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Spring

2012

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MERS is Dead: Love Live MERS 

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), the mortgagee on over half of all new residential mortgages in the United States, is the subject of a number of recent, scathing judicial decisions that demand analysis. 

Dustin Zacks, Esq. The saga of MERS’s winding journey through the nation’s courts has been the subject of recent attention, both in academic literature and in the popular press. Escalating mortgage foreclosures necessitated judicial examination of the varying definitions of MERS and of the nature of its interest in notes, mortgages, and deeds of trust. Recent decisions suggest that judicial skepticism of MERS may be increasing.
5/31/12

Settled

SunTrust Mortgage Settles For $21 Million Over Alleged Discriminatory Lending

The consent order filed along with the complaint says SunTrust Mortgage denied wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement to avoid expensive and potentially risky litigation

Huff Post A complaint filed by the department in U.S. District Court in Richmond said SunTrust Mortgage charged more than 20,000 black and Hispanic borrowers more than similarly qualified non-Hispanic white borrowers between 2005 and 2009.

Perez said in a teleconference with reporters. "You paid what amounted to a "racial surtax" that ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars."

5/31/12

Will Treasury Hire the Guy Who Allowed JP Morgan to Help Iran Launder Money?

emptywheel

Two weeks ago, Treasury fired the guy in charge of FinCEN (the part of Treasury that enforces and tracks Suspicious Activities Reports), Jim Freis, reportedly (pay wall) because he wanted to focus on law enforcement and financial crimes, rather than a more focused counterterrorism focus.
5/31/12

California passes bills giving AG Harris greater investigative power

HousingWire "Unfortunately, county-by-county grand juries do not work well in dealing with large-scale wrongdoing in multiple jurisdictions. With this bill, the Attorney General can investigate multijurisdictional crimes - it will provide protection when Californians need it the most."
5/31/12

EVERBANK V. ZEER

Stop

ForeclosureFraud

Michigan Court of Appeals

Because plaintiff did not have a mortgage interest when it initiated foreclosure proceedings, and therefore, the foreclosure
proceedings are void ab initio, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

5/31/12

Abacus Federal Savings Bank Charged With Mortgage Fraud Worth Hundreds Of Millions

Huff Post A New York bank and 19 ex-employees have been charged with issuing hundreds of millions of dollars of fraudulent mortgages that were later peddled as promising securities to unwitting investors.

Several people already have pleaded guilty. The other defendants were awaiting arraignment.

Homeowner advocates are fighting Arizona's Robin Hoods-in-Reverse

Distressed Arizona homeowners were set to receive assistance and legal aid as part of a mortgage settlement that brought $97.7 million to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

AZCentral The money is supposed to help the many Arizona homeowners struggling with foreclosure issues, some of which are the result of fraud and other abuses by lenders.

The governor and Republican legislators decided to "sweep" $50 million from that settlement money and put it into the general fund.

Last week, the Arizona Housing Alliance filed a lawsuit to stop them.

5/30/12**

SEC: Taking on Big Firms is 'Tempting,' 

But We Prefer Picking on Little Guys

If you want to see a perfect example of how completely broken our regulatory system is, look no further than a speech that one of the S.E.C.’s commissioners, recently gave in Denver, Colorado.

It’s a speech whose full lunacy is hard to grasp without some background.

[Sivere had to scratch his head and wonder how his bosses knew about the award request , until it dawned on him: the S.E.C. had ratted him out to Chase! It subsequently came out that the S.E.C. official who’d narked on Sivere was George Demos, who more recently was seen running for Congress in New York.] 

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

he S.E.C. in recent years has failed in almost every possible way a regulator can fail to police powerful criminals. Failure #1 was that it repeatedly fell down on the job even when alerted to problems at big companies well ahead of time by insiders. Six months before Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting off a chain reaction of losses that crippled the world economy, one of Lehman’s attorneys, Oliver Budde, contacted the S.E.C. to warn them that the firm had understated CEO Dick Fuld's income by more than $200 million; the agency blew him off. There were similar brush-offs of insiders with compelling information in cases involving Moody’s, Chase, and both of the major Ponzi scheme scandals, i.e. the Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford cases.
5/30/12

A Scary Scenario for Bank of America and the Biggest Banks

Bank of America must rue the day back in 2008 that it purchased Countrywide Financial and its stockpile of dicey mortgage loans. Doing so has placed Bank of America front and center of the foreclosure fiasco, costing the nation's second-largest bank more than $40 billion to date.

Daily Finance Now, in yet another example of how sticky this part of the housing crisis has proved to be, Bank of America has agreed to buy back $330 million worth of loans from Freddie Mac because they contained flaws that occurred during origination.
5/30/12

Borrowers passing up free program


Millions of homeowners are eligible to have their foreclosures reviewed for free, but just as many aren't using the service.

KKCO-Grand Junction People are skeptical, believing it's just another scam. And it is.

The criminal enterprise simply does not have the paperwork to legally foreclose or evict.  Facing the probable threat of jail time for forgery, wire/mail fraud, etc. the banks have forced the government to help aid in their "theft by deception scheme". 

5/30/12

Still Pretending the Servicers Are Legitimate

The attempt to collect on the note where I didn’t make the loan might be considered fraud or even grand theft. And rightfully so. I am told that in some states the Judges say it is the absence of anyone else making an effort to collect on the note that proves the standing of the party seeking to enforce it. Really?

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

D comes in and seeks to enforce the mortgage and note and nobody else is around. The title record is still clear of any foreclosure activity. D says he has an assignment and produces a false forged assignment. Nobody else shows up. THAT is because the parties in the securitization chain are using MERS instead of the public record title registry so they didn’t get any notice.

5/30/12**

FORECLOSURE MEDIATION IS A BOOBY TRAP

Mediation suggested by the courts – like modification, is a trap. It buys time for the banks to dummy up more records and documents, while lulling the homeowner into a false sense of security and reliance that the servicer can actually perform a modification. In most cases they can’t.

The number of fraudulent assignment of mortgage documents filed in the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances, like many other states is appalling. Compounding the assignment fraud is the gigantic number of unrepresented homeowners in these foreclosure and eviction actions. These homeowners have absolutely no understanding that an assignment of mortgage even exists or that it is fraudulent, assigned too late to a New York or Delaware trust, was filed with intent to defraud and has clouded their title.

 

Gary Dubin, Esq.

Deadly Clear

The truth is that whereas borrowers in financial difficulty are usually an open book, “mortgage holders” [except local lenders] (and in particular Mainland Wall Street clones) exist largely behind a secret and contrived paper curtain of:
a. lost or intentionally destroyed promissory notes,
b. hidden and proliferating unrecorded mortgage trading records,
c. securitized trusts whose investors usually have complete discretion whether or not to approve loan modifications whether or not conforming, for instance, to HAMP guidelines, frequently simply ignored,
d. loan servicers and their so-called negotiators who have conflicts of interest and often zero authority, whose loans frequently have already partially or even fully been paid off upon default by insurance carriers.
5/30/12

Barney Frank: Obama Rejected Bush Administration Concession to Write Down Mortgages

Here’s Barney Frank, in an exit interview recently in New York Magazine, revealing unwittingly that Obama during the transition rejected a Bush administration concession to write down mortgages. Here’s what Barney said.

Matt Stoller There were policy debates within Obama’s economic team about what to do about the mortgage crisis. The choices were to create some sort of legal entity to write down mortgage debt or to allow the write-down of mortgage debt through a massive wave of foreclosures over the next four to six years. He chose the latter. That choice was part of what led to roughly $7 trillion of middle class wealth gone, with financial assets for the elites re-inflated.

5/30/12

Summary Judgment - The Trap

Fred Graves, Esq. Banks and other powerful opponents do this routinely. They start with a laundry list of affidavits by which they wish the court to believe they've "proven" the facts of their case (inadmissible affidavits, by the way), and their lawyer points to the paperwork, files a motion for summary judgment, and insists the case has already been proven.
That is almost never the truth. It's a trap!
5/29/12**

A New Low for the California State Bar – 

HOMEOWNER & LAWYER ALERT!

The question is:
Should a homeowner at risk of foreclosure be able to hire an attorney to help with a loan modification if the homeowner wants to do so?

Because the California State Bar says the answer is no.

It’s become clear that the California State Bar doesn’t want you to be able to hire a lawyer… ever… if it has to do with getting a loan modified to avoid foreclosure.

Mandelman Matters For the record… I’m a homeowner who is not at risk of foreclosure… not today, anyway. I am, however, deeply offended by the idea that were I to find myself at risk of foreclosure, I could potentially find it impossible to obtain legal representation. I find that thought nothing short of horrific… and more than that I find it entirely un-American.

The fact is that the State Bar is working to deprive homeowners from obtaining legal representation having to do with getting a loan modified in order to avoid foreclosure and the article below is clear evidence of that fact.

Arizona Homeowners, Sue To Keep State From Diverting Mortgage Deal Funds

Huff Post Their complaint? That Arizona, like a number of other states, received millions of dollars to help alleviate homeowners' pains caused by the foreclosure crisis, and instead diverted a huge chunk of it to fill gaps in the state budget.
5/29/12

Wells Fargo Pledges Investments To End Memphis Lawsuit

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, pledged more than $432 million in mortgage credit and investments as it resolved a discrimination lawsuit brought by Memphis, Tennessee.

Bloomberg

Wells Fargo is battling U.S. Justice Department allegations that it singles out minority homeowners for worse treatment, and it’s facing scrutiny by the Department of Housing and Urban Development over claims that it neglects bank-owned homes in minority communities. 
5/23/12

States Must Use Foreclosure Settlements to Actually Prevent Foreclosures

Meghna Philip

Brennan Center for Justice

As studies continue to reiterate the value of foreclosure counseling and legal services, states continue to divert $974 million from the settlement away from these vital programs. This defies logic. The foreclosure crisis continues to strangle state economies. The smart fiscal response is to invest in foreclosure prevention.

5/29/12

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Governor Martin O'Malley Outline Funding for Homeowners and Communities Affected by Housing Crisis


$60 million from Mortgage Settlement Funds will boost housing counselor and legal aid programs, community stabilization, enforcement and fraud prevention.

Maryland Attorney General

Press release

"Our priorities are to help those families struggling to stay in their homes and stabilize neighborhoods so those homes can begin to increase in value once again," said Attorney General Gansler. "This plan sticks to the spirit and the letter of the settlement by using these resources to help the Marylanders most affected by the housing crisis. As a result, all Marylanders will benefit."

5/29/12

Forced-Place Insurance Lawsuits

If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a Force-Placed Insurance Bank lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.


Please click here for a free evaluation of your Force-Placed Insurance Bank case

Lawyers & Settlements Banks, lenders and loan service providers face force-placed insurance lawsuits alleging their force-placed insurance pushes already financially-burdened home owners into greater financial crisis, putting them at risk of foreclosure. Furthermore, allegations have been made that force-placed home insurance is much more costly than traditional home insurance and could be a conflict of interest for some financial institutions. 
5/29/12

New Documentary Tells the Story of Criminal Justice Debt in Philadelphia

Brennan Center for Justice “This is another example of just kicking the poor down,” Pennsylvania State Senator Shirley M. Kitchen says in the film. “The budget is being balanced on the backs of the poor, the working class, and the middle class. And all of this is just not fair.”
5/29/12

Two Bank of America Fraud Whistleblowers Settle Claims, Including Former LandSafe /Countrywide Employee Who Earned $14 Million Reward -- BAC

Hagens Berman

Press release

Attorneys representing former home appraisal manager Kyle W. Lagow, who blew the whistle on widespread fraud at Countrywide Financial, today announced the final settlement of Mr. Lagow's whistleblower action. Mr. Lagow's whistleblower suit sparked an investigation culminating in the historic $1 billion settlement between the Department of Justice and Bank of America
5/29/12

Corporate investigations are getting riskier and more difficult

Reuters The Dodd-Frank Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act both present large risks, panel members said at the forum last Tuesday. Dodd-Frank is new and untested, and the FCPA has a global reach with potential penalties that can include huge fines and felony convictions.

5/29/12

Judge allows Dallas County suit against MERS to continue

Dallas revised the lawsuit in October, seeking to represent all other Texas counties in which a deed of trust has been filed identifying MERS as a beneficiary.
Southeast Texas Record A federal judge in Dallas has denied a request to dismiss Bank of America and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. from a suit claiming they created a system to avoid paying uncollected mortgage filing fees in Texas counties.
5/29/12

Florida’s Sixth Circuit – Handling Foreclosure Cases the Right Way

Our courts are overburdened, understaffed, and underpaid. And while I’m sometimes the first to point out procedures that aren’t up to snuff, let’s make sure we give credit to those many judges who are doing it the right way, especially in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Mark Stopa, Esq It’s really refreshing to go before these judges and know they’re going to call balls and strikes, not act like a second prosecutor of foreclosure cases and not do the job of plaintiff’s counsel from the bench where counsel is lax in prosecuting the case. For these judges, it’s about judging fairly, not about meeting a quota or disposing of a certain number of cases in a certain time period.
5/29/12

MERS v. BofA, AMBOY NATIONAL BANK (great case on UCC law) Alina Under the U.C.C., a "payee" who "receive[d] delivery of [an] instrument" may bring an action for conversion against a depository bank who caused payment to be made to "a person not entitled to enforce the instrument." N.J.S.A. 12A:3-420. A person "receives delivery of [an] instrument" under N.J.S.A. 12A:3-420 "when the check comes into the payees possession, as for example when it is put into the payee's mailbox."

 

5/28/12

Texas Company Sues Homeowners With Foreclosed Second Mortgages

And he argues that Heritage Pacific's lawsuits against people with second-rate mortgage debts of less than $150,000 are illegal under California law. "Legally, you can only sue for fraud if the amount is more than $300,000," Kennedy said.

abc News After a house has been sold in foreclosure, according to California law, owners with loans like Abdelfattah's are protected from being pursued for any other debts on the same property. But Abdelfattah started receiving letters from Heritage Pacific Financial, a debt-collection and consolidation agency in Plano, Texas, that he'd never heard of. The company demanded he pay back the second mortgage.

5/28/12

Mortgage Securitization in 11 E-Z Steps

The con, the Ponzi, isn’t discovered until foreclosure, which, of course, renders the victim discredited. Seriously, why would you look if you didn’t know you had to? You make your payment on time to the person they tell you, right? Upon foreclosure, if you bother to investigate, you find what I just described to you above. You are left knowing you were had. Not only that, you are left knowing the entire country has been had. Should you try to raise a fuss, you are dismissed as a bum wanting a free house.

Vermont Trotter

HPN

It’s about your title. You don’t have one. And as if that weren’t funny enough, there’s always the punch line It’s also about your title insurance. You don’t have any of that either. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at the POLICY. What’s that? Don’t have a copy of the POLICY? Only a “Commitment to Title”? Hmmmm. Unless you take action to clear things up, the title to your home will remain hopelessly clouded. No one can buy, no one can sell, no one can deliver clear title at the end of a mortgage obligation. Title is absolute. Just like being pregnant, you can’t have a little bit of title. What is a clouded title worth to you?
PRESS

RELEASE

5/27/12**

In Fight with Banks, Pennsylvania homeowner may be
PRICED OUT OF COURT

Talk about adding insult to injury. A Pennsylvania woman has been battling Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs in court, seeking compensation for overcharges on her mortgage.

Petition in Glover v. Wells Fargo,     Goldman Sachs

Home Equity Theft Reporter

&

Public Citizen

Now, because of a highly unusual action by a judge, she may be priced out of court and forced to drop her case. Public Citizen is coming to the rescue.

"The U.S. Supreme Court admonished almost 50 years ago that the quality of justice a person enjoys should not depend on the amount of money she has. We are asking the appeals court to enforce that principle.

5/27/12

Decided 5/15

Federal Judge Agrees, Fannie Mae Foreclosure Could Violate U.S. Constitution

“…from my perspective, standing is an Article III jurisdictional issue. It deals with injury in fact first of all. And I can’t imagine anybody better than the party that says they are entitled to lawful possession of the house because something was wrong with the foreclosure process.”

MFI-Miami After the decision, Jenkinson commented that “it’s refreshing to see that someone is willing to look into how the foreclosure mills, spearheaded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been working overtime to throw people out of their homes. Hopefully this will lead to more attempts by the banks to modify deserving homeowners.”
5/27/12

Where Is The Money?

Now the Fraudsters are lying about the settlement.

CDAPress The individual who contacted us said he had already contacted the loan servicer who told him that it was "too late" since his foreclosure took place over a several month period in 2008-2009, yet the settlement language states that the settlement is to benefit victims of mortgage fraud back to 2008.
5/27/12

Coppinger: House of Reps Approves Foreclosure Prevention Measures

On May 16, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously supported a bill aimed at unlawful and unnecessary foreclosures.

WEstRoxburyPatch "The foreclosure prevention bill that we passed... will go a long way to helping families across the state as well as helping shore up the banking industry in Massachusetts," said Coppinger. "I have had a long career in the mortgage industry so I know firsthand how important it is to ensure that banks work closely with homeowners to prevent foreclosures. 
5/26/12

Bank Of America Returns Foreclosed Home To Dirma Rodriguez And Disabled Daughter

"We found that the documents showed that the sale was void," Suzanne O'Keeffe, a writer and OFF activist, told KCAL-9

Huff Post Bank of America has bought the home back from the investor who'd bought it in foreclosure, and is going to work with the Rodriguez family so they can stay in the home.
5/26/12

Are foreclosures worth the risk?

htrnews The risky world of auctions.
The best advice for people pondering auctions as a way to get in on foreclosed property is to simply not get involved at all.

The risks are immense when dealing with a bank-run auction, since you likely won't have seen the house, you'll have no way to protect yourself against title problems should they exist, and you'll have to pay in cash.
5/25/12**

Idea for LAWYERS

Appearance Counsel for Homeowners

What would happen if attorneys who practiced foreclosure defense just showed up at the Courthouse?

Bruce M Broyles Esq. I do not see a great difference between the above and “appearance counsel” who have no authority and no contact with the client prior to walking into the Courtroom on behalf of the Plaintiff. If the defendant does not appear, the appearance counsel is able to complete his task; hand the proposed entry to the court. If the Defendant does appear, then appearance counsel stands there silently while the Court resets the matter giving the Defendant time to either file an answer or retain an attorney
5/25/12**

Colorado AG requests Foreclosure-Mill lawyers' documents from four county trustees

Denver Post Though specific to the law firms, the request — by a mortgage fraud investigator — was not specific to any foreclosure case or date, or any lender.
5/25/12**

Ally (GMAC) Financial: Newly Released Letter Show Scope Of Possible Mortgage Screw-ups

How much homeowner misery Ally Financial may be responsible for came to light after the Federal Reserve released a letter that details exactly how many borrowers' cases may have been mishandled.

The Letter

Huff Post One of the great mysteries of the five-year ordeal is that no one really knows how often banks or other mortgage servicers screwed up a loan modification, made a costly accounting mistake, or illegally foreclosed on a homeowner. Anecdotal evidence from thousands of homeowners, and information from a few limited audits, suggest widespread misconduct, but the financial institutions that service mortgages have fought a true accounting.
5/25/12

Decided 5/17

Res judicata Bars Third Foreclosure Attempt


"The first action was dismissed without prejudice; the second was dismissed with prejudice in a journal entry reflecting that the parties had resolved the matter and the plaintiff had 
charged off the loan."

Civil Appeal from the 
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
"Further, it has been recognized that res judicata applies where there is privity between the parties to the cases and that an assignee of an interest in a promissory note and mortgage is in privity with its assignor for purposes of res judicata. EMC Mtge. Corp. v. Jenkins, 164 Ohio App.3d 240, 2005 Ohio 5799, 841 N.E.2d 855, ¶ 20 (9th Dist.). 
5/25/12

Bank Regulators Under Scrutiny in JPMorgan Loss

NY Times Scores of federal regulators are stationed inside JPMorgan Chase’s Manhattan headquarters, but none of them were assigned to the powerful unit that recently disclosed a multibillion trading loss.
5/25/12

Bankers’ mortgage system survives legal storm in Utah

It says something about the ubiquity of the alternative mortgage registration system created by the nation’s bankers that it is now suing itself in a Utah lawsuit.

Salt Lake Tribune But even without that anomaly, the lawsuit is a bizarre confluence of factors that has caught a Draper couple in a situation where they bought a home based on a clean title report only to now be in court fighting to ensure the transaction was legitimate.
5/25/12

Hope and Frustration in New U.S. Effort to Help Homeowners

 He said his application was denied by his current lender, GMAC, and about five others. Their reasons ran the gamut.

Salt Lake Tribune GMAC told him it was because he had lender-paid mortgage insurance. Another told him that his “loan-to-value ratio” was too high — that is, the loan amount, divided by the home’s value — even though HARP 2.0 eliminated the cap. Another told him he was not eligible for an appraisal waiver, and would need to get one showing that the property was worth at least $206,000, which Mr. Janas knew was unlikely.
5/25/12

In cleaning up mess, FDIC may have sped Utah banks’ end

Salt Lake Tribune "It’s impossible to say that is what caused [their] failures. But it was definitely a contributory cause," said Headlee who believes the FDIC put too much foreclosed property on the market too quickly.
5/25/12

Eric Schneiderman: Mortgage Task Force Could Use 'More Resources'

Huff Post According to the WSJ, the group today has more than 100 members, including investigators and prosecutors from both the federal and state level.
5/25/12

Obama AWOL as 15.7 Million Homeowners Underwater

Wall Street's return to record profitability didn't happen by accident; a few short years ago the industry was on the brink of collapse, brought on by their own short-sighted and dangerous gambling with other people's money.

Huff Post They were rescued from their own hubris with trillions in tax-payer funded bail-outs and backstops, and have come roaring back. Meanwhile, far too little has been done to support the victims of Wall Street's criminal and negligent behavior.

Nearly one in every three mortgage holders is trapped, upside down or underwater on their mortgage. Put simply, Wall Street has more than recovered while the American people sink further and further away from economic security.

5/25/12

A bankruptcy trips up $6.5M payday in Mortgage Fraud lawsuit

Walters Bender Strohbehn & Vaughan PC’s $6.5 million payday for a settlement the firm reached in a residential mortgage fraud lawsuit is on hold.

Kansas City BizJournal A fairness hearing for the settlement was set for May 18, but it was called off after RFC’s parent company — Residential Capital LLC, a subsidiary of government-owned auto lender Ally Financial Inc. — filed for bankruptcy May 14 in New York. Ally still owes taxpayers $12 billion for its bailout in the financial crisis.
5/25/12

Egos and Immorality

If Wall Streeters are spoiled brats, they are spoiled brats with immense power and wealth at their disposal. And what they’re trying to do with that power and wealth right now is buy themselves not just policies that serve their interests, but immunity from criticism.

Paul Krugman

NY Times

In fact, overall business productivity in America grew faster in the postwar generation, an era in which banks were tightly regulated and private equity barely existed, than it has since our political system decided that greed was good.
5/25/12**

USDA Is a Tough Collector When Mortgages Go Bad

Ruth Simon - WSJ Unlike private firms, the USDA doesn't need permission from a court to start collecting on unpaid debts. It can in some cases seize government benefits and tax refunds before a foreclosure is completed. After foreclosure, the USDA can go after unpaid balances, even in states that limit such actions by private lenders.
5/24/12

 

1/7/11 FLORIDA BAR STAFF OPINION 29977 

ATTENTION ALL FLORIDIANS (especially attorneys) YOU HAVE A DUTY TO REPORT FRAUDULENT ASSIGNMENTS OF MORTGAGES TO JUDGES

In conclusion, the inquiring attorney first should attempt to have the client correct the improperly verified and notarized affidavits. 

Professional Ethics Committee

cross-post Matt Weidner, Esq.

The inquiring attorney should advise the client that if the client 
fails to correct the affidavits, then the inquiring attorney will have to withdraw and will have to reveal the truth to the court. If the client refuses to take the required corrective action, the 
inquiring attorney will have to reveal the fact that there has been an improperly verified and 
notarized affidavit filed in each of these cases, whether they are pending or already closed.
5/24/12

NO Reason to Modify: Banks Foreclosed to Collect 100 cents on the Dollar from the Government

Cross-post to Mark Stopa's article below

Neil Garfield The victims of fraud — all of them including financial institutions (if they are innocent, which is another story) should receive full restitution; and if the net balance due on any one loan is proportionately reduced by receipts of payments from the servicer, the proceeds of insurance, credit default swaps and credit enhancements (and of course restructuring into even more exotic pools that are never reported, thus rendering even the “trust” to be non-existent), a fair deal can be reached because the principal will have been reduced.
5/24/12

Wells Fargo Hands Over Mortgage Records

WSJ The legal action gave a rare peek into the mountains of information being amassed by the SEC as it probes Wall Street's packaging and selling of these securities. SEC investigators have issued a total of more than 300 subpoenas or document requests to Wall Street firms and others as part of that investigation, officials said.
BOOK

5/24/12**

BAILOUT: Former Bailout Watchdog Neil Barofsky to Release Tell-All Account Of Bush/Obama Administration Banking Policies

Neil Barofsky, a former official who actually put bankers in jail (imagine that!) is coming out with a tell-all book called “Bailout” about his experience as the Special Inspector General for TARP. This book will be upsetting to the administration because this is someone who was involved in the decisions, and Barofsky did not play ball with the Wall Street crowd.

His revelations show in stark detail just how captured by Wall Street our political system is; why the banks have not been held accountable; and how the failure to enact effective regulation has put the country in danger of an even bigger crisis in the future.

naked capitalism Barofsky was the Special Inspector General charged with oversight of TARP, working to ensure against fraud and abuse in the spending of the $700 billion allocated for the bailouts. 

From the start he was in constant conflict with the officials at the Treasury Department in charge of the bailouts who were in thrall to the interests of the big banks and steadfastly failed to hold them accountable, even as they disregarded major job losses caused by the auto bailouts and failed to help struggling homeowners. Barofsky recounts how his reports of a wave of criminal mortgage fraud and other abuses being perpetrated against homeowners in connection with programs that the Treasury itself set up were ignored time and again.

5/24/12

Truthiness is Next to Lawlessness: It’s Time to Enforce Sarbanes-Oxley in the JP Morgan CIO Scandal

Michael Crimmins By way of background, here’s the certification that’s at the heart of Sarbanes-Oxley. A false certification carries civil penalties against the signators and criminal penalties if the certification is fraudulent.
5/24/12

Pro Publica Gets More Comprehensive on Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Fund Raid

As a consequence, homeowners fighting still-illegal practices by lenders in court will not be able to afford representation. Homeowners fighting still-abusive servicers will not get legal help or counseling to stay in their homes. These aren’t minor side effects. We’re talking about the fundamental human need for shelter.

David Dayen

FDL

Banks broke the law by abusing borrowers and committing fraud in state courts. They didn’t pay a penalty so corporate tax cuts could be maintained, or enterprise funds could be created to bring in jobs, or education budgets could be propped up (all of which are examples of where settlement money is going). There’s a very real and direct through-line between the penalty, which by the way is completely insufficient, and the intended beneficiaries. And that has been severed.
5/24/12

And now things get silly

Federal Government Opposes Proposed 'Homeowner Bill Of Rights'

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is opposing the efforts in one state to enact legislation that would protect homeowners against the type of illegal foreclosure abuses that led to the “robo-signing” crisis.

National Notary Association A spokesman for the California Attorney General told local media that the package of bills is being carefully drafted to solidify the homeowner protections in the National Mortgage Settlement while discouraging frivolous lawsuits.
5/24/12

FDCPA Case Alert: Reese v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams, LLP.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals released an opinion earlier this month that could give foreclosure lawyers cause for concern.

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Eleventh Circuit ruled that a foreclosure firm conducting a non-judicial foreclosure could be liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) for sending homeowners correspondence that includes false or misleading information.

This decision may call into question the protection that foreclosure firms have enjoyed under existing case law holding that mere enforcement of a security interest through non-judicial foreclosure is not debt collection activity under the FDCPA.

5/24/12

Letter: Some law firms refuse settlements that can avoid foreclosure

Just when it seemed the foreclosure crisis was finally beginning to correct itself, a new form of fraud has emerged. It involves some of the law firms that represent second-mortgage holders.

TCPalm Why would a law firm refuse to settle and so cause their client to lose money?  Simple: If a "short sale" settlement is reached, the law firm can no longer keep billing their client for continued legal fees. This practice has become so rampant that any type of "short sale" is impossible if certain banks, which seem too frequently to be local Florida banks, are the second-mortgage holders. Realtors and others who experience this type of fraud need to report it to the Florida Bar. Complaint forms can be found at floridabar.org.

5/24/12

Bank of America, MERS Lose Bid to Dismiss Texas Fee Suit

BusinessWeek O’Connor allowed the counties to seek damages and an injunction limiting future filings by MERS. He rejected county allegations that MERS was filing false liens, which would have allowed the counties to seek $10,000 for each contested filing.
5/24/12

Faber: '100% Chance' of Global Recession

In a recent interview for his newest book Aftershock, Wiedemer says, “The data is clear, 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation . . . starting in 2012.”

Money News When the host questioned such wild claims, Wiedemer unapologetically displayed shocking charts backing up his allegations, and then ended his argument with, “You see, the medicine will become the poison.”

The interview has become a wake-up call for those unprepared (or unwilling) to acknowledge an ugly truth: The country’s financial “rescue” devised in Washington has failed miserably.

5/24/12

Below the Fold: Feds Pipe Up and Greedy Governors Screw Homeowners

Working families were given the short end of the stick, and now Gov. Brewer and the Legislature won't even let them have that.

You can see how your state is doing with the help of this interactive map.

Richard Zombeck

Huff Post

As it turns out, the $2.5 Billion that was initially doled out among the states to help homeowners isn't going to help homeowners after all. States are going to use some or all of the money to cover budget holes in state budgets and general funds.

The irony of Georgia putting money into a rainy day fund that was intended for underwater homeowners would be funny if it weren't for the tragedy of it all.
5/24/12

Stabenow Introduces Legislation to Support Tax Relief for Homeowners and Military Families

Stabenow’s Legislation Would Protect Homeowners and Military Families from Tax Increase Resulting from Mortgage Settlement Agreement

Political News "It is bad enough that so many families were taken advantage of and were wrongfully foreclosed on," said Stabenow. "But to add insult to injury, the IRS would require these homeowners to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional income tax as a result of their settlement. That's wrong, and this bill would fix that." 

