News related to the Foreclosure Crisis

The biggest unpunished heist in U.S. history

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January 2013

Protecting Homeowners from Non-Judicial Foreclosure of Mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

“His experience . . . had disabused him of any hope that the government would intercede to prevent rich corporations from doing bad things to poor people.”   -- Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine at 155 (2010) (writing about Steve Eisman)

When the FHFA, a federal agency acting in the names of Fannie and Freddie, causes these foreclosures, homeowners in all states are entitled to minimal due process protections. 
The answer to this question is “yes.”

William F. Harvey Professor of Law, Indiana University The thesis of this article is that, post-conservatorship, a homeowner faced with foreclosure on behalf of Fannie or Freddie is entitled to due process of law before losing her or his home. This means that foreclosures on behalf of Fannie or Freddie may not employ non-judicial foreclosure procedures that do not satisfy due process requirements. This issue has important implications for homeowners because many foreclosures are initiated and conducted improperly, and in non-judicial foreclosure jurisdictions homeowners are at most risk of losing their homes through defective foreclosures, since the usually are not entitled to any hearing before foreclosure, and no court action is required before foreclosure.

1/29/13

Barack Obama, Wall Street co-conspirator

From appointments of Lanny Breuer to Mary Jo White, the president has let big banks off the hook at every turn.

Salon If a Republican was president right now and hadn’t prosecuted a single banker and had appointed a scandal-plagued Wall Street defense lawyer to head the SEC, liberals would be — rightly — screaming bloody murder on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs and on cable television. They wouldn’t be looking for ways to excuse that president from personal culpability, nor would they be looking to claim the situation exemplified anything other than the kind of ugly-but-legal bribery that dominates American politics.

2/28/13

It's a another BAILOUT!

MASSIVE, MASSIVE BAILOUT FOR BANKS COMMITTING MASSIVE CRIMES

Consumer advocates said they were shocked and dismayed when they learned Thursday how some of the credits will be tallied.

USA Today For instance, a bank forgiving $15,000 in principal owed on a $100,000 unpaid balance, the bank would get a $100,000 credit.

If the bank forgave $15,000 in principal on a $500,000 unpaid balance, the bank would get a $500,000 credit, says Bryan Hubbard, OCC spokesman.

The OCC says the terms are meant to drive modifications that best serve borrowers. Really????

New York AG investigating Bank of America for mortgages: filing

Reuters In its annual report filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of America also said it could sustain up to $3.1 billion in legal losses beyond the amount it has reserved. That was up from a possible loss above legal reserves of $2.8 billion at the end of the third quarter.

2/28/13

“Pervasive” Fraud by our “Most Reputable” Banks

The deceit they documented by the firms selling the mortgage loans consisted of claiming that the loans did not have second liens. The lenders knowingly sold mortgages they knew had second liens under the false representations (reps) and warranties that they did not have second liens.

Prof. Bill Black  (The authors confirm the point many of us have been making for years – the banks that fraudulently sold fraudulent mortgages did have “skin in the game” because of their reps and warranties. The key is that the officers who control the banks do not have skin in the game – they can loot the banks they can control and walk away wealthy.

2/28/13

Don’t Take Advice from Banks! It’s All Scripted to Get You in Foreclosure and then Default

Here is a simple example: Imagine your car is stolen and your insurance company cuts you a check for the loss. And then another insurance company cuts you a check for the same loss. In real life this doesn’t happen to insured motorists. But in finance, the loan insurance works exactly that way. So now you have twice the value of the car that was stolen. Suddenly the police call and tell you the car has been found. If you follow the law, you give back the insurance money and take the car back, but that is not what the banks do with your loan. They make sure the car gets buried so they can keep the insurance money which is twice the value of the loan (or ten times the value of the loan). In your case “buried” means foreclosure. It is only through foreclosure that they can demonstrate the claimed loss was real.

Living Lies Another way they get you is with force placed insurance. They get a “notice” from the carrier that the insurance has lapsed and then contrary to law, without notice to you they get insurance that costs three times what you were paying. This raises the payments to a level you can’t pay and then they give you a notice of default that you failed to make your payment, even though the payment they are demanding is wrong. Then they foreclose, give the same advice over the phone to write a hardship letter to the Judge, which admits the debt, note, mortgage and default and then raises the issue of force placed insurance which the average pro se litigant doesn’t really know how to state in a formal pleading. The judge takes the letter to be your answer and with little fanfare enters final judgment for the bank.
2/28/13

Occupy Movement Files Lawsuit Against Every Federal Regulator of Wall Street

The Occupy complaint

Wall Street on Parade Occupy the SEC is serving a valiant public service in bringing this lawsuit. It explains to the court that one of the most critical components of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that was supposed to reform Wall Street has yet to be enacted by the regulators and this is in violation of law. The key component is the Volcker Rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, that would prohibit most forms of trading for the house on Wall Street, known officially as proprietary trading. 

2/28/13

Foreclosure Files Detail Error Gap

There were other enticements for reviewers to work quickly.

Promontory's workers were offered incentives that encouraged speed, such as gift cards of as much as $500 for completing certain number of files quickly, said one reviewer.

WSJ One of these employees said that at an event last year known in the Brooklyn office as "March Madness," Deloitte officials encouraged reviewers to avoid problematic loans originated by EMC Mortgage, a troubled mortgage lender J.P. Morgan acquired in 2008.
A Deloitte spokesman said that "because of confidentiality constraints, we are not at liberty to discuss details of the engagement. We fully stand behind the quality of our work." Deloitte had a team solely devoted to reviewing EMC loans and the consultant did not impose any quotas, said another person familiar with the review.

2/28/13

Report Lays Out Plan to Reduce Government Role in Home Financing

Can the American mortgage market ever function again without Uncle Sam guaranteeing that lenders will be repaid?

NY Times The government now backs about 90 percent of new home mortgages. A new report outlines a plan for getting the private sector more involved.

The group thinks investors will not be willing to finance enough mortgages — particularly 30-year fixed-rate loans — without a government guarantee.

2/28/13

Regulators and 13 Banks Complete $9.3 Billion Deal for Foreclosure Relief

Federal banking regulators have reached a $9.3 billion pact with 13 major lenders to settle claims of foreclosure abuses like bungled loan modification and flawed paperwork.

DealBook By halting the review with only a sliver of the loans reviewed for problems, federal regulators don’t have a complete picture of the extent of the abuse. As a result, consumer groups have argued, borrowers harmed by shoddy practices could still receive less money than they deserve.

12/22/12

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t recover:

The Lie that Prosecuting Bank Fraud Will Destabilize the Economy Is What Is REALLY Destroying the Economy

The main driver of economic growth is a strong rule of law.

Washington Blog The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.

I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.

2/28/13

Unfair Debt Collection Class Action Victory

On August 11, 2009, the district court issued a self-described “landmark ruling,”
holding that “robo-signing” affidavits in debt-collection actions violates the FDCPA.
The court found the affidavit to be false and misleading under the FDCPA due to the
false attestation of personal knowledge.

As it turns out, Midland employees had been
signing between 200 and 400 computer-generated affidavits per day for use in debt collection actions, without personal knowledge of the accounts.

NCLC

 

The district court certified the class and approved the settlement. Eight
objectors-appellants objected to the settlement, arguing that the settlement was unfair, unreasonable, and inadequate, that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the nationwide settlement class, and that the notice to prospective class members did not satisfy due process. 

For the following reasons, we REVERSE the district court’s order
approving the settlement, VACATE the judgment certifying the nationwide settlement class and the award of attorney fees, and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

2/28/13

Correcting Foreclosure Practices

As part of April 2011 consent orders, federal regulators required servicers to engage independent firms to conduct a multi-faceted review of foreclosure actions in process in 2009 and 2010. That initiative included a process for eligible borrowers to request a review of their foreclosure if they believe they suffered financial injury as a result of errors on a foreclosure of their primary residence that was in process at any point in 2009 or 2010.

(Contains many links to more info and documents)

OCC For servicers whose Independent Foreclosure Review continues, the consultants will use the framework to recommend remediation for financial injury identified during the Independent Foreclosure Review. The servicers will prepare remediation plans based on the consultants’ recommendations. The federal banking regulators must approve each servicer’s remediation plan. The framework helps ensure that similarly situated borrowers receive similar treatment.
Civil Rights

Class action

Mortgage Securitization Discrimination Litigation

The suit claims that the Defendant violated federal and state housing and anti-discrimination laws by adopting mortgage securitization policies that caused predatory lending and adversely impacted African Americans.

Adkins v. Morgan Stanley

NCLC It is the first case where a prospective class of affected homeowners victimized by subprime lending abuses has directly sued an investment bank by linking civil rights and consumer laws. It is also the first lawsuit to connect racial discrimination to the securitization of mortgage-backed securities. 

Analyzing Recorded Documents

HOFJ This workshop will explain non-judicial state foreclosure documents and how to analyze them so you can use the other foreclosure defense strategies more effectively.

2/28/13

Homeowners: Real Estate Site Lists False Foreclosures

For a homeowner who says she has never missed a mortgage payment, the word "foreclosure” listed next to her Sycamore home shocked Kristin Miller.

NBC Chicago "It is not in foreclosure at this time nor has it ever been at the point of foreclosure," she said.
How does it happen? Zillow gets its information from public records, and public records are notoriously inaccurate. That much explains why the company's home value estimates are sometimes way off. But how does something as specific -- and potentially damaging -- as a foreclosure get into the system?
2/28/13

California Counties Consider Boosting Land Document Recording Fees To Fund Prosecutions Of Deed Theft

Twenty-two counties in the state, including San Diego, charge filing fees to maintain real estate prosecution funds, based on an October report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Home Equity Theft Reporter The assessor’s office is studying that possibility in light of a new state law that aims to help counties, especially those hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, catch up on backlogs of housing-fraud cases.

Affected documents include notices of default, which signal the start of the foreclosure process, and trustee deeds, which are filed when a foreclosure is completed.

2/28/13

OCC Offers Lame Defense of Failure of Litigate as More Proof Emerges of its Abject Failure to Supervise Foreclosure Reviews

Elizabeth Warren’s opening salvo in the Senate Banking Committee, when she asked assembled top officers from various banking regulators when they had last litigated a case against a financial firm, drew blank stares.

naked capitalism A second issue Curry tries to finesse is that the largest consent order his office ever entered into was never serious to begin with. As we and others recounted at some length, the consent orders issued by the OCC in April 2011 against 14 servicers were simply a ploy to derail the state/Federal mortgage settlement talks underway.

2/28/13

Occupy the SEC, Frustrated With Regulatory Defiance of Volcker Rule Implementation Requirements, Sues Fed, SEC, CFTC, FDIC and Treasury

 

Occupy the SEC Volcker Rule Lawsuit

naked capitalism Occupy the SEC has filed suit in the Eastern District of New York over the failure of the relevant financial regulators to issue a Final Rulemaking as stipulated in Dodd Frank.

If you read the claim, you’ll see that the various regulators were given specific dates as to when to complete the rulemaking. Not only are the out of compliance, they appear to have no intent of finalizing the Volcker Rule.

Requirements for reporting and inquiry with respect to missing, lost, counterfeit or stolen securities.

SEC 17 CFR 240.17f-1: 3. Counterfeit Securities. Every reporting institution shall report the discovery of any counterfeit securities certificate to the Commission or its designee, to a registered transfer agent for the issue, and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation within one business day of such discovery.

2/28/13

Sandy Victims Face Relocating, Repairs and Now ... Foreclosure

They lived in one house and rented out the other. The family hadn't planned on evacuating for Sandy until they saw water flowing into their neighborhood from the beach.

Laurie says they could no longer afford their mortgage after the family lost the $1,100 a month their tenants had been paying in rent.

WNYC News Bank of America has allowed the family to postpone their mortgage payments for six months, but Laurie says that has not stopped the harassing phone calls and letters that threaten foreclosure and the sale of the property

Late last week one of their homes was padlocked. 

2/27/13

20-years later, and the mortgage industry is still operating the same criminal theft of property scam.

Homeowners say they've made their mortgage payments, but the company is foreclosing anyway.

Target 11 investigates mortgage company with ‘F’ rating (OCWEN)

A local man is facing a mortgage mess. He paid cold hard cash for his house, but the lending company is still foreclosing. 

WPXI I did some digging and discovered hundreds of similar complaints against Ocwen Loan Servicing. Last fall, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about the company. 

"Are they having problems where they're making payments and their payments are not being credited?" I asked. "Yes, that's a frequent complaint I've received," said Eric Lechtizin, an attorney with Berter & Montague in Philadelphia.

2/27/13

The Perils of Payoff

Borrower Beware: Don’t Payoff Without Tender of REAL Original Note

Bank of America's lawyer understands that even if they pay the father $5 million or more, they are still saving the client (a) the $60 million payback to insurers who already paid and (b) the prospect of facing a lot more of these lawsuits from people who have the money and the right fact pattern to prosecute the case. 

Living Lies ...(a) has no right to the money and (b) has no authority to execute a satisfaction of the note and mortgage even upon receipt of the money. And the reason is that in most cases they don’t have the note, which means it is still in circulation somewhere supporting as much as 42 times the face value of the note in hedges and derivatives. When confronted with a payoff of the loan, the institution is more than happy to take your money but will lie and cheat to avoid providing you with a real non-photo-shopped original note.

2/27/13

White Paper

Secret Creditor Reports, Overdraft Fees and the New Unbanked: The Perfect Storm

 

The 'Other' Credit Report: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Credit Slips Did you know you have another type of credit report, something just as powerful as a traditional credit report? Your “other” credit report is an account screening report used by financial institutions to assess risk in their account opening processes. While technically not a credit report, this report can have just as much impact as a credit report and can result in denial of access to bank accounts and much higher costs for your everyday banking services. The problem? Most of us don’t even know this other credit report exists.
2/27/13

Does the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act Cover Mortgage Servicers?

 

Read the oral argument preview of this case here.

Legally Speaking Ohio Anderson raised allegations of misconduct against HomEq, including a failure to apply her payments in the manner required by her note and mortgage, failure to account for some of her payments, and failure to accurately respond to repeated inquiries about her mortgage loan. The federal judge in the case concluded that there was no controlling precedent on whether the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act applies to stand-alone “mortgage servicers” such as HomEq and certified the questions to the Supreme Court of Ohio to resolve the issue.
2/27/13

City of St. Louis passes new foreclosure ordinance

The City of St. Louis has passed a new ordinance in an effort to prevent foreclosures.

