News related to Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud

2012

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1990's

 Date

Article  (Recent Additions) Author

  Comment

12/29/09** Lender’s Refusal to Modify Loan May Have Violated Borrowers’ Fifth Amendment Right of Due Process Foreclosure Combatant Plaintiffs’ Complaint contains two counts. Both are for violation of due process under the Fifth Amendment for failing to create rules implementing HAMP that comport with due process.
12/29/09

Taxpayer losses from supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will top $400 billion

Betty Liu and Matthew Leising

Bloomberg

“The situation is they are losing gobs of money, up to $400 billion in mortgages,” Wallison said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The Treasury Department recognized last week that losses will be more than $400 billion when it raised its limit on federal support for the two government-sponsored enterprises, he said.
12/29/09 Mortgage Fraud and Home Foreclosures: Community Impacts and Collaborative Responses The Bureau of Justice Assistance  The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) convened a working group of representatives from communities in different regions of the country to examine crime as both a cause and result of foreclosures. (BJA) convened a working group of representatives from communities in different regions of the country to examine crime as both a cause and result of foreclosures.
12/29/09 Treasury urged to investigate potential mortgage fraud

Cuna

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) encouraged U.S. Department of the Treasury General Counsel George Madison to "undertake an expeditious investigation into a troubling matter that involves the fraudulent conveyances of residential mortgage loans to the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA)."
12/28/09** Bostonian of the Year: Elizabeth Warren, Watchdog

livinglies

Read Neil's comments at the top! It should be an article in itself.
12/28/09 Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Rise as U.S. Removes Caps on Assistance    Romaine Bostick - Bloomberg Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose more than 20 percent in New York trading after the U.S. Treasury Department removed the caps on $400 billion of combined federal assistance to the two mortgage-finance companies.
12/28/09 War on Wall Street as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall

          Alison Vekshin 

         James Sterngold

             Bloomberg

A one-page proposal gaining traction in Congress could turn back the clock on Wall Street 10 years, forcing the breakup of banks, including Citigroup Inc.

Lawmakers in both parties, seeking to prevent future financial crises while soothing public anger over bailouts and bonuses, are turning to an approach that’s both simple and transformative: re-imposing sections of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banking.

12/27/09

CEO of Metropolitan Money Store Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Prison and Two Other Conspirators Sentenced in $37 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

            Flippyingfrenzy Sentenced for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that falsely promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure keep their homes and repair their damaged credit.
12/25/09

Challenging Wrongful Foreclosure in Nevada

Attorney Malik W. Ahmad

This is a brief guide for lay persons about how to challenge foreclosure successfully, a feat that is possible - though hard. 
12/25/09** SELF-DEALING Part 1: Goldman Sachs' Scheme Revealed

 

Neil Garfield

The problem is not that the mortgages are in default. The problem is that the investment banks are in default of their obligations to investors and homeowners. Until Government and the Courts realize this simple fact, they will never untangle the debris caused by the illusion of a crash. If that day ever comes, more than 80% of our problems will vanish.”

“Legally, the ONLY way these mortgages could be viewed as being delinquent or in default is if we add a SECOND or THIRD party to the transaction each of whom is entitled to FULL payment. Sound impossible? That is exactly how millions of foreclosures have already been done and ratified by courts and judges over whose eyes the wool is so thick they err on the side of the “blind” and forget about “justice.” 

12/25/09**

Self Dealing Part II: Investigations Started Neil Garfield Neil's Note: It would be wise to pay careful attention to news reports and press releases from investigating agencies and to track the discovery in class action and other cases filed. A lot of your work might already be done, right down to the same lender you are  dealing with.
12/25/09

Odd Couple Demands Probe of Rahm Emanuel at Freddie as More Money Rolls In

                      FoxNews "Under the influence of Rahm Emanuel, the White House is moving a trillion-dollar slush fund into corruption-riddled companies with no oversight in place. This will allow Fannie and Freddie to continue to purchase more toxic assets from banks, acting as a back-door increase of the TARP without congressional approval," 
12/25/09

Credit Crunch: Home Equity Lending Evaporates

                           AP

He is suing the bank, alleging it used unfair standards to justify its reduction, incorrectly assessed the property value, failed to inform customers promptly and used an appeals process that is ''oppressive.'' Jay Edelson, a lawyer in Chicago who is representing Yellin, says homeowners are increasingly challenging such letters in court. He says he's received 500 calls from upset borrowers.
12/24/09

Princeton Economist and Computer Scientists Show that Derivatives Are Inherently Vulnerable to Fraud

Washington's Blog  
12/24/09** Foreclosure Challenges Raise Questions About Judicial Role Amir Efrati- WSJ Now, after the country has been mired in a housing crisis for more than two years, more judges are calling these companies on their paperwork glitches, and in some cases going much further in their efforts to help homeowners.

I makes sense for judges to demand that mortgage companies follow the rules to the letter if they want to win foreclosure cases in court, says Raymond Brescia, an assistant professor at Albany Law School who has written about the role of the courts in the financial crisis. "I don't think that's a crazy idea," he says. "To expect plaintiffs to prove their case is what the judicial system is founded on."

12/23/09** “Body Count From Goldman Actions Crosses Into Criminal Territory” nakedcapitalism The Federal Reserve and the Treasury aided and abetted Goldman Sachs in committing financial and ethical crimes at an astounding level.

Goldman goes quite a few steps further into despicable territory with their other actions and the body count from Goldman’s actions is so enormous that it crosses over into criminal territory, morally and legally, by getting taxpayer money for their predation.

12/23/09

Ex-HSBC Banker Gets 20 Months Prison for Taking Bribe        Debra Mao - Bloomberg Former HSBC Holdings Plc executive Chen Ching-hsiao was sentenced to 20 months in prison by a Hong Kong court for taking a bribe from a Taiwanese client seeking credit facilities.
12/23/09

Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won

How these disastrously performing securities were devised is now the subject of scrutiny by investigators in Congress, at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

            GRETCHEN MORGENSON 

                and LOUISE STORY

                    New York Times

As the market soured, Goldman created even more of these securities, enabling it to pocket huge profits.  Goldman’s own clients who bought them, however, were less fortunate. Pension funds and insurance companies lost billions of dollars on securities that they believed were solid investments, according to former Goldman employees with direct knowledge of the deals who asked not to be identified because they have confidentiality agreements with the firm.
12/23/09

Goldman Sachs chief will face bipartisan financial crisis panel McClatchy Newspapers Lloyd C. Blankfein will be questioned during the Jan. 13-14 inaugural hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Congress established the 10-member commission to determine how the financial collapse happened and what could be done to prevent a recurrence.
12/23/09

MGIC sued by Bank of America

     Rich Kirchen - bizjournals One of the largest mortgage financiers of the housing bubble has sued MGIC Investment Corp. over the mortgage insurer’s denials of claims for payments on mortgages gone bad.
12/23/09

THE THORNBURG VARIATIONS

ONE COMPANY’S RISE AND FALL ECHOED THE NATIONAL ECONOMY’S

Corey Pein

Santa FE Reporter

Think you can do better than MBA-toting geniuses who ruined the economy? The US bankruptcy court in Maryland has an opportunity for you.  Going up for auction in January: approximately 29 “securitization trusts”—pools of mortgages sold as  investments — worth a collective $11.05 billion.  At least, they were once believed to be worth that much. It depends on what can be collected from the borrowers who, like everyone else, may be broke.

Struggling Thornburg borrowers who keep paying their home loans are in effect paying the bailed-out banks twice—the second time, through taxes.

12/22/09** Treasury Cover-Up of Goldman's Role in AIG Crisis?

The government's bailout out of AIG allowed Goldman to avoid losses on its trades covering $22 billion in assets.

Goldman paid mega bonuses in past years subsidized by selling hot air. Now it proposes to again pay billions in bonuses based on earnings made possible by taxpayer dollars.

Janet Tavakoli

Huffington Post

Inside Goldman's mortgage assets were value-destroying assets created by other Wall Street firms. Everyone bought each others' junk so prices stayed artificially high, and the risk could be dumped on someone else. Of course, this doomed strategy eventually fell apart. At the time of the AIG bailout, losses were quickly eating away at the insides of these products cooked up in Wall Street's financial meth labs.
12/21/09 Wall Street Shoots Public with Machine Guns, and Laughs OpEdNews: Bill Moldestad The public has had to mortgage away some of its future, and the bankers who got us into this mess have come out of it with no damage, in fact, they're making more money than they did before--record bonuses. They're making their investments now not on mortgages, or giving people credit, but investing in the stock market. They're making record profits!
12/21/09

Former Maryland M&T Bank employee sentenced for role in mortgage Fraud

Mortgage Fraud prosecutions

nationalmortgageprofessional.com This prosecution has been brought as part of the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force, a group of more than 15 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Maryland.
12/21/09 Financial instruments could be spiked with unfindable risks PhysOrg.com The team examined what would happen if a seller knew that some mortgages were "lemons" and structured a package of CDOs to benefit himself. They found that the manipulation may be impossible for buyers to detect either at time of sale or later when the derivative loses money.
12/21/09 Lenders suspending foreclosures for 30 days abahney@argusleader.com Citibank said it will suspend foreclosures and evictions for 30 days, from Dec. 17 to Jan. 17, which will provide a reprieve for an estimated 4,000 borrowers.
12/21/09

Banks and bailouts: Playing politics?

 -- Banks with strong political connections were more likely to receive bailout money from the government—and more of it—in the past year than those with weaker ties, say University of Michigan researchers

PhysOrg.com

 

A new study by Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura of Michigan's Ross School of Business found that banks with connections to members of congressional finance committees and banks whose executives served on Federal Reserve boards were more likely to receive funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the federal government's program to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector.
12/21/09

At Top Subprime Mortgage Lender, Policies Were An Invitation To Fraud

 

Long Beach Mortgage sales people were actually coaching brokers how to fake documents

David Heath
Huffington Post
When Kosch noticed clues of mortgage fraud - suspicious income, questionable appraisals or missing documents - the loans usually got approved anyway. "They'd offer kickbacks of money, or I'll buy you a bottle of Dom Perignon.' It was just crazy."
12/18/09** FORECLOSURE FRAUD BY AURORA AND OTHERS: NEW WAVE OF WRONGFUL ACTION TO PERPETRATE FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURES Jeff Barnes, Esq. What is starting to occur with more frequency, however, is not only frustrating to the borrower, but is downright fraudulent on the part of the servicer, trustee bank, or “lender”. Three scenarios are becoming more and more common.
12/19/09 Show Us the E-Mail ELIOT SPITZER , FRANK PARTNOY and WILLIAM BLACK Who knew what, and when? Who benefited, and by exactly how much? Would A.I.G.’s counterparties have failed without taxpayer support?

The three of us, as experienced investigators and prosecutors of financial fraud, cannot answer these questions now. But we know where the answers are. They are in the trove of e-mail messages still backed up on A.I.G. servers, as well as in the key internal accounting documents and financial models generated by A.I.G. during the past decade.

12/18/09 How alleged 'Ponzi' firm fell through regulatory cracks

(article is way down the page)

Bob Sanders NHBR Despite the warning given to both banking and securities regulators over the years - and despite a $1 million securities restitution order in 2007 and a banking audit citing repeat violations in 2008 - along with various warnings to state and federal law enforcement authorities, Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. managed to continue its activities, slipping through various jurisdictional cracks, until it landed in bankruptcy court in November.
12/18/09 Chinese Business Woman Sentenced to Death For Fraud FoxNews In China, the death penalty is used even for nonviolent crimes such as corruption or tax evasion. 

Hmmmm... In the U.S. we give them Bail-Out money.

12/18/09 Lawyer involved in alleged cash scam to be arraigned Thomas Grillo

Boston Herald

He then recorded false documents at the Registry of Deeds indicating that his fake company was the new holder of any mortgages on those properties.
12/17/09 Wall Street Bonuses Could Fund An Economic Recovery For Millions of Americans ourfinancialsecurity.org Despite unleashing havoc on the global economy, Wall Street is on track to pay out an all-time record in bonuses and compensation this year.  The nation’s six largest banks alone – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley – are on pace to give their bankers a staggering $150 billion payday.
12/17/09 Ohio sues mortgage servicing firm JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP The suit against Barclays Capital Real Estate and its subsidiary HomEq Servicing accuses Barclays of peddling one-sided agreements that require customers to relinquish certain rights, including legal remedies, and of providing inadequate, incompetent customer service.
12/16/09**

SEC Just Now Seeking Key Information On Meltdown

"One wonders why this letter, especially given the general nature of it, is just now being sent. And why wasn't it sent several years ago, as the CDO market was exploding?" says Lynn Turner, who was the SEC's chief accountant in the late 1990s. "It makes it look like the SEC is several years behind the markets."
12/16/09**

Two Bills In Congress Restore Glass - Steagall

Reuters "Congress ignored history in 1999 when it repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and the American people have been forced to pay the price while bailing out these mega-banks, which should have never existed in the first place,"
12/15/09** Faith Leaders Defend Families Facing Foreclosure

Clergy nationwide are calling for reforms to hold banks accountable, keep families in their homes, and protect consumers from predatory lending.

Jennifer Riley|Christian Post Faith leaders met with the White House Monday to call for reform in regulating the expected multi-billion dollar bonuses to bank executives this month as millions of families, whose tax dollars kept banks alive, face losing their homes.
12/14/09** How to Use MERS on Deed of Trust or Mortgage Livinglies A creditor is not a creditor unless they are owed something. A beneficiary is not a beneficiary unless they are a creditor. In the case of a mortgage note, a beneficiary is not a creditor unless it is the obligee on the note (i.e., the one to whom the note directs payment). There is no escaping this logic. (Neil)
12/9/09 Ginnie Mae's Troubled Issuers The Center for Public Integrity Read the Center's story, which was a collaboration with The Washington Post.
12/9/09** Homeowners Getting Blame for Lack of Loan Mods, but Evidence Points to Banks and Servicers, Too Paul Kiel - propublica.org Homeowners and advocates are full of stories of servicers misplacing documents – and have been since the start of the program [8], which was designed to curb surging foreclosures [9] by giving mortgage servicers incentives to modify troubled loans. Believing the servicers’ explanation of what has gone wrong "assumes that the servicers aren’t losing things and are accurately telling borrowers what they’re supposed to send in," said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center. "There’s no evidence to support that assumption."
12/9/09** New Laws and New Punishment For Mortgage Fraud Criminals Frank Schumacher It was during the early part of 2007 that the State of Arizona has taken the lead in prosecuting this kind of fraud by enacting laws that made it a felony in all cases making the probability of a conviction higher. Aside from this, in the State of Arizona, a proven fraud criminal will have to pay the State of Arizona a civil penalty of up to US$10,000 for every instance of Consumer Fraud Act violation. He or she would also need to reimburse the attorney general's office for costs incurred during the investigation and the legal action taken. Full restitution must also be made to the home owners.
12/8/09** How to Attack MERS and WIN! Livinglies MERS is all but dead with this single decision. Here are the salient points...
12/8/09 SEC Charges Former New Century Officers MortgageOrb The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged three former top officers of New Century Financial Corp. with securities fraud for misleading investors as New Century's subprime mortgage business was collapsing in 2006. At the time of the fraud, New Century was one of the largest subprime lenders in the nation.
12/7/09* Divorce yourself from your home! Chip Parker, Jacksonville Consumer Attorney Foreclosure mills try to oversimplify the very complex process of foreclosure.  My question is, if it’s so simple, why do I have hundreds of clients who have been fighting their foreclosures for years without making a single mortgage payment during the process?
12/7/09* Creative Accounting On Government’s Gain On TARP Funds Eugene S. Melchionne, Connecticut Consumer Lawyer So by repaying the money, lenders are free to continue to rampage the middle class, seize family homes and pay out huge bonuses to the executives for doing so.  As soon as the money is paid back, get ready for another wave of home foreclosures.  The worst is not over yet.
12/7/09* China Executes Rogue Trader

Should the US execute scammers and white collar criminals?

CRIENGLISH.com  A former Chinese securities trader charged with embezzling only $14.3 million dollars of public funds was executed in Beijing on Tuesday morning,
12/7/09** How to Use Lost Documents and Destroyed or Withheld Documents Livinglies NONE of these foreclosures are initiated by the creditor. All of these foreclosures are blatant in that they seek to steal the home without having advanced ONE PENNY to anyone for funding or buying the obligation. 

What you are missing is that there were two HUGE financial incentives to perform in what appears to you and others as erratic: (1) the huge yield spread premium between the aggregating pool and the SPV pool (that’s right there are ALWAYS TWO POOLS NOT ONE) and (2) the geometric steroidal profit rained on the investment banks who created these pools by leveraging insurance 30-70 times over. In simple terms the investment banks (NOT THE INVESTORS) received $30-$70 for each $1 in the promissory note that was funded for the benefit of the homeowner.

In other words, it was ONLY through failure of the pool that a $300,000 note could (a) be paid off with over $9 million (even if it wasn’t in default) through credit default swaps that are insurance but specifically excluded from official definitions of insurance or securities.

12/7/09 SEC Charges New Century's Former Officers With Fraud Structured Finance News According to a release from the SEC, it is devoting considerable resources to identifying and holding accountable those who committed fraud in the subprime industry. Previous mortgage-related SEC enforcement actions include securities fraud charges against Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo, and other  senior executives from other firms such as the CEO of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.
12/4/09

Bank of America Locks Out Homeowner Nora Muchanic A woman in Trenton is trying to put the pieces back together after being victimized by a mistake by her mortgage company which just happens to be the Bank of America.
12/4/09** Mary Schapiro Must Immediately Investigate The FDIC's Confidential Information Leak In Another Blatant Insider Trading Case, Then Resign Tyler Durden And the strangest thing is those who are executing on blatantly obvious material, non-public insider information, are no longer concerned the least bit about getting caught as they realize that the "mighty" SEC will do nothing against them, courtesy of the example the SEC has set by finding absolutely nobody "responsible" (except, of course, the regulator's own future employers who thus get immunity from prosecution) for the greatest market heist in history in which over $5 trillion has been transferred from the middle class to the Wall Street oligarchy (future providers of paychecks for SEC staffers).
12/3/09 Federal Lawsuits Seek to Invalidate Wayne County (Michigan) Sheriff Deeds Anita Belle

http://www.justice4homeowners.com

Because Michigan’s non-judicial foreclosure law does not permit civilian employees to conduct sheriff sales or sign sheriff deeds, some courts have set aside the Wayne County sheriff deeds as invalid. This is precisely what Thelma Belle and her daughter Anita Belle are asking federal Judge Julian A. Cook to do in their Eastern District Court of Michigan case, Belle & Belle v. First Franklin et al, 08-cv-11465.
12/3/09 Why Many Home Loan Modifications Fail FLOYD NORRIS

New York Times

And banks were supposed to refuse modifications if they could do better by foreclosing, whatever the effect on the borrower.
White paper

12/2/09

REWRITING FRANKENSTEIN
CONTRACTS
: WORKOUT
PROHIBITIONS IN RESIDENTIAL
MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES

ANNA GELPERN
ADAM J. LEVITIN
Modification-proof contracts boost commitment and can help
overcome information problems. But when such rigid contracts are
ubiquitous, they can function as social suicide pacts, compelling
enforcement despite significant externalities. At the heart of the current
financial crisis is a contract designed to be hyperrigid: the pooling and
servicing agreement (“PSA”), which governs residential mortgage
securitization.
12/1/09 Why Obama Won't Do What's Needed to Deal With the Mortgage Crisis

The loan servicing process is outsourced to a company that has no financial stake in the loans and has all sorts of incentives to play all sorts of tricks on the borrowers.

David Fiderer It’s clear that the size of this mortgage crisis dwarfs everything else, including healthcare reform, the war in Iraq and social security. America's $11 trillion in home mortgage debt is 45% larger than public debt owed by the federal government. And half of that $11 trillion was lent or guaranteed by Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It's not just the solvency of the GSEs that’s at stake; it's the health of the overall economy.
12/1/09** Prosecutors: Mortgage fraud focus formalizes partnerships Stella M. Hopkins

Charlotte Observer

Savage: Take lawyers participating in fraud, who are charging $400 and $500 per closing and causing millions and millions of dollars of losses. When we get a conviction, we then get a judgment for the amount of the loss that was caused - not the amount of money you made. And we're collecting money 20, 30, 40 years out.

You have to determine ... if the person made these statements that were false, not as a mistake but intentionally. That's the difference between a civil case and a criminal case - it wasn't a mistake, it was intentional.

11/30/09 Treasury gets tougher on home loan relief Glenn Somerville -Reuters The $75 billion taxpayer-financed program is aimed at slowing the pace of foreclosures. But there are frequent complaints that loan servicers are slow and lose or misplace paperwork that people have sent in.
11/30/09 Judge under boycott from DA Greg Moran

signonsandiego.com

San Diego Superior Court Judge John Einhorn, who has presided over many high-profile cases, including the Bird Rock Bandits trial and Cynthia Sommer saga, is under a boycott from the District Attorney’s Office.
11/28/09** Stacking the Deck Against Kids BOB HERBERT

NY Times

The American economy is broken, ruined by the greed and irresponsibility of fabulously wealthy corporate chieftains and their shabby acolytes and enablers in government. While Wall Street is handing out billions in bonuses, American families are struggling with joblessness, home foreclosures and rampant debt. The economic woes are exacting a fierce toll on family life, and children are taking a big hit — emotionally, psychologically and otherwise.
11/28/09 Mark Pittman, 52; reporter who foresaw subprime crisis

Public policy would be more effective if reporters, lawmakers, and citizens understood how the financial system worked and why the crisis happened, Mr. Pittman said

Bob Ivry
Bloomberg News
Mr. Pittman’s fight to make the Fed more accountable resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the public’s right to know about the central bank’s more than $2 trillion in loans to financial firms.
11/25/09 Bankers making turkeys out of taxpayers Dana Milbank

Washington Post

At this time last year, the American financial system was near collapse, rescued only by hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Now the system has stabilized, and the industry is on the verge of a coup that many would have thought impossible a year ago: an escape from any major reform of financial regulations.
11/25/09 Judge Tells ‘Vexatious’ Bank to Shove It Jessica Pressler New York Mag
11/24/09**

Judge Blasts Bank's Foreclosure Conduct and Cancels Mortgage

 

The Court's Order

Vesselin Mitev

New York Law Journal

If the case was simply dismissed, he wrote, the court "cannot be assured that Plaintiff will not repeat this course of conduct."

The judge concluded that the original principal amount of $292,500 "should be cancelled, voided and set aside," the mortgage be discharged and the bank barred from any attempt to collect on the note.

11/24/09

Presentation

Why There Is More Pain to Come T2 Partners LLC This presentation explores what happened and why, where we are today, and what the future likely holds.
11/22/09

 Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government

EDMUND L. ANDREWS - NY Times Americans now have to climb out of two deep holes: as debt-loaded consumers, whose personal wealth sank along with housing and stock prices; and as taxpayers, whose government debt has almost doubled in the last two years alone, just as costs tied to benefits for retiring baby boomers are set to explode.
11/22/09**
The Wave Is gathering force & could hit between the first & second quarter of 2010

Tell me which leader would dare admit that they have exchanged the nation’s wealth for toilet papers?