5/23/12

Oregon Lawmakers OK Foreclosure Mediation Funds


Program to be Up and Running by July

ktvz “Delivering meaningful foreclosure assistance was one of the key accomplishments of the 2012 Session,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “For too long, banks have taken advantage of struggling Oregonians and ignored the rules. With these dollars, fair mediation for struggling homeowners will be a reality.”
5/23/12

Arizona High Court Rejects ‘Show Me the Note’ Claim in Foreclosure Litigation

In a case of first impression, the Arizona Supreme Court also rejected the plaintiff’s “show me the note” claim, holding that nothing in Arizona’s non-judicial foreclosure statutes mandates that a beneficiary of the deed of trust must show possession of, or otherwise document its right to enforce, the underlying note prior to the trustee’s exercise of the power of sale.

Hogan v. Washington Mutual Bank, N.A. et. al 

Ballard Spahr, LLP Instead, the court held that the “only proof of authority the trustee’s sale statutes require is a statement indicating the basis for the trustee’s authority.” The court noted that “[r]equiring the beneficiary to prove ownership of a note to defaulting trustors before instituting non-judicial foreclosure proceedings might again make the mortgage foreclosure process ... time-consuming and expensive, and re-inject litigation, with its attendant cost and delay, into the process.” 
5/23/12

The PINO case

Voluntary dismissals and foreclosure paperwork irregularities examined

In a case that could affect thousands of pending and future mortgage foreclosures, the Florida Supreme Court has been asked to prevent lenders from escaping sanctions for using fraudulent documents by filing voluntary dismissals.

Florida Bar News The original filing did not include an assignment of the mortgage, which was subsequently filed. Attorneys for defendant Roman Pino, Ice Legal, P.A., challenged the veracity of the assignment and sought to depose those who had prepared it. The day before those depositions, the bank voluntarily dropped the foreclosure case.

Five months later, it refiled the foreclosure with a different assignment document. That case was eventually settled with Pino, but not before his attorneys challenged the withdrawal of the original suit. They claimed the court should have stayed the dropping of the case and looked into the assignment issue, then imposed sanctions.
April 2012

Don’t Let the Blindfold Slip: A Guide to Judicial Disqualification

Judicial neutrality is critical to our legal system. Florida judges have the obligation to voluntarily recuse themselves for a variety of reasons, including bias or prejudice regarding a party or an economic interest in the matter

Florida Bar Certain relationships, including an association with the litigation subject matter, can require judicial removal. A judge may not continue if there is a possibility the lawsuit will financially benefit the judge or a close relative.

How many banks duped judges that their pensions would benefit by giving free homes to the banks? 

5/23/12

Firm Targets Calif. Homeowners With Foreclosed 2nd Mortgages

Texas-Based Heritage Pacific Financial Pursuing Californians To Collect 2nd Mortgage Debt

Heritage Pacific is nothing more than “people in Texas acting as vultures,” said Will Kennedy, a lawyer in the class-action suit.

San Diego News Adding new uncertainty in the state's ongoing mortgage crisis, a Texas company is aggressively pursuing hundreds of Californians to collect second-mortgage debt -- on homes they've already lost through foreclosure.

Consumer lawyers hope that rulings in Trejo's case and two other bankruptcy appeals, as well as the class-action lawsuit, will put a stop to Heritage Pacific's collection campaign in California.

5/23/12

BofA Will Buy Back $330 Million Of Mortgages From Freddie

Bloomberg Bank of America agreed to the refunds “because the valuation method used at origination did not meet the investor’s technical requirements.”
5/23/12

Fortress Seeks Servicing Rights From $4 Trillion Sale: Mortgages

Bloomberg Over the next five years, lenders are expected to sell $4 trillion in servicing rights on the $10 trillion U.S. mortgage market as they seek to avoid new regulations and reduce damage to their reputations.
5/23/12

Widow sues Wells Fargo over WRONGFUL Foreclosure that took devastating toll


Oriane Rousseau says husband Norman's suicide was a result of the bank kicking off a process from which they couldn't escape.

Paul Harris

Guardian UK

It began in May 2009, when Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo, told the Rousseaus they had missed a mortgage payment. 

Even though the Rousseaus had made the payment – and had the receipt to prove it – that kicked off a foreclosure process they were never able to escape, battling against the seemingly careless bureaucracy of a major American bank that eventually took their home.
5/22/12

DECLARING A DEFAULT WHEN NO DEFAULT OCCURRED

Blame the Banks? Or the Government? Or Both?

BBT v. Kraz

Plaintiff stood to profit by declaring a fraudulent default under the subject loan, collecting from the FDIC under the PSA for such default. 

Howard explained that it was possible Plaintiff could have already applied for and received a payment from the FDIC on this loan.

Mark Stopa, Esq. Take a look at this Final Judgment, where a homeowner prevailed over BB&T at trial. Yes, the bank was sleazier than the skuz on the bottom of my shoes, declaring this homeowner in default when there was no default. But take a close look at WHY the bank did so. As the Final Judgment reflects, the bank was financially motivated to declare a default because it knew the government was going to pay the mortgage in the event of default.

5/22/12

Attempt to sell leads homeowner to mortgage nightmare

Woman recently hired a realtor to sell her Park City home, but was surprised to find out country records showed she no longer owned it.

When she contacted her mortgage lender, Chase Bank, she says a representative told her the bank had no record of a sale.

KSL-Utah "Having been in this business, I cannot imagine any kind of real estate sale instrument being drawn up with the name, a price on it, and being recorded and all of it being a mistake," Clotfelter said.

In the meantime, Clotfelter remains in what she calls "the modification mill" as she applies for another loan modification through Chase. She calls herself a "paper collector," sending off thousands of pieces of paper to her mortgage lender.

5/22/12

MERS Has Power To Assign Interest in Deed of Trust, California Appeals Court Rules

Herrera v. Federal National Mortgage Association

Ballard Spahr LLP In its May 17, 2012, opinion in Herrera v. Federal National Mortgage Association, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, confirmed the universal view of California’s courts that a borrower’s signature on the deed of trust grants MERS such authority.
5/22/12

 

The Long Foreclosure Fight

County supervisors urge banks to suspend foreclosures

The state legislature is broken. Not only is it broken, but it has also prevented local governments from doing what can’t seem to get done in Sacramento—such as providing homeowners with legal protection from banks conducting fraudulent foreclosures.

Good Times “This speaks directly to why people have so little faith in government,” Supervisor John Leopold said at the May 15 board meeting, explaining his frustration with the “lack of legal space” at the county level to seriously challenge banks on potentially fraudulent foreclosure practices.

“Not only is the banking lobby making the likelihood of passing the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights very, very low in Sacramento—it comes as no surprise to me that these same moneyed interests have had their way preempting local government from initiating their own, more stringent local protections,” Leopold said.

5/22/12

Ahhhh, FREE MONEY from victims of foreclosure fraud.

Billion Dollar Bait & Switch: States Divert Foreclosure Deal Funds

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who led the coalition of attorneys general who negotiated the deal, argued that only a very small portion of the settlement was being diverted and it will “overwhelmingly” benefit homeowners. 

ProPublica What stands out is that even states slammed by the foreclosure crisis are diverting much or all of their money to the general fund. In California, among the hardest hit states, the governor has proposed using all the money to plug his state’s huge budget gap. And Arizona, also among the worst hit, has diverted about half of its funds to general use. Four other states where a high rate of homeowners faced foreclosure during the crisis are spending little if any of their settlement funds on homeowner services.

5/22/12

 

Court Orders Plaintiff to Produce Robo-Signor at Hearing

The plaintiff is ordered to produce Mr. Zeis. This is required as the plaintiff's 
response to the cross motion fails to address, with even a single meaningful 
word, the troubling allegations that Mr. Zeis is a robo-signer with zero first 
hand knowledge of the events and transactions which form the foundation 
of plaintiffs claims.

Judge Jerry Garguilo The defendants do however, raise troubling questions of fact and procedure which the Court is compelled to address. The defendant suggests that the mandatory settlement conference held on December 7, 201 0, was essentially an illusion. She claims "a person unknown to the defendant appeared on behalf of this plaintiff. This person was merely a "body," a person with no authority, who was sent there for the sole purpose of technically complying with the CPLR by appearing, so that the plaintiff could assert that they complied with the mandatory conference, but, in reality, is a sham."
5/22/12

Buybacks Wearing on Industry; Fannie, Freddie and Wall Street; FHA & Condo Project Changes?

Hey, what would a week in mortgage banking be like without a huge new lawsuit to, once again, cause everyone to wonder about being in this business? In this one, the FDIC is suing the big banks over mortgage debt losses.

Mortgage News Daily In a recent speech Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke discussed issues impacting the willingness of financial institutions to lend. Bernanke referred to the Federal Reserve's April 2012 Senior Loan Officer Survey in which most banks indicated their reluctance to accept mortgage applications from borrowers with less-than-perfect records is related to "put-back risk"--the risk that a bank might be forced to buy back a defaulted loan if the underwriting or documentation was judged deficient in some way. No surprise there, but the complete text of Bernanke's remarks is accessible here.
5/22/12

What a good judge sounds like:  

HSBC v. Guerrero 

THE COURT: “The whole case is evidence of an entire fraud on the court.” 

THE COURT: "It's your reputation as a lawyer. It's your Florida Bar number on the line."

Matt Weidner, Esq.

Honorable Amy Williams

Florida

THE COURT: "Our whole system is based on people telling the truth."
THE COURT: "What's happening to all these people who signed all these things, just willy-nilly forging other people's signatures? Anybody been prosecuted yet?" 
5/22/12

Massachusetts House of Representatives advances foreclosure legislation

The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed House Bill 4087, “An Act to Prevent Unlawful and Unnecessary Foreclosures.”

  The bill is designed to get “borrowers and lenders to the table,” according to State Representative Michael Costello, the Co-Chair of the Committee on Financial Services. The bill would mandate that banks and other lenders account for numerous factors before they can enter foreclosure proceedings on residential homeowners.
5/22/12

Suit: Trash-Out Contractor Swiped Foreclosed Homeowner's Work Tools From Adjacent Lot Not Part Of Foreclosure; Leaves Victim Unable To Earn Living

Home Equity Theft Reporter Viator claims he moved all of his property onto an adjacent lot that was not subject to the foreclosure proceedings. However, when defendant Dana Bellanger was hired by defendant Fannie Mae to clean the property, he removed Viator's personal property from the adjacent lot

5/21/12

New York Investigates Insurer Payments to Banks

“Hundreds of thousands of people are going to get foreclosed on, and Chase is profiting immensely from the reinsurance,” Mr. Lawsky said. “It just doesn’t smell right.

NY Times In some cases, the insurers did this by buying reinsurance from a subsidiary of the same bank that had brought them the insurance deal in the first place. In other cases, the insurers would send a “commission” back to the bank, which also happened to have its own insurance agency.
5/21/12

Monique Acosta, California Foreclosure Victim, Found Guilty Of Vandalizing Home

The jury hasn't reached a verdict for Acosta’s husband Robert, a retired police officer, but Monique could face up to four years in jail.

Huff Post There is more behind this story.

How is it that this foreclosure debacle has manifested itself? How has it inundated our judicial apparatus and engaged jurists in assisting financial institutions in fraudulently confiscating people's property?  Who seized what was known as mom’s apple pie, the American mortgage business?

The answer is simple… the financial players who operate and benefit from the gse business model. After they devastate the mortgage business, they will then start on the student loan industry in which the same business model is engaged.

5/21/12

Woodland family faces foreclosure over paperwork snafu

She's also worried about losing her job as a cashier if she, her husband and four children are homeless.

Daily Democrat "Alma's case is a classic example of dual tracking," Grahnert said. "So down the road, when there's a little bump, (the bank) had the foreclosure ready and didn't even tell (the Ponce family) they were doing it."

"Dual tracking" is when a bank starts the modification process and the foreclosure at the same time.
5/21/12

Foreclosure Prevention Program Gets Major Share Of State's Funds From Settlement

Courant "At a time when other states are using money from this settlement to plug holes in their budgets, Connecticut is taking a different path," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said."
5/21/12

Virginia Supreme Court requires face-to-face meeting prior to commencing foreclosures on FHA-backed loans

Lexology Upholding a challenge to what appeared to be a routine foreclosure action for failure to make payments, on April 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia joined a growing list of states by ruling that a face-to-face meeting between a mortgagee and mortgagor is a condition precedent to accelerating and foreclosing upon a Deed of Trust that is insured by the Federal Housing Authority (“FHA”) and which incorporates the applicable regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). 

5/21/12

MERS mortgage database results in lawsuit in St. Clair County 

KSDK According to the St. Clair County State's Attorney's suit, the MERS system amounts to a shadowy recording system, "eliminating the homeowners' and the public's ability to track the purchase and sale of properties through the traditional public records system."
5/21/12

FDIC Sues JPMorgan, Citigroup, BofA Securities, Deutsche Bank

Entire article to the right>

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sued JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Citigroup Inc. (C), Bank of America Securities and Deutsche Bank AG. (DBK) The FDIC sued in New York federal court as receiver for Strategic Capital Bank, claiming $11 million in a mortgage-backed securities case.
REPEAT

9/1/11

Robo-signing scandal may date back to late '90s


Practice of falsifying mortgage documents could be far more prevalent than feared

MSNBC But now, as county officials review years' worth of mortgage paperwork, in some cases combing through one page at a time, they are finding suspect signatures — either signed with the same name by dozens of different people, improperly notarized or signed without a review of the facts in the paperwork — on all sorts of mortgage documents, dating back as far back as 1998, The Associated Press has found.

"Because of these bad titles, property owners can't prove they own the properties they think they bought, and banks can't prove they had the right to sell them," says Jeff Thigpen, the registrar of deeds in Guilford County, N.C.

5/21/12

Many eligible borrowers passing up foreclosure reviews

 Many consumers have also grown wary of foreclosure scams and government foreclosure programs, says Deborah Goldberg of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

USA Today "The effort is being made" to reach people, says Paul Leonard, the mortgage servicers' representative at the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group. "It's hard to say why people aren't responding."

No it's not - NOBODY TRUSTS YOU.

5/21/12

Bank’s no Ally for NY homeowners

Two weeks ago, a Westchester family had finally reached the end of seven years in foreclosure hell

New York Post GMAC is using bankruptcy to maximize its position in litigation,” said Tirelli. “It will proceed in foreclosures, but for any borrower with a claim against GMAC, they are saying, Sorry, go to NY and file a motion.’”
In addition, homeowners negotiating a foreclosure settlement deal or loan modification will likely have to start again after the servicing rights are sold, since such deals are not usually transferred, said lawyer Max Gardner.

DISBARRED 

5/20/12

Lawyers prey on foreclosure-facing homeowners

Paulette Breen sensed something was wrong when her home loan modification made her mortgage payments more expensive.
Suspecting fraud, the Van Nuys resident hired a lawyer to sort things out.

That only made things worse.

Pasadena Star News The attorney told her there was indeed fraud, and promised to sue the bank and get her a new loan. She paid him $8,000 upfront and he advised her to stop making her mortgage payments while the matter was being pursued in court.

That turned out to be very bad advice. Now, the attorney has been disbarred and Breen is about to lose her home of 20 years.

Her former attorney was disbarred after a State Bar investigation of his clients' cases, which also included those unrelated to foreclosures

5/20/12

Valley law enforcement supports homeowner bill of rights

Three of the six bills would strengthen the ability of law enforcement to fight, investigate and prosecute crime associated with foreclosed properties.

Fresno Bee Law enforcement leaders in the central San Joaquin Valley joined the California Attorney General to support a set of homeowner bills she is pushing through the state legislature.

"There is a connection between keeping families in their homes and what will occur in terms of safety in the community," if homes are left to foreclosure, Harris said.
5/20/12

Banking Burnouts Blow Away Myths of Wall Street Glamour

Bloomberg The Guardian in London has run a series of 60 columns -- titled “Voices of Finance” -- that give current and former Wall Street bankers and traders a chance to anonymously describe what their jobs are really like or why they decided to leave. 
5/20/12

SAY WHAT?

MITT ROMNEY DECLARES: LET THE BANKS BE FREE, TOO MUCH REGULATION CAUSED THIS MESS

Matt Weidner, Esq.

Tampa Bay Times

More than four in 10 Florida homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. President Barack Obama has not done much to help them, and it doesn't sound like Mitt Romney has any serious plan in store either. His main idea? Repeal Wall Street reform.
5/20/12

Lawsuit: Bank of America pocketed court fees in foreclosures

Collins’ attorney, Robert Newman, said the bank’s practice of keeping the fees could impact thousands of homeowners who should have been reimbursed money when their cases were resolved.

Cincinnati.com Newman said the bank essentially is double-dipping: Collecting the full amount of the court costs from homeowners and then keeping the reimbursement of unused court costs for itself.

5/20/12

Homeowner Facing Foreclosure Takes Two Month Trip, Returns Home To Find Premises Ransacked

Home Equity Theft Reporter Leroy McComb certainly knows bad times. He lost his job in September. His house is in foreclosure. And he's going through a divorce. But none of that prepared him for a rude homecoming.
5/20/12

What’s wrong with your loan? 

Jay Patterson interviewed on  Mandelman Matters Podcast Jay Patterson teaches lawyers how to use the SEC Edgar database, among others, in order to find out who owns a loan. How to identify the trust a loan is in and find the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. how to figure out whether a trust is modifying loans and what the characteristics of the modifications are… and he can take apart the accounting of a loan to show where just about every nickel went.

5/19/12

The Need For An Independent Investigation Into JP Morgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase and the other big banks in the American economy are effectively government-sponsored (and subsidized) enterprises.

The Baseline Scenario JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail. As the largest bank-holding company in the United States, with assets approaching $2.5 trillion as reported under standard American accounting principles, it is inconceivable that JPMorgan Chase would be allowed to collapse now or in the near future. The damage to the American economy and to the world would be too great.

5/19/12

Is Insider Trading Part of the Fabric?

Ted Parmigiani, an analyst at the former Lehman Brothers, spent two and a half years giving the S.E.C. information about what he contended was insider trading at the firm. But the S.E.C. ultimately decided against filing a case.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

 

This was the news: An analyst at the investment house was raising his assessment of Amkor Technology, a big name in computer chips.

But it was only 9:30, and Amkor’s share price was already rising. By the time the announcement came, it was up 4 percent. “It was clear that my research had been leaked,” the analyst, Ted Parmigiani, recalls.
5/19/12

Seeing Bailouts Through Rose-Colored Glasses

The total cost of those salvage efforts isn’t yet known. The problems at the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not been resolved, and the taxpayers’ current $151 billion bill will undoubtedly shift in size.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Nevertheless, an accurate accounting of the 2008 rescues should include the value of the bailout subsidy provided by the taxpayers, as well as a hard-nosed cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, neither was included in a recent United States Treasury analysis of the various rescue programs, including TARP.
5/18/12**

Pandemic Lying Admission: Deutsch Bank Up and Down the Fake Securitization Chain

If there was any doubt about whether there existed pandemic lying and cheating, it was removed when the U.S. Attorney Civil Frauds Unit obtained admissions and a judgment for Deutsch to pay over $200 million resulting from intentional misrepresentations contained in various documents used with numerous entities and people up and down the fictitious securitization chain.

Even the most casual reader can see that the entire securitization model was distorted by fraud from one end (the investor lender) to the other (the homeowner borrower) and back again (the parties and counterparties in insurance, bailouts, credit default swaps, cross guarantees that violated the terms of every promissory note etc.

Living Lies First question is when do these cross guarantees, CDS, Insurance, and other exotic instruments arise. If they are in existence at the time of the closing with the borrower homeowner then the note and mortgage are not properly drafted as to terms of repayment nor identity of the lender/creditor. This renders the note either unenforceable or requiring the admission of parole evidence in any action to either enforce against the borrower or enforce the cross obligations of the new cross creditors who supposedly are receiving not just rights to the receivable but to the actual note and the actual mortgage.
May 2012

Congress Should Urge FHFA
to Develop Clear-Cut Parameters for
GSE Mortgage Buyback / Repurchase Requests

Mortgage Bankers Repurchase demands should be made in a timely manner, and a lender’s repurchase liability should be limited to three or four years (depending on loan type) from the date the GSE purchased the loan with the exception of 
lender fraud
so long as the loan demonstrated a history of 
timely performance prior to the repurchase-triggering event.

5/18/12

RICO and Conspiracy Claims Survive Federal Court Proceedings in Coursen v. JPM, WAMU and Fannie



Coursen Response to Motion to Dismiss

Coursen First Amended Complaint

 

Jacquelyn Mack

Nye Lavelle

PACER

Plaintiff is able to overcome dismissal of her common law claims for civil conspiracy and abuse of process through her factual allegations that Defendants acted unlawfully, and in agreement, with the intent to defraud her through the use of sham documents and fabricated evidence, and that their actions caused her damages.


Finally, her civil RICO claims under 18 U.S.C. § 1962 adequately allege facts, at least for this stage of the proceedings, to support each of the statutory elements for the predicate acts that allegedly divested her of her homestead. Plaintiff is able to avoid the time-bar of her civil RICO claim inasmuch as she alleges she was prevented from discovering that she was the victim of fraud by Defendants’ concealment of the alleged fraud.

5/18/12

Stolen Homes Case Heads To Trial

CBS4’s On Your Side has linked this case to at least a dozen other “stolen homes” across the area. The homes involved were under foreclosure and taken over by people who claim they have a legal right to do so under a law called “Adverse Possession.” (kinda' like the banksters do.) 

CBS 4 Denver During the court hearing, the Douglas County prosecutor said the document of Adverse Possession “has the exact legal force as Monopoly money.”

But while the matter of ownership made its way through civil court, Hernandez and his family were allowed to remain in the home.

5/18/12

The Fresno Bee has the skinny on a nasty attempt by a federal official to sabotage California's Homeowner's Bill of Rights legislation.

Who the Hell is Alfred M. Pollard and Why Does He Want To Evict Your Grandmother?

A week ago Mr. Pollard wrote a letter to the California Joint Senate and Assembly Committee considering Attorney General Kamala Harris' Homeowner Bill of Rights, informing lawmakers what a terrible idea it would be.

... Pollard said ...
the bills, if signed into law, would encourage borrowers to sue lenders.

Daily Kos "Increasing legal risks for lenders and investors - where existing remedies exist and where new language creates incentives for litigation - ultimately creates harm for all homeowners," he wrote.

He particularly objected to a bill intended to address "robo-signing," a practice that was targeted in the national bank settlement... the wording is so vague that the legislation could end up penalizing lenders even for unintentional errors or omissions...

What he fails to mention in pages and pages of testimony is the incredible abuse the banks subject their "customers" to; their lies, their cheating, and the devastation that millions of now former homeowners have incurred because of banks' perfidy.

5/18/12

Senate Banking Chair Calls Jamie Dimon to Testify: But JP Morgan Chase is His Biggest Contributor!

It’s good that the watchdog is barking, but we’d all better watch closely to see if it will bite. 

AlterNet Holding your breath about the fallout from J. P. Morgan Chase’s derivatives losses? Yesterday, if you believed Politico, you could exhale. Senate Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson of South Dakota announced his panel would call JP Morgan Chase Chair Jamie Dimon to testify. 
5/18/12

A Foreclosure Film in the Making Awaits Final Scene

Have we heard the worst of the scandal? I doubt it, but the mortgage industry — like a piece of plate glass — has already been scored.

American Banker Now, it's up to a fed-up constituency —the 99 per centers, politicians, prosecutors, or some combination of all three — to shatter the glass and reveal the smoking guns. Hopefully, it will come soon enough to provide an ending for "Foreclosure Diaries."
5/18/12

A Ponzi scheme's legal legacy

As if to underline the point, Donchess & Notinger on its own went ahead with an auction of one such contested property in Concord with a $440,000 FRM mortgage. It sold for $15,000.

New Hampshire Business Review FRM trustee Steve Notinger of the Nashua-based law firm Donchess & Notinger filed suit against hundreds of those victims, arguing that the mortgages acquired through FRM and in their name -- or in the name of trusts that were supposed to be for their benefit - actually belonged to the bankrupt estate and that any interest that they received was a fraudulent transfer that had to pay back.
5/18/12

States diverting monies meant for homeowners to cover budget deficits

pressTV When the Obama administration ran interference and helped to get a huge legal case settled against the nation's largest banks over mortgage fraud and improper foreclosures, more than $2 billion in cash was sent to the states to help struggling homeowners. But many of these states' residents won't be getting any relief because the money is being diverted to cover budget shortfalls.

press release

Owner of American Home Recovery Found Guilty in Connection with a Mortgage Modification Scheme That Preyed on Distressed Homeowners 

Because Khafizov and AHR did not do the work they had promised and because Khafizov specifically directed the distressed homeowners to stop paying their mortgages and to pay AHR its fees instead, many of AHR’s clients wound up in foreclosure... 

This is EXACTLY what banks have been doing for more than a decade????

FBI Release Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Isaak Khafizov dangled false promises of relief to distressed homeowners who were trying to keep their homes, but instead, he repeatedly victimized them by stealing their money and forcing many of them into foreclosure. He will now face justice for the fraud that he committed against vulnerable and needy homeowners all over the country.”

He faces up to 80 years in prison.

5/17/12

Newschannel 9 Investigates Robosigning

Huml has been fighting to keep her home since last year. She said she paid her mortgage on time every month.

Newschannel 9 So, she assumed the late notices from Citibank were a mistake. But then, the bank started returning her checks; and when she contacted her lender to fix the problem, Huml said she was told what no homeowner wants to hear.

“[They said] we're going to foreclose your home. [I said], 'but, I made my payments'” said Huml. 

5/17/12

How to Pump Up Your Credit Score

NY Times Start by obtaining your three credit reports (available free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228), and study them carefully for errors or omissions.

Though mistakes and bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for seven years, lenders will generally be more likely to overlook late payments that happened two or more years ago than more recent ones,

5/17/12**

Spotting the Bankers’ Latest Propaganda Campaign

Perhaps you’ve heard the line about not wasting a crisis. It means seize the opportunity to make big changes.

Well, the banks are doing just that: they are using their self-created foreclosure crisis to build pressure to dismantle judicial foreclosures. The bankers want it to be much cheaper and easier to take collateral with fraudulent documents. Which it is, in non-judicial foreclosure states.

Abigail Field Whenever you read banker talking points embedded in news like this, remember: our Constitution guarantees Due Process for a reason. Due Process is essential to the rule of law and a fundamental check against the abuse of power. Don’t let the bankers sell you or your representatives into taking it away.
5/17/12

"Banks are not losing anything. People are losing their homes. No more vacant homes, no more vacant communities. We need to stop this," she said. 

NATO week: Foreclosure protesters dump furniture at Citibank

Carrying furniture from a foreclosed home through the streets, protesters marched on Citibank and the Cook County Sheriff May 16 to demand a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions.

They asked for a modification of the loan agreement from Citibank in 2009. They were granted a trial period to make payments, which they did. 

But then Citi refused to give Morales's parents the modification based on some missing documents. The parents faxed the documents but the bank kept finding new reasons to reject the modification.

Peoples World Protesters also blasted Citibank and the fraudulent role Wall Street played in creating the housing crisis, which caused the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly 3 million homeowners were foreclosed in 2011 and millions more are now "under water," owing more to the banks than the homes are worth.

The banks, including Citi, have made billions in profits while people are still being thrown out of their homes.

"There are 100,000 abandoned properties in Chicago and it makes no sense that people are still being evicted," said Loren Taylor of the Anti-Eviction Campaign. "Housing is a human right."
5/17/12

 

Fighting Foreclosures in Santa Cruz County


Community activists, board of supervisors work together to end foreclosure fraud

“It’s a prime example of what is actually happening in our nation — the theft of our common property.”

 

City on a Hill Press C.J. Holmes, a Bay Area realtor, presented the conclusions of her five years of research on foreclosures at the workshop. She said banks have been using electronic mortgage practices to cheat homeowners and are turning the United States into a “nation of renters.

Holmes said. “Not every foreclosure is fraudulent, but every foreclosure on a securitized loan that has been held in MERS is definitely fraudulent.

 

5/17/12

Az Statute on Mortgage Fraud Not Enforced (except against homeowners)

A PERSON COMMITS RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FRAUD IF, WITH THE INTENT TO DEFRAUD, THE PERSON DOES ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

3. FILES OR CAUSES TO BE FILED WITH THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY RECORDER OF ANY COUNTY OF THIS STATE ANY RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOAN DOCUMENT THAT THE PERSON KNOWS TO CONTAIN A DELIBERATE MISSTATEMENT, MISREPRESENTATION OR MATERIAL OMISSION.

Is there a case out there where this crime has NOT been committed?

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

I’d like to see a lawyer go to court and say Judge, you already know it would be wrong for my client to get a free house. I am here to agree with you and state further that whether you rule for the borrower or this pretender lender here, you are going to give a free house to somebody.

“Experience shows that there have been no trials on the evidence in all the foreclosures ever brought during this period and that the moment a judge rules on discovery in favor of the borrower, the pretender offers settlement. 

Why do you think that is?”

5/17/12

The Magnetar Fallout: Who’s Been Charged, Has Settled, or is Now Being Investigated?

The hedge fund Magnetar helped create billions of dollars' worth of risky deals called collateralized debt obligations, many of which failed spectacularly in the financial crisis.

ProPublica Magnetar, meanwhile, had taken positions that allowed the firm to profit when many of those same CDOs collapsed. Since ProPublica reported on Magnetar's dealings two years ago, there's been a long line of investigations and settlements related to the hedge fund.
5/17/12

PINO Case

'Robo-Signing' Repercussions For Mortgage Servicers Continue With New Judicial Twist

The Florida Supreme Court, which announced its intention to consider the facts even though the bank reached a confidential settlement with the homeowner, who now owns the house free and clear.

National Notary After the homeowner’s attorney discovered that the date on a key document pre-dated the Notary’s commission — evidence that the document had been backdated — the bank withdrew the case and attempted to re-file it with revised paperwork.