United States Arbitration and Mediation Midwest Inc. will handle mediations and try to contact the homeowners three times over 15 days. If the homeowner is not reached, the foreclosure process will continue.

KSDK "Home foreclosures present dangers to the health, safety and welfare of the public, thereby creating a public nuisance. They hurt property values and interfere with the collection of real property taxes. It's a serious concern, which municipal government cannot ignore," Mayor Francis Slay said.

The homeowner will be allowed to stay in the home if an agreement is reached with the lender.  (How are you going to get any bank to prove it is the lender???)

Kentucky County Clerks Cannot Sue MERS for Failure To Record Mortgage Assignments, Sixth Circuit Rules

Ballard Spar In Christian County Clerk v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., the Sixth Circuit agreed with the district court’s finding that the clerks’ allegation of injury to their financial interests provided Article III standing to bring the lawsuit. But the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the lawsuit because the clerks had no private right of action to sue MERS for a violation of Kentucky’s recording requirements
2/27/13

Supreme Court Decides 2 Securities Fraud Cases

The question,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the court, “is whether the five-year clock begins to tick when the fraud is complete or when the fraud is discovered.

NY Times In a pair of securities fraud decisions issued Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled for investors seeking to band together in a class-action lawsuit and imposed a strict time limit on some suits filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
2/27/13

Orlando Senator files four foreclosure bills, calling Florida's No. 1 ranking 'shameful'

Miami Herald The bills would provide taxpayer support for people who are on the verge of foreclosure, make it more difficult for banks to sue homeowners for additional debt after a foreclosure and crack down on lenders who use false documents in court.
2/27/13

Florida courts appear to be working with The Banks to ignore their crimes and reward them with judgments.


HAVE FLORIDA’S COURTS DECLARED WAR AGAINST FORECLOSURE DEFENSE?

It’s quite incredible to read on order that cites case law from different states…especially when there’s a real deep body of case law from right here in the circuit. 

Matt Weidner, Esq. Terrifying times.

(And to those who want to see the order and who want more specifics out of me, remember, I have suffered formal prosecution for daring to exercise my First Amendment rights and threatened with more punishment after being reminded that “there are limits on an attorney’s First Amendment rights” …huh? to this day, I still shake my head at that. I have a very fine line to navigate here on this blog…I frankly think that my only real security is that if they really came after me, I’d really unload and that I’d be far more dangerous if they turned me out and made a real martyr out of me…so they let me dance on this fine line, where I’m too vague to cause real damage…….for now)

2/27/13

Nevada judge tosses 'robosigning' case 

Masto accused of prosecutorial misconduct

“This case was announced as a groundbreaking robosigning case,” Heuston said. “The judge found there was no robosigning whatsoever.”

AP A Nevada judge has gutted a marquee criminal complaint filed in 2011 against two mortgage lending company employees, ruling that state prosecutors improperly presented information to a grand jury to obtain an indictment in what they called a massive mortgage fraud “robosigning” scheme.

Masto said she was considering whether to ask another grand jury to refile criminal charges.

Assignment of Mortgage Does Not Give Bank Standing

LINDSEY v. WELLS FARGO

AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS OF SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2007-OPT1

DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL FIRST DISTRICT; STATE OF FLORIDA Here, Wells Fargo filed a document showing that the mortgage was assigned to it by Option One. The document did not, however, assign the note.
2/26/13

U.S. Bank v. Unknown Heirs

U.S. Bank barred by res judicata/ Dismissal with prejudice Affirmed

Record shows no reason why a suit by U.S. Bank is less frivolous.

U.S. Bank's assertion is suspect. The record on appeal does not contain any of the
pleadings from No. 09-CH-28. As such, this court will not attempt to explain what U.S.
Bank contends is inexplicable. 

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS
FIFTH DISTRICT
Defendants moved to dismiss. U.S. Bank failed to appear for a hearing, and the trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice. U.S. Bank filed a motion to vacate, which the court denied. Defendants filed a motion for attorney fees and costs. U.S. Bank filed a notice of appeal, but the original appeal was dismissed. The trial court granted defendants' motion for attorney fees. U.S. Bank filed another notice of appeal.
2/26/13

Wall Street bonuses rise 8% for 2012 but industry warns of looming layoffs


Profits are rebounding, New York state comptroller says, but securities industry is still poised to lay off thousands of workers

Guardian UK Wall Street bonuses totaled $20bn in 2012 as the financial industry's profits tripled in a year, despite layoffs and dire predictions for the future.

As public outrage over high Wall Street pay subsides, the securities industry is increasing its payout, according to a report released on Tuesday by New York state comptroller 
2/26/13

Big Banks Win, Taxpayers Lose as Fannie Insurance Overhaul Spiked

As the overseer of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has a duty to safeguard taxpayer dollars. But the regulator may have done just the opposite earlier this month.

Mortgage Servicing News The FHFA's decision left plan supporters and others at a loss for an explanation save one—that the FHFA buckled under pressure from insurers and bankers, protecting controversial business practices that have drawn the ire of state insurance officials and consumer advocates alike.

"Incompetence or corruption. It's got to be one or the other," said Robert Hunter, a consumer advocate and former Texas insurance commissioner whose opinions dovetail with those of people closer to Fannie.
2/26/13

Wingspan acquires JPMorgan Chase default operation

The residential mortgage servicing company has seen its revenue grow 400 percent in the past year and continues to add to its employee base. Wingspan helps financial organizations comply with increased regulations and workload tied to the mortgage crisis.

Dallas Business Journal "The larger institutions hired people to meet the turmoil," Horne said. "They have to reduce their workforce, but don't want to lose that capacity. This gave them the opportunity to offload the site and employees, while retaining services this site provides."
2/26/13

Homeowner Who Filed Fraudulent Mortgage Lien Release Gets 37 Months In Federal Prison

SCHERZ has previously served a 70-month federal term of imprisonment for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme in Florida in the 1990s.

Home Equity Theft Reporter In April 2008, SCHERZ created a fraudulent release of mortgage on the property stating that the lender, a fictitious company SCHERZ created, had received full payment of the loan. SCHERZ subsequently filed the fraudulent release of mortgage. 
2/26/13

Pro Bono Law Firm Files 13th Lawsuit On Behalf Of Homeowners Allegedly Screwed Over By Loan Modification Rackets

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and pro bono counsel King & Spalding filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, against a purported loan modification company and other individuals.
2/26/13

Jack Lew’s Grotesque Citi Employment Deal and the Institutionalization of Corruption

naked capitalism Corruption has now become so routine in Washington that improprieties far worse than Turbo Timmie’s implausible failure to pay taxes on income from his days working as a consultant to the World Bank barely evoke a yawn from the media.

U.S. appeals court voids Encore robo-signing settlement

Reuters A federal appeals court on Tuesday voided a controversial $5.2 million settlement intended to resolve allegations that Encore Capital Group Inc used false affidavits and other illegal tactics to collect debts from 1.44 million consumers.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said U.S. District Judge David Katz abused his discretion in August 2011 when he approved the settlement with Encore and its Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management units as "fair, reasonable and adequate," and certified a nationwide settlement class.
2/26/13

Housing Smoke And Mirrors

with charts

Key Signals The consensus opinion on the US Housing Market is that it is in recovery mode. Closer analysis of the data reveals that this recovery is artificial; and that the tools that made the recovery have built in a self-destruct mechanism.

2/26/13

Quelle Surprise! Having No Idea What Really Happened in Foreclosure Reviews, OCC Parrots “Independent” Consultant Howlers

So with this recap, get a load of the latest effort at damage control by the OCC, via the Financial Times:

Leading US banks accused of breaking government rules when seizing the homes of delinquent customers may have harmed as few as 4.2 per cent of borrowers. WHAT???

This was a garbage-in, garbage out process. It’s not even clear what these reviews consisted of.

naked capitalism For instance, at Wells Fargo, a whistleblower described how virtually all review requests were rejected. But for this purpose, it would no doubt be counted as a legitimate “no harm” finding. Here’s a few highlights from a post by Martin Andelman to show how rigged the process is:

I have found errors that should be moved up through the ranks, but am told “quit digging so deep”…”put your shovel away”…Focus on the questions “in scope”… The review forms are set up so no harm could ever be found. It’s equivalent of an attorney presenting his case to a judge with just 20% of the evidence.”

2/25/13

State Supremes: Failure To Include "Unofficial Witness" On Georgia Mortgage Sinks Bankster In Homeowner's Bankruptcy Where Trustee Successfully Voided Lender's Lien

Wells Fargo appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which certified two questions to the Georgia Supreme Court: 

Wells Fargo v. Gordon

Home Equity Theft Reporter (1) whether a security deed that lacks the signature of an unofficial witness should be considered "duly filed, recorded, and indexed" as required by OCGA 44-14-33; and (2) if no, whether such a situation would nonetheless put a subsequent hypothetical bona fide purchaser on inquiry notice.(2)

Upon review, the Supreme Court answered both certified questions in the negative.(

2/25/13

BANKRUPTCY “STRONG ARM” POWERS: BYE BYE MORTGAGE

Kebe provides a classic example of the exercise of bankruptcy “strong arm” powers. Based on a defective notarization, the lien of a mortgage was avoided, and the bankruptcy court left open the possibility that the value of the lien could be recovered from the mortgagee in the future. Not a happy prospect.

Rhiel v. Central Mortgage Co. (In re Kebe)

Home Equity Theft Reporter Kebe is one of a long string of cases that finds that defective or improper notarization of a mortgage results in the mortgage being treated as unrecorded under Ohio law. In this case the mortgage was properly executed by the mortgagors, but the notary failed to insert the name of the mortgagors so that the acknowledgement block read “This instrument was acknowledged before me this 20th of September, 2004 by ________.”

This case illustrates that formalities can really matter. There is certainly room to litigate various issues, including how to value the grant of the mortgage lien, but no lender will want to find itself in this position in the first place.

2/25/13

New robo-signing brief: Misconduct by AG Masto's office could 'seriously damage public confidence' in that office

Nevada Journal New evidence bearing on allegations that Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and her top deputies engaged in repeated and systemic prosecutorial misconduct to indict two Lender Processing Services employees is scheduled to go before Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court today.
2/25/13

Big Bank Welfare Queens Unprofitable Without Government Subsidies, So Why Don’t We Regulate Them Like Utilities?

naked capitalism Quite a few readers excitedly sent a link to a Bloomberg editorial, “Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?” which summarizes a study by Kenichi Ueda of the International Monetary Fund and Beatrice Weder di Mauro of the University of Mainz that the editors used to extrapolate that the five biggest US banks are “barely profitable” if they weren’t able to borrow at artificially cheap rates thanks to the market perception that they are too big too fail.
2/25/13

Illegal California Real Estate Fees Costing Consumers

One way consumers may be charged more than they should be is in their insurance. California insurance companies must complete a Filed Rate Doctrine, in which they set out what rates they will charge.

Lawyers & Settlements If a customer is charged more than the rate filled out on the doctrine - or if they are charged for a service not included on the doctrine - the customer is being overcharged, and the insurance company could be in violation of insurance regulations. Consumers who were overcharged on their insurance may be able to file a lawsuit to recover the overcharges.
 

Land Grab Cheats North Dakota Tribes Out of $1 Billion, Suits Allege

...that last-resort land turns out to hold a wealth of oil, because it sits on the Bakken Shale, widely believed to be one of the world's largest deposits of crude.

ProPublica Native Americans on an oil-rich North Dakota reservation have been cheated out of more than $1 billion by schemes to buy drilling rights for lowball prices, a flurry of recent lawsuits assert. And, the suits claim, the federal government facilitated the alleged swindle by failing in its legal obligation to ensure the tribes got a fair deal.

2/25/13

Ohio Supreme Court Takes the Lead in Setting Rules For Examination of Bank's Paperwork

Recently, the Court expanded the reach of Schwartzwald by accepting jurisdiction to hear, and by remanding, a case to the Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision in favor of the foreclosing bank, indicating that the bank's paperwork may not have been sufficient to meet the Schwartzwald standard.

Mcgookey Law In essence, these rules stand for the proposition that the persons offering the evidence must demonstrate that they in fact know what they're talking about. Without question, this elemental concept has been overlooked hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times by courts nationwide when it came to judging the adequacy of banks' paperwork in foreclosure cases. No doubt this phenomena was due at least in part by the courts' tendency to naturally assume the banks had their act together (what do they say about assuming?), a predilection exacerbated by desire to clear their crowded dockets of messy foreclosure cases.

2/24/13

The recession was her fault


Meet Wall Street's scapegoat, the one person to get jail time for the most massive mortgage fraud in history.

The state and federal charges against Brown claim that she committed a conspiracy to forge and fabricate mortgage documents. But apparently it was a conspiracy of one. Nobody else participated in this scheme, at least according to the statements of fact that the Justice Department put out. They assert that Brown cleverly concealed her company’s conduct from mortgage servicers, units of some of the largest banks.

That’s simply bunk.

David Dayen

Salon

Brown’s DocX wasn’t the only forgery and fabrication shop in the United States. This was industry practice.

Furthermore, evidence of the DocX forgery and fabrication process could be used to reach even higher. Who directly solicited the company for fake documents? The foreclosure mill law firms, which then knowingly submitted them into courts. Who directed the foreclosure mills to do that? The mortgage servicers, which are typically units of the biggest banks. Furthermore, there’s no reason to ever request the “entire collateral file” unless you have no other way to generate evidence to prove underlying ownership of the loan. This speaks to a faulty mortgage transfer process, improper securitizations, and generally fraudulent practices at the heart of Wall Street.
2/24/13

What Mortgage Relief?

A year ago, when the nation’s biggest banks settled with state and federal officials over claims of foreclosure abuses, the public was led to believe that the deal would allow millions of hard-pressed borrowers to escape the threat of foreclosure. It still hasn’t happened.

Housing advocates say that in many cases, banks are not helping with troubled primary mortgages, which often leaves the homeowners facing foreclosure. Instead, the banks are forgiving the second mortgages, which allows them to say that they have met their obligations under the settlement.