Matthias Chang

Global Research

And China was the biggest beneficiary. The senior management of Goldman Sachs brokered a secret pact with China’s leaders that in exchange for orchestrating the most massive injection of US dollar capital and wholesale re-location of manufacturing capacity in the history of the global economy, China would recycle their hard-earned US toilet paper reserve currency wealth into US treasuries and other US debt instruments.
11/20/09

Lawyer's Foreclosure Defense of Quiet Title faces tests

Jacksonville Business Journal - by Kimberly Morrison

“The note is often produced at some point in the litigation, but the real problem is, how did they get it? When did they get it? And did the transfer of ownership comport with federal and Florida law for the transfer of such negotiable instruments?”
In cases that are dismissed based on these arguments, foreclosure defense attorneys said lenders aren’t as eager to re-file the case. - Neil Garfield
11/20/09 An American Catastrophe BOB HERBERT

NY Times

Professor Shaiken and I drove past vast lots filled with rubble and garbage and weeds, past the old Michigan Central Terminal, which was once Detroit’s answer to New York’s Grand Central Terminal but which has long since been abandoned; past a onetime Cadillac manufacturing plant that is now an empty lot.
11/20/09 Wall Street Elite Bankers Will Take Out Trash on Thanksgiving Associated Press The investment bank is enjoying skyrocketing profits, with angry critics pointing to huge employee bonuses expected at year's end as evidence of the kind of greed that triggered the recession. A year ago, the firm received billions in federal bailout money. So far this year, it has set aside $16.7 billion for compensation — or about $530,000 per employee — and has set aside $23 billion for bonuses.
11/19/09 Wells Fargo to Repurchase $1.4 Billion of Securities: WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU CYRUS SANATI

NY Times

You can use this information by establishing “probable cause” in the mind of the Judge or jury right off the bat — we know they lied to investors, are we now supposed to believe they told the truth to the homeowners?
11/19/09 Hiring Boom In Mortgage Restructuring

Kyle Stock - WSJ

The various "players" in the GSE Business Model are in the process of playing musical chairs; each working the franchise to their own end by adjusting their roles. I wonder when the taxpayers will figure it out and hang all of them?
11/18/09

News Hub: Signs of Trouble for Housing Rebound

Bob Hagerty - WSJ

WSJ's Bob Hagerty discusses disappointing data on October housing starts and whether expectations of a rebound may have been premature.
11/17/09

Executive Order 13519—Establishment of

the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task

Force

President Obama

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to strengthen the efforts  of the Department of Justice, in conjunction with Federal, State, tribal, territorial, and local agencies, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes and other violations relating to the current financial crisis and economic recovery efforts, recover the proceeds of such crimes and violations, and ensure just and effective punishment of those who perpetrate financial crimes and violations, it is hereby ordered as follows:

11/17/09 HOW TO: Loan Audits and Qualified Attorneys Contributed by Rob Harrington
co-founder, LoanChex, Inc.
You need to find fraud and serious errors to build good pleadings, effective affirmative defenses, and viable counter-suits. Additionally, focus on securitization/ownership issues and fraudulent assignments. That’s the meaty stuff!
11/13/09** Action Taken Against Crooked Lawyers for Various Scams Rachel Dollar -Mortgage Fraud Blog The Loan Modification Task Force has received more than 1,250 complaints and is investigating almost 250 lawyers

Timothy Thurman was charged with creating and using a court order containing what he knew to be a forged signature of a federal judge.

Gary Davidson and Eric Douglas Johnson resigned after the Loan Modification Task Force filed charges.

Lucas Law Center and Future Financial Services collected advance fees under false pretenses, recklessly advised clients to stop making mortgage payments.

11/10/09 Unless Congress Acts -- The Courts Will Belong to Wall Street, Not Main Street Reed Kathrein CorpFraud We have staked out our position on the Supreme Court's continued chipping away at the ability of the investor to get redress for wrongs committed by corporate American. Let's just realize that our Supreme Court has been co-opted to protect corporations over individuals.
11/10/09

Banks Doubted a Lender, but Still Propped It Up

STEVE STECKLOW - WSJ Wall Street firms that agreed to pay $100 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of propping up American Business Financial Services Inc. had doubts about the subprime lender's business practices long before it collapsed,

When ABFS filed for bankruptcy in 2005, the uninsured notes became worthless, leaving 26,000 investors with more than $600 million in losses. Many of the investors were elderly.

11/10/09 More Bad News Coming Amilda Dymi

Mortgage Servicing News

Freddie Mac's chief economist Frank Nothaft said at the SourceMedia Loan Modification Conference in Dallas more bad news is coming in the mortgage market.

"We haven't seen the peak of the mortgage delinquency rates!"

Currently, he said, the serious delinquency rate, or number of loans 90 days plus late, which includes Freddie Mac loans, is the highest it has been since the 1930s.

11/9/09 Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein says firm is doing 'God's work' Douglas McIntyre

Daily Finance

This may seem like an audacious statement coming from a man whose company has been harshly criticized for planning to give many of its employees multi-million pay packages just a bit more than a year after the collapse of the credit markets.
11/9/09** With Feds, BofA's Lewis Met His Match CARRICK MOLLENKAMP and DAN FITZPATRICK – WSJ.com Mr. Lewis's legacy now is perched between that of a man who helped bolster the U.S. financial system during a crisis -- by buying two ailing financial firms, Merrill and Countrywide Financial -- and one who pursued too many controversial deals and left an important American institution in the lurch. Mr. Lewis declined to be interviewed.
11/4/09**

JPMorgan Settlement: Bank To Pay SEC Over $700M Over Charges Of Illegal Payments

Federal regulators' charge that JPMorgan made unlawful payments to friends of public officials to win municipal bond business in Jefferson County, Ala.

MARCY GORDON

Huffington Post
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday announced the settlement with Bailout recipient JPMorgan, which canceled interest-rate swap contracts with the county worth $700 million in March. The move lowers the county's bond debt to about $3.2 billion from $3.9 billion, but officials had no comment on whether that was enough to help the county avoid filing what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy ever.
11/4/09 Mortgage Bankers Post Huge Profits... Again Shahien Nasiripour

Huffington Post
The return of "junk fees" -- unnecessary fees tacked onto mortgages and eaten by borrowers -- also added to the increased profits, experts say. With fewer lenders in the market, borrowers are increasingly being forced to accept a loan on their lender's terms.
11/3/09

States Are Pondering Fraud Suits Against Banks

Every state prohibit fraud in consumer lending. The attorneys general are considering the theory that the banks essentially perpetrated a vast fraud on consumers.

N Y Times Frustrated by the banks’ inability or unwillingness to stop an avalanche of foreclosures, the states are considering lawsuits over the creation and marketing of millions of bad loans as well as the dismal pace of mortgage modifications.
11/3/09 California homeowners: exercising your right to default Nick Love

First Tuesday Journal Online

This article clarifies a homeowner’s contractual promise to repay purchase money debt and his contractual right to default, free of moral obligation.
11/2/09** Homeowners: "Hey Congress, Get Off Your A**" Richard Zombeck In reality, since the program's introduction in March, banks and loan servicers have done very little when it comes to follow through. There's very little incentive, oversight, and accountability when it comes to the actual paperwork.

Attorney Walter Hackett writes on his website how "a homeowner will be offered a 'workout' that can result in the homeowner being 'worked out' of his or her home." He explains it on his site.
11/2/09

Goldman takes on new role: taking away people's homes

McClatchey Newspapers Goldman spent years buying hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages, many of them from some of the more unsavory lenders in the business, and packaging them into high-yield bonds. Now that the bottom has fallen out of that market, Goldman finds itself in a different role: as the big banker that takes homes away from folks.
11/1/09**

Can Citigroup Carry Its Own Weight?

  

           ANDREW MARTIN 

          GRETCHEN MORGENSON 

                       NY Times

OVER the past 80 years, the United States government has engineered at least four rescues of the institution now known as Citigroup
11/1/09** Richmond Fed on the GSE’s – “They Encourage Defaults” Bruce Krasting -zerohedge The Richmond Fed produced a report that provides some useful information on the issue of non-recourse mortgage loans and their default rates. The report includes a State-by-State breakdown of the rules for defaulting.
11/1/09** How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash 

Investors discover what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments - were closer to junk.

Greg Gordon 

McClatchey Newspapers

In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.
11/1/09**
Foreclosure glut causing lawyer shortage

 

ELISHA SAUERS

hometownannapolis.com

The pileup of foreclosure cases glutting local courtrooms has exposed a growing problem with the legal system: There just aren't enough lawyers to go around for all the struggling homeowners who need the help.
11/1/09 Those near foreclosure need law on their side SF Gate Quiet as it's kept, if homeowners had more legal advice and legal power to negotiate with lenders, the foreclosure epidemic might have turned out to be as threatening as the common cold.
10/30/09 Injunction Sought to Keep A.I.G. Assets in State MARY WILLIAMS WALSH

New York Times

Lawyers in California asked a judge on Thursday to bar the American International Group from transferring money out of the state for 90 days, out of concern that the company may not have enough readily available assets to back its policies, as required by law.
10/30/09** Foreclosure Fraud - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You. Lane Houk The biggest problem is probably because the judicial is a player in this area of fraud.  Not as an active participant but rather as a guilty bystander.
10/29/09** When Things Get Rough Out There, Remember you are part of a long-term solution. livinglies We end up arguing over giving title to a party who admittedly doesn’t have one dime committed to the transaction and who stands to lose nothing. If the foreclosure goes forward, under their plan, they have the property, the investor has the loss, and the homeowner is homeless. And they never put up a dime.
10/29/09 Give watchdogs at several levels credit for battling to stop bank walkaways Cleveland Plain Dealer Reader comment: The court must level the playing field after years of lowering the bar to the financial institutions. If the bank is not the holder, throw them out of the court on the first day. It's the law and has always been the law.....the courts must forget the lucrative fees.
10/28/09

Judge lets huge WaMu securities lawsuit advance TIM KLASS -AP A judge has refused to dismiss a multibillion dollar securities fraud case against former officers, directors, accountants and underwriters of Washington Mutual Bank, which collapsed last year in the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.
10/28/09** Investors and Borrowers Unite! livinglies If you peal away the apparent differences you find that there is an inherent joinder of interest between investors and borrowers: both were deceived and both lost nearly everything they had by purchasing a financial product that was misrepresented — artificially inflated as to quality and value. And both were subject to the same MO — using third parties to create the appearance of propriety and conformity with the applicable laws, while the real purpose was simply to take the money and run.
10/28/09 U.S. foreclosures spike in new regions in 3rd qtr Lynn Adler - Reuters Some cities that haven't been a focal point of the foreclosure crisis showed steep increases in activity in the third quarter.
10/27/09**

Mortgage debt waived after bank can't find paperwork

 

Martha C. White

WalletPop

Real estate experts say this is a more common occurrence than many people realize, and the potential implications are huge.
The shambles that many banks' mortgage records are in today could cost them big -- and keep potentially thousands upon thousands of people from losing their homes.
10/27/09

NCLC Report on How Subprime Abuses and Scammers Now Hit Reverse Mortgages

Public Citizen Law blog The same subprime mortgage abuses and even the same individual scam artists are showing up in the reverse mortgage market, putting at risk the equity and savings of millions of seniors.  

WAKE UP AMERICA and look at what is happening!  All homes are at risk.

10/27/09

Torture charged in L.A.-area mortgage rescue case                           Reuters As Los Angeles housing advocates launched a campaign warning of mortgage rescue scams, a couple hit by foreclosure are charged with torturing two loan-modification agents they suspected of fraud, authorities said on Monday.
10/26/09**

 and IMAGES

"Showdown In Chicago": Protesters Crash Bankers Convention 

                    Huffington Post

"I think the bankers have their boot on the neck of American dream, to be honest. We've got neighborhoods in Chicago where we have 200 foreclosures per square mile... It's insane that the same financial institutions that created the foreclosure crisis, sent the economy into a tailspin and needed billions and billions in taxpayer bailouts are now leading the charge to kill financial reform. It makes no sense."
10/26/09 The Countrywide Files  

A revolt forces Ed Towns to subpoena the 'Friends of Angelo' documents.

                            WSJ

"In line with the commitment to an ethical and accountable Congress, the subpoena to Countrywide covers records that could show special treatment for Members of Congress." This is significant, because a compromise plan floated last week would have authorized a subpoena covering—don't laugh—all federal officials except members of Congress.

"the bankers couldn't have made the subprime lending mess without plenty of political help from Congress."

10/26/09

Your bank may have NO CLAIM to your home's TITLE - Good news for you - Bad news for them

Robert Paterson Many assume that “the bank” owns their home, and that may simply not be true. Again, I think there’s more fraud here than meets the eye, I think this entire situation is going to come unglued. The large banks are INSOLVENT, they passed off debt (their loan originations) to investors, but not legally, and yet they failed to carry sufficient reserves to back the loans. The entire industry was thus over-leveraged, and now that home prices have collapsed, the swamp is beginning to smell…
10/26/09

Economy Yielding ‘Very Angry’ People, Bankers Conference Told

     Alison Vekshin and John McCormick

                         Bloomberg

“We need to ensure that the robber barons that are responsible for this recession don’t get away with creating it and then declaring themselves a dividend,” Durbin told about 700 people gathered in a hotel ballroom.
10/25/09 The Government's Loan Modification Numbers Are A Total Sham Joe Weisenthal

The Money Game

Based on comments being made by industry participants and program results to date, HAMP is rapidly becoming: I will pretend to modify your loan if you pretend that you will make the payments.
10/25/09

Participants in a $12.8 million loan program have yet to close on a single home

 KIMBERLY MILLER

Palm Beach Post

"This is definitely a problem that we notice and acknowledge, but there isn't a whole lot that can be done about it right now," Fana said. "Some properties are being bundled up and sold to investors before they even make it to the market."
10/24/09**

If Lenders Say ‘The Dog Ate Your Mortgage’

           GRETCHEN MORGENSON Banks and borrowers still do battle over foreclosures on an unlevel playing field that exists in far too many courtrooms. But some judges are starting to scrutinize the rules-don’t-matter methods used by lenders and their lawyers in the recent foreclosure wave. On occasion, lenders are even getting slapped around a bit.
10/24/09

Organization holds protest against financial institutions in front of Newark bank

Bail out the Homeless - Not the Banks

            Sharon Adarlo

        The Star-Ledger

Holding protest signs as well as umbrellas, more than a dozen people braved today’s rain and rallied in front of downtown Newark’s Bank of America this morning in a first of a series of protests against foreclosures and misconduct by financial institutions.
10/24/09**

Judge Drops Borrower's Mortgage; Feeds $460k Sandwich to Lying Lender

Daily Kos For years, the banks and mortgage lenders have been running rough shod over borrowers, and recently their greed has exceeded decency, foreclosing on paid up houses, refusing to renegotiate terms) to the point that Bankruptcy Court Judges are calling them on the very details the banks used to slit the borrower's throat.
10/24/09**

US Judges Taking Closer Look at Foreclosures

NowPublic In a sign of what might be the next big shoe to drop on the shaky Wall Street financial markets, US judges in three different states have started looking into the securitization of home mortgages. The process of taking shaky mortgages and repackaging them as Triple A rated securities just might have been an example of being "too clever by half."
10/22/09

Class Claims Bank of America, Countrywide and BAC Destroyed Mortgage Records

          Courthouse News Service

Bank of America and Countrywide Home Loans destroyed mortgage documents, and "recreate" them by "insert(ing) data as they see fit," to cover up their own failure to keep records - or their fraud - according to a federal RICO class action.
     "To cover up the servicing mistakes and fraud and misrepresentation in the servicing of a consumer escrow, Defendants 'recreate' letters, insert data as they see fit, and fail to produce the entire HUD complaint form. This way, a consumer is left in the dark about the fraud that occurred to them," the complaint states.
10/22/09 Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Benefit From Servicing Hedging    Michael J. Moore - Bloomberg JPMorgan reported a $1.1 billion writedown of servicing rights, while it earned $1.53 billion on hedges. That helped the New York-based bank’s earnings rise to $3.59 billion from $527 million a year earlier.
10/21/09 SEC proposes to shed light on "dark pools" Rachelle Younglai

Reuters

U.S. securities regulators proposed rules to shed light on anonymous trading venues known as "dark pools," which have triggered concerns that only a privileged few are benefiting.
10/21/09 Foreclosure Prevention: Regulation NGA Center for Best Practices A number of states have anti-predatory lending laws, but many states found that during the housing boom, predatory lenders found ways to sidestep existing laws with new mortgage instruments. Hence, several states already have amended existing lending laws or enacted new statutes that address directly problems that contributed to the housing bust.
10/21/09

House panel says states can protect consumers

House panel votes to give states power to regulate large national banks to protect consumers

Ann Flaherty

Associated Press

Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat whose home state has been hit hard by foreclosures and mortgage scams, said she was not happy with the exemption provided under the latest proposal that would give large national banks a chance to appeal state laws.

"We should not be picking around the edges of consumer protections," she said. "We should be bold. We should be revolutionary."

10/20/09

Express Your Outrage At Showdown In Chicago

         globaleconomicanalysis

Those disgusted by the bank bailouts, and the bankers who brought us this recession, will have a chance to make their views known when the American Bankers Association has its annual meeting in Chicago, October 25-27. A large coalition of labor, community, and consumer organizations are organizing a protest at this "Showdown in Chicago"
10/20/09 Governor signs laws targeting fraud, shady lending Corinne Reilly / J.N. Sbranti

Modesto Bee

Gov. Schwarzenegger came to Merced — the heart of California's foreclosure meltdown — to sign eight laws that protect homeowners and consumers from mortgage fraud and abusive lending practices.
10/19/09

Woman Dies In Fire One Day Before Testifying In $20M Lawsuit Against JPMorgan Chase

Shelley Ng - WPIX.com Kuros, 44, filed her $20 million lawsuit against her firm Total Safety Consulting and JPMorgan Chase in July. When she complained about her work conditions, she was removed from her position and fired from the New Jersey firm. She was set to testify in court Monday.
10/16/09 Flushing Out the Ongoing Bank Fraud and Financial Terrorism ePluribus Media Here we are neck deep in debt to pay off the gambling debts of the bankers and now they are completely ignoring their very real losses that are piling up at a record rate simply so they can keep the bonus money flowing into their own pockets:
10/16/09

Arizona attorney general wins one for the homeowners Mike Leiby, The Independent Winer and his salespeople persuaded struggling homeowners to deed him their homes in return for assuming their monthly mortgage payments and paying off the full value of their delinquent payments.
10/16/09

Wall St. Is Winning: Elizabeth Warren "Speechless" About Record Bonuses

                Aaron Task 

               Tech Ticker

"I do not understand how financial institutions could think they could take taxpayer money and turn around and act like it's business as usual." 

"I have a real problem when we describe to taxpayers their money will be taken and used one way and in fact it's used another way," she declares.

10/16/09** Tying It Together: Massive, Pernicious Fraud

Will The Government do its lawful and mandated job, that of prosecuting the bad actors, or has it joined with the fraudsters, become one with them, and thus, declare itself as a gang of mobsters rather than a legitimate government?

Karl Denninger in Corruption

An Interest-Only note is not legally a mortgage as no principal paydown is contemplated or made and at the end of the term no conveyance to the putative owner takes place; likewise a "mortgage" where the borrower is qualified on a teaser rate for an "Option ARM" should have brought immediate criminal fraud charges to the purveyor, since there was no reasonable expectation by the firm writing it that the principal would be paid.  Indeed, such "buyers" were never homeowners, but rather were simply renting their properties from the bank!
10/16/09**

How to Set Aside Michigan Sheriff Sales

Anita Belle

preventingforeclosure.wordpress.com

  Although the Michigan statutes outline the precise steps by which lenders may foreclose, when lenders violate those rules, Michigan courts let the banks get away with “murder”, which in this case means they can deviate from the statutes and take your home with impunity.
10/16/09

Bank of America Reports $2 Billion Loss

CBS News Bank of America's earnings follow the pattern set this week by Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which also reported more loan losses during the third quarter. 
10/16/09

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis to forgo year's pay

                          REUTERS

Lewis is now besieged by legal probes into the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. late last year from the New York State attorney general and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
10/16/09 Recession Will Be 'Full-Blown Depression': Strategist

Wall Street is making money, while consumers aren't, Harajchi told CNBC.

CNBC.com "When it comes down to corporate America, corporate Europe or even in Asia, in Japan, we are not seeing Main Street making any money," he said. "Consumers are losing their jobs. They are struggling with their mortgages, with their credit. And we are just seeing this continuing."

10/15/09**

Ruling upheld on sale of property

livinglies Note: Anyone who underestimates the importance of Judge Long’s decision in Massachusetts and the combined effect with the Kansas and Arkansas Supreme Court decisions does so at their peril. Lawyers wake up! You are not just missing an opportunity, you are missing an important piece of due diligence that makes you vulnerable to claims from clients seeking advice.

Jenifer B. McKim, Globe Staff In a 27-page ruling, Justice Keith C. Long described a convoluted process in which mortgages for the two homes were transferred multiple times without being properly recorded, as required by state foreclosure law. He said any problems the banks now face to clean up title questions – which could include redoing the foreclosures altogether – are “entirely of their own making.’’

10/15/09

RULING COULD UNDO THOUSANDS OF FORECLOSURES Jerry Kronenberg

Boston Herald

A real estate judge is refusing to reverse a landmark ruling that opens the door to voiding tens of thousands of Bay State foreclosures dating as far back as 1989.
10/15/09 Rescue scams trap ever more desperate homeowners                          Reuters Now, rescue scams are costing homeowners money and wasting valuable months when they could be talking to their lenders about saving their homes -- delays that can cause unnecessary foreclosures and prolong the U.S. housing crisis.

10/15/09

Freddie Comments on the Final Report and Recommendations on Mortgage Foreclosure Cases

Florida law (Fla. Stat. 6733011) states that in order to enforce a debt , the Plaintiff need only be either the holder of the note secured by the mortgage or
a non-holder in possession of the note. Therefore. we recommend removing the requirement for plaintiffs to show that they own the note.

Freddie Mac Typically, the plaintiff in a foreclosure action does not own the underlying Note or loan that is secured by the property subject to the foreclosure proceeding Freddie Mac's servicers initiate foreclosure actions in their names, even though they are not the owner notes or loans in question, because they are the mortgagees as shown on the land records and they are the holders or otherwise in possession. 
10/15/09

While More People are Becoming Homeless, Wall Street is Handing Out Record Bonuses

Interview with William Black

                Democracy Now!

Major US banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their employees about $140 billion this year—a record high. But on Main Street, foreclosures are also at record levels, and the official unemployment rate is expected to top ten percent. 
10/15/09

41 people in 4 states charged in mortgage fraud

AP

A mortgage fraud crackdown announced Thursday resulted in the arrests of dozens of people, including six lawyers, seven loan officers and three mortgage brokers in four states.
10/14/09**

Audio

Following Up On Foreclosures

 

NPR When it comes to the issue of foreclosures, the government says loan modifications are on track. But many people who qualify for help are still losing their homes. Guests talk about how the wave of foreclosures has affected neighborhoods in the state of Ohio and across the nation.
10/14/09**

Judge reaffirms crucial foreclosure sale ruling

A Massachusetts Land Court justice's ruling today puts into question the ownership of hundreds -- and possibly thousands -- of foreclosed properties in the state.