The homeowner argued that the bank should not be able to re-file a case after initially submitting fraudulent paperwork. 
5/17/12

Recovery Begins When Addiction Ends: An Open Letter to Jamie Dimon

By the Alternative Banking Working Group of Occupy Wall Street

It’s truly a work of art how you and your enablers have created a system that nobody fully understands. It’s the perfect cover for your continuing addiction to risk, power, and money, and it keeps everyone confused just long enough, well past any statute of limitation for criminal prosecution.

Yves Smith Here is some sobering news: You are, in fact, living in 2012, leading an enormous, too-big-to-fail bank, which is being continuously bailed out by the Fed’s unlimited loans at 0% interest, on the taxpayers’ dime. In a reasonable world, under these conditions, JPMorgan Chase would be a utility bank focused on the public good, and you would be merely its custodian. You would not be incentivized to take crazy risks to chase yield. Your job would be incredibly boring and your bank only very mildly profitable.

5/17/12

Bowie hosts free foreclosure workshop Wednesday

Gazette.Net Homeowners struggling with foreclosures and mortgages can learn more about possibly applying for financial relief and other assistance at a free Homeowner Relief and Foreclosure Prevention Workshop scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Kenhill Center in Bowie.
5/16/12

Excusable Neglect

Acosta v. Deutsche Bank

The trial court denied the 1.540(b) motion without explanation. 

Cited: Bank’s failure to comply with all conditions precedent to acceleration of the note and mortgage; Bank’s failure to 
send, and appellant’s failure to receive, the notices that are a condition precedent to acceleration; and that appellant does not owe the amount sued for. 

 

DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT
Acosta appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to vacate based on excusable neglect. Acosta's attorney asserted that his paralegal failed to calendar the summary judgment hearing and therefore he did not attend. The 4th DCA opined that it found abuse of discretion in the denial of the 1.150 motion for relief and stated, "Appellant’s claim that a failure to appear due to a calendaring or clerical error is the type of “excusable neglect” or “mistake that warrants relief under rule 1.540(b) is well-supported in Florida law.
5/16/12

Foreclosures Show No Sign of Decline

WSJ The percentage of American homeowners behind on their mortgage payments fell during the first quarter to the lowest level since the end of 2008. But the share of loans in foreclosure remains stubbornly high, according to a survey Wednesday.
5/16/12

 

Michigan AG Announces Charges for  Foreclosure-Rescue Fraud

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Winstanley or TLW Mortgage Solutions are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office at www.michigan.gov/ag by clicking "File a Complaint." 

Michigan AG - One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison;
- One count of False Pretenses - More than $20,000, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and
- Three counts of False Pretenses - $1,000-$20,000, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or three times the value of money or property involved.
5/16/12

Jamie Dimon’s Hedge Fund

Jamie Dimon, John Stumpf, and to a lesser extent, Vikram Pandit and Bryan Moynihan, are running massive hedge funds. They’re placing enormous, incredibly risky bets. “Hot money” investors are giving them the cash to gamble because they all understand that you and me will make good on any losses, since we’ve started guarantying the banks-turned-hedge-funds as “Too big to fail.”

Abigail Field The money flowing to these gamblers-in-chief is growing by double digit percentages, and includes so much borrowed money the “leverage” may be six times what Lehman Brothers was doing when it flamed out. As long as this situation continues, a new financial crisis is inevitable, and the risks of it grow faster every day. There’s only one solution: cut these gamblers off from public support. The market will do the rest.

We cut them off by reinstating Glass-Steagall, a depression era law that kept the bankers in check for decades, until their Clinton-era lobbying prowess repealed it. Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren has a petition going to do just that. Please sign it.

5/16/12

States Loot Funds From Foreclosure Victims To Plug Budgets

In Texas (where the governor took tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to create a "safe haven" for many in the mortgage industry to operate their criminal enterprises), $125 million went straight to the general fund.

There is something wrong with a system that forces a person with an independent spirit to ask for charity while being denied bona-fide justice and recompense. DW

NY Times Missouri will use its $40 million to soften cuts to higher education. Indiana is spending more than half its allotment to pay energy bills for low-income families, while Virginia will use most of its $67 million to help revenue-starved local governments. It appears the "Mortgage" Settlement was nothing but a "budget-plug".
5/16/12

Why the Cops Should be Knocking on Jamie Dimon’s Door Soon

It doesn’t look like JP Morgan made a bunch of egregious mistakes. It looks like they broke the law, at least the Sarbanes-Oxley law.

(The end result will be a customary fine and no admission of wrong-doing.  I hope I am wrong.)

Michael Crimmins This fiasco is beginning to look a lot like accounting control fraud. The Justice Department and the FBI have begun criminal probes. The SEC is also investigating. So far, the objectives of these investigations are under wraps, but if I were an SEC or DOJ enforcement official I’d be laser-focused on bringing a Sarbanes-Oxley case against Jamie Dimon.

5/16/12

Martinsburg workshop aims to help those struggling with mortgages


Residents should bring all of their home mortgage-related documents

Hearld Mail West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced in February that the state had secured $33.8 million in foreclosure relief and mortgage modification help for residents statewide to settle claims of foreclosure and mortgage-servicing fraud and abuse. 

Of that amount, Miles said $6 million was allotted to the state to reach out to residents who might need foreclosure assistance.
5/16/12

So Much for Schneiderman Being Tough on Wall Street

naked capitalism The bright shiny prize Schneiderman got in return for his betrayal was serving as one of five co-chairmen on a Federal mortgage task force, which appears to have gotten close to nada in resources beyond the staff in various Federal agencies who were already working on mortgage investigations. And given that were are now close to a full five years past the origination of toxic subprime deals, those existing investigations don’t exactly look to have been pursued with much in the way of vigor.

5/16/12

Bank of ScAmerica May Pay Up To $30,000 for Signatures to Help Them Steal Homes They Do Not Own

Rocklin & Roseville Today One of the general guidelines for HAFA (Having A Foreclosure Affliction) eligibility is:

You must not have been convicted within the last 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering or tax evasion in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction, (or other illegal act committed by banks.)
5/15/12

Wells Fargo Has Blood on Its Hands: Desperate Man Commits Suicide After Shocking Foreclosure Mistreatment

This is the story of what happens when an average couple is up against a giant, wealthy, powerful bank.

It is a tragic story, but when you dig into the details it becomes much worse. 

AlterNet See for yourself. The court case filed by the Rousseaus puts on the record the facts as they state them. The complaint reads as one more story like so many others that we have been hearing about the abuses by banks and banksters and the tricks they pulled on people.

 Never mind the big “National Mortgage Settlement” – this story shows that the abuses are still going on, with the same tragic consequences. 

5/15/12

Foreclosure case on despite glitch, confusion

A suburban West Palm Beach foreclosure case has even bank employees confused, with internal emails that question whether the wrong entity is repossessing the house - but then decide to move forward anyway.

Purchased for $608,715, 

now worth $189,343.

Kim Miller

Palm Beach Post

Homeowner advocates say the three email exchanges exemplify one of their biggest concerns - that the wrong bank will take their home.

"The banks have millions of non performing loans, but record-keeping is so poor they don't know who owns them," Snyder said.

5/15/12

Newschannel 9 Investigates Robosigning in El Paso County

Homeowner May Lose Home, Even After Making Mortgage Payments

Related story

Newschannel 9 She's facing foreclosure on her central El Paso home, even though she never stopped making her mortgage payments. Her attorney says it's because of an illegal process known as robosigning.

However, there is a glimmer of hope in her case. A local judge is ordering Huml's mortgage lender to prove it filed the foreclosure documents properly.

Updated

5/15/12

KC Man Sues Bank Over Foreclosure Error

Claim: JPMorgan Chase Changed Locks, Seized New Owner's Property

Allan Danforth bought a house in a short sale in fall 2010. JPMorgan Chase held the previous owner's mortgage. Danforth said two months later, without notice, the bank changed the locks and hauled away $25,000 worth of furniture, appliances and family heirlooms.

KMBC "If it were you or I doing it, we'd be sitting in jail right now," Danforth said. "Why isn't JPMorgan in jail?"

Danforth's lawsuit is before the Jackson County Court and claims actual damages in excess of $25,000. Under law, Stein said members of Danforth's family could be entitled to recover as much as $1.5 million in punitive damages.

5/15/12

Halting foreclosure is good investment

Instead of misappropriating settlement funds, Arizona should follow the lead of states finding creative and cost-effective ways to invest in foreclosure prevention. States like Colorado and New Mexico are using their funds to support loan-modification programs, to expand free legal services and housing counseling, and to increase access to affordable housing.

Arizona's action defies the spirit of the foreclosure settlement, which ordered banks to pay these funds to prevent unnecessary foreclosures, help struggling families, and deter predatory lending practices. But even worse, Arizona is violating the legal terms of the agreement, which unequivocally directs that the state "shall" use the funds for foreclosure-related purposes only.

Foreclosure prevention more than pays for itself.

azcentral The personal and public costs of foreclosure are staggering. A study of 140 ZIP codes in 13 states found that foreclosure can cause property values within 300 feet to drop by 1.3 percent. This means that a foreclosed home is not only losing its own value -- it's also dragging down neighborhood values by thousands of dollars.

Preventing a family from losing its home saves significant dislocation costs, such as the need for children to move to new (and often lower-performing) schools. And foreclosure prevention is also proven to decrease crime and policing costs. According to one study, a single vacant foreclosed home on a block can lead to a startling 5.7 percent increase in violent crime.
4/24/12

Florida “Wild Deeds” – Just One More Florida Land Title Issue For Quiet Title Actions: What is a “Wild Deed”?

So, wild deeds DO get filed in the real estate records. Florida law does not prevent this.

About Florida Law

What is a wild deed?

A “wild deed” is a phony, fake document filed in the public records and used by the evildoer to cloud title to real estate as he or she claims a legal right in property belonging to someone else.

The reality remains that filing a document in the real estate property records for a particular tract of land means that someone has to check out the claim that is made via that paperwork. Until the matter is resolved, there is a cloud on the title.

5/15/12

No, JPM Chase Didn’t Hedge Its Way To A $2 Billion Loss

JPM Chase placed a huge bet that went bad, a bet that cannot be described as a “hedge” in any policy relevant way. JPM Chase was simply gambling for profit.

Abigail Field Occupy the SEC warned about “portfolio hedging” in its Volcker Rule comment letter, making it possible for those of us not in the thick of finance (as the anonymous SEC Occupiers are or have been) to understand the two things portfolio hedging is really all about.

5/15/12

Alabama lawsuits challenge electronic mortgage system (MERS)

The transfers cause gaps in the record of ownership, Walker County's lawsuit states. "Gaps in title ownership, increase questions about foreclosure procedures, and raise doubts on the accurate satisfaction of mortgages, all of which undermine the time honored recording requirements in Alabama and through out the country," the Walker County lawsuit states.

al.com "MERS members often only record a mortgage assignment in county recording offices when they are attempting to assign the mortgage from MERS to another entity in connection with initializing foreclosure proceedings," Walker County's lawsuit states. "Before this final assignment takes place there might be two, three, or a dozen assignments (sales) that are not recorded."
5/15/12

Who’s in charge here?


Court documents show that half the members of FAU's Board of Trustees have had financial troubles.

Bankruptcy filings. Foreclosures. Tax warrants. Court orders to pay debts.

These are the words they neglected to mention.

University Press As FAU’s highest-ranking leaders, the trustees make FAU’s biggest financial and academic decisions. Their actions affect the entire university community — students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni.

But a University Press investigation also found federal lawsuits, job performance complaints, a federal tax lien, and an eviction order in their past
5/14/12

Foreclosure Problems Worsen

Mortgage Servicing News New findings show persisting foreclosure problems in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas are deteriorating for the first time in over six quarters.
5/14/12

Husband’s Suicide Yesterday, Wells Fargo to Evict Wife Tomorrow Anyway

They have nowhere to go, they have no money, they are still in shock over the loss of Norm.

Mandelman Matters Maybe you can forward this article to people in the media. Tell them what’s going on… maybe someone will care enough to do something. It’s 11:21 AM and I’ve been up all night again, I can’t really keep this up much longer… but somehow I felt like telling Norm’s story was the very least I could do.

Since Wells Fargo had already done the very least they could do.

Rest in peace, Norm Rousseau.
BOOK

5/14/12

 

S.E.C. Enforcement

Re “Taking On the Little Guy, but Missing the Bigger Ones,” by Jesse Eisinger (DealBook column, May 3):

NY Times The Securities and Exchange Commission cannot ignore serious securities violations just because it has not brought an action against other firms in the same industry. That’s a profoundly unwise strategy that would encourage, not deter, wrongdoing.
5/14/12

No: The Fall Isn't Over

Don't buy your first house now unless you're willing to lose 20% of its market value in the next several years. Maybe more.

'Buying a house now would be a disastrous investment if prices fall another 20% or more.'

A. Gary Shilling Now that mortgage servicers have reached a $25 billion settlement with Washington and state attorneys general, foreclosures are likely to roar back. That likely will trigger the additional price decline, since the National Association of Realtors says foreclosed houses sell at a 19% discount to other listings, and sizable sales of real estate owned by lenders drag down the entire market. The total peak-to-trough decline in single-family house prices then would be more than 50%.
5/14/12

Bankruptcy of Ally Mortgage Unit Raises Questions About Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

David Dayen - FDL When you have a separate management group, with its own group of lawyers and specialists, running the servicer, and when you have a bankruptcy process expected to last the rest of the year, it’s worth questioning whether the settlement will be affected by this.

5/14/12

 

Chief Financial Officer Sentenced in $78 Million Dream Home Mortgage Fraud Scheme 

According to Nelson’s plea agreement, beginning in 2005, co-conspirators targeted homeowners and home purchasers to participate in a purported mortgage payment program called the “Dream Homes Program.” In exchange for a minimum of $50,000 initial investment and an “administrative fee” of up to $5,000, conspirators promised to make the homeowners’ future monthly mortgage payments and pay off the homeowner’s mortgage within five to seven years. 

FBI Release Mortgage fraud is every bit as corrosive to society as street crime,” stated Eric Hylton, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office. “This type of fraud has far-reaching economic consequences and severely thwarts recovery from the foreclosure crisis, leaving communities with inflated home values and financial institutions with uncollectible loans.”

But they're not investigating the FORECLOSURE CRISIS.

5/14/12

JP Morgan's Dimon Turns To Long-Time Aide As Mr. Fix-It

Cavanagh, currently head of the bank's Treasury & Securities Services group, will head up a swat team of senior bankers and traders culled from throughout the company.

Fox Business Their goal is to assess what went wrong in the events leading up to $2 billion of losses from a complex derivatives trade out of its London offices.

Perhaps they will realize the loss was just money stolen from homeowners and they will laugh it off as easy come-easy go. 

5/14/12

Objections and Preserving Your Rights on Appeal

Foreclosure cases are won or lost on procedure more than on the merits of the case offered by either side.

Living Lies The appellate court is limited to what DID happen and not what SHOULD have happened. If the matter was properly raised in the lower court, then the matter may be considered by the appellate court. If not, then they must simply state that the grounds for appeal were not properly preserved for appeal and affirm the decision of the lower court Judge.
5/14/12**

WhaleMu – JP Morgan’s Next Surprise?

As those loans sour, and they continue to rot like a dead skunk on a hot July day, the bets needed to offset the losses are increasing. It looks like the bank, peering into that portfolio they refuse to share, is becoming more than a little bit desperate.

Michael Olenick My database, which includes everything except WaMu loans thanks to Jamie, is finally almost finished. But even in preliminary form it is clear that the AAA-rated senior tranches — the ones that really were never supposed to take losses — are toast that’s burning worse by the day. Servicers, trustees, government officials have been doing anything to delay the inevitable losses but when people don’t pay their mortgages, and housing has declined by over 50% in many of their markets, there’s only so much accounting chicanery they can do: the money just isn’t there.
5/14/12

Robo-signing fractures REO inventory at GSEs

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are managing bifurcated REO inventories because of the robo-signing effect on different areas of the country.

Housing Wire "Many servicers are also subject to consent orders by their regulators that require the servicers to correct foreclosure process deficiencies and improve their servicing and foreclosure practices," Fannie disclosed in its filing. "This has resulted in extended foreclosure timelines and, therefore, additional holding costs for us, such as property taxes and insurance, repairs and maintenance, and valuation adjustments due to home price changes."
5/14/12

ResCap files for bankruptcy

Residential Capital, the besieged mortgage unit of Ally Financial, filed for bankruptcy.

Housing Wire Nationstar, which is mostly owned by Fortress Investment Group, will also make a stalking-horse bid on the entire mortgage unit of $1.6 billion or 45% of the unpaid principal on loans owned by ResCap. This bid will serve as a benchmark for companies looking to buy ResCap or its assets.

Mother's Day

5/13/12

Heartbroken grandma, 71, being evicted from her home of nearly FORTY years on Mother’s Day

Daily Mail

United Kingdom

While most Mothers will be spending Sunday having a Mother’s Day dinner with their families, a 71-year-old mother of three from San Jose, California, will likely be evicted from her home on Sunday.

She and her husband were duped into a bad loan, and bankruptcy court couldn't protect her.

However, the judiciary and law enforcement were quick to turn a blind-eye to the criminal enterprise that sold the bad loan and the one that is now stealing her house on Mother's Day. Heart-less

5/13/12

FBI CRACKS DOWN ON MORTGAGE FRAUD

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) was signed into law in 2009. In addition to increasing funds to law enforcement agencies, FERA increased penalties for mortgage fraud up 30 years in prison and a million dollar fine, and increased the statute of limitations from 5 to 10 years.

NewsMax The FBI and other authorities are finally waking up to the problem of mortgage fraud in this country.  

However, as with most federal agencies, they have let the large banks, the perpetrators of the biggest crimes, go unpunished, and are now focusing on loan applicants who lied on their loan applications.

5/13/12

Tens of Thousands Protest Austerity in 80 Spanish Cities

NY Times “Taxpayers will now be paying for Bankia and all the others, while the greedy people who have been paid massive salaries to run them will just continue to enjoy themselves,” said Juan Márquez, a 23-year-old student.
5/12/12

Foreclosure-Mill Attorneys Are Routinely Breaking The Law 

and clogging New York courts with unresolved cases, an explosive new study shows.

New York Post In a report set to be released this week, MFY Legal Services shows that foreclosure-mill law firms are still failing to file required documents in an astonishing 43 percent of foreclosure cases started in November 2010 and March 2011. 

“It’s a huge problem,” said Jacob Inwald, Director of Foreclosure Prevention Litigation for Legal Services NYC. “Once you are sued in foreclosure, you are frozen and can’t resolve your situation.”

5/12/12

Mother-Daughter Die in Murder-Suicide in their Foreclosed home 

Boston Herald "I’m afraid they didn’t think they had anyone to turn to," the neighbor said, adding: "When people feel desperate, there are people out there who care. They didn’t have to take their own lives."
5/12/12

Effect Of Co-Ownership On Operation Of Florida Homestead Law

Home Equity Theft Reporter The first kind provides homestead with an exemption from taxes. The second protects homestead from forced sale by creditors. The third delineates the restrictions a homestead owner faces when attempting to alienate or devise homestead property.
5/12/12

Texas homeowners struggle with new homestead exemption rules

If you’re one of the roughly 125,000 people applying for a homestead exemption on your property taxes this year, there’s a good chance you goofed up the application and will need to submit your form again.

Houston Chronicle Though the new rules are a hassle and have run up his postage budget as so many applicants need to be notified of the errors on their forms, Robinson said the new law has put a “dramatic dent” in fraudulent exemption claims.
5/12/12

JPMorgan Banker Who Led Unit That Had $2 Billion Trading Loss Expected to Resign

NY Times Stung by a huge trading loss, JPMorgan Chase will replace three top traders starting Monday, including one of the top women on Wall Street, in an effort to stem the ire that the bank, the nation’s largest, faces from regulators and investors.
5/12/12

Grabbing the Bolt-Cutters with Take Back the Land

Lennon-Griffin has been re-occupying her home Avenue since last Mother’s Day, after being forcibly evicted in March by a SWAT team with dozens of officers and police cars.

Indypendent The eviction was so shocking that Lennon-Griffin’s 72-year-old neighbor ran out of her own home in her pajamas shouting, “This is not America when we are removing people from their homes!” until she was arrested along with six others.
5/12/12

Watching them fall One by One.

JPMorgan Sought Loophole on Risky Trading

 

NY Times Soon after lawmakers finished work on the nation’s new financial regulatory law, a team of JPMorgan Chase lobbyists descended on Washington. Their goal was to obtain special breaks that would allow banks to make big bets in their portfolios, including some of the types of trading that led to the $2 billion loss now rocking the bank.

5/12/12

Group Warns Of Increased Wave Of Mortgage Scammers

CBS Sacramento More and more, desperate homeowners looking for a financial lifeline to save their homes from foreclosure are becoming victims of fraud.

5/12/12

Campaign launched for homeowner protection

The Signal “Homeowners facing foreclosure are in a vulnerable emotional and financial situation, and scammers will employ almost any tactic to exploit them,” said LeFrancis Arnold, CAR president. “It is important that these homeowners know that they should never pay fees in advance to anyone promising to lower their monthly payment or any other service. In fact, there are usually no costs associated with modifying a loan.”

5/11/12**

Many homes that were otherwise current in their payments end up in foreclosure.

 

Now It’s the Servicers Betting Against Homeowners

 

Banks and servicers need as many properties in foreclosure as possible. There are many reasons:

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The banks want it because it covers up the outright bold lies they told investors to get them to “buy” non-existent mortgage bonds most of which involved either no paper certificate at all or they were simply not worth the paper they were written on. Second, the bankers management could make a killing depressing Market prices and then relieving the pressure when they wanted prices to go up. Third, servicers make far more money in fees as long as they are “servicing” a loan in default because their fees are higher on loans in distress. Fourth in many cases the servicers actually get to “own” the property if the foreclosure sale occurs.
5/11/12

Philadelphia starts from scratch to fix foreclosures

Foreclosure filings are picking up. Foreclosure activity jumped 33% in the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac, the fifth highest increase in the country.

Housing Wire Former Sheriff John Green left his post at the end of 2010 after more than 20 years in office. According to an audit report released last year, two private companies built systems to handle evictions and foreclosure sales. The companies were allegedly connected to Green and overcharged the city millions of dollars for the services.
5/11/12

Michigan Supreme Court justice mum on curious short sale

A Michigan Supreme Court justice is facing questions as to why she transferred the deeds on three properties while she negotiated a short sale on a fourth.

The Detroit Free Press reports Justice Diane Hathaway has yet to say why she and her husband put the homes under the names of her stepchildren. Experts said the couple may have done it qualify for the short sale closed late last year, meaning they could have misrepresented their assets.

Detroit Free Press The report by WXYZ, and several experts consulted by the Free Press, suggested the transfers could give the appearance that Hathaway and her husband, lawyer Michael Kingsley, temporarily unloaded assets in order to qualify for the short sale of their Lake St. Clair property. If the couple misrepresented their assets to a financial institution, it might rise to the level of a criminal offense, a former federal prosecutor told the Free Press on Thursday.

5/11/12

Attention Homeowners & Lawyers: AG Mortgage Settlement Launches Online Complaint Sites

Finally, there are places online where homeowners, lawyers and other advocates can go to lodge complaints about a mortgage servicer’s handling of mortgage modifications, et al. And all I can say is, it’s about time.

Mandelman Matters For HOMEOWNERS who want to file a complaint having to do with the National Mortgage Settlement, click here:     WHERE CAN I FIND HELP?

For LAWYERS or ADVOCATES: REPORT CLIENT ISSUES HERE.

5/11/12

Bank of America may help its underwater St. Lucie mortgage holders

TC Palm For its customers who qualify for its loan modification program, Bank of America estimates an average 30 percent reduction in monthly mortgage payments. That translates to an average cut of $145,000 for the initial group of 5,000, though the bank cautioned in a news release that not everyone should expect that much of a reduction.
5/11/12

S.E.C. Opens Investigation Into JPMorgan’s $2 Billion Loss

NY Times Regulators are investigating potential civil violations surrounding the $2 billion loss that JPMorgan Chase disclosed on Thursday, raising further questions about trading activities at the nation’s biggest bank.
5/11/12

Jamie's Cryin: Dimon, J.P. Morgan Chase Lose $2 Billion

The bottom line is that this episode underscores the need either for a strong, loophole-free Volcker rule, or an outright return to the Glass-Steagall Act.

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

If you’re wondering why you should care if some idiot trader (who apparently has been making $100 million a year at Chase, a company that has been the recipient of at least $390 billion in emergency Fed loans) loses $2 billion for Jamie Dimon, here’s why: because J.P. Morgan Chase is a federally-insured depository institution that has been and will continue to be the recipient of massive amounts of public assistance. If the bank fails, someone will reach into your pocket to pay for the cleanup. So when they gamble like drunken sailors, it’s everyone’s problem.
5/11/12

What Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Know Is Plain Scary

On a company-wide basis, JPMorgan was a net seller of credit protection last quarter -- to the tune of about $206 billion, up from $116 billion as of Dec. 31.

Bloomberg So, JPMorgan doesn’t seem to have been reducing credit risk last quarter. It was taking on more. And if credit defaults suddenly surged, it would lose a lot of money. (Maybe this is what Dimon meant when he said the bank’s strategy was poorly executed.)
SETTLED

5/11/12

Deutsche Bank to Pay $202 Million To Settle Suit On Mortgages

Deutsche Bank agreed on Thursday to pay the federal government more than $200 million to settle accusations that it knowingly misled the Department of Housing and Urban Development about the quality of mortgages that later defaulted and cost taxpayers $368 million.

NY Times "MortgageIT and Deutsche Bank treated F.H.A. insurance as free government money to backstop lending practices that did not follow the rules,” “Their failure to meet these requirements caused substantial losses to the government — losses that could have and should have been avoided.”.
5/11/12

Florida Supreme Court considering foreclosure appeal

A homeowner's lawyer told the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday that the justices can strike a blow against rampant fraud by prohibiting lenders from simply voluntarily dismissing mortgage foreclosure cases to avoid penalties for filing bogus documents.

Bradenton Herald Lundergan also argued that no rules changes are needed but for a different reason than Rogow. She said the courts have the inherent authority to protect themselves against fraud and that applies to existing as well as future cases.

Ruling otherwise would encourage litigants "to lie, to cheat, to steal, knowing that if they are caught -- if they are caught -- they can simply voluntarily dismiss and absolve themselves of that fraud," she said
WIN!

5/10/12

Forged SCOTT ANDERSON signatures wipe out mortgage.

SoFla Woman's 2-Year Battle Gets Mortgage Wiped Out

Castro said the signatures on her foreclosure documents appeared to have been signed by different people.

NBC Miami The attorney stressed the importance of investigating.

With the help of attorney Omar Arcia, she won her case. The lender decided to stop all legal proceedings against her because the documents were deemed fraudulent. Castro now owes nothing.

MERS as nominee for RESMAE and OCWEN.

 

5/10/12

9 Investigates Fake Foreclosure Money

At the end of April, a secretary at the Florida Default Law Group's telephone number said the firm's name had just been changed to Ronald R. Wolfe and Associates.
But the new name may carry similar baggage: Wolfe has two open foreclosure-related complaints against him personally with the Florida bar.

WFTV Christian Flint jumped at a chance to make $2,000 by leaving his rented home in Winter Springs more quickly than he had to after it went into foreclosure.

However, not only did Flint not get $2,000, he didn’t get any money at all.

“It makes me furious,” Flint said.
Flint, said he was deceived by the Florida Default Law Group and a local Realtor the group employed in his case.

5/10/12

MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY RECOVERS $202.3 MILLION FROM DEUTSCHE BANK AND MORTGAGEIT IN CIVIL FRAUD CASE ALLEGING RECKLESS MORTGAGE LENDING PRACTICES AND FALSE CERTIFICATIONS TO HUD

And then the next day, this happens... Feds Slam Deutsche Bank But Next Day FINRA Nominates Deutsche Executive To Its Board

HUD 

Forbes

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK treated FHA insurance as free Government money to backstop lending practices that did not follow the rules.
5/10/12

Mortgage Settlement Monitor Wants To Hear Your Gripes, But Don't Expect A Helping Hand

Have a complaint about the bank managing your home loan? Joseph Smith, the former North Carolina banking commissioner charged with enforcing the national mortgage settlement, would like to hear it.

Huff Post While filing a grievance may help the settlement's top enforcer keep an eye on the banks -- Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial -- Smith does not have the power to investigate individual complaints or help homeowners.
5/10/12

Family Convicted of Conducting Mortgage Fraud

All of the defendants were ordered to pay $907,000 in restitution to various mortgage lenders. Claymon Trammell and Williams were assessed 60 months in prison, while the daughter was sentenced to 36 months.

Mortgage Servicing News A Houston family has been sentenced to federal prison for running a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in at least 70 homeowners defaulting on their mortgage payments.

Meanwhile, the banks are committing this much fraud in an hour and aren't even under investigation.

5/10/12

AG Beau Biden announces plan for penalty funds

WGMD The plan includes $1.8-million to fund borrower representation, $500,000 to support the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program and $2.7-million to continue to investigate & prosecute financial fraud cases.
5/10/12

Justices weigh bad documents vs. debt in foreclosure case

At issue is whether a bank can escape scrutiny for filing flawed or fraudulent paperwork by simply dismissing the foreclosure.

Palm Beach Post After the arguments, Lundergan said the "privilege" of voluntary dismissal "doesn't trump fraud" and that the court should throw out the dismissal.

"To do anything other encourages parties to commit fraud, knowing that if they get caught they simply can voluntarily dismiss," Lundergan said. "We have multimillion-dollar corporations up against single homeowners who don't have the resources many times to uncover this fraud. So it's our court's responsibility to protect them."

 

1987

 

From a 1987 Texas Appeal:

1ST COPPELL BANK v. Smith

For these reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court: (1) granting the Smiths' request for permanent injunction against foreclosure by the Bank; (2) removing the deed of trust as a cloud upon title; and (3) providing that the Bank take nothing upon its counterclaim for breach of contract.