NY Times In other words, banks are structuring the debt relief in ways designed to tidy up their balance sheets, rather than to keep as many people from losing their homes as possible. Banks often do not own the primary mortgages; they only service them for investors who own them. But they do often hold second liens on their books. In general, the holder of a second lien gets nothing when a home is worth less than the mortgage balance or is sold in foreclosure. But by forgiving the second liens, the bank at least gets credit for “helping” the borrower.

Multi-part investigation BORROWERS BETRAYED:

and

Mortgage regulator's resignation sought

''I am outraged by the facts presented in today's Miami Herald article on mortgage broker licensing,'' Sink said in a statement Sunday afternoon. She added: ''Floridians depend on the state to protect them from criminals, and it is inexcusable that state regulators were asleep at the switch.''

Miami Herald Florida's chief financial officer called for the state's top mortgage regulator, Don Saxon, to resign after a Miami Herald report that his agency issued licenses to thousands of people with criminal histories -- many of whom went on to steal millions from borrowers and banks.

The Miami Herald found that people with criminal records who entered the industry committed nearly $85 million in mortgage fraud. ''Certainly we are not proud of the fact these people have gone on to do bad things,'' Saxon said.

Rendered 4/12

U.S. Bank v. Moore

A party which is assigned a mortgage without the accompanying promissory note holds no rights of enforcement. Id. Plainly, a party must properly acquire rights to both instruments before such party is able to enforce their terms.

THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA Unless the Appellee was able to enforce the Note at the time the suit was commenced, it cannot maintain its foreclosure action
against the Appellants.

In the present case, the only instrument attached to Appellee's petition was the Mortgage. Appellee did not produce the Note until the summary disposition stage.

2/23/13

 

Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States

Major banks have quickly become behind-the-scenes allies of Internet-based payday lenders that offer short-term loans with interest rates sometimes exceeding 500 percent.

Some state and federal authorities say the banks’ role in enabling the lenders has frustrated government efforts to shield people from predatory loans

NY Times Ivy Brodsky, 37, thought she had figured out a way to stop six payday lenders from taking money from her account when she visited her Chase branch in Brighton Beach in Brooklyn in March to close it. But Chase kept the account open and between April and May, the six Internet lenders tried to withdraw money from Ms. Brodsky’s account 55 times, according to bank records 
2/23/13

 

Banks Don’t Think Losing Your House Is Enough

Typically, government action “on behalf” of people going into foreclosure, has resulted in some money for the government but no actual relief for the people the government claimed to care about.

 

Last Resistance The onus was on them to qualify the loans and require necessary documents...and offer something other than fraudulent, made to fail loans. While they have been made richer for the bubble they created by design and the fraudulent acts they committed; the dupes they defrauded did lose everything including their credit and in some cases cannot even rent a property from the banks or Chinese or whomever was sold their home for pennies on the dollar.

Lender Processing Services Execs Sued Over Robosigning Defense Fees

Shareholder Steven Hill claims in a complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court that while Florida-based LPS has borne the high cost of resolving litigation over the business practices of subsidiaries LPS Default Solutions and DocX, including a recently announced $127 million settlement.

4closureFraud Lender Processing Services Inc. directors were hit with a shareholder derivative suit Tuesday alleging their failure to go after higher-ups responsible for the “robosigning” of foreclosure documents and other faulty practices left the mortgage servicer on the hook for hefty legal expenses.

2/23/13

EMERGENCY NOTICE: 


New Century Mortgage Trustee 
Motions to Destroy Mortgage Files


ATTENTION ALL NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE HOMEOWNERS AND FORECLOSURE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS:

Deadly Clear It is so immediate that respondents have only until February 28, 2013 to answer! Apparently, another ministerial act to eliminate evidence that New Century Mortgage failed to timely assign mortgage loans to securitized trusts. Thousands (if not millions) of New Century Mortgage loans have fraudulent assignments filed in state recordation offices across the United States – and a lot of unknowing homeowners have clouded titles that with the destruction of their files – they may never be able to sort out the truth.

2/22/13

Blaming the Judge

Homeowners need lawyers to represent them in court. The old days of pro se victories are coming to a close.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

Instead of blaming the judge for an unfavorable result you should prepare your own case and make sure your points are kept in issue by proper objections that are timely made and adequately explained and by avoiding tacit admissions when they agree to the authenticity of a document that probably is not authentic.

2/22/13

Foreclosure sales: Potential bargains can carry big risks

For its part, Fannie Mae acknowledged the difficulties it encounters with foreclosed properties.

In this case, outstanding title issues prevented us from being able to convey insurable title,” Fannie Mae said.

Washington Post Scheirer has had first-hand experience with the many problems that confront people trying to buy foreclosures. Indeed, purchasing a bank-owned house can be an enormously frustrating experience, marked by unreturned phone calls, unforeseen tax bills, unexpected repair jobs, undisclosed title disputes, liens and legal obstacles.
2/13/13

Defense attorneys say judges wrongly allow 'robo-witnesses'

dbr South Florida foreclosure defense attorneys object to the breadth of records introduced in foreclosure trials by business custodians of record, dubbing them "robo-witnesses."

2/22/13

Study confirms widespread mortgage fraud

Currently, more than 70 percent of mortgages are backed by the government GUARANTEE. (Taxpayers)

CBS News While the data cannot establish how blatant the fraud was or how it was motivated, other research and insider accounts show that fraud was endemic among mortgage lenders in the years leading up the housing crash. And it wasn't a case of a single bad company -- the authors studied major companies and found similar results for all originators across the board.

"We didn't find out this is the only the problem of a few bad apples. That would be kind of good news," Piskorski said. "This is a really pervasive problem, and every single institution in the data misrepresented mortgages."
2/22/13

Meet the Voice of Angry Homeowners

Senka's own blog offered compelling insights into the corruption at the heart of the foreclosure scandal until, mysteriously, it was suspended on Jan. 15, 2013 for "violation of Blog.com's Terms of Service."

Huff Post No further explanation offered and when Senka requested clarification the silence was deafening. What egregious violation did Senka commit? One can only leave that to the imagination but in the meantime she's also taken to the airways with a weekly blogtalkradio program -- Foreclosure Fraud and Its Survivors -- which she started in October of 2012

2/22/13

Illinois Supreme Court issues rules on foreclosures

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT NEW RULES

SJ-R Lenders will have to provide an affidavit showing all the programs that were offered to individual borrowers to help them avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosures in Illinois at times can last almost two years. The new rules aren't expected to shorten that timeframe.
2/22/13

Zombie foreclosures: Borrowers hit with debts that won't die

Borrowers are discovering that their foreclosed homes are coming back to haunt them -- long after they have moved out.

CNN Money In these "zombie foreclosures," borrowers move out after their bank schedules a foreclosure auction only to learn months or years later that the auction never took place or the bank never transferred the deed. That means the borrower still technically owns the house and is on the hook for property taxes, fees and homeowners' association dues.

2/22/13

Bank fined $235,000 in Prov foreclosure


BNY Mellon a no-show in court six times

Fox Providence “A fine of $150,000 is imposed against Bank of NY Mellon for its repeated disregard of a duly served subpoena and of numerous court orders,” Elorza wrote in a court order on Jan. 29. “The court shall issue a body attachment for Bank of NY Mellon’s chief executive once it determined whom the appropriate person is.”

Elorza had previously issued fines of $75,000 and $10,000 against the bank. Bank of New York Mellon did not respond to a request for comment. The judge has also fined Deutsche Bank and Bank of America $85,000 apiece. 
2/22/13

Slimin’ Jamie Dimon’s Scheming to Stick the FDIC with WaMu Losses

naked capitalism We’ve been told that in the next few weeks, JP Morgan is about to enter into a settlement with Deutsche Bank regarding…hold your breath….the liabilities it insists sit with the FDIC. I’m not making this up (the source is legally savvy). I’m not even sure how you paper up something which is so clearly nonsensical.

2/22/13

 

Despite Aid, Borrowers Still Face Foreclosure

When a single mother, received a letter from Bank of America in July alerting her that it was forgiving her second mortgage of about $115,000, she said she was elated. Ms. Rivera said she thought the assistance would save the home in Queens she shares with her two children.

But that hope, she said, was dashed when she learned a month later that Bank of America was foreclosing on her because of her troubled first mortgage.

NY Times Even though addressing second mortgages does offer some relief to homeowners, in a troubling number of instances the banks are not providing any help with the first mortgage, the housing advocates said. That leaves the homeowners still in jeopardy of losing their homes, while giving banks credit for restructuring loans or wiping out debt under the settlement.

The second mortgage forgiveness is basically a loophole, which allows the banks to continue foreclosures unabated,” said Elizabeth M. Lynch, a lawyer at MFY Legal Services in New York.

2/22/13

Detroit Anti-Eviction Campaign Keeping Families in Their Homes


Community groups and Occupy Detroit using "any means necessary" to save homes from foreclosure


Watch full multipart Occupy

The Real News In Detroit, Michigan, the city many consider the epicenter of the nation's subprime and foreclosure crisis, banks continue to evict residents from their homes at an alarming pace. But over the past year, a growing grassroots movement has blocked evictions and kept families in their homes.

Now some of those helped by the movement are taking the reins of its leadership.
2/21/13

Banks find way to benefit from robo-signing scandal

Big banks are finding a way to benefit from what was supposed to be their punishment in the robo-signing scandal.

Tampa Bay Times "This is providing very little actual relief to consumers," St. Petersburg foreclosure attorney Matt Weidner said. "It's not keeping people in Florida in their homes. It's writing off phantom debt (banks) weren't collecting anyway."

"Every time there is a settlement and not a trial," she said last week, "it means we didn't have the days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions were up to." Warren said.

2/21/13

New Whistleblower Describes How Bank of America Flagrantly Violates Dual Tracking, Single Point of Contact Requirements in State/Federal Mortgage Settlement

According to the report of an employee who worked in the servicing area in 2011 and 2012, Bank of America has flagrantly violated its 2012 consent order with 49 state attorneys general, the Department of Justice, HUD, the Fed, Treasury, and other agencies. And one reason why may be that it is on schedule with its plans to have disposed of the servicing of virtually all Countrywide loans by the end of March. Perhaps it figured no one would be able to identify and charge it for these abuses before it handed the loans off.

naked capitalism Specifically, that agreement provided for strict limits on one practice, dual tracking, and the creation of a new one, single point of contact. Both relate to mortgage modifications. Dual tracking is when a bank starts and continues to advance the foreclosure process at the same time a borrower is being considered for a modification. That play out badly for a lot of borrowers during HAMP mods, when they would receive foreclosure notices, get understandably freaked out, since they had a modification application in with their servicer, and would typically be told to ignore the foreclosure mortgages. That was bad, and perhaps deliberately duplicitous advice, since many people lost their homes that way.
2/21/13

Overwhelmed Wayne County ignores thousands of possible Detroit foreclosures

Treasurer took no action on 40,000 delinquent Detroit properties in '12

Detroit News Wayne County is ignoring thousands of properties that should be foreclosed, inaction that may be in violation of state law and could encourage squatting, scrapping and speculation.
2/21/13

Heir to Highland home sues reverse mortgage company over property destruction

Madison-St. Clair Record Sixteen days prior to the date Rogers was legally required to surrender the property, she says two people acting on behalf of RMS and National Field Network went on to the property without permission and drilled out the lock on the front door. She says the workers “removed and disposed of numerous valuable items, decimated the home and left the contents not removed from the home in a state of ruin.” Rogers claims many of the items taken from the home have never been returned.
2/21/13

A Coruña Firefighters Prevent Eviction Of 86-Year-Old Aurelia Rey

Huff Post

Spain

The Spanish city's firefighters refused to kick in Aurelia Rey's door after activists and supporters had rallied near her home to prevent the eviction. The firefighters were later seen supporting a sign saying "Stop Evictions" from their truck.

2/21/13

Bloomberg Terminal Iceberg – Tortious Interference?


A couple of weeks ago forensic auditors and attorneys ran into the Bloomberg Terminal iceberg when Bloomberg Terminal (a securities stock searching software program) locked them out of the loan finding program [LFND]). 

Deadly Clear Without warning Bloomberg Terminal shutdown access to the loan searching program that had been used by numerous companies to research securitized trusts and the loans within in them. 
It appears too many loans had been found in trusts when the servicers were claiming ownership. 
What better way to stop the truth than to try to sink the ship?

2/21/13

HOME RECORDS LOST 

Company avoids document fees

Over the course of several years, they learned that Wells Fargo was no longer the owner of the mortgage note. It had passed on to another bank, but no one could tell the Campbells which bank.

That sparked the question they still don't have an answer for: What bank were they paying?

The Sunday Sun As a result of loans frequently changing hands and a lack of record keeping, many homeowners who had continued to send payments to their mortgage servicers. the middle-man between the homeowner and the owner of the loan received foreclosure notices and could not track down the loan owner.

The record keeping in this private MERS database is so poor that no one knows who owns the note," Ms. Rister said.
2/21/13

Look Out for Secret Charges on Your Credit Card Bill

We’ve heard about secret little charges being slipped into your phone bills, but now comes word that your credit card bills are being targeted, too.

Consumer Warning Network

ABC News

That prompted the Federal Trade Commission to issue a Consumer Alert. They call these mystery charges that appear on your bill “cramming,” and they can really add up, if you don’t catch them. ABC News Reporter Cecelia Vega filed this report on what you should look out for. Click here to watch.

2007

 case

CitiFinancial Mortgage Company v. Frasure/Fleming

It is undisputed that CitiFinancial has not produced the original loan agreements for Loans 1, 2, and 3. Thus, in order to meet the first element of its claim for breach of such agreements, CitiFinancial must show that the copies of the loans seeking to be enforced, which are contained at Exhibits 1-3 to the Barbone Affidavit, are enforceable as originals.

The parties are hereby ORDERED to attend a mandatory settlement conference

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma Further, the Court is not impressed with CitiFinancial/Associates' lending practices, collection practices, and record-keeping practices with respect to these three loans. Questions of fact abound in this case regarding the terms of the loans, whether Defendants actually breached the loans, and the events forming the basis of certain counterclaims. CitiFinancial's statements of "undisputed" facts resulted in an incomplete account of what actually occurred in this case. Some of these "undisputed" facts even appear to be contradicted by CitiFinancial's own documents that were produced by Defendants.