Jenifer B. McKim, Globe Staff Justice Keith C. Long affirmed his own March decision that invalidated foreclosure proceedings involving two Springfield homes because the lenders did not hold clear titles to the properties at the time of sale.   Long described a convoluted process in which ownership of the mortgages changed multiple times without being properly recorded. He said the problems lenders now face are "entirely of their own making,"
10/14/09 Massachusetts Land Court Reaffirms Controversial Ibanez Ruling Invalidating Thousands Of Foreclosures Richard D. Vetstein Esq. When mortgages are packaged to Wall Street investors, the ownership of a mortgage loan may be divided and freely transferred numerous times on the lenders’ books.
10/14/09 Deck Stacked Against Homeowners

        Richard Zombeck

        Huffington Post

And what do you do when you ask for clarification and that same hero bank says they don't have a legal obligation to disclose the terms and if we don't like it they'll go ahead and foreclose and take our home? It seems that the deck, as Arianna points out, is most certainly stacked against us. 
10/13/09

Difficult Read of HAMP Deadline Numbers

           Amilda Dymi

    Mortgage Servicing News

Allowing a borrower to sign up trial loan modification papers as a way to buy time means higher and unnecessary loan investor losses, "because you're dragging that asset before it can be liquidated,"
10/13/09

Lenders and Regulators Reflect at Annual MBA Show: Nothing But Challenges Ahead

             Lew Sichelman

        National Mortgage News

The new MBA chairman called the global financial crisis a "runaway train" that has "everyone in the world on board.

"This is like nothing we've ever seen before," the Seattle mortgage banker said.

10/13/09**

Pinellas County foreclosure lawyer: Stop paying mortgage, save a bundle

Tampa Bay.com

It boils down to a simple series of steps: If you're heading for foreclosure, stop making your monthly house payments, hire a lawyer to frustrate the bank, and build a nest egg over a year with the deferred mortgage payments.

Perhaps best of all, you continue living in your house for free until the bank gets its act together. "When you know the black hole is out there, don't keep pouring your money into it,"

10/13/09

Bear Stearns

Wall Street on Trial: A Case That Could Falter

 

Also read Blog Comments

Dan Slater - NY Times For the blood-thirsty, there’s the specter of retribution for an act that some believe tipped the first domino in the global financial crisis. For those who think a bailout-happy Washington has taken it too easy on the financial sector, the prosecution of two hedge fund managers, ­ the era’s shadowy and iconic Wall Street players, ­ represents the first instance of government pushing back. And then there’s the legal community, eager to see whether an indictment so rich in seemingly damning e-mail messages will in fact yield guilty verdicts.
10/13/09

Bear Stearns CRIMINAL Case begins today MSFraud.org Page includes article above, Department of Justice Press Release and Prosecution's Motion.
10/12/09  California Cracks Down On Mortgage Fraud

•  New laws supposed to protect homeowners

•  ‘Helps crack down on abusive lending practices’

Central Valley Business Times Legislation to increase protections for consumers in the lending market and provide law enforcement with more tools to crack down on deceitful mortgage practices was signed into law Sunday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
10/12/09**

Governor Signs “Right To Counsel” Legislation

California Becomes Nation’s First State to Assure Lawyers in Civil Cases

California Assembly member Mike Feuer “This law helps ensure essential legal rights are not sacrificed simply because someone cannot afford to hire a private lawyer,” said Feuer.  “The current economic crisis and state budget cuts make this measure more critical than ever.  Timely access to legal services can keep a family in their home  which ultimately saves taxpayers money.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George said the signing of the legislation was welcome news for both the court system and unrepresented litigants in critical civil cases. “The growing number of unrepresented parties in lawsuits imposes significant costs on the courts and erodes the public's confidence in our system of justice,”

10/12/09 Nevada Takes Aim at Mortgage Fraud Carrie Bay - DSNews One of the primary goals of her taskforce is to bring community organizations together in the fight against mortgage fraud scammers, including local law enforcement, government agencies, and the private sector.
10/9/09** “Foreclosure: A Crisis in Legal Representation” by the Brennan Center for Justice Barbara Ann Jackson
Law & Grace, Inc
The following factual statements describe actual occurrences of Impediments to Justice, Wrongful Foreclosures and Evictions, Appalling Lender Abuses and Frauds, all in connection with foreclosure and repossession of real estate property.
10/9/09** Interview with 

Simon Johnson and Rep. Marcy Kaptur

Not only are many Americans still suffering the collapse of the housing market, they say, but Congress and the president haven't made the changes needed to prevent a much worse catastrophe sometime in the future.

pbs.org Let me give you a reality from ground zero in Toledo, Ohio. Our foreclosures have gone up 94 percent. A few months ago, I met with our realtors. And I said, "What should I know?" They said, "Well, first of all, you should know the worst companies that are doing this to us." "Well, give me the top one." They said, "JPMorgan Chase."
10/9/09 Have Banks No Shame? JOE NOCERA

NY Times

Simon Johnson, the former International Monetary Fund economist, now a prominent critic of the banking industry, is asked what he thought the banks owed the country after all the government bailouts.
10/9/09**

Foreclosure sales in limbo over title issue

Expected ruling may complicate transactions

                   Jenifer B. McKim

                  Globe Staff

A court decision expected as soon as today could negate the validity of sales of thousands of foreclosed homes in Massachusetts. At issue is proof of ownership at the time of a foreclosure sale.  Read the Decision.
10/8/09 Woman Blames Bank Of America For Husband's Death  Julian Hattem

The Huffington Post

The case is still underway, but on Tuesday the Floreas had a minor victory when a court barred the bank from filing foreclosure while the case is pending.
10/8/09 Could a Consumer Financial Protection Agency Have Prevented the Economic Crisis?

                 FinReg21

We would not permit grocers to sell contaminated food just because they listed the contaminants in a list of ingredients that few would pay attention to; why would we permit lenders to do the equivalent with toxic terms?
10/8/09

Washington Revives the Mortgage Cramdown

     Theo Francis - BusinessWeek

Others in the Senate are considering the temporary suspension of home-loan payments or brief monthly mortgage subsidies for unemployed homeowners.

10/7/09

Waking Up to Discover the Mortgage Market Was a Giant Criminal Enterprise


The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages.

Landmark National Bank v. Kesler

Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone This is a potentially gigantic story. It seems that a court has ruled that about half of the mortgage market has been run as a criminal enterprise for years, which would invalidate any potential foreclosure proceedings for about, oh, 60 million mortgages.

 The court ruled that the electronic transfer system used by the private company MERS — a clearing system for mortgages, similar to a depository, that is used for about half the mortgage market — is fundamentally unreliable, and any mortgage sold and/or transferred through MERS can't be foreclosed upon, at least not in Kansas.

10/5/09** Lack of Legal Help: One More Way the Deck Is Stacked Against Homeowners Arianna Huffington

Huffington Post

As bad as America's foreclosure crisis is -- and it's very bad, with over 300,000 homes receiving a foreclosure filing every month -- it's being made even more devastating by the lack of legal assistance available to beleaguered homeowners.
10/4/09** Ohio Supreme Court Lets Wells Fargo v. Jordan Stand. 

Foreclosure Plaintiffs Who Do Not Own the Mortgage at the Time of Filing Lack Standing to Pursue Cases

Former Ohio Attorney General

Marc Dann

In a significant victory for consumers and particularly victims of predatory lending the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday quietly let stand what may turn out to be a landmark decision prohibiting banks, trusts and other loan servicing entities who cannot prove ownership of a mortgage note from foreclosing on Ohio homeowners.
9/30/09

Bank May Have Lost Grandma's Money

Wells Fargo Refuses To Cash Her CD Worth $100K

Sarah Buduson
KPHO.com
Braunstein had been forced to put her home up for sale after she lost her nest egg in the 2008 Wall Street crash.

Now the bank is going after the rest of her money. MSF

9/30/09

Police Shoot, Kill Man Who Lost His Home Cara Liu
KPHO.com
“You’ve lost more than your home. You’ve lost something that you stand for, worked hard for and it didn’t work,” said Charlie Sykes, a neighbor.
9/30/09

Operators of Builder and Mortgage Company sentenced to Prison The Business Journal of Milwaukee The scheme ran from 2001 to about 2006 and included listing false bank account balances, false employment documentation and false loan information as part of efforts to deceive lenders as to the applicants' financial condition and ability to make down payments.
9/29/09** United Law Group Provides Over $1 Million in Pro Bono Services to Homeowners in Need UnitedLawGroup.com The cases involved litigating on behalf of desperate homeowners that had nowhere else to turn.  In each of these cases, the litigation advanced precedents for newly enacted homeowner friendly laws.
9/28/09

Review

Review: "Capitalism: A Love Story" is High Art, Demands Action from Americans

Americans are seen being “robbed” by banks or having their homes foreclosed on.

      OpEdNews: Kevin Gosztola

A foreclosure happens once every 7.5 seconds. Rep. Marcy Kaptur is featured in the film advocating for open rebellion as she says from the House floor to Americans, “don't leave your home” unless the bank foreclosing on you can physically produce your mortgage.
9/27/09** Waking up to discover the mortgage market

was a giant criminal enterprise

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

This is a potentially gigantic story. It seems that a court has ruled that about half of the mortgage market has been run as a criminal enterprise for years, which would invalidate any potential forelosure proceedings for about, oh, 60 million mortgages.
9/27/09** Gretchen Explains MERS for You Barry Ritholtz

The Big Picture

As cases filed by MERS grew, lawyers representing troubled borrowers began questioning how an electronic registry with no ownership claims had the right to evict people.
9/27/09** The Mortgage Machine Backfires

"it is increasingly up to the nation’s courts to examine the dubious practices that guided the mania.

         GRETCHEN MORGENSON

              The New York Times

The court was unsympathetic. In January 2007, it found that Sovereign’s failure to register its interest with the county clerk barred it from asserting rights to the mortgage after the judgment had been entered. The court also said that even though MERS was named as mortgagee on the second loan, it didn’t have an interest in the underlying property.
9/25/09** Mortgage Servicing Fraud; What is it? And why you need to know... Guest Blogger: Mike Dillon
GiveMeBackMyCredit.com
As far as why a company would do this, the answer is both simple and yet complex. It all comes to down to money. For years consumers have been duped into believing that defaulted loans and foreclosure are not profitable for "the bank" when, in some instances, it is absolutely more profitable than allowing the borrower to pay off his/her loan especially when taking into consideration the various manners of insurance and/or investment "shorting" and/or "hedging" in which both note holders and servicers are allowed to engage.
9/25/09 Mortgage Fraud Task Force Secures First Indictment KRISTIAN FODEN-VENCIL 

OPB News

Julian Ruiz, the owner of American Home Modifications, faces 17 counts of aggravated theft; mortgage fraud; identity theft; forgery and criminal possession of a forged document.
9/24/09 The Next Subprime Mortgage Bubble Courtesy Of The FHA Shah Gilani

nuwireinvestor

The first time around, the three-headed federal serpent – the Bush administration, the Treasury Department and the U.S. Federal Reserve – used Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac  to “legitimize” trillions of dollars worth of toxic financial waste known as subprime mortgages.
9/24/09 The Trouble With MERS iamfacingforeclosure.com LFI has done audits whereby it was determined that Notary Fraud was present with regard to the signing of the Deed of Trust. This immediately made the Deed of Trust void, and as a result, the Note was then “Unsecured Debt”, and the property was unable to be foreclosed upon. There is even question as to if the Note is void as well.
9/24/09** Big Trouble in Kansas with MERS Sinclair Noe

Have the banks been stealing homes?  An important legal question handed down by the Kansas Supreme Court indicates that the bankers and their proxies have been stealing houses; lots and lots of houses.

9/24/09** Reversing Default livinglies The point must be made, and the evidence must be allowed, that the pretender lenders are gaming the system every day and literally stealing homes from both homeowners and investors who thought they had an interest in those homes when they bought mortgage backed securities.

Other Judges see the inherent unfairness and the denial of due process when the homeowner raises objections that the pretender lender had no right to foreclose, did so improperly and essentially stole the title abusing state process and creating a fraud upon the court and everyone else. But the application of this approach has been inconsistent and uneven. - Neil Garfield Esq.

9/23/09 The Dramatic Increase In Mortgage Fraud: SubPrime Crisis Brings Out The Worst In People; Would The Death Penalty Stop It? Charles Feldman  

biggerpockets.com

Now, if we go just one step further and impose the death penalty on executives at institutions who think it is cool to give mortgages to people who could never in a million years pay them off, I believe we could produce in this country something I like to call, negative mortgage fraud–or NMF for short.
9/23/09

Former N.Y. legislator indicted on insurance fraud, other charges Keith L. Martin - ifawebnews He and 16 other co-defendants are charged with defrauding lending institutions by using forged documents, false employment and income information on mortgage applications, straw buyers, false powers of attorney, deed flipping and mortgage stacking.
9/23/09 Moody's Whistleblower: Ratings Are Still Inflated, Nothing's Changed The Huffington Post  

Ryan McCarthy

Former Moody's analyst Eric Kolchinsky is prepared to testify that Moody's is continuing to issue artificially high ratings for Wall Street's controversial debt securities. Though the SEC recently proposed new rules for credit rating agencies, there is growing concern among many that the reforms don't go far enough.
9/22/09 Speeding Up Foreclosures With Technology Anthony Garritano

Mortgage Servicing News

With the spate of defaults expected to rise next year, not every homeowner can be saved with a modification or a refinance, no matter what Washington says. So, foreclosures will increase and lenders need to get those assets off their books as quickly as possible.
9/22/09 Waking up to discover the mortgage market was a giant criminal enterprise Matt Taibbi It seems that a court has ruled that about half of the mortgage market has been run as a criminal enterprise for years, which would invalidate any potential foreclosure proceedings for about, oh, 60 million mortgages. The court ruled that the electronic transfer system used by the private company MERS — a clearing system for mortgages, similar to a depository, that is used for about half the mortgage market — is fundamentally unreliable, and any mortgage sold and/or transferred through MERS can’t be foreclosed upon, at least not in Kansas.

Landmark Decision: Massive Relief for Homeowners and Trouble for the Banks

A landmark ruling in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case may have given millions of distressed homeowners the legal wedge they need to avoid foreclosure. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 2009 Kan. LEXIS 834, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a nominee company called MERS has no right or standing to bring an action for foreclosure.

Ellen Brown, JD  MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages. That is the number of American mortgages currently reported to be held by MERS. Over half of all new U.S. residential mortgage loans are registered with MERS and recorded in its name. Holdings of the Kansas Supreme Court are not binding on the rest of the country, but they are dicta of which other courts take note; and the reasoning behind the decision is sound
Bank Fraud Whistleblower Fired after Exposing Ponzi Scheme ConsumerWarningNetwork It was one of the biggest land development frauds ever in the state’s history. She was fired after reporting what she found to the FBI. 
9/21/09** Emotional distress claims permitted under RESPA Headline News Judge Dohnal looked to other cases that have examined § 2605(f) and noted that other courts have consistently found that actual damages includes emotional distress damages. He pointed to several specific cases indicating this, including Wright v. Litton Loan Servicing LP, where the court concluded that actual damages includes damages for non-economic loss, such as pain, suffering and emotional distress, and Ploog v. HomeSide Lending Inc., where the court said “RESPA’s actual damages provision includes recovery for emotional distress.”

9/21/09**

Movie opens nationwide Oct. 2

Capitalism: A Love Story

Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)!

"The knot in your stomach starts to tighten -- and the outrage starts to build."

Arianna Huffington

Huffington Post

The film is a withering indictment of the current economic order, covering everything from Wall Street's casino mentality to for-profit prisons, from Goldman Sachs' sway in Washington to the poverty-level pay of many airline pilots, from the tidal wave of foreclosures to the tragic consequences of runaway greed.
9/21/09** Have Third Parties Paid Off All or Most of the Mortgages ?

 “were these mortgage debts paid by third parties; and what rights does the taxpayer have to recover the payoff to Wall Street firms?” 

livinglies Where did these profit come from when economic activity is obviously sagging. Wall Street makes money when money moves, or at least that is the way it is supposed to work. This time it is different. Wall Street made money regardless of movement, and is still doing it. Take a look at the following compilation of the total reported money ($11.3 Trillion) that moved into Wall Street from the U.S. taxpayers and the Federal Reserve.
9/20/09 $30 Billion home loan TIME BOMB set for 2010

               Carolyn Said

         Chronicle Staff Writer

Next year, many option ARM payments will begin to readjust, slamming borrowers with dramatically higher monthly mortgage bills. Analysts say that could unleash the next big wave of foreclosures - and home-loan data show that the risky loans were heavily used in the Bay Area.
9/20/09**

After crash, loan officers are reined in

               Catherine Reagor 

            The Arizona Republic

Too many loan officers pushed mortgages that weren't safe or smart for borrowers and collected higher fees on the riskiest mortgages. Hundreds of thousands of those loan documents were later found to be fraudulent, with exaggerated incomes, forged signatures and inflated property values.
9/19/09**

LANDMARK DECISION PROMISES MASSIVE RELIEF FOR HOMEOWNERS AND TROUBLE FOR BANKS Ellen Brown - JD The pirates seem to have captured the ship, and until now there has been no one to stop them. But 60 million mortgages with fatal defects in title could give aggrieved homeowners and securities holders the crowbar they need to exert some serious leverage on Congress – serious enough perhaps even to pry the legislature loose from the powerful banking lobbies that now hold it in thrall.
9/18/09 STATE BAR TAKES ACTION TO AID HOMEOWNERS IN FORECLOSURE CRISIS

16 attorneys who are under investigation for misconduct related to loan modification

State Bar of California The State Bar of California, alarmed by the number of lawyers preying on vulnerable homeowners, today identified 16 attorneys who are under investigation for misconduct related to loan modification. “In my 21 years in attorney discipline, I have not seen a crisis of this magnitude. It is truly unprecedented,” said Interim Chief Trial Counsel Russell Weiner, who is waiving investigation confidentiality in favor of public protection. The waiver, allowed by law, is used only occasionally, but Weiner said the seriousness of the problem demanded a strong reaction by the bar in order to protect consumers. This is the first time the names of more than a few lawyers being investigated have been made public.
9/17/09 It's Time To Reinstate Aiding and Abetting Liability Against Those Who Help Securities Fraud Reed Kathrein

CorpFraud

Now is the time, if ever, for Congress to pass legislation that would reinstate aiding and abetting liability for accountants, lawyers, and others who help corporate executives commit securities fraud that harm investors. The public is outraged from watching all those who assisted in the market meltdown walk away with their huge bonuses.
9/17/09 "Option" mortgages to explode, officials warn Lisa Lambert - Reuters "It's the other shoe," he said. "I can't say it's waiting to drop. It's dropping now."
9/16/09**

Kansas Supreme Court Sets Precedent – Key Decision Confirming Livinglies’ Strategies

livinglies

Comments by attorney Neil Garfield, 

Court opinion by J. Rosen

 

The moral of the story is that those encumbrances (mortgages) don’t exist in most cases; the foreclosures were all fatally flawed, the people who have been chased out of their homes, still own those homes, and the parties seeking to enforce the note can do so only as unsecured creditors and only if they prove that they lent the money that funded the loan and only if they are willing to be subject to counterclaims, cross claims, affirmative defenses and defenses of the borrower relating to predatory lending, appraisal fraud, securities fraud, rescission under all available theories of law, damages, treble damages, punitive damages, exemplary damages and consequential economic damages.

9/16/09 UNBELIEVABLE BREAKING NEWS: Senior Couple Being Screwed Royally By Mortgage Servicer – Specialized Loan Servicers MandelmanMatters A simple mistake… they didn’t credit the Prices for having made their August and September mortgage payments, even though they most certainly did, just like they always had, and on time too.  Incredibly, less than five months later they had lost their home to foreclosure.
9/16/09

 

STEPHEN BERANRD - AP

The New York Attorney General's office subpoenaed five members of Bank of America  Corp.'s board of directors Wednesday as part of an investigation into the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch  & Co.,
9/15/09 One Year Later: What has changed, and what hasn't

Tim Catts

It's easy to find old problems that are still simmering, as well as recent changes that may or may not be for the best.
9/15/09 Mortgage Mishap: A home loan nightmare

Sonya Heitshusen - WHOTV

"We were freaking. We don't know whose scamming, maybe everybody is. But we were freaking out," says Kim. "We wanted to refinance again to get out of the whole mess." The Schrodt's say it took several calls to Freddie Mac to learn Cenlar is indeed servicing their loan. As for Roundpoint - neither Freddie Mac nor the Schrodt's know how Roundpoint go their loan information. Neither does Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller.
9/14/09

Texas Man Convicted of Mortgage Fraud; Sentenced With 25 Years Imprisonment

seenonrealestate

The man was found guilty for mortgage fraud related offenses which include Securing Execution of a Document by Deception, Money Laundering, and False Statement to Obtain Property and Credit.
9/14/09

Foreclosure Judge Helps Homeowners

Angie Moreschi:

ConsumerWarningNetwork

Too often what he finds are homeowners who’ve been give the royal run-around from lenders that won’t work with them and banks that have been so careless with a borrowers paperwork they can’t prove they have a right to foreclose.
9/14/09 Risk-taking Is Back For Banks 1 Year After Crisis Huffington Post Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and others -- which have received tens of billions of dollars in federal aid -- are once more betting big on bonds, commodities and exotic financial products, trading that nearly stopped during the financial crisis.
9/12/09 How the Giants of Finance Shrunk, Then Grew, Under the Financial Crisis

      KARL RUSSELL and SHAN CARTER

                     New York Times

$1.87 Trillion

Market Capitalization of 29 of the biggest financial firms at the stock market's peak.

9/11/09 Fraud on the Court — Reversing the Tide livinglies

Cheaters should not be allowed to prosper has long been central to the moral fabric of our society and one of the underpinnings of our legal system.

9/11/09 WHY “LOAN MODS” ARE NOT BEING ACCEPTED: BANKS MAKING MORE MONEY ON FORECLOSURES Jeff Barnes, Esq. A modified loan does not result in any money to the brokers, appraisers, trustee sale companies, or foreclosure mill law Firms.
9/10/09

Former Virginia Beach Attorney Sentenced to 66 Months for Mortgage Fraud crimereportusa She was also sentenced to serve a three-year period of supervised release after her incarceration and to pay $708,339.60 in restitution. Cardwell pled guilty to committing wire fraud.
9/10/09

Ohio Attorney General Continues Lawsuits Against Lenders

             JusticeNewsFlash.com 

Ohio government lawyers crusade against unsavory business practices by lenders to stop the foreclosure crisis.

Ohio business litigation attorney-Ohio Attorney General will sue mortgage companies for unfair business practices that increased foreclosure rates.

9/10/09

Court orders UBS to post $35 mln bond in fraud case Reuters Superior Court Judge John Blawie found probable cause that UBS used secret insider information obtained from its relationship with ratings agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's to commit securities fraud in the sale of collateralized debt obligation notes to Pursuit.
9/10/09 Why Are Your Bank Fees Going Up? John Newcomer

ConsumerWarningNetwork

Not only did we shoulder the costs of the bank bailout as taxpayers, but now as bank customers we get to pick up the tab for the failed banks with higher fees.
9/9/09 Ore. AG wins mortgage fraud prosecution grant AP Attorney General John Kroger has won a federal grant to help prosecute mortgage fraud as part of his effort to help Oregonians stay in their homes.
9/9/09

White paper

FORECLOSURE, SUBPRIME MORTGAGE LENDING, AND MERS Christopher L. Peterson THE ORIGIN AND OPERATION OF MERS

THE QUESTIONABLE LEGAL FOUNDATION OF MERS

  1. MERS Does Not Own Legal Title to Mortgages Registered On Its Database
  2. MERS Lacks Standing to Bring Mortgage Foreclosures
9/9/09 Feds Charge Philanthropist With $11 Million Mortgage Scam APP The president and CEO of Worldwide Financial Resources has been charged with wire fraud, after federal authorities say he devised a mortgage fraud scam that netted his company more than $11 million in illegal profits.
9/8/09 A year after financial crisis, the consumer economy is dead Kevin G. Hall

 McClatchy Newspapers

Many analysts also think that an extended period of slow job growth and suppressed wage growth will keep consumers — and the businesses that sell to them — in the dumps for years.
9/8/09** Wells Fargo Under Fire for Denied Modifications

The kind of story I hear from this debtor is one that I and other bankruptcy judges around the country are hearing over and over and over again.”