 

Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas The Bank's status as a bona fide purchaser is immaterial, however, in the face of a forged instrument. A void instrument passes no title, and the fact that the grantee-mortgagee is an innocent purchaser makes no difference.

Because the deed is void, the Bank is not protected by its status as a bona fide purchaser.

Clear and unmistakable proof that either the grantor did not appear before the notary or that the notary practiced some fraud or imposition upon the grantor is necessary to overcome the validity of a certificate of acknowledgment. 

5/10/12

J.P. Morgan's $2 Billion Blunder
Bank Admits Losses on Massive Trading Bet Gone Wrong; Dimon's Mea Culpa

The trading loss tarnishes the reputation of the bank, which came through the financial crisis better than most peers. It comes at a time when large banks are fighting efforts by regulators to rein in risky trading.

WSJ A massive trading bet boomeranged on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., leaving the bank with at least $2 billion in trading losses and its chief executive, James Dimon, with a rare black eye following a long run as what some called the "King of Wall Street."
5/10/12

US Appeals Court: 

Not Necessary To File TILA Mortgage Rescission Suit w/in 3 Yrs Of Loan Closing, Provided Notice To Rescind Is Given Within That Time

Home Equity Theft Reporter The May 3, 2012, decision in Gilbert v. Residential Funding LLC  is the first by a federal appellate court to hold that a borrower need only send notice of rescission within the three-year period to validly exercise a right to rescind.

5/10/12

Warnings of Tainted Foreclosures, Clouded Titles and other mix-ups go Unheeded

Purchaser Buys Foreclosed Home, Sinks Thousand$ Into Fix-Up, Then Finds Out She Bought The Wrong House

Home Equity Theft Reporter She had the property surveyed, after seeing records at City Hall that didn’t look quite right. After the survey she learned the bad news from her realtor. “She’s like I don’t know how to tell you this but we might have sold you the wrong house,” said Jordan.

5/10/12

Racketeering Charge Against Bank of America and MERS

Every day seems to bring another horror story designed to fuel public rage against Bank of America. 

Larry Doyle

Business Insider

Whether it’s the case of Louise Davidson of Loma, Colorado (whom I wrote about in previous blogs), still sans home thanks to a B of A/Fannie Mae eviction; Los Angeles mother Dirma Rodriguez, fighting B of A to stay in her home with a severely disabled daughter; or a 74 year-old veteran, Larry Anderson, now on the verge of losing his family home to the relentless maws of the                B of A foreclosure machine.

5/10/12

Letter From Charlotte: How Bank of America Silenced a Whole Town

Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve is moving aggressively to squash investor uprisings against incompetent or greedy bank executives. As Stephen Davidoff explains, that's not just shocking and baffling. It's also destructive and directly contravenes the goals the Federal Reserve should be pursuing.

Huff Post Activists told their stories inside the shareholders' meeting, and Moynihan and his team pretended to listen. But despite the stories they heard, despite the grumbling from their investors and the chanting in the streets, there was an eerie hush over Charlotte today.

They're Bank of America. They don't have to hear anything they don't want to hear. Their friends in Washington have built an impermeable bubble around their executive suite, and that of every big bank in the country.

Activists broke the silence on the streets, and they did it well. But only the long arm of the law can break the silence inside the bubble-world of today's too-big-to-fail bankers.
5/10/12

IndyMac-West One Bank Mortgage FRAUD and the Complicity of the Courts

Bank

Mortgage Fraud

This is most certainly not your average bank mortgage fraud story...this is my shocking true story of malicious victimization at the hands of IndyMac/West One Bank & counsel, their blatant fraud, and the complicity of the courts.
5/9/12

Fannie Mae Won’t Seek Aid After Posting $2.7 Billion Profit 

Fannie Mae and rival government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac have relied on almost $190 billion in taxpayer aid to stay afloat amid losses stemming from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.

Bloomberg Today’s earnings report marks the first time since the September 2008 takeover that either company has been able to report a profit after paying dividends on the Treasury’s nearly 80 percent stake.
5/9/12

In Blocking Activists, the Fed Protects Poorly Performing Banks

NY Times An activist shareholder sought to shake up a money-losing company. It was shaping up to be a typical corporate dogfight — until the Federal Reserve stepped in.
5/9/12

Surrendering Your Home In Bankruptcy Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Yours

Jay Fleischman, New York Bankruptcy Lawyer You walk into bankruptcy to get rid of your mortgage. You walk out still owning real estate. How’s that happen?

5/9/12 

Bank of America CEO hit by analysts, protesters

A top Wall Street analyst is crowning Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan — a Wellesley resident — as the nation’s worst banking chief.

Boston Herald Michael Mayo of Credit Agricole Securities told an investment conference this week that Moynihan deserves scorn because Bank of America’s stock has tumbled some 40 percent since the CEO took over in 2010.

YET THEY GIVE HIM A RAISE.

The market watcher also blamed Moynihan, who faced a hostile crowd at the bank’s annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday in North Carolina, for a major public-relations disaster last fall.

5/9/12 

Get To Know Your Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

See also: Consumer Protection Laws You Need To Know

SF Gate This article introduces you to the CFPB, its mission, functions and structure. It also describes what you, as consumers and professionals, can do interactively through the bureau's website. Finally, we discuss recent initiatives by the CFPB to tackle lingering issues in mortgage servicing, debt collection and credit reporting.
5/9/12

Florida justices to decide whether to punish 'robo-signing'

At center stage will be "robo-signing," where banks and law firms recreated loan documents — and hired someone to sign them — because the originals could not be found.

The Florida Supreme Court is streaming Oral Arguments in the Pino Case on May 10.  You can watch it here

 

 

Also see report from Reuters below...

Orlando Sentinel The issue is whether Florida banks should be able to escape punishment if they drop a foreclosure case because they realize they have fraudulent documents. They are currently allowed to do so and then refile the case with proper documentation.

As both the bankers and Ice note, a ruling in Ice's favor would allow attorneys to re-open cases in perhaps thousands of case where fraudulent documents have been used.

"On a much broader level," Ice added, "this is the court's opportunity to come out and say that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated in this court system."

5/9/12

Florida's PINO foreclosure case could slam banks

The Florida Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial liabilities in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

Reuters The court is deciding whether banks who used fraudulent documents to file foreclosure lawsuits can dismiss the cases and refile them later with different paperwork.

The decision, which may take up to eight months to render, could affect hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Florida, and could also influence judges in the other 26 states that require lawsuits in foreclosures.
5/9/12

Foreclosures in New Jersey in a Troublesome State of Flux

“If sheriff's officers come into your home, you still have a right at that moment to file for an extension.” 

NJ Spotlight While two of New Jersey's largest mortgage lenders are vigorously filing new foreclosures, the state is still waiting for them and other major banks to certify the accuracy of documents in a huge backlog of pending cases.
5/9/12

Mortgage fraud hits Valley hard

She pointed out that organizations including her own will help homeowners sort out their options for free. By contrast, scam artists request money up front for their “cure all” services.

The Business Journal Many times the fraudulent service appears on the Web as a near copy of a federal government mortgage relief program. “Each time the government announces a new program a new copycat organization will pop up,” said Blair Looney, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau.

5/9/12

From Coal to Foreclosures, Bank of America Faces Protest at Shareholders’ Meeting in Charlotte

The protesters are calling attention to the bank’s involvement in the financial crisis, its support for the coal industry, and its long record of alleged foreclosure abuses

Democracy Now! "Folks are coming to Charlotte in order to stand their ground against the predatory practices of Bank of America," says Rachel LaForest of the Right to the City Alliance, a national coalition of community groups that is bringing roughly 175 residents to Charlotte who have been evicted by Bank of America. "We’re coming to their shareholders’ meeting in order to stand before their key shareholders and to say, ’This is what your practices have done to our lives.

5/9/12

Bank Of America Sets Troubling Standard

Now kicking more people out of their homes right now is assuredly not the brightest or most productive move for the banks.

Seeking Alpha They're not in the business to own homes and selling a home at this point may take just as long as it may take for the current homeowner to make their overdue monthly payment. Still, to provide such forgiveness gives homeowners the wrong idea. It tells homeowners buying a home one can't afford is okay and leaves many with the belief they have a right to be helped.

5/9/12

Will R-I-C-O Spell 'Relief' for Bank of America Mortgage Borrowers?

Joel Sucher

American Banker

While shareholders queue up for a seat at the annual Bank of America extravaganza on Wednesday and the forces of Occupy get ready to mount major protests, a small group of lawyers plots its own campaign to take on what they call the "predatory mortgage banking cartel.

5/9/12

Protests mark Bank of America’s shareholders’ meeting inside and outside; 4 arrested

Shareholder after shareholder took the microphone to berate the bank for its handling of foreclosures, its investments in payday lenders, and also investments in the coal industry.

Gail Kirshy and her husband, Darrell, own thousands of shares of BofA stock, but were turned away from the meeting by bank employees who said they had arrived too late. The couple drove from Florence, S.C. to attend the meeting.

Washington Post Sister Barbara Bush, who works with troubled homeowners in Cincinnati, told Moynihan that about 41 percent of the people she works with are Bank of American borrowers, but finds that the bank is the hardest and most frustrating to deal with.

Johnny Rosa of Framingham, Mass. said before he was taken into custody that his home had been foreclosed and he wanted to tell shareholders the foreclosure was wrong because he wanted to make payments.

5/9/12

Organizing Against Bank of America in Enemy Territory

In anticipation, the Charlotte City Council has already passed laws criminalizing protest, as well as camping and carrying permanent markers.

Huff Post A sequence of direct action trainings and spokescouncils will culminate in three marches at 8 a.m. on May 9, which will converge on the doors of the shareholders' meeting. There, thousands will protest Bank of America's laundry list of abuses such as foreclosing on millions of homeowners across the country.

5/9/12

Activists 'mic-check' Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan at annual meeting

It's too bad Evelyn Y. Davis couldn't make the trip. She would have enjoyed this meeting.

BizJournals As CEO Brian Moynihan attempted to cutoff questions and adjourn the meeting, activists yelled "mic-check" and began shouting and echoing each other in protest of the Charlotte-based bank.
5/8/12

Top Fla. Court to Hear Landmark Foreclosure Fraud Case Thursday Despite Parties’ Agreed Dismissal

"The question certified to us by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this case transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance," the supreme court wrote.

ABA Journal "The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because we agree with the Fourth District that this issue is indeed one of great public importance and in need of resolution by this court, we deny the parties’ request to dismiss this proceeding."

The Florida Supreme Court is streaming Oral Arguments in the Pino Case on Thursday, May 10.  You can watch it here

5/8/12

Occupy LA protestors descend on Pasadena home of Bank of America executive

Star News "I want my home legally returned to me and I want fair payments and an end to this horrific situation that me and my family have had to go through," Rodriguez said.

5/8/12

El Paso Homeowner Fights Bank of America

Roman said with so many mortgages in El Paso County going to MERS, county leaders are silent, instead of addressing a huge problem.

KTSM "A representative with Bank of America told her off-the-cuff...one of the investors told them to deny her loan modification. We found that outrageous," said Attorney Richard Roman.
5/8/12

Critic of MERS and payday lending joins CFPB

Professor Peterson is best known for his articles, speeches and expert testimony attacking the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS). See, e.g., Foreclosure, Subprime Mortgage Lending and the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, 78 U.Cin.L.Rev. 1359 (2010). 

Ballard Spahr LLP
Alan S. Kaplinsky
On a panel entitled “The New Consumer Perspective,” he gave a preview of a law review article which will be published later this year in the Washington & Lee Law Review, currently titled, “‘Warning: Predatory Lender’ – A Proposal for Candid Local Signage Loan Ordinances.” In the article, Professor Peterson will recommend that cities and other local municipalities enact ordinances requiring payday lenders to prominently disclose “Warning: Predatory Lender” on their signage.
5/8/12

JPMorgan Chase Whistleblower: 'Essentially Suicide' To Stand Up To Bank

Report Fraud = Lose your job.

No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant.

Huff Post When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.

Instead, he fired her.

5/7/12

Servicers incentivized to bet against homeowners, may hurt housing

Insurance policies are not often pointed to as the problem with housing, but one news outlet says homeowners are being pushed off of the foreclosure cliff by force-place insurance.

AGBeat Bloomberg reports that banks not only receive commissions on the forced-place policies, they make even more money by re-insuring them, so the bank takes out a policy to protect the property but is making a more lucrative bet that the policy will never pay out. Fannie Mae has already instructed servicers of Fannie-backed loans to reduce the cost of insurance premiums, but Bloomberg implies that these directives are weak and more can be done.
5/7/12

Affidavits Are Not a Substitute for Evidence of Debt Ownership

The burden is on the debt collector to show it owns the debt and to show the consumer is liable for the amount the debt collector asserts. The debt collector's say-so is not enough.

Credit Slips The Tennessee Court of Appeals has issued a decision that highlights the problems facing credit card debt collectors in a post-robosigning world. The decision reaffirms what should be a simple principle in a debt-collection lawsuit. 
5/7/12

Monique White May Win Back Foreclosed Home With Occupy's Help

"It's a huge victory, and it represents exactly the kind of deal that every homeowner in America should be getting from the banks."

Huff Post A representative of US Bank called to let her know the bank was willing to modify her mortgage. If the tentative agreement holds up, the 46-year-old single mother of two will get to stay, and a motley coalition of activists and neighbors, including an Occupy Wall Street group, will chalk up a victory in its quest to stop evictions.
5/7/12

They didn’t want to offend their largest customer,” Lockhart said

Fannie Refused to Punish Countrywide for Bad Debt, Lockhart Says

Fannie Mae refused to seek large amounts of mortgage repurchases from Countrywide Financial Corp. as housing began to crash, according to the former head of its regulator

Bloomberg James Lockhart, who led the Federal Housing Finance Agency until 2009 and its predecessor, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, “spent a lot of time” pushing Fannie Mae executives to seek more so-called putbacks on Countrywide loans that failed to match their promised quality, he said today.

5/7/12

California Homeowner in Foreclosure Wins Quiet Title – It’s a Free House!

A California homeowner, who was in foreclosure filed for quiet title against Deutsche Bank et al and won by default. The banks didn't show up. 

Mandelman Matters When this happens, the Plaintiff still has to present his or her case, but it’s unopposed, so it’s not exactly the highest of hurdles. After considering the evidence presented by the Plaintiff, the court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against the Defendants, thereby voiding her Trustee Sale and the Deed of Trust. So, presto-change-o… no more mortgage… as in… it’s a free and clear house!

5/7/12

Bank of America Starts Mortgage Reduction Effort

Bank of America has started sending letters to thousands of homeowners in the United States, offering to forgive a portion of the principal balance on their mortgages by an average of $150,000 each.

CAUTION!  Is Bank of America qualified to reduce the principal???  The banks cannot collect or foreclose with the forged and fabricated documents they now hold.  This principal reduction with your new signature may be a ruse to make the civil and criminal frauds go away when a new note is created.  

NY Times The reduction for qualifying homeowners could amount to monthly savings of up to 35 percent on mortgage payments, Bank of America said in a news release on Monday evening.

The principal reduction offers from Bank of America Home Loans are the result of a $25 billion settlement agreement earlier this year with 49 state attorneys general as well as federal authorities who had been investigating allegations of abuses over the handling of foreclosures.
5/7/12

GMAC Morgage Faces Class Action over Alleged Forced Placed Insurance Kick Backs with Balboa

Lawyers & Settlements A class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against GMAC Mortgage, LLC and Balboa Insurance Company in connection with an allegedly unlawful kickback scheme involving force-placed insurance. 
5/7/12

OccupyTheCourts.org asks Judge Collyer to Reconsider the Multi-State Fraudclosure Settlement 

Claims Violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Jay Fenello On March 3rd, 2012 this court was asked to approve a settlement with the major banks for filing fraudulent documents that were used to illegally foreclose on homeowners. Over 100 thousand fraudulent documents and affidavits were
filed in the courts, each and every one as fraudulent as the falsified food stamp application in Mississippi.
5/7/12

Courtroom Etiquette

It never ceases to amaze me as to how people act in bankruptcy court regardless if it is the attorney, debtors or creditors.

Rachel Lynn Foley, Kansas City, MO, Bankruptcy Attorney As with all things in life, common courtesy and respect are skills that will take you far. But sometimes what I think should be second nature to people are things that others just don’t think about or simply don’t know because no one has ever shared this knowledge with them.

5/7/12

UCC Article 3 and Mortgage Backed Securities

Borrowing money to buy a home used to be straight forward.

Knowlton Law Nowadays, the promise to pay back the borrowed money (Note) is transferred into securities, known as mortgage backed securities (MBS), and pieces of this MBS are sold in the form of certificates to investors all over the world. The Deed of Trust, which secures the promise to pay with the home, also known as a mortgage, lives in a virtual world somewhere between your home and the investors in the security holding your Note. 
5/7/12

Ohio AG - $75 Million for Demolition of Blighted Homes

City leaders, community organizations, and advocates (including this blogger) wanted to make sure that some of the funds, under direct control of the Attorney general's office would be allocated to remove (demolish) bank abandoned and blighted homes which are a cancer on the housing infrastructure in every Ohio county. 

OHIO FRAUDclosure "These are abandoned homes. They're never going to come back."

That are a blight on the neighborhoods, that take property values down and make it difficult for people who live in the neighborhood, that are trying to raise their kids to get by," DeWine said

Occupy DC Shift Their Focus To Local Foreclosures

One, Occupy Our Homes D.C., has seen some success. Activists have interceded in foreclosure cases, claiming local families are being unfairly denied housing.

wmal The reason why Dawn Butler faces eviction is because Chase Bank and the law firm Rosenberg have been challenging the legitimacy of her lease with Mr. Harry. Rosenberg issued a notice to vacate the property.
5/7/12

IndyMac-West One Bank Mortgage FRAUD and the Complicity of the Courts

BankMortgageFraud This is most certainly not your average bank mortgage fraud story...this is my shocking true story of malicious victimization at the hands of IndyMac/West One Bank & counsel, their blatant fraud, and the complicity of the courts

5/7/12

Look Who’s Pushing Homeowners Off the Foreclosure Cliff

Lenders have been imposing exorbitant insurance policies on homeowners whose regular coverage lapses or is deemed insufficient. The policies, standard homeowner’s insurance or extra coverage for wind damage, say, for Florida residents, typically cost five to 10 times what owners were previously paying, tipping many into foreclosure.

Bloomberg The situation has caught the attention of state regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is considering rules to help homeowners avoid unwarranted “force- placed insurance.” The U.S. ought to go further and limit commissions, fine any company that knowingly overcharges a homeowner and require banks to seek competitive bids for force- placed insurance policies. Because insurance is not regulated at the federal level, states also need to play a stronger role in bringing down rates.
5/6/12

Mortgage Unit Troubles Ally Financial

WHEN General Motors was bailed out, the government sank $17 billion of taxpayers’ money into G.M.’s troubled finance arm, GMAC.

Three years on, we’re still waiting for the payback.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

G.M. is making a lot of money (last week, it reported a first-quarter profit of $1.32 billion) but all is not going smoothly at Ally. While the company’s overall numbers are improving, its mortgage unit is in deep trouble.
5/6/12

Foreclosed Houses Become Homes for Indoor Marijuana Farms

Organized marijuana growers are shifting to the suburbs from rural and commercial areas, helped by a housing crisis that created a glut of affordable, spacious houses and a stream of new residents to previously more stable communities.

NY Times  Houses that sold for $1 million before the crisis have been turned into grow houses, equipped with the high-intensity lights, water and air-filtering systems necessary to produce potent, high-quality marijuana.
5/6/12

Study Says Broker Rebates Cost Investors Billions

In recent years, brokers have had another enticement that can pull them in a different direction: payments from stock exchanges in return for sending them business.

NY Times The practice has attracted criticism from several industry participants and former regulators who say the so-called rebates that the exchanges pay Wall Street firms could give those firms an incentive to profit at the expense of investors. Now a new study using industry data says that the rebates could be costing mutual funds, pension funds and ordinary investors as much as $5 billion a year.
5/6/12

Spanish Banks Resist Idea of ‘Bad Bank’ Bailout

NY Times The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Bank of Spain have been studying whether to allow banks to transfer toxic assets to a state asset management company, along the lines of the government-backed agency that Ireland set up for its troubled banks in late 2009.

5/6/12

Up-front fee for loan aid is a red flag

Even as Arizona's housing market begins to recover from its years-long slump, people desperate for a break on a loan still can fall victim to those who offer hope but don't deliver.

AZ Central Now, as home prices rise and foreclosures drop, a new wave of companies has emerged to target those who are desperate for financial assistance.

People who are trying to buy homes with questionable credit, to modify onerous loans or to reduce effects of foreclosure often end up paying thousands of dollars in fees to operators who fail to deliver promised services, authorities say.
5/5/12

Roman Pino and Tom Ice Destroyed This Country, The Florida Supreme Court Should Send Them Off To The FEMA Camps!

The Florida Supreme Court is streaming Oral Arguments in the Pino Case on May 10.  You can watch it HERE

Complete list of brief in Pino* (Fla. Sup Ct) (Fraud on Court)

 

Matt Weidner, Esq. Not only do the banks and their co-conspirators assert that Florida’s courts cannot punish fraud and forgery and lies, the briefs boldly assert the proposition that no one, not even courts should be permitted to even inquire into the details of their industry’s crimes. Here’s the direct quote:
“Scrutiny of the validity of an assignment of mortgage may be inappropriate under any circumstances.”
5/5/12

‘HOMEOWNER BILL OF RIGHTS’ MOVING ALONG IN SACRAMENTO

UT San Diego A set of proposed laws that aim to protect California homeowners from foreclosure abuses is working its way through the Legislature.

 

5/5/12

To Hague Global Forum on Corruption AG Aschroft on Corrupt Federal Judges Collusion w US Trustee's

Laser Haas how far does cronyism and corruption bad faith acts travel up our system of justice bad faith ladders? Then Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft,  penned that corruption goes all the way to the top where he wrote this to the Hague Global Forum on Corruption:

"Bankruptcy court corruption is not just a matter of bankruptcy trustees in collusion with corrupt bankruptcy judges. The corruption is supported, and justice hindered by high ranking officials in the United States Trustee Program --".

5/5/12

Mortgage mess a concern for Bank of America shareholders – and protesters, too

Shareholders and protesters still in for a collision course at this week’s annual meeting.

Protesters want to see a halt to foreclosures.

Charlotte Observer While protesters and shareholders have vastly different concerns, they do have one major issue in common: the bad mortgages that continue to weigh down the bank.

Subprime mortgages contributed to hundreds of thousands of people losing their homes. They also have cost the bank billions in legal settlements and loan losses.

5/5/12

**

George Washington: Lack of Trust – Caused by Institutional Corruption – Is Killing the Economy 

The signs are everywhere: Americans have lost trust in our institutions.

SmartMoney notes today that more and more Americans are keeping valuables at home because they have lost trust in banks.

Trust is higher in ‘fair’ societies.

naked capitalism Top economists have been saying for well over a decade that trust is necessary for a stable economy, and that prosecuting the criminals is necessary to restore trust. Indeed, as we have repeatedly noted, loss of trust is arguably the main reason we are stuck in an economic crisis … notwithstanding unprecedented action by central banks worldwide.
5/4/12

Foreclosures are non-discriminatory. Banks will steal from anyone.

Foreclosures Spell Financial Demise for Latino Middle Class

Latinos have been significantly impacted by the increase in foreclosures.

Huff Post Among Latino homeowners, more than 17 percent have or will soon lose their home to foreclosure (based on a CRL Research Report entitled "Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity: The Demographics of a Crisis.") This news is particularly disturbing, even devastating, to the Latino middle class who historically have invested 2/3 of their entire wealth in home ownership.
5/4/12

UPDATE 2-UBS loses bid to dismiss FHFA mortgage debt case

Reuters A U.S. judge has rejected UBS AG's bid to dismiss a federal regulator's lawsuit accusing it of misleading Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying billions of dollars of risky mortgage debt.

5/4/12

Ignoring the Real Money in the Bank of America Lawsuits

The bitter aftertaste from Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch refuses to dissipate.

So Bank of America shareholders should not despair. The lack of a big settlement in the shareholder cases only leaves more room in the federal securities law action for a recovery under Bank of America’s director and officers insurance policy (which Reuters estimates to be about $500 million).

NY Times A group of law firms representing plaintiffs who sued for similar claims in Delaware are up in arms that the deal in Manhattan is a shareholder sellout. But while the settlement is problematic, another federal securities lawsuit out there is the real billion-dollar case. This case is based on false statements in Bank of America’s proxy solicitation for approval of the Merrill acquisition. This is where the real money is.
White Paper**

5/4/12

LOSING THE PAPER: MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS, NOTE TRANSFERS and CONSUMER PROTECTION

Alan White

Professor of Law, Valparaiso Law School

I survey the state of the mortgage loan transfer system, the legal rules that govern it, and the widening gap
between those rules and the practices in the secondary mortgage market just prior to the 2008 crisis. The review includes some empirical assessment of the extent of errors and execution problems; the damage done by “robo-signing;”  MERS and note delivery practices; and the extent to which courts will prevent or reverse foreclosure sales based on those errors and problems.

5/4/12

Don’t Get on the Sucker List!

The latest mortgage scam works a lot like the old ones. Slick talkers preying upon people who are down on their luck.

Consumer Warning Network Here’s how it works. Posing as government-linked agency representatives, scammers call homeowners who have unknowingly been placed on a “sucker list.” The list is comprised of individuals who are in default of their mortgage or in bankruptcy already.

 

5/4/12

Legal Eagles in Cross Hairs

The SEC seems to be leading the way, starting with indictments and convictions of attorneys that kicks aside the clients’ defense of “I did it on advice of counsel.” in wide ranging probes law enforcement agencies are after the attorneys who said it was OK — upon receiving lavish payments, that what the Banks did in setting the securitization structure for the cash trail and setting up the securitization procedure for the document trail and then setting up the contents of the documents that would provide coverage for intentional acts of theft, forgery, fabrication and a variety of other acts.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

and

WSJ

As these probes continue it may be seen as scape-goating the attorneys or as chilling the confidentiality of the relationship between lawyer and client. But that rule of confidentiality and the defines of advice of counsel vanishes when the conduct of the attorney or indeed a whole law firm is that of a co-conspirator. It is especially unavailable when you have a foreclosure mill that is forging, fabricating and filing documents on behalf of extremely well paying clients.

It would therefore seem to be an appropriate time to file complaints with law enforcement including police and regulatory authorities that are well-written, honed down to a sharp point and which attach at least some evidence beyond the mere allegation of wrong-doing on the part of the attorney or law firm. If appropriate lay people can file the same complaints as grievances with the state Bar Association that is required to regulate and discipline the behavior of lawyers. And attorneys for homeowners and judges who hear these cases are under an obligation to report evidence of wrongdoing or else face disciplinary charges of their own resulting in suspension or disbarment.

5/4/12

Reaffirmations and the “Ride-Through” in EDNC

What is a “reaffirmation agreement?”

Adrian Lapas, Eastern North Carolina Bankruptcy Attorney A reaffirmation agreement is a contract between a debtor and a creditor. The debtor agrees to be responsible for that debt as if he never filed bankruptcy on that particular debt. By agreeing to personal liability for the debt, if there is a default later on, the debtor can be sued as if the debt never went through bankruptcy.

5/4/12**

Georgia County Sheriff Evicts Four Generation Family In Raid Resembling 'Drug Bust'

The group says the early morning raid resembled a drug bust with officers sneaking across Frazer's property in the middle of the night before 50 officers stormed her home to serve an eviction notice.

 

The Nation One of Occupy Wall Street's enduring legacies is the Occupy Our Homes movement that successfully managed to protect families from evictions at a time when not even the government of the United States seemed overly concerned with an epidemic of foreclosures.

The militarization of local police when it comes to things like drug raids or even routine searches have rightfully received much media attention and condemnation from the public, particularly when it comes to terrible stories like the police officer in Texas who shot Cisco the dog without reason.

Sheriff Thomas Brown said police used "intelligence" to wait until the activists were not present at the home to guard it, and neighbors were asleep, to serve the unprecedented eviction, which includes kicking out Frazer's 85 year old mother, and 3 year old grandson. 

5/4/12

Goldman loses bid to dismiss CIFG breach of contract claims

Reuters The judge granted Goldman's motion to dismiss the fraudulent inducement claim. "Had CIFG conducted proper due diligence prior to writing the insurance, it would have uncovered the alleged misrepresentations about which it now complains," 
5/4/12

Yet Another Mortgage Settlement Gimmie: Conflicting Servicing Standards Play into Hands of Banks

It’s bad enough that the overhyped mortgage settlement was a big victory for the banks at the expense of homeowners and the rule of law.

naked capitalism It turns out there is an even bigger, and more basic stuff up: the servicing standards in the settlement conflict with existing FHA servicing standards. This was one of the most over-lawyered deals in history. How did this screw up take place?

5/3/12

Protesters in Miami clean garbage from foreclosed homes and dump it at bank

According to the Miami Workers Center, the home is owned by the Bank of America. The residents of the Liberty City neighborhood came together to clean up the abandoned property and later in the day planned on delivering the collected trash to a Bank of America branch.

MSNBC Trenise Bryant, a member of the Miami Workers Center who organized the event said, ''Banks maintain foreclosed properties in white neighborhoods why can't they do the same in black communities?'' ''It's bad enough these big banks put families out of their homes, now they just let the houses sit there bringing down the property value for everyone else in the neighborhood.
Kamala

5/3/12

National Mortgage Settlement Expires In 2015, Banks Battling To Keep Reforms From Becoming Permanent

The legal agreements among the banks, and the states and federal government hold for only three-and-a-half years; the pledge runs out in 2015

Huff Post Now many of these banks are battling California Attorney General Kamala Harris over her push to make permanent some of the settlement's most important "servicing standard" reforms by writing them into state law.

"The success of the national mortgage settlement in terms of reforms is laudable, but it only lasts for three years," Harris said. "We need to make the fixes permanent."

5/3/12

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages, according to two people with knowledge of the probes. They’re also concerned about improper foreclosures on homeowners as result.