2/20/13

U.S. DOJ probing JPMorgan over Bear Stearns mortgage products

The investigation, which is in early stages, shows that enforcement authorities are still actively building cases amid criticism that institutions have not adequately been held to account for their role in causing the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Reuters Bear Stearns hired Mortgage Data Management Corp to review a sample of loans in a 2006 mortgage securitization, according to a case filed against JPMorgan last year by bond insurer MBIA Inc (MBI).
Reviewers concluded that around one-third of the loans had serious credit and compliance problems, the lawsuit said.
But Bear Stearns altered the electronic spreadsheets to conceal the problems, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Bear Stearns removed 50 columns of information from the spreadsheet that showed the issues and then sent the altered report to MBIA, the lawsuit said.
2/20/13

Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?

Bloomberg So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?

Granted, it’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s also crucial to understanding why the big banks present such a threat to the global economy.

2/20/13

Hotline set up for improper foreclosures

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office has announced a hotline and a website for people who believe they were financially harmed by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Lender Processing Services, or its subsidiaries, LPS Default Solutions and DocX.

cjonline The review will look at documents executed from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2010.

People who think LPS may have handled their mortgage incorrectly can call (866) 854-8935 or visit www.lpsvcs.com. Don Brown, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said people who call the hotline will be directed about what documentation they need to collect.

2/20/13

Florida's 'Fair Foreclosure Act' Is Anything But Fair

Instead of helping distressed homeowners, HB 87 essentially strips them of basic legal rights. The bill acts sort of like Liquid Plumr, pushing foreclosures through the drain and turning the legal system on its head.

ROY OPPENHEIM, Esq. Even criminals are considered innocent until proven guilty and given their day in court before they are thrown into jail. Shouldn't homeowners be given their day in court before they are thrown out of their homes?

Florida State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, who introduced the bill, would argue that it protects consumers by ensuring that banks and lenders prove they own a mortgage before they can file a foreclosure action. What she doesn't say is that the banks will be permitted to provide these certifications and the court will have to accept them on face as being truthful. The onus falls on the homeowner to prove that the banks are not telling the truth.

Summary Judgment in favor of Chase reversed.

Jolley v. Chase Home Finance

Court of Appeals of California  Jolley appeals, arguing that there are triable issues of material fact relating to the financing debacle, not just limited to the claimed inauthenticity of the Agreement but also as to misconduct by Chase itself. We agree, and we reverse the summary judgment for Chase, concluding that six causes of action must proceed against it, all but the causes of action for declaratory relief and accounting.

Filing Claims

Info on Title Policies also.

During the show RENEE received a $15,000 check for filing a complaint against the Notary!  We can now prove the notarization was FALSE!

HOFJ Two more "monkey wrenches" to help Owners that just might result in some restitution, too! Don't miss this interesting and informative show!

2/12/13

Foreclosure Horror Story: Jacqueline Barber Struggles To Keep Her Atlanta Home From U.S. Bank

For the next several weeks, HuffPost will be cross-posting "Foreclosure Horror Stories" from the Home Defenders League's "100 Stories Of What Wall Street Broke" series, which is collecting first-person accounts from homeowners around the country. Homeowners can submit their own stories here.

Huff Post Finally, in early 2012, I received a letter from an executive vice president at Wells Fargo, assuring me that they were working on my case. I felt a sense of hope at the prospect of finally getting some relief.

Much to my surprise, I received a letter a few weeks later from U.S. Bank, claiming they had purchased my home at auction for less than a third of what I had paid for it, and demanding that I vacate the property.

Now they are trying to evict me, even refusing to sell the home back to my friends and family who were more than willing to pay for it.

2/20/13

Foreclosures, Fraud & the Big Fight


Rallied neighborhoods, picketed banks, blocked Dumpsters, packed courtrooms

From the outset, the coalition has been urging officials, ranging from the mayor of Detroit to the governor of Michigan to the president of the United States, to utilize a Depression-era law that authorizes them to declare a state of emergency and order a halt to home foreclosures.

Attorney Joe McGuire — who first became involved in this issue as part of the Occupy movement — pointed out that what works is taking this fight to the streets.

Metro Times The request was initially filed in early January by David Sole, a retired city of Detroit employee, but it is really part of a larger group effort aimed at finding out exactly how banks and bonding agencies have been putting the screws to Detroit through a series of complicated and convoluted financial machinations.
Although the city was supposed to have provided the requested material within no more than 15 working days, it has yet to be turned over. As a result, a lawsuit was launched last week in an attempt to force the city to provide the requested documents.

Weekdays Live: Statement of Suspicious Documents 

HOFJ Today's focus is on the Statement of Suspicious Documents, with viewer input and feedback. This Statement, done correctly and by hundreds/thousands of owners, can change the political and legal winds to our side. Watch, participate and help us get this as right as we can.

2/19/13

Kentucky Court of Appeals rules in favor of MERS

Similarly, MERS has prevailed in other recording fee cases in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

Christian County Clerks v. MERS

Housing Wire "There is nothing in the plain language of the statute that indicates that the statute was designed to be enforced by a county clerk," Judge McKinley held. "Had the General Assembly wanted to allow county clerks to file lawsuits regarding recording fees, it certainly knew how to do so."
2/19/13

Foreclosure is debt collection

FDCPA update: Sixth Circuits takes minority view on foreclosure as debt collection

The Sixth Circuit joined the Third and Fourth Circuits in the minority holding that mortgage foreclosure constitutes debt collection under the FDCPA.

Glazer v. Chase Home Finance

Dykema Gossett PLLC
Amy R. Jonker
The Sixth Circuit reasoned that mortgage foreclosure is debt collection because, although the FDCPA does not define “debt collection,” the definition of the terms “debt” and the FDCPA’s substantive provisions governing how debt collection is performed, including §§ 1692(f)(6) (governing security interest enforcement) and 1692i(a)(1) (governing venue for enforcement of security interests in real property), indicate that mortgage foreclosure is debt collection under the FDCPA.

2/19/13

Quelle Surprise! The Administration Wants You to Believe it is Serious About Prosecuting Banks

Now get this: normally we favor going after executives rather than the institution when you are dealing with major banks, because the institution has legitimate businesses that have nothing to do with the bad conduct. By contrast, LPS is a comparatively small player ($2 billionish in revenues) with a deeply problematic business model. Like the ratings agencies, it is a small pockets player that acts as a liability shield for the big boys. It’s a worthy goal to take players like that out when they play fast and loose with the law.

Notice also that no one bothered prosecuting the document fabrication at DocX. We and other sites reported on how brazen they had been:

naked capitalism The real tell here is the lack of any interest on behalf of the Feds, including the Schneiderman task force, to go after Lender Processing Services. I know for a fact that people with relevant expertise presented serious ideas about how to go after LPS to Schneiderman personally, so his failure to act is not a function of ignorance. And LPS was a linchpin in establishing bad conduct across the major servicers who were its clients.

But not only could no one be bothered to go after LPS for its role in servicing abuses (more on that in future posts), they couldn't even be bothered to punish it seriously for past criminal conduct.

2/19/13

Ohio's Schwartzwald used to reverse summary judgment in credit card case.

Citibank NA v. Rowe

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
“It is fundamental that a party commencing litigation must have standing to sue in order to present a justiciable controversy and invoke the jurisdiction of the common pleas court.” Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald. Standing requires, at a minimum, that the plaintiff has suffered an “injury in fact.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife. Standing is determined at the time of the commencement of the action. Schwartzwald

2/19/13

Homeowners confront Wells Fargo over foreclosures

“The banks do not listen to you as an individual, but as a group, you’re powerful and I am living proof of that,” Dennis said. Dennis’ home was foreclosed on upon in 2010, but she was able to keep her home after she refused to move out and negotiated with the bank, she said.

SFGate Since California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, a new law limiting the power of banks to foreclose, came into effect on January 1, homeowners in Richmond and Oakland have taken a more proactive stance in resisting foreclosures, protesting inside banks at Wells Fargo branches across the East Bay and forcing the bank to reschedule home sales.

Money-shuffling between criminals

Bank of America secretly bailed out by Federal Reserve

Bank of America received what some are calling a secret bailout last year as the NY Fed threw their weight behind the big bank when AIG's lawyers came calling.

AGBeat Shielding the bank from a punishment that many would say is well deserved is baffling, and even more seeing as no one seemed to know about it. Unfortunately for AIG, this slows their efforts to recover losses from those mortgage-backed securities.

(Note: AIG was bailed out too.)

In a letter from the Fed to AIG in October 2011, officials acknowledged that the company had a right to seek damages from BOA, however in December of last year, the Fed released declarations claiming the letter could not be interpreted as an agreement with Maiden Lane, the investment entity that AIG sold securities to.

2/18/13

As Many as 90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market


There’s Still a Foreclosure Crisis

So, the banks are deliberately keeping the majority of distressed homes “off market” in order to keep prices artificially high, fleece another generation of credulous buyers, and effect the appearance of a revitalized and soaring housing market. Now–tell me–which part of this equation even vaguely resembles a “free market”? It’s all central planning by a criminal bank cabal that controls all the levers of state power lock, stock and barrel.

Counterpunch “… if lenders turn their REO release valve to full blast, the deluge of foreclosures cascading onto the market could plunge the country into a recession, said Thomas Martin, president of consumer advocacy group Americas Watchdog.

“If they let the dam essentially break. It could be a catastrophic disaster for the U.S. economy,” he said, predicting that some major banks would fail and home prices would nosedive by 20 percent.
2/17/13

The Second-Mortgage Shell Game

Banks have found a clever way to “forgive” mortgages — while still foreclosing on struggling homeowners.

NY Times Why would a bank forgive a second mortgage completely, but move forward with foreclosure on the first mortgage?

Surprisingly, such a tactic often makes sense for banks. When a lender forecloses on a first mortgage, the house in question is typically sold at auction. If the house is worth less than the loan amount, the bank gets only part of its money back. But after the sale, of course, there’s no asset left to pay off any of the second loan. The holder of that second loan — which has lower priority than the holder of the first — gets nothing.

2/17/13

Mortgage servicing Scandal could affect Wilco homeowners

Imagine paying off your home in full and then finding out your property is in foreclosure, maybe even years after making that final payment.

Taylor Daily Press "Fraudulent documents... are allowing lenders to illegally foreclose on properties."

"... They don't really fight for that house that they've invested so much money in and blood, sweat and tears, and the paperwork is fraudulent to begin with," she said. "They should never have lost their home."
2/16/13

Too Big to Regulate? The Warren Debut

Elizabeth Warren’s questioning of financial regulators at her first Senate Banking Committee hearing got a lot of attention for her pointed question about when was the last time any of their agencies had taken a large bank to trial.

Prof. Adam Levitin

Credit Slips

Senator Warren's second question was one of the most probing inquires put to banking regulators in the past five years. Basically, they were being asked whether they were coddling too-big-to-fail banks by letting them pretend to be solvent or stronger than they are. In other words, she was asking whether the Emperor has no clothes. The question was technical enough that the media didn't pick up on just what an awkward inquiry is was, but I think it deserves some attention. 

THEY ARE STILL BAILING OUT THE BANKS!

Don’t Blink, or You’ll Miss Another Bailout

Many people became rightfully upset about bailouts given to big banks during the mortgage crisis. But it turns out that they are still going on, if more quietly, through the back door.

CNBC The existence of one such secret deal, struck in July between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America, came to light just last week in court filings.

Last week's details of the undisclosed settlement between the New York Fed and Bank of America are remarkable. Not only do the filings show the New York Fed helping to thwart another institution's fraud case against the bank, they also reveal that the New York Fed agreed to give away what may be billions of dollars in potential legal claims.

 

2/16/13

THE 3 STOOGES OF MERS 
– DISORDER IN THE COURT –



The question here is can a straw man, trade name entity, contract? It owns nothing, has no employees. It does not keep the records. It does not own the system – it does virtually nothing but appear in the mortgages as a fake nominee.

Deadly Clear “This is all basic, bedrock, foundational law, MERS cannot sign documents as there is no MERS, anything they signed and filed is without foundation and is manufactured to wreak a deception upon the Court to gain advantage to which the entity is not entitled to, and under the equitable principles of Keystone Driller, 290 US 240, at 245, the doors to the court house are to be shut in limine, their cause cannot be heard, and they shall gain nothing.” 

2/16/13

The First Circuit Strikes Again

Grants Borrowers Legal Standing To Challenge Mortgage Assignments, But Upholds MERS System

Culhane v. Aurora Servicing

Massachusetts

Real Estate Blog

Circuit Judge Bruce Seyla held that the MERS system passes legal muster, but — overruling numerous lower court decisions to the contrary — gave borrowers the right to challenge mortgage assignments in the wrongful foreclosure setting. In my opinion, the net effect of this decision will put to rest the ubiquitous challenges to the MERS regime in Massachusetts, yet could result in a slight uptick in foreclosure challenges by blessing borrowers with much sought after legal standing to challenge faulty mortgage assignments.
2/16/13

Without name on loan, widows are vulnerable

"The craziest part is they can now afford to pay. With the click of a button, the bank could make a nonperforming loan performing again."

Herald Tribune Legal experts say similar paperwork mistakes are poised to evict hundreds, if not thousands, of elderly windows throughout Florida from their dream retirement homes.

2/15/13

The victims whose home and equity were STOLEN get nothing.  

Robo-Signing Fraud Case Is Settled

The mortgage servicing company Lender Processing Services agreed to pay $35 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into foreclosure fraud.

NY Times The settlement resolves allegations over the company’s involvement in what the government called a six-year scheme to prepare and file more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage documents in property recorders’ offices nationwide from 2003 to 2009.

The company entered into a two-year non-prosecution agreement that requires it to meet many conditions, including cooperating in federal investigations, and alerting the government to any abuses in mortgage or foreclosure documentation services at the company.

2/15/13

Backdated Mortgage Assignment Comes Back To Haunt Foreclosure Lender in Juarez v. Select Portfolio

The “Corporate Assignment of Mortgage,” appears to have been back-dated. It was dated October 16, 2008 and recorded in the corresponding registry of deeds on October 29, 2008, after the foreclosure had been completed. However, at the top of the document, it stated: “Date of Assignment: June 13, 2007,” in an obvious attempt to date it back prior to the foreclosure.