Carrie Bay

DSNews

In a fairly unusual move, a senior Wells Fargo executive was summoned to court by a bankruptcy judge late last week to answer pointed questions about the bank’s mortgage modification practices.  Ohayon found himself in the hot seat when records produced from Giguere in front of the judge contradicted earlier statements he’d made.
9/8/09 Rise in Toxic Asset Prices May Set Back Government-Funded Purchases Darrell Delamaide

DSNews

The administration’s plan to take toxic assets off banks’ balance sheets may be set back by an unexpected Catch-22 – prices of these assets have risen in the past several weeks, partly in anticipation of the government-funded plan, experts say.
9/5/09 The Widening Gap In America’s Two- Tiered Society Emily Spence

Most of the time, though, no action is usually undertaken to correct the situation when

directors of major companies carry out activities that are, obviously, right on or over the edge of

fraudulent practices.

9/4/09** Modification Fraud — the latest game in town livinglies ONLY a default will trigger the credit default swaps that “insure” your obligation along with hundreds or thousands of others. And they have “insured” your loan as much as thirty times over. So if your loan is $300,000 it is possible that they get as much as $15 million — but only if you are in default (or at least only if the pool defaults on the obligation owed to the investors). They can’t get that money if your loan is modified. And even if your particular loan is not delinquent or in default, as long as the pool defaults, they still get paid.
9/4/09 Judges’ Frustration Grows With Mortgage Servicers JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF - NYT  
9/4/09** The Rise Of Fed-Up Judges

The judges are fighting back.

Arthur Delaney

Huffington Post

Several reports over the last few days have featured judges who have gotten fed up with the shoddy paperwork turned in by banks that are trying to take back properties from hard-luck homeowners. The judges are fighting back.
9/3/09

Ex-Cowboy linebacker arrested in mortgage scam
ANABELLE GARAY
(AP)
The scheme started in February 2001 and involved obtaining loans to buy distressed or pre-foreclosure properties sold at inflated prices. The defendants kept the surplus loan proceeds, according to the federal indictment.
9/3/09 Unite consumers and let your voices be heard! Denise Richardson

givemebackmycredit.com

Stop being a victim, and start being an activist. Your story, your voice, your vote can make a difference, but first you have to get connected. Start that journey today by registering for the Consumer Empowerment Conference and Expo!
9/3/09 CEO’s Make 300 Times Average Workers Salary Angie Moreschi

ConsumerWarningNetwork

Making matters even tougher to choke down, the overall CEO-to-worker pay gap is enormous.  S&P CEO’s in 2008 earned 319 times more than the average worker.
9/2/09 Bank Of America Asks Armless Man For Thumbprint, Then Denies To Cash His Check Huffington Post Bank of America insisted that Mr. Valdez provide a thumbprint to verify his identity, which he was unable to do because he was born with no arms.
9/2/09 Suit filed against law firm in Florida fraud case Associated Press A court-appointed receiver in the case of a Sarasota man accused of bilking investors of up to $350 million is suing the firm (Holland & Knight) that represented the hedge funds for failing to protect investors.
9/2/09 Bank CEOs Paid More Than S&P 500 Chiefs, Study Shows Steve Geimann

Bloomberg

Lenders including Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. (two of the worst pretender lenders responsible for the mortgage/economic meltdown) paid CEOs an average of $13.8 million last year, topping the $10.1 million for S&P 500 leaders, according a report released today by the Institute for Policy Studies. Average CEO pay was 430 times larger than for typical workers.
9/2/09 Bailed-out CEOs Pocket Millions, Lay off Hundreds of Thousands James Parks Public officials in Congress and the White House hold the pin that could pop the executive pay bubble. They have so far failed to use it.
9/1/09 If only someone had been listening…. livinglies The essence of the scam is simple: put the risk on some unsuspecting schmuck and take all the money. It is the middlemen — the accounting firms, the law firms, the rating agencies, the investment bankers, and yes, the banks that clean up. They never take the loss.
9/1/09 'Cross-Qualifying' Helps Banks Poach REO Loans Kate Berry

Managing REO

As the largest banking companies try to unload thousands of distressed properties, they are using a controversial practice that can win them new loans and has competitors crying foul.
8/31/09 The Loan Modification Run-around; Wrecked Credit and Foreclosures Denise Richardson

GiveMeBackMyCredit.com

Michelle McCloskey and Michele Cheverez both tried to get loan modifications with Litton Loan. And both were ignored or stalled until it was too late. Foreclosure proceedings began, leaving them with wrecked credit and the loss of homes they'd lived in for years.
8/31/09 Foreclosure: Losing the American Dream

Homeowners get the run-around when they seek mortgage modifications

Mc Nelly Torres
ConsumerAffairs.com
She tried to modify her $411,000 mortgage to lower the monthly payment after she lost income. But Litton Loan Servicing denied the application because she was not delinquent on her payments.
8/31/09 Home Loan Modification Run-Around Continues

Homeowners Trapped in Unworkable Work-outs

Angie Moreschi:

Consumer Warning Network

This is just another scam to make the public think the BAILED OUT banks are using the free money to help.  They are not.  MSF 
8/31/09 Justice Department to Recharge Civil Rights Enforcement CHARLIE SAVAGE

New York Times

The Obama administration is planning a major revival of high-impact civil rights enforcement against policies, in areas ranging from housing to hiring, where statistics show that minorities fare disproportionately poorly.
8/31/09**

A ‘Little Judge’ Who Rejects Foreclosures, Brooklyn Style MICHAEL POWELL

New York Times

Justice Schack’s take is straightforward, and sends a tremor through some bank suites: If a bank cannot prove ownership, it cannot foreclose.

“If you are going to take away someone’s house, everything should be legal and correct,” he said.

8/31/09 Ex-Judge Stays Out of Jail While Helping With Fraud Cases The Associated Press Judge Fisher and former real estate agent Jim Pruett pleaded guilty to a scheme of falsifying mortgage application documents. Pruett was sentenced and died in prison in 2007.
8/31/09**

Foreclosure: Losing the American Dream

Homeowners get the run-around when they seek mortgage modifications

Mc Nelly Torres
ConsumerAffairs.com
But Litton Loan Servicing denied the application because she was not delinquent on her payments.
8/31/09

Facing Mortgage Foreclosure? Beware of Scams! Peter Orville, New York Consumer Attorney

Instead, these alleged scammers took out extra mortgages on the properties and pocketed the money.  When the banks actually foreclosed, the former homeowners were evicted.

All eight named in the indictment plead not guilty to charges of grand larceny, fraud and conspiracy and face from 5 to 15 years in prison

8/30/09 Collin County attacking Mortgage Fraud? ED HOUSEWRIGHT

Dallas Morning News

This article covers fraud only against lenders. Collin County is ignoring the fraud committed by pretender lenders.
8/28/09 SEC Said to Pick Texas Professor Hu to Oversee Risk Analysis Joshua Gallu, Jesse Westbrook and David Scheer

Bloomberg

The SEC has drawn fire from Congress for missing Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme and for letting Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. load up on mortgage- backed securities before they collapsed last year.
8/28/09 HOLDING WALL STREET BANKERS ACCOUNTABLE  Jim High
8/26/09 AIG's Greenberg Settlement, Spitzer's Folly

The SEC not only failed to make a criminal case against Greenberg but also failed to charge him with civil fraud.

James R. Copland - Forbes AIG was accused of inflating earnings and insurance loss reserves while obscuring actual underwriting losses. The allegations that appear front and center in the SEC's complaint--alleged sham transactions entered into between AIG and General Re.
8/26/09 Subprime Culprits Are Modifying Loans With Taxpayer Money Center For Public Integrity Countrywide Financial, formerly considered the nation's largest subprime lender, thus far is eligible to receive about $5.2 billion, according to Treasury Department data.

Last year Countrywide agreed to put up about $8.4 billion to modify troubled home mortgages in a settlement reached with 11 state attorneys general. The states had sued alleging consumer fraud; it's the largest predatory-lending settlement in history.

8/26/09

The Foreclosure Rescue Mirage

How the government’s flagship homeowner relief program hangs borrowers out to dry.

       Andy Kroll - Mother Jones Saxon Mortgage had first told him to stop making mortgage payments in order to qualify for a modification, then attempted to foreclose on his home when he followed the company's instructions—the first of several foreclosure attempts by the company.
8/26/09 Taylor Bean’s Mortgage Bonds Fail to Pay Investors Jody Shenn - Bloomberg  
8/26/09 From Bank of America, Two Different Stories About Tracking Bailout Funds Huffington Post Investigative Fund  

Ben Protess

Bank of America told the Treasury Department in May that it couldn't follow the money it received through the government's $700 billion bailout program because those funds "are part of our operating capital" and "cannot effectively be segregated."

But two weeks ago, inside a federal courthouse in Manhattan, Bank of America had a different story. According to news accounts of the hearing, the bank's lawyers promised Judge Jed S. Rakoff that the financial giant would not use taxpayer dollars to make a $33 million payment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

8/25/09 US judge tells Bank of America, SEC to reveal more on bonuses

Judge asks why bank settled if it did nothing wrong

Jonathan Stempel and Joe Rauch Reuters The judge also questioned the SEC effort to end its civil case, suggesting it might be unreasonable to let off company executives and their lawyers without penalty.

By questioning motivations behind the Aug. 3 settlement, the judge threw a spotlight on regulators' willingness to settle with companies that do not admit wrongdoing.

8/25/09 Clerk: $18M due to foreclosed homeowners ABC News -Chicago Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown says her office has found more than $18 million in mortgage surplus money that belongs to people who lost their homes to foreclosure in the last two decades.
8/24/09 Homeowners Continue to Speak Out Against Mortgage Servicing Industry Denise Richardson

givemebackmycredit.com

I cried many times because of this situation.  We thought we had done everything right and we still found ourselves with everyone else in Foreclosure Land
8/24/09 Closed mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

              myfoxla.com

Taylor Bean also was barred from selling and servicing mortgages, with servicing transferred to other providers.
8/24/09

Bank of America Case on Bonuses Shifts Focus to Lawyers

                    LOUISE STORY 

                   New York Times

He has the power to decide whether to approve a $33 million settlement reached between Bank of America and the S.E.C. over the bank’s failure to disclose the bonuses to its shareholders.
8/24/09 Federal Reserve loses suit demanding transparency Reuters The case arose when two Bloomberg News reporters submitted requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) about actions the Fed took to shore up the financial system in 2007 and early 2008, including an expansion of lending programs and the sale of Bear Stearns Cos to JPMorgan Chase & Co
8/23/09

Plain Talk From Judge Weighing Merrill Case

Jed S. Rakoff, a United States District Court judge in Manhattan, is not one to rubber-stamp administrative decisions.

LOUISE STORY

New York Times

Judge Rakoff is tussling with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America, which will both file reports to him Monday detailing who knew what about $3.6 billion in bonuses paid out by Merrill Lynch just before Bank of America took it over last year.
8/23/09 What to do if your mortgage is sold to another lender Lew Sichelman - LA Times Under the National Affordable Housing Act, you should receive a "goodbye" letter from your current servicer at least 15 days before your next payment is due. The letter must state the name, address and telephone number of the new servicer, the date the old company will stop collecting payments and the date the new company will start accepting them.
8/23/09 Fraud inquiries can take back seat Tom Lyons

Herald Tribune

And so, a case in which no one was killed or maimed or terrorized, and in which the victim is a bank and the potential defendant isn't in jail awaiting trial, almost has to get pushed aside, he said. [That is the attitude that created this mess.MSF]
8/22/09 County Recorder Takes Part in Fraud Prevention Program Knox County Public Information Office Property and Mortgage fraud is a fast growing area of white collar crime. It can be as simple as someone filing a false document to give the appearance that they own your property. Then, they borrow money against it, or sell it and collect the payment without the true owner knowing what is going on.
8/21/09

Kissimmee Foreclosure Rescue Company Sued for Fraud

- A copy of the lawsuit

- A template of the complaint affidavit

Florida Attorney General 

Bill McCollum

“Preying on people about to lose their homes and tricking them into believing that genuine help is being offered is cause for outrage” said Attorney General McCollum. [A bigger outrage is banks stealing homes they do not own. MSF]
8/21/09 Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Company forced to close Jacksonville Business Journal The cease and desist order forces the residential mortgage company to cease foreclosure proceedings, assessing late charges and reporting late payments to any credit bureau.
8/21/09 Mortgage defaults soar to record 13%

In the second quarter, the number of homeowners behind on payments or in foreclosure rose along with the jobless rate

LA Times The issue is that many of the foreclosures involve homes that are vacant, borrowers who no longer have jobs, or loans where there was fraud involved," Brinkmann said.
8/20/09

JPMorgan Chase Defrauded Customers

kamberedelson.com A class action lawsuit filed in an Illinois federal court today alleges JPMorgan Chase Bank engaged in fraud to deny customers access to millions of dollars in their previously approved home equity lines of credit. The bank intentionally used falsified home appraisals to freeze home credit lines, according to the suit.
8/20/09** BofA’s Countrywide loses court ruling on mortgages

Modifications Not Authorized By Investor May be Invalid

The Complaint

Reuters Investors who own mortgage securities typically receive interest and principal payments. If servicers modified the underlying loans to reduce borrower obligations, investors would be harmed because they would receive lower payments.
8/20/09

Countrywide Decision: Investor is owner of loan livinglies [a]s we have said all along here, the servicers don’t have the right or authority to actually negotiate and execute a loan modification.  And third it shows that the investor who bought bonds that were mortgage backed securities are the OWNERS OF THE LOAN.
8/20/09

Countrywide Loses Ruling in Loan Suit wavelandwatchers But it turned out that Bank of America owned only a small portion of the mortgages it had agreed to modify. Investors who owned the largest share of the loans had not agreed to the settlement and would bear the brunt of the reduced payments.
8/19/09**

CANCEL THE MORTGAGE-NOW! Documentary Clearing House, LLC. If your mortgage was converted into a security, the conversion rendered the mortgage unenforceable. Don’t simply delay foreclosure; end it by cancelling the mortgage.

“Cancel the Mortgage-Now!” will become the new rallying cry to defeat mortgage foreclosure.

8/19/09

Customer files lawsuit against Wells Fargo over reductions in home equity lines of credit taragana.com Jay Edelson, a managing partner at KamberEdelson, said systematically cutting home equity lines of credit runs opposite of the goals of the bailout program, which was supposed to improve consumers’ access to credit.
8/19/09 My Bad! Woman's House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank

A Homestead woman's home was auctioned to the highest bidder

TODD WRIGHT

.nbcmiami.com

You know times are tough when people are getting kicked out of their house when it’s not even for sale.

That’s what happened to Anna Ramirez after she found all of her stuff out on the front lawn of her Homestead home last week and a strange man demanding she get out of his newly purchased house.

8/18/09

Ex-Credit Suisse broker convicted of fraud and conspiracy Jaclyn Belczyk

Jurist Legal News

Butler and Tzolov are accused [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] of defrauding clients out of more than $400 million by selling high-risk, mortgage-backed securities to clients who requested low-risk investments, in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Securities Act of 1933, and other SEC regulations [text]. Butler faces up to 45 years in prison.
8/18/09

The Lack of Evidentiary Foundations Fosters Fraud O. Max Gardner With the number of affidavits and legal documents that are currently being executed by third-party providers, or by document assembly and preparation operations pursuant to "signing authorities," it is essential that these foundation rules be enforced in every case in order to prevent the complete high-jacking of our system of justice and to prevent a total disregard for the Rules of Evidence. 
8/18/09 Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Shutdown Leaves Homeowners Stranded

FHA Shuts Company Down, Leaves Customers Without Lender

 

WBALTV An independent auditor discovered irregular transactions that raised concerns of fraud and Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage failed to disclose that it was the subject of two examinations into its business practices in the past year. In June, concerns about Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage led Maryland and 13 other states to sanction the company. They reached a $9 million settlement after questioning TBW's underwriting standards, risk management practices and internal control procedures.
8/17/09 Regulators shut down five banks AUSTIN KILGORE
HousingWire
Giving the proposed agency enforcement powers would force banks to report to two enforcement groups, one focusing on bank stability and the other on consumer protection, but the two are “interrelated in a way that is very, very difficult to tease out,” Bair said.
8/16/09**

Press Release:

OMNIBUS MOTION OPENS NEW FRONTIER FOR DEFENSE OF FORECLOSURE 

                   Richard F. Kessler

   

   Documentary Clearing House  LLC

Of the $10 trillion of mortgages in effect in the United States, up to $8 trillion may have become unenforceable because the mortgages were improperly converted into securities.

Until the banks have more to lose by pursuing foreclosure than they have to gain, the foreclosure mills will continue to grind unchecked, he says. Neither the federal government nor the banks have any real incentive to modify loans in default.
8/16/09 Homeowners tell how banks failed to modify mortgages Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers Wells Fargo had modified just 6 percent of its eligible loans, but we are NOT being told what they consider ELIGIBLE.
8/16/09 Foreclosure freeze prods banks to modify loans Carolyn Said, SF Chronicle "The goal is to compel banks to do systematic loan modifications across California to reduce our foreclosure rate, which is the highest in the nation," said Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who wrote the bill. "Until we slow that down, the California economy cannot recover."
8/16/09 Home scam stings owners

Businesses advertise as buyers. They take over a home's title but not the mortgage, and some can leave distressed owners in foreclosure.

Andrew Dunn
Charlotte Observer
A mortgage scheme that's become more common as businesses target homeowners desperate to get out of their houses. The major Charlotte players include a man who already spent time in prison for mortgage fraud. One lawyer studying the trend estimates several thousand people have been taken 
8/14/09 Court ruling: Mortgage holders needn't be named

A Minnesota Supreme Court ruling means loan documents will remain hard to trace for those facing foreclosure.

JENNIFER BJORHUS, Star Tribune Well, I don't see this as a big win.

Rather, I see this decision as an opportunity for the losing homeowner to take his case to the supreme court claiming divergence among the circuits.   In short, the court cannot agree, and we need uniform rulings ASAP so that the people of the US will know where the law is on this point. DR
8/13/09 Bank of America Sues Colonial for $1bn AUSTIN KILGORE

HousingWire

Ocala Funding is backed by Taylor, Bean and Whitaker, which faces its own troubles after the Federal Housing Administration suspended its operations last week. The commercial paper in question is backed by residential mortgages, some of which were sold to Freddie Mac.
8/13/09 Blackstone Group CEO collected $702 mln in 2008: US survey (AFP) Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of investment firm Blackstone Group, received 699.7 million dollars in shares vested after the company's public offering, according to the report by the Corporate Library. Schwarzman's stock holdings are subject to "a performance-based clawback provision," which means he might have to give back some of that, and at least 25 percent of the shares must be retained, according to the report on the top 10 CEO compensation packages.
8/13/09 U.S. FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY INCREASES 7 PERCENT IN JULY RealityTrac “July marks the third time in the last five months where we’ve seen a new record set for foreclosure activity,”  “Despite continued efforts by the federal government and state governments to patch together a safety net for distressed homeowners, we’re seeing significant growth in both the initial notices of default and in the bank repossessions.”
not dated
Attorney Walter Hackett This is still a Nation "of the People" and it's long past time we take it back and we start by taking back our money and our homes from the perpetrators of the greatest fraud in history - America's mortgage lenders and the "investment" community they created. 
8/12/09 Another Resource Corroborating Our Securitization Model LivingLies It follows that if the parties creating these loans had a betting vehicle to make money based upon the guaranteed failure of a specific pool of loans, the premiums paid for such a bet would be chump change compared to the payoff.
8/11/09 Buffett Payouts Climb on Credit Swaps After Defaults Shannon D. Harrington

Bloomberg

ALSO in December 2000, twenty of the largest lenders and investment Banks formed Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) which facilitated the "velocity of mortgage monies" that ended with the Crash of September, 2008.

8/11/09 Mortgage Servicing Complaints Rise as Borrowers Continue to Seek Relief GiveMeBackMyCredit.com Amidst the foreclosure fiascos that are happening within our country and especially with Florida being one of the highest foreclosure states, how can our judicial system not understand and see what these mortgage servicing, debt collection - lawyer based companies - and lenders are doing to the hard working consumers that are vital to keeping our economy stimulated?  And why are they not doing anything about it? 
8/11/09 Freddie May Take Loss on Taylor, Bean

Taxpayer bailout money will solve this problem too.

American Banker Taylor Bean, the 12th-largest U.S. mortgage originator, shuttered its lending business last week after being suspended by U.S. agencies and Freddie Mac. The Federal Housing Administration cited possible financial-statement fraud.  Freddie Mac can force lenders to repurchase defaulted loans that weren't of the credit quality they represented, a use of its contracts already made harder by the collapses of IndyMac Bancorp., Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers Holdings, the company said.  {But is Freddie or anyone else going after ALL the others who created TOXIC loans? MSF]
8/10/09

Name Missing in Notary Acknowledgment Means Bad Mortgage In Massachusetts L. Jed Berliner, Western and Central Massachusetts Foreclosure Defense Attorney The recent case of Agin v MERS (In re Giroux)  2009 WL 1458173 (Bkrtcy.D.Mass. May 21, 2009) made this point quite clear, when it ruled that a mortgage was not enforceable against a Chapter 7 trustee if the borrower’s name was left blank in the acknowledgment. 
8/10/09 Questions Arise as GMAC Looks to Expand Lending AUSTIN KILGORE

HousingWire

ResCap lost at least $1bn every quarter since Q307, and while GMAC keeps it functioning, “it systematically plundered the company for the more attractive assets via asset sales and exchanges,” the CreditSights report said, citing GMAC’s divestment of ResCap’s ownership in GMAC Bank (now Ally Bank) and the placement senior liens on other ResCap’s other “attractive” assets, like its mortgage servicing rights.
8/10/09

Ambac Loses $2.39bn in Q209, Sues Citi and Credit Suisse

S&P cut Ambac Assurance to double-C from triple-B, lowering it to junk status on expected losses for the quarter.

JON PRIOR
HousingWire
Ambac filed a suit against Citigroup and Credit Suisse, alleging that the two companies misrepresented the risks and market values of securities. Ambac hopes to void $2bn in a portion of the credit default swap protection written on the residential mortgages Citi originated
8/10/09 A $40,000 Mortgage Thank-You to Customer

JON PRIOR
HousingWire

At a time when foreclosures grip the housing market, some tend to forget the utility providers. After all, if foreclosed homes sit vacant with no one living in them, lamps stay dark, ceiling fans quit spinning and faucets dry up. Fewer owners means lower wattage, spawning creative promotions by utility companies like CPL.
8/10/09 Freddie Mac Posts $768m Profit After Accounting Gains DIANA GOLOBAY

HousingWire

Our outlook remains cautious due to rising foreclosures, growing unemployment, tight lending standards and buyers’ reluctance to re-enter the market,”
8/9/09** Distressed Homeowners’ Option to Rent Foreclosed Houses

You have to read it to believe it.

John Cutts   

Real Estate Pro Articles

Translation: Under Baker’s proposal, former homeowners would be allowed to stay in their homes, after they have been foreclosed by the same criminals who stole their homes.  Shocking! 
8/7/09 Fannie Loses $14.8bn, Needs $10.7bn More

Fannie is seeing an across the board increase in delinquencies and defaults, even on loans considered less risky — those with lower loan to value ratios, higher borrower FICO scores and other variables.