Bloomberg “The attorneys general could create a lot of problems for the banks and for the trustees and for bondholders,” Gradman said. “I can’t imagine a better securities law claim than to say that you represented that these were mortgage-backed securities when in fact they were backed by nothing.
5/3/12

Inequality, Debt and the Financial Crisis

Recent research by economists from the International Monetary Fund and academia offers some new insights about income inequality, with important implications.

NY Times The first step in restoring real stability to the economy is to lower the debt levels through what the researchers call “orderly debt reduction.” An example of that would be mortgage modifications. The second and more important step is to reduce income inequality by raising wages, possibly by strengthening collective bargaining.

The researchers make a compelling case that greater equality and lower debt could make future crises less likely.

5/3/12**

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

The top issuers of mortgage securities without government backing in 2005 included Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit, GMAC, Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual

Biden, in his complaint over mortgage database MERS, cites a foreclosure by Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) as trustee in which the promissory note wasn’t delivered to the bank as required under an agreement governing the securitization. The office is concerned that such errors led to foreclosures by banks that lacked authority to seize homes,

Bloomberg The sale of mortgages into the trusts that pool loans may be void if banks didn’t follow strict requirements for such transfers.. The requirements for transferring documents were “frequently not complied with” and likely led to the failure to properly transfer loans “on a large scale,” Biden said in the complaint.

Errors in the transfer of documents “hampered” the ability of the trusts to foreclose and impaired the value of the securities backed by the loans, Schneiderman said.
“The failure to properly transfer possession of complete mortgage files has hindered numerous foreclosure proceedings and resulted in fraudulent activities,” the attorney general said in court documents.

5/3/12

People Have Answers, Will Anyone Listen?

People who know the systemic flaws caused by Wall Street are getting closer to the microphone. The Banks are hoping it is too late — but I don’t think we are even close to the point where the blame shifts solidly to their illegal activities. The testimony is clear, well-balanced, and based on facts.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

In the end the solution must hold the perpetrators to account and deliver relief to homeowners who have an opportunity to maintain possession and ownership of their homes and who may have the right to recapture fraudulently foreclosed homes with illegal evictions. The homes have been stolen. It is time to catch the thief, return the purse and seize the property of the thief to recapture ill-gotten gains.
5/3/12

Deceptive foreclosure headlines spread like wildfire in Utah

Foreclosures can only breed foreclosures, I don’t care which state your in, and they don’t just magically stop all by themselves one day. Or maybe the better way to describe that thought is metaphorically. So, try this on for size:

Just like a forest fire that’s been allowed to burn out of control, it won’t stop until it runs out of forest.

Mandelman Matters A 74 percent “jump” in foreclosures in a single month of this year would seem to me to be a much more important piece of news than any year over year comparison, although I would readily agree that it doesn’t lend itself to feelings of optimism and therefore would likely garner less readership than the happy headline comparing this year with last.
5/3/12

Fannie's New G-fee Policy Concerns Lenders; CFPB's Busy Summer Season Including QM

What is this rumor I hear that Fannie can now change our g-fee at will, with little or no notice?

Mortgage News Daily What if we have a large pipeline of loans, locked or closed, priced using a lower g-fee, and Fannie raises the fee - do we take the hit? And can Fannie base our g-fee on repurchase requests, or base g-fees on the states in which we originate? And do we now have to build a g-fee reserve into our pricing model, the cost of which is once again passed on to our borrowers, in case the government asks Fannie to pay for something and it is raised?"
5/2/12

Foreclosure Victims Aim To Take Over County Courthouses

Solutions to the ongoing foreclosure crisis are virtually absent from the national political debate, but in Florida, one of the states hardest-hit by the housing crunch, several homeowners who have seen crisis firsthand are running for local office on anti-Wall Street platforms.

Huff Post "What she and the Occupy people are saying is valid," said Bock. "I think there is a lot wrong with the banks. You'd be deaf, blind and dumb not to see the problem we have between the haves and the have-nots, what the Occupy people are calling the 99 percent ... The problem is the clerk's role is not the right role in which to advocate for these issues."

5/2/12

Mortgage Programs Target Many, Help Few

The reasons can be debated but the results cannot: the programs have been remarkably ineffective.

Fox Business Fourteen and counting. That’s the number of federal loan modification programs currently in place (HAMP, PRA, HARP, HARP 2.0, HHF, etc…), each one targeting financially stressed homeowners to help them stay current on their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure.
Fourteen is also a rough estimate of the number of homeowners who have actually benefited from these programs. That’s obviously an exaggeration, but the point remains.

5/2/12

Bar Defense Atty David Carr Exposes the CA Bar on Scammers and SB 94

INVALUABLE INFORMATION AND INSIGHT FOR LAWYERS… REAL ESTATE LICENSEES… AND ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS IN CALIFORNIA AND ELSEWHERE.

Mandelman Matters

Podcast

What SB 94 has done in the hands of the California State Bar is create so much confusion in the legal community that hundreds or perhaps thousands of legitimate attorneys have stopped offering to help homeowners get their loans modified, while the scammers have continued to proliferate as if nothing changed.

5/2/12

SEC Keeps Ratings Game Rigged

ProPublica The SEC hammers a tiny ratings agency for petty infractions but does nothing against the big agencies that helped cripple the global economy.
5/2/12

Final QM Rule Should Include Strong Protection from Lawsuits

American Banker The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to finalize the definition of a Qualified Mortgage under the forthcoming ability-to-pay regulations. These regulations will have profound implications for the entire U.S. residential mortgage market.

5/1/12

I-Team: Former U.S. Attorney Questioned on Robo-Signing

Robo-signing left tens of thousands of Nevadans not knowing if they own their home.

Real estate attorneys say that nine out of 10 homes purchased after foreclosure have problems with their titles.

8NewsNow "I don't own the home I bought three years ago. I made payments faithfully and on time until just recently when it was confirmed I don't own the house I bought."

Tanya Butterfield also considers herself a victim of robo-signing. She couldn't short sell the family home because there was no clear title. Instead, she declared bankruptcy.
HEARING

MAY 17

5/1/12

 

 

New York Hearings on ‘Forced’ Insurance in Foreclosure

New York’s Department of Financial Services has set public hearings next month to review whether rates for so-called “force-placed” insurance are excessive and to examine the relationships between insurers, banks, mortgage servicers, insurance agents and brokers.

The department plans to start hearings May 17 at its Manhattan offices. They’re expected to continue two more days and will be webcast.

AP Banks and mortgage holders take out that insurance when a homeowner misses a mortgage payment or fails to maintain coverage required by the mortgage.

Department Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky has said the high cost adds to struggling homeowners’ debt, making it harder to avoid foreclosure.

It has sent letters to 15 financial services companies directing them to provide testimony. That includes banks, mortgage servicers, insurance agents and brokers, insurers and reinsurers.

5/1/12

Force-placed insurance, an unnecessary burden for strapped mortgage borrowers

If your servicer has force-placed a policy on your house, you should price insurance for the house separately; if it is much cheaper, notify the department of insurance in your state, pointing out the disparity in the rates.

Chicago Tribune The CFBP indicated it will propose a new rule to provide consumers with additional rights and more information before their mortgage servicers are allowed to charge them for expensive force-placed insurance or hazard insurance. The regulation would allow the homeowner to purchase his own insurance at a cost likely lower than insurance purchased by the mortgage servicer.
5/1/12

DOER UPDATE: Patricia Martin v. Wells Fargo – Court Grants Injunction, Injustice on Trial Ahead

What you’re about to read about should never be allowed to happen in this country, and what is particularly troubling is that Wells Fargo Bank could have very easily prevented it by simply communicating with its customer honestly or competently.

Mandelman Matters And the law firm employed by Wells Fargo to wrongfully foreclose on this 73 year-old widow’s home of 43 years, Anglin, Flewelling, Rasmussen, Campbell & Trytten, LLP of Pasadena, California, could have stopped this travesty of justice as well, but these lawyers can’t even be bothered to actually appear in the courtroom, choosing instead to phone in their odious nuggets of legal claptrap, entirely devoid of common sense, because that’s how they roll.
5/1/12

Robocop: 'This is a real attempt to make the system better'

Homeowner advocates and consumer groups tell him the result isn’t enough considering the widespread abuse of the entire foreclosure system. Servicing executives, after spending the early part of the negotiations eluding him, continue to claim there was no harm done in the robo-signing scandal.

Housing Wire Attorneys general surrounding Miller represented a band of mismatched instruments for so long, each trumpeting their own agenda, whether it was crackdowns on the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems or securities fraud or simple dollar amounts. This settlement spiraled so far away from the robo-signing orbit, there are actually short-sale requirements written into the agreement.
5/1/12

Fair Debt Collection case REVERSED

Reese v. ELLIS, PAINTER, RATTERREE & ADAMS LLP

Alina /

11th Circuit COA

The district court dismissed the complaint because it concluded that the Reeses’ allegations were insufficient to state that the Ellis law firm was a “debt collector” and insufficient to state that the letter and documents were sent to the Reeses “in connection with the collection of [a] debt” within the meaning of § 1692e. For the reasons we have discussed, we disagree.  
5/1/12

Housing Finance Boss Blocked Principal Reductions, Hid Data Showing They Work, Dems Allege

DeMarco had testified that steps such as principal reduction would end up hurting taxpayers, and pose a "moral hazard" whereby homeowners might intentionally stop making mortgage payments in order to benefit from such a program.

Huff Post "We have now obtained a wide range of internal documents demonstrating that Fannie Mae officials conducted detailed, substantive analyses and concluded years ago that principal reduction programs have enormous potential to save U.S. taxpayers significant amounts of money by reducing overall losses from foreclosures following default," they wrote.
5/1/12 Homeowners association rents home it doesn't own. TBO

Home Equity Theft Reporter

Joanne McCarn owns her home, but her homeowners association has taken it over and calls the sheriff's office if she comes near the property. What's more, the Bridgewater Community Association evicted her tenant, changed the locks and moved in its own renter.
5/1/12

The SEC is Getting Disgusted With Lawyers Pulling the Same Tricks in SEC Investigations that They Pull in Foreclosure Land Every Day

The SEC is considering going after lawyers who approved certain mortgage bond transactions before the crisis or have been stonewalling investigations:

The SEC enforcement staff has recently reported more lawyers to the agency’s general counsel, who can take administrative action against lawyers for alleged professional misconduct.

So far, it looks like the SEC is just barking. The Journal points out that it lacks the power that the CFTC has to go after attorneys who make “any false or misleading statement of a material fact.” The SEC has gotten one lifetime ban against an attorney who coached his client to have her memory “fade” if she got a year of severance pay and has another case underway. But it also points out that judges have set the bar high as far as criminal prosecutions are concerned (note the SEC can only bring civil cases, so this isn’t an apples to apples comparison).

An interesting factoid that is not in this article - Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems ("MERS") was modeled after the Depository Trust Company which was set up in order to transfer stocks and securities faster.

naked capitalism Florida demonstrates how heavy-hitter law firm miscreants go undisciplined by the bar. One particular egregious example of influence-pedaling involves the foreclosure mill Shapiro & Fishman. The firm has been under investigation by the Florida attorney general’s office (initiated under the last incumbent, Bill McCollum). Shapiro & Fishman is a regular user of mortgage assignments prepared by Lender Processing Services, the employer of the notorious robosigner “Linda Green” and an avid practicer of “surrogate signing” which is NewSpeak for forgery. Nevada and Missouri have indicted LPS employees. The firm is operating under a consent order from the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC and the OCC.

So to deal with its wee problem, Shapiro & Fishman hired “superlawyer” Gerald Richman. Richman (among other things) was on the Host Committee for a $1500 a ticket fundraiser held on April 30 for three incumbent Florida Supreme justices (3 of the 7 judges are up for “merit renewal” votes this year). It also happens that on May 10, the Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Pino v. Bank of New York, a foreclosure fraud case. Needless to say, the outcome will be of very keen interest to Shapiro & Fishman.

5/1/12

Charlotte to Suspend Constitutional Free Speech and Assembly Protections to Help Bank of America, Duke Shareholder Meetings

It has become pretty routine for local police to engage in thuggery and run roughshod over Constitutional protections in the name of maintaining order, which increasingly means not annoying big companies.

naked capitalism Notice how no one questions this use of public funds? Why should local governments pay for this sort of thing? Big rich companies are perfectly capable of hiring their own security goons, if safety were really an issue. It isn’t. This is all about demonstrating who really wields clout in the social order. The police are visibly aligned with the 1%. That’s the real message here.
4/30/12

MetLife sues Morgan Stanley/Saxon over $757 million in RMBS 

MetLife alleges that Morgan Stanley misrepresented the quality of the mortgage loans underlying RMBS certificates that MetLife bought in nine offerings.

The COMPLAINT

Lexology Specifically MetLife alleges that Morgan Stanley misrepresented that the loans were originated according to underwriting standards described in the offering documents and that the appraisals of the properties underlying the loans had been overstated. MetLife further alleges that Morgan Stanley knew of these misstatements as a result of due diligence it conducted in connection with the offerings. MetLife asserts claims for fraud, fraudulent inducement, aiding and abetting fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.
4/30/12

SETTLED

Option One reaches $28.2 million settlement with SEC over RMBS misrepresentation claims

The $28.2 million settlement resolves claims that the SEC asserted under Section 17 of the Securities Act of 1933.

Press Release

The COMPLAINT

Lexology On April 24, 2012, the SEC announced a settlement with Option One Mortgage Corp. (“Option One”), now known as Sand Canyon Corporation, and filed an action in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for the purpose of having the settlement approved by the court. In the complaint, the SEC alleged that Option One had omitted material information from the offering materials for seven RMBS securitizations in early 2007 by failing to tell investors that Option One’s deteriorating financial condition would inhibit its ability to satisfy its loan repurchase obligations in connection with those RMBS. 
4/30/12

Kirby McInerney LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Against GMAC Mortgage Alleging an Illegal Kickback Scheme in Connection With Force-Placed Insurance on Borrowers' Homes

WSJ The law firm of Kirby McInerney LLP has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against GMAC Mortgage, LLC and Balboa Insurance Company in connection with an allegedly unlawful kickback scheme involving force-placed insurance.
4/30/12

Consumers Who Purchased Lender's Title Insurance From First American Title Insurance Company May Be Affected By A Class Action Lawsuit

Market Watch The lawsuit alleges that First American improperly failed to apply a discounted rate for lender's title insurance issued to some residents of Maine when they refinanced their residential mortgages.
4/30/12

Brennan v. Wells Fargo:

Is Fraud and Forgery Destructive To The Federal Bankruptcy Process?

So let’s say you uncovered evidence of a massive conspiracy to play fast and loose with evidence that was being submitted in Federal bankruptcy court (since 1996). Little stuff, like you know forging signatures, not complying with notary laws, swearing under oath to evidence that was not present. Little things like that.

Matt Weidner, Esq The Brice Vander Linden firm commenced its representation of Wells Fargo no later than 1996. From 1996-2003, it used (at least part of the time) presigned affidavits from Wells Fargo representatives which it filed in conjunction with relief from stay motions. These presigned affidavits were provided by Wells Fargo and were sanctioned by Wells Fargo's own Guidelines dated May 27, 20032 which authorized the procedure.

Order in Brennan v. Wells Fargo

4/30/12

Conflicted Out:

When Must a Servicer Follow FHA Guidelines over the Global Foreclosure Settlement Servicing Standards?

KL Gates In conclusion, while many of the National Servicing Standards can be implemented within the FHA program without conflicting with existing FHA requirements, conflicts do exist between the guidelines that cannot be resolved. Even where compliance with both FHA requirements and the National Servicing Standards is technically possible, the National Servicing Standards, tailored for conventional servicing programs, do not easily fit in with a government guaranty program
4/30/12

Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Protests in Resurgence

Bloomberg Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.
4/30/12

Arizona could be sued over $50M raid of mortgage, foreclosure assistance fund

Phoenix Business Journal The money is supposed to go towards cutting into Arizona’s persistently high foreclosure rate and help state prosecutors go after mortgage fraud rings.

But a budget plan developed by Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican legislators cuts $50 million from that mortgage fund.

4/30/12

Thrive Movement Stick with it.  This is a movie you must watch at least once, and you will probably want to watch it again.
4/30/12

Former Greek bank chief jailed in anti-fraud drive

A former bank chief was sentenced to eight years in jail on Monday for fraud and forgery, court officials said, the first major conviction resulting from an anti-corruption drive

Reuters Corruption and cronyism are endemic in Greece. But no politician or senior businessman had been convicted in recent years, fuelling popular frustration with mainstream parties that pledge to uphold the debt-laden country's international bailout and remain in the euro zone.
4/30/12

Top Freddie Mac Executive VP Renzi resigns

AP The move is the latest in a series of departures of top executives from McLean, Va.-based Freddie and its larger sibling Fannie Mae, which were rescued by the government in September 2008 after massive losses on risky mortgages threatened to topple them. Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue the companies — the most expensive bailout of the financial crisis. It could cost nearly $200 billion more to support the companies through 2014 after subtracting dividend payments, according to the government.
4/30/12

Virginia Supreme Court: 

Lender's Failure To Have Face-To-Face Meeting With FHA-Financed Homeowner Before Starting Enforcement Process Sinks Foreclosure

Home Equity Theft Reporter The justices opined that under a similar 2008 case,(1) lenders must comply with all terms in a contract leading up to foreclosure and nonpayment of a mortgage is not the sort of material breach precluding borrowers from seeking to enforce the terms.

Matthews v. PHH Mortgage Corp.

4/29/12

Bankers Are Still Wrecking Housing Market Fundamentals

Abigail Field

FDL

Regardless of the recent bullish stories on the housing market (examples here, here, here and here), housing market fundamentals are lousy. Demand in the last decade was wildly distorted by banker abandonment of underwriting and appraisals. Now bankers are worsening the crash they created. As a result, prices will just keep falling, and foreclosures cannot lead to clearing the market (regardless of what some say). Foreclosures can only make the problems worse.
4/29/12

Memo to Schneiderman Mortgage Task Force: When You are in a Hole, Quit Digging

naked capitalism The real reason is that the Administration has absolutely no interest in pulling hard on the fraud thread and seeing what it unravels. This is an election year and the banks are one of the very biggest donor groups, second only to health care.
4/29/12

Short-sale firm Nationwide hit with HOA liens

Kim Miller

Palm Beach Post

Homeowners, who remain on the hook for the mortgage while no longer owning the home, have filed several lawsuits against Nationwide, complaining they unwittingly gave away their property without receiving the help they sought.
4/28/12

Who owns that dirty, foreclosed house? It's complicated

Another Reason to Stop Foreclosures

In the tsunami of South Florida home foreclosures, there's an additional complication for authorities trying to deal with neighborhood squalor. It's often hard to determine exactly who owns a house and is legally responsible for maintaining it.

Sun-Sentinel A single mortgage may involve several banks or companies — one that made the loan; another that "services" the loan by collecting payments; and another that funnels payments to yet another bank, or "trustee," that disburses proceeds from mortgage payments to investors of loans bundled together as mortgage-backed securities.
4/27/12

Woman fighting foreclosure arrested in appeal to Wells Fargo CFO

U.S. News "More and more people are standing up and willing to go public because there is no other remedy and putting public pressure on the bank," said Kuhns.
4/27/12

U.S. Government: Let's Screw More Homebuyers!

Don't trust the government folks. They are heavily invested in bubble-blowing, and are desperately attempting to keep the game going -- and don't care if you get destroyed in the process.

Karl Denninger

Market Ticker

It is not an accident, it is not an incidental and unforeseen consequence, it is the intent of the entities who are making the loans they know are not backed by anything.

These are intentional acts and it's bad enough when private parties do it and sucker you into foolish decisions. When governments do it this is an outrage and one that should be responded to by a complete refusal to cooperate, acquiesce and further endorse the blatant theft of your economic well-being for the purpose of looting conducted by the "favored few."

4/27/12

Bill Black: Our System is So Flawed That Fraud is Mathematically Guaranteed


A warning: there's much revealed in this interview to make your blood boil. 

Chris Martenson For example: the Office of Thrift Supervision. In the aftermath of the S&L crisis, this office brought 3,000 administration enforcements actions (a.k.a. lawsuits) against identified perpetrators. In a number of cases, they clawed back the funds and profits that the convicted parties had fraudulently obtained.

Flash forward to the 2008 credit crisis, in which just the related household sector losses alone were over 70x greater than those seen during the entire S&L debacle. So how many criminal referrals did the same agency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, make?... ZERO! 

4/27/12

HOMEOWNERS ACROSS THE NATION SUE ALL BANK SERVICERS
and Their Offshore Havens

All United States home owners may have the right to bring a lawsuit of this kind if they paid money to a national bank servicer during the years 2003 through 2009.


The Complaint in: Abeel v. Bank of America, et al.

Spire Law Group The suing homeowners reveal how deeply they were defrauded by bank and governmental corruption -- and are suing for conversion, larceny, fraud, and for violations of other provisions.

This lawsuit explains why loans were, in general, rarely modified after 2009. It explains why the entire bank crisis worsened, crippling the economy of the United States and stripping countless home owners of their piece of the American dream. It is indeed a fact that the Administration has spent far more money stopping bank investigations, than they have investigating them. When the Administration's agencies (like the FDIC) blew the whistle, their reports were ignored.

4/27/12

14 Kentucky Counties Sue Over Mortgage-Recording Fees

MERS and financial institutions have schemed to avoid paying Kentucky counties millions of dollars in fees, 14 counties contend in a federal lawsuit.

Kentucky Herald-Leader Shareholders set up the MERS system in the 1990s to avoid paying the required fees to record such assignments among financial institutions, the lawsuit says.

Those transactions are recorded in the private MERS system but not with county clerks as required by state law, the lawsuit says.

(MERS has been scamming counties for more than a decade, and they are only now catching on?)

4/27/12

Effort advances to require Proof of Foreclosure Rights in Colorado

Proponents of a ballot initiative that would force lenders to prove they have the right to foreclose on property scored a minor victory today over associations representing Colorado's banks.

Denver Post The initiative looks to undo a portion of Colorado law that allows lawyers to attest their client banks have the foreclosure rights on mortgages without having to provide proof. The initiative would require lenders to show proof — essentially the chain of assignments and transfers mortgages undergo when they're bought and sold on the secondary investment market — before they can take property through foreclosure.
4/27/12

Why I Fight: The Foreclosure Crisis in Minnesota

It’s been five years since the housing bubble burst, sending millions of working-class homeowners into foreclosure and economic devastation. While banks got bailed out, the hard-won assets and savings of working-class communities were wiped out. But now, with the encouragement and confidence of the Occupy movement behind them, homeowners are beginning to fight back in a serious way.

Socialist Alternative People are quickly learning that an economic struggle against the banks turns into a political struggle against corporate politicians. Calls for a moratorium on foreclosures are growing. Most recently, community pressure pushed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to unanimously vote for a (non-binding) moratorium on foreclosures and evictions in the city after a study found a staggering 84% of all foreclosures there were “illegal or were missing crucial documentation”.
HEARING

4/27/12

Proposed recommendations for improving the practice and procedure for mortgage foreclosure proceedings - submitted by the Practice and Procedures Subcommittee 

Illinois Courts

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING  APRIL 27, 2012
In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 3 (Rulemaking Procedures), you are hereby notified that the Supreme Court Mortgage Foreclosure Committee will hold a public hearing on Friday, April 27, 2012, beginning at 9:30 a.m., in Room C-500 at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street, in Chicago.

4/27/12

Frontline’s Astonishing Whitewash of the Crisis

The first segment is particularly troubling. It heavily cribs from the Gillian Tett book Fool’s Gold, which to be blunt was not very well received by reviewers. Fool’s Gold discussed the development of the credit default swaps market from the perspective of JP Morgan executives and staffers, with the result that it verged on hagiography. Oh, those great, intrepid, innovative bankers who just wanted to make the world better, and maybe make a buck or two in the process.

naked capitalism The next segment is even more troubling. It treats the crisis as if it started with the failure of Bear Stearns, when that was the third of four acute phases, and was in full There Was No Alternative mode. It repeated the thesis I believe, but I’ve never seen confirmed, that it was concern over Bear’s CDS exposures that led to the bailout. It also says that Hank Paulson thought Bear was an isolated case, which would explain why the officialdom went into Mission Accomplished mode rather than trying to get to the bottom of the CDS exposures, pronto.

4/26/12

Cuyahoga court shuts down foreclosure rescue company

In an agreed consent judgment, the company was shut down, ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and repay consumers $338,000 in fees for services never performed.

5 On Your Side

 

 

Home Equity Theft Reporter

A Cleveland-area foreclosure rescue company has been shut down and its owner ordered to repay consumers hundreds of thousands of dollars in upfront fees for services they never received.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit

Agreed Consent Judgment

4/26/12

A Modest Proposal to Stop Foreclosures

Here’s the modest proposal.

1.Offer zero interest loans to all households with credit card debt, student loan debt, and mortgage debt–of sufficient size to retire all the debt outstanding on May 1.

2.Fire Eric Holder. Appoint an Attorney General willing to go after the banksters.

3. And fund a team of white collar criminologists of sufficient size and experience to go after every damned bankster.

Prof. Randall Wray They claim that the Bank’s records on amount owed as well as the chain of property title are both in order.

In reality, both claims are false. If the property documents exist (and it is likely that they were purposely destroyed in accord with MERS’s business model), they are held in storage warehouses and it would be far too expensive and time consuming to locate them.

Testimony

4/26/12

Turning the Tide: Preventing More Foreclosures and Holding Wrong-Doers Accountable

Testimony of John Griffith, an Economic Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund

before the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Progressive Caucus

 
4/26/12

Attorney William Butler hit with more sanctions

Tough to be a F/C defense lawyer when the State has a love affair with MERS.

Minnesota Lawyer The plaintiffs argued that if the entity that holds their mortgage, usually MERS, is not the entity that holds the promissory note, the mortgage and the foreclosure of the mortgage is invalid.
4/26/12

Attorney Is Disbarred Over Mortgage Fraud Conviction

A Long Island lawyer who was arrested in 2009 for mortgage fraud and pleaded guilty last summer to two counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of second-degree grand larceny has been disbarred. 

New York Law Journal The lawyer, Brandon Lisi of Glen Cove, was one of six lawyers caught in what Southern District prosecutors dubbed Operation Bad Deeds, an inter-agency task force mortgage fraud sweep that used straw buyers to obtain large loans using phony documents and intentionally defaulting on the loans and other schemes.

He has yet to be sentenced. Another Long Island lawyer, Cheddi Goberdhan of Elmont, was sentenced last year to five years in prison after he admitted to his role in the massive mortgage fraud that netted a total of 40 people accused of cheating banks out of $23 million (NYLJ, June 9, 2011). Matter of Lisi, 2011-07456.

4/26/12

Michigan Appeals Court To Stiffed Lenders: 'One Action' Rule Means What It Says - Only One Action At A Time In Cases Involving Foreclosure 

The rationale for this rule is to prohibit harassment of the mortgagor by requiring it to defend two proceedings at once and to forbid a double recovery on the debt.

Home Equity Theft Reporter This statutory provision prohibits the commencement and continuation of foreclosure by advertisement proceedings when “an action or proceedings, at law” have been instituted “to recover the debt secured by the mortgage or any part of the mortgage.”

GREENVILLE LAFAYETTE, LLC v. ELGIN STATE BANK,

Plaintiff appeals as of right the trial court's order dismissing its complaint, which sought an injunction against defendant's foreclosure by advertisement. Because we conclude that the plain language of MCL 600.3204 bars defendant's foreclosure action, we reverse.

4/26/12

MERS, Others File Responses To NY AG Charges Relating To Banksters' Dubious Foreclosure Filings 

The action contended the defendants' use of the MERS system resulted "in the filing of improper New York foreclosure proceedings, undermined the integrity of the judicial process, created confusion and uncertainty concerning property ownership interests, and potentially created clouds of title on properties" across the state.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Defendants fired back on April 20, seeking dismissal of the suit and claiming that their practices—such as having MERS commence a foreclosure or using a private registry to track loan ownership rights—were not deceptive and stressed that the attorney general never pointed to a single case where an action was initiated against a homeowner who was not in default.

- New York Attorney General lawsuit 

- MERS' Motion to Dismiss

- Banksters' Motion to Dismiss

4/25/12

MERS, Banks Call A.G.'s Suit Factually, Legally Deficient

New York Law Journal MERS and several banks who were sued by New York's attorney general for allegedly initiating faulty foreclosure actions have struck back in the high-profile litigation by strongly defending their practices and discounting the office's assertions as factually and legally deficient.

4/25/12

Interview, MERS RICO complaint: Doug Welborn, State District Court Clerk vs. MERSCORP Shareholders and Trustees (“the banksters”)

 

naked capitalism The triple damages claim under civil (sigh) RICO is a billion dollars or so for Louisiana alone — real money — which makes Welborn interesting. Even more interesting is that RICO, as a “theory of the case,” is simple, clean, and easy to explain, unlike so many of our criminal banksters’ crooked schemes. We caught up with the trial lawyer for Welborn, Ted Lyon, and interviewed him. Did I mention the claim is for a billion?
4/25/12

Another e-discovery milestone: state judge orders predictive coding

According to the brief, "the most effective and economical means of reviewing large ESI collection is a technology known as predictive coding."

Allison Frankel's 

On The Case

After oral argument on Tuesday, the judge sided with Landow and ordered (without any explanation) the use of predictive coding. (He did say that if the plaintiffs have problems with Landow's production, they can come back to him.)

With Da Silva Moore discovery held up for the recusal litigation, the Dulles Jet Center case looks to be the first test of court-ordered predictive coding.

4/25/12

Nevada HOA foreclosure assessments challenged in False Claims lawsuit

Adams and Premsrirut complain in the suit that the government was defrauded by the defendants when — in the case of certain foreclosures — government-controlled lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac paid inflated fees and assessments demanded by HOAs and collection agencies.

Vegas Inc In a January suit against the Mountain’s Edge HOA, the investors said the HOA demanded that they pay $1,911 to obtain a clear title for a home they had purchased out of foreclosure. That's because of costs that accumulated under the prior owner and while the property was in foreclosure.

The investors said that under the Mountain’s Edge CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), the most they were obligated to pay the HOA was six months’ of HOA due assessments, or $150.