Juarez v. Select Portfolio

Massachusetts

Real Estate Blog

Noted Massachusetts foreclosure defense attorney Glenn Russell is on a roll of a lifetime, yesterday winning a rare victory on behalf of a borrower at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. It is, I believe, the first federal appellate ruling in favor of a wrongful foreclosure claimant in the First Circuit which covers the New England area, and one of the first rulings to delve into the problem of back-dated mortgage assignments.

The take-away from this case is that courts are finally beginning to scrutinize the problematic mortgage assignments in wrongful foreclosure cases. 

2/15/13

Anonymous - Bank of America FRAUD

The following is a message from anonymous to the general public.


Every day, BOA defrauds hundreds of thousands of its customers along with innocent borrowers who have loans that are either originated or serviced through BOA or its predecessor, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.

Anonymous Despite having been fined several billion dollars by various state and federal agencies continuously over the last 4 years, BOA continues to defraud the public and abuse the court system against innocent victims that are unable to fight back. Although BOA was forced to pay billions in fines, those dollars have not trickled down to the victims who have lost their homes, had their credit destroyed, lost their jobs, lost their retirement, and lost their ability to live the American dream.

2/15/13

Two Minnesota Counties sue MERS

 

kare11 "We are taking action today to re-claim and maintain the public's right to property records."  "Our counties and taxpayers have suffered significant financial loss due to a back-door scheme to privatize our public recording system, and we intend to recover that loss."

"The public never consented to a system in which some pay recording fees while others do not, and where some property record information is transparently maintained in the County Recorder's office while other data is in a privately run database," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Retention of Jurisdiction to Enforce a Settlement Agreement

"The situation would be quite different if the parties’ obligation to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement had been made part of the order of dismissal-either by separate provision (such as provision “retaining jurisdiction” over the settlement agreement) or by incorporating the terms of the settlement agreement in the order. In that event, a breach of the agreement would be a violation of the order, and ancillary jurisdiction to enforce the agreement would therefore exist."

Davis McGrath LLC In Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 128 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1994), the United States Supreme Court held that an order of dismissal “with prejudice,” which did not refer to the parties’ settlement agreement or reserve jurisdiction to enforce it, relieved the district court of jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement which formed the basis for dismissal of the action. The Court’s decision was based on the fact that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. The Court further commented that the enforcement of a settlement agreement requires its own basis for jurisdiction because it is more than just a continuation or renewal of a dismissed suit. 

2/15/13

"Misappropriation of Funds"

Big banks to review complaints alleging illegal foreclosures

After a bitter fight, homeowners are finally being compensated for big banks illegally foreclosing, but in a cruel twist, the government is firing independent complaint reviewers and asking the banks themselves to determine if they were abusive.

AGBeat On one end of the reparation spectrum is state governments failing to actually use the funds to help homeowners, rather are using the millions for general budget shortfalls, often having nothing to do with housing or wronged homeowners.

At the other end of the reparation spectrum is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency which has now done away with the requirement of independent third-party reviews, as they attempt to distribute the cash to wronged homeowners, putting these homeowners in a bad position not only having been abused by the big banks, but having their funds misused by states, and back in the hands of the very banks that wronged them.
2/14/13

Texas joins Dodd-Frank lawsuit

HBJ The lawsuit alleges that a section of Dodd-Frank “empowers the (U.S.) Treasury Secretary to order the liquidation of a financial company with little or no advance warning, under cover of mandatory secrecy, and without either useful statutory guidance or meaningful legislative, executive, or judicial oversight.”
Report

Chairman Hensarling Statement on FHA Being Added to "High Risk" List by GAO

FULL GAO REPORT 

Financial Services Committee This reinforces everything our committee has been saying about the FHA for some time now – it is a high risk to taxpayers, it is a high risk to the mortgage insurance market and it represents a high risk to our economy.
2/14/13**

"Boomerang Foreclosures" Are Back As Bernanke's Second Housing Bubble Begins To Pop

Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

The only question is how long until the funding to prop up this latest artificial housing market subsidy runs out, and banks realize that the time to dump all those millions of underwater homes on their books into the market is now.
2/14/13

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail

How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it

Matt Taibbi

Rolling stone

In the years just after 9/11, even being breathed on by a suspected terrorist could land you in extralegal detention for the rest of your life. But now, when you're Too Big to Jail, you can cop to laundering terrorist cash and violating the Trading With the Enemy Act, and not only will you not be prosecuted for it, but the government will go out of its way to make sure you won't lose your license. Some on the Hill put it to me this way: OK, fine, no jail time, but they can't even pull their charter? Are you kidding?

Burned Investor in S&P-Affirmed CDO Prescribes Prison Jumpsuits

Five years after his bank’s investment in a collateralized debt obligation rated mostly AAA by Standard & Poor’s got wiped out, Peter Groninger says of the Justice Department’s $5 billion lawsuit against the world’s largest credit ratings company: “It’s about goddamn time.”

Bloomberg In 2007, Groninger and his team poured about $8.8 million of First Midwest Bank’s holdings into a slice of Acacia Option ARM 1 CDO Ltd., underwritten by UBS AG. They lost almost all of their money when the CDO defaulted in May 2008, according to the complaint.
2/13/13

Mortgage Rescission Remedy Is Dead In The 9th Circuit Court

I just read an article at Forbes.com and the title made my blood boil:

"Court Decision Gives Lenders A Headache, Borrowers An Ace In The Hole"

An Ace In The Hole ??!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Theresa Baker

You can read, and hopefully COMMENT (I did) on the article here. The author is obviously a little fuzzy on the Truth and Lending Act if he thinks borrowers have gained access to some kind of freebie. This is simply a RARE case in which the law was interpreted exactly as it is written. Rare, indeed, these days. Let's not forget that in order to be able to rescind a loan, there must be something WRONG WITH IT. The opponents of this case are saying that it extends the right of rescission past three years, and this is absolutely not true. This is about what constitutes the actual exercising of the right of rescission. This is very near and dear to my heart.

Clearly this article was slanted in favor of the poor little lenders, all of their avenues of justice are being closed off. This is more of the same, they want more, more, more. They scream about borrowers wanting free houses... LOOK AT THEM! They want laws changed so they can pillage this nations real estate, with no reprisal!

2/13/13

Consumer Groups Decry FHFA Billion Dollar Force-Placed Insurance Giveaway

“While Fannie Mae clearly understands that the current structure of the force-placed insurance market is one based on reverse competition where prices rise to allow bigger kickbacks to lenders as the primary means for competing for the lucrative force-placed business, FHFA – which says more 'competition' will fix it – clearly does not,”

NCLC Fannie Mae, consumer organizations and some state insurance regulators have criticized the structure of the force-placed insurance market because force-placed insurers pay substantial kickbacks to mortgage servicers– in the form of commissions, captive reinsurance schemes and below-cost services –often by overcharging homeowners who ultimately pay for the FPI charges.
2/13/13

Bankers Who Made Millions In Housing Boom Misled Investors: Study

Huff post “In addition, this behavior also escaped regulators who were in charge of safeguarding rights of investors,” they wrote.

The misrepresentations were widespread, the economists found. About a third of all loans taken out on second homes in Florida during the boom period, the analysis concluded, were then sold off to investors within bonds that claimed to contain no such mortgages.
2/13/13

Where's The Restitution?

All those who were dispossessed of their homes..... when do they get them back?

Market Ticker What about all those titles that were fraudulently transferred away from the owners of the homes, and the subsequent resales by banks which are factually and facially void as you cannot convey that which you never had lawful possession of.
 

Worth reading again.  If a regular person came into court under these same conditions, they would have been thrown out on their rear end for filing a frivolous case.  Here, the banks are allowed to come back again and again.

 

Judge Rejects Wells Fargo Robo-Signed Foreclosure Documents Again

Wells argued that its papers proved it had the right to foreclose, and that Mims didn't have the right to challenge the assignment. That argument was successfully rebutted by consumer bankruptcy attorney David Shaev: Immediately afterward, the judge ruled against Wells, though he gave the bank permission to try again. 

***Mims v. Wells Fargo***

Abigail Field Describing himself as "deeply concerned," Judge Glenn noted that, in looking at the documents, questions kept "popping out," and he made the point that Wells Fargo hadn't answered the questions he had raised in his initial order against it. In one of the hearing's more dramatic moments, the judge asked Wells Fargo who the investor in the note was -- the MERS database doesn't say -- and Wells admitted it didn't know. 

Let's think about that: A loan servicer is trying to foreclose on a mortgage for a principal whose identity it doesn't know. If Wells doesn't know who the investor is -- who owns the note -- then, who gave the bank the note? We can only hope that whatever part of Wells collected Mims's mortgage payments knows who the investor is, and has been giving that the party the money.

2/12/13

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lays out implementation plan for new mortgage rules

The rule protects consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending by requiring that lenders make a reasonable, good faith determination that prospective borrowers have the ability to repay their mortgage.

CFPB The rule also protects borrowers from risky lending practices, such as underwriting loans based only on low introductory “teaser” interest rates, which contributed to many homeowners ending up in delinquency and foreclosure after the 2008 housing collapse.

New mortgage servicing rules designed to protect borrowers from costly surprises and runarounds were also announced. These rules establish new, strong protections for all homeowners.
2/12/13

75% of the Loans and Bonds Were Based on LIES — LivingLies

Here’s the second thing that is, however, getting absolutely no press and is completely insane.

Living Lies So remember there are only lawyers for the lender and lawyers for the insurance company arguing to the judge. And so a bizarre version of reality emerged from all of this in which 75 percent of the time the lender lies deliberately to the insurer, lies to the people who buy the bonds. All of these people are, you know, supposedly among the most sophisticated financial players in the world. But as soon as they get to fraud in the origination, in the making of the loan, with no discussion, everybody involved assumes that it must have been the borrowers that did all the lying, not the lenders. — Transcript, Bill Black interview
2/12/13

SCAM PREVENTION PODCAST With the One and Only Max Gardner

Mandelman Matters If you don’t already know who Max Gardner is… well, then you’re in for a very special treat, because Max is considered by everyone I can think of to be the top consumer attorney in the country. He’s certainly sued more banks and creditors on behalf of consumers than anyone else, but more importantly… he’s won a whole lot more than anyone else.
2/12/13

Judge rejects Wells Fargo bid to escape mortgage suit

District Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, who is supervising the 2012 multibank $25 billion mortgage misconduct settlement, said she did not agree with the bank's assessment.

Chicago Tribune But she declined to rule on the new Justice Department lawsuit, which is seeking damages and penalties for more than 10 years of alleged misconduct related to government-insured Federal Housing Administration loans, and left a federal court in New York to determine whether the two conflict.

The Washington case is U.S. v. Bank of America, 12-cv-361, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The New York case is U.S. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, 12-cv-7527, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

2/12/13

Wells Fargo Settlement is not a Bar to False Claims Lawsuit

Wells Fargo & Co.’s argument that it can’t be sued by the U.S. over illegal mortgage practices because of an earlier deal with the government was rejected by a federal judge as a misreading of the settlement terms.

Bloomberg U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, in a ruling today in Washington, said the $25 billion agreement Wells and four other banks made with the Justice Department in April didn’t release Wells from facing allegations by the U.S. attorney in New York in a separate False Claims Act lawsuit filed in October.
2/12/13

Big Banks Are Told to Review Their Own Foreclosures

"The whole process has been a slap in the face to homeowners and a slap on the wrist to banks." "The latest development shows how there has been no accountability."

Yahoo! "Why did you not trust the banks a month ago?" asked one consultant who spoke anonymously for fear of offending regulators. "And why do you solely rely on them now?"

Military personnel illegally foreclosed on, for example, will rank highest on the list. Borrowers who might be current on their loan payments - and therefore did not warrant a foreclosure - will be next.

2/12/13

Complete article

Spain: Couple Commit Suicide Over Foreclosure Fear

A retired married couple committed suicide Tuesday and left a note saying they were going to lose their home, helping stoke an outcry over Spain’s tough eviction laws. 

NY Times The 68-year-old man and 67-year-old woman took an overdose of prescription drugs at their apartment on the island of Majorca and their bodies were found by their son. The deaths increased to five the number of suicides linked to mortgage defaults and evictions in recent months as Spain’s financial crisis has deepened and the unemployment rate has reached 26 percent.

Is this the year Wall Street completes its purchase of Florida’s Court System?

After 4 years of trying, it appears Wall Street has finally purchased enough of our state legislators to enact a bill that will eliminate due process and fundamental justice in Florida foreclosure cases. 

Mortgage Law Network Yes, the Court must assume the mortgage industry is telling the truth, despite the fact that the entire country knows mortgage companies have been caught lying in nearly every foreclosure ever filed in the United States in the last decade or so. 

2/12/13

REPLAY:  Welcome to Freddie and Fannie’s Mortgage Shell Game

Where the mortgagee has “transferred” only the mortgage, the transaction is a nullity and his “assignee,” having received no interest in the underlying debt or obligation, has a worthless piece of paper.

Shawn Timothy Newman, J.D.
Adjunct Professor
Saint Martin’s University
Unless there is a written assignment from the mortgage owner (Freddie or Fannie) to the servicer, the servicer cannot foreclose for the simple reason they are not part of the mortgage contract. Simply put, only the mortgage owner can foreclose on the mortgage contract. Moreover, if the assignment of the mortgage is invalid or fraudulent, then there is a “cloud on title” which should be identified by title and mortgage insurers.
2/12/13

Court Decision Gives Lenders A Headache, Borrowers An Ace In The Hole

Sherzer v. Homestar Mortgage

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Third Circuit, in Sherzer vs. Homestar, ruled that borrowers only have to send a letter of notice to the bank. They can sue whenever they want after that, leaving a potential cloud on the lender’s claim against the property that can only be resolved if the lender gets a declaratory judgment denying the recission.
2/12/13

Couple who paid cash for home - now getting evicted

Home Equity Theft Reporter "The title company didn't do their job at all." said Ralph. The Donley's did have title insurance. While they're expected to get their money back they will not get money for upgrades they made to their home.
2/12/13

Michigan AG : Former president of DocX pleads guilty to racketeering

Firm's 'robo-signing' included thousands of filings in Mich.

DocX is out of business, but its parent company, LPS of Jacksonville, Fla., has cooperated with investigators and is paying out millions.

ClinkOnDetroit The former president of a Georgia company that filed thousands of forged documents in Michigan foreclosures pleaded guilty to state racketeering charges Monday in Kent County.