AUSTIN KILGORE
HousingWire
It’s the third time Fannie has been forced to go to Treasury for funds to stay in business, and brings the total amount of money loaned to the GSE under its preferred stock purchase with the Treasury to $45.9 billion.
8/7/09** TARP and HAMP Require That Foreclosure Be Suspended L. Jed Berliner, Marlborough & Springfield, MA Foreclosure Defense Attorney A mortgage lender which received TARP funds, or which voluntarily signed up for President Obama’s HAMP program, must suspend a foreclosure action while a borrower’s mortgage modification application is pending. That’s good news.
8/6/09 Bundled loans stall modification plan American Public Media Mortgage-backed securities are making it difficult for people to take advantage of the Making Home Affordable program. Part of the problem is that investors have a say in which loans get modified and which don't.
8/6/09 Suits Filed Against Sleazy Servicers – Treasury Knew mandelman.ml-implode.com At least 30 servicers are being sued for charging illegally high fees, using illegal collection practices, and foreclosing on homes prematurely.
8/5/09 Mortgage Servicers Sued For Abuses DANIEL WAGNER, AP Business Writer

Billions of dollars the government is spending to help financially pressed homeowners avert foreclosure are passing through — and enriching — companies accused of preying on the people they're supposed to help, an Associated Press investigation has found.  

"There is no question that there have been significant abuses by servicers, and a big part of that is there's no one who is carefully monitoring their work to make sure that they're not taking advantage of borrowers," Eggert said.

8/5/09 Cash-Strapped Alabama County Feels Crush of Recession FOXNews.com Was this caused by the banks not recording property assignments and not paying the recording fees to the county?  Instead of paying the fees, the banks kept the millions that they owe to counties nationwide. MSF
8/5/09 Amy Sherrill
Times Record
Fifth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons was recommended by the Coordinators Office to investigate criminal allegations against Yoes.
8/5/09 Top Mortgage Lender Taylor Bean Suspended For Fraud Joe Weisenthal

.businessinsider.com

The whole loan modification scheme is really just subprime, high loan-to-value lending all over again. Unless there's something horrendously egregious going on, the whole plan is to do more of the same.
8/4/09 Mortgage Aid Program Helping Fraction of Borrowers THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Article lists a number of companies known to be involved in mortgage servicing fraud, but does not explain why these companies can not modify loans.  The companies listed do not own the loan, and they must foreclose to cover up their years of fraud. 

Bank of America modified just 4 percent of eligible loans.  What percentage were not eligible?

8/4/09 Why Won’t Lenders Renegotiate Delinquent Home Loans? Terry Smiljanich

Consumer Warning Network

With these odds, it’s no wonder that banks show little interest in engaging in renegotiation of loan terms to avoid foreclosure. After all, what’s in it for the bank if it’s better off in foreclosure? But wait a minute, you may say. What about all of the taxpayer money the lenders took, because they were in so much trouble? They’ve taken care of themselves through our bailout money, but there’s little chance they will ever act just a little bit in our interests instead of their own. So we’re left with plenty of bailouts for the financial institutions, and useless band-aids for the homeowners. The “Making Home Affordable” program is a big bust. Offering an “incentive” of $1,000 to servicers  to modify a delinquent loan is laughable. Sorry folks, there’s just more money in it for banks to foreclose than there is to help the homeowner.

Again we ask - where’s the outrage?

8/4/09 PennyMac IPO brings back subprime memories

Commentary: New era looks a lot like the old.

Brett Arends, WSJ.com Stanford "Stan" Kurland, the Countrywide Finance executive who pocketed more than $140 million at the expense of outside investors at the height of the subprime mania, has raised about $300 million from fresh investors for his latest venture -- trying to profit from the crisis.

Sounds criminal.

8/3/09 Why Should Servicers Get A Safe Harbor? How One Investor’s Lawsuit Forced Bank of America to Seek Shelter in Washington Isaac Gradman

FinReg21

This article traces how the Servicer Safe Harbor came to be included in P.L. 111-22 based on the actions of a single investor advocate and explores why this legislative parachute for servicers may not be constitutional, let alone just.
8/3/09** TAKING DOWN DIRTY LENDERS

Credit card and mortgage consumers need help to level the playing field.

Adam Benforado

Philly.com

All of this adds up to suitcases of money that consumers might have chosen to spend on school supplies, health care, or groceries. Instead, it went to enrich financial executives as a direct result of deception and trickery.
8/3/09 Weak Debut for Former Countrywide Execs’ New Company Angie Moreschi

Consumer Warning Network

Former Countrywide President and Chief Operating Officer Stanford Kurland and several of his co-horts decided to take a shot at making money off the misery their company’s loans created.  The company’s goal is to profit by acquiring delinquent mortgages from banks at bargain basement prices and then turn around and restructure them. Forgive us if we don’t wish them good luck.
8/3/09

Ohio AG Sues Carrington on Modification Shortfalls AUSTIN KILGORE
HousingWire
“This lawsuit makes it clear that we have reached zero tolerance for this kind of behavior from loan servicers,” Cordray said in a statement. “We’ve tried to work with them, but now we must take action. I am determined to see that mortgage servicers step up, take responsibility and start making it right with Ohioans. No more excuses.”
8/3/09 If you want Financial Reform and Accountability Tell Congress to Support HR 3126 Denise Richardson

Givemebackmycredit.com

Even in this time of economic crises brought about by greed, corruption and massive fraud, the financial industry is vowing to wage a major battle against a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency introduced as HR 3126, whose mission would be to protect consumers.
8/3/09 Mortgage Modifications: Obama Administration Tries To Shame Industry ALAN ZIBEL

Huffington Post

"We're losing houses rather than making modifications,"  "The foreclosure train has not stopped."
8/1/09 Dodd, Conrad Knew They Were Getting Sweetheart Mortgage Deals from Countrywide Right Side News - Tom Fitton Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide's VIP program, contradicted the repeated denials by Dodd and Conrad regarding their knowledge of the program. When asked directly whether the two Senators were aware they were receiving special VIP treatment, Feinberg simply said, "Yes."
7/31/09 Happy Days Aren’t Here Again Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital In truth, because of the continued profligacy of the government and Federal Reserve, the imbalances that caused the current recession have actually worsened. We are now in an even deeper hole than when the crisis began. Rather than wrapping up a recession, we are actually sinking into a depression. If things look better now, it’s just because we are in the eye of the storm.
7/30/09** Lucrative Fees May Deter Efforts to Alter Loans PETER S. GOODMAN

The New York Times

Mortgage companies are reluctant to give strapped homeowners a break because the companies collect lucrative fees on delinquent loans.  (You can not modify a loan you do not own! MSF)
7/29/09 You’re Fired! Here’s a Few Million Bucks Consumer Warning Network Even though Fannie Mae lost $2.1 billion in 2007, CEO Daniel Mudd made off with $12.2 million last year, and was able to keep his job. While Freddie Mac was losing $3.1 billion, CEO Richard Syron earned $19.8 million as a reward for his efforts. No need to bail them out.

It also pays to be president of a failing bank.

7/29/09 Homeowners and Investors May Lose, but the Bank Wins PETER S. GOODMAN

The New York Times

Bank of America is making out like a bandit,” said Mr. Crawford’s real estate agent, Brian Moore of Prudential California Realty. “They are doing everything in their power to push this down the road so they make more fees.
  Foreclosure Purchase, The Nightmare Around The Corner Gerald Egbase
Law Offices of Egbase and Associates
Buying a property at an auction or foreclosure sale is often a sweet deal to an investor or buyer. However a series of nightmares could be generated afterwards if the chain of title at some point involved a fraudulent transfer.
7/27/09 Nearly All Exposure To Credit Derivatives Is Concentrated On Wall Street John Carney

The Business Insider

An overwhelming share of exposure to credit derivatives is concentrated in just five companies, a new survey from the ratings agency Fitch reveals. You can already guess which companies: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America (including Merrill Lynch), Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. That's right. It's all sitting right on Wall Street.
7/26/09 Tenacious Goldman Sachs

Inside Goldman Sachs, America’s most successful, cynical, envied, despised, and (in its view, anyway) misunderstood engine of capitalism.

Joe Hagan

New York

Ever since Goldman Sachs crossed paths with U.S. taxpayers, getting saved with at least $10 billion in government aid last year and then parlaying that into $5.1 billion in profits in 2009 (so far), the firm has been seen as the ugly essence of capitalism at its most cynical—by Washington, by the public, by the financial press, even by some of its clients.
7/22/09**

SECOND VICTORY FOR BORROWERS WITHIN 4 HOURS ON SAME DAY: GEORGIA FEDERAL COURT VACATES ITS OWN PRIOR ORDER REQUIRING BORROWERS TO MAKE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS INTO REGISTRY OF COURT www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com July 22, 2009 was a day of coast-to-coast victories for borrowers.  The decision of the Superior Court of California which enjoined eviction proceedings of IndyMac Bank in a case where the borrower alleged fraudulent alteration of loan documents and a fraudulent underlying foreclosure.
7/22/09 N.Y. Claims Collectors of Debt Used Fraud JONATHAN D. GLATER

The New York Times

Tens of thousands of New York consumers had money seized by creditors using court orders that had been obtained by fraud, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday — and the money should be returned.
7/22/09** More on Default Trap Door livinglies There is a trap door that a lot of people are falling through. In a securitized loan the investor is the lender. In order for there to be a default, it is the investor who has lost money through non-payment.
7/21/09 Can Michigan’s New Foreclosure Law Help Me Stay In My Home? Mortgage Law Network Yes, Michigan’s new foreclosure law has a number of provisions helpful to homeowners.
Even if you cannot afford to pay, the new law gives you an extra 90 days to stay in your home, simply by requesting a meeting with the mortgage holder or servicer.
You should go to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, or MSHDA, website to find out how to get a FREE counselor.
7/21/09 Loan Modification: Scamming from the Top Down livinglies As the following Press Release for California AG’s office describes, it is the type of scam that happens in medical practice — offering relief, life or forgiveness — in exchange for money.
7/20/09 Leading Journalist Confirms that Government Could Take Over the Power of Money-Creation for the Public Good

George Washington  

www.opednews.com

In an important new article in the Nation, Greider confirms Ellen Brown's argument that the government could solve the economic crisis by taking back the power of money creation.

For the first time in generations, [the Fed is] now threatened with popular rebellion. During the past year, the Fed has flooded the streets with money--distributing trillions of dollars to banks, financial markets and commercial interests ...

7/20/09 Mortgage Refinance in Florida, Are You Kidding Me ? Mortgage Law Network In cities like Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres foreclosures have run rampant and continue to do so.
7/20/09 Subprime Brokers Back as Dubious Loan Fixers

Some of the very people who made a killing in subprime mortgages are now offering loan modifications for desperate homeowners, but fail to deliver.

Despite making promises of relief to homeowners desperate to keep their homes, FedMod and other profit making loan modification firms often fail to deliver, according to a New York Times investigation based on interviews with scores of former employees and customers, more than 650 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, and documents filed by the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit against the company.
7/18/09** Keys For Cash Makes Its Way To New Orleans! Kevin Gipson, New Orleans Consumer Attorney The lender that foreclosed on the house will go to the owner and offer the owner money to leave the property, if the owner will leave without the lender having to go to the cost and expense a formal eviction process.  (DON'T FALL FOR THIS!  DEMAND THEY PRODUCE THE ORIGINAL NOTE WHICH THEY DO NOT HAVE AND KEEP YOUR HOME! MSF)
7/16/09

Judge Denies Father's Request To Save Home wftv.com An email from his lender's attorney claims Volusia County judges won't allow them to ask for foreclosures to stop.
7/16/09 To what extent do Goldman Sachs and other big banks control Congress, the White House and the stock market?

Richard Clark  

www.opednews.com

The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG.  It turns out that the world's biggest insurance company was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like Goldman Sachs, which was Treasury Secretary Paulson's old firm, where he had been CEO.   Goldman got the largest amount of money from AIG, nearly $13 billion, and neither the government nor AIG, nor Goldman wanted us to know that.  It was only Congressional pressure on AIG that forced that information to surface.
7/16/09 AGs join forces to fight alleged mortgage fraud Attorneys general from 18 states are participating in "Operation Loan Lies," a national mortgage fraud crackdown involving over 180 law enforcement actions against mortgage loan lenders and rescue scheme operators.
7/16/09 Mid-Michigan foreclosures up 70.2 percent Barbara Wieland lsj.com The pace of foreclosures in mid-Michigan may be slowing, though they are sharply higher than a year ago.
7/15/09** The Chutzpah of RESCUED BANKS Bob Herbert
New York Times
What is up with the banks and the rest of the financial industry? The people running this system remind me of gangsters who manage to walk out of the courthouse with a suspended sentence and can't wait to get back to their nefarious activities.
7/15/09 N.J. Attorney General targets mortgage modification frauds Chris Megerian

Statehouse Bureau

"It is some of the most egregious conduct we've seem," Milgram said. "They're trying to profit off someone's misery."
7/15/09 How Can I Still Own My Home After The Mortgage Company Foreclosed? Kurt O'Keefe, Detroit Consumer Attorney Your mortgage company started foreclosure, but did not complete the process, so, your home is foreclosed, but you still own it.
7/14/09 Behind in Your Mortgage? (Part 2) Doug Jacobs

Mortgage Law Network

In part 1, we discussed what you can do to keep your home.  Here, we will look at your choices if you are willing to leave the house.
July 2009 Treasury/HUD Letter to the 25 biggest mortgage servicers. Treasury & HUD There appears to be substantial variation among servicers in performance and borrower experience, as well as inconsistent results in converting trial modification offers into actual trial modifications. We believe there is a general need for servicers to devote substantially more resources to this program for it to fully succeed
7/13/09** ABUSIVE LENDERS AND BROKERAGES THAT FINANCE THEIR DEALS Subprimelosses.com

Homeowners across the country face foreclosure on their home because of abuse and reckless lending practices. The surge in foreclosures is in part linked to the predatory lending practices of mortgage lenders. On the sidelines, however is a silent partner in the problem: Wall Street financial institutions that helped finance the mortgage loans and concocted the securitization arrangements that pooled the loans together and then sold them to investors. 

So far the latter group has remained under the radar when it comes to legal responsibility for the mortgage loan crisis. That may be changing.

7/12/09**
Fair Game

Looking for the Lenders’ Little Helpers

 

GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

It is hard not to be dismayed by the fact that two years into our economic crisis so few perpetrators of financial misdeeds have been held accountable for their actions. That so many failed mortgage lenders do not appear to face any legal liability for the role they played in almost blowing up the economy really rankles. They have simply moved on to the next “opportunity.”
7/10/09 Treasury Grants $486 Million for Affordable Housing DIANA GOLOBAY

HousingWire

The Deutsche report notes that, while mortgage delinquencies and particularly subprime delinquencies began increasing in early 2006 due to factors other than unemployment (loose underwriting standards, fraud, etc.), the deterioration in the labor markets furthered hampered recovery in mortgage credit performance.
7/10/09 TRUTH: Toxic Assets Held by Wall Street: $30 Billion, for everything else there’s MasterCard by livinglies Those Notices of default, Notices of sale Foreclosure Suits, Motions for Summary Judgment are virtually all filed by imposters without any knowledge or concern about how much the REAL LENDER got paid from you, the government, insurers, cross collateralization etc. None of these intermediaries who are trying to steal your homes has any idea how to produce a complete accounting for what occurred with your loan.

That payment you make to your latest and greatest servicer is probably not due at all, and if it is, it probably is not due to the servicer you are paying. That’s why you need to ASSUME NOTHING and CHALLENGE EVERYTHING.

7/9/09 At Beazer Homes, It Was See No Evil and Pay No Penalty FLOYD NORRIS

The New York Times

For years, Beazer Homes USA was much more than a builder of houses. It was a veritable crime wave.  The company defrauded buyers, particularly poor people being sold homes they could not afford. It defrauded the federal government by getting government-guaranteed mortgages for those buyers. It created subdivisions now dominated by dozens of foreclosed homes.
7/9/09 House Committee Considers TARP Reinvestment DIANA GOLOBAY

HousingWire

“Communities in every corner of the US are suffering from the impact of high rates of foreclosure and abandoned property,” Apgar said. “Many homeowners are facing foreclosure because they can no longer afford the payments on their homes either because their monthly payments have increased dramatically or they have lost employment.”
7/9/09 What Are Those Fees Added To My Mortgage? Kurt O'Keefe, Detroit Consumer Attorney So, if you are a servicer, how do you up that bottom line?  Well, late fees help.  According to their contracts, the servicers usually get to keep more dollars from what they do when mortgages are in default. Unfortunately, that creates a financial incentive for the servicer to put you, and keep you, in default.
7/9/09 Are Financial Markets Being Illegally Manipulated? by Danny Schechter  It's curious to note that Goldman Sachs has admitted that it has developed trading software that could be used to, in their own words, "manipulate markets in unfair ways", yet nobody in the mainstream media has questioned whether Goldman Sachs was / and is using its proprietary trading platform to manipulate markets in unfair ways.
7/9/09 Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself Al Lewis, Dow Jones Newswires Column

It takes some pretty shameless lawyers and a rich culture of corporate stupidity for a company to sue itself. I hope Wells Fargo loses this case and ends up having to drag itself all the way to the Supreme Court. 

7/9/09 Morgan Stanley Turns Downgraded CDOs Into AAA Securities Pierre Paulden, Caroline Salas and Sarah Mulholland

Bloomberg

Two years after the credit markets began to seize up, costing the world’s biggest financial institutions $1.47 trillion in writedowns and losses, banks are again taking so-called structured finance securities and turning them into new debt investments with top credit ratings. While the Morgan Stanley deal is the first to involve CDOs of loans, banks have been doing the same with commercial mortgage-backed securities in recent weeks
7/7/09 U.S. mortgage fraud 'rampant' and growing-FBI Reuters Suspicious activity reports rose to 63,713 in fiscal year 2008, which ended last September, from 46,717 the year before. California and Florida, centers of the housing bust, had the highest numbers of suspicious reports as foreclosures jumped, the stock market dropped and credit dried up.
7/6/09 What Is The New Michigan Foreclosure Law? Kurt O'Keefe, Detroit Consumer Attorney Effective yesterday, homeowners can get a 90 day delay foreclosure delay after getting the foreclosure notice.
7/6/09 Mortgage Modifications Still Uncommon Despite Huge Losses From Liquidation Sales The Huffingtonpost 

Matthew Palevsky

When will people understand that these banks will not modify the industry-created toxic loans?  YOU CAN NOT MODIFY A LOAN YOU DO NOT OWN or a loan where the original was destroyed! MSF
7/6/09** Former Ohio AG Marc Dann Reprising Mortgage Cop Role Amir Efrati

Wall Street Journal

As Dann told the Law Blog, “There are thousands of Ohioans whose home and life savings were lost when a foreclosure action was filed, and they didn’t have legal sophistication to defend and litigate it, to determine that the people bringing the action didn’t have proper title.
7/6/09 Beazer Homes settles criminal fraud charges The Charlotte Observer Federal investigators on Wednesday filed mortgage and accounting fraud charges against Beazer Homes USA, but the homebuilder will escape prosecution because it agreed to pay $50 million to victims and accepted responsibility for its actions.
7/6/09**

Federal Law Increases Severity of Penalties for Mortgage Fraud

Previously, a conviction for mortgage fraud may have resulted in no more than probation. Now, someone charged with mortgage fraud may face a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $1 million fine.

Article provided by Frank A. Rubino -Amending the definition of financial institution in Title 18 of the US Code (i.e. the federal fraud laws) to include mortgage lending businesses, which are defined as organizations "which finances or refinances any debt secured by an interest in real estate, including private mortgage companies and any subsidiaries of such organizations, and whose activities affect interstate or foreign commerce"
-Extending the reach of the false statements in mortgage loan application statute (18 USC §1014) to include material false statements and willful property overvaluations used to influence any action by a mortgage lending business
-Amending the federal criminal money-laundering statute (18 USC §1856) to change the definition of "proceeds" to include not only the profits from the illegal activity, but also the gross receipts
7/6/09 Ponzi Prosperity – Built-to-Fail Economic Models Satyajit Das

Prudent Bear.com

The key lesson of the GFC may be that the current economic order is "built to fail." The ability to sustain high rates of economic growth, required by governments and central bankers, is questionable.
7/6/09** Bankruptcy Judge Hammers Mass. Money Lender Accused Of Predatory Practices By Piling Up Loan Charges, Wrestling Property Ownership Away From Borrowers The Home Equity Theft Reporter This version of the 'Unscrupulous’ loan tactics cited LBM Financial  has links to relevant documents.
7/5/09** Laws to Help Homeowners and Contain Repo Home Listings Foreclosure Blog The law extends federal criminal statutes on bank fraud. Over 50 percent of subprime loans were originated by mortgage lenders not currently insured or regulated by federal law. The law provides fraud enforcement coverage on private mortgage companies and brokers.
7/5/09

‘Unscrupulous’ loan tactics cited

LBM Financial and owner Mallegni fined $1.1M

Jay Whearley 

TELEGRAM & GAZETTE

A loan repayment demanded at gunpoint, effective interest rates exceeding 41 percent and a near decade-long litany of coercion and strong-arm tactics left two borrowers “between the proverbial rock and a hard place,” according to a federal judge’s ruling that comes down hard on a controversial Marlboro lending firm and its president.
7/4/09 Foreclosed By Mortgage Company That Tricked Me? Kurt O'Keefe, Detroit Consumer Attorney It is amazing how many of my clients were given 4:00 p.m. closing appointments, often on a Friday, and told they had to get out of the room by 5:00 p.m. Sometimes, the closing agent just flips through a stack of papers, showing only the bottom few inches where the date and signature go.
7/4/09 So Many Foreclosures, So Little Logic GRETCHEN MORGENSON

New York Times

Foreclosures remain one of the great financial ills for the economy. The Bush administration largely overlooked foreclosures affecting average homeowners, focusing instead on propping up elite, troubled financial institutions with taxpayer funds. The Obama administration has said it wants to wrestle the foreclosure issue to the ground by encouraging mortgage loan modifications, but its efforts have gotten little traction.
7/4/09 Foreclosure Mods Farce chieforganizer.org The losses incurred in foreclosure sales involving loans in the securitization trusts were a staggering $4.59 billion in June. “There is 100 times as much money lost in foreclosure sales as there was in writing down balances in modifications,” Mr. White said. “That is not rational economic behavior.”
7/4/09 Shanghai Planning Own "Wall Street bull": Report

 

Reuters From page 2 of comments: Mortgage Servicing Fraud is epidemic and literally steals homes often from people who have made ALL their mortgage payments on time.

http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0323014.shtm FTC v. Fairbanks/SelectPortfolioServicing
http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0623031/index.shtm FTC v. EMC/Bear Stearns

These 2 settlements alone involved more than 366,000 servicing fraud victims.