4/25/12

Countrywide whistleblower sees no change in financial sector

Two of Foster's former colleagues, both of whom also battled Bank of America after losing their jobs, attended the event at the club on Wednesday.

Michael Winston, who was Countrywide's chief leadership officer, won a $5 million judgment from a jury in California in early 2011. The bank has appealed the decision and has not paid any of the damages.

Reuters "Overwhelming evidence of perjury, witness tampering and obstruction of justice exist in the numerous claims, court filings and trial and investigative transcripts," Foster said. She herself was fired after reporting that falsified income documentation and faked signatures had been used to steer borrowers into bad mortgages.

"Here we are, several years after the onset of the financial crisis, caused in large part by reckless lending and risk-taking in major financial institutions, and still not one executive has been charged or imprisoned," she said at the Press Club on Wednesday, after receiving the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling.

White Paper

4/25/12

A Proposal for the Resolution of Systemically Important Assets and Liabilities: The Case of the Repo Market

Readers may recall that one disaster-in-the-making was the run on money market funds triggered when the Reserve Fund, a fund that invested heavily in Lehman commercial paper, broke the buck, leading investors to start to withdraw funds from other money market funds en masse. nakedcapitalism

Viral V. Acharya
New York University Stern School of Business, NBER and CEPR
And
T. Sabri Öncü
Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning
and
New York University Stern School of Business
Money market funds are major providers of repo funding; the resulting run on repo would have been tantamount to a run on the major dealer banks. Not only would the Orderly Liquidation Authority under Dodd Frank have been unable to address the panicked withdrawals from money market funds, it is also unable to deal with other aspects of the Lehman failure (insolvency proceedings outside the US, some of which had systemic impact, the panic surrounding which hedge funds were caught with accounts frozen in the collapse of Lehman’s London broker-dealer). nakedcapitalism
4/25/12

Tarp Overseer Debunks Bailout Myths: Big Companies HAVEN’T Repaid Tarp Funds … And Funds to Help Homeowners HAVEN’T Been Disbursed

naked capitalism After 3½ years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) continues to be an active and significant part of the Government’s response to the financial crisis. It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit. The most recent cost estimate for TARP is a loss of $60 billion. Taxpayers are still owed $118.5 billion (including $14 billion written off or otherwise lost).
4/24/12

Meet the Voice of Angry Homeowners

"I don't understand why more people are not furious about what's going on," she's quick to note, and with a passion started blogging as a way to express the rage.

Senka is one of many foreclosure fighters gearing up for a May Day spring offensive, replete with demonstrations, sit-ins, foreclosure auction disruptions, all planned as part of a broader strategy that underscores the need for a national moratorium on foreclosures. Activists are referring to it as a "freeze" and one that shouldn't thaw until a DOJ investigation — one with real teeth — is completed.

Bank Think While her home remains in limbo with B of A, she's actively networking, 24/7, with others in the anti-foreclosure movement, sharing, planning and strategizing. She's the kind of activist that keeps megabankers up at night, their worst nightmare come true: a pit bull who won't let go until the fraudsters end up spending quality time at places like Allenwood, USP.

She's been shouting it out to anyone who'll listen. This Peabody, Mass. mother has a lot to be angry about. She was angry when her family was driven from their home in Bosnia, in 1992, at the start of that awful war. And she was angry eighteen years later when she ran up against B of A as she started trying to get loan modification for her mortgage.

4/24/12

Forgive Principal Only If the Borrower Pays the Mortgage

Bank Think If every underwater homeowner continued to make regular and timely payments regardless of their loan-to-value ratio, there would be no need for loss mitigation strategies or mandated principal writedowns. This however, isn't the case. When a homeowner chooses to default on a debt obligation, even when they have the means to pay, they are choosing to do so because they have lost the incentive to pay. Something should be done to replace that incentive, not reduce principal.

4/24/12

 

Calif. AG's homeowner protection package to get hearing

Parts of California Attorney General Kamala Harris' legislative package targeting troubled homeowners will be heard by a legislative conference committee this week.

Legal Newsline Harris introduced six bills this month that would protect homeowners facing foreclosure proceedings, a package she calls the "Homeowner Bill of Rights." Last week, Harris was scheduled to testify about two bills before the state Senate Banking and Finance Committee, but the bills were pulled by the committee chairman.

"There are more than 500,000 California homeowners in the foreclosure pipeline, and securing for them the protections of the Homeowner Bill of Rights is my central concern," she said.
4/24/12

Wells Fargo, Terrified to Face Victims of Its Foreclosure Fraud and Predatory Lending, Locks Shareholders Out of Annual Meeting

The move to lock out shareholders was unprecedented, according to organizers. 

Wells Fargo, assisted by dozens of Bay Area police, took the unprecedented step of locking more than 100 of its shareholders out of its annual meeting – a meeting they had every legal right to attend.

AlterNet These shareholders had a story to tell, and Wells' Chairman and CEO John Stumpf was not in a listening mood. They'd purchased stock in the bailed-out Wall Street giant, and then travelled from around the country to tell the board how its corporate citizenship gad ruined lives and wrought profound economic pain on entire communities.

When Wells foreclosure victims were asked to stand, about 50 people stood up. When victims of predatory lending were asked to stand, another 30 rose to their feet. One woman explained how, after losing her job, she'd fallen behind on her payments. She said Wells Fargo had offered her an agreement that would allow her to keep her home, but had then thrown her out anyway.

4/24/12**

MONEY, POWER & WALL STREET

On April 24 and May 1, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the global financial crisis.

PBS Frontline

Episode One

Inside the epic rise of a new financial order -- and the trouble that followed.

Episode Two
How U.S. leaders struggled to respond to a financial crisis that caught them by surprise.

4/24/12

Just How Much Foreclosure Fraud Exists?

The Florida Supreme Court is currently deciding whether a plaintiff should be able to voluntarily dismiss a pending lawsuit when a defendant is seeking sanctions for fraud on the court.

Mark Stopa, Esq The fact that the MBA is this concerned should speak volumes about the magnitude of foreclosure fraud in Florida.

MBA Brief

 

4/23/12

Mortgage Insurer's Quarterly Report is a Litany of Troubles

Many of the dozens of problems MGIC sees itself facing were the types of caveats accountants and lawyers insist on including in financial reports. However, some of the hurdles MGIC outlines struck us as significant and unusual enough to warrant discussion.

Mortgage Daily News MGIC has reported net losses for the last five years and expects to continue to do so, with no assurance of when it might return to profitability.

Losses could increase if rescission rates decrease faster than projections or if the company does not prevail in proceedings challenging the propriety of their rescissions.
4/23/12

Attorneys Fees in Undersecured Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims

Nicholas Ortiz, Boston Bankruptcy Attorney You might be able to pay off what you are behind on a mortgage over a three to five year period, but not all at once like your mortgage servicer is demanding. Chapter 13 provides the powerful right to force a payment plan on a mortgage lender who wants to foreclose.
4/23/12

 

Ambac files $856 million RMBS insurance suit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch

Ambac Files $856 Million RMBS Insurance Suit Against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch On April 16, 2012, bankrupt insurer Ambac Financial Group filed suit against Bank of America as successor to Merrill Lynch, Merrill Lynch, and certain of its affiliates, in New York County Supreme Court.

Complaint in Ambac v. First Franklin, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch

 Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP Full article: The complaint alleges that Merrill Lynch fraudulently induced Ambac into insuring $856 million in RMBS consisting of low-quality mortgages. Ambac alleges that Merrill Lynch misrepresented the quality of the loans, the underwriting guidelines followed, the due diligence performed, and the disclosures as to the loans, and that Ambac was required to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in insured claims. The complaint includes claims for fraudulent inducement, breaches of representations and warranties, breach of contract, indemnification, and reimbursement. 
4/23/12

Setting the Record Straight: The Housing Bubble Lie

We didn’t have a housing bubble in the ordinary sense because consumers don’t buy houses; banks buy houses. The housing market cannot undergo a demand-driven bubble without lender collusion and complicity.

Abigail Field what evidence is there that circa 2005 wannabe homebuyers became so sophisticated–nationwide, simultaneously–that they could con bankers who cared about ensuring loans made against sufficient collateral would be repaid into making huge numbers of loans that couldn’t be, against collateral that today’s market exposes was worth nowhere near the amounts claimed? Did some evil villain put something in the public water supply that somehow made wannabe homebuyers into talented con men and bankers gullible rubes?
4/23/12

Watch out! Is the Fed pushing us into another bubble?

Most important, higher rates will send a wake-up call to Congress and the administration to do their jobs. Excise special-interest tax breaks, and get entitlement and defense spending under control. We need more leadership from our politicians and less easy money from the Fed.

Former Fed Chair

Sheila Bair

The biggest beneficiaries of loose money, are our profligate elected officials who refuse to come to grips with budget deficits and an exemption-laden tax code. As long as Treasury can borrow cheaply to paper over the real problems, politicians can demagogue about overspending (GOP) or under-taxing (Democrats) while dodging their responsibility to work together to fix our problems.
 

4/23/12

 

Smith, Hiatt & Diaz Motion to Purge Lender Processing Services’ (LPS) Accidentally Leaked Internal Email

Yesterday 4closureFraud put up some documents that were accidentally leaked from LPS...

4closureFraud Email:Yikes! The name of the foreclosing party (HSBC as Trustee for Deutsche Bank Alt-A 2007-BAR1) matches the name on the affidavit of amount owed BUT that name doesn’t match what is in our system. It’s pretty far into the legal foreclosure process. What should we do now?” 

4/23/12

Bank of America Threats Foreclosure Even After Modification Approved

A Port Saint John family thought they had avoided disaster after a loan modification was approved.
But a year later, they claim, Bank of America is foreclosing on their home even though they haven't missed a mortgage payment since the modification.

wftv What angered the Whaleys was that the bank kept cashing their mortgage checks, but did not apply anything toward their loan.
Real Estate attorney Karen Wonsetler reviewed the Whaley's documents and based on what she saw, Wonsetler said homeowners can fight it in court and the case is simple to make.
"They offered us a loan modification, we've done everything they asked of us, they can't legally now ask for foreclosure," said Wonsetler.

4/22/12

Full coverage: 60 Minutes on the financial crisis

The Case Against Lehman Brothers

60 Minutes This week, Steve Kroft investigates the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which triggered a chain reaction that produced the worst financial crisis and economic downturn in 70 years.

Kroft: When to give up on accountability

"I've really sort of given up. I don't think the federal government, either the SEC or Justice Department will bring any cases against individuals."

60 Minutes Overtime Kroft remembers thinking, at the time, that heads would roll on Wall Street, most likely resulting in prosecutions and jail time for high-level banking executives.

As we all know, that never happened.

4/22/12

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Time Bomb: Mortgage Modifications

Eugene S. Melchionne

BK attorney

If your principal balance is lowered on your first mortgage, your second mortgage may survive a Chapter 13. But there are other dangers for Chapter 7 in the mortgage modification settlement.
4/22/12

Social Model Is Europe’s Solution, Not Its Problem

Priority has to be given to growth and employment, rather than pleasing the markets. We need new economic, social and monetary policies. We need to move toward a new distribution of wealth that favors income derived from labor over capital; wages and productive investments over financial investments and dividends.

Bloomberg Wealth that is generated by the creation of a continent- wide market should benefit the citizens of the EU together. It should, above all, raise standards of living. But the effect has been the opposite. As governments compete to attract companies by offering lower corporate tax rates and social contributions, the result has been to impoverish social systems and public finances, and therefore workers and pensioners.

4/22/12

Bank forges signature, Homeowner gets temporary VICTORY


Attorney Fluker argued in Court that Deutsche Bank is using forged documents to claim ownership of her client’s home.

The Michigan Citizen Deutsche Bank is one of several large financial institutions foreclosing on homeowners without knowing who legally possesses the title, Fluker argued before the Judge.

Reports are now surfacing indicating that during the height of the foreclosure crisis — when banks were making billions from the sale of mortgage-backed securities — banks and lenders lost track of vital paperwork. Now, many believe they are using fraudulent practices to replace the missing documents.

4/22/12**

George Washington: Influential Senator Warned in 1975: 

“Th[e National Security Agency's] Capability At Any Time Could Be Turned Around On The American People, And No American Would Have Any Privacy Left …There Would Be No Place To Hide. 

[If A Dictator Ever Took Over, The N.S.A.] Could Enable It To Impose Total Tyranny, And There Would Be No Way To Fight Back”

naked capitalism Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.

The former head of the program for the NSA recently held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state

So Senator Church’s warning was prophetic.
4/22/12**

The Miracle of Compound Interest, and Poverty 

Why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised? If the 99% is not getting the fruits of higher productivity, who is? Where has it gone?

You’re unable to buy the goods you produce because you need to pay your bankers. And the only way that you can barely maintain your living standards is to borrow even more. This means having to pay back even more in years to come.

Michael Hudson Paying off a debt is not the same as building up liquid savings in a bank. It reflects something that only a very few economists have worried about over the past century: the prospect of debts rising faster than income, leading to financial crashes that transfer property from debtors to creditors, and indeed polarize society between what the Occupy Wall Street movement calls the 1% and the 99%.
4/20/12

Bank of America Accord in Lawsuit Is Challenged

Lawyers leading a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against the directors of Bank of America over its purchase of Merrill Lynch have agreed to settle the matter for $20 million even though damages in the case could reach $5 billion.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Calling the settlement grossly inadequate and the result of collusion, the lawyers in the Delaware case have asked P. Kevin Castel, the judge overseeing the New York matter, to order the parties agreeing to the deal to justify its terms.
4/20/12

LOST NOTE

Gonzalez v. Deutsche Bank

Reversed and Remanded

Florida Court of Appeals In this case, Deutsche filed an original complaint containing the infamous "Lost Note" count. Several months later, they dropped the lost note count and filed the original note and mortgage. The original note was endorsed in blank but the endorsement was not dated. Approximately a year after filing the original complaint, Deutsche filed an assignment.
4/20/12

Wells Fargo Insiders Detail Foreclosure Fraud Practices: ‘It’s Exactly Like An Assembly Line’

Think Progess The result: the nation’s largest mortgage servicer often improperly foreclosed on homeowners who weren’t past due or owed little interest while pushing the files out the door as fast as possible, as an insider told MSNBC:

4/20/12

Interim Order

Fannie, MERS a No-Show; El Paso Homeowners Granted Immediate Re-entry to their Home

Fannie/MERS ordered to pay $15,000 in attorney fees and must produce Robo-Signors at next hearing.

Honorable Judge Rangle

El Paso

Homeowners allowed immediate reentry into their home; further, any and all present foreclosure activity on the part of the Fannie Mae and MERS "cease" in this matter and the "status quo" maintained until the claims in this cause are disposed of with finality.
4/20/12

 

Jailed for $280: The return of debtors' prisons

Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans.

related: Welcome to Debtors' Prison: What's in Your Wallet Can Land You in Jail

CBS News Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.

"Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said

4/20/12**

The Bankers’ Subversion of the Rule of Law, Notary and Land Records edition

One way to see the double standard at the heart of the foreclosure fraud—one set of laws for the bailed out banks, one for the rest of us—is to focus on the role of notaries public, and then consider that role in light of what our Supreme Court said about notaries in 1984, in a case called Bernal v. Fainter, Secretary of State of Texas.

 

Abigail Field

FDL

The Attorneys General for Nevada and Missouri aren’t the only public officials taking action because of the “considerable damage” that results from such “fraudulent notarizations”. The state officers in charge of land records have been speaking out and even suing over the damage caused. The two most recently filed actions are by North Carolina and Louisiana. In North Carolina, Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen (Guilford County) filed suit against LPS, the bailed out banks and their creation, MERS. Thigpen said he wants the banks to “clean up their mess”, noting:

“It is unbelievably frustrating to expend County resources in an attempt to create an efficient, accurate registry and have these banks wreak havoc on our efforts through fraudulent documents and a secret registry [the MERS system]. If we don’t fix this now, the future impact on land records and property values could be severe and incurable.”

4/20/12

Following Calm, U.S. Foreclosures Loom

Companies that track foreclosures have already seen a rise since the beginning of the year. Lawyers working in the trenches with distressed homeowners see no let up.

Nuwire Investor Contrary to some recent rosy predictions of a recovering housing market, thousands of homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages and lawyers who represent homeowners say the next wave of foreclosures is looming.
4/19/12**

The Real Foreclosure Fraud Story:

Corruption of the Land Title System

This is the real scandal here, a corrupted residential housing market that actually cannot be put back together.

David Dayen

FDL

But they have no way of making good on that promise because they are not able to check whether LPS properly collected and processed the data, according to the document processor.

“We’re basically copying and pasting” information from the LPS system, she said. “It’s data entry. We just input (on the affidavit) what’s on that system. And that’s it. We don’t go back through system and look.”
4/19/12**

Parsons Blames Glass-Steagall Repeal for Crisis

Bloomberg Richard Parsons, speaking two days after ending his 16-year tenure on the board of Citigroup and a predecessor, said the financial crisis was partly caused by a regulatory change that permitted the company’s creation.
4/19/12

Louisiana sues 17 banks under RICO laws for MERS scheme

MERS RICO Complaint

related article below...

AG Beat In line with other states, Louisiana is suing the nation's biggest banks for bypassing recording fees due in transfer of real estate title, but Louisiana stands out for taking a different route and suing under RICO laws, just like the government does to major crime syndicates.
4/19/12

EBR court clerk sues lenders in withholding fees

Alleged losses are expected to total billions of dollars, Lyon added. “It’s huge,” he said.

  Attorney Ted B. Lyon, of Mesquite, Texas, also represents Welborn. Lyon said additional suits will be filed against the same mortgage lenders and banks in Texas and several other states, beginning in about a month.
4/19/12

Schneiderman Propagandist Confirms Report of Lack of Staffing for Mortgage Fraud Task Force

naked capitalism  Underestimating this Administration’s cynicism has been a losing trade, and there is no reason to think this case is an exception.
4/19/12

MR. AUCTIONEER: SAVING OUR HOMES ONE BY ONE

In a sheriff’s sale, the bank bought the home for $12,000, meaning that the Garretts would have to move from their home of 22 years in the dead of winter.
At one point, Bertha Garrett thought that she had persuaded the bank to sell the home to the Garretts for the $12,000 that the couple had managed to scrape together. But then the bank backed out of the deal, insisting on a sale price of $24,000, far out of reach for the couple.

Dag Blog But UAW 600 and its allies confronted the would-be eviction team with a tactic appropriate to the Motor City: cars and lots of them. The anti-foreclosure forces surrounded the Garretts’ home with dozens of cars, and the bank’s evictors were shut out. When the eviction squad called in the police, officers came to the scene but dismissed it as a “civil matter” and drove off. That left the anti-foreclosure forces still in command of the situation, and the evictors left the scene.

4/19/12

Avoiding Mortgage Relief Scams

THE offers seem like answers to the prayers of a struggling homeowner: a promise of legal tactics to forestall foreclosure, reduce mortgage balances and interest rates, or restore credit.

NY Times But these so-called mass joinder lawsuits being advertised in mailings are fraudulent — sent out by companies purporting to be law firms, according to a consumer alert posted on the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site
4/19/12

Ibanez: Why the Banks Fought all the way to the Supreme Court to Steal this House

MSFraud If U.S. Bank had won the case, this would have been their prize? From Deadly Clear's explanation and the picture, you can now understand why "litigation to the death" is never about the house.
4/19/12

Behind the Securitization Curtain – 21st Century Mortgage Casino

Deadly Clear We realize by now the lenders acted as a gang… a cartel, all for one and one for all. These patents show that they shared and had access to the same loan information. 

4/19/12

Inside the foreclosure factory: Pushing the files

In a quiet office in downtown Charlotte, N.C., dozens of Wells Fargo’s foreclosure foot soldiers sit in cubicles cranking out documents the bank relies on to seize its share of the thousands of homes lost to foreclosure every week.

Five years into the worst housing collapse since the Great Depression, the foreclosure pipeline that is removing tens of thousands of families from their homes every month rests on a legal process that has been badly compromised by errors, misrepresentation and outright fraud, according to consumer attorneys, state attorneys general, federal investigators and state and federal judges.

MSNBC State and federal prosecutors, in a recent settlement with five banks that included Wells Fargo, agreed. The joint state and federal settlement spelled out how the document procedures at the five banks resulted in “loss of homes due to improper, unlawful or undocumented foreclosures,” according to the complaint.
"These are mistakes that could cost someone their home," a Wells Fargo document preparer told msnbc.com.

"There was one file where they weren't even past due and they were in foreclosure status," the loan processor said.

4/19/12

The White House And Mortgage Fraud: So Far It's All Talk, No Action

Two and half months later the Administration hasn't even started to take the inadequate steps it promised it would take. The clock is running out on the statute of limitations and there's no sign that the Administration has lifted a finger to investigate criminal bankers.

Huff Post The Obama Administration worked for months on a deal that would have let America's biggest banks off the hook for a crime wave of runaway mortgage fraud. All they had to do in return was pledge a negligible sum of money, to be paid by their shareholders and not themselves, and which they would dispense themselves. In return, crooked bankers received immunity from prosecution - and even from investigation.
4/19/12

MGIC Dodges Claims of Misleading Investors

Courthouse News Finding no evidence of fraud, the 7th Circuit tossed claims that a mortgage insurance company inflated its share price through false and misleading statements.

4/19/12

Obama’s mortgage unit is AWOL 


We met with Schneiderman in New York City and asked him for an update. As of that date, he had no office, no phones, no staff and no executive director. None of the 55 staff members promised by Holder had materialized.

NY Daily News Tuesday, calls to the Justice Department’s switchboard requesting to be connected with the working group produced the answer, “I really don’t know where to send you.” After being transferred to the attorney general’s office and asking for a phone number for the working group, the answer was, “I’m not aware of one.”
4/18/12 TOP SECRET TRIAL TRANSCRIPT- What All of America Should Know About American Home Mortgage Servicing (AHMSI)

There are in fact two AHMSI

A Maryland corporation and a Delaware Corporation. 

Matt Weidner, Esq. Who exactly is suing me? Now in some cases it’s clear, but the situation regarding AHMSI illustrates exactly why capacity matters and why we cannot allow these plaintiffs to continue getting away with violating basic pleading rules.
4/18/12

Judge puts RI foreclosure cases on hold

Rhode Island's new federal judge makes a decision that could affect dozens of Rhode Islanders facing foreclosure.

WPRI "It stops the banks and the services in their tracks," said George Babcock, a Pawtucket attorney who is handling the majority of the foreclosure cases.

The idea Babcock says is to keep Rhode Islanders in their homes.

4/18/12

CFPB confirms plans to use “disparate impact” to prove lending discrimination

The “disparate impact” test to prove discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B is still alive and well. That’s the message sent by the CFPB today in Bulletin 2012-14 (Fair Lending).

Lexology In her post on the CFPB’s blog announcing the bulletin’s issuance, Patrice Ficklin, Assistant Director of the CFPB’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, states that the CFPB will use the “disparate impact” test when it looks “not only at mortgage lending, but also at other types of credit.
4/18/12

Report estimates 8 million children hurt by foreclosures 1 in 10

"Children are the often invisible victims of the foreclosure crisis," said report author Julia Isaacs.

USA Today Being forced from home affects children's health, interrupts development and hurts their performance in school, said First Focus President Bruce Lesley.

Isaacs warns that the number of affected children could be even larger. Her estimates are based on mortgage loans made from 2004 to 2008, which captures the bulk of risky loans that contributed to the housing bubble.

4/18/12

Yet Another Obama Big Lie: Mortgage Fraud Investigation Not Even Staffed

naked capitalism We had assumed that the Administration would engage in a Potemkin version of an investigation, bringing a few cases close to the election to generate deceptive and useful “tough on crime” headlines. But having succeeded in protecting the banks, it looks like they can’t even be bothered to go through the motions
4/18/12

Local groups say beware of NACA's foreclosure prevention event planned for this summer in Cleveland

Cleveland Plain Dealer "NACA claims to have the best homeownership and foreclosure prevention program in the nation," the local group's statement said. "But that is no consolation to the hundreds of homeowners who were jilted by the organization the last time they came to Cleveland."
4/18/12

Secretaries of State to Address Notary Compliance, Liability, Consumer Protection Following National Mortgage Settlement

Distinguished State Leaders Will Convene Keynote Panel at the National Notary Association's 2012 Conference in San Diego.

Business Wire With the foreclosure 'robo-signing' crisis and the National Mortgage Settlement sending shockwaves through America's mortgage industry, three nationally prominent Secretaries of State will convene a special Keynote Panel at the National Notary Association's 34th Annual Conference this June to discuss the growing demand for trusted, legal notarizations, and what Notaries need to do to increase public protections and reduce liability risks.
1892

AN EXAMPLE OF BANKING PHILOSOPHY 


To seize the belongings of all nations and individuals


This is the real reason for poverty in the world

Louis Even

 

In reading the following article of Louis Even, first published in 1941, one will quickly realize that the plan of the Financiers to seize the people's wealth and the farmers' land has been going on for a long time. But today, one can clearly see that this plan has been fully realized. The people owe all of their country's wealth to the Bankers through national debts, and a majority of the farmers of developed countries have disappeared; those remaining must work night and day to pay interests to the Bankers. Let us all read again this important document that enlightens us all on the real reasons for poverty in the world.
4/18/12

EXCLUSIVE: Barney Frank, Brad Miller Launch Sneak Attack on OCC, Federal Reserve

What Frank and Miller are doing would be a major step forward for democratic accountability over our bank regulators.

naked capitalism Congress can attach all sorts of strings to the money, like “you can enforce this rule but not that one”, or “no money for you if you go too hard on our campaign contributors.” This is, over decades, one of the ways the SEC was culturally neutered. It’s how the FCC is intimidated. These agencies have been asking for years to be able to get its own source of revenue, via fines or other mechanisms
4/18/12

Phoenix Coldon: Cruel Hoax Costs Family Of Missing Woman Their Life Savings, Home

"Unfortunately, we will now be losing our family home," the missing woman's mother, said Goldia Coldon. "We have tried to explain the situation to our mortgage company but they don't care."

Anyone wishing to contribute to the search for Phoenix Coldon can make an online donation via PayPal, PhoenixMissingFund@Hotmail.com, or by sending a donation to Goldia Coldon, c/o: Missing Phoenix Coldon, P.O. Box 38645, Saint Louis, Missouri 63138.

Huff Post A tip that led the family to Texas came from a man who claimed to know Coldon's whereabouts and provided her family with very convincing details, Goldia Coldon said. The family already had invested much of their money to search for Phoenix, she said, but spent the remainder of their savings on private investigators to follow up on the lead. It was not until after the family's money was gone that the man who provided the tip admitted he fabricated the story, Coldon said.
4/18/12

Fix income inequality with $10 million loans for everyone!

Former FDIC Chair

Sheila Bair

For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them. So why not let everyone participate?
4/18/12

Is Our Long National Short-Sale Nightmare Finally Coming to an End?

Late Tuesday, the federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new steps designed to ensure potential buyers get a quick response when trying to purchase a short sale.

WSJ Loan servicers that collect payments for Fannie and Freddie will be required to make a decision within 30 days of receiving an offer for a purchase of a short sale. In addition, they are required to consider a distressed homeowner’s request for a short sale within 30 days.

4/18/12

CONSUMER ALERT: on the slight chance someone out there still trusts this bank: 

Is Bank of America 'Mortgage to Lease' program too good to be true? What you need to know

Bank of America last month started offering some homeowners in danger of foreclosure the option of signing their houses over the bank and then renting them back for up to three years.

azfamily "I think what we missed here is we said we're going to give the deed back to the bank, and nobody is saying out loud, 'It's a foreclosure,'" Peck said.

Peck went on to explain that people who are desperate to save their homes might miss important details.

(This is another ruse to get your signature and the Deed to your home.

You watch, after extorting the Deed or after 3 years of enriching themselves, the banksters will use your signature to foreclose because now they can show they now own it.)

4/18/12

10 Questions – And Answers – To Help You Understand the Foreclosure Crisis

ProPublica Mortgage servicers handling these loans made matters worse. They had a financial incentive to just push people toward foreclosure.
4/18/12

Pauley Stirs the Pot: Federal Judge Still Making an Impact as BofA Settlement Approaches Critical Crossroads in State Court

Subprime Shakeout In its Memorandum in support of converting the Article 77 proceeding into a plenary action (“Memo ISO Plenary Action”), the Steering Committee notes that Judge Pauley adopted the reasoning from an “unbroken line of cases” in finding that BNYM should be treated as a separate legal entity for each of the 530 Countrywide trusts that BNYM administers.
4/18/12

Chase Accused Of Strong-Arming Appraisers For Restricted Info, Blacklisting Those Refusing To Cooperate

"It doesn't matter at Chase," Gregory said. "They want what they want and if they don't get their way they put you on an ineligible list." 

Home Equity Theft Reporter APPRAISAL FRAUD CONTINUES

Chase apparently needed information on the home which they were buying back from a foreclosure. (I guess Chase needs it to help fabricate documents to make it appear Chase owns the home.)

4/18/12

Bay State Lender Accused Again Of Strong-Arming Borrowers In Effort To Wrestle Away Ownership Of Homes Home Equity Theft Reporter The trustees allege that the businessmen used threats of violence and loan sharking on loans at up to 75 percent interest in a scheme over the past 13 years to take over properties. The trustees are asking a jury to award $6 million.
4/18/12

Justice for Homeowners—Still Not Served

The Nation The recent settlement of mortgage fraud claims between the federal government, forty-nine states and five large banks unquestionably falls short of what’s needed— either to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the financial crisis or to provide adequate restitution for the millions of families still living with the aftermath
4/18/12

California ‘Homeowner Bill of Rights’ bills pass legislative committees

DeadlineNews The bills for the bill of rights include measures to protect tenants in the foreclosure process, allow local communities better remedies against blight and allow the Attorney General’s office more power to investigate and prosecute mortgage-related crimes.
4/18/12

Filing Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds

Bankruptcy Law Network They need the money so they can afford to file for bankruptcy.” It is a sad commentary on the reason many people hurry to a tax preparer when they are expecting a refund. A tax refund that must provide the money necessary for payment of filing fees, useless credit counseling, lawyer fees and debtor education, all of the ingredients required to obtain relief in the bankruptcy court.
4/18/12 HPN Site Updates and Improvements Richard Zombeck The site has recently been streamlined and upgraded in an effort to provide that information to more homeowners and offer a platform for bloggers and professional services.
4/17/12

Mortgage services gain new oversight

“For too long, mortgage servicers have not been held accountable to their customers, and the result has been profoundly punishing to homeowners in distress.”