Lorraine Brown, former president of loan document processor DocX, faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced May 2.
2/11/13

How America's Credit Reporting System Gets Away With 40 Million Mistakes

Not only did they handle 90 cases per day, but they were never allowed to call or email the consumer involved. "Mostly, we took for granted the word of the bank," said Rodolfo Carrasco. "If the bank said, 'Hey, this guy owes $100,' so it is.

Business Insider "It's just really hard sometimes to get these things fixed. You feel like you're up against this machine and there's no way to break through. After a while I think people sometimes start to question their own sanity.... so we decided to show the consumer what it's like." 
  Mortgage Foreclosures, Missing Promissory Notes, and the Uniform Commercial Code:    
2/11/13

Rating Victims Didn’t Know S&P’s Toxic AAA Born of Greed

“A lot of what happened had had nothing to do with looking after the best interest of shareholders and instead about looking after the best interest of senior executives,” Rossi said.

In turn, “what was good for Citigroup’s investment bank was also lucrative for its investment bankers,” the FCIC said. The co-heads of its global CDO business each made about $6 million in 2006, while a co-CEO of the investment bank earned more than $34 million in salary and bonus.

Bloomberg Because Citigroup and Bank of America created some of the CDOs, Rossi said he “found it a little surprising they would try to come at it like these were some unfortunately aggrieved institutions.” 

Still, the history of why Firrea included tougher enforcement powers reflected the view at the time that thrift executives had often worked with other parties to put their own firms and, ultimately, taxpayers at risk, he said.

Bulletin

Mortgage Servicing Transfers

CFPB The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is issuing this guidance to residential mortgage servicers and subservicers (collectively, servicers), to address potential risks to consumers that may arise in connection with transfers of servicing.

2/11/13

Another Schwartzwald reversal

WELLS FARGO DELAWARE TRUST CO. v. THOMAS D. PARKS

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
In light of the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision, we reverse and remand the case so that the trial court may apply Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 134 Ohio t.3d 13, 2012-Ohio-5017. Accordingly, Parks’ assignments of error are not ripe for review, and
we decline to address them.

2/11/13

BISH CONSTRUCTION v. WICKHAM

On appeal, the Wickhams contend that the trial court should have granted their 60(B)(5)
motion because a fraud had been perpetrated on the court. For the reasons set forth below, the judgment is affirmed.

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO
THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT
The Wickhams contend that the assignment of mortgage prepared by BONY’s counsel and the judgment entry are both frauds upon the court because they give the false impression to the court that BONY, as trustee, obtained ownership of the Wickhams’ loan. They claim that their motion was timely
because they allegedly “only recently learned” of the “robo-signer status” of the signer of the assignment documentation.

2/11/13

Bank of America National Ass’n v. Bassman

First, (Bassman) contest the trial court’s
determination that plaintiff had standing to foreclose certain mortgages. Second, they assert
that summary judgment is inappropriate in light of a purported breach of contract committed
by plaintiff. Plaintiff responds that defendants lack standing to advance these arguments. For
the reasons that follow, we agree with plaintiff Bank of America and affirm.

Illinois Second District Court of Appeals Summary judgment for plaintiff in mortgage foreclosure and sale was
upheld where the trial court properly determined that plaintiff had standing as a successor by merger and as trustee for registered certificate holders to foreclose certain mortgages and defendants lacked standing to raise a purported breach of contract committed by plaintiff that allegedly limited plaintiff’s right to foreclose.

2/11/13

7th Cir Rules Against Servicer on QWR Issues, RESPA Safe Harbor

The court granted summary judgment to GMAC Mortgage on the plaintiffs' RESPA, breach of contract, and remaining negligence claims. The plaintiffs appeal those decisions. We reverse the grant of summary judgment for GMAC Mortgage on the plaintiffs' RESPA and breach of contract claims.

CATALAN v. GMAC 

United States Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit Every day I just felt useless. I couldn't do anything to help her. I couldn't resolve the situation. I couldn't fix her problem.

It was killing me every day.

GMAC Mortgage concedes that emotional distress damages are available as actual damages under RESPA, at least as a matter of law, but argues that the plaintiffs's evidence is not sufficient to support a damages award because it did not show “extreme” emotional distress and was “self-serving and conclusory.” We disagree.

2/11/13

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews: 

Why the OCC Overlooked “Independent” Reviewer Promontory’s Keystone Cops Act (Part VA)

_________________/

(Part VB)

Naked Capitalism Today we release the two latest posts in our whistleblower series on the Bank of America foreclosure reviews, focusing on the role of the “independent” consultant hired to perform the reviews, Promontory Financial Group.
_______________/

Here we focus on what happened, or more important, didn’t happen in Promontory’s conduct of the reviews, and how that contrasts with the staggering fees the firm is widely believed to have earned.

2/11/13

'Bailout': Neil Barofsky's Adventures in Groupthink City

“Obviously, neither Geithner nor Allison ever worried much about “moral hazard” when they were handing out billions in no-conditions cash to irresponsible banks.“

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

Treasury official Herb Allison, a close confidant of Geithner, has made a subtle change to the language describing the aims of the ill-fated HAMP mortgage modification program. Allison ends up claiming that the goal of the program was only to make 3 to 4 million offers of trial modifications, as opposed to actually helping 3 to 4 million people stay in their homes, which is what the president and the Treasury originally announced.

2/11/13

FHFA Kills Fannie Mae Force-Placed Insurance Plan

American Banker The regulator's move will block a plan that was expected to save Fannie and homeowners as much as $300 million a year. The plan would have supplied homeowners with low-cost housing insurance from Fannie's own vendors and prevented banks from collecting payments for steering business to "forced-placed" insurance carriers.
2/11/13

The shell game (Ponzi scheme) is to get the house (collateral) at any cost.

Fannie Mae accused of Forcing underwater borrowers into Foreclosure

Fannie Mae policies have changed considerably over the last year, having a widespread impact on the short sale process, which some say have led them to force underwater borrowers into foreclosure.

DSNews With the Fannie Mae HomePath® loan, no appraisal is required. With no appraisal, the buyer could pay 10% or even 20% over market value. The new owner of the Fannie Mae REO now owns a property with a loan more than market value; the owner is now upside down.

One additional policy that people are chattering about is the Fannie Mae flipping rule. If an investor buys a Fannie Mae owned property, there is a deed restriction which states that the property cannot be sold for more than 120% in the first 90 days—thus discouraging rehabilitation experts from purchasing Fannie Mae properties.

2/10/13

Quietly Killing a Consumer Watchdog

NY Times If you’d like to know why Republicans are trying to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, take a look at three things the agency has already accomplished in its first 18 months:
2/10/13

(Legal foreclosures don't clog the courts - illegal ones do. )

New foreclosure method clogging Central Oregon court

Statesman Journal Foreclosures used to be handled outside of court. That changed last year, when two things happened: An appeals court ruling against a mortgage-tracking company created massive uncertainty in the industry, and the foreclosure-mediation program prompted lenders to turn to the court system for foreclosures.

2/10/13**

California Court Holds

Borrowers May Enjoin A Foreclosure If A Lender Fails To Meet Servicing Guidelines

As to the first claim, the California Court joined others in holding that foreclosure activities are not “debt collection” within the meaning of the FCDPA. In particular, the issuance of foreclosure sales notices in compliance with California non-judicial closure law did not constitute debt collection. Thus, the borrowers could not state an FDCPA claim even if the foreclosure was otherwise allegedly wrongful.

As to the second claim, the Court held that the lender could be enjoined from foreclosing. The loan here was insured by the Federal Housing Administration. 

PFEIFER v. COUNTRYWIDE

JDSupra Thus, the foreclosure was subject to servicing regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). These regulations required the lender to conduct a face-to-face interview prior to initiating foreclosure. The borrowers alleged this never happened. The Court held that even though the HUD regulations did not create a private right of action, failure to follow the regulations could nevertheless support an injunction based on a common law claim of wrongful foreclosure. Because the borrowers were seeking to halt the foreclosure before it concluded, rather than unwind or set aside a foreclosure that had already occurred, the Court held that the borrowers need not tender the loan proceeds to obtain the injunction.
2/10/13

Foreclosure Crisis 101

Not only does the servicer or trustee have nothing to lose should the homeowner go into default and foreclosure, both actually have everything to gain.

Dan McGookey, Esq. Your servicer may appear to extend a helping hand, but that appearance is just an illusion, an illusion built for the purpose of leading you to believe that it is on your side. By creating this illusion, the servicer hopes that you will let your guard down, and that you will be easy prey when it springs its foreclosure trap.
2/10/13

Bank error nearly causes veteran, 91, to lose her home

On Friday, widow and veteran was to be evicted from her home but she had done nothing to lose it. Proving it was another matter, until some lawyers with hearts and a bank willing to correct the mistake intervened.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Last year, Chase Bank refused Mrs. Wilson's mortgage payments because there was an escrow problem -- and not of her making. Her proof of insurance was never passed on by the branch bank to the mortgage division. That triggered a default, so her home was sold to Fannie Mae.
2/9/13

S&P Suit Shows DOJ Knows about Wall Street Corruption

The alleged facts point directly at the issuers of real estate mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations as the leading cause of the losses of the victims of S&P’s alleged frauds.

FDL The Department of Justice knows this, but it refuses to indict anyone. This complaint makes it clear that it wasn’t just an accident or a matter of greed, as the President and his henchmen claim. With the departure of Tim Geithner and Lanny Breuer, the most offensive proponents of the get out of jail free card, there is an opening for change.
2/8/13

Appeals Court Hears Arguments on Judge Rakoff’s Rejection of Citigroup Deal

Judge Jed S. Rakoff has been an outspoken critic of the Securities and Exchange Commission, chiding the agency’s practice of allowing companies to settle fraud cases without having to admit that they had done anything wrong.

DealBook In an unusual hearing before the federal appeals court in Manhattan, lawyers for the S.E.C. — along with lawyers for Citigroup — tried to convince a three-judge panel that Judge Rakoff, a trial court judge, exceeded his authority in rejecting the settlement that let Citigroup avoid an admission of wrongdoing.

“The court failed to give the S.E.C. any deference in this case,” said Michael A. Conley, the commission’s deputy general counsel.
2/8/13

Homeowner Can't Reopen Voluntarily Dismissed Foreclosure Case, Despite Claims Bank Falsified Docs: Court

 

This is the final piece; we have legalized bank fraud and we now have a court system, an entire judicial system, that supports fraud.” - Matt Weidner

PINO v. BANK OF NEW YORK

Huff Post The Florida Supreme Court had been asked to decide whether banks accused of using fraudulent documents to file foreclosure lawsuits could dismiss the cases, and then later re-file them with different paperwork.

The high court decided to hear the case anyway to address what it said was a key policy question that has vexed courts across the state - whether or not voluntary dismissals can be reversed when there is an allegation of fraud.

A lawyer for Pino, Amanda Lundergan of the Ice Firm, said she believed the ruling "will have the unintended effect of encouraging underhanded tactics" by plaintiffs in foreclosure and other cases.

The case has been closely watched by banks and homeowners. An unfavorable ruling for the banks could have exposed them to severe financial liability in the state.

2/7/13

THE US GOVERNMENT HANDING OUT LICENSES TO STEAL….AND THE BANKS ARE STEALING! (AND WE LOSE)

Matt Weidner, Esq. Government Handing Out Licenses to Steal.
2/7/13

Sen. Kaufman on JPMorgan Chase: Private Lawsuit Found Evidence the Feds Didn't

The information that Dexia assembled is breathtaking -- and damning. 

Complaint DEXIA v. BEAR STEARNS/EMC MORTGAGE

Huff Post An internal JPMorgan Chase memo reportedly told staff how to cheat "Zippy," the company's underwriting system, by falsifying information in order to write bad loans. The memo was even entitled "Zippy Cheats & Tricks."
2/7/13

JPMorgan Hid Reports of Defective Loans Before Sales

Bloomberg “Rather than disclose these known defects to FSAM, defendants bought and sold massive quantities of defective loans,” FSAM said. “Defendants secretly overrode the independent loan underwriters’ determinations, creating a final, sanitized version.”
2/7/13

More on the Pino case

Florida Supreme Court Serves Fraud on Ice

The Florida Supreme Court ruled that a bank cannot be held liable or punished for filing flawed or fraudulent documents in a case simply by voluntarily dismissing it.

Mandelman Matters It would seem to me that what I could now do in Florida is sue whomever… fraudulently create the documents that will be used as evidence in the case, and if I get caught… voluntarily withdraw and go home safe and sound. And if I don’t get caught, then I just collect my winnings and head to DisneyWorld, I suppose.

2/7/13

MERS bristles at county’s claims

A national company that Williamson County has accused of cheating the government out of nearly $1 million in mortgage-transfer fees fired back on Wednesday with a letter saying county officials need to check their facts.

Statesman Williamson County Clerk Rister said the problem extends beyond the money the government is losing, because the lack of filings creates holes in property records.
“There’s no transparency anymore — that’s what public records are about,” she said. “The public, the press, everybody else, they depend on us to have accurate records. If it’s not there, or if there have been false documents filed, the integrity of the records is gone. That’s the crying shame.”

2/7/13

Banks warned of a “widespread financial crisis” if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Pino. (Ummm, we already have one of those.)

Homeowners lose in landmark foreclosure decision, attorneys say

A Florida Supreme Court ruling involving a Greenacres foreclosure allows banks to get away with fraud, as long as they voluntarily dismiss the case, attorneys said today.

At issue was whether a bank can escape punishment for filing flawed or fraudulent documents in a case by voluntarily dismissing it. A voluntary dismissal allows the bank to re-file at a later date.

PINO v. BANK OF NEW YORK

This is the final piece, we have legalized bank fraud and we now have a court system, an entire judicial system, that supports fraud.” - Matt Weidner

Kim Miller

Palm Beach Post

Royal Palm Beach-based foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice, who represented Pino, had challenged a document created by the former Law Offices of David J. Stern and sought to question employees about its veracity. On the eve of those depositions, the bank moved to dismiss the case, blocking the court’s ability to address any sanctions.
“I would say the Supreme Court has spoken loud and clear that it doesn’t care about litigants that abuse the court system and that fraud is OK,” Ice said about the ruling. 