Despite toothless FTC settlements Mortgage Servicing Fraud goes on because Wall St. makes more money through dishonest servicers manufacturing mortgage defaults and foreclosures than it would otherwise. There were no firewalls between subsidiary servicers and Wall st. trading desks. You can bank on this going down as the largest insider trading scheme in all history.
7/4/09 Homeowners contend courts must review documents Todd Ruger

Herald Tribune

"Courts are there to protect our rights," said Kessler, a retired attorney from Washington D.C. "At least there should be some kind of showing that the person filing the foreclosure has the right to foreclose."
7/2/09

Have the Banks Gone Crazy? Wells Fargo Sues Itself Angie Moreschi

Consumer Warning Network

We’ve apparently reached the perfect storm for complete and utter idiocy by some banks trying to foreclose on homes.  Wells Fargo is now suing itself in order to foreclose on a property in Tampa, FL.  Sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Click here to watch the video and learn more
7/2/09 The Great American Bubble Machine

Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression

MATT TAIBBI

Rolling Stone

Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.
7/2/09 Jay Whearley 

TELEGRAM & GAZETTE

An often-bitter two-year legal battle between two area real estate developers and a Marlboro “hard-money” lending firm has concluded with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruling siding with the developers’ contention that they were strong-armed into a series of loans that resulted in interest rates exceeding 41 percent.
7/1/09

14-year Prison term for disbarred lawyer sticks Waveney Ann Moore

St. Petersburg Times

"I think the defense is very lucky that the law is that I cannot increase the sentence,'' Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph A. Bulone said Friday.
7/1/09 Bank of America's Employees: The Other Side of the Financial Crisis Michael Whitney According to the Associated Press, Bank of America "encouraged" its employees to "burden consumers with debt and enroll them in high-fee programs." Fed up with these unsavory practices, Bank of America workers are speaking out.
July/09

white paper

Recourse and Residential Mortgage Default: Theory and Evidence from U.S. States Andra C. Ghent
Marianna Kudlyak
We analyze the impact of lender recourse on mortgage defaults theoretically and empirically across U.S. states. We study the effect of state laws regarding deficiency judgments in a model where lenders can use the threat of a deficiency judgment to deter default or to shorten the default process.
7/1/09 Judge dismisses $2.5 million eviction suit against constable

Plaintiff plans to appeal


Stephanie Flemmons
 

Star Community Newspapers

Wright’s lawsuit targeted Todd for pursuing the late-2006 eviction at his Plano (located in Collin County) home although the writ of possession was signed by a Dallas County judge. Wright claims the eviction was indeed unlawful since a forcible detainer action was not filed in a Collin County Justice Court Precinct 4. He said rather than following mandated eviction procedures and paying Collin County its $237 fee for court costs and constable fee, a lawyer for EMC Mortgages outside law firm (Fulbright & Jaworski L. L. P.) instead conspired with the Collin County constables to use a writ from Dallas County as an eviction order, delivered it to Collin County constables and ordered them to “get it done.”
6/30/09 “How Did a Private Deal Turn Into a Federal Bailout?” LINDA LOWELL

HousingWire

Here’s the conspiracy: in acquiring Merrill, Bank of America also acquired a near majority share in BlackRock and the Fed gave BlackRock contracts to analyze some of the mortgage-backed securities “held by Fannie and Freddie on behalf of the government.” BlackRock is now in a position to cover its tracks, mishandling and mispricing the billions of dollars of troubled assets it sold to the government.
6/30/09 My Mortgage Company Won’t Discharge My Mortgage. What Can I Do? Peter Orville, New York Consumer Attorney Once you have paid off your mortgage in full, the mortgage company is under an obligation, at least in New York State, to discharge your mortgage within thirty days.  Unless you request otherwise, the mortgage company should present a satisfaction of mortgage to the county clerk’s office for recording within thirty days.
6/30/09**

Worse-than-Madoff weasels should go down, too

John Grooms in Boomer with an Attitude The crooks I’m referring to are the heads of lending institutions who brought the American economy to its knees and ruined lives while gambling our collective future on ill-considered “ticking time-bomb loans” for way-overpriced houses — high-risk loans which were then bundled and used as collateral for even higher-risk investments. As bad as Bernie Madoff’s crimes were, they pale before the damage done by these shysters. It’s encouraging that Angelo Mozilo, head honcho of scandal-ridden Countrywide Mortgage (which was subsequently bought by Bank of America), has been arrested, but here’s my question: Why haven’t the rest of the leading lights of the mortgage scams and derivatives schemes been hauled off to jail?
6/30/09 Pennsylvania Laws Target Fraud at Origination DIANA GOLOBAY

HousingWire

Pennsylvania governor Edward Rendell on Monday signed two bills aimed at reducing mortgage fraud and enforcing a greater degree of transparency at the stage of origination.
6/29/09 Paper Avalanche Buries Plan to Stem Foreclosures

Agents trying to persuade mortgage companies to lower payments for homeowners are becoming frustrated.

PETER S. GOODMAN

The New York Times

If the effort fails, foreclosures will continue to surge and home prices will probably keep falling, sowing fresh losses in the financial system and threatening to crimp credit anew for businesses and households.
6/29/09

What was a subprime loan modeled on?

Rortybomb “A loan that wasn’t really meant to be paid off. but instead to be paid off enough with high interest rates with higher jumps to force additional payments to occur, and with a lot of the value coming from fees and penalties.” (Includes statistics)
6/29/09 ACORN Rent-A-Mob Thugs to Harass Lenders in 14 Cities Matthew Vadum

The American Spectator

Let's not forget that ACORN helped to cause the mortgage bubble by strongarming banks into making loans they shouldn't have. And cheering them on was ACORN's lawyer, Barack Obama, who contributed to the increasingly hostile environment for banks when he represented plaintiffs in the 1995 class action lawsuit Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank.
6/29/09** Top court allows NY state's home lending probe James Vicini -Reuters Scalia said it would be "bizarre" for states to be blocked from enforcing valid, non-preempted laws against national banks, such that "the bark remains, but the bite does not."

Cuomo, in a statement, called the ruling "a huge win for consumers across the nation," saying it reaffirms the role of state attorneys general "in protecting consumers from illegal and improper practices by our country's biggest and most powerful banks."

6/29/09** Attorneys advise clients to stay in their homes Todd Ruger

Herald Tribune

Phil Agnes and other lawyers have two words for homeowners facing foreclosure: Stay put.
6/29/09 Canadian authorities turn a blind eye when legal departments at financial institutions participate in real estate and mortgage fraud

In Canada lawyers rely on the courts to commit their fraudulent schemes regarding property

AHRC News Article has a letter that was delivered to the lawyers involved, in what is believed to be a massive fraud, which most likely is also employed in the USA by the same financial institution.

The crime in progress cannot even be reported to law enforcement because law enforcement in Canada is willfully blind to property theft committed by lawyers and judges.
6/29/09

US High Court: States Can Probe National Bank Lending

Brent Kendall 

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Scalia said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo couldn't issue executive subpoenas to the banks but could bring enforcement actions against them in court.
6/29/09 Madoff Sentenced: 150 Years! Consumer Warning Network The judge ordered that much of  Madoff’s assets be confiscated, including his Manhattan apartment. (Now it's time to move on the the next targets. MSF)
6/23/09

Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank will pay $632 million in cash

Under the terms of the settlement, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank will pay Huntsman $632 million cash and will provide Huntsman with $1.1 billion of financing through issuances of notes and bonds on favorable terms.

Tanya K. Urban 

Director of Client Relations Gibbs & Bruns LLP

 They told the jury that the case would open a window into how “these enormous investment banks wield enormous power” and that the jurors would have an opportunity at the end of the case to “send a message from Main Street in Conroe to Wall Street and the financial capitals of Europe.” 
6/19/09

PETERS AND FREEDMAN SUFFER ANOTHER CRUSHING LEGAL DEFEAT

Court of Appeal Unanimously Rules Against the Taking of the AHRC Website

AHRC A panel of three judges in the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, unanimously ruled that the AHRC website could not be turned over to Peters and Freedman, and ordered the trial court to reverse its ruling.
6/17/09 Obama Seeks Financial Rules to Curb Excesses

"if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

STEPHEN LABATON

New York Times

“A cascade of mistakes and missed opportunities” over decades led to the present problems, the president said. “It was easy money, while it lasted.” But, he added, “These schemes were built on a pile of sand.”
1/22/09                  

Foreclosure Fightback

 

Ben Ehrenreich

The Nation .com

A grassroots “home defense” organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people–mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe–soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, “vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home.”
6/12/09 Neighbors are forcing neighbors into foreclosure PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press Gauging the number of foreclosures nationwide by homeowner association is difficult. But in Texas, foreclosure attempts initiated by homeowner associations in 19 counties are up 30 percent from two years ago, according to Dallas-based Foreclosure Listing Services.
6/12/09

Woman Who Chained Herself To Home To Stand Trial 10news.com "I'm not the trespasser here and I'm not the lawbreaker," said Reyno.  (The bank didn't own the home - they just stole it. MSF)
6/12/09 Foreclosure defense a popular subject at Bar convention  Paul Brinkmann 

South Florida Business Journal 

“It’s true some judges will pay more attention to these tactics than others, but I think they are likely to give the benefit of doubt to the property owner, if presented with a solid defense, ” Graham said.
6/11/09 Want a Lower Mortgage Payment? Just Ask! Nicole Mayer

Consumer Warning Network

With property values dropping dramatically, property taxes are also falling, and that could be an opportunity for you to save money. Many homeowners are paying much more, often hundreds of dollars more a month than they have to on their mortgage.
6/11/09**

And the truth (in lending) shall set you free Cathy Moran, California Bankruptcy Attorney The neat things about TILA violations is that they are strict liability causes of action:  the aggrieved borrower doesn’t have to prove they were defrauded or misled, or that they had actual damages.  The fact that the disclosures were defective gives the borrower the right to rescind the loan and deprives the lender of the right to interest on the loan.  Pretty powerful stuff.
6/10/09** Foreclosure Defense
New state bar forms to educate homeowners facing foreclosure
Daily Business Review A group of foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys has formed a statewide bar association to educate the public about legal rights in foreclosure cases and educate attorneys about the most effective defenses.

The Florida Foreclosure Defense Bar Association was founded by attorneys who deal daily with foreclosures or bankruptcies.
6/10/09 Foreclosure Mediation Becomes Mandatory in Connecticut Eugene S. Melchionne, Connecticut Consumer Attorney Effective July 1, 2009 and continuing at least until June 30, 2010, all new foreclosure actions filed in the State of Connecticut must pass through the foreclosure mediation program
6/10/09 Lawmakers Order Fed to Relinquish Merrill Documents Washington Post A congressional oversight committee issued a subpoena yesterday to force the Federal Reserve to turn over internal documents related to Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, part of a growing investigation into whether government officials pressured the bank to withhold details about the deal from investors.
6/10/09 The Short Sale Got’cha – SELLER Beware John Newcomer

Consumer Warning Network

Enter the “Short Sale.”  This is when the mortgage company agrees to allow someone to buy your property for less than you owe on your mortgage.  There is just one tiny problem.  Most mortgage companies are only releasing the property from the mortgage lien. They are not releasing you, the borrower, from the remaining debt.
6/9/09 Foreclosure Rescue:  

Cuomo says that in many ways the “entire industry is a scam

Karen Freifeld

Bloomberg

Among the 14 companies Cuomo subpoenaed were Nationwide Modification Agency Inc. in Hauppauge, New York; Global Modifications Inc., also known as The Law Office of Brett Margolin PC; and FLM Law Center LLP, also known as Federal Loan Modification Law Center and Federal Loan Modification, in Irvine, California.
6/9/09**

Court puts legal cloud over foreclosure sales

Jerry Kronenberg  

Boston Herald

A Springfield judge’s ruling has thrown the entire Massachusetts foreclosure market into disarray by bolstering claims that lenders improperly seized thousands of Bay State homes.  (The courts are "finally" getting it. MSF)
6/9/09 Investigation of Foreclosure Law Firms Continues Eugene S. Melchionne, Connecticut Consumer Attorney Connecticut’s Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, is continuing to press his investigation of three law firms who appear to file more than 90% of all the foreclosures in the state. 
6/9/09 A '09 Milestone: One Million Foreclosure Starts Amilda Dymi 

Mortgage Servicing News

According to the Center for Responsible Lending a new foreclosure starts every 13 seconds, equaling nearly 6,500 a day. CRL data show the number of new foreclosure starts for the first five months of 2009 has reached one million.
6/8/09 Are Increasing Numbers of Homeowners Withholding Their Mortgage Payments? George W. Mantor

RisMedia

If the choice comes down to saving the banks or saving our neighborhoods, the politicians need voters more than they need banks.

People who can pay their mortgages have stopped, and their number is growing. Among probable reasons are the following...

6/7/09**

Supreme Court rules that campaign contributions can create perception of judicial bias

Supreme Court decision here*

David G. Savage

LA Times

The Supreme Court today ruled for the first time that a state judge who wins an election thanks to huge contributions from a person or company must step aside from deciding a case involving that individual or his company.

This sort of conflict creates a real risk of "actual bias" and violates the Constitution's guarantees of due process of law, the justices said.
6/7/09** Protest stops eviction by Bank of America Kris Hamel
Workers.org
Countrywide and Bank of America are required under federal contract to do loan modifications. But they still refuse to help many homeowners and instead move forward on foreclosures and evictions. They would rather force families onto the streets than work out terms that would allow the bank to receive payment and the borrowers to save their home.
6/7/09

LOS ANGELES COUNTY IS VIOLATING THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL

Violation in Excess of $20 million

AHRC News The County of Los Angeles, and possibly 54 other counties in California, are illegally using the money provided to them under the Economic Stimulus Package to give bonuses to judges. This illegal - and callous - act was committed while the unemployment rate in California is 11%, while homeowners are losing their homes, while parents cannot provide food and medicine for their families.
6/4/09 Mortgage crisis robbing seniors of golden years

I'm so stressed this is going to kill me."

 

More than 600,000 seniors are delinquent or in foreclosure, according to AARP.

Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has slashed home values and triggered an unprecedented surge in foreclosures across the nation. It's also taking an especially harsh toll on an often overlooked demographic: seniors who are retired or nearly so.

Conventional wisdom holds that most seniors have paid off their mortgages or have significant equity in their homes, but in reality hundreds of thousands are suffering in the housing crisis.

6/4/09 S.E.C. Accuses Countrywide’s Ex-Chief of Fraud AP The government is charging Angelo R. Mozillo, the former chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, and two other company executives with civil fraud.
6/4/09 Is Mozillo's Crime the Liar Loans — or the Lie? Bill Saporito - Time But where were the regulators while Countrywide and others were churning out loans that many observers had already flagged as trouble? Certainly the federal agency had no jurisdiction over state mortgage regulators in states like California, where Pay-Option ARM and other such loans were popular. That's not the case in securitization. As the underwriting of CDOs mushroomed — securities held AAA-rated tranches of what were essentially junk mortgages — the Bush Administration's SEC was in no mood to throw a spanner in the works.
6/4/09 Countrywide’s Mozilo Saw Loans as ‘Toxic,’ SEC Claims David Scheer and Karen Gullo

Bloomberg

In one e-mail, he described a “particularly profitable subprime product as ‘toxic.’” He also wrote that Countrywide was “flying blind” and had “no way” to determine the risks of some adjustable-rate mortgages, the SEC said. “Each of the defendants was aware, but failed to disclose, that Countrywide’s current business model was unsustainable,” the agency wrote in the suit.
6/4/09

Former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo Charged With Fraud

Mozilo was charged with “deliberately misleading investors about the significant credit risks being taken in efforts to build and maintain the company’s market share,” as well as with insider trading, according to the SEC.
6/3/09** Maybe You Can Get a "Deficiency Judgment" Against Your Bank ForeclosureFish In times of rising home prices, as was the case during the housing boom a few years ago, properties that sell for less than their fair market value at auction but are quickly resold by the lender may indicate violations of good faith and due diligence.
6/3/09 Promised Help Is Elusive for Some Homeowners

Millions of homeowners appear to qualify for mortgage assistance from the government but aren’t getting help.

PETER S. GOODMAN

The New York Times

When she called her mortgage company — Countrywide, now part of Bank of America — the bank did not offer to alter her mortgage. Rather, the bank tried to sell her a new loan with a slightly lower monthly payment while asking her to pay $13,000 toward the principal and a fresh $5,000 in fees.
6/3/09 Bank executive's plunge from downtown Fort Worth garage ruled a suicide DEANNA BOYD

Star Telegram

Robeson was a senior vice president of Frost Bank
6/2/09** Mortgage Servicers Given Taxpayer Money to Put Homes Back Into Foreclosure Foreclosure Fish With the recent analysis that nearly 75% of homeowners offered mortgage modifications by banks or servicing companies will end up defaulting again within a year of receiving the modification, it should be clear how ridiculous the government's programs to stop the foreclosure crisis have become. However, another level of insanity is being added...
6/2/09

Judges' extra pay undermines austerity plea

A state appellate court ruled in October that the supplemental payments were illegal in a case that stemmed from Los Angeles County's practice of giving judges more than $47,000 a year in extra pay and benefits on top of their $178,789 salaries, the state's most generous bonus package. A lawyer who complained that the extra payments made it impossible for judges to be objective in cases involving county government was slapped in jail for contempt of court despite the ruling.
6/1/09 Foreclosures: No End in Sight New York Times A continuing steep drop in home prices combined with rising unemployment is powering a new wave of foreclosures. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence, so far, that the Obama administration’s anti-foreclosure plan will be able to stop it.
6/1/09** Foreclosure task force eyes ADR solutions Mark D. Killian

The Florida Bar News

The Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases has told the Supreme Court that uniform solutions are needed to deal with the high volume of mortgage foreclosure cases that are swamping the courts.
5/31/09 In Crisis, Banks Dig In for Fight Against Rules GRETCHEN MORGENSON and DON VAN NATTA Jr.

New York Times

The nine biggest participants in the derivatives market — including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America — created a lobbying organization, the CDS Dealers Consortium, on Nov. 13, a month after five of its members accepted federal bailout money.
5/31/09** One Connecticut State Marshal's Net Income Soars Above $1 Million | The Hartford Courant Now, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says his office has been actively looking into the issue for several months.

"We have an ongoing investigation involving a number of law firms and marshals relating to potential abuses in the mortgage-foreclosure process," Blumenthal said.
5/30/09 Bank convinced SR borrower 'pay-option' loan was best MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
“A lot of people get stuck. Their loan was growing while they were making payments. They get hit with a huge new payment,” Cory said. 
5/30/09 Ex-Countrywide execs to aid housing RACHEL BECK - Google A team of Countrywide alumni are still in the game — shopping around a new business called PennyMac that buys up distressed mortgages and modifies borrowers' loans.

So, the same people who made massive amounts of ill-gotten gains and helped create the economic mess are now trying to make money cleaning it up. Isn't that unconscionable advantage? MSF

5/29/09 Couple evicted from Middletown home despite ability to pay mortgage MONICA VON DOBENECK, Patriot-News  
5/29/09**

A federal judge gets it!

Judge upholds three-word foreclosure strategy

 

The couple went to federal court and basically said just three words: "Produce the Note."  Without it, the strategy goes, money can't be collected and there can be no foreclosure.

"Saxon Mortgage Services claim they have it, but I have no proof that they have this note," says attorney Marc Voisenat.

5/28/09

Countrywide loses bid to dismiss mortgage lawsuit

Suit alleges racketeering, conspiracy, unfair practices

Reuters The class-action complaint accuses Countrywide of inappropriately convincing borrowers to take on subprime mortgages they could not afford, violating federal racketeering and conspiracy laws, as well as state laws barring unfair competition and unjust enrichment
5/28/09 Foreclosures now hitting homeowners with Good Credit Associated Press A record 12 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure as the housing crisis spreads to borrowers with good credit. And the wave of foreclosures isn't expected to crest until the end of next year
5/27/09 Critics Assail Congress for Using Subpoena Powers and Strong-Arm Tactics

FOXNews.com

On Oct. 23 last year, William Frey, the president of a company that puts together mortgage-backed securities, told the New York Times that he had been contacting banks and threatening to sue them if they renegotiated mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure.
5/26/09 Banks to earn billions from bad-loan accounting Bloomberg JPMorgan Chase & Co. stands to reap a $29 billion windfall thanks to an accounting rule that lets the second-biggest U.S. bank transform bad loans it purchased from Washington Mutual Inc. into income. Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. are also poised to benefit from taking over home lenders Wachovia Corp., Countrywide Financial Corp. and National City Corp., regulatory filings show.
5/26/09 Busted: The New York Times' Edmund Andrews trips into the mortgage meltdown Tom Barlow

WalletPop

I've seen too many people who really were duped by the system, and I've learned too much about how corrupt the system itself had become. Our entire financial system had run amok. The recklessness on Wall Street was driving the recklessness on Main Street.  I understand why somebody who did all the right things feels ripped off if the government is bailing out people who made poor decisions, but the real morons were at the top of the pyramid.
5/25/09 Armed with advice, homeowners fight foreclosures on their own Susan Taylor Martin,

 St. Petersburg Times

A tiny but growing number of the 2.1 million Americans facing foreclosure this year are aggressively battling to save their homes. And those unable or unwilling to hire lawyers are representing themselves in court.  "I say to you, you have every reason to be restored to the position you were in before you were the victim,'' Garfield tells the group.
5/25/09 Attorney passionate about the law, whether as prosecutor or defender Robert Trigaux

St. Petersburg Times

You mention mortgage fraud. What do you hear?

There's a mortgage fraud task force in Florida, and it has a list with names on it. Prosecutors are telling me to get ready for a wave. The housing bubble burst a few years ago, but the fallout is happening now.

5/25/09 Resist the Offer of a Debit Card That Draws on Your HELOC

Bank of America's newest scam.

Däna Wilkinson, Attorney at Law Lenders have come up with a lot of products that have turned out to be bad news for consumers-exploding ARMS, payment option loans, just to name a couple-but the one I heard about this weekend may have far greater negative potential for consumers than any of the others.  Bank of America is offering some of its mortgage customers (including former Countrywide customers) a debit card that draws down your home equity line of credit. That’s right-you can carry around a card that increases the mortgage debt on your home every time you use it.
5/25/09 President Signs Bills to Help Homeowners and Combat Mortgage Fraud Mike Walace

National League of Cities

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act authorizes $547 million for the Justice Department, Housing and Urban Development, Postal Service, Homeland Security Department's Secret Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud.
5/25/09 Localities Want U.S. to Support Muni Bonds LESLIE WAYNE

New York Times

On the same day, Mr. Geithner told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the relief money cannot be used to resolve local government budget crises, since that money has been reserved for financial companies.

The finance companies sold a pipedream to these municipalities, but instead of reimbursing them for the fraud the banks committed, the banks take all the bailout money. MSF

5/24/09** Job Losses Push Safer Mortgages to Foreclosure PETER S. GOODMAN and JACK HEALY

New York Times

“We’re right in the middle of this third wave, and it’s intensifying,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “That loss of jobs and loss of overtime hours and being forced from a full-time to part-time job is resulting in defaults. They’re coast to coast.”

Those sliding into foreclosure today are more likely to be modest borrowers whose loans fit their income.

Economy.com expects that 60 percent of the mortgage defaults this year will be set off primarily by unemployment, up from 29 percent last year.

5/22/09** RESPA: THE FINANCIAL PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION ACT OF 2009 Marx Sterbcow The Senate version of this bill under Section 10: Enforcement has some very strong criminal and civil money penalties that could further strengthen consumer protections against businesses. The current senate & house versions of the bill could add considerable consumer protections against loan servicing companies which under Section 6 of RESPA offer consumers very little protection from some mortgage servicing companies abusive practices
5/22/09** ANALYSTS: TWEAKS MAY NOT SAVE CONGRESS' FAILED FORECLOSURE FIX Alexandra Andrews All their fraud focus in now on borrowers, when stats indicate that 80% of all mortgage fraud that has occurred has been LENDER fraud, not borrower fraud!
5/21/09 Activist Financier 'Terrorizes' Bankers in Foreclosure Fight JAMES R. HAGERTY and RUTH SIMON

In the 1990s, Mr. Marks leaked details of a banker's divorce to the press and organized a protest at the school of another banker's child. He says he would use such tactics again.

"We have to terrorize these bankers," Mr. Marks says.