Move Builder The index's fourth quarter 2011 report found a total of 244 cases regarding criminal mortgage servicing or mortgage fraud activity in the United States. The number of cases is the largest volume since the index was launched in 2007, and shows no sign of relenting any time soon.
4/17/12

Giant Banks Have Only Gotten Bigger Since Financial “Reform” Enacted

Washington's Blog For years, many high-level economists and financial experts have said that – unless we break up the giant banks – our economy will never recover, real reform will be blocked, and democracy and the rule of law will be corrupted.
4/17/12

Chinese Female Rogue Trader Sentenced To Death For $15.8 Mil Fraud

A 30-year-old Chinese woman, was sentenced to death on Friday for the ‘crime of fraud of financing’.

Compliance Search (Small-time fraud compared to U.S. banksters.  This woman gets the death penalty, where in the U.S. - they don't even get arrested.)

By September 2010, Caipang had lost almost a third of her initial capital, roughly the equivalent of $4.75 million. She attempted to negotiate with her creditors in November 2010, but they turned her over to the police.

4/17/12

LA Court Outlines Massive Cuts to Staff and Courtrooms

One Legal Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon announced today that by June 30, 2012 the court will reduce its staff by nearly 350 workers, close 56 courtrooms, reduce its use of court reporters and eliminate the Informal Juvenile Traffic Courts
4/17/12

Tighter mortgage fraud laws near floor votes in Legislature

cvbt The bills include measures to protect tenants in the foreclosure process, allow local communities better remedies against blight and allow the Attorney General's office more power to investigate and prosecute mortgage-related crimes.
4/17/12

HARVEY COVINGTON & THOMAS, LLC

v. WMC MORTGAGE

Florida Court of Appeals Harvey filed a motion for continuance of a summary judgment hearing on the grounds that it had not completed discovery on the affidavits submitted by WMC. The trial court denied the motion for continuance because the case was "too old". 1st DCA opined that the denial was error because Harvey may have been able to successfully challenge the affidavits had it been allowed to conduct its discovery. 
4/17/12

AGAIN IN FLORIDA...

Ocwen's Final Judgment in Foreclosure REVERSED

Florida Court of Appeals The issue in this case is whether Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, which seeks to foreclose, is required to affirmatively refute Thomas’s affirmative defenses to be entitled to summary judgment. 

We hold that it must and reverse.

4/17/12**

Mark Ames: Death By Foreclosure Killings and Staff Sgt. Roger Bales

Less well-known or discussed is what happened to Sgt. Bales on the other front: the class war front. Three days before his shooting rampage, the house where Bales’s wife and two children lived in Tacoma, Washington, was put up for a short sale, $50,000 underwater. This was exactly what Sgt. Bales and his wife feared might happen if the Army forced him into a fourth battlefield deployment.

Joe Krumbach, former president of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association, reviewed this loan and the others sold to Sgt. Bales’s wife while he was in Iraq, and denounced them as “unconscionable.”

Another local real estate businessman who specializes in short sales agreed, telling Businessweek that “we set them up.”

naked capitalism These “death by foreclosure” killings have been going on, quietly, around the country ever since the housing swindle first unraveled. Like the story of the 64-year-old Phoenix man whose daughter and grandson were preparing to move in with him after losing their home to foreclosure — only to get a knock on his door surprising him with an eviction notice on the house he’d owned for over 30 years. Bank of America foreclosed on him despite his attempts to work out a fair plan.

We now know that the same banks that had been bailed out over their subprime fraud disaster were, by the time this happened, headlong into another criminal scheme, this time foreclosure fraud. The fraud was effected both illegally and in bad faith on a scale so vast it’s hard not to think that it was carried out by some marauding foreign army.

4/17/12

BofA's Pays Homeowners Money to Take Homes They May Not Own. 

Also read: Why the Banks Are Paying You to Sign the Deed in a Short-sale

Think about it. What economic reason would there be to pay a distressed homeowner to enter into a short-sale? If they really thought they had the right to foreclose and/or collect on the promissory note they are using, the last thing they would do is pay a person who is already delinquent in their payments.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Bank of America offers payoff to Florida homeowners who do a short sale instead of dragging out a foreclosure...

(...Because the court may find Bank of America does not own the home.

This never happened until judges and the public discovered banks could NOT prove ownership.

You may be paying a THIEF to STEAL your home.  If true, you will then have to file a lawsuit anyway.)

4/17/12

What does it take to allow a property owner to enforce Fifth Amendment rights in federal court?

The Supreme Court of Ohio decided Clifton v. Blanchester on March 1, 2011. It is one case which may afford a unique opportunity to circumvent the Williamson County hurdles. 

Legally Speaking Ohio Williamson County established confusing and often un-navigable ripeness requirements, that when joined with the inherent res judicata, statute of limitations and other procedural arguments, make it almost impossible to preserve Fifth Amendment issues for federal court.
4/17/12

State High Court: Georgia Lenders Have Right To Undo Foreclosure Sale After A Properly Conducted Public Auction Has Already Taken Place

Tampa Investment Group, Inc. v. BB&T

Home Equity Theft Reporter On March 19, 2012, the Georgia Supreme Court found that a “sale under power of real estate at public outcry does not become binding as between the mortgagee and the purchaser unless a memorandum is made as prescribed by the Statute of Frauds.” The court went on to note that until a deed under power is transferred and consideration is passed, the sale itself has not occurred; there is only a contract to buy and sell. Under the circumstances the borrowers have not been harmed. They still hold the same rights as they held prior to the attempted sale.
4/17/12

JP Morgan (And Others) Need To Be Neutered

We have not learned. And if we don't learn soon, we will pay once again for our idiocy.

Market-Ticker JPMorgan Chase trader Bruno Iksil’s outsized bets in credit derivatives are drawing attention to a little-known division that invests the company’s reserves and fueling a debate over whether banks are taking excessive risks with federally insured and subsidized money.
4/17/12

Big Banks Slack on Maintaining Foreclosed Homes in Minority Areas, Complaint Charges

ProPublica The report cites evidence — photos and interviews with neighbors — showing houses becoming dilapidated under banks' watch.
4/16/12

New Md. laws affecting property tax credits, foreclosures, ground rent (and possibly you)

A grab bag of housing-related legislation passed in the Maryland General Assembly's recently completed session. Here are the highlights:

Baltimore Sun Homestead credit penalties (HB 1081): Authorizes local governments to hit people with bigger penalties if they are found to be receiving a Homestead Property Tax Credit (or credits) they don't qualify for and "willfully misrepresented facts" to get the break. The homestead credit caps big tax increases as a result of property appreciation, but it is only for primary residences.
4/16/12**

Romney’s Lead Economist Urges Policies that will Cause the Next Financial Crisis

Presidential nominees of either U.S. party can secure economic advice from any economist in the world. This makes it all the more amazing and sad that they choose economists with track records of disastrous policy advice.

It is time for all of us as citizens to walk out on politicians who choose ethical and economics failures like Mankiw and Geithner as their advisors.

Prof. William Black It was my first introduction to Mankiw morality: “it would be irrational for savings and loans [CEOs] not to loot.” I was appalled, but my outrage at Mankiw paled when I observed that the members of the audience, professional economists, were not even made visibly uncomfortable by such a depraved response to elite fraud. CEOs owe fiduciary duties to the shareholders. Mankiw’s response to the findings that CEOs were looting their shareholders was to praise the rationality of the fraudulent CEOs (if you don’t loot you aren’t moral – you’re insane). 
4/16/12

Mayor Lee’s on California Homeowners Bill of Rights to protect families against foreclosures

“Too many San Franciscans have been devastated by the mortgage crisis and too many families have lost their homes due to deceiving banking practices right here in some of our most vulnerable communities

San Francisco Sentinel Mayor Edwin M. Lee today expressed his strong support for California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ California Homeowners Bill of Rights and urged members of the State Assembly Banking and Finance Committee to support Attorney General Harris’s package of foreclosure reform bills.

San Francisco conducted the first comprehensive audit of county land records. The audit conducted by Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting and released in February shows that 84 percent of sampled foreclosures contain at least one clear violation of California’s foreclosure laws.

4/16/12

Grassley’s Case Against DOJ Stance on Financial Fraud Is Vastly Overstated

In recent weeks, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has criticized the Department of Justice’s handling of executives that some argue are responsible for the financial crisis.

In response, Sen. Grassley wrote a letter to DOJ asking for details on the “thousands of mortgage fraud cases” that the Department of Justice has brought. 

JDSupra In his statement at the hearing, Sen. Grassley expressed anger that no criminal charges were brought by the DOJ Criminal Division against former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. Sen. Grassley stated, “The Justice Department has brought no criminal cases against any of the major Wall Street banks or executives who are responsible for the financial crisis.” He concluded his statement by saying, “All that matters is results – prosecutions and conviction. The American people are still waiting.”
4/16/12

Mortgage Settlement Enforcement Monitor Claims Bank Leaders Are Lying to Him

naked capitalism “everyone was waiting for the 49 state mortgage settlement” as a go signal to start foreclosures again. That’s what the mortgage settlement really is, a cultural, legal, and political signal of “all clear”.
4/16/12

Ten Minutes With fraud fighter John Chapman

Cleveland Plain Dealer Would home insurance have saved the people who were foreclosed on?
No. The homeowners' insurance policy only protects homeowners against damage to their property. Homeowners are required by their lenders to maintain a homeowners' insurance policy. Often times, when a homeowner in financial distress misses a mortgage payment or more, the policy lapses. This gives unsavory banks an opportunity to shift the homeowner's insurance policy to one that is far more expensive, in return for kickbacks from the insurance company.
4/16/12**

Iceland Forgives Household Debt and Now leads the Way to Economic Recovery

People in Iceland rioted in the streets throwing rocks at politicians and government buildings — not because they owed the money but because they knew that (a) they were victims of bank fraud and (b) the banks owed them money, not the other way around.

That’s what happens when the populations rises up and says “NO!” 

Living Lies Under pressure from the government, the banks have decreased household debt by around 25% so far. The banks have not collapsed, financial system is in good shape and Iceland leads the developed world in economic recovery. The risk fell back on the Banks, the perpetrators of this mess.

The relief was and is being shared by two victims — the households tricked into buying these debt packages and the investors who pooled their money to fund the exotic debt structures. The claims of bank losses have been ignored as being not (and never were) economically real.

4/16/12

Mortgage aid helps more hold off default

Boston Globe ‘‘It proves the point if you can provide homeowners with an affordable payment, they will pay it,’’ Rao said.

4/15/12

AG WANTS MORTGAGE, HOMEOWNER PROTECTIONS IN LAW

AP Her 11-bill package would ban some of the worst practices that contributed to the housing crisis. It would write the terms of the national agreement into state law and apply them to every lender.
4/15/12

Judge bites banks

Prods lenders, attorneys to unclog foreclosure cases

New York Post Homeowners across the state — including as many as 5,000 in Brooklyn and Queens alone — have been victimized by these mills, which file lawsuits and then, fearful of swearing to the truthfulness of the claims in the suit, let them lie dormant in the courts.
4/15/12**

OKLAHOMA SUPREME COURT

Fundamentals-Lacking Trial Judge's Grant Of Default Judgment To Standing-Lacking Lender Lacked Rational Basis

Among other things, the Oklahoma high court made the following observation regarding the apparently snoozing trial judge's granting of a default judgment in favor of the bankster:

U.S. Bank v. Moore

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently added to its growing list of lower court reversals in foreclosure cases in another ruling finding that the foreclosing bankster lacked standing to foreclose. The court said that the bankster failed to establish that, at the time of the filing of the foreclosure action, it was in possession of the promissory note it was attempting to enforce, and was not otherwise able to establish that it was the proper entity entitled to enforce the note. Attempts by the bankster to cure its screw-up subsequent to the filing of the action were unavailing.
4/15/12**

Mortgage Assignment That Fails To Transfer Promissory Note, Failure To Establish Its Physical Delivery Sink Foreclosing Lender.

Trial Court Wrong Again!!!

U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v Dellarmo

Home Equity Theft Reporter Here again in this case, the bank failed to establish either that it had possession of the promissory note at the time the case was filed, or that it had otherwise acquired said note by a proper assignment prior to filing the action.
4/14/12**

The Foreclosure Fraud in America in a Nutshell

THE OCTOBER 2008 BAILOUT PAID OFF THE HOLDERS OF MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES AND DERIVATIVE INSUREDS

Timothy McCandless The untold story in the foreclosure crisis unfolding across America is that, following a foreclosure perpetrated by one of the October 2008 Bailout Banks (e.g. Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo) Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac suddenly appear as the record owner of Average Joe’s home. These federal government sponsored entities then go into local housing court and get a court order authorizing them to evict Joe. If Joe resists, these supposedly charitable institutions obtain a writ ordering the local sheriff to forcibly remove Joe from his home.
4/13/12

An ugly foreclosure story, starring Bank of America

Dirma Rodriguez wonders how a house she'd been paying on for years, and which is specially modified for her severely disabled daughter, could be taken from her.

L.A. Times But how did it come to this? Bank of America took a $45-billion bailout from taxpayers when it got into financial trouble. Why couldn't the bank have shown Rodriguez — a widow whose life was already a trial — the same courtesy when she got squeezed?
 

4/13/12**

Why the Banks Are Paying You to Sign the Deed in a Short-sale

Think about it. What economic reason would there be to pay a distressed homeowner to enter into a short-sale? If they really thought they had the right to foreclose and/or collect on the promissory note they are using, the last thing they would do is pay a person who is already delinquent in their payments.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The banks have realized that in a short sale they don’t sign the deed — that job goes to the homeowner who is usually giving a warranty that title is all fine and dandy. (Special Note: In most cases, the homeowner is unaware that the title is already tainted and therefore their signature was obtained by deception and concealment and the signature may be found VOID.) The pretender lender is not doing the lying; they are getting the homeowner to do their lying. All that is fine if there was only one owner of the property or one prior mortgagee who is joining in the transaction and registering the appropriate releases, satisfactions and warranties.

4/13/12

The Administration PR Fail on the Securitization Task Force

For starters, more than two months after the task force’s creation, it hasn’t been staffed with the 55 people its budget calls for. How’s that for serious commitment from the Feds?

Abigail Field Turns out the Administration has picked a good law to use, FIRREA, which was designed in the wake of the S&L crisis specifically to make going after banks for fraud easier. And that’s great. HR 1278

But just as I was starting to feel better about the task force, I hit this part of the article:
4/13/12

A To-Do List for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

For some homeowners, the cost of this insurance has pushed them into foreclosure.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released preliminary plans this week to require banks to improve their mortgage servicing and become more open and accountable in their dealings with consumers.

NY Times “We have heard horror stories about people whose foreclosures were accelerated by having force-placed insurance imposed on them without notice. Even when this is clearly a mistake, you cannot get it corrected unless you can get a live human being who is willing to work with you to rectify the error. With many of the servicers, that was simply not possible.” CFPB Director Richard Cordray
4/13/12

Hawaii Sues Bank Of America, Chase, Citi, Others For Deceptive Credit Card Marketing

Fed up with credit card fees? So is the state of Hawaii.

Huff Post The defendants used "predatory tactics to sign up customers for services they either don’t want or don't qualify for," and the companies charged their customers "without their knowledge or consent," according to a press release issued by the Hawaii attorney general's office.

The state is asking for an injunction to stop these practices, restitution for customers and for the credit card companies to pay penalties. The companies would have to pay $500 to $10,000 in penalties per violation.
4/13/12

Process Servers Can Face Danger Out There

I often assist members, or their contractors, who have been assaulted in the line of duty. Lately, it seems, I have been getting more reports than usual.

One Legal After all, without that server providing notice, courts would have no jurisdiction over the person, property or witness. No jurisdiction = no judgment, no deposition, no trial.
4/13/12

'Tsunami' of foreclosure complaints swamps Florida Bar

The complaint categories - mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, loan modification misconduct - didn't even exist three years ago

Kim Miller

Palm Beach Post

The Florida Bar has fielded nearly 1,400 complaints against attorneys relating to the housing crisis, an unprecedented amount that has buried investigators and forced the group to rethink how it will handle widespread grievances in the future.

ALERT

4/13/12

Report: mortgage foreclosure scams surge 60 percent in 2012

HPF Report

AG Beat The rise is due to the plethora of federal programs recently launched that has caused vulnerability in the market as no homeowner can be expected to fully know each program or the validity of an offer for counseling.
4/12/12

Some Observations on the Second Lien Problem

They don’t have to write down their seconds, they don’t have to take a big capital hit, and the OCC gets to continue its love affair with the banks.

Matt Stoller But I suspect, based on what I’ve seen here, that examiners should begin to demand more information from their banks on whether these second liens are really worth what they say they are worth. Otherwise, the foreclosure crisis will continue
4/12/12

Pre-Trial Statement in:

Deutsche Bank v. Holden

The assignment of mortgage being executed years after the closing date of the trust is reason to suspect fraud.

Grace Doberdruk, Esq. Since there is no indorsement on the note there has been no valid negotiation of Holden's note to the Plaintiff. Plaintiff Deutsche Bank as Trustee is NOT the holder of Holden's note and has misrepresented its legal status to this Court in the attempt to collect a debt.
4/12/12

Sheriff's deputy, one other person killed serving an Eviction Notice

Modesto Bee As the deputy and a second man started to drill through the lock,
gunfire came through the door killing the two men.
4/12/12

US tests rare legal path in financial crisis cases

Reuters * Looking to use FIRREA statute with lower burden of proof

* Comes as Justice Dept has struggled with criminal charges

* FIRREA largely uncharted legal territory
4/12/12

Treasury Faulted in Effort to Relieve Homeowners

NY Times TARP wasn’t supposed to be just a bank bailout,” said Christy L. Romero, the special inspector general for TARP, in an interview. “It was specifically designed with the goal of helping homeowners, and our concern is that that goal may not be met.”
4/12/12

FHFA Pushes Relief for Underwater Mortgages
Loan modifications, principal assistance programs top the list

Teh Epoch Times FHFA acting Director Edward J. DeMarco recently indicated that relief from the federal government for low- and moderate-income homeowners with stretched mortgages may soon be on the way.
4/12/12

Dimon Vows Fight Moynihan Lost Over Claims From Mortgages

Similar combative language didn’t work for Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan, who said in 2010 the firm will engage in “hand-to-hand combat” to fend off demands before agreeing to a string of settlements.

Bloomberg “They were in the same businesses as everyone else,” Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve bank examiner who teaches finance at Boston University, said of JPMorgan. “If everyone around them is basically settling, it’s hard for me to think that there’s not something there that will make them settle.”
4/11/12

San Francisco Foreclosure Moratorium: Board Of Supervisors Calls For End To Evictions

Huff Post In a unanimous 11-0 vote on Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an official resolution calling for a moratorium on all foreclosures in the city.
"This resolution is an important step to support solutions to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes."
4/11/12

State Seizes Property Under ‘Green’ Zoning Laws, Terrorizes Man To Death

The shocking story of Andrew Wordes, who had his property seized and was terrorized to death by the city of Roswell, GA.

InfoWars On March 26, Fulton County Marshals arrived at Wordes’ home to follow through on the city’s illegal order to evict him. Shortly afterwards there was an explosion and Wordes’ was subsequently found dead. Although initially declared to be a suicide, circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.
4/11/12

Government Regulators To Expand 'Robo' Penalties, Reforms

Also see

THE MODEL NOTARY ACT 

National Notary The agency is also requiring all the financial institutions to draft and implement action plans to correct “unsafe and unsound practices in their mortgage loan servicing and processing.”
4/11/12

NY AG's curious new bid to intervene in $8.5 bl BofA MBS deal

AG's new Motion to Intervene

Alison Frankel One Manhattan business development official questioned the wisdom of attacking a trustee that was at least making an effort to respond to investors' concerns and warned that the AG was endangering the city's standing as the preferred home of financial institutions.

ALERT

 

4/11/12

Court Halts Alleged Fake Debt Collector Calls from India, Grants FTC Request to Stop Defendants Who Posed as Law Enforcers

Often pretending to be American law enforcement agents such as "Officer Mike Johnson" or representatives of fake government agencies like the "Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice," callers from India who were working with the defendants would harass consumers with back-to-back calls, according to the FTC. One consumer reported that the caller threatened to have her children taken away if she did not pay, according to court documents.

Federal Trade Commission Another consumer told the FTC, “The callers threatened me and claimed they would arrest me if I didn’t pay them the alleged debt. One of the callers even contacted my neighbors and told me he was watching my house. The callers had a lot of . . . personal information about me, including my work address. One caller told me, ‘We just saw you walk into your office building,’ and then listed my office address. Another caller told me there were 55 warrants out for my arrest. Sometimes my caller ID would indicate that the call was from the FBI. Because the callers knew so much about me, I believed they were police officers or FBI agents. The calls scared me and I was often shaking when I hung up the phone."
4/11/12

Are You A Fraud Enabler?

I’m talking to everyone who services mortgage loans, really, and I’m asking an important question: are you enabling fraud in your company?

Mortgage Servicing News If your Loss Mitigation and REO Departments interact with listing agents in the traditional fashion, then you are enabling fraud. Point-of-sale fraud is being perpetrated every day by listing agents that misrepresent your property, delay offers from being submitted to you, detour other agents from submitting offers and worst of all, don’t submit every offer. 
4/11/12

At Goldman Sachs Servicer, ‘Total Disaster'

Chris Wyatt, a former employee of Litton Loan Servicing, then a Goldman Sachs subsidiary, tells what it was like at the company during the program's first, crucial years.

Wyatt says Litton routinely denied modifications because homeowners had not sent their documents when, in fact, they had.

Huff Post As of the end of 2010, fewer than 12 percent of the borrowers who'd applied for a HAMP modification with Litton were granted one. The vast majority of those denials, Wyatt says, were not legitimate.  Goldman Sachs' emphasis on maximizing profits rather than preventing foreclosures is typical of the servicing industry, he says, particularly the larger banks.

4/11/12

Sheriff’s Sale Victory For “Occupy” Homeowner In US Bank Foreclosure Battle


Occupy activists made it clear to any potential buyers that if you acquire the home: THE DEMONSTRATORS COME WITH IT. 

theUptake “We’re gonna let any potential buyer know that when they buy John Vinje’s house, they’re not just buying a house, they’re buying a serious problem for themselves,” said Occupy Homes activist Ty Moore. “They’re buying a homeowner who says he’s not leaving, and they’re buying a social movement that says we’re going to defend John and homeowners like him.”
4/11/12

Progressive Groups Were Had on Foreclosure Fraud

One unintended consequence of the establishment of the task force is that many Americans felt like they could rest easy that justice was underway.

David Dayen - FDL Um, there was nothing “unintended” about that consequence. It was the entire purpose of the establishment of the task force, at least from the Obama Administration’s perspective. Before then, they faced a united coalition of activists seeking justice for the largest consumer fraud in history.
4/11/12

Foreclosure Frenzy: Bank Of America Sues Bank Of America

(Some already speculate Bank of America will prevail.)

Forbes There’s a legal problem with suing yourself however. Szymoniak explains the so-called lack of adversary concept where a case cannot proceed if the parties are not truly adverse. “They can’t be collusive or share the same interest,” she adds. But if BofA is truly suing on behalf of investors then the concept may not apply.
4/11/12

The Neglected Auction Process as a Vehicle for Voiding Bank Title to REO Property

After doing a lot of research and analysis on the subject to foreclosure auctions and credit bids I have arrived at several conclusions. 

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The result is that I believe there are multiple causes of action against the “Substitute Trustee” (often with forged fabricated documents and the original trustee whose passive stance allowed the wrongful foreclosures to occur. There may well be an action in mandamus against the recording offices that maintain property records showing the mistaken title to the REO property and potentially a federal action for deprivation of civil rights in the event the state court grants relief.
4/11/12

El Paso Family: Wells Fargo Unfairly Foreclosed On Home

ktsm El Paso We sorted through the documents that serve as proof of their mortgage payments. "Well here's an example of a payment where they made, and you could see it's to Wells Fargo and here's the account," said Roman.

But Wells Fargo says it hasn't received any payments from the Escobedos for more than two years.
4/11/12**

Judge Fines Wells Fargo for “Highly Reprehensible” Behavior

Magner has said previously that of the over 20 borrowers in her court whose loan records she has analyzed, every one of them had errors in how their loans were handled.

Jones v. Wells Fargo  

Related stories are located at 4/9/12

Compliance Search Wells Fargo has taken advantage of borrowers who rely on it to accurately apply payments and calculate the amounts owed,” Magner wrote in her decision. “But perhaps more disturbing is Wells Fargo’s refusal to voluntarily correct its errors. It prefers to rely on the ignorance of borrowers or their inability to fund a challenge to its demands, rather than voluntarily relinquish gains obtained through improper accounting methods.”

“These are loans of working-class people who bought homes they could afford and whose loans were not administered correctly from an accounting perspective,” Magner said. “I think that these types of problems occur in almost every [defaulted] loan in the country.”

4/10/12

Obama's Consumer Protection Agency Targets Mortgage Service Industry

Forbes The CFPB wants the servicers to be a held to higher standard in order to clean up sloppy record keeping and bad practices. The proposed rules include requiring servicers to issue regular statements with a breakdown of payments, warnings about interest rate adjustments, information about “force-placed” insurance and early contact with borrowers on the path to foreclosure.
4/10/12**

THE ENTIRE NON-JUDICIAL FORECLOSURE SYSTEM IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED

A homeowner in a non-judicial foreclosure state has to file a lawsuit to seek a court order to stop the sale, which is a two-phased effort: a Temporary Restraining Order to seek to stop the sale temporarily, followed by a separate Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop any sale during the pendency of the foreclosure challenge.

Jeff Barnes, Esq.  To make matters worse, most states have a bond requirement to effectuate an injunction, and the amount is usually so large that the homeowner cannot afford it. 

This manner of placing the burden on the homeowner to disprove the foreclosing party’s case and being labeled as “guilty until proven innocent” reeks of unconstitutionality.

4/10/12** This article focuses on the $3m Jones v. Wells Fargo case.

Every time Wells Fargo makes a “mistake,” Wells Fargo makes money!

Wells Fargo executives signed off on a ton of documents while building a proprietary software system that enabled and incentivized fraud, and fraud took place. Lots of fraud. 

“Code is law.” Literally

We can look at the foreclosure crisis as the pre-eminent law enforcement crisis of our time: Elite impunity for crimes committed and still being committed by lenders and servicers (“banksters”) on a massive scale.

We were once a great nation that set a shining example for the rest of the world as to what the Rule of Law meant. That is no more, as we have become a corrupt plutocracy. Why our prosecutors cower in front of the almighty banking industry is beyond my limited ability to comprehend.

naked capitalism Is the foreclosure crisis a law enforcement crisis?

Yes. Yves Smith:
The word “predatory” is not adequate to describe Wells’ conduct. The bank is not simply willing to steal from consumers, via blatant, institutionalized violations of its own agreements on mortgages and later on bankruptcy plans. It has absolutely no respect for the law, whether it be contracts or court procedures.

Yes. Abigail Field:
The mortgage settlement signed by 49 states and every Federal law enforcer allows the rampant foreclosure fraud currently choking our courts to continue unabated.

Yes. Barry Ritholtz:
The fraud is rampant, self-evident, easy to prosecute. The only reason it hasn’t been done so far is that this nation is led by corrupt cowards and suffers from a ruinous two-party system.

4/10/12

Hiding the Enforcement Fraud At the Heart of the Mortgage Settlement

The “standards” in this deal are even more useless than they otherwise appear. 

Abigail Field To understand just how deceptive “our” government and “our” law enforcers have been with us, imagine them as a Shakespearean magician, confessing his thoughts to us as he tries to trick an audience seated just off stage. Hear the magician, as he secretly pleads for his misdirection to work:
4/10/12

U.S. ATTORNEY SUES MORTGAGE BANKER FOR ENGAGING IN DISCRIMINATORY LENDING PRACTICES AGAINST 
AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HISPANIC BORROWERS

Complaint: United States v. GFI Mortgage Bankers

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

Complaint via Home Equity Theft Reporter

The United States has filed a civil rights lawsuit against GFI MORTGAGE BANKERS alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The Complaint alleges that GFI engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin in making hundreds of loans from 2005 through 2009. 
4/10/12

NFHA Files Discrimination Complaint Against Wells Fargo

Filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, it is only the first in a series of similar complaints NFHA plans to file against some of the country’s top banks with large REO inventories.

Mortgage Servicing News Following an undercover investigation that found “disturbing evidence” of discrimination in the management of real estate owned properties in communities of color by a number of undisclosed banks the National Fair Housing Alliance has filed a federal housing discrimination complaint against Wells Fargo.
4/10/12

FHFA: GSE Principal Reductions Could Save Money

Because Fannie and Freddie would receive the triple incentive payments for principal reductions, it produces a "better" result for the GSEs, FHFA acting director Edward Demarco said.

Mortgage Servicing News The Federal Housing Finance Agency has conceded that the higher incentive payments the Treasury Department is willing to pay make principal reduction cost effective for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
4/10/12

Foreclosing Lender's Failure To Serve Junior Lien holder Now OK In Indiana; New Law Reverses State High Court Ruling, Now Permits Lawsuit 'Do-Overs'

Citizens State Bank v. Countrywide, Fannie Mae

Home Equity Theft Reporter The effect of a 2011 ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court allowing for a junior lienholder to score a major windfall when it is omitted in a foreclosure action by a senior lienholder(1) has now been nullified for future similar cases by state lawmakers by their passage of a new law. 
4/10/12**

The Great American Foreclosure Story: The Struggle for Justice and a Place to Call Home

This grandmother's story — outrageous and complex — is our story, the American foreclosure story.