There are no ramifications if you get caught defrauding the court. Just take a voluntary dismissal and start over.

Florida law professors said the case, which was heard by the Supreme Court in May, was significant because it speaks to the integrity of Florida’s judiciary.

2/7/13

Forensic Loan Audits

Federal Trade Commission Fraudulent foreclosure “rescue” professionals use half-truths and outright lies to sell services that promise relief to homeowners in distress. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, the latest foreclosure rescue scam to exploit financially strapped homeowners pitches forensic mortgage loan audits
2/7/13

Rendered

12/11/12

Johnson v. Southstar Funding

Signed Judgment for QUIET TITLE

Timothy J. Staffel 
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE

SUPERIOR COURT of CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA

The Court awards Judgment of Quiet Title as of the date of the filing of the instant Complaint on May 15, 2012, as requested and plead in the fifth (5th) paragraph contained within the General Allegations of the instant Complaint. California Code of Civil Procedure §761.020(d) for and in favor of: PLAINTIFF, Timothy J. Johnston

2/7/13

MERS bristles at county’s claims

Statesman A national company that Williamson County has accused of cheating the government out of nearly $1 million in mortgage-transfer fees fired back on Wednesday with a letter saying county officials need to check their facts.

Dismissal of Quiet Title Reversed

Murphy v. Aurora

 

United States Court of Appeals
For the Eighth Circuit
For the foregoing reasons, we partially reverse the district court’s dismissal of the quiet-title cause of action, affirm the dismissal of the remaining counts, and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

2/7/13

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews:

How the Cover-Up Happened (Part IVB)

This post continues our discussion of how Bank of America and its consultant, Promontory Financial Group, made concerted efforts to ignore and suppress evidence of harm to borrowers who asked for what was supposed to be an independent review of their foreclosure.

naked capitalism In this post, we will add these devices to the list:

Rejecting claims entirely and subjecting others to only a limited review;

Pulling files from reviewers if they were finding harm;

Refusing to consider institutionalized abuses, including extortion and psychological abuse.

In addition we will provide more evidence of the most troubling charge made in our last post; that Bank of America fabricated documents during the reviews.
2/6/13

Eviction error has a happy ending for 91-year-old widow

Cron A 91-year-old Pasadena widow, who faced foreclosure and eviction from her house due to a bank oversight, now can stay in her home for the rest of her life.

2/6/13

Some people out there have recently made some absolutely jaw-dropping bets against stocks which will only pay off if there is a financial crash at some point in the next few months.

Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really BIG To Happen Very Soon?

Why are corporate insiders dumping huge numbers of shares in their own companies right now? Why are some very large investors suddenly making gigantic bets that the stock market will crash at some point in the next 60 days? 

Do Wall Street insiders expect something really BIG to happen very soon? Do they know something that we do not know? What you are about to read below is startling. Every time that the market has fallen in recent years, insiders have been able to get out ahead of time.

Investment Watchdog David Coleman of the Vickers Weekly Insider report recently noted that Wall Street insiders have shown “a remarkable ability of late to identify both market peaks and troughs”. That is why it is so alarming that corporate insiders are selling nine times as many shares as they are buying right now. In addition, some extraordinarily large bets have just been made that will only pay off if the financial markets in the U.S. crash by the end of April. So what does all of this mean? Well, it could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that there are people out there that actually have insider knowledge that a market crash is coming. Evaluate the evidence below and decide for yourself…
2/6/13

The latest documents could provide a window into a $200 billion case that looms over the entire industry. 

E-Mails Imply JPMorgan Knew Some Mortgage Deals Were Bad

The documents reveal that JPMorgan, as well as two firms the bank acquired during the credit crisis, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns, flouted quality controls and ignored problems, sometimes hiding them entirely, in a quest for profit.

In 2006, for example, a review of mortgages found that at least 1,154 loans were more than 30 days delinquent. The offering documents sent to investors showed only 25 loans as delinquent.

DealBook Employees at Bear Stearns were told that they were responsible for “purging all of the older reports” that showed flaws, “leaving only the final reports,” according to the court documents.

Such actions were designed to bolster profit. In a deposition, a Washington Mutual employee said revealing loan defects would undermine the lucrative business, and that the bank would suffer “a couple-point hit in price.”

In a statement shortly after he sued JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Schneiderman said the lawsuit was a template “for future actions against issuers of residential mortgage-backed securities that defrauded investors and cost millions of Americans their homes.”

2/6/13

MERS still foreclosing in its own name... eventually

Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v Lopez

Supreme Court, Queens County, NY Plaintiff (MERS) now admits such affirmation implied that Ms. Mash was a representative of MERS, when in fact she was a representative of Vanderbilt, the assignee of MERS. However, because leave has been granted herein to substitute Vanderbilt as party plaintiff, and because Davidson Fink represented both MERS and Vanderbilt at the time Ms. Rogers prepared the affirmation, Vanderbilt properly relies upon the Rogers affirmation in fulfillment of the requirement of Administrative Order 431/2011.
2/6/13

Anonymous Hackers Attack Banksters and Federal Reserve

Anonymous warns this is just the beginning... 

Deadly Clear This attack comes on the heels of the hacking group Anonymous claiming on Sunday to have published login and private information from more than 4,000 U.S. bank executive accounts. The group may have gotten this data from the Federal Reserve’s computers. Apparently, Anonymous is better at obtaining information than the DOJ.

2/6/13

Due Process

Brennan Center Argues in Support of Rhode Island Foreclosure Settlement Program

“Rhode Island, like much of the nation, continues to grapple with the enormity of the foreclosure crisis,” Mark Ladov said after arguments. 

to oral argument

Brennan Center for Justice “Facing hundreds of lawsuits, and the possibility of many Rhode Island families losing their homes, the federal court set out an efficient and equitable solution. By appointing a Special Master to oversee negotiations between banks and homeowners, the court is helping families save their homes, restoring income to loan investors, and reducing the cost of unnecessary foreclosures to communities and to the economy. We hope the Court of Appeals will encourage this important work to continue.”
2/6/13

Maine Supremes Smack Title Insurer For Stiffing Policy-Holding Homeowner On Its Duty To Defend Against Neighbor's Title Challenge 

[Homeowner] sued Insurer alleging a breach of contract and requesting a declaratory judgment that Insurer had a duty to defend [Homeowner] against her neighbor's complaint.

Cox v. Commonwealth Land Title

Home Equity Theft Reporter The superior court granted Insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that the policy specifically excluded the view easement from coverage.

The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that due to the broad nature of the duty to defend and the law's requirement that insurance-policy interpretation be focused on the insured, Insurer had a duty to defend [Homeowner] in the underlying litigation.

2/6/13

Contract For Deed Real Estate Deals: 1st Step On Road To Disaster For Wanna-Be Homebuyers?

See also Contract for deed can be house of horror for buyers (High-risk housing often is sold on such contracts, with little or no oversight).

Home Equity Theft Reporter A Robbinsdale woman faced foreclosure even though she had faithfully made payments. She had purchased her house under a contract-for-deed arrangement, but the seller went bankrupt and didn't pay his lender. So the woman lost her home, the payments she had made and the $25,000 she had put down on the property.

SCAM PREVENTION PODCAST:

 What Isn’t Working for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Today?

Foreclosure defense attorneys Matt Weidner and Tom Cox tell Mandelman what’s working and what’s not for homeowners in foreclosure courts. 

Mandelman Matters If you’re following someone’s advice in an effort to save your home from foreclosure, how do you know the advice your getting is correct?  If you’re planning to sue your bank in court, how do you know what your chances are based on the type of case you’re planning to bring?  I know the answer to that question… you don’t.

2/6/13

ANOTHER CROOKED REAL ESTATE INVESTOR GUILTY OF BID RIGGING - 27 PLEAS

Northern California Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions 


Investigation Has Yielded 27 Plea Agreements to Date

Active Rain Chung conspired with others not to bid against one another but instead to designate a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, California. Chung was also charged with conspiring to use the mail to carry out schemes to fraudulently acquire title to selected properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs, and to divert to co-conspirators money that would have otherwise gone to mortgage holders and others.

2/6/13

Judge Rakoff Delivers Big Blow to Bank of America and JP Morgan in Flagstar Mortgage Putback Ruling

Wow, one of my big assumptions about mortgage putback cases has been turned on its ear, much to the detriment of Bank of America and JP Morgan. If you thought there were pitched legal battles on this front, a key ruling by Judge Jed Rakoff means you ain’t seen nothing yet.

This ruling is even worse for the big banks. Flagstar is a vastly more sympathetic plaintiff than Countrywide or Bear Stearns. Flagstar did mainly Fannie and Freddie deals; the HELOC securitization looks to have been a byproduct of their bread and butter business.

Assured v. Flagstar Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law

 

naked capitalism They didn’t have a pipeline to keep feeding or conflicts of interest due to providing warehouse line funding (this was a big deal with Bear: it was providing credit lines to mortgage originators to make loans. It would put back the really bad loans to the originator rather than try to stuff them into securitizations. But the point came when the proportion of bad loans coming through the pipeline was so high that putting them back to the originator would have bankrupted them, leaving Bear with big losses on its credit lines. So Bear passed on the toxic loans to investors instead). So if the loss level was 78% of the ask for a sponsor who was far from the worst actor in this space, what will the results look like when you factor in egregiously bad behavior?

transcript

Judge Rules Against a Bank - Precedent Could Cost Bank of America Billions

Bill Black: Judge rules that Flagstar, a big mortgage lender that gave "liars loans", is liable to insurance company - same issues at stake in Bank of America cases.

As soon as they get to fraud in the origination, in the making of the loan, with no discussion, everybody involved assumes that it must have been the borrowers that did all the lying, not the lenders.

The Real News

Prof. Bill Black

And of course this is completely insane, completely contrary to the accounting control fraud recipe, in which the lender deliberately makes—grows enormously by making incredible numbers of crappy loans at a premium yield with extreme leverage and next to no reserves against losses. And guess what? That's exactly what the lender did in these cases.
But because there is no one representing the borrower, and because there is no one bringing criminology theory and findings and research findings in front of the judge, they just all assume that all of this fraud had to arrive from the borrowers, even in a case where they're saying that the lender repeatedly lied to everybody else involved.

2/6/13

Delaware Judge Slams Lawyers Over Bank Of America Suit

Ruling on Scribd

Forbes Strine, in a ruling from the bench on Monday, said lawyers at Cooch & Taylor and Pomerantz Grossman had not only failed to prove futility, but had tactically chosen not to cite records that might explain why directors had chosen to violate the law. He dismissed the suit without prejudice, saying another plaintiff with better lawyers might find a valid reason to sue BoA directors over the Countrywide fiasco, but not these.
2/5/13

Maxine Waters Urges Congress To Investigate Foreclosure Settlement

Huff Post Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said in a letter to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the committee, that she wanted bank regulators to explain what went wrong during a case-by-case review of foreclosed homes that ended "abruptly" earlier this year, why a cash settlement with the mortgage industry was reached instead, and what the deal means for struggling homeowners.

2/5/13

 

Full post

Bank of America Still Violating Loan Modification Agreements Even after Court Settlement

Bank of America has been accused of violating the terms of a multi-billion dollar mortgage settlement before it has even been approved!

Two years ago, BofA reached an $8.5 billion settlement to resolve claims over mortgage abuses by Countrywide Financial, which it acquired during the 2008 financial crisis.

That settlement has yet to be approved by a federal judge, and now three Federal Home Loan Banks and Triaxx, an investment vehicle that bought mortgage securities, have filed court documents claiming the deal, among other things, has shortchanged thousands of investors.

Irib In addition, the documents say BofA has continued questionable loan-related practices and put its own interests ahead of investors while modifying troubled mortgages.

The bank also failed to purchase bad mortgages in full once it had lowered the payments and principal on the loan—which is reportedly a violation of its agreements with investors who bought the securities that held the mortgages.

“The filing raises new questions about whether a judge will approve the settlement,” The New York Times wrote. “If it is denied, the bank would face steeper legal obligations.”
2/5/13

UPDATE 3-NY judge finds Flagstar liable for $90 mln in mortgage case

Assured's lawsuit against Flagstar was the first by the insurers to reach trial. Assured CEO Dominic Frederico, whose company is pursuing other lawsuits, in a statement said the ruling "sets a strong precedent in support of the rights of Assured Guaranty in these cases."

Reuters The closely watched lawsuit has been seen as a test of the ability of bond insurers to hold banks accountable for losses incurred insuring securities at the heart of the financial crisis.

A number of other suits have been filed against banks by Assured and fellow insurers, but have yet to reach trial.

2/5/13

8News Investigates: 'Grand Theft House'

We've called it "Grand Theft House" for the past two years.

8News Investigative reporter AJ Lagoe has been exposing robo-signing—a form of mortgage fraud in the commonwealth.

Commonwealth of Viginia v. LPS, DocX Complaint & Consent

WRIC 8News found more than 20 different variations of the Linda Green signature in courthouses right here in the Metro-Richmond area—prime examples of what's known as robo-signing—a fancy phrase for fraud and perjury on legal mortgage papers.

"This was a widespread national conspiracy," said state senator Chap Peterson.

"It was basically fraud, they were fraudulently foreclosing on people," said Jay Speers, from the Virginia poverty law center.

2/4/13

California Court Holds That Borrowers May Enjoin A Foreclosure If A Lender Fails To Meet Servicing Guideline

The Court held that the lender could be enjoined from foreclosing. The loan here was insured by the Federal Housing Administration. 

Pfeiffer v. Countrwide

Financial Institutions Blog Thus, the foreclosure was subject to servicing regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). These regulations required the lender to conduct a face-to-face interview prior to initiating foreclosure. The borrowers alleged this never happened. The Court held that even though the HUD regulations did not create a private right of action, failure to follow the regulations could nevertheless support an injunction based on a common law claim of wrongful foreclosure. 
2/4/13

Is High-Frequency Trading The Root Of Our Problems? It Is The Economy, Stupid!

Julia Petrova

Speed Traders

The dysfunctional behavior of the leadership in Washington, leading to a crisis of significant proportions in December 2012, was holding market participants from making investment decisions; when Washington still managed to temporarily solve the fiscal cliff issue, allowing the government to remove its borrowing cap and removing the terrifying prospect of sovereign default, investors rushed into stocks (and bonds too), setting the stage for the biggest month on record for deposits into U.S. mutual funds.