5/21/09 Obama signs mortgage bill into law PHILIP ELLIOTT - AP "Americans living in fear that they're one illness or one accident away from losing their home, hardworking Americans who did all the right things, met all of their responsibilities, yet still find the American dream slipping out of reach."
5/20/09 Banks Use Life Insurance to Fund Bonuses

Controversial Policies on Employees Pay for Executive Benefits, Help Companies With Taxes

ELLEN E. SCHULTZ 

Wall Street Journal

Banks are using a little-known tactic to help pay bonuses, deferred pay and pensions they owe executives: They're holding life-insurance policies on hundreds of thousands of their workers, with themselves as the beneficiaries.
5/20/09 As economy is struggling, fraud cases are increasing DON MECOY

News OK

The Federal Trade Commission during the past five years has brought 71 law enforcement actions involving mortgage advertising and marketing, mortgage servicing, debt settlement and credit counseling, debt collection practices, credit repair operations, lending discrimination, and other financial services issues. The commission also has taken action against loan modification and foreclosure rescue scams.
5/20/09 Anderson Cooper, Where Art Thou? Iris Martin On behalf of millions of homeowners,
that are launching their own mortgage wars, we are seeking a broadcast commando to lead us to Obama's door.

We choose you, Anderson Cooper
with your impeccable 360 view.
Will you be our staunch paratrooper
and investigate everyone we must sue?

5/19/09 Dirty Trick: See Who Lands In Danielle's Doghouse - Tonight at 11 19 Action News 19 Action News found one family who claims they've made every house payment on time and is still in default!  How is that possible?
5/18/09

Ohio Court Applies Mootness Doctrine upon Distribution of Foreclosure Proceeds

Bankers Trust v. Tutin

Real Estate Law blog Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal from a foreclosure judgment in March after ruling that the disbursement of sheriff sale proceeds rendered the appeal moot.
5/19/09 Bob Sullivan

Red Tape/ MSNBC

While $39 over-limit fees are hideously unfair and deserving of legislative attention, the number that really needs attention is 649,917 -- the number of U.S. homes that entered foreclosure last quarter.
5/18/09 Judge's ruling deals blow to national mortgage servicer MERS

 

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Linda Riegle has ruled that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) could not represent lenders seeking to foreclose. 

(MERS has NEVER had any standing to foreclose under ANY circumstances. They were operating unlawfully.  How many MERS foreclosures need to be reopened and reversed and how many lawyers are willing to do what is right? MSF)

5/18/09

99 years for Mortgage Fraud

This is NOT a typo!

National Mortgage News: Though other recent Texas mortgage fraud convictions have seen prison sentences of between 18 months and five years, Kandace Yancy Marriott of Gun Barrel City, Texas, got the maximum sentence possible after being found guilty of orchestrating a complex mortgage fraud scheme. (She did exactly what the mortgage companies do, only on a much smaller scale. MSF)
5/17/09

US Loan Auditors aids US Legal Advisors in filing Legal Action for Predatory Lending Against American Home Mortgage Servicing

US Legal Advisors “We have conducted numerous forensic loan audits of American Home Mortgage Servicing mortgage documents and have recognized several common potential predatory lending indicators such as prepayment penalties, product steering, kickbacks, forgery, and overstated income abuse” said Jim Sandison, one of the founders of US Loan Auditors. “Many of these violations are a direct violation of the Federal Government Consumer Protection Acts such as RESPA, HMDA, ECOA and TILA.
5/17/09 Sub-prime king for ‘boiling in oil

Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo, the banker blamed for dodgy home loans may face justice

Cox said an SEC investigation could easily form the framework for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. “This guy is the highest ranking, most vulnerable executive associated with the sub-prime mess,” said Cox.
5/17/09 Lawyers Make Pro Bono Leap Into Foreclosures Brian Reed - NPR Liz Quick didn't plan to get into foreclosures and loan modification. But Mirkab's work ethic impressed her so much that she offered to help him — for free.
5/16/09 Second Labour MP claimed thousands for paid-off mortgage Joe Churcher

The Press and Journal

Lawyers have said there is good cause for a criminal investigation into such claims.
5/16/09 SEC Poised to Charge Mozilo With Fraud Securities Law News Blog The Securities and Exchange Commission staff is readying civil fraud charges against Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo, in what would be the highest-profile government legal action against a chief executive connected to the financial crisis. If the SEC’s commissioners approve filing a suit against Mr. Mozilo, it could be announced within the next few weeks.
5/16/09 Why can’t I get a short sale closed? Ask your Senator. Bankruptcy to follow David Leibowitz, Illinois and Wisconsin Bankruptcy Attorney You are way underwater.  You can’t modify your mortgage in chapter 13.  The Senate made sure of that when it voted down mortgage modifications in chapter 13.
 

5/15/09

Judicial Watch Forces Release of Bank Bailout Documents

Email showing Treasury officials wanted to use the Secret Service to help keep the press away from the CEOs arriving at the meeting.
Email showing a public relations effort, run in part out of the Bush White House, to tamp down public concerns about "nationalizing the banks."

Judicial Watch We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the bankers meeting on October 16, 2008. After months of stonewalling, a FOIA lawsuit was filed against the Obama Treasury Department on January 27, 2009. Incredibly, on February 4, Treasury responded it had no documents about the historic meeting. Pressure from Judicial Watch forced Treasury to reevaluate its response, which resulted in this document release last month. Included in the new documents are:
5/15/09

Michael Greenberger talks about the Administration's plan to change rules regarding "derivatives" Michael Greenberger, University of Maryland Law School, Professor The Administration believes the lack of oversight of these markets led to the current day trouble in the financial markets.
5/14/09 Two minutes, and home goes away Todd Ruger

Herald Tribune

The rocket dockets have been criticized, most notably in Lee County, for leaving homeowners who come to the hearing only seconds to be heard and giving little time to the judge to ensure paperwork is correct.
5/14/09 Constable faces $2.5 million suit for Illegal Eviction Stephanie Flemmons

Star Courier

“The constables knew it was wrong to execute an eviction in Collin County when the writ of possession was issued out of Dallas County”

5/13/09** More On The Use Of Multiple Corporate Hat-Wearing Dummy Vice Presidents By Lenders & Mortgage Servicers In Foreclosure Actions The Home Equity Theft Reporter Fidelity National Foreclosure Services and affiliates, of Mendota Heights, Minnesota, has made available dozens of its employees to foreclosing lenders & mortgage servicers to act as authorized corporate officers for the limited purpose of signing necessary documents to be filed in court in the effort to obtain foreclosure judgments

Road to Ruin: Mortgage fraud scandal brewing


Criminal fraud may be the most underreported aspect of our current financial crisis

The Real News In this "Road to Ruin" report, former subprime lenders from Ameriquest, once the country's largest lender, describe a system rife with fraud. They describe how a "by-any-means-necessary" policy pushed employees to cut corners and falsify documents on bad mortgages and then sell the toxic assets to Wall Street banks eager to make fast profits.
5/13/09**

There’s the OUTRAGE: Riverside Man Booby-Traps Foreclosed Home

Mandelman   

“Former homeowner Daniel Gherman?” Now that’s a way to phrase something, don’t you think? That really encapsulates a man who got so angry, so enraged, so desperate to make a statement, and felt so powerless that he was willing to blow up his house.

 

5/13/09 Foreclosures at Record Levels in April - Failure of Bankruptcy Legislation to Blame David Leibowitz, Illinois and Wisconsin Bankruptcy Attorney When the Senate voted against legislation which would allow mortgage modification in chapter 13, it gave a green light to mortgage foreclosures at a record pace.  Now, the only people getting crammed-down are American Homeowners.  Speed limits on foreclosure suits are gone.  It’s pedal to the metal.
5/13/09** PLEASE CHOOSE A JUST JUSTICE

Letter to President Obama from the Homeowners of America

American Homeowners Resource Center One of the most disturbing aspects of these calamities is the outright indifference - and sometimes, collusion - of the judges and other law enforcement officials involved in these cases.  (When are people going to wake up to the corruption inside the courts and do something about it? MSF)
5/13/09 L. William Seidman, Who Led F.D.I.C. During Savings and Loan Crisis, Dies at 88 PETER S. GOODMAN

The New York Times

He was appointed the first chairman of the Resolution Trust Corporation, an entity created in 1989 to partly recoup taxpayer losses from the savings and loan crisis. The entity liquidated bad loans, junk bonds and failed real estate ventures left behind by defunct financial institutions. He explained that fraud had played a role in more than half of the 500-plus savings and loan institutions that had failed at that point.
5/12/09 The MADOFF AFFAIR FrontLine  
5/12/09 DOJ Probing Mortgage Data Processing Firms

Peg Brickley

Of DOW JONES

Fidelity, later LPS, is the electronic powerhouse behind the foreclosures rolling through much of the country, taking in data and spitting out loan-default notices for 16 of the 20 largest mortgage loan servicers in the nation.

5/12/09 Lawsuit alleges that loan originator stole money from a client during a refinance Kate Moran, The Times-Picayune The lawsuit filed accuses a loan originator and branch manager at Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. of stealing money during a mortgage refinance. Instead of forwarding the proceeds of the refinance to pay off the Ocwen loan, however, Killett and Smith allegedly had attorney Chad Ham of Bell Title wire the money to a bank account they controlled.
5/12/09 Swindled unlikely to recoup all losses Craig Harris 
The Arizona Republic
"A Ponzi scheme could go on for years and years without people knowing about it," said Julie Halferty, an FBI white-collar crimes supervisor in Phoenix. "But the market change caused people to call up (their investments) and pull out. Once that occurred, they (the schemes) collapsed."
5/11/09

Settlement

Attorney General Martha Coakley and Goldman Sachs Reach Settlement Regarding Subprime Lending Issues

Litton Loan Servicing 

Mass. ATTORNEY GENERAL

MARTHA COAKLEY

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Goldman Sachs & Company (Goldman), stemming from the office’s investigation of subprime lending and securitization markets.

The loan restructuring program is designed to enable borrowers to replace problem loans with new, more affordable loans that take into account the current value of their properties.

[This solution allows GS to destroy the evidence in these fraud-laced loans and create a fresh new loan.] MSF

5/10/09** How a monthly statement could save your home! Denise Richardson

Sun-Sentinel

Without a monthly statement to monitor, I didn’t catch nor did I suspect that my "on-time" payments had been misapplied as late and that my additional principal payments had not been credited to my principal balance. In fact, much of my additional principal payments were eaten up in unlawful late charges and fees tacked on by the bank.
5/10/09** Lies a new tool in foreclosure

Only 1 in 12 cases had the proper documents!

Todd Ruger

Herald Tribune

It is alarming that judges are so easily fooled by these criminals.  This has been going on for so long, one would think the judges would realize this is one huge fraud. MSF
5/10/09** America’s “Money Machine” foundingfather1776  
5/8/09** Who's behind the Financial Meltdown publicintegrity.org The banks that funded the subprime industry were not victims of an unforeseen financial collapse, as they have sometimes portrayed themselves, but enablers that bankrolled the type of lending threatening the financial system.
5/8/09 SEC Charges Former Alt A Lender with Fraud Inside B&C Lending Two executives at American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. allegedly engaged in accounting fraud in early 2007.
5/8/09

KB Home, Countrywide accused of $2.8 Billion fraud

Homeowners bring racketeering claims suit

Gina Keating - Reuters The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Phoenix, claims LandSafe Inc, KB Homes and Countrywide colluded to overprice as many as 14,000 homes in the two states by an average of $20,000, for an estimated total of $2.8 billion between 2006 and the present. The plaintiffs seek class action status and triple damages.
5/8/09 AG casts wide net in mortgage suits

Fraud victims face foreclosure, AG says

 Bill Diven/Alex Tomlin KRQE New Mexico's attorney general is going after everyone from mortgage brokers to banks after accusing them of mortgage frauds that took advantage of two homeowners now facing foreclosure.
5/8/09** FLORIDA SUPREME COURT TASK FORCE ON RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE CASES FLORIDA SUPREME COURT TASK FORCE ON RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE CASES On March 9,2009, the Chief Justice established the Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases by Administrative Order AOSC09-8. The Task Force was charged with submitting an interim report by May 8, 2009, and a final report by August 15,2009.
5/8/09 Fannie's Reverse Mortgage Interest Rate Rule  Invites Fraud, "Bait & Switch" Tactics? The Home Equity Theft Reporter Industry insiders fear that the margin increases will lead to higher instances of fraud, with lenders quoting a low margin to get clients interested, then disclosing a margin increase later in the process in a “bait-and-switch” strategy.
5/8/09 Handwritten Notes Show Fed Oversight Bill Neutered On Senate Floor ryan@huffingtonpost.com Legislation to give Congress greater oversight of the Federal Reserve was severely watered down on the Senate floor Wednesday in private negotiations between two powerful Republican senators.
5/8/09

More muscle in fraud fight

Congress has sent the White House legislation to allocate $532 million over the next 2 years to hire more investigators and prosecutors to fight financial fraud.

Related story:

FBI seeks more agents to investigate mortgage fraud

Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney.com "People are very upset about what happened and it's really important for the government to demonstrate there's a charge for doing these types of things," said Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., a bill co-sponsor. "Just because someone is at a Wall Street firm or a bank, they get the same kind of justice everyone else gets."
5/7/09 First American Corp and eAppriaseIT lied for Washington Mutual Courthouse News Service   The class claims WaMu was eAppraiseIT's largest customer. Plaintiffs claim that Santa Ana-based "eAppriaseIT, at Washington Mutual's urging, provided materially false and inflated appraisals for properties where Washington Mutual sought to originate a mortgage. This enabled Washington Mutual to engage in real estate mortgage transactions that would otherwise have been untenable had the property at issue been correctly appraised. Senior executives at First American were aware of and willing to accommodate the request to falsify appraisals. Washington Mutual's competitive place in the market and profit were driven in large part by the number of mortgages it issued based upon artificially inflated appraisals issued by eAppriaseIT."
5/6/09 Bailed-out banks enabled subprime lending, study contends Tom Hamburger and Ralph Vartabedian

Los Angeles Times

The major banks now collecting federal bailout money were not unwitting victims of the mortgage meltdown but instead were directly linked to the root cause of the problem: a subprime lending machine concentrated in Southern California, a new study asserts.
5/6/09**

Predatory Lending: A Decade of Warnings

imageWhile chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, former Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland introduced a bill to curb abusive high-cost lending, but the measure never received a committee vote.

Kat Aaron

Public Integrity

Washington was warned as long as a decade ago by bank regulators, consumer advocates, and a handful of lawmakers that these high-cost loans represented a systemic risk to the economy, yet Congress, the White House, and the Federal Reserve all dithered while the subprime disaster spread. Long forgotten Congressional hearings and oversight reports, as well as interviews with former officials, reveal a troubling history of missed opportunities, thwarted regulations, and lack of oversight. (Who is going to hold them accountable? Are you fed up, or washed up?MSF)
5/6/09 Who Is to Blame for the Financial Crisis? Jake Tapper - ABC News Also don't miss "Predatory Lending: A Decade of Warnings," which shows how our leaders in Washington, DC, abdicated their responsibilities and enabled this crisis, ignoring warning alarms sounded for a decade.
5/6/09 Citigroup, Wells Fargo Gained From Subprime Lenders, Group Says Jonathan D. Salant

Bloomberg

The center found that most of the lenders were backed by institutions including San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, and Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co., both based in New York. U.S. banks received almost $200 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
5/6/09 Banks Win - Homeowners Lose Angie Moreschi

Consumer Warning Network

Chalk up another one for the banking lobby.  The Senate deep sixed the provision many homeowners facing foreclosure were hoping could offer them a second chance.  The Senate defeated an amendment for the so called “cram down” provision, that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify primary residential mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure. This would have helped to prevent thousands of foreclosures, because the threat of court-mandated modifications could have prodded more banks and loan servicers to negotiate in good faith.
5/6/09 Senate moves toward easing mortgage terms ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press When it was established last year, Congress envisioned helping some 400,000 troubled homeowners. But because eligibility requirements were so strict, one borrower has completed the refinancing process and only 51 more are in the works, according to statistics released last week.
5/5/09

Bank Forecloses On New Homes, Demolishes Them Jay Fleischman, New York Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Think about the families that could have enjoyed their lives here, the money wasted, and the excess of the real estate bubble as you watch this.
5/5/09 South Carolina Supreme Court Stays Many Foreclosures Pam Stewart, 

Texas Bankruptcy Attorney 

The injunction, which appears to be the first court-ordered stop for an entire state, prevents judges in South Carolina from completing foreclosure sales on properties guaranteed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or any other mortgage company that has signed onto a federal assistance program.

In many of these cases, the loss mitigation departments of huge lenders or servicers have promised modification while the foreclosure departments have pressed on with foreclosure leaving home owners with no means of keeping their homes.

5/4/09** Lenders Inability to “Produce the Note” Leads to Shady New Practice Consumer Warning Network Mortgage lenders who were sloppy with important paperwork in the hey-day of the housing boom are now turning to questionable practices to clean up their mess so they can foreclose on homeowners.
5/4/09** A Peek Inside the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Meeting; And it ain't pretty Denise Richardson

GiveMeBackMyCredit.com

"...the banks own the Senate. And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill.  And they frankly own the place,"
5/4/09**

The ‘straight talker’

"When I put Deutsche Bank to the test and asked them to submit all of their paperwork ... they could never satisfy me that they owned the mortgage that they had foreclosed on. And I declared the foreclosure void." Judge Rosenthal

         Julia Reischel

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In recent years, the judge has been on a tear, condemning the "sloppy" practices of lenders and mortgage processors that can't prove ownership of the mortgages on which they are foreclosing. In one case that sent shockwaves across Massachusetts, Rosenthal not only sanctioned a lender $750,000 for its haphazard recordkeeping and for attempting to foreclose on a mortgage it did not own, he also sanctioned the law firms that represented the lender, including Tretter's firm, Ablitt Law Offices.
5/4/09 Economy behind string of suicides?

MARK ROTH

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“For employees in the middle- to lower-income range, the effects of an economic crisis are often more direct,” Joiner said. “Any economic downturn that is associated with a lot of home foreclosures or serious career disruptions, those are real stresses.”
5/4/09 Buffett Lambastes Bankers, Insurers for ‘Stupidity’ Erik Holm and Andrew Frye

Bloomberg

“I think that virtually everybody associated with the financial world contributed to it,” Buffett said of the crisis. “Some of it stemmed from greed, some from stupidity, some from people saying the other guy was doing it.”
5/3/09** More Mortgage Madness Kai Wright | The Nation HOPE for Homeowners has generated the most laughable data. The program launched in October. As of late March, it has prevented exactly one foreclosure. “Needless to say, the program isn’t working terribly well,” an FHA spokesman deadpanned to CNNMoney.com.

Take the infamous deposition of a Citi Residential Lending employee, Tamara Price. 

Jim Kowalski, a former prosecutor now handling foreclosure defense cases in Jacksonville, sat Price down in April 2008 to determine why her name appears over and over again as the signer on mortgage assignments in Citi’s foreclosures. Price described an automated process for faking the assignments.

Does she prepare the documents? Kowalski asked. No, the foreclosure lawyer does. Does she review the case files, as testified in the affidavit? No. Does the notary witness her signing the documents, or even notarize them on the professed date? No. Price even revealed that the “vice president” title attached to her name on assignments is bogus. “They’re lying,” Parker rails. “They’re filing fraudulent documents and giving this to a judge in order to kick somebody out of their house.”

5/3/09** Retroactive Mortgage Assignments Not Effective In Massachusetts L. Jed Berliner, Massachusetts Foreclosure Defense Attorney The Massachusetts Land Court ruled last month that only the mortgage holder could advertise a foreclosure sale under G.L. c. 244 sec 14.  Mortgage assignments executed after publication of the advertisement were not good enough, even with language retroactive application.
5/3/09** Most plaintiffs never “hold” the original mortgage note Chip Parker, Jacksonville Consumer Attorney In the state of Florida, foreclosure mill law firms file 11,000 foreclosure complaints per month, and the vast majority of those complaints are filed with the knowledge that the plaintiff does not have the right to foreclose.
5/3/09 Companies help lenders transfer home loans to foreclose Susan Taylor Martin, St. Petersburg Times Bly, who lives in a Clearwater trailer park, is one of several Nationwide employees authorized by lenders to sign as "vice president'' in assigning loans from one company to another. Assignments are key in determining who actually owns the loan, an issue that has become all-important as banks foreclose on millions of loans that were bundled into securities and sold to investors.
5/2/09** Accelerating Foreclosures to Cost Neighbors $502 billion in 2009 alone; 69.5 million homes lose $7,200 on average Center for Responsible Lending This is CRL's third report on the spillover impact of mortgage foreclosures.  This new report is based on new CRL projections of 2.4 million foreclosures for all loans (not just subprime) in 2009, and 9.0 million during 2009-2012.  This report also reflects a somewhat more conservative methodology for calculating the spillover impact.
5/2/09** Congress turns from bank bailouts to helping consumers

Targets include credit card companies, payday loans with exorbitant interest rates, and predatory mortgage lenders.

Gail Russell Chaddock

The Christian Science Monitor

“Mortgage fraud has reached near epidemic levels in this country. Reports of mortgage fraud are up 682 percent over the past five years, and more than 2,800 percent in the past decade,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who sponsored the bill. “And massive, new corporate frauds, like the $65 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, are being uncovered as the economy has turned worse, exposing many investors to massive losses.”

Next week, the House takes up the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, passed by the Senate last week. The act amends the federal criminal fraud statute to specifically include “mortgage lending business” and it expands the scope of money laundering crimes to cover all the proceeds of illegal activity, such as gross receipts, not just the profits.

The bill also authorizes $245 million a year to hire federal investigators and prosecutors to fight financial fraud.

5/2/09** Are Courts in California Truly Limited by Non-Judicial Foreclosure Statutes? Michael Doan

Mortgage Law Network

This is very significant since it provides further support to lawsuits brought against foreclosing parties lacking the ability to enforce the underlying note, since those laws also arise under Article 3.  Under California Commercial Code 3301, a note may only be enforced if one has actual possession of the note as a holder, or has possession of the note not as a non-holder but with holder rights.  
5/2/09**

Did a Predatory Mortgage Push You Into Foreclosure?

foreclosurefish.com Our mortgage and real estate industries are corrupt from top to bottom, from beginning to end, and the foreclosure crisis is just another way for the banks to impoverish ordinary people while enriching themselves. That they have the audacity to perpetuate such frauds on homeowners and then blame those same homeowners for the collapse is a signal of just how much more powerful banking interests are than the people. That elected officials go along with the charade by bailing out the banks and sticking people with the bill is even more reprehensible.
5/2/09 Citigroup Said to Need Up to $10 Billion

Bank Disputes 'Stress Test' Result; U.S. to Let Lenders Convert Loans to Common Stock

Also see article below

DAVID ENRICH and DAMIAN PALETTA - WSJ Citigroup Inc. may need to raise as much as $10 billion in new capital, according to people familiar with the matter, as the government continues negotiations with banks over the results of its so-called stress tests.
5/1/09** Citigroup Banker: 'What'd I Do Wrong, Officer?' Cop: 'You've Got Algae in the Pool, Sir'

Fearing Blight, a California Town Makes It a Crime to Neglect Foreclosed Homes

NICHOLAS CASEY - WSJ Officials at Citigroup Inc. placed a call to this desert town recently. The bank had caught word that Indio was coming after the lending giant with fines and threats of criminal charges.
4/29/09** Fraud Charge in N.Y. Pension Case DANNY HAKIM

New York Times

“I believe we are disclosing a national network of actors who often acted in concert and did this all across the country,” Mr. Cuomo said. “They collaborated, they often partnered and victimized states and taxpayers across the country. It’s also an ongoing scam.”
4/29/09 Ken Lewis ousted as Bank of America chairman AP After shareholders spent four hours railing against Bank of America's brass, executives said Ken Lewis lost his chairmanship but kept his title as chief executive after angry shareholders voted to separate that job from that of the bank's chief executive.
4/29/09 Why Congress Won't Investigate Wall Street

Republicans and Democrats would find themselves in the hot seat.

Thomas Frank - WSJ The crisis today is not solely one of bank misbehavior. This is also about the failure of the regulators -- the Wall Street policemen who dozed peacefully as the crime of the century went off beneath the window.
4/29/09 The Truth About Mortgage.com Legislation aimed at providing a so-called “safe harbor” for loan servicers will actually lead to more abuse and shoddy loan modifications, according to a report from Amherst Securities Group.

Another example cited in the report claims one servicer modified loans that were “destined to failin order to keep the servicing fee revenue coming in.

4/29/09 U.S. expanding foreclosure prevention plan

Money for the plan would come from a previously authorized $50-billion allocation from the $700-billion Treasury Department bailout fund that Congress established last year. The $50 billion already has been used to create incentives for modifying first mortgages.
4/28/09 Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure  Donna Capurso
      Selkirk Mountain Real Estate
Probably the most precious commodity you will need if you are facing foreclosure is time. Time to discover your options, analyze your particular situation and implement a plan of action.
4/28/09 Administration is set to expand housing aid plan

Obama administration is set to launch effort to aid troubled borrowers with second mortgages

Alan Zibel, AP The administration also plans to give mortgage companies $2,500 payments to entice them to participate in the "Hope for Homeowners" program. It was launched by the government last fall but has so far fallen flat, proving unattractive to banks required to absorb large losses.
4/27/09 Who Owns My Mortgage? Ralph Roberts

Realty Times

Customers trying to look up the investor on the MERS registry will not find it. MERS makes the name and contact information of the servicer available, but not the name and contact of the investor. That information is for the servicer or investor to disclose, not MERS.
4/27/09 Banks Want Your House But Not Your Problems Wendell Sherk, Missouri Attorney Not only do bankers have no sense of irony, they seem to have no shame.
4/27/09** Italy Seizes Millions in Assets From Four Banks CLAUDIO GATTI

New York Times

Three of the banks are also being investigated over their municipal bond practices in the United States. Officials or former officials of JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and UBS, along with the institutions themselves, are the subjects of investigations, company filings and documents filed in civil cases show.
4/27/09 Criminal charges brought in alleged $70M Md. mortgage fraud scheme

Breuer said that "rampant financial fraud," including a sharp increase in mortgage scams, is among the factors behind the mounting rate of home foreclosures nationwide. He said he could not estimate how many of the millions of homeowners now facing foreclosure may have been victims of mortgage fraud.
4/27/09 Ponzi schemes flourish with vulnerable victims McClatchy Newspapers Nationwide mortgage fraud — about 80 percent was “induced” by corrupt lenders, Black said.
4/27/09
The government will take on a mountain of risk while trying to create an artificial market for the loans and debt securities. Critics worry about possible fraud and further banking system damage.
Ralph Vartabedian and Tom Hamburger

LA Times

There is so much uncertainty about the value of those loans -- held both by banks and by big institutional investors -- that they have become a black hole in the financial system.

"We are repeating all the mistakes that the mortgage guys made," Stiglitz said. "In the worst case, the national debt goes up by $1 trillion."

4/27/09 Texas securities regulators hampered as they investigate investment fraud dbarbee@star-telegram.com One thing that hamstrings the state, she said, is a 1996 federal law that makes some investment offerings exempt from filing detailed information. Companies using "Rule 506" can raise unlimited money, do not have to register their securities and usually do not have to file reports with the SEC. The brief notice they do file includes little beyond the names of owners and promoters, contact information and the type of securities offered.
4/26/09*

Pennsylvania Judge Writes Epic Opinion on Technology and Professional Responsibility

Texas Bankruptcy Attorney 

Stephen Sather

The Taylor case started with a simple question that comes up frequently in consumer bankruptcy cases:

Why couldn’t the creditor’s lawyer get a payment history? The answer given to this question prompted

Judge Sigmund to launch a one year investigation into the technology behind the case and how it was

being used and to award some very creative sanctions.

4/24/09 Agricultural Secretary suspends foreclosures Chip Parker, Jacksonville Consumer Attorney This time will also afford the Department the opportunity to review loans involving possible discriminatory conduct. We are also talking to the Department of Justice about exercising its authority to review existing litigation over these loans.
4/24/09 Homeowners, Don't Get Left out in the Cold!

 We still have a little document on our side called The United States Constitution, which states, among other things that, "Citizens of the United States shall not be deprived of life, liberty or prosperity without due process of law."

Iris Martin

Author of 

Mortgage Wars

Homeowners, listen up! It is time to begin a reversal of your misfortune by gearing up and waging your mortgage war. Even if you have wearily given up your keys and angrily moved out, there are legal remedies that can make you whole. Your lender has broken so many laws that you may end up with more money than you had in cash and equity in your home!
4/24/09 Bank of America's Lewis Confirms: Government Coerced the Merrill Deal Seeking Alpha Now, understanding that he is being made out to be the fall guy, Lewis has fessed up that Bank of America was coerced into the deal. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Department chief Henry Paulson pressured Bank of America Corp. to not discuss its increasingly troubled plan to buy Merrill Lynch & Co. -- a deal that later triggered a government bailout of BofA.
4/24/09 Clash looms over US mortgage aid Aline van Duyn - FT.com The banks ripped off investors, homeowners and taxpayers, and now want protection so they are not held accountable for what they did and continue to do. 
4/24/09

The Financial Crime of The Century: William K. Black On Massive Mortgage Fraud –Videos

  List of relevant videos
4/24/09 MERS Blocks Prevention of Repo Homes nowpublic.com Many American homeowners struggling to prevent their houses from becoming repo homes have been blocked in their tracks by an enterprise called MERS, an electronic registry created in the 1990s by the country’s largest mortgage lenders.
4/24/09 Stronger tools needed to protect public from fraud Sen. Patrick Leahy If fraud goes unprosecuted and unpunished, victims across America lose their investments -- even their life savings. In fact, fraud enforcement is an excellent investment for the American taxpayer. According to the Justice Department, the government recovers on average $32 for every dollar spent on criminal fraud litigation. Strengthening criminal and civil fraud enforcement is a sound investment, it's a confidence-building investment, and our bill not only will pay for itself but will yield a taxpayer premium.
4/23/09 U.S. law chief wants financial fraud task force Randall Mikkelsen

News Daily

The 10-member, bipartisan Financial Markets Commission would be modeled after the 9-11 Commission, which investigated failures leading up to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and made recommendations on how to avoid another such assault.  The Senate is looking to extend federal fraud laws to mortgage lending businesses, which the U.S. government does not now regulate or insure.
4/23/09 Freddie Mac's Kellerman: the Scapegoat of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? HousingWire staff This isn’t the story of a guy who was trying to cover something up. It’s the story of a guy who was trying to do the right thing.
4/23/09** Tracking Loans Through a Firm That Holds Millions MIKE McINTIRE

New York Times

“I’m convinced that part of the scheme here is to exhaust the resources of consumers and their advocates,” said Marie McDonnell, a mortgage analyst in Orleans, Mass., who is a consultant for lawyers suing lenders. “This system removes transparency over what’s happening to these mortgage obligations and sows confusion, which can only benefit the banks.
4/23/09
Attorney General Jerry Brown says customers were misled into believing that auction-rate securities were safe.
Martin Zimmerman

LA Times

The securities "were sold to customers on the basis that they were like cash and people could get their money back in eight days,"  "Now, it turns out they were not like cash and people can't get their money back even after many, many months, and they're mad as hell."
4/23/09 Lewis Testifies U.S. Urged Silence on Deal

Bank of America Chief Says Bernanke, Paulson Barred Disclosure of Merrill Woes Because of Fears for Financial System

LIZ RAPPAPORT - WSJ

During his testimony, Mr. Lewis described a conversation with Mr. Paulson in which the Treasury secretary made it clear that Mr. Lewis's own job was at stake. Mr. Lewis still was considering invoking his legal right to terminate the Merrill deal.

Also see Richard Davet's prophetic comments from the 2005 Annual Shareholders meeting.

4/22/09 Charlie Gasparino

The Daily Beast

In March, Kellermann was one of a handful of senior Freddie Mac people to have received a bonus, in his case $850,000, which prompted criticism and outrage.
4/22/09 Freddie Mac official found dead AP David Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, was found dead at his home Wednesday morning in what broadcast reports said was an apparent suicide.
4/22/09 Foreclosure Roundtable: Frustration Leads to Promises of Help Angie Moreschi 

Consumer Warning Network

Homeowners are quick to tell Consumer Warning Network about repeated frustrations in trying to get mortgage lenders to work with them to avoid foreclosure.  Now, the issue has the attention of a key government leader in Florida.
4/21/09 Bailout cop busy on the beat

Neil Barofsky, who is overseeing the $700 billion TARP, says he has 20 criminal probes and calls for changes to prevent fraud.

Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney The report reveals that Barofsky is looking into whether bailout decisions were influenced by those who stood to benefit from them and whether companies receiving bailout dollars are adhering to caps on executive pay.

4/21/09**

Crimes suspected in 20 bailout cases -- for starters

The special inspector general says TARP is 'inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse.' The risk grows as the plan becomes more complex, he says.

Ralph Vartabedian and Tom Hamburger

LA Times

Federal investigators said Monday they have opened 20 criminal probes into possible securities fraud, tax violations, insider trading and other crimes.

Giving money to fraudsters is an invitation to them to create more FRAUD. MSF

4/20/09

Holder and Geithner LIED About Loan Modification Scams

Mandelman Matters Attorney General Eric Holder and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner flat lied on April 6, 2009, when they addressed the nation to talk about the government’s response to the fraudulent loan modification scams that they claimed were sweeping the nation.
4/19/09 Mortgage Fraud Crackdown Is Gathering Steam in Florida TIM PADGETT / MIAMI AND WENDY MALLOY

Time

"We would be hard pressed to come up with another crime that has tugged at the fabric" of Florida lives, says Ibison. "Everyone ends up being a victim."
4/18/09** Mortgage industry changes throw new hurdles in borrowers' way Kenneth R. Harney

Los Angeles Times

Even for prime borrowers with 800 FICO scores and 50% down payments, Lipes said, "I can't tell them that we're certain we can get you a mortgage."
Jan/09**

Foreclosure Crisis: Maryland Lawyers Take Action, Volunteer to Help Hundreds of Homeowners

Janet Stidman Eveleth

Maryland Bar Bulletin

Send this to your local, state and American Bar Assoc..  We need to push this in EVERY state.  Those responsible for creating the foreclosure/economic meltdown received BAILOUT money for their unlawful acts and are increasing the number of unlawful foreclosures with the intent of covering up their fraud by creating a less tainted note. MSF
4/17/09**

Dozens of Cases Rolling in from Bankruptcy and Civil Courts Reversing Foreclosures, Evictions

LivingLies

We are getting daily reports of many cases that have gone as far as writs of possession being completely reversed, putting the homeowner not only in possession of the house, but free from the threat of foreclosure.  

Many homeowners are now considering filing damage actions for abuse of process and lawyers are getting the point.

4/17/09** Who is MERS and Why Are They Suing Me? Terry Smiljanich

Consumer Warning Network

The ability of MERS to foreclose in the name of the actual mortgage lender has often been challenged in in courts throughout the nation. Oftentimes, sloppy work by its attorneys causes MERS to get kicked out of court. In California, for example, a court recently threw out foreclosure suits brought by MERS for failure to follow the rules. A court in Nevada did likewise.  Rhode Island Attorney George Babcock has been very successful challenging the chain of title created by MERS.
4/17/09 Spitzer "The Sheriff of Wall Street" is back Andie Coller

Politico

He’s become a columnist for Slate and a commentator in the media, weighing in on the economic crisis and AIG. He made his return to network TV on the Today show, where he spent less than three-and-a-half minutes discussing the scandal and its aftermath.
4/16/09 Alleged Fraudster Used Law Firms to Cover His Tracks

The letter

Legal Blog Watch The paper reprints a letter that Pang's lawyer, Fulbright & Jaworski partner Charles Schmerler, sent Nasar Aboubakare offering him $500,000 if he could convince the WSJ to kill the story.
4/16/09 Foreclosure filings jump 24% CNN Money Foreclosure activity skyrocketed in March and the first quarter of 2009 to their highest levels on record as banks lifted moratoria on filings.
4/16/09 Home buyers describe feeling of deception

''They turned our dream, our first home, into a nightmare,'' Robinette Vetter said moments after she left the witness stand.

Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal

The Vetters' story was part of what Summit County prosecutors attempted to show to a judge and jury Wednesday as evidence of a pattern of corrupt activity in the joint trial of the last two co-defendants in the Evergreen case.

4/15/09 Banks Ramp Up Foreclosures 

Completed Foreclosures Jumped 44% in March

Ruth Simon-WSJ Mortgage companies cannot modify an invalid loan or a loan they do not own.  Make them prove there is a valid loan. In 90% of cases -- they can't! MSF
4/15/09** 6 Companies to get $9.9B under mortgage program MARTIN CRUTSINGER

ALAN ZIBEL- AP

What should set you on fire is these same companies are operating the illegal foreclosure scam that caused the foreclosure crisis. The government gives them billions for stealing homes and equity, and destroying families and entire neighborhoods. MSF
4/15/09 Stick it to the credit card companies. Here's how! Denise Richardson

GiveMeBackMyCredit.com

“I’m really passionate about this. It’s credit unions helping people to help themselves in a desperate time. It is our chance to do something to make a difference right now, to make life better for our neighbors and members.”
4/14/09

Bailoutspotting (Or The Search For The Great Financial Methadone Clinic)

Tyler Durden - Zero Hedge There is nothing that can be done at this point to prevent the administration from leeching every last dollar out of its taxpayers to benefit the terminally addicted and zombied bank system. Using pretexts, subterfuge and lies, the administration's charade triage will only end once there are no more gullible taxpayers to provide their cash, no more demagogue senators and congressmen who will bend reality to make it seem that their actions benefiting a select few are for the benefit of all, and no more naive investors who buy into the promises that U.S. debt is the "safest investment."
4/14/09

Lenders Bringing Homeowner Prosecutions In Loan Modification

Government officials evaded the question of why loan modification efforts "rarely, if ever, pay off."

Huliq News Some mortgage lenders are springing a “loan modification trap” of criminal prosecution against homeowners who try to avoid foreclosure, says a mortgage expert firm, Mortgage Fraud Examiners. Rather than cooperating with homeowners needing loan modifications, some lenders report struggling homeowners to the FBI or State authorities for bank fraud.
4/14/09 Class Action Says Wells Fargo, Rels Illegally Strong-Arm Appraisers Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (RICO), claims that beginning in 2004 Wells Fargo and Rels colluded to punish appraisers who refused to inflate appraisals by denying them future appraisal work.
4/14/09 Domestic abuse on rise as families try to cope with recession Canadian Press "We see some very serious, very shocking abuse."
4/14/09 Civil and Criminal Charges Filed Against Debt Collectors for Fraud on Courts ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO Tens of thousands of New York consumers had money seized by creditors using court orders that had been obtained by fraud, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday — and the money should be returned.
4/13/09

Foreclosures 46% higher in March than a year ago

Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY

"I think we'll see foreclosures surge through the summer," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. The increasing number of jobless Americans is likely to accelerate the supply of foreclosures, which in turn will continue to pull down housing prices, economists say.

4/13/09

"Produce-The-Note" Foreclosure Rescue Litigation Runs Aground In California

Josh Mandell

Mortgage Servicing News

[a] successful challenge to a non-judicial foreclosure sale requires evidence of a failure to comply

with the procedural requirements for the foreclosure sale that caused prejudice to the person

attacking the sale.

4/12/09 Our Government and Wall Street kept lying to us

You think you are rich? Have a solid net worth? 

So did many of Madoff's client's....until they found out the truth.

The Motley Fool More and more loans will default because there simply is not enough money in circulation to pay off the debt.  Not only that, now that banks are not printing funny money so citizens that can't afford to pay on the debt, revenues are evaporating and even legitimate loans can no longer be serviced.
4/11/09 False hope
Burlington County Times
State Attorney General Anne Milgram last month announced the filing of three lawsuits aimed at attacking mortgage fraud.  In one way or another, each of the defendants in these complaints is charged with making money by selling false hope to trusting people during uncertain economic times," Milgram said.
4/10/09 Judges are starting to “Get It” Neil Garfield

Given the current state of this country’s economy I will grant your continuance, I don’t want to put a judgment on you if you have a case here. It seems if there weren’t something to this, they would have had you out by now.

4/9/09 Sallie Mae CEO Gets Raise Despite Record Losses Consumer Warning Network Remember the outrage when we we all learned that A.I.G., a recipient of huge federal bailout dollars, was handing out bonuses to executives who had been in charge of financial operations that lost buckets of money? Well Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest private student loan lender, apparently likes what it saw.

Despite losing $213 million in 2008, Sallie Mae’s CEO Albert L. Lord got a multimillion dollar raise as his reward. He received $4.7 million in total compensation for 2008, a raise of $3 million over his 2007 compensation.

4/9/09 Government cracks down on mortgage scams

Federal and state officials are cracking down on mortgage modification scams

AP “If you are struggling to make your mortgage payment, or if you are facing foreclosure, stay away from anyone who says that they will save your home for money upfront,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
4/9/09**

Did Lack of Regulation Cause the Financial Crisis?

D. Saul Weiner There needs to be a Congressional investigation to get to the bottom of what happened. Executives from the failed banks need to be replaced and successful regulators need to be appointed, not the same people who got us into this mess.
4/9/09 With Advocates’ Help, Squatters Call Foreclosures Home JOHN LELAND

New York Times

“We’re seeing sheriffs’ departments who are reluctant to move fast on foreclosures or evictions,” said Bill Faith, director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, which is not engaged in squatting. “They’re up to their eyeballs in this stuff. Everyone’s overwhelmed.”
FRAUD

ALERT!

4/8/09

Property owners at risk for fraud

New scam could hit every property
owner

with Video

Matt McCutcheon

Wayne.com

After falsifying a new deed, having it notarized, and filing it… the crooks can then appear to be the landowner. They then can head to the bank for a loan.

"Worst case scenario we've heard of people waking up in the middle of a foreclosure proceeding because they were not aware that somebody had taken out a mortgage on the property that they own,"

4/7/09** Breach of FHA Regulations no defense to Illinois Foreclosures  David Leibowitz, Illinois and Wisconsin Bankruptcy Attorney According to this court, borrowers have no rights even if the lenders totally ignore FHA regulations. 
4/7/09 Healing All Homeowners Iris Martin There is light at the end of the tunnel and you will prevail. Judges all over the country are on your side. It's time to fight the good fight and win.
4/7/09

Guarding against home foreclosure fraud

Elk Grove Citizen Online According to council official David K. Lal, the surge in foreclosures and consumer demand for mortgage relief has spawned a new industry full of opportunistic salespeople who bill themselves as experts.
4/7/09 24 Charged in Rico Conspiracy Based on Extensive Mortgage Fraud Scheme PRNewswire U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging 24 individuals with conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Specifically, the defendants are charged with using a corrupt enterprise to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity, namely, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The charged racketeering activity all stems from an extensive mortgage fraud scheme based in San Diego , that involved 220 properties with a total sales price of more than $100 million dollars .
4/7/09

Former Inland Empire Mortgage Company President Convicted of Fraud James Comtois

Mortgage Servicing News

Following the reading of the jury's verdicts, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips revoked Varner's bond and remanded him into custody after hearing from prosecutors that Varner is realistically facing a sentence of more than 12 years in prison, and after learning that he remained in the real estate industry following his arrest in this case in 2007.
4/6/09 Treasury Secretary Geithner May Replace CEOs of Bailed-Out Banks AP Asked if chief executives of big banks such as Citibank and Bank of America should worry about their jobs if their companies don't improve their performance, Geithner said the government would not shy from such a restructuring.
4/6/09** Mortgage Fraud: How the FBI Blew It

FBI doesn't even have a single major conviction.

with Video

Aaron Task - Yahoo Finance Indeed, as much as 80% of the fraud during the boom was "induced by the lenders," who either encouraged people to lie on loan applications or actively altered documents to make them more likely to be approved, says Black.. "They used razor blades to take out the honest information and inserted the false information."
4/6/09 Mortgage Fraud Fought AP Officials say such operations almost always are fraudulent, and that free help is available from government-approved housing counselors.
4/6/09

Feds vow to end scams targeting homeowners

Vic Kolenc / El Paso Times "We will shut down fraudulent companies more quickly than before," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at a news conference. "We will target companies that otherwise would have gone unnoticed under the radar."  [PROVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
4/6/09 Illinois Passes Foreclosure Moratorium Law Andy Miofsky, Illinois Consumer Law Attorney Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law April 5th, 2009 that prevents mortgage holders from foreclosing for up to 3 months.  The law imposes a moratorium on foreclosure within the first 30 days of delinquency.  Mortgage holders must advise borrowers they have 30 more days to seek credit counseling.  Homeowners who obtain housing counseling approved by HUD are given an additional 30 days to resolve the delinquency with the mortgage holder before foreclosure.

Are credit counselors trained to detect and advise homeowners that their alleged delinquency is the result of Mortgage Servicing Fraud? MSF

4/6/09 Government cracking down on mortgage scams AP Government officials say scammers are seeking to take advantage of borrowers in danger of default by charging them upfront fees of $1,000 to $3,000 for help with loan modifications that rarely, if ever, pay off.
4/5/09

One journey through the mortgage maze

Susan Taylor Martin

St. Petersburg Times

Involved in this single loan, with each taking their cut of unlawful fees, are: Argent Mortgage, "Argent Securities Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificate'', Citigroup, Citi Residential Lending, Deutsche Bank, as trustee for Pass-Through Certificate Series 2006-W25; Pass-Through Certificates Series 2005-W5, not 2006-W25 and American Home Mortgage Servicing from the state of Texas; the corruption state, where many of the fraudsters run to find safe haven from the law.
4/4/09 HEATHER LANDY

New York Times

Activist shareholders have been criticizing executive pay practices for well over a decade, accusing directors of being too cozy with C.E.O.’s, too eager to lavish pay on them and too ambiguous about the formulas they use for setting compensation.
4/3/09 Homeowner, Don't Let the Wolf in Your Door! Iris Martin If your loan has been securitized, your lender is not the current note holder and has no legal right to do so.
4/3/09 More Mortgage Companies Are Refusing To Foreclose When the Borrower Stops Paying. Rachel Lynn Foley - Kansas City, MO Bankruptcy Attorney in Foreclosure News I explained that mortgage companies are abandoning homes left and right instead of choosing to foreclose on the property.  Yes that sentence was not a typo.  I explained to her that the mortgage companies are the ones walking away and not the debtors.
4/3/09**

and transcript

 

The banks and our government continue to cover up the fraud Bill Moyers Journal William K. Black suspects that it was more than greed and incompetence that brought down the U.S. financial sector and plunged the economy in recession — it was fraud. And he would know. When it comes to financial shenanigans, William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, has seen pretty much everything.
4/3/09 WHERE’S THE NOTE, WHO’S THE HOLDER: ENFORCEMENT OF PROMISSORY NOTE SECURED BY REAL ESTATE

HON. SAMUEL L. BUFFORD

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY JUDGE

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

When the actual holder of the note is unknown, it is impossible – not difficult but impossible – to plead a cause of action in a federal court (unless the movant simply lies about the ownership of the note). Unless the name of the actual note holder can be stated, the very pleadings are defective.

4/3/09 Texas Instruments sues 3 banks over auction-rate securities