ProPublica The story of how she ended up in a tent is the story of how America ended up in a foreclosure crisis that has not ended, that still drags down the economy and threatens to force millions of families from their homes.
4/10/12**

CFPB Releases Mortgage Servicing Rules Under Consideration

With the theme of putting the “service” back in mortgage servicing, CFPB released a factsheet of the rules they will consider. They fall into two buckets: transparency and accountability.

David Dayen - FDL It’s amazing that some of these elements don’t exist already, but mortgage servicing hasn’t had a regulator, at least not at the federal level. And the fact that none of these rules are a feature of their conduct today shows how these rules would really rebuild servicing from the ground up.
4/10/12

Under AG Foreclosure Settlement, Servicers Get Credit for Things They’re Supposed to Do

Last week, District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer approved the Attorney General Foreclosure Settlement (“AGFS”) without a hearing, and without any objection from investors. According to the Judge, the Consent Judgment between the nation’s five largest servicers and the Attorneys General from 49 states is now “final and non-appealable.”

Subprime Shakeout the size of the relief is so small in comparison to the size of the problem (estimates I’ve discussed previously say about 5% of underwater borrowers will receive any semblance of relief). However, this failure also stems from the fact that the banks have too much freedom in deciding how to comply with the settlement, such that they can select the “penalties” most favorable to their bottom lines rather than those most beneficial to housing market or the victims of their misconduct. Not to mention the things they’re getting credit for are generally things that they’re already supposed to be doing.
4/10/12

More Proof of Obama Mortgage Settlement Lies: Woefully Under-resourced Investigation Not Fully Staffed Yet

nakedcapitalism The idea that this effort was all for show and would at most deliver a few suits conveniently close to the election was confirmed by its staffing. Schneiderman looked foolish when he said he’d have hundreds of investigators at his disposal, when Breuer announced it would be a mere 55.
2/10/11

'Fraudulent' electronic mortgage registry lawsuit will go ahead

$40bn settlement has not stopped the claim against JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo

ComputerWorld UK The banks are being sued by the New York State Attorney General over an allegedly restrictive and inaccurate database that may have resulted in unfair foreclosures for many home buyers. The attorney's office has confirmed to Computerworld UK that his lawsuit is still going ahead.
4/9/12

Occupiers arrested during protest at Southeast Raleigh foreclosure

“This is my civil right to fight to get my home back,” she said. “It’s not us who are the ones doing anything against the law.”

Charlotte Observer Todd Warren, an Occupy organizer from Greensboro, said the group thinks Nikki Shelton is one of more than 10 families in the neighborhood who face illegal foreclosure. The protesters say they’ve uncovered “evidence of robo-signing,” the practice where mortgage servicers sign documents without reading them.

“Housing is a human right,” Warren said. “We’re not going to let people be put out of their homes while banks make record profit.”
4/9/12

The Silver Anniversary of the “Keating Five” Meeting – Citizens United’s Precursor

Ultimately, we blew the whistle on Wall, Speaker Wright, and the Keating Five. Wall and Wright resigned in disgrace. The Keating Five received minimal ethics sanctions, but they were deeply embarrassed. The Bush (I) administration decided to make the prosecution and sanctioning of the elite frauds that drove the debacle a top priority. It resumed and even expanded many of Gray’s policies (particularly in enforcement and supporting criminal prosecutions). Accounting control fraud is a weapon of mass financial destruction. When it is not blocked by effective regulation and prosecution it becomes a mass destroyer of employment.

Professor William K. Black Keating put a face on the crisis. He caused Lincoln Savings’ insolvent holding company (ACC) to fraudulently issue worthless junk bonds – sold out of Lincoln’s branches under a special SEC exemption for issuers of securities who do not sell through investment bankers. Lincoln Savings targeted retirement communities for these sales. Tens of thousands of California widows were victims of Lincoln and ACC’s frauds. The S&L debacle now had a face, and it was our grandmother’s face. The JOBS Act will encourage frauds against the most vulnerable members of our society.
4/9/12

The 99% Spring

99% Spring Action Training

Click link to join a 99% Spring action training

SEIU We're at a crossroads as a country. In recent years, millions have lost their jobs, homes have been foreclosed, and an unconscionable number of children live in poverty. We have to stand up to the people who caused of all this and confront the rampant greed and deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%.
4/9/12**

 

State Appeals Courts Unrelenting In Screw-Up Reversals Of Florida Trial Judges' Rulings In Foreclosure Cases; Slams Brakes On Standing-Lacking Lender

Broward County, Florida Circuit Court Judge Miette K. Burnstein is among the latest scofflaws nabbed by a state appeals court for a incorrect ruling unfavorable to a homeowner in foreclosure.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Broward County, Florida Circuit Court Judge Miette K. Burnstein is among the latest scofflaws nabbed by a state appeals court for a incorrect ruling unfavorable to a homeowner in foreclosure. (One wonders if these trial judges simply figure that most homeowners simply do not have the personal resources to fund an appeal of these crappy rulings, and figure they can simply get away with their seemingly blatant conduct in granting judgments in favor of the foreclosing bankster in these cases).
4/9/12**

More on last week's Jones v. Wells Fargo Decision 

Judge Rules Wells Fargo Engages in “Reprehensible,” Systemic Accounting Abuses on Mortgages, Hit with $3.1 Million Punitive Damages for One Loan

The facts that have surfaced in before one bankruptcy judge, Elizabeth Magner of the Eastern District of Louisiana, and one servicer, Wells Fargo, should give industry defenders pause. 

nakedcapitalism The word “predatory” is not adequate to describe Wells Fargo's conduct. The bank is not simply willing to steal from consumers, via blatant, institutionalized violations of its own agreements on mortgages and later on bankruptcy plans. It has absolutely no respect for the law, whether it be contracts or court procedures. It’s a band of marauders that our society treats as legitimate because the perpetrators wear suits and can afford to hire lobbyists. And the Federal government and state attorneys general are certain to have emboldened Wells and its brethren by rewarding them rather than treating them like the criminals they are.

4/7/12

The Libertarian Party of Florida is taking on Foreclosure Fraud

In a nutshell, here is the mortgage crisis. This may not be as detailed as it could be, but this is written in the interest of translating for the layman, not as a matter of detail. 

Libertarian Party of Florida $26 Billion is about 3.1% of the amount the banks were bailed out in 2008. That’s also about $2,000 for each of approximately 750,000 borrowers who were improperly foreclosed upon, often using falsified documents. It also includes roughly $17 billion that would go towards “foreclosure prevention methods” and other costs associated with the case. Now we know the scope of the problem, as agreed upon between both sides. Let’s dive into the rest of it, really see what the problems are, and see what the right solutions would be.
4/7/12

The Spiritual Side of Wrongful Foreclosure
“A Message of Hope to Homeowners”

Wrongful foreclosure is driven by the love of money to commit theft. 

At the very core of every wrongful foreclosure are three spiritual satanic goals---to steal, kill and destroy. Steal your home, kill your land ownership rights and destroy your family and shelter.

J. Allen Zow, Sr

 

As we see, thousands of years ago, people were concerned about assuring the chain of title to land was accurate to establish proper ownership. Talk about undermining basic fundamental land rights, instead of recording a homeowner’s complete chain of title, MERS and the banksters have  used the bundling of homes as mortgage-backed securities to cloud your title and dirty your land deed through concealment. Moneychangers, deceptive practices, fraud and dirty land deeds can lead to wrongful foreclosure directly impacting your financial health.
4/7/12

An angry priest scatters the money lenders

On Ash Wednesday this year a group of San Francisco clergy spilled ashes outside a Wells Fargo ATM and called for a foreclosure sabbatical

Brisbane Times

Australia

''I actually went to a meeting in Washington and I said to Tim Geithner [the Treasury Secretary and author of the bank bailout], that he had to make them help, but he said there was nothing he could do. I was astounded,'' says Father Rien.
4/6/12

N.J. Supreme Court order clarifies foreclosure paperwork for mortgage lenders

Thousands of cases pending in the court will be affected by this order in the so-called Guillaume case, a court spokesman said.

NJ.com The judicial order, signed Wednesday by New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, comes six weeks after the high court ruled unanimously that a mortgage lender must list its own name and contact information, as well as that of the loan’s servicer, on the document that initiates the foreclosure process, known as the notice of intent to foreclose.
4/6/12**

Fraudulent Foreclosure Remedy: Return of the Home

Title insurers are getting indemnities from pretender lenders and pretender lenders are getting indemnities from buyers… WOW!!! That’s just dirty… indemnities for fraud.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

It is astonishing to me that the apathy and confusion in the media and marketplace have allowed and even promoted the concept that the theft of these homes using fraudulent documents is somehow resolved by the payment of money based on the recurring assumption that the underlying obligation is still due, that the default actually exists, and that the enforcement through foreclosure is a foregone conclusion. 
4/6/12

Ex-U.S. trader gets 28 months in jail for death threats

Reuters A former commodities trader was sentenced to 28 months in prison on Friday for threatening to kill dozens of U.S. officials at the nation's top securities and commodity regulators, including posting a 250,000 euro ($327,382) bounty on Facebook.
4/6/12**

Bank of America Sold Card Debts to Collectors Despite Faulty Records

Bank of America has sold collections agencies rights to sue over credit card debts that it has privately noted were potentially inaccurate or already repaid.

American Banker In a series of 2009 and 2010 transactions, Bank of America sold credit card receivables to an outfit called CACH LLC, based in Denver. Co. Each month CACH bought debts with a face value of as much as $65 million for 1.8 cents on the dollar.

And why do we keep Bank of America alive?

4/6/12

 

More Servicing Horror Stories: Couple Paying Off Loan Almost Forced Into Foreclosure

We’re learning that the foreclosure fraud settlement is leading to a jump in foreclosures, as the banks feel less constrained by their document problems, secure in the knowledge that they can just buy their way out of them. And the other part of this is that, despite the settlement, the banks have not stopped the behavior that required the settlement in the first place. And here’s some more evidence of that.

David Dayen  - FDL Joe Manzo and Lisa Stowell paid off their mortgage – in full – late last year. But their lender threatened to foreclose anyway.

In this case, Ocwen neglected that payment, held the money in an escrow account for flood insurance (a $400 annual payment; the couple sent in almost $45,000), and started applying late fees to the unpaid principal balance. They are just blatantly trying to rip off this couple by pushing them into default.

4/6/12

The Coming Housing Finance Train Wreck

Private capital is on strike until better regulations are in place or memories fade, and the losses are so great that market participants say it will be a decade before there is another private securitization market in the US. This has more serious implications that you might think.

naked capitalism Given that securitization contracts proved to be meaningless – originators lied about what they were selling, trustees refused to intervene as required to do by contract in the light of clear problems with the loans (and are now trying to get their own get out of jail free cards per the example of Bank of New York in its settlement with Bank of America), and servicers scam borrower and investors – it is hard to fathom would anyone with an operating brain cell have anything to do with this market.
4/6/12

Foreclosures And The Bottomless Pit

Eurasiareview According to Reuters, new foreclosures “begun by Deutsche Bank were up 47 percent from 2011. Those of Wells Fargo’s rose 68 percent and Bank of America’s, including BAC Home Loans Servicing, jumped nearly seven-fold — 251 starts versus 37 in the same period in 2011.”

WARNING

4/6/12

 

HARP's Impact on Prepayment Speeds; Watch for Property Deed Scams

There is still corruption, and unfortunately much of it has to do with state government.

Mortgage News Daily Last week the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a warning about property deed scams, which are apparently on the rise thanks to the depressed economy. The Consumer Alert notified homeowners of a number of red flags that indicate fraud: changes made to a recorded document after signing; recorded documents signed by a deceased person; documents indicating that a portion of the property was sold without the homeowner's knowledge; receipt of documents for a mysterious loan or transaction, or receipt of a Notice of Default or Trustee's Sale when the property is owned outright are all tip-offs
4/6/12

BK Judge Clobbers Wells Fargo
Awards Homeowner $3MM Plus Attorney Fees

Jones v. Wells Fargo

David Dayen 

via Abigail Field

Wells Fargo’s actions were not only highly reprehensible, but its subsequent reaction on their exposure has been less than satisfactory. There is a strong societal interest in preventing such future conduct through a punitive award.

4/5/12

NY probes 'forced' insurance in foreclosure

WSJ New York is expanding a national investigation and will schedule public hearings into so-called "forced-placed" insurance that adds costs to homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.
4/5/12

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Rubber-Stamped by a Federal Judge

Some investor groups had talked about challenging the terms of the settlement, but this approval happened so quickly, and without even so much as a hearing, that they had no time to react. This is the very definition of a rubber stamp.

FDL But the real news on this approval, dug out by Nick Timiraos, is this sentence: “Nothing from the consent judgment entered into court in the $25B foreclosure settlement may constitute ‘evidence against Defendant.’”

Now this was expected, and it was part of the document. The five servicers don’t have to “admit nor deny” wrongdoing as part of the settlement, an example of the total lack of accountability on display here. 

4/5/12

Banks Always Win

If recent history is any guide, regulators are more likely to offer the banks a way to avoid fines for harmful and egregious behavior. That means there will be no deterrent against future misbehavior.

NY Times The banks do not have to actually pay the fines. The regulators said that no money will be owed as long as the banks fulfill their obligations under a separate $26 billion foreclosure settlement with state attorneys general and the Department of Justice. Most of that obligation can be met through loan modifications and other relief.
4/5/12

Lack of Competition Stifles Refinance Program for Underwater Homeowners

Analysts say that the big banks are set to make major profits off of the Home Affordable Refinancing Program, also known as HARP.

ProPublica Some homeowners are getting stuck with relatively high interest rates even after they participate in the government's program to help them refinance their mortgages. The biggest banks are not lowering rates as much as they could be — and homeowners have few options to go elsewhere.
4/5/12

What’s On Their Minds? The Supreme Court Wades Into the Foreclosure Mess–Standing and Real Party in Interest. 

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Duane Schwartzwald et al

Legally Speaking Ohio The most interesting exchange in the argument came between Justice McGee Brown and Freddie Mac’s lawyer. She noted, and cited a federal case from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, that financial institutions are sticklers for the strictest compliance on paperwork from their customers, but are now asking the court to relax its standards-why should the Court “find a more relaxed rule for Freddie Mac than Freddie Mac would otherwise give to its customers?” Why didn’t Freddie Mac just wait until it had the note and mortgage—what was the big hurry—the house wasn’t going anywhere? She looked quite steely as she asked this.
4/5/12

THE FORMER VICTIMS ARE MOVING FROM DEFENSE TO OFFENSE!

In Foreclosure and Fighting for his Life

I’m fighting for my life and my family’s life with no legal training.

Boston  67 Marley, who’s been building homes since he was 14, cried when he learned Bank of America had initiated a foreclosure on the property he shares with his wife and their four kids. He says his marriage took a big hit, and he suffered prolonged periods of depression, shame and anger, and nights of sleeplessness worrying that his family would be homeless one day.
4/5/12

High Bid Of $6,500 Pursuant To $280K Foreclosure Judgment Kiboshed Where Lender Failed To Publish Pre-Sale Notice

Castelo v. Aurora

Home Equity Theft Reporter It is undisputed that in this case the notice of sale was not published as required by statute. Castelo argues that the statute is silent as to what happens if the notice of sale is not published. A plain reading of the statute, however, supports the trial court's interpretation that a foreclosure sale should not be confirmed if the notice of sale was not published.
4/5/12

Ohio Appeals Court: Bankster's Failure To Establish Itself As "Real Party In Interest" Sinks Foreclosure Judgment

HSBC v. Beirne

Home Equity Theft Reporter In another reversal of a trial court ruling in a foreclosure sale, an Ohio appeals court found that a bankster who failed, at the time of the filing of the lawsuit, to attach an assignment of the promissory note it was attempting to collect, and who otherwise failed to identify the date it obtained possession of the note or explain why it had been unable to produce evidence of the assignment failed to establish itself as a real party in interest. 
4/5/12

The Wizard Behind the Curtain

I’ve become convinced that the plaintiffs prosecuting foreclosure lawsuits often don’t even realize those lawsuits are pending. 

Mark Stopa, Esq Third-party servicers retain a foreclosure mill, a.k.a. a plaintiff’s lawyer, and, without actually appearing as a party in their own names, direct the foreclosure mill to file suit on behalf of the plaintiff, i.e. the owner of the Note and Mortgage. Does the servicer actually have authority to do so? Honestly, who the heck knows. 

The Wizard Behind the Curtain, Part Two

In my view, it’s not enough that the servicer says it has the authority to proceed on behalf of a trust – the servicer must prove it with evidence from the trust itself.

 

Mark Stopa, Esq.

Rob Harrrington

In my view, banks AND THEIR LAWYERS better think twice about prosecuting foreclosure cases based solely on the representations of a servicer. Clearly, the servicer must be able to prove its authority to prosecute that case with something besides its own affidavit.

 

4/4/12

Fighting Over the American Home: Handcuffs versus Hope and Change

Matt Stoller In a future post, I’ll go into what I’ve found around second liens. There isn’t great data, but there’s enough to suggest that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency should be far more aggressive on write-downs than it has been.
4/4/12

RIGBY v. WELLS FARGO BANK, AS TRUSTEE FOR OPTION ONE
MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST 2007-FXD2 ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATES,
SERIES 2007-FXD2

This case raises another problem.  When lower courts keep their heads buried in the banks' pockets, more judicial resources are being wasted REVERSING their nappy-headed decisions, causing the homeowner to incur further hardships and expense.

Alina This is another standing case. Original complaint only had a mortgage in favor of Option One attached. Later, Wells Fargo presented an assignment of mortgage and an undated original note with special endorsement to Wells Fargo and the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo. Fourth DCa opined that Wells Fargo has to have standing at the inception of the lawsuit. Reversed and remanded.
New web site!

4/4/12**

People vs. Foreclosure Fraud

Yes, indeed, we did change and that change is for the better. The change that banks never saw coming… we’re not followers of their lies anymore.  We the people, we the victims, became mortgage securitization experts, investigators, appraisals, bloggers, even lawyers without a law degree.

One of the mortgages (Deutsche Bank) was not even signed in the Registry, and it has 34 assignments on file – which means that it was sold 34 times, probably all over the globe.

Boston  67 The banks and those geniuses from Wall Street did this on purpose; we know that now. They were sure that the people wouldn’t fight back, that the people wouldn’t be able to connect the dots of their awful game. They knew that even if a small percentage realized what’s going on, it still wouldn’t pose a serious threat to them. However, that percentage is becoming higher every minute…

If you want to fight for justice and truth, stand up and join one of our next meetings…We can do this together.

4/4/12

JPMorgan CEO on housing: We made too many mistakes

Gearing up to deal with its problems meant overcoming the poor systems JPMorgan inherited in acquiring Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.

Housing Wire Dimon admits to shareholders that his bank participated in the disaster by originating mortgages that wouldn’t have been given a decade earlier (“and won’t be given a decade later”). When delinquencies and foreclosures grew dramatically, his bank was “ill-prepared operationally to deal with the extraordinary volume of troubled mortgages and upset borrowers.”
4/4/12

REO neglect in minority communities faces wider probe

Housing Wire The National Fair Housing Alliance said Wednesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Fannie Mae will fund its investigation into banks that it alleges have disproportionately mismanaged REO in communities of color.
4/4/12

Pension Funds Win Major Victory in Ongoing BofA Mortgage Backed Securities Lawsuit

The case has been narrowed somewhat, but there’s a good reason why Yves Smith calls this a big deal. It puts the trustee role in jeopardy and subject to litigation, rather than the bank that issued the securities.

David Dayen

FDL

 They are suing under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939. Bank of New York Mellon stands accused of negligence in dealing with inadequate servicing for investors, as well as failing to possess the loan files or requiring the originator to repurchase soured loans.
4/4/12**

New York Judge Strikes Blow to Investor Putback Claims

SubPrime Shakeout The decision to dismiss the separate and earlier-filed Walnut Place lawsuit can only be viewed as a setback for investors, as it sets a significantly higher procedural bar to investor putback suits than investors had anticipated.
4/4/12

Oral Argument in the 

OHIO SUPREME COURT

Freddie Mac v. Schwartzwald

OHIO SUPREME COURT ISSUE: If a party files a lawsuit to foreclose on a mortgage and it is later shown that party did not have a current ownership interest in the mortgage or the underlying promissory note on the date the foreclosure action was filed, is the court required to dismiss the suit based on the plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring it? Or may the plaintiff “cure” a defect in standing or in naming the actual party in interest under Civil Rule 17(A) by obtaining an assignment of the mortgage prior to the court’s entry of a judgment in the case?
4/4/12

NTEX Realty v. Tacker

This is an Oklahoma Supreme Court case involving standing. NTEX attached a copy of a non-indorsed note and mortgage to its foreclosure complaint. The Tackers challenged the authenticity of the documents and denied NTEX had standing. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor NTEX.

Alina The supreme court ruled that:


To commence a foreclosure action in Oklahoma, a plaintiff must demonstrate it has a right to enforce the note and, absent a showing of ownership, the plaintiff lacks standing. 
4/3/12

Rakoff Seeking Truth of Wall Street Wrongdoing Labeled Rogue

The judge is also embroiled in a battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission over what he considers its tepid enforcement of the law.

Bloomberg The SEC penalties are not even a slap on the wrist,” he says.
If Rakoff’s position prevails, it will change the way the SEC enforces the law. The agency would have to make deals in which defendants admit some fault, and this would lead to many more trials. That’s because most businesses would be unwilling to make such admissions, which could be used against them in court by other litigants including shareholders

4/3/12

 

Legal decision has attorneys talking

Many also say that the judge should have been more concerned with how the banks have lived for free for years from  taxpayer bailouts. Why does the judge not care if the banks are receiving a home free and clear in this situation? 

MPR News The issue should be if the homeowners were victims of the banks potentially irregular, fraudulent, illegal and simply unsafe mortgage practices, such as there being multiple trusts and multiple beneficiaries existing at the time of the fraudclosure. 

4/3/12

Review Finds Possible Flaws in More Than 138,000 Bank Foreclosures

Most of the banks have contacted customers whose cases are eligible for an independent review under the O.C.C. consent order, but only a small percentage (3%) of customers have responded so far.

"I'm reluctant to waste my time," he wrote in a recent email exchange. "I just don't trust a word they say," he said.

...BECAUSE THE REVIEW PROCESS WAS PROVEN TO BE A SCAM! 

NY Times

ALSO PROVEN TO BE A SCAM:

-THE OCC, FTC, SEC, DOJ, etc., FOR    

 COVERING UP THE CRIMES!

- MOST FORECLOSURES;  

- THE MODIFICATION PROCESS; 

- MOST OF THE JUDICIAL PROCESS;

- SECURITIZATION; 

- RATING AGENCIES;

- MERS; etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

How many more "modification-type" hours will people waste in the incompetent and corrupted review process, only to receive (at best) $2,000. - after suffering tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost equity, life savings, marriages, health, jobs, status and basic human rights, etc.?

4/2/12**

An Insider’s View of an Actual RMBS Securitization

I thought it might be exciting if I showed you something very few people have ever seen… an honest to goodness peek behind the curtain, if you will.

Mandelman Matters What follows below are slides from an actual presentation of a Residential Mortgage-backed Securities – RMBS/REMIC deal… but NOT the slides from a “road show” presentation to potential investors… what you’re about to see are slides from an INTERNAL meeting that was actually held back in February of 2006 when WMC Mortgage’s management presented the company’s second RMBS securitization deal to the management from parent GE.
4/2/12

JPMorgan, EMC Mortgage, Bear Stearns Sued by Ambac AGAIN

BusinessWeek Ambac Assurance Corp. sued JPMorgan Chase accusing the company’s EMC Mortgage and Bear Stearns units of fraud and breach of contract over the sale of mortgage-backed securities.
4/2/12

Investors Are Looking to Buy Homes by the Thousands

“We think this is a huge opportunity and we are going to treat it like a factory and create a production line to do this.”

NY Times The sting of the housing collapse, driven in part by investors who bought large bundles of securities backed by bad mortgages, makes some critics wary of the emerging market.
4/2/12

Why People Hate the Banks

As it turns out, this same kind of awful behavior has been taking place inside the credit card collections departments of the big banks. Records are a mess.

Joe Nocera

NY Times

Robo-signing has been commonplace. Collections practices hurt primarily the poor and the unsophisticated, just like foreclosure practices. (I sometimes wonder if banks would make any profits at all if they couldn’t take advantage of the poor and unsophisticated.)
4/2/12

Northeast D.C. Woman Gets Stay of Eviction After Occupy D.C. Protest

dcist The case proceeded to the Landlord and Tenant Branch of D.C. Superior Court, but Butler was unable to make one court date and missed at least one other because the bank's attorneys did not notify her
4/2/12

Foreclosure Factory Ocwen Cuts 680 Texas Workers at Foreclosure Factory Saxon Mortgage  

Saxon Mortgage was purchased by Ocwen Financial Corp. in October.

Star Telegram

and

Mortgage Servicing News

Ocwen, the nation's 12th-largest mortgage servicing company at year's end, has been acquiring subprime mortgage servicers since the financial crisis, frequently closing facilities and expanding its workforce in India.
4/2/12

SMITH v. SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, AN
OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Civil Court of Appeals

Alabama

Bank of America did not have the authority to sell Frank's property.

Reversed/Remanded

4/2/12

Mortgage Servicers Play Cruelest April Fool's Joke of All

So, while Moynihan revels in newly quadrupled compensation largesse, B of A's servicing pranksters continue to find additional victims for their not-so-funny jokes.

Related: Bank of America quadruples pay for chief executive Brian Moynihan

American Banker One is Colorado homeowner Louise Davidson. On Wednesday, the sheriffs will pay a call to escort her and four cats out of the house she’s called home for 24 years. Together with millions of other homeowners, Louise has had the misfortune of being on the eviction end of Bank of America’s scheming; and for her, like the others, the future is dark, dim and uncertain.

4/2/12

Class action suit filed against tax lien investors is moved to federal district court

Jeanne Lang Boyer looks out from the porch of her circa 1820 home on Musconetcong River Road. She is fighting a legal battle to keep her home from being foreclosed on by bankers who are headed to prison for rigging tax lien sales.

 

NJ.lcom According to the suit, the victims of the tax sale scheme are usually elderly, disabled or victims of a bad economy and unable to pay burgeoning tax bills. The unscrupulous investors came in, purchased the debt at tax sales and were able to charge exorbitant interest fees. If the homeowners could not pay the grossly inflated bills, the investor ended up with their homes, which are often worth far more than what was owed
4/2/12

Shoup v. McCurdie & Candler

This is an FDCPA case involving MERS, McCurdie & Candler sent an FDCPA letter to Shoud stating that MERS was the creditor.

  Shoup filed suit and the district court dismissed her suit saying that even if MERS was not the "creditor", it was harmless to call it a creditor. Shoup appealed.

The 11th CoA opined that the district erred in dismissing Shoup's complaint because MERS is not a "creditor" under the FDCPA. The 11th CoA reversed...
4/2/12

Fed Looking to Slap Wrists of Smaller Mortgage Servicers

These problems continue. And state and federal regulators are wholly uninterested in stopping them. 

David Dayen

FDL

One hope, at least in Colorado, is that the people will step in where the regulatory apparatus failed: 

4/1/12

Thousands of foreclosures in limbo one year after Stern firm's collapse

Florida's courts have started paying more attention to allegations of fraud and the defenses of homeowners, said Roy Oppenheim of Oppenheim Law in Weston.

wptv "The entire chapter before the collapse was one of the darkest hours in the history of the Florida Bar and jurisprudence," Oppenheim said. "But now, arguments we've been making are resonating, we're getting cases dismissed, and judges are no longer taking at face value everything the banks say."
4/1/12

A problem CRIMINAL charges will solve.

Fed may fine firms not part of foreclosure deal

New York Times: Evidence mounting that robosigning is still going on.

Judges, lawyers and advocates for homeowners say that people are still losing their homes despite improper documentation and other flaws in the foreclosure process often involving these firms.

NT Times Despite the pledges of the giant servicers to amend their practices, there are signs that foreclosure cases with other companies remain problematic. An examination of dozens of court cases by The New York Times found questionable documents involving some of the eight institutions cited by the Fed.

Arthur M. Schack, a New York State Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn, has cracked down on fraudulent documentation and said he was concerned that foreclosures moving through the courts continued to be flawed. Even after mortgage servicers have been excoriated by a judge in one state, they still use similar documents in other cases in other states, according to the examination.

4/1/12**

Flipping sentence tempered by defendant's cooperation

"Countrywide and WaMu were the ring leaders and the worst offenders," said Bob Saltzman, a Tampa mortgage banker "They laid out all the equipment for loan officers to commit the crime. Those were the enabler institutions."

"The concern is that he was up to his ears in this, and three months is not much of a punishment for the millions of dollars that are now gone," DeGraw said.

Herald-Tribune Craig Whitehead's sentence rankled even the judge handing it out and left some experts scratching their heads as to why the former Washington Mutual loan officer was not saddled with more charges related to the 19 fraudulent loans he helped shepherd through his bank.

Whitehead said he only participated in a "minuscule amount of indiscretions" and would only fill out loan documents with fraudulent information when that information was provided to him.

4/1/12

Loan Gone Sour Clouds the Future of a Media Activists’ Haven in TriBeCa

The lenders, Broadway Bank and Wexford/HPC Mortgage Company, an affiliate of WexTrust Capital, did not provide all the money they had promised, Mr. Morris said.

NY Times Eventually, WexTrust went into receivership, and two of its top executives pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Broadway Bank in Chicago subsequently was shut down under the supervision of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That agency then transferred the loan to a second bank, MB Financial, which has asked a federal bankruptcy judge in New York for permission to foreclose.

4/1/12

Getting out from under water can be frustrating

“It was kind of degrading,” Powers said. “I can understand why people give up.”

After a year of negotiations that included daily and weekly phone calls beginning in February of last year, Cooper Wright was able to get Wells Fargo to extend Powers mortgage rather than foreclosing.

Chronicle “The fact that we have to submit the same documents three, four times before they actually have it in their computer systems is a major problem. Homeowners don’t have the money to repeatedly fax 50, 60 pages every week (or) mail their information in through FedEx,” Cooper Wright said. “I’ve become cynical. I think the banks really don’t want to work with homeowners.”
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