2/4/13

SMOKING GUNS EVERYWHERE!

The news is really heating up with smoking guns everywhere! Don't miss this.

HOFJ From CA Attorney General: "Complaints often bring early warning of what promises to be a pervasive scam or systematic violation of California law. If a pattern is discovered, what originated as a private dispute may become a matter of broad public interest and thus warrant intervention by our office under California consumer protection laws." Keep those complaints flowing to the AG's Office!

Anti-Foreclosure Rally Results in Delayed Court Date

Nicole Summers, a student attorney working on the case with Harvard Legal Aid, said, "We wrote and filed a motion last week. 

Open Media Boston Mr. Suero signed an agreement last October with Freddie Mac. Part of this agreement was that Freddie Mac would respond to any offers made by Boston Community Capitol. Boston Community Capitol has made three offers of $90,000 and Freddie Mac has not responded. The motion we filed is to enforce the agreement and order them to respond to the offers. They postponed today, but we will be arguing it next Thursday in court.

 

Ohio relaxes rules for struggling homeowners to obtain money, prevent foreclosures

Ohio The Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which still has more than $300 million set aside for the foreclosure prevention effort, is relaxing paperwork requirements, expanding eligibility to include property taxes, condo association dues and second mortgages, and boosting the amount of money available to individual homeowners.
2/4/13

AG: $121M settlement for illegal foreclosures

Another lender that engaged in improper business practices related to mortgages has been forced to open up its checkbook and pay. 

Buffalo Law Journal Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced a $121 million, 44-state settlement with Lender Processing Services Inc. and its subsidiaries, LPS Default Solutions and DocX, that will net New York state $1.9 million.
2/4/13

Foreclosure Process Hammers Florida's Housing Market

A decade ago, speculators in Florida were pumping up a huge housing bubble.

"You couldn't go wrong," Tampa real estate attorney Charlie Hounchell says. In that overheated period from 2001 to 2006, "you could buy a house and make $100,000 a year later by selling it," he says.

But the party ended in 2007 and the hangover persists. 

NPR "I enter a final judgment of foreclosure for the total sum of $194,256.49 with a public sale date of March 11 at 10 a.m.," Judge Judy Pittman Biebel says as she delivers a verdict. The entire foreclosure trial took about three minutes.

Biebel is a retired judge from Panama City, Fla., who travels to Tampa to sit on the bench for a week at a time — specifically to handle foreclosure cases.

"We work cheap," she says with a laugh, "and we're paid $350 a day."
2/4/13

U.S. and States Prepare to Sue S&P Over Mortgage Ratings

The Justice Department, along with state prosecutors, plans to file civil charges against Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service, accusing the firm of fraudulently rating mortgage bonds that led to the financial crisis.

DealBook A suit against S.&P. would be the first the government has brought against the credit ratings agencies related to the financial crisis, despite continued questions about the agencies’ conflicts of interest and role in creating a housing bubble.

By bringing a civil suit, as opposed to a criminal case, the Justice Department’s burden of proof will be less, perhaps lowering the bar for a successful prosecution.

2/4/13

Congress Begins Investigation of Botched Foreclosure Review Cover-Up Settlement


The more people look at the abruptly-arranged settlement of the OCC/Fed foreclosure reviews, the more they realize something does not smell right.

The fact that aggrieved staffers at the OCC are complaining to American Banker is the best news I’ve heard all week. The staff at the OCC should be made to feel miserable after all the financial devastation they’ve enabled.

naked capitalism We can only hope that more of these demoralized staffers get the message and decamp. Good riddance.
All in all, the tea leaves here are somewhat opaque. Most savvy people in DC knows that this is a story of greed and malevolence, but they are all too polite and culturally captured to say it outright. Still, some of the better members of Congress are requesting documents and politely suggesting that perhaps stealing hundreds of thousands of houses is a bit tacky. So there’s that.

2/4/13

This Is Housing Bubble 2.0: David Stockman

Stockman argues a combination of artificially low interest rates and speculation are to blame, not unlike the last boom and bust cycle in real estate.

The Daily Ticker “We don’t have a real organic sustainable recovery because in a world of medicated money by the central bank, things aren’t what they appear to be,” Stockman argues.
And according to Stockman, it’s this medicated, cheap money being put to work by investors that’s driving the apparent healing in some of the hardest hit real estate markets in the country.

2/4/13

Will Federal Home Loan Banks’ Lawsuit Derail Bank of America’s $8.5 Billion Settlement?

There have been so many bailouts settlements of various bank mortgage misdeeds that it’s no doubt hard to keep them straight unless you are on this beat. But the short version is I’m delighted at this effort to throw a monkey wrench in the Bank of America settlement. It is a particularly nasty bit of self-dealing among interested parties

naked capitalism One example shows investors suffering a loss of more than $300,000 on a $575,000 loan made in 2006. In May 2010, Bank of America reduced the principal owed on a first mortgage to $282,000, but at the same time, real estate records showed, Bank of America’s $110,000 home equity line of credit on the property remained intact and unmodified.
Another example indicates that Bank of America kept its $170,000 home equity line intact on a property while modifying the first mortgage held by investors. In that case, the investors took a $395,000 loss…
6/30/12

'In corrupt systems, decent people have two options: conform or be crushed'

According to Vince Cable, the emergence of a new breed of 'decent' bankers will guard against further financial outrages. But until we recognise that the system itself is flawed, banks will go on turning ordinary workers into shameless shysters and get-rich-quick merchants

Guardian UK Decent people will always be eaten up by such an indecent system. The real challenge is to recognize that its indecency is not accidental but inherent. These institutions are too big, too justifiably arrogant, too often fawned over by intellectual and political lackeys and too detached from democratic and social values. They brought the world to the brink of economic collapse and survived with little real change. Unless democracies force them to do otherwise, they will rightly expect to ride out these smaller scandals.
2/3/13

Where Have All Our Houses Gone

Where have all the houses gone? Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but do you think the big banks who were the recipients of government largesse with bail outs, or the risk free money making turnstile between the Fed loaning them money at near zero to buy treasuries returning 2.5% provided the capital necessary to hold foreclosed properties off the market?

Townhall Once one takes the number of homeowners 30- to 90-days late on their mortgage payments and includes the likely default of those that have negative equity on their homes, there is a strong possibility more than 6.5 million additional foreclosures will enter the pipeline. The addition of homes that banks may be holding back suggests a much larger number. Laurie Goodman of Amherst Securities Group has testified before Congress that it could be as high as between 8 and 10 million.”
1/30/13

SunTrust Mortgage goes on a suing spree

Beaten down by demands from the likes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to repurchase the soured loans, SunTrust is dishing out lumps to those next in line: the mortgage brokers and small mortgage bankers that initiated the loans.

Suntrust v. American Internet Mortgage

Richmond BizSense The crux of SunTrust’s lawsuits is that at each step of the buy-a-loan-and-pass-it-on process are warranties and indemnification contracts.

Some of the suits do end up in settlement, but the odds that SunTrust will be awarded the sought-after amount are slim. Many of the cases quietly go to default judgment, with the defendants unable to defend themselves or even to respond to the suits.

2/3/13

Florida Foreclosure victim relief available

I urge anyone who may be eligible and who has not yet filed a claim to file one immediately. Only properly completed claims forms are being accepted. If you believe you may be eligible, please contact the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358 or visit NationalMortgageSettlement.com.

Sun Sentinel The alleged misconduct included false affidavits submitted in foreclosure proceedings, lost paperwork, long delays and missed deadlines for loan modifications, and so-called "robo-signing," where the banks submitted foreclosure documents that were not properly signed.

2/3/13

Fraud-Notable Quotables from MBIA VS. Credit Suisse Amended Complaint

The Big Picture MUST MUST READ FRAUD-NOTABLE QUOTABLES FROM MBIA VS. CREDIT SUISSE AMENDED COMPLAINT-”shady as fck,” “Utter complete garbage” “what does our loan conduit and the Titanic have in common?” “both sleep with the fish.” “no matter how shi*ty production is…”

2/3/13

Fresh Questions Over a Bank of America Settlement

According to new documents filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan late on Friday, questionable practices by the bank’s loan servicing unit have continued well after the Countrywide acquisition; they paint a picture of a bank that continued to put its own interests ahead of investors as it modified troubled mortgages.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Documents submitted by three Federal Home Loan Banks, in Boston, Chicago and Indianapolis, and Triaxx, an investment vehicle that bought mortgage securities. They contend that a proposed $8.5 billion settlement that Bank of America struck in 2011 to resolve claims over Countrywide’s mortgage abuses is far too low and shortchanges thousands of ordinary investors.

The filing raises new questions about whether a judge will approve the settlement. If it is denied, the bank would face steeper legal obligations.

2/3/13

Friends of Fraud

Edward Gramlich, the Federal Reserve official who warned in vain about the dangers of subprime, famously asked, “Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers?” He went on, “The question answers itself — the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products.”

Paul Krugman

NY Times

So the consumer protection bureau serves a vital function. But as I said, Senate Republicans are trying to kill it.

How can they do that, when the reform is already law and Democrats hold a Senate majority? Here as elsewhere, they’re turning to extortion — threatening to filibuster the appointment of Richard Cordray, the bureau’s acting head, and thereby leave the bureau unable to function. Mr. Cordray, whose work has drawn praise even from the bankers, is clearly not the issue. Instead, it’s an open attempt to use raw obstructionism to overturn the law.

2/3/13

Expert Witnesses Starting to Take on Forgeries in Foreclosures

It looks like document experts are finally getting their day in court.

One of the things we’ve lamented since 2010, before the robosiging scandal broke, is the use of forgeries and document fabrications to remedy otherwise fatal problems with foreclosure actions, such as a lack of proper signatures on a borrower promissory note.

naked capitalism We saw one case when an allonge appeared at the 11th hour, with obviously questionable signatures (evidence of pixtillation and shrinking to fit). But that occurred after business hours on a Thursday before a three day weekend, and effectively stymied the defense, since they could not round up a document expert quickly enough to challenge the crude forgery.

Declaration of James M, Kelley

2/3/13

Federal judge refuses to review state court action arising from foreclosure and ejectment.

Jamaladdin v Dietterick

Home Equity Theft Reporter Improperly pled.  There is an exception to Rooker-Feldman when the state court judgment was "procured through FRAUD, deception, accident, or mistake..." Sun Valley Foods Co.  The court gave validity to a void judgment.
2/2/13

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy apparently ignored warning before deadly eviction shooting, report says

A day before the eviction, Paris was warned of possible guns and bombs. The clerk added "be very cautious" and Paris replied "whatever."

News10 Several warnings that went ignored, communication problems and departmental failures may have contributed to the deaths of a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy and locksmith serving an eviction notice last April.

'Stay Out Of Idaho!' 

Says State Regulator To S. Florida Lawyer Peddling Participations In 'Mass Joinder' Lawsuit Against Lenders Alleging Deceptive Foreclosure, Lending Practices

Mass Joinder Complaint

Home Equity Theft Reporter A North Palm Beach law firm was ordered by the State of Idaho to stop soliciting residents to join a foreclosure-related lawsuit that allegedly required them to pay thousands of dollars in up-front fees and monthly payments.
2/2/13

Cleveland man could lose home after being one day late on delinquent property tax payment

Home Equity Theft Reporter Cleveland Councilwoman Dona Brady contacted the treasure's office about Hansinki's case, promising it would conduct a full investigation within the next 24 hours. "Why would he receive a bill that says don't pay anything and you're going into foreclosure? It doesn't make any sense," said Brady. "We do not want another foreclosed home but, more importantly, we don't want Mr. Hasinski out on the streets."
2/1/13

Eviction Papers Served To Squatter In $2.5 Million Mansion, But He’s Sticking Around For Now

Consumerist The Broward County Property Appraiser is calling on state legislators to erase the Florida adverse possession law, as the large number of foreclosed and vacant (but often quite nice) homes in the area has resulted in a surge of these bogus claims in recent years.

2/1/13

Reverse mortgage rule threatens widow with foreclosure; AARP files challenge

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a birthday gift for widow Jeanette Ogle — a gift that should cause any senior to think twice before signing up for a government-insured reverse mortgage.

Washington Post Later this month, on Ogle’s 92nd birthday, her home in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is scheduled for foreclosure — and it’s not because she did something wrong. Instead, she is expected to lose her house because only her late husband’s name was included on the reverse mortgage documents prepared by a loan broker in 2007. This was despite the fact that both her and her husband’s names were clearly listed as co-borrowers in the documents for the mortgage that was being refinanced, Ogle says, and the couple wanted no change in that status.

2/1/13

PA Agencies Combine to Help People Facing Foreclosure

With a high foreclosure rate, hundreds of people in the Poconos are in fear of losing their homes right now.

WNEP If you couldn’t make it out to the event, all you have to do is contact the Monroe County Bar Association at 913 Main Street in Downtown Stroudsburg at (570) 424-7288. They will then put you in touch with the people who will help you keep your home.
2/1/13

No-money-down mortgages are back

Some affluent buyers are getting the keys to their new home without putting a penny down.

It’s 100% financing—the same strategy that pushed many homeowners into foreclosure during the housing bust. Banks say these loans are safer.

These loans also provide tax benefits.

Market Watch Some banks say clients are pursuing 100% financing as an arbitrage play—where the return on their investments is bigger than the rate they pay on the loan, which can be as low as 2.5%. Some institutions offer only adjustable rates with these loans, which could become more expensive if rates rise. In most cases, the investment account must be held by the same institution that’s providing the loan.
2/1/13

Paperwork Mess

Not so long ago, the banks’ argument, which could be summed up : “Take my word for it judge, I am the proper party to foreclose”, carried the day, and the foreclosure gavel slammed down.

Dan McGookey, Esq. Courts in Ohio and elsewhere are taking a much closer look at the promissory note, mortgage, negotiation and assignment documents offered by the banks before giving them their wish. In other words, homeowners are finally being given the same due process rights afforded the banks.
2/1/13

APPELLATE ARGU--MENT! 

SOUTH BAY LAKES V. WELLS FARGO

 

February 18, 2011 Ruling

Matt Weidner, Esq. Court: "What in this record... would establish Wells Fargo had any right to sue anyone in this case?" 24:30

Wells Fargo: "The fact that the