaire Penny Pritzker helped run Hinsdale, Ill.-based Superior, overseeing her family's 50% ownership stake. She now serves as Barack Obama's national campaign-finance chairwoman, which means her banking past could prove to be an embarrassment to her -- and perhaps to the campaign.
7/20/08 Woes Afflicting Mortgage Giants Raise Loan Rates By VIKAS BAJAJ

NY Times

Mortgage rates are rising because of the troubles at the loan finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, threatening to deal another blow to the faltering housing market
August Issue Countrywide: Angelo's Many "Friends" At the time judge Aldrich refinanced with Countrywide, a class action lawsuit against Countrywide was pending before the appellate court. That August, judge Aldrich was part of a three-judge panel that unanimously rejected the borrowers’ appeal. 
7/19/08 Borrower protected if a loan is moved Kathy Yamamoto

The Californian

QUESTION: We recently received a letter from a lender advising us that our loan was sold and that our next payment should be made to them as the purchaser of our loan. How can we be certain that our loan was sold to the new lender?
7/18/08 Hedge Funds and Mortgage Fraud By Heidi Turner lawyersandsettlements.com Unscrupulous hedge fund managers and other financial advisors should be very nervous. Recent news has been filled with reports of indictments, lawsuits and arbitration cases against advisors who used their role for their own gain rather than for the benefit of their clients. More and more frequently, investors are holding their advisors accountable for providing misleading investment information. And they are not the only ones—even the FBI is getting involved.
7/18/08 Mortgage crisis hits home  By Ethan Andrews
The Republican Journal Staff Reporter
Wells Fargo claimed that it neither held the security nor the servicing rights to the Unity woman's loan but was simply the trustee.
7/18/08 Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Considers Major Stock Sale JAMES R. HAGERTY, MONICA LANGLEY and SUSAN PULLIAM - WSJ

Freddie and Fannie stock fell about 45% last week amid worry about whether they have enough capital to cover mortgage losses. The depth of their troubles spurred the Treasury Department on Sunday to unveil an unusual plan to temporarily extend an unspecified credit line to both companies -- as well as buy stock in them if necessary. That plan quickly came under fire on Capitol Hill. Critics argue it could cost American taxpayers billions of dollars

7/18/08 Countrywide Filing Shines Light on Loans RUTH SIMON -WSJ

An amended complaint filed Thursday by the California attorney general related to a suit against Countrywide Financial Corp. sheds new light on the poor quality of loans the company was planning to sell to investors.

7/17/08

Brooklyn Trial Judge Nixes "Rubber Stamp Method" Of Adjudicating Foreclosures; Lenders, Lawyers Lacking Legal Standing To Bring Actions Get Bounced 

Home Equity Theft Reporter He has also shown no reluctance in admonishing lenders' attorneys by giving terse warnings of sanctions for filing actions that may be frivolous, in that, by filing foreclosure actions for companies that lacked standing to sue, the actions appear to be a waste of judicial resources, typically discussing the Part 130 Rules of New York law, which give the courts a remedy to deal with frivolous conduct.
7/17/08 FORECLOSURE NO MORE  Rhonda Moore 

Colorado Community Newspapers

They reached an agreement with Option One to send the lender $3,035 in an effort to save their home.

The next day, they received a notice of foreclosure — from Deutsche Bank.

7/17/08 FREDDIE & FANNIE UNCONSTITUTIONAL BAIL OUT USING WHAT? Devvy Kidd - www.devvy.com We tried to tell people they were being led like cattle to the slaughter house. But, since corporate media has controlled the flow of information in this country for decades, the majority remain in the dark without a clue.
7/16/08 FBI investigating Indymac for fraud From Kelli Arena
CNN Justice Department correspondent

A source said the federal government is looking into whether the bank engaged in fraud when it made home loans to high-risk borrowers. The source said the investigation is focused primarily on the company, not individuals.

7/16/08 SEC Subpoenas Wall Street in Hunt for `Manipulators' David Scheer - Bloomberg The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed Wall Street's biggest firms and hedge-fund advisers in a widening effort to crack down on suspected manipulation of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. shares.
7/16/08 The Countrywide Lineup  From senators to C.E.O.'s, Countrywide spread its favorable loans to a wide net of V.I.P.'s. Here, the rundown on who got what.
7/16/08

Countrywide Settles Lending Suit in Pennsylvania  

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

NY Times

Countrywide generated $285 million in late fees last year, up 20 percent from 2005.

7/16/08 Do New Mortgage Rules Make Borrowers Safer? Peter G. Miller - RealityTrac They provide more borrower protections in some situations but in other ways it’s the same old story: The most toxic loan formats remain largely untouched.
7/16/08 Downey Savings Paid Brokers up to $50k Commission ON EACH LOAN! 

Article is at mid-page.

mrmortgage.ml-implode.com Offering a $50k maximum commission  that can be earned by putting the borrower in the highest margin and longest pre-payment penalty loan available is essentially a green light to take advantage of the consumer.
7/15/08 Cops to IndyMac customers: Remain calm or face arrest Daily News Wire Services Police ordered angry customers lined up outside an IndyMac Bank branch to remain calm or face arrest Tuesday as they tried to pull their money on the second day of the failed institution's federal takeover.
7/15/08

Rewarding the Bubble's Enablers

Why the Bail Out of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is Bad Economic Policy

 

Michael Hudson - Counterpunch Their executives have already taken the money and run. Yet it is for their wealthy financial clients that Congressional hearts are bleeding, not for the victims of subprime mortgage fraud and the associated Wall Street fraud in packaging junk mortgages and selling them to institutional investors at home and abroad.
7/15/08

The Secret's Out: 

Foreclosing Lenders Around The Country Continue To Get Hammered Over Missing, Inconsistent Mortgage Docs 

National Law Journal

Alarmed by the dramatic rise in housing foreclosures across the nation, judges have taken a variety of actions to slow the pace, ranging from outright dismissals for incomplete work to mandated mediation to threatening attorneys with sanctions.

7/15/08 Fed Sets Rules Meant to Stop Deceptive Lending Practices STEVEN R. WEISMAN

New York Times

The rules, which are modifications of draft proposals issued in December, do not take effect until Oct. 1, 2009, in order to give lending institutions time to adjust. The rules will apply only to high-cost loans for people with weak credit
7/15/08 The REALLY Sad State of Mortgage Servicing Katie Porter A customer legally tape-recorded his conversation with his mortgage servicer.
7/15/08 Twice Victims Of Mortgage Fraud, Family Faces Eviction NBCi.com A Tarrant County couple is being evicted from their home -- even though they made their mortgage payments every month.
7/14/08

 

Judges, attorneys work to stanch foreclosures

 

Julie Kay 

The National Law Journal

"For too long the courts have just pushed paper through without actually looking at it, which led to people losing their homes," Rheingold said.

Judges are starting to get wise and are taking the matter seriously — so seriously that they've begun to sanction and fine law firms for failing to provide the proper paperwork with their foreclosure actions.

7/14/08 Fannie Mayhem: A History Wall Street Journal History of events from 2/20/02
7/14/08 Hall of shame for IndyMac ex-CEO Colin Barr -Fortune IndyMac CEO Mike Perry wrote back on April 30  “I am here to tell you that I believe we have turned a corner and that our business is improving.” Sen. Chuck Schumer surely hasn’t covered himself in glory in this episode, but it’s hard to match Perry for sheer shamelessness.
7/14/08 Fed acts to stamp out deceptive mortgage practices David Lawder and Karey Wutkowski - Reuters Bernanke said the rapid rise in U.S. mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures were imposing "large costs" on borrowers, their communities and the national economy.
7/14/08

Treasury and Fed Pledge Aid
For Ailing Mortgage Giants

By JAMES R. HAGERTY, DEBORAH SOLOMON and SUDEEP REDDY
Wall Street Journal
Whether the government should prop up troubled financial institutions has become a hot political issue in the wake of the takeover of investment firm Bear Stearns Cos. by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Critics characterized that government-engineered deal as a bailout.  [I guess the fraud behind Fan/Fred needs to come out. The GSE fraud model didn't work and now they want to keep it going. msf]
Video Follow the Money: 

Unearthing the Roots of the Sub-Prime Crisis

Pacific Street Films A dramatic confrontation on May 29th, 2007 was caught on tape by Pacific Street when three carloads of Sheriff’s deputies arrived with an order of eviction. The Schmidt’s had declared they would not leave, despite threats of arrest. A last minute phone call to a Federal Judge ended the tense stand-off. However a few days later the deputies returned, armed with a new foreclosure notice. Caught on tape, is the arrest of the Schmidt’s son as well as the “removal” of Mr. Schmidt from the residence – in handcuffs.
7/13/08 Let the Lawsuits Begin: Banks Brace for a Storm of Litigation Ellen Brown - Global Research Mortgage fraud has not been limited to the representations made to borrowers or on loan documents but is in the design of the banks’ “financial products” themselves.
7/13/08 Silence of the Lenders: Is Anyone LISTENING? GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

WARNING: This article may make you angry.

The only guidance the lender provided was a suggestion from an employee of Countrywide’s “home retention team” that he cut back on groceries to pay his mortgage.

7/13/08 The Fannie and Freddie Fallout GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

IT’S dispiriting indeed to watch the United States financial system, supposedly the envy of the world, being taken to its knees. But that’s the show we’re watching, brought to you by somnambulant regulators, greedy bank executives and incompetent corporate directors.
7/12/08

Audio File

Naked Short Selling is Raping America and Stealing Our Wealth !     Jim Puplava Show Interview with Bud Burrell This is economic terrorism. Our economy is being attacked from other countries. We are also being attacked from within. These terrorists are highly organized. These attackers have billions at their disposal. The subprime crisis in just one aspect of these terror attacks which hide money laundering operations moving $ Billions.
7/12/08 Fannie Sinks, Freddie Recovers in Biggest Trading Day on Record Michael Tsang - Bloomberg Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee almost half the $12 trillion of home loans in the U.S., plunged as much as 49 percent and 51 percent in early trading yesterday, the biggest intraday losses since Bloomberg began compiling data.
7/12/08 Paulson cool to shield Fannie/Freddie investors-WSJ Reuters Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is insisting that if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need rescuing, the plan should not benefit shareholders of the giant mortgage finance firms, the Wall Street Journal said Saturday.
7/11/08

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Face More Pressure as Stocks Swoon

Paulson Says U.S. Focus Is on Supporting

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac in 'Current Form'

By DEBORAH SOLOMON, JAMES R. HAGERTY, GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and CRAIG KARMIN

Wall Street Journal

The person familiar with the matter said the statement was intended to discount reports suggesting that the administration is considering a plan to place one or both companies in a "conservatorship"—in effect, taking them over—if their problems worsen.

7/11/08 Foreclosure Strategy: Beware those Short Sales they might be the beginning rather than the end of legal problems. JK “THE SERVICER CAN’T MAKE A DECISION ON YOUR LOAN BECAUSE YOU REALLY GOT INTO A COMPLEX SECURITIZED INSTRUMENT SCHEME WHEN YOU SIGNED ALL THOSE CLOSING DOCUMENTS WHICH IS WHY THAT SAME SERVICER CAN’T APPROVE ANY REMEDY FOR ANY HARD-WORKING AMERICAN IN A REAL JAM!”
7/10/08 Former President of First Bank Mortgage Indicted on Multiple Fraud Charges Causing a Loss of $35 Million MarketWatch "The indictment alleges that Mark Turkcan, as President of First Bank Mortgage, a division or wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank, misapplied monies of the Bank, which caused them to pay loans, interest, commissions and other fees of more than $35 million to Bear Stearns, due to concealment of unauthorized and unapproved borrowings made on behalf of First Bank Mortgage," said U.S. Attorney Hanaway.
7/10/08

US foreclosure filings surge 53 percent in June

By ALAN ZIBEL AP Business Writer

"For more and more homeowners who are getting into foreclosure," Sharga said, "there is a much higher likelihood that they are ultimately going to lose the properties to the bank."
7/10/08 The Price of Fannie Mae Wall Street Journal Armageddon is here!  Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd and many others have encouraged the duo to take on even greater mortgage risk as the housing slump has unfolded. They're the arsonists posing as firemen while putting more dry tinder around the blaze.
7/10/08 Fannie, Freddie `Insolvent' After Losses, Poole Says By Dawn Kopecki - Bloomberg Congress ought to recognize that these firms are insolvent, that it is allowing these firms to continue to exist as bastions of privilege, financed by the taxpayer,''
7/10/08 U.S. Mulls Future of Fannie, Freddie By JAMES R. HAGERTY, DEBORAH SOLOMON and DAMIAN PALETTA - WSJ

Treasury officials are nonetheless talking about what the government could -- or should -- do if Fannie and Freddie become so pressed that they are unable to borrow money and continue operating. 

7/9/08 MSM Yawn at Stunning 9 Percent Approval Rating for Congress By Ken Shepherd - News Busters Given that and the media's frequently reminding Americans of President Bush's low approval numbers, why are the broadcast media ignoring the latest Rasmussen poll on the approval rating for Congress?
7/9/08 Legislature acts to control mortgage servicers Jonathan B. Cox and Vicki Lee Parker - The News & Observer Because of their place in the industry, [servicers] have played a prominent role in the mortgage meltdown. Some have contributed to problems by tacking on large fees or engaged in other activities that hurt borrowers.
7/9/08 Padavan's Home Foreclosure Prevention & Relief Bill OK'd JOHN TOSCANO  

The Queens Gazette

"The subprime measure also establishes the crime of residential mortgage fraud to prevent against further dishonest lending that has threatened the homes of thousands of New Yorkers."
7/8/08

Dimon on How Wall Street Helped Create a Crisis  with Video The New York Times The mortgage meltdown has made many Wall Street chiefs into punching bags in Washington.
7/8/08 Foreclosures' financial strains take toll on kids Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY Millions of young people have become the largely overlooked victims of a real estate crisis that's led to record foreclosures, sinking home prices and rising numbers of families straining to pay mortgage bills as adjustable-rate loans grow more costly and home equity shrinks. Children and teenagers are enduring a variety of consequences — forced to move and say goodbye to friends, leaving behind schools and teachers, and losing the ability to take family vacations or take part in summer camps because of the financial strain.
7/8/08 Austin Federal Judge Sentences 11 In Housing Fraud Scheme CBS 42 - Austin, TX A jury convicted of conspiracy to make false statements related to a loan, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
7/8/08 Trott and Trott, Club For Growth pulling the strings on Walberg? Todd A. Heywood

Michigan Messenger

Walberg claimed he voted against the bill because it rewarded risky investments. But there could be another reason. Public records show Walberg’s campaign has benefited from money donated by Michigan-based Trott and Trott law firm, which profits from the handling of mortgage foreclosures. Walberg had his public reasons for voting no on the measure, which authorizes a bailout for mortgage lending giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as well as providing immediate relief for homeowners facing foreclosure:
7/8/08 The Other Real Estate Disaster
Your state's employee pension fund is probably (a) doing badly with recent real estate pools and (b) working very hard with the private equity operators of these pools to keep you in the dark.
Stephanie Fitch - Forbes It will be months before Pennsylvania's 500,000-plus public school employees and retirees know how much of their $196 million in principal in Lawlor's funds is left.
7/8/08 Homing In On Foreclosure

Lawyers are finding aggressive defenses against foreclosure actions. And courts are listening as never before.

ABA Journal The legal tide that has long favored lenders in foreclosure actions may be turning.  Courts dealing with growing foreclosure caseloads have become more receptive to challenges to foreclosure actions. Timeworn defenses have gained new teeth while new tactics for resisting foreclosures are winning acceptance from courts.
7/7/08 Mortgage Rescission Could Be Class Action Nightmare for U.S. Banks Gina Keating The idea of canceling tainted loans to stem a tide of foreclosures has caught hold in other quarters; a lawsuit filed last week by the Illinois attorney general asks a court to rescind or reform Countrywide Financial Corp mortgages originated under "unfair or deceptive practices."
7/7/08 The Looting Of America Continues Karl Denninger

The Market Ticker

There is absolutely no justification whatsoever in allowing any of these agencies to have one iota of additional regulatory power and in fact Congress must remove all such regulatory power that they currently have, or place it under strict oversight, until the truth of these allegations, and all similar ones, are discovered and the guilty parties to the bad transactions prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
7/7/08 IndyMac Falls After Regulators Say It Isn't `Well Capitalized' Linda Shen - Bloomberg We don't expect, given the really rough state of the housing market, that IndyMac is going to be able to get out of this,'' "The big problem is that no one will give them money".
7/7/08 Americas Watchdog Warns All, U.S. Homeowners, U.S. Pension Funds and Shareholders of Mutual Funds to Get Ready for Grim Economic News  
THOMAS MARTIN 

Americas Watchdog

According to Americas Watchdog, the bad guys are:
* Wall Street investment bankers
* U.S. home builders
* U.S. banks
* Pension fund advisers also known as wall street  

   investment bankers
* U.S. title insurance companies
* Private mortgage insurance firms that did no due  

   diligence with respect to what they were insuring
* Any U.S. bank or mortgage banker that sold a pay  

   option adjustable rate mortgage/no doc mortgage
   Mutual Funds:
Americas Watchdog considers the negligence of U.S. Mutual Fund managers to be criminal.

7/6/08 Will Foreclosures Affect Voting Rolls?

Ohio Election Officials Worry About Voters Still Registered At Houses They've Lost

AP Election officials worry that the state's home foreclosure problem will pose a problem this November for voters still registered at their former address.
7/4/08 Lawyers Press Russian Case Against a U.S. Bank ANDREW E. KRAMER

New York Times

The Russian government sought Thursday to make Bank of New York Mellon liable under United States racketeering laws for $22.5 billion in damages arising from a money laundering scandal that helped undermine the Russian economy in the late 1990s.
7/3/08 Judge sentences ex-Refco CEO to 16 yrs in prison
By LARRY NEUMEISTER,
AP
The former chief executive of Refco Inc. was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison for a financial cover-up that brought down one of the world's largest commodities brokerages.
7/3/08 Michigan Supreme Court Overturns Foreclosure, Rules Owner Not Given Proper Notice Public Citizen “Especially during the current foreclosure crisis, consumers should be able to trust that government agencies and banks will make a good faith effort to contact them before attempting to foreclose on their property,”
7/3/08 Bear Stearns' Hedge fund scammer tells NY judge he tried suicide
By LARRY NEUMEISTER,
AP
The unsympathetic judge replied that Samuel Israel III, who scammed nearly half a billion dollars from investors, must forfeit his $500,000 bail.
7/2/08 Regulators to Schumer on IndyMac: Please shut up LA Times Sen. Charles E. Schumer publicly taunted bank regulators last week about IndyMac Bancorp's financial condition, which helped trigger a sudden outflow of deposits from the Pasadena thrift.
7/2/08 A New Era Starts for Fidelity National’s Mortgage Services Business PAUL JACKSON

HousingWire

Beyond that, the company’s foreclosure and related services outsourcing business is among the most dominant in the residential default management space; the company owns roughly 40 percent of the market for outsourced foreclosures
7/1/08** EMC takes everything they owned - JPMorgan Chase says its not sure if there was a court order. Consumerist.com EMC Mortgage/JPMorgan Chase apparently didn’t get the message that the former owners had moved out and the new owners were in the home. So, naturally, they hired a firm to drill the Dickson’s locks and take everything they owned, including their food.
7/1/08 From C.E.O. to Defendant

Angelo Mozilo retires…to his lawyer's office.

Mozilo has been named as a defendant in nearly all of the class-action suits, as well as in the complaints filed last week by the attorneys general from Illinois, Florida and California. But the real problems for Mozilo lie in what legal actions could come from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, which are conducting separate investigations of Mozilo and Countrywide.
7/1/08 Overpaying CEOs Ralph Nader - Nader.org  The worst top management of giant corporations in American history is also by far the most hugely paid. That contradiction applies as well to the Boards of Directors of these global companies.
7/1/08 State of Florida Sues Countrywide REUTERS Florida sued Countrywide Financial and its chief executive, Angelo R. Mozilo, on Monday, accusing it of engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in mortgage lending.
7/1/08 Florida wants settlement from Bank of America Jane Sutton - Reuters Florida hopes to negotiate a monetary settlement with Bank of America Corp for what the state calls deceptive lending practices by the bank's newly acquired mortgage unit, Countrywide Financial Corp, the state attorney general said on Tuesday. "They've acquired them, they assume their liabilities."
6/30/08 Foreclosure Defense: The Movement Grows — Borrowers Come out on Top Living Lies Blog Most home foreclosures being processed in New Jersey are illegal, a growing group of attorneys contends, because lending institutions cannot prove they own the debt they are trying to collect.
6/30/08

Don’t Blame The Borrowers … Catch The Criminals !!! 

Grassroots Activists Unite and Weigh In On National Mortgage Fraud Epidemic.

The CARCLE Group

Unfortunately, these devastating losses could have been mitigated or avoided if regulators and law enforcement had heeded the warnings of consumer advocates and whistleblowers relating to Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud.

6/30/08 Fraud for Wall Street: Wells Fargo Bank and Fidelity National Financial Ralph Roberts

Real Estate Fraud

In a highly unpublicized development, Wells Fargo Bank and one of Fidelity National Financial, Inc’s   companies–the Ticor Title Agency of Arizona–agreed last week to pay over $4 million and $200k respectively for their roles in preparing and submitting false claims to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
6/30/08 Mortgage ruling could shock U.S. banking industry Gina Keating - Reuters A lawsuit filed by a Wisconsin couple against Chevy Chase Bank could have major implications for banks should a U.S. appeals court agree that borrowers can cancel their loans en masse when their lenders violate a federal lending disclosure law.
6/29/08 E-Mail That Investors Might Like to Read GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

In mid-February, the $300 billion market for these instruments collapsed, trapping investors who had been told that they were safe and easy to cash in — leaving both wealthy investors and those of modest means unable to finance their small businesses, buy homes, pay college tuition and otherwise use their money as they had planned.
6/28/08 Facing foreclosure? Your Trump Card that will beat the banks.   Ellen Brown - Conceptual Guerilla New case law indicates that a majority of the 750,000 homeowners expected to lose their homes this year could have a valid defense to foreclosure.  As much as $2 trillion in real estate may be vulnerable to this defense, providing a very big stick for a lobby of motivated debtors.
6/27/08 Dickie Scruggs Gets 5 Years In Prison For Bribery Scheme Huffington Post One of the wealthiest civil lawsuit attorneys in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge.
6/27/08 The Bank of America Housing Bailout Bill By Elizabeth MacDonald 

FoxBusiness

The new housing bailout bill would let mortgage lenders off the hook for sour mortgages, as it would let the Federal Housing Administration assume the risk for these bad debts, shifting the burden to taxpayers and bond investors.
6/26/08 THE SUBPRIME TRUMP CARD:
STANDING UP TO THE BANKS
Ellen Brown - Web of Debt

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin (1802)

6/26/08* THE FIGHT IS ON


Judge dismisses foreclosure after lender cannot prove interest 

Margaret Ann Sadler holds the original promissory note for her house next to an altered version filed by Bank of New York forcing foreclosure. Sadler is joined by attorneys William Henry, left, and Michael Robinson, June 19 at the Robert A.Christensen Justice Center.

Rhonda Moore

Douglas County News-Press

"This is a case of first impression in Colorado," Robinson said. "This is going to wake people up and make them realize 'I don't have to take this, I can fight back.'"

The promissory note and deed of trust on the house were in the name of Countrywide Home Loans, one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, Robinson said. The foreclosure action was filed by the Bank of New York, which Robinson's research disclosed had no legal interest in the house.

6/26/08 Lawyers finding ways to stall foreclosures courierpostonline.com The attorneys are arguing that lending institutions can't always prove that they own the debt they're trying to collect. The lawyers say the formation of mortgage - backed security created a situation in which  failed to maintain the paperwork.
6/25/08 Subprime crisis: US foreclosures bring homelessness to the middle class Dan Glaister in Los Angeles and Anna Bruce-Lockhar tguardian.co.uk As mortgage foreclosures continue rising month on month, growing numbers of middle-class professionals are losing their homes and downsizing from four bedrooms to four wheels.
6/25/08 Illinois Plans to Sue Countrywide & Mozilo RUTH SIMON - WSJ The Illinois attorney general's office says it has found enough evidence of wrongdoing that it plans to file a civil suit against the Countrywide and its chief executive, Angelo Mozilo.
6/25/08
California attorney general sues Countrywide, claims company misled borrowers
CNN Money The lawsuit _ filed on the same day Countrywide shareholders approved the company's takeover by Bank of America Corp. _ stems from information gathered under subpoena after the state launched a probe last year into the troubled company's business
6/24/08 Illinois AG Madigan sues Countrywide for fraud By: Lorene Yue The suit alleges that Countrywide Financial “engaged in unfair and deceptive practices including the loosening of underwriting standards, structuring unfair loan products with risky features, engaging in misleading marketing and sale techniques and incentivizing employees and brokers to sell more and more loans with risky features.” Those practices, the suit said, led to higher loan delinquencies and foreclosure rates for Illinois homeowners.
6/24/08 This Is the Subprime Mortgage Smackdown? Professor Peter Henning

White Collar Crime Blog

Does anyone remember the Savings & Loan Crisis, when the collapse of the real estate market brought to the surface any number of lending abuses? The fact that scam artists took advantage of the housing price bubble should not come as a startling revelation, and charging 406 defendants in a three-month period is a nice start but nothing to trumpet from the rooftops.
6/23/08 Bear Stearns Indictments: Could Jimmy Cayne Be Next? Finance Matters Bear Stearns CEO, Jimmy Cayne, told investors the bank had no liquidity issues. A few days later the securities firm was on the verge of bankruptcy and had to be rescued by an emergency acquisition and intervention by the Federal Reserve. "He could be in deep trouble," Harry First tells the New York Sun.
6/23/08 Wall Street: Let It Bleed Portfolio Staff Bloomberg News estimates that the world's biggest banks and investment houses have eliminated more than 80,000 jobs since the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market.
6/23/08 Homeowner Begs Bank To Foreclose MISH'S
Global Economic
"I don't want a penny, just take it," Lee said. "It's absolutely destroyed me — mentally, physically and emotionally."
6/22/08 Subprime arrests suggest Wall Street in it for themselves

Bloomberg News

The case "shows that one of the fundamental lessons of Enron - that you can't mislead investors about the state of company affairs - did not make it to the hedge funds," said Jacob Frenkel, a former SEC lawyer with Schulman Rogers in Rockville, Md. "The problem is saying the company is doing well when that's not true."
6/22/08 Foreclosure Defense and Offense: ALL 2001-2008 WERE ASSIGNED AND SECURITIZED LivingLies's Weblog There is much more to this denomination than meets the eye, and whether or not such a plaintiff even has the right to institute a foreclosure case at all is a question which anyone defending such a foreclosure should be asking right up front.
6/20/08

Bank of America Sets July 1 Closing Date For Countrywide Purchase

JAMES R. HAGERTY and VALERIE BAUERLEIN -WSJ Bondholders have expressed anxiety over whether Bank of America will take responsibility for all of Countrywide's debt.
6/20/08 Housing market weakness long-term: survey  Reuters Consumers expect housing market weakness to linger for longer than they did a few months ago
6/20/08 Area renters hit hard by foreclosure crisis
Little notice given to people, study says
Mark Gillispie
Plain Dealer Reporter
Many families have no idea that the bank has foreclosed until sheriff's deputies serve notice that a bank or new buyer has taken possession after a sheriff's sale
6/20/08 Merrill CEO may face new write-downs Elinor Comlay -Reuters For some time Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain has been stressing the brokerage does not need to take more write-downs or raise more capital, but his confidence may have been misplaced.
6/19/08 Former Bear Stearns Managers Face Criminal Charges:      The Timeline Yalman Onaran - Bloomberg The timeline of Bear Stearns events leading to today's arrests.
6/19/08 Bear Stearns execs indicted; emails at issue  with video Riley McDermid, MarketWatch They were charged in a nine-count indictment that alleged the two engaged in wire fraud, conspiracy and securities fraud in misleading investors about the rapidly tanking value of the two funds.
6/19/08 2 Bear Stearns managers charged on Wall Street in mortgage meltdown By TOM HAYS - AP "Any time you get losses into the billions, the likelihood that higher-level executives participated in decisions increases."
6/19/08 Bear Stearns Executives Ralph Cioffi, Matthew Tannin Indicted... 

FBI Announces "Operation Malicious Mortgage"

AP   |  TOM HAYS    The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today a national takedown of mortgage fraud schemes, the culmination of substantial coordinated efforts during the last three and a half months to identify, arrest and prosecute mortgage fraud violators through the United States.
6/19/08 Bear Stearns, subprime and a high profile prosecution Mathew Padilla, OCReporter Did the Bear Stearns hedge fund collapse ignite the credit crisis, or was it Angelo Mozilo’s description of the housing market as the worst since the Great Depression? Or was it the bankruptcy of New Century Financial in Irvine, once the largest publicly traded subprime lender?
6/19/08 U.S. Charges 400 in National Mortgage Fraud Crackdown Robert Schmidt -Bloomberg Separately, the government today unsealed an indictment against two former managers of Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds whose collapse helped ignite the subprime meltdown. The crisis has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes through foreclosures and triggered almost $400 billion in losses and writedowns on Wall Street.
6/19/08 Hundreds swept up in mortgage fraud arrests Associated Press Since March 1, 406 people have been arrested in the sting dubbed "Operation Malicious Mortgage" that saw 144 cases across the country. Sixty people were arrested on Wednesday alone.
6/19/08 Ex-Bear Stearns managers surrender to face criminal charges in NYC TOM HAYS,

 Associated Press

Bear Stearns told Barclays that the enhanced fund was up almost 6 percent through June 2007 — when "in reality, the portfolio's asset values were plummeting."
6/19/08 Is Foreclosure "help" a smokescreen to shield lenders from legal liability? David Petrovich It's likely many of those distressed homeowners' rights were violated during the mortgage solicitation and origination process, and/or during the servicing of their loans. 
6/19/08 Angelo's Angel Wall Street Journal How much will Countrywide benefit from Mr. Dodd's rescue? The Senator's plan allows mortgage lenders to dump up to $300 billion of their worst loans on to taxpayers.  
6/19/08 Interest Hit Vexes Subprime Investors SERENA NG - WSJ
Investors in subprime-mortgage bonds already have seen their investments dive in value during the past year. Some are now grappling with another problem: missing interest payments.
6/18/08  

The Mers Fifty Million Mortgage Meltdown

PART I. The Promissory Note Evidence Ownership of Debt and Standing to Bring Suit.

Kevin  Lamson

Loan Workout

 
6/18/08 Lawsuits target mortgage fraud

State AG announces cases against 3 firms

BY RICK HEPP
Star-Ledger Staff
"This is fraud driven by greed," state Attorney General Anne Milgram said yesterday in announcing civil lawsuits charging numerous mortgage companies, real estate brokers, title companies, attorneys and appraisers with consumer fraud and racketeering.
6/18/08 Credit crunch could end up costing $1 trillion Associated Press There are new signs that the worst of the global credit crisis is yet to come, and that banks and brokerages caught up in the market turmoil may lose $1 trillion by the time it has passed.
6/18/08 Congress and the Countrywide Scandal Dick Armey The bill will allow troubled financial institutions to foist the riskiest mortgages in their portfolios onto the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) -- ultimately putting the American taxpayer on the hook for their bad bets.
6/18/08 Senate Submerged in Mortgage Scandal Fox News Now we know on occasion Jim Johnson — and this is the same Countrywide that Barack Obama criticized: "These are people responsible for infecting the economy and helping create a home foreclosure crisis." He personally took on the CEO, Angelo Mozilo.
6/18/08 Michigan State Officials Looking for Foreclosure Wrongdoings Peter Vernon But since there are no laws or regulations that discuss the investigation procedure regarding foreclosure irregularities, officials have decided to take an initiative.
6/18/08 Wall Street's credit crisis heads into second year
More credit losses seen costing global banks $1 trillion as credit crisis hits second year
By Joe Bel Bruno, 

AP Business Writer

The uncertainty has caused already battered investors to lose confidence in financial companies, and expectations have increased that more layoffs, asset sales and capital raising will be needed in the weeks ahead.
6/18/08 The MERS Fifty Million Mortgage Meltdown By LoanWorkout.org Reader 

Kevin Lamson

No Note -- No Foreclosure
In reality MERS is really nothing more than a shell, or a front corporation for its so-called “members”.  Many MERS  members are now reporting hundreds of billions of dollars of losses as result of their ill conceived scheme to ramp up mortgage origination so they could pretend to flip millions of mortgage loans into trusts in exchange for trillions of dollars of investors money. One big problem was that the promissory notes were never actually delivered to the trustees of these trusts. Therefore these trusts have no evidence of ownership of the debts they purportedly purchased.
6/17/08

Hedge fund fraudster faked death and fled, U.S. authorities say

Associated Press and Reuters Samuel Israel disappeared last week hours before he was supposed to start a 20-year federal prison sentence for bilking investors in his Bayou hedge funds out of $450-million (U.S.).
6/17/08 Morgan Stanley warns of 'catastrophic event' as ECB fights Federal Reserve Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk The point of maximum stress could occur in coming months if the ECB carries out the threat this month by Jean-Claude Trichet to raise rates. It will be worse yet - for Europe - if the Fed backs away from expected tightening. "This could trigger another 'catastrophic' event," warned Morgan Stanley.
6/17/08 Cities fight foreclosures with unusual tactics by Deborah Yao  
Associated Press
Last week, hundreds of people mobbed a court room in city hall after they were told about the court intervention program. Common Pleas Court Judge Annette Rizzo, said, "It was bedlam."
6/17/08 Fighting Soldier Foreclosures By Laura Fowler - WNCT.com
It's one of the most shocking statistics. In recent study shows foreclosures in U.S. towns that are centered around military bases are increasing at a rate almost four times the national average.
6/17/08 Litton Loan: Unsatisfactory to the BBB, good enough for Mayor White* Anne Linehan - bloghousotn.net Litton has maintained "a consistently unsatisfactory rating" at the BBB since June 2005, Fletcher says.
6/16/08

For cities, all foreclosure politics are local

Creative tactics to keep owners in homes; ‘We can’t wait’ for the Feds

Associated Press Philadelphia is just the latest in a growing number of cities — including Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Trenton, N.J. — that are taking matters into their own hands to help stop the nation’s housing crisis within their borders.
6/16/08 U.S. Reps Hear Foreclosure Stories in Cleveland with audio http://www.wcpn.org WARREN: Call it hurricane greed.
6/16/08 Tent City, U.S.A.

globaleconomicanalysis.

blogspot.com

In the wake of the housing crash, "tent cities" have been springing up in several places in California.
6/16/08

Ex-Bear Stearns execs may face fraud charges

Report: Federal prosecutors set to file indictments tied to credit crisis

Reuters U.S. prosecutors are preparing to file criminal charges against managers of two Bear Stearns hedge funds whose collapse helped kick off the credit crisis last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
6/16/08

How the housing bubble burst

The end of a boom that powered the U.S. economy for five years

Zachary A. Goldfarb and Alec Klein

Washington Post

The mortgage executives who gathered in a blond-wood conference room in Southern California studied their internal reports with growing alarm.
6/14/08** Bogus Chapter 13 Mortgage Claims Michael G. Doan, San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney I see it in almost every mortgage proof of claim.  Junk fees by mortgage companies that only line their pocket books and rip you off.   Dont let it happen to you simply because you don’t bother to read their proof of claim!
6/14/08 WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEHMAN BROTHERS AND BEAR STEARNS?
LEHMAN’S CEO SITS ON THE BOARD OF THE NY FED
Ellen Brown - Web of Debt Olagues points to a statute defining this sort of self-dealing as a criminal offense. 18 U.S.C. Chapter 11, Section 208, makes it a felony punishable by up to 5 five years in prison for members of the Board of Directors of a Federal Reserve Bank to make decisions that benefit their own financial interests. That would undoubtedly apply here:
6/13/08 Dodd Tied To Countrywide Loans By DAMIAN PALETTA -WSJ In December 2007, he co-signed a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that called these mortgages at Countrywide "abusive" because "these loans were not made on the basis of a borrower's ability to pay."
6/13/08 Foreclosures Rise 48% in May as Repossessions Double   bivry@bloomberg.net. Lenders took possession of 73,794 houses in May, more than doubling the 28,548 REOs in May 2007, RealtyTrac said. That pushed total REOs to more than 700,000, RealtyTrac said. ``Right now, lenders are afraid to lend and buyers are afraid they'll be under water in a year, so unless something dramatic happens we're going to continue to see the trend go in the wrong direction,''
6/12/08 Ex-Capital One employee files whistleblower lawsuit Reporting by Emily Chasan and Bill Berkrot

Reuters

A former underwriter who says she was forced to resign after blowing the whistle on fraud at Capital One Financial Corp's subprime mortgage unit filed a $51 million lawsuit against her former employer on Thursday.
6/12/08 Callan, Gregory Out at Lehman Brothers By JED HOROWITZ -WSJ Ms. Callan -- a former tax lawyer and head of Lehman's once-thriving private equity firm relationship management group -- was deputized to defend Lehman against short-sellers who questioned the firm's claims that its exposure to bad real estate deals was under control and that its capital was sufficient.
6/12/08 Mortgagers' Dual Roles Clash David Wessel at capital@wsj.com Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have a debt-to-equity ratio -- a measure of how leveraged they are -- of 27.6 and 19.6, respectively. By contrast, the ratio at Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase is about 3.9
6/12/08 Countrywide's Many 'Friends' Other participants in the V.I.P. program included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke. Jackson was deputy H.U.D. secretary in the Bush administration when he received the loans in 2003. Shalala, who received two loans in 2002, had by then left the Clinton administration for her current position as president of the University of Miami.
6/12/08 Obama Adviser Resigns as Loans Surface By GLENN R. SIMPSON and JAMES R. HAGERTY -WSJ Perhaps the most unusual of Mr. Johnson's loans was one for more than $1.5 million last year for a real-estate project in Big Timber, Mont. At the time he got the loan, what the records indicate were Mr. Johnson's monthly obligations were nearly twice his stated monthly income,
6/11/08 D’OH-bama’s Mortgage Mess
This is change?
By Michelle Malkin - NRO Translation: I will remain willfully blind to the conflicts of interest created by my own mortgage industry-bashing rhetoric.
6/11/08 Sheriff Stops Foreclosures (For a While)
Carol Vinzant,
Walletpop.com
But back in 2004 and again this year, Sheriff Green just stopped doing the foreclosure sales. He wanted to buy enough time to sit lenders down with homeowners to work out a solution. His campaign website says he has saved thousands of people from foreclosure.
6/10/08 New York Fed Chief Calls for Regulatory Shake-Up By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM 

New York Times

One of the nation’s top central bankers called Monday for a significant overhaul in regulation of the financial industry, declaring that the current system of supervision is confusing and susceptible to “perverse” abuses.

6/10/08 F.H.A. Faces $4.6 Billion in Losses RACHEL L. SWARNS

New York Times

He said the mortgages had foreclosure rates three times those of traditional loans and would push the F.H.A. to the brink of insolvency.
6/10/08

 

Casinos on Wall Street

Ralph Nader - Nader.org Move over Las Vegas. The big time gamblers are on Wall Street and they are gambling with your money, your pensions, and your livelihoods.
6/9/08 It's Only Going to Get Worse


Everything you always wanted to know about the housing crash, but were afraid to ask.

by Lawrence B. Lindsey

Weekly Standard

It is the uniqueness of the current housing crash that adds to its intractability. Policymakers haven't been here before, so they're not certain of the way out. Many of the institutions that underpin the industry are relatively new--actually created since the last downturn in the early 1990s--and untested. We also know that many of those institutions were far from transparent, and some were fraudulent.
6/9/08 Subprime criminal probes yet to catch big fish By Martha Graybow and Randall Mikkelsen -Reuters More than a year into a U.S. housing market meltdown, prosecutors have yet to bring major cases against mortgage industry leaders
6/9/08

Top Talent Scout for Obama Tied to Subprime Lender Countrywide

Could Become a Political Liability

By JOSH GERSTEIN, New York Sun Long-standing ties between a member of Senator Obama's new vice presidential search team and a prominent mortgage executive the senator has pilloried could become a political liability that hampers the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's ability to tap into public ire over the subprime mortgage crisis.
6/6/08 FIS Announces Offering of $400 million of Senior Notes of its Subsidiary, Lender Processing Services, Inc. by Certain Selling Noteholders Fox Business The notes to be offered have not been registered under the Securities Act or applicable securities laws, and until so registered, may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.
6/6/08

Sheriff Takes The Law Into His Own Hands To Help Broke Homeowners

Trouble Is, He Is the Law;
Philly's Sheriff Green Doesn't
Do Foreclosures, to Lenders' Dismay

By MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS -WSJ It also prompted a sweeping, court-endorsed deal, scheduled to go into effect next week that aims to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.  Mr. Green's unilateral approach has pushed Philadelphia to the leading edge of local responses to the national crisis.
6/5/08 Ex-Champ Holyfield's Home Under Foreclosure Click2houston.com Holyfield's 235-acre Georgia estate -- worth an estimated $10 million -- is under foreclosure, according to a recent legal notice. It is set to be auctioned off next month.
6/5/08 Countrywide’s Mozilo Hushes Homeowner With an Unaffordable Loan Modification" By Moe Bedard Countrywide instructed Dan not to speak with the media; that the media are all bad guys looking to exploit you for their gain. He also told Dan that he would get the best loan of his homeowner life and that they would expedite him through the loan modification process.  COUNTRYWIDE LIED!  Dan is not happy that he was literally swindled and pressured into signing a deal that was made to fail.
6/4/08 Top Paid CEOs SCOTT DECARLO -Forbes At the bottom of our performance/pay rankings is Mozilo of Countrywide Financial, the distressed subprime mortgage lender. Countrywide's six-year annual return of -9% lagged in comparison with its sector, and its -6% annual return since Mozilo took over as top executive in February 1998 also lagged the S&P 500. Over the past six years, Mozilo has been collecting a paycheck averaging $66 million a year.
6/4/08 Ed McMahon's home faces foreclosure CNN There were nearly 650,000 foreclosure filings -- which include notices of default, auction sales and bank repossessions -- issued during the first quarter of 2008.
6/4/08 Mortgage Fraud Cases Up by Two-Thirds
By GREG FARRELL,
USA Today
Some of these empty homes have "for sale" signs. Others bear signs saying "foreclosure." Authorities say hundreds of them should have a different sign out front, one that reads "fraud".
6/3/08 Attorney General Martha Coakley Files Lawsuit Against National Mortgage Lender Option One and Parent H&R Block for Deceptive and Discriminatory Lending Practices

MARTHA COAKLEY

Massachusetts' ATTORNEY GENERAL

The complaint alleges that Option One and H&R Block engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct on a broad scale by selling extremely risky loan products that the companies knew or should have known were destined to fail to Massachusetts consumers. 
June 2008

Whitepaper

JUSTICE DISSERVED

A Preliminary Analysis of the Exceptionally Low Appearance Rate by Defendants in Lawsuits Filed in

the Civil Court of the City of New York

MFY LEGAL SERVICES, INC.

Consumer Rights Project

MFY’s own experience in the consumer law arena shows that the defendants do not appear in court because they are unaware of the lawsuit due to improper service.

June 08

JUSTICE DISSERVED

MFY LEGAL SERVICES, INC.

Consumer Rights Project

A Preliminary Analysis of the Exceptionally Low Appearance Rate by Defendants in Lawsuits Filed in the Civil Court of the City of New York.
6/2/08 Class action lawyer Weiss sentenced to 30 months By Gina Keating - Yahoo! Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Axel urged the judge to hand down the maximum under the plea deal, saying Weiss could have saved his law firm from the losses of cases and lawyers it suffered as the investigation dragged on. "He could have done the right thing and stepped forward and deflected (harm) from the firm," Axel said.
White paper Mortgage Default Risk and Real Estate Prices Karl E. Case / Robert J. Shiller The use of Index-based Futures and Options in Real Estate. Written by a current director of the Board of MGIC 4 years before he became a member of the MGIC Board, and had ties to several players
5/30/08 At Bear, an Apology Is Met With Silence By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

NY Times

But Bear’s balance sheet is rife with financial landmines, and with market conditions worsening, JPMorgan executives have cut hundreds of more jobs than they had anticipated. About 7,500 Bear Stearns bankers have lost their jobs, along with as many as 3,500 employees of JPMorgan.
5/29/08 Keep foreclosure at bay from the unscrupulous

Calling foreclosure "the most impersonal, awful, most traumatic thing that can happen to someone,"

They have been putting together a program that will offer free services to people who are in foreclosure due to dishonest lending practices.

Johnson's mortgage lender had filled out Johnson's loan application for her, and falsified it so that it would appear to underwriters that she could afford a loan of $83,000. The broker also lied on the application about the age of the house, and falsely lowered the size of Johnson's outstanding debt. He inflated her current mortgage rate on the application from $450 to $778 to make it appear she could afford a higher payment, and lied about the value of her home, saying it was worth $225,000 when it was assessed at $76,000. The application also stated falsely that Johnson received rental income.
5/29/08 Bank of America decides not to retain Countrywide's No. 2 executive By E. Scott Reckard and Kathy M. Kristof, Los Angeles Times "Countrywide did more to contribute to the sub-prime mortgage crisis than anyone else," Schumer said. "It always amazed me that Bank of America would want to keep someone who was in effect Countrywide's chief cook and bottle washer on the scene."
5/28/08 Foreclosure Phil David Corn -Mother Jones Years before Phil Gramm was a McCain campaign adviser and a lobbyist for a Swiss bank at the center of the housing credit crisis, he pulled a sly maneuver in the Senate that helped create today's subprime meltdown.
5/28/08 Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud http://bonddad.blogspot.com Fannie Mae said it is reviewing every loan that defaults -- and seeking to force lenders to buy back loans that failed to meet promised quality standards.
5/28/08 Investors Putting Bad Loans Back To Lenders - This Is Only The Beginning. mrmortgage.ml-implode.com Ultimately, I believe that outright fraud, ‘white-lie’ fraud and lender negligence will be major deciding factors in the ownership of loans and the accompanying losses.
5/28/08 Suffering From Foreclosure Scams by Barbara E. Hernandez | CONTRA COSTA TIMES Elias Escobedo, 41, lost his house earlier this month when it was foreclosed on, but not because he didn’t pay his mortgage.
5/28/08

Foreclosure Pain Affecting 12,000 Families

Mortgage companies refuse to renegotiate, inviting foreclosure  VIDEO

myfoxtwincities.com Foreclosures are rampart while the economy weakens and the housing market slides, and as families beg for mortgage renegotiations, many companies are refusing to budge.
5/27/08 Lost Opportunities Haunt Final Days of Bear Stearns  - 3 PART SERIES kate.kelly@wsj.com But its stock continued to spiral down, its clients continued to flee and its trading partners continued to disappear.
5/26/08 SEC Might Rate Ratings Agencies
Maurna Desmond, - Forbes Usually ratings agencies dish out the "we're watching you" edicts, but on Monday, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission announced that it has begun investigating Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch regarding "aspects of their methodology."
5/23/08

Bank failures to surge in coming years

IndyMac, Corus, UCBH under pressure as credit crunch slows economy

By Alistair Barr, MarketWatch
Holloway, a 30-year FDIC veteran, had worked extensively with failed lenders in Houston during the Savings and Loan Crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when thousands of thrifts collapsed.
5/23/08 FBI: Corporate, mortgage fraudsters actively threaten your financial future Network World Several of these schemes have emerged with the potential to spread as the recent rise in foreclosures, depressed housing prices, and decreased demand place pressure on lenders, builders, and home sellers.
5/23/08 States Seize Citizens' Property to Balance Their Budgets Elisabeth Leamy - 

The Silver Bear Cafe

"Good Morning America's" investigation found some states aggressively seize property that isn't really unclaimed and then use the money -- your money -- to balance their budgets.
5/22/08 Countrywide Buys Homeowner’s Silence Over Angelo Mozilo’s “Disgusting” Email Moe Bedard-LoanWorkout.org Welcome to the new way of putting muzzles on homeowners that can shed some light on Countrywide’s widely known practice of customer abuse.
5/22/08 Countrywide’s Mozilo Calls Borrower’s Plea “Disgusting”

Elizabeth MacDonald

EMAC's Stock Watch

Mozilo's response is so "disgusting", it is worth repeating with this article.
5/22/08 Advocacy Group Wants to Forestall Foreclosures By Lesley Mitchell, The Salt Lake Tribune Homeowners are having difficulty working directly with a mortgage servicing company, which may or may not be the same company that originated their loans.
5/21/08 Countrywide Financial Chairman Angelo Mozilo's e-mail sets off a furor By E. Scott Reckard,

 Los Angeles Times

Apparently clicking "reply" when he meant to hit "forward," Countrywide Financial Corp. Chairman Angelo Mozilo ignited an online furor Tuesday by describing a mortgage customer's plea for help as a "disgusting" example of form letters inundating the Calabasas home lender. [It wasn't so much that they didn't understand; they were misled.-MSF]
5/19/08 Woman fights to keep her Glendale home initially seized for $68 debt By Erin Alberty
The Salt Lake Tribune
Ramos has been involved in a protracted legal battle to retain ownership of the house. It was sold at a county sale after it was seized to pay a dental bill.
5/19/08 Squatting rises in U.S. along with foreclosures By Jason Szep Reuters Squatting is on the rise across the United States as foreclosures surge, eviction notices mount and homes go unsold for months, complicating the worst U.S. housing slump in a quarter-century and prompting real estate brokers to enlist the help of law enforcement and courts to sell empty houses.
6/27/06 Symphony of Greed, Intro Chapter

"Financial Terrorism and Super-Crime on Wall Street."

Bob O'Brien - Sanity Check What was needed was a one-stop-shop, where a guy with an average education could sit on a plane cross country, and by the time he landed, know enough to be dangerous.
5/18/08 THE SECRET BAILOUT OF JPMORGAN:
HOW INSIDER TRADING LOOTED BEAR STEARNS AND THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER
Ellen Brown -Web of Debt “To prove the case of illegal insider trading, all the Feds have to do is ask a few questions of the persons who bought puts on Bear Stearns or shorted stock during the week before March 17, 2008 and before. All the records are easily available. If they bought puts or shorted stock, just ask them why.”
5/18/08 The Scars of Losing a Home By ROBERT J. SHILLER
New York Times
The pain of this reverse movement could leave a psychological scar that will be with all of us for the rest of our lives.
5/17/08 Yes, But: The Subprime Litigation Wave Rolls On Kevin LaCroix If the lawsuit filings just in the last week are any indication, the litigation wave will continue to roll on for the foreseeable future.
5/17/08 Foreclosures take an emotional toll on many homeowners By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY "It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options," the Crook County Sheriff's Office said in a report.
5/15/08 Judge: Countrywide shareholders' suit can proceed
By ALEX VEIGA
The Associated Press
A federal judge has ruled that a shareholder lawsuit against Countrywide Financial Corp. executives and directors should go to trial, rejecting several arguments by the troubled mortgage lender to dismiss the case.  In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer in Los Angeles sided with several public pension funds, finding that their witnesses' accounts of Countrywide's business practices were compelling.
5/15/08**

The Sidebar | What is an Assignment of Mortgage

RealEstateRadioUSA The note, by itself, is considered to be an unsecured debt. On the other hand, the note accompanied with the mortgage comprises a secured debt. The difference between these two is that a secured debt allows the bank to force sale of the property, which in turn permits satisfaction of the loan in case of default by you, the borrower. However, without the mortgage, banks cannot force sale of the property to satisfy the debt.
5/15/08 Senator wants FTC to join Countrywide investigation By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY A top Senate Democrat on Wednesday asked the Federal Trade Commission to join other government and court agencies investigating Countrywide Financial, (CFC) the nation's largest home mortgage lender
5/14/08 US foreclosure filings surge 65 percent in April By Alex Veiga
AP Business Writer
Nationwide, 243,353 homes received at least one foreclosure-related filing in April, up 65 percent from 147,708 in the same month last year and up 4 percent since March, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
5/14/08 The Secret Bailout of J. P. Morgan: How Insider Trading Looted Bear Stearns and the American Taxpayer Ellen Brown 

Global Research.ca

The Fed and the SEC may be looking the other way on this widespread stock counterfeiting scheme because “if they did unravel it, everything really would unravel.” Evidently “promoting market stability” means that whistle-blowers and the SEC must be silenced so that a grossly illegal situation can continue, since the crime is so pervasive that to expose it and prosecute the criminals would unravel the whole financial system.
5/14/08 Ohio Attorney General Resigns
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Dann expressed hope that the work he emphasized in his 17 months in office, such as going after predatory lenders, would continue. (Seems like the banks were not happy about Dann's investigations of them. MSF)
5/14/08 Schumer urges regulators to investigate Countrywide Associated Press Bankruptcy judges have criticized the company for arguing in court that borrowers were delinquent on their payments even when they were not, Schumer said in his letter.
5/13/08 THE SECRET BAILOUT OF JPMORGAN:
HOW INSIDER TRADING LOOTED BEAR STEARNS AND THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER
Ellen Brown - Web of Debt It was a very good deal for JPMorgan and a very bad deal for Bear’s shareholders, who saw their stock drop from a high of $156 to a low of $2 a share. Thirty percent of the company’s stock was held by the employees, and another big chunk was held by the pension funds of teachers and other public servants. The share price was later raised to $10 a share in response to shareholder outrage and threats of lawsuits, but it was still a very “hostile” takeover, one in which the shareholders had no vote.
5/9/08 Litton Picks Up Rest of Fremont’s Servicing Portfolio; Bankruptcy May be Next Paul Jackson - HousingWire ... the sale likely is the final step before it heads into bankruptcy and liquidation, according to a company statement
5/9/08

Credit Suisse Depicted As Fraud-Case Victim

chad.bray@dowjones.com A former principal at a Olympia Mortgage has been charged with fraud for an alleged scheme to sell to investment bank Credit Suisse nonperforming mortgage loans using falsified loan histories.
5/8/08

TWO FORMER PRINCIPALS OF OLYMPIA MORTGAGE INDICTED ON CONSPIRACY, WIRE FRAUD, AND BANK FRAUD CHARGES

United States Attorney's Office 
Eastern District of New York
The indictment charges two fraudulent schemes. In the first, PINTER is charged with fraud in connection with the theft of $44 million of payoff proceeds for refinanced mortgage loans funded by Fannie Mae and serviced by Olympia (the “Fannie Mae Fraud”). In the second, GOLDSTEIN is charged with fraud in connection with Olympia’s sale of a portfolio of non-performing mortgage loans to Credit Suisse First Boston (“CSFB”) using falsified loan histories (the “CSFB Fraud”)
5/7/08 SCHUMER LIFTS VEIL ON PATTERN OF ABUSE BY MORTGAGE LENDERS LIKE COUNTRYWIDE Trading Markets.com Schumer Decries 'Death by A Thousand Fees'; Suggests Better Deterrence, Stiffer Penalties, and More Disclosure to End 'Vulture Mentality' of Mortgage Lenders and Servicers
5/7/08 Quarrel Erupts Between Bear Stearns' Elder Statesmen LANDON THOMAS Jr.

New York Times

Told that Mr. Cayne, with whom he worked for four decades, had lost much of his net worth and was suffering personally, Mr. Greenberg’s eyes turned cold. “Oh, really. Goodness, that’s a shame,”
5/7/08 SCHUMER LIFTS VEIL ON PATTERN OF ABUSE BY MORTGAGE LENDERS LIKE COUNTRYWIDE TradingMarkets.com Schumer Decries 'Death by A Thousand Fees'; Suggests Better Deterrence, Stiffer Penalties, and More Disclosure to End 'Vulture Mentality' of Mortgage Lenders and Servicers.
5/7/08 Bush to Block Foreclosure Relief Ann Weaver Hart -OEN Very clear, however, is the president’s intention to allow the largest lenders in the country to strip as much wealth out of the residential real estate market as they can get.
5/7/08 Why CEO pay fed the Mortgage Mess

There was too much money in it for them to resist.

Michael Brush MSN A crash that started in 2007 as U.S. subprime-related problems surfaced has wiped out all shareholder gains since 2000.

Between 2004 and 2007, Mozilo cashed out options worth $414 million. That's money Mozilo doesn't have to give back, even though Countrywide's fall has cost shareholders 88% losses since the start of 2007.

5/7/08 Countrywide denies it mistreated clients  By Michael Collins (Contact) Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted Countrywide and other mortgage lenders during a congressional hearing for what he described as a "vulture mentality."  "You're always adopting good practices after you are exposed," he said.
5/7/08 Judge rejects Countrywide settlement of fabrication claim Associated Press Hill was up to date on her payments, yet Countrywide threatened to take her home if she didn't pay thousands more in fees, according to court documents.  In courts across the country, Countrywide faces allegations that it systematically abuses bankrupt homeowners and bankruptcy tribunals with fraudulent filings and inflated fees.
5/7/08 Subprime Lender Enjoined From Foreclosing On Mortgage Collateral Article by Mintz Levin Subprime Group In a decision widely characterized as both "important" and "unprecedented," on February 28, 2008, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge enjoined a subprime lender, Fremont Investment from foreclosing on many of its mortgages with Massachusetts subprime borrowers without the express prior approval of the Attorney General.
5/7/08 Wachovia's Big-Loan Executive Is Leaving LINGLING WEI and BETSY MCKAY -WSJ The bank also is being investigated by federal prosecutors for the alleged laundering of drug proceeds by Colombian and Mexican money-transfer companies.
5/6/08 Countrywide Financial admits loan officers made errors CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Business Writer Countrywide disputed accusations, made by hundreds of borrowers in Pennsylvania, Florida and other states, that the company has sought to collect inflated fees and other payments by filing inaccurate bankruptcy documents. The Justice Department is currently investigating the accusations.
5/6/08** Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts Senator Charles E. Schumer  This is death by a thousand fees. 

And the companies know that the hapless homeowner is too poor, too unsophisticated or too overwhelmed to challenge often blatantly fraudulent demands for payment.
5/6/08 Doubts Raised on Fannie & Freddie's Backing of Mortgages CHARLES DUHIGG

New York Times

But with mortgage defaults and foreclosures rising, Bush administration officials, regulators and lawmakers are nervously asking whether these two companies, would-be saviors of the housing market, will soon need saving themselves.
5/6/08 Mass. upholds ruling to halt Fremont foreclosures Reuters A Massachusetts court has upheld an injunction to force cash-strapped mortgage lender Fremont General Corp to halt all foreclosures in the state to give local authorities time to review each mortgage. (ABOUT TIME.)
5/6/08 UBS cuts i-bankers, leaves muni biz Aaron Elstein

Crain's New York Business.com

The Swiss-based giant UBS which grew into a major force stateside in the past decade via acquisitions of PaineWebber and numerous others, said Tuesday that it will eliminate 2,600 investment banking jobs. The bank also said it will exit the municipal bond business, where it has been one of the largest players on Wall Street.
5/6/08 US government to sue over sub-prime mortgage selling Stephen Foley - The Independent US federal agencies, however, still have their eyes firmly trained on how the extension of mortgage loans to "sub-prime" borrowers spiraled into a crisis that engulfed Wall Street – and are stepping up their efforts to find miscreants and prosecute fraud.
5/5/08

Wall Street, Lenders Face Subprime Scrutiny

AMIR EFRATI - WSJ Prosecutors are investigating whether investment bank UBS AG improperly valued its mortgage-securities holdings, as well as the circumstances surrounding the failure of two hedge funds at Bear Stearns
5/5/08 Task Force May Widen Federal and State Investigation into Mortgage Irregularities MortgageNewsDaily.com Prosecutors are also investigating how lenders may have defrauded Wall Street banks. For instance, did some lenders lie to Wall Street firms about the status of loans they sold directly to investors such as Freddie Mac and then fail to pay back the firms after the lenders sold the loans? 
5/5/08 Wall Street, lenders face new subprime probe - WSJ Reuters A task force of federal, state and local agencies will look into potential crimes ranging from mortgage fraud by brokers to securities fraud, insider trading and accounting fraud.
5/5/08 Buffett, Munger say many financial companies deserve pain Associated Press Lenders and investors who were dumb enough to deal in subprime mortgages should not receive any special help, Buffett said, but if homeowners were deceived about the terms of an adjustable mortgages, they should be helped.
5/5/08 Subprime Mortgage Collapse Under Federal Probe Reuters Working with other federal agencies in a Justice Department mortgage fraud group, the bureau is probing potential accounting fraud, insider trading and deceptive sales practices.
5/5/08 Government Intensifies Mortgage Investigation LYNNLEY BROWNING

The New York Times

The latest inquiry is broader and deeper than a separate F.B.I. investigation of mortgage lenders that is also under way. While the new task force is focusing on the role of mortgage lenders and brokers in low- or no-documentation loans, it is also examining how the loans were bundled into securities.
5/2/08 Bank of America May Not Guarantee Countrywide's Debt (Update6) David Mildenberg

Bloomberg

Whalen expects Bank of America to absorb the best assets, including Countrywide Bank, while the debt remains with a new company created by the merger, Red Oak Merger Corp. Red Oak may then file for bankruptcy, shielding Bank of America from liability.
5/2/08 Countrywide Rating Cut to `Junk' By Standard & Poor's David Mildenberg

Bloomberg

Countrywide Financial Corp.'s credit rating was unexpectedly cut below investment grade by Standard & Poor's Corp., which cited doubt about whether Bank of America Corp. will back the home lender's debt after they merge.
5/1/08 Judging the Judges By AMITY SHLAES -WSJ Minnesota state senator is pushing legislation to freeze foreclosures on homes with subprime mortgages in the name of "protecting the American dream."
5/1/08 Unrepentant, Intransigent Lenders: Overplaying Their Hand? Yves Smith

nakedcapitalism.com

Two items provide further evidence that lenders not only have little sense of responsibility for the problem they helped create, but worse, their unwillingness to reform in the face of considerable public pressure.
4/30/08 Wells Fargo Is Sanctioned For Role in Mortgage Woes Amir Efrati

WSJ

Several federal bankruptcy judges recently have lambasted mortgage companies for their treatment of consumers at risk of losing their homes. But industry players in the below-the-radar role of "trustee" in the mortgage chain -- typically big financial institutions -- have mostly gone unscathed.

Wells Fargo's failure to monitor a mortgage-servicing company that the court found took improper actions in a consumer-bankruptcy case and made misrepresentations to the court, imposed a $250,000 sanction against Wells..

4/30/08*

Bankruptcy Judge Whacks "Assembly Line" Attorneys For $150K In Sanctions For Misrepresenting Ownership Of Promissory Note In Mortgage Foreclosure

 

The Home Equity Theft Reporter

 

Lawyers at both firms, in representing Ameriquest, had continually represented that Ameriquest was the holder of Nosek’s mortgage, when in fact it had been assigned, at least twice, to other lenders.  According to the court order, the lender/servicer and trustee involved, Ameriquest and Wells Fargo, were also clipped for $250,000 each in sanctions.
4/29/08 FBI: Rise In Home Mortgage Fraud Cases An Indirect Effect Of The Subprime Crisis Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News FBI director Robert Mueller, in a testimony before the U.S. Senate Appropriations panel, said we have identified 19 corporate fraud matters related to the subprime lending crisis - cases that may have a substantial impact on the marketplace."
4/29/08 Iowans Riot Against Foreclosures HousingPANIC Martial law was declared in Plymouth County after a mob of 150 farmers dragged Circuit Judge Charles C. Bradley from the bench, manhandled the 60-year-old jurist and threatened to lynch him unless he promised not to sign further foreclosure orders.
4/29/08 Countrywide Clients Get More BofA Help Associated Press "After 12 years of litigation on a mortgage they did not even own, Richard Davet (see WSJ Article) is still waiting for his help from this despot." "Who are they kidding?
4/29/08 Judge Has Stern Words (But No Fine) for Associates at Sanctioned Firm

 Buchalter Nemer and Ablitt & Charlton,

Posted by Dan Slater -WSJ On Friday, two law firms — Buchalter Nemer and Ablitt & Charlton, along with name partner Robert Charlton — got whacked with a combined $150,000 in sanctions. In a decision regarding an order to show cause in the case, called Nosek v. Ameriquest, bankruptcy judge Joel Rosenthal found that, throughout earlier proceedings, lawyers at both firms, in representing Ameriquest, had continually represented that Ameriquest was the holder of Nosek’s mortgage, when in fact it had been assigned, at least twice, to other lenders.
4/29/08 Rundown foreclosures may bring fine Barbara E. Hernandez
ContraCostaTimes
Homeowners tired of foreclosed homes destroying property values with weed-choked lawns, vandalism and squatters, may get help from the state Legislature which could approve fines up to a $1,000 a day for those lenders who don't keep up their bank-owned properties
4/29/08 Panel to Look at Foreclosure Practices  GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

As the mortgage crisis has spread, an army of law firms, loan servicers and foreclosure management companies has developed a highly profitable business by assessing legal fees and other charges on imperiled borrowers, calculating what they owe and drawing up the documents required to remove them from their homes.
4/29/08 Countrywide Swings to Steep Loss By DONNA KARDOS

WSJ

Net charge-offs, or loans the bank doesn't think are collectible, surged from $39 million in the prior year to $606 millionwhile Mozillo walks off with $100's of millions.
4/29/08 Deutsche Bank Swings to Loss On Write-Downs, Trading Loss By ULRIKE DAUER
WSJ
Deutsche Bank AG Tuesday reported its first quarterly net loss in five years, reflecting additional asset write-downs, lower revenue and a trading loss in a deteriorating market.
4/27/08 The Color of Money: Mortgage Mess a More Criminal Than Regulatory Problem singletarym@washpost.com. Soon after I inquired about Wachovia's business transactions with Lee, Davenport was fired. Wachovia confirmed that Davenport was terminated but declined to comment on the reason.
4/27/08 Lawyers Open Their File Cabinets for a Web Resource

New York Times

JDSupra.com, a new site, is stocking a free, virtual law library by persuading lawyers to do something highly unusual: to post examples of their legal work online for use by one and all, no strings attached.
4/25/08 Nomura Posts Record Loss on Bond-Insurance Provisions By Takahiko Hyuga

Bloomberg.com

The loss was 15 times larger than the most pessimistic estimate among six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.  Nomura follows New York-based Merrill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup Inc. in reducing the value of bond-insurance contracts after a slump in subprime-infected mortgage securities triggered more than $300 billion in losses and writedowns worldwide.
4/24/08* The Financial Destruction Of The Average Man

Be sure to read the Comment after the article.

Jim Sinclair
MineSet
No one mentions these firms being bailed out are the ones who created this disaster, making billions for their economic sin.  So far courts have held that the only entity that can foreclose is the entity that actually lent the money. The average guy does not know that with an attorney to protect him he has a free house!
4/24/08 Foreclosures often leave big messes "It was in what was obviously a girl's bedroom, in a walk-in closet," she recalls. "She'd written a note and stuck it on the wall. 'Dear Bedroom, I'm going to miss you. When I get older, I'll buy you back."'
4/24/08 Ambac shocked to find fraud Housing Wire staff One word, dear readers: fraud. Lots of it. And it’s something that will eventually come out, because in the end defaults expose all flaws.
4/24/08 Subprime-Crisis Lawsuits 2008: By the Numbers Posted by Amir Efrati-WSJ Consumer advocates say mortgage brokers and big lenders made such mistakes routinely, and some lawyers have been successful at getting many clients out of bad subprime “option ARMs,” or other home loans
4/24/08 Here's Why We Need The Right To Receive A Monthly Mortgage Statement ON All Mortgages! Denise Richardson

www.givemebackmycredit.com  

 A couple of YouTube videos that cut to the core of the mortgage servicing nightmare . It points out how an innocent man (one of many) had his home foreclosed on -yet he never missed a payment. In fact, he overpaid and they still stole his home.. If we don't expose what is happening to innocent borrowers, who will stop it? What happened here could happen to anyone who holds a mortgage and doesn't receive a monthly statement.
4/24/08

If they pay, they stay

Hub bill would ban foreclosure evictions

By Jerry Kronenberg

Boston Herald

Lenders have an obligation to fix what’s going on,” said Ross, whose Government Operations Committee held a hearing on the proposal yesterday. “They’ve crippled the American economy.”
4/23/08 A National Disaster 

Bear Stearns - JPMorgan

Rob Kirby This article is about how Bear Stearns stock was artificially collapsed so that illegal insider traders would make billions and J.P. Morgan would be paid $55 billion of U.S. taxpayer money to shore themselves up - and buy Bear Stearns at bankruptcy prices.
4/23/08 The Future of Mortgage Servicing

article contains a Webcast

by Katie Porter

Credit Slips.org

Chairwoman Waters kept returning to a fundamental point--mortgage servicing is an unregulated industry. The witness testimony was essentially unanimous that mortgage servicing has a tremendous impact on American families and on the resolution of the current crisis.
4/22/08 No help for 70% of subprime borrowers

State regulators say efforts to help at-risk borrowers are barely keeping pace with rising delinquencies. Many borrowers are left out.

By Les Christie, CNNMoney Seven out of 10 seriously delinquent subprime mortgage borrowers are still not getting the help they need to keep their homes, according to a report released Tuesday by state officials working to stem the foreclosure crisis.
4/22/08 The trillion-dollar mortgage time bomb

Risks are rising that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may need a government bailout that could cost far more than previous rescues.

Chris Isidore, CNNMoney Among the nightmares lurking around the corner for the already battered housing and credit markets would be a meltdown at mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
4/22/08 Citi annual meeting: It's Pandit-monium!

Angry Citigroup shareholders lashed out at Citi CEO Vikram Pandit and Chairman Win Bischoff at the bank's annual stockholder's meeting

 By:  Aaron Elstein

crainsnewyork.com

“I urge investors to vote the board out!” shouted a Citi shareholder who identified himself as a former employee with 38 years of experience. “Under [the board’s] watch we’ve had Enron; we were thrown out of Japan; and now (we have) the subprime debacle.”
4/21/08 The Subprime Crisis and Government Failure by Michael S. Rozeff All of this is highly misleading. Those at the state level complain that the federal authorities already have enough statutes and rules. They fail at enforcement even when it comes to matters of fraud.
4/21/08 Waiting for a subprime perp walk Pat Regnier, Money Magazine Punishing companies isn't as satisfying as punishing the people who made the bad decisions. But how do you make sure they feel the pain?
4/20/08

New Md. Rules Aim To Aid Those Facing A Risk of Foreclosure

Mortgage Firms Must Notify the State

Washington Post He said the state has opened a wide-ranging examination of one firm, Ocwen Financial, and Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said he would consider revoking operating licenses of companies that fail to meet their obligations to consumers.
4/20/08 Maryland Forces Loss Mit Reporting; Opens Investigation into Ocwen By PAUL JACKSON

HousingWire

Ocwen under investigation
He said the state has also opened an investigation into the servicing practices of Ocwen Financial, one of the largest servicers of Maryland loans, and may look to revoke the company’s operating license in the state depending on the outcome of a review of individual loan files.
4/20/08 Piling On: Borrowers Buried by Fees
GRETCHEN MORGENSON

NY Times

Given the number of new borrowers falling daily into the foreclosure mire, dubious practices by servicers are beyond troubling. If even one of those repossessions was owing to improper fees or practices, that would be one too many.
4/19/08

3 former top Fannie Mae execs agree to pay $31.4M settlement

Civil suit accused them of manipulating earnings over six years

By MARCY GORDON • Associated Press Raines, a prominent Washington figure who was President Clinton's budget director, has agreed to pay $24.7 million, including a $2 million fine and relinquishing of company stock options valued at $15.6 million. Raines' total compensation from 1998 through 2004 was $91.1 million.
4/18/08 Auction-Bond Probes Widen as Cuomo Subpoenas 18 Firms By Michael McDonald - Bloomberg To have subpoenas and the threat of criminal investigations raised suggests that somebody has made up their mind that there really are abuses there,'' said Donald Langevoort, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorney.
4/17/08

Delegate settles fraud lawsuit

Lawmaker accused of tricking couple in house deed transfer

| Baltimore Sun   It is at least the second time that McConkey, who has served in the state legislature since 2003, has been accused of wrongdoing in real estate dealings. In October 2006, a Pasadena woman filed a civil suit against McConkey alleging "foreclosure rescue fraud," a violation of the homeowners protection law he voted for when it passed the General Assembly in 2005.
4/17/08 Subprime probe may lead to hedge funds, others-FBI Reuters When the FBI disclosed its industry investigation, major investment banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns  each said the government had asked them for information, but there was no confirmation of any FBI role. Beazer Homes said last year it received a federal grand jury subpoena related to its mortgage business.
4/16/08 JP Morgan's Net Income Drops, EMC Cooperates with FTC Probe Kerri Panchuk -DSNews.com Bear Stearns, in a statement said, “In March 2008, the company received notice from the staff of the FTC that the staff believes EMC and the company have violated certain Federal consumer protection statutes in connection with EMC's servicing activities. The staff has requested an opportunity to resolve the matter through consent negotiations before it seeks approval from the FTC to proceed with the filing of a complaint against EMC and the company.”
4/15/08 For One Industry Exec, Aiding Foreclosure’s Silent Victims is a Full Time Job

"PAW ALERT!"

To learn more about No Paws Left Behind, including information on how you can support the non-profit agency’s efforts to help pets abandoned in foreclosure, email Cheryl Lang directly at cheryl@nopawsleftbehind.org.

By PAUL JACKSON

HousingWire

Another dog left inside a foreclosed property with nothing but a large bowl of dry dog food. Or a pair of cats, left to roam a house that has been vacant for weeks on end. “It just breaks my heart whenever I see an animal left behind,” she said. Personal property laws, which can complicate matters in a foreclosure — pets are considered personal property in most states, and are therefore subject to some stiff regulations — often make the situation even more gut-wrenching for pet lovers like Lang.
4/15/08

Here Comes the Next Mortgage Crisis

... and why it may be worse.

Subprime was just the beginning. Wait until California's prime borrowers start handing their keys to the bank.


Slate.com
California homeowners who in the next year or two are going to find themselves with the choice of whether, faced with a huge new wave of interest resets and a historic decline in the value of their homes, they will simply walk away.
4/15/08 Bear Stearns files 10Q, reports on SEC, FTC probes By Tony Cooke

MarketWatch

The SEC is investigating possible anti-competitive bidding practices in the municipal derivatives industry, and the FTC is looking into the servicing practices of Bear Stearns' EMC Mortgage Corp. subsidiary.
4/15/08 Prime Time for Subprime Plan David B. Bayless
GC California Magazine
To put this situation into historical perspective, the savings-and-loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s ultimately cost an estimated $160 billion and affected more than 1,600 U.S. banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It was one of the worst financial scandals in history. But the S&L crisis, while costly, was limited to only a section of U.S. financial institutions.
4/14/08

Protecting borrowers

N.C. can do more on 'predatory loan servicing'

Sean Coffey

newsobserver.com

State legislation went into effect April 1 to regulate another set of practices, ones that consumer advocates have described as "predatory loan servicing." This term encompasses several practices that harm borrowers, including loan servicers illegally charging borrowers extra fees, not crediting borrowers' payments or charging borrowers for insurance they already have. The new law makes progress in regulating loan servicing, but it fails to address all the predatory loan servicing practices that harm borrowers.
4/14/08 Anatomy of a Merger Steven M. Davidoff The deal renegotiation is the most interesting part. The filing makes a case that Bear was continuing to face liquidity issues and a possible bankruptcy despite the Fed loan and JPMorgan guaranty.
4/13/08 Housing chief ignored looming crisis

The Washington Post

[a]s economists warned of an imminent housing-market collapse, housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson repeatedly insisted that the mounting wave of mortgage failures was a short-term "correction." He pushed for legislation that would make it easier for federally backed lenders to make loans to risky borrowers. He issued a rule that was criticized by law enforcement because it could increase the difficulty of detecting and proving mortgage fraud.
4/11/08 Mortgage fraud case could be widening

Prosecutors consider racketeering charges

STELLA M. HOPKINS AND KIRSTEN VALLE

shopkins@charlotteobserver.com

Nationwide, fraud has helped fuel the foreclosure crisis that's rattling the economy. In Charlotte, foreclosures are most densely concentrated in starter home communities, some now struggling with crime and falling home values.
4/10/08 Many Mortgage Suits to Come, But Harder to Win Reuters U.S. law offices plan a hiring spree as they ready a new volley of lawsuits for consumers who lost houses and investments in the mortgage industry meltdown.
4/10/08 Ohio Foreclosure Actions and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis Frost Brown Todd It all started in a most-unlikely venue – a federal district court (as opposed to a state court) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  In the case of In re Foreclosure Cases,[1] Judge Christopher A. Boyko made it clear that the federal district courts would challenge this common state court practice of proceeding with a foreclosure without having to present an actual mortgage or assignment in the plaintiff-lender’s name.
4/9/08 Wilmers apologizes for M&T’s bad bets

In annual letter to stockholders, he rues bank’s foray into riskier mortgages

By Jonathan D. Epstein NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER Wilmers and his two lieutenants, President Mark J. Czarnecki and Vice Chairman Michael P. Pinto, took 50 percent cuts in their bonuses. They still earned well over $1 million each in total pay, including bonuses of over $225,000.
4/9/08 In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials By ERIC LICHTBLAU

New York Times

In a major shift of policy, the Justice Department, once known for taking down giant corporations, including the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, has put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years.
4/9/08 Federal Mortgage Rules Will Not Protect Consumers

Consumer Advocates Say Stronger Protections are Needed

During the greatest foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve Board ("Board") is proposing rules that surrender key consumer protections in order to preserve market interests. The Federal Reserve Board’s proposed rules regarding unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage market will not stop future abuses
4/8/08 Enough to make you pop a vein By Al Lewis
The Denver Post
New Century, however, is in bankruptcy, too. The mortgage maker is also being investigated for fraud. An investigation commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department recently concluded that New Century had a "brazen obsession" with making subprime loans, turning "a blind eye" to a "ticking time bomb." After making billions' worth of reckless loans, New Century's top executives skated away with millions in compensation. Its shareholders will get back pennies on the dollar.
4/8/08

White paper

Steered Wrong:

Brokers, Borrowers, and Subprime Loans

Keith Ernst, Debbie Bocian, and Wei Li

Center for Responsible Lending

From the first year of the loan, borrowers with credit profiles in the subprime range pay substantially more for brokered loans than they would have if they had obtained their loan directly from a lender.  In the first year alone, a typical subprime borrower pays over $1,000 more; this cost gap grows to over $5,000 after four-years, and almost $36,000 over a 30-year life of the loan.
4/6/08 Serious risks in $29 billion Bear Stearns bailout move Rachel Beck - AP Bear Stearns was crippled when market rumors began to swirl about the size of its exposure to mortgage-related securities, and whether it had ample reserves to cover potential losses. That led clients and investors to demand their money back, causing a run on the bank.
4/4/08 Bailout Bonanza Ralph Nader - www.nader.org There is no penalty for failure—whether on Wall Street or in Washington, D.C. for misusing or wasting the taxpayers’ monies.
4/4/08 Lenders Swamped By Foreclosures Let Homeowners Stay Bob Ivry - Bloomberg Banks are so overwhelmed by the U.S. housing crisis they've started to look the other way when homeowners stop paying their mortgages.
4/3/08 Lender-Abandoned, Non-REO Foreclosures The Big Picture "In some cities that have low property values, where there are dense concentrations of foreclosures, you see lenders who file foreclosure proceedings but don't actually take control of  the properties, because the lenders have to maintain them and pay taxes on them."
4/3/08 Bill Helps Business More Than Borrowers | Associated Press Writer The only direct help in the measure to homeowners threatened with foreclosure is $100 million to provide counseling to people threatened with foreclosure and help them in negotiating with their lenders.
4/3/08 Video: Global Housing Bubble is About to Cause a Greater Financial Crisis John Authers - FT.com House price comparison between US, UK and Spain.
4/2/08 Effort to Save Bear Stearns Must be Matched by Effort to Save Homeowners Sen. Robert Menendez That argument blaming homebuyers for their irresponsibility is as exaggerated as it is heartless.
4/2/08 FTC Looking at Bear Stearns Mortgage Unit - EMC Mortgage NewsInferno.com According to the SEC filing, FTC staff believes EMC and Bear Stearns violated a number of federal consumer protection statutes. The FTC delivered a draft complaint and draft consent order asking for changes in business practices and unspecified monetary payments, according to the filing. EMC expects to engage in settlement talks before a formal complaint is filed, the filing shows.
4/2/08 National Consumers League Launches 'MortgageTown' National Consumers League New Web Site Helps Prospective Homeowners Avoid Predatory Lenders, Fraud, and Foreclosure
4/2/08 Fed Should Clarify Link to Bear Stearns Assets Commentary by Caroline Baum

Bloomberg

That doesn't pass the lender duck test. Lenders don't profit from the appreciation of an asset against which they extend credit. Only an equity owner does.
4/2/08 Federal Judge Green-Lights Countrywide Probe By PAUL JACKSON
HousingWire
The suit alleges that Countrywide is foreclosing or attempting to foreclose on borrowers who had been discharged from bankruptcy and were current on their loans, and that Countrywide added hidden fees to debtors’ accounts. The suit seeks to stop the company from doing those alleged acts and asks for damages.
4/2/08 Minneapolis files foreclosure scam lawsuit With VIDEO KSTP.com The FBI linked TJ Waconia to a foreclosure scandal that has caused one in every five foreclosures in the city.
4/1/08 Mortgage Fraud — The Crime of Our Time? by Tyler Belong According to the FBI, mortgage fraud has rapidly increased over the last five to six years, which was around the time Fairbanks was fined a miniscule $40 mm for stealing multi-billions from borrowers. 
4/1/08 FBI says targets major insiders in mortgage probe Reuters "We continue to work to identify large-scale industry insiders and criminal enterprises engaged in systemic economic fraud,"
4/1/08 Greenspan's Body Count W.C. Varones Blog Greenspan's victims are not only those whose misfortunes in the real estate bubble drove them to suicide. There are also those who were driven to murder or attempted murder.
4/1/08 Law Firms Cash In On Foreclosures MICHAEL SASSO - TBO Because of the subprime mortgage mess, foreclosure filings by banks and mortgage servicing companies in Hillsborough County Circuit Court - as in other courts in Florida - have more than doubled since this time last year. According to clerk records, there were 1,475 new mortgage foreclosure suits in Hillsborough County in February compared with 562 cases in February 2007 and 271 cases in February 2006.
4/1/08* Chase internal documents show that company encourage mortgage fraud Zac BissonnetteBloggingStocks This memo essentially encourage employees to engage in fraud: knowingly falsifying a loan application is fraud.
3/31/08 KPMG faces fallout from New Century
Court examiner cites improper accounting that goosed results, bonuses. E-mail warned: Don’t 'piss off' client.

Financial Week

 New Century went to extreme lengths to violate accounting principles to mask the impact of mortgages being repurchased after defaulting. And its auditor, KPMG, ultimately looked the other way.
3/31/08 BEAR STEARNS: Congress Demands Information on Sale to JPMorgan Troubled Company Reporter

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus 

 and ranking Republican Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) have

demanded information regarding the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase 

3/31/08

Key McCain advisors were lobbyists for shady lender Ameriquest Mortgage

BY DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS
What McCain did not say is that two of his top advisers were recently lobbyists for a notorious lender AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE in the mortgage meltdown.
3/31/08*

Foreclosure “Work-out” Myth

ConsumerWarningNetwork.com  The foreclosure work-out myth is being promoted by mortgage lenders right now, with catchy names like Countrywide’s ”HOPE” program and the EMCMod Squad,” but it’s time to expose the hoax.  Lenders are falling over themselves to make federal lawmakers believe they’re working with borrowers to avoid default.
3/30/08

Lehman Bros. Scammed for $355 Million by Two Dishonest Employees

Ed Dickson in All News There is little doubt that a lot of fraud, or at the very least, “deceptive practices” led to the current financial crisis we are seeing in the mortgage industry.
Series The Scorched Earth of Evergreen Kent State University Well done ongoing series details Evergreen's scam and possible incarceration.  Includes Audio links. 
3/31/08 KPMG faces fallout from New Century
Court examiner cites improper accounting that goosed results, bonuses. E-mail warned: Don’t 'pi$$ off' client.

FinancialWeek.com

At nearly 600 pages long, the bankruptcy court report last week on the collapse of New Century Financial alleges in voluminous detail that the mortgage lender went to extreme lengths to violate accounting principles to mask the impact of mortgages being repurchased after defaulting. And its auditor, KPMG, ultimately looked the other way.
3/30/08 Clock is ticking on Evergreen fraud case By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal
Woman is among those saying she lost everything. She lives with her family in subsidized housing now, their dream of owning a home in Akron long gone in what she has called ''a predator's heaven.''
3/30/08* Foreclosure Machine Thrives on Woes

GRETCHEN MORGENSON and JONATHAN D. GLATER

New York Times

An EXCELLENT article showing the tricks, traps and outright lies used by corporate criminals and their crooked law firms to steal homes from homeowners who did nothing wrong. Print and use.
3/29/08* The real victims of a housing industry bailout Zac BissonnetteBloggingStocks [i]t's been completely missed by the people who are supposedly working to solve these problems.
3/29/08 Homeowners tell of battling firms to modify their loans By KEVIN G. HALL
BEE WASHINGTON BUREAU
EMC instructed to skip her January payment, which technically made her a delinquent borrower. She could never talk to the same person twice and constantly had to start conversations from scratch. By the time we got to the official documents, I was too beat up to argue."
3/28/08 Philadelphia suspends sales of foreclosed homes (more socialism will fix it). Reuters Authorities in Philadelphia will suspend foreclosure sales of homes whose owners have fallen behind on adjustable-rate subprime loan payments -- potential relief for tens of thousands of struggling debtors. (But they will not suspend foreclosures on homes whose owners did NOT fall behind but were victimized by mortgage fraud??? MSF)
3/28/08 FDIC: Subprime Players Will Not Go Unscathed Reuters In a speech to a group of financial professionals, Kelsey sounded off a long list of market participants who are likely to learn a "hard lesson" from what regulators, lawmakers and the lending industry expect is a tsunami of defaults and foreclosures over the next years.

3/28/08

Doomsday on Wall Street

Bear's stock dropped nearly 40% in the first half-hour of trading. Within days, Bear's 85 years as an independent entity were at an end.

The last days of Bear Stearns


It took only a few days, a rising sense of panic - and a critical e-mail - to spell the end of the 85-year-old investment bank.

CNN Money Bear was noted for its addiction to leverage even at a time when Wall Street, which runs on debt, was drunk on the stuff. Bear had $11.1 billion in tangible equity capital supporting $395 billion in assets, a leverage ratio of more than 35 to one

"Goldman told Wall Street that they were done with Bear, that there was [effectively] too much risk. That was the end for them."

It's a reminder that in a business based on confidence, when that confidence evaporates, so does the business.

3/28/08 Bear Stearns rescued, but cause of the problem remains [a]s JP Morgan Chase, the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury engineered the takeover of Bear Stearns was unprecedented in the history of the financial system in the United States. It was also significantly more grave than the mainstream media would have the public believe as it was entirely possible that the international financial system could have collapsed March 17.
3/27/08 Chase mortgage memo pushes 'Cheats & Tricks'

(View the Zippy Cheats & Tricks Memo)

JEFF MANNING
The Oregonian Staff
A newly surfaced memo from banking giant JPMorgan Chase provides a rare glimpse into the mentality that fueled the mortgage crisis. The memo's title says it all: "Zippy Cheats & Tricks."
3/25/08 Former VP of Argent charged in mortgage fraud scheme BizJournal Faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, mortgage fraud and grand theft and could face up to 95 years in prison if convicted.
3/24/08

******

The Financial Destruction Of The Average Man

Please read Comment!

Jim Sinclair
MineSet
No one mentions these firms being bailed out are the ones who created this disaster, making billions for their economic sin.
3/23/08 Foreclosures slam doors on pets, too By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY The situation is sufficiently worrisome that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) just created a $15,000 seed-money fund (and is seeking public contributions to it) to help shelters and rescue groups accommodate in the short term their local surge in homeless pets.
3/23/08 Bear Stearns Buy-Out... 

100% Fraud

johnolagues “How Bear Stearns stock was artificially collapsed so that illegal insider-traders would make billions and J.P. Morgan would be paid $55 billion of US taxpayer money to shore up themselves and buy Bear Stearns at bankruptcy prices.”
3/23/08 Commentary: What about the rest of us? Bailout fails to help the little guy BY William S. Lerach The Street's huge banks used their power to shape the laws and regulations governing them. They kept their hands on the levers of regulation by sending their insiders to Washington, D.C. to take policymaking positions. The Bear Stearns fiasco -- and bailout -- show just how powerful Wall Street's influence remains. But first, some history.
3/21/08 Bear Stearns staff auction off teddies, T-shirts, memorabilia AFP Staff at the now hard up Bear Stearns have resorted to auctioning off Bear Stearns-branded memorabilia to raise funds.
3/21/08 Bear Stearns sued by Detroit pension plan  Aaron Siegel, InvestmentNews.com The Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. is being sued by the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit, which asked a judge to halt its planned buyout for $2 per share by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
3/20/08

At Bear Stearns, Meet the New Boss

By LANDON THOMAS Jr. and ERIC DASH

New York Times

“I don’t think Bear did anything to deserve this,” Mr. Dimon said.  [Bear had everything to do with this.]

Mr. Dimon urged them not to blame Bear’s management, the government or JPMorgan for their circumstances.  [Then who are you going to blame?]

3/20/08 J.P. Morgan Chase buyout of Bear Stearns – A Trillionaires Delight Jordan Christopher, Ivy Hollow Media “The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.”  John D. Rockefeller
3/20/08

James Cayne risks lawsuit as he seeks counter-offer for Bear Stearns

However, according to the terms of the tabled takeover agreement, no officer, director or employee is allowed to encourage an alternative transaction. Both Mr Cayne and Mr Lewis have lost more than $1 billion each after the near-collapse of Bear Stearns at the weekend.
3/20/08 TALK BACK: Holder Will Vote No To Force Bankruptcy Liquidation Nye Lavalle

Consumer Advocate/BS investor

Those with the most severe burn damage don't care about the measly $2 a share offer, but do care about seeing how it happened; who made it happen; why it happened; and seeing in the open, what was and wasn't there.
3/19/08 Why is Bear Stearns More Important than America’s Homeowners? by Jason Easley If the Bush administration is willing to bail out Bear Stearns, then why won’t they help homeowners who are the victims of predatory lenders??????????????
3/19/08 Ofheo Loosens Capital Rules On Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
MarketWatch Pulse
The move by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight should allow Fannie and Freddie to buy about $2 trillion in mortgages this year.
3/18/08 Lest We Forget: How Bear Stearns regularly flouted the law. Gary-Weiss.com Wouldn't it be nice to see a compendium of the kind of trouble Bear is in right now? Well, it so happens that there is a nice, up-to-date repository of such information.
3/18/08 Exclusive: Minn. Mortgage Companies Pocketing Money.

Thousands of homes affected.

My Fox -Twin Cities In a Commerce Department raid, officials found thousands of mortgage closings that were never mailed at Title Source Mortgage Company in Moundsview and Home Sweet Home Equity in Little Canada. “Instead of sending the money on to the insurance company they kept the money, that's just fraud, stealing, theft,”
3/18/08 Rescuing Bear Stearns Maybe Not Such a Benefit for Foreclosure Victims EzineArticles 

Nick_Adama

Bear Stearns owns EMC Mortgage Servicing, a notorious servicer alleged to have been involved in hundreds of cases of mortgage servicing fraud. Through some very shady practices, they were instrumental in pushing people out of their homes. Whether through outright fraud or forced institutional incompetence, the servicing company is no stranger to foreclosures.
3/18/08 'We Are All in a Daze,' Says One Bear Stearns Employee; Life Savings Wiped Out By PETER LATTMAN and JENNY STRASBURG -WSJ
The bagpipes from New York's famed St. Patrick's Day parade a block away provided a funereal soundtrack as workers at Bear Stearns Cos. headquarters mourned their company and the loss of billions in personal savings.  [We have been telling you for a decade they were criminals! Now who is Joe and Jane Schmuck?]
3/18/08 Human, Community Costs Add to Subprime Mortgage Crisis - Part 1
The subprime mortgage crisis in the United States has rattled financial markets around the world. The crisis has triggered home foreclosures across the country, causing thousands of Americans to lose their homes, devastating entire communities.
3/17/08 Rescue Bear Stearns

How about Stopping the Mortgage Servicing Fraud First

www.foreclosurefish.com But it is quite ironic that Bear Stearns has been hit so hard by a mortgage crisis that they have actively participated in for years. Bear Stearns owns EMC Mortgage Servicing, a notorious servicer alleged to have been involved in hundreds of cases of mortgage servicing fraud. Through some very shady practices, they were instrumental in pushing people out of their homes. Whether through outright fraud or forced institutional incompetence, the servicing company is no stranger to foreclosures.
3/17/08 Sub-prime mortgage watchdogs kept on leash  

Los Angeles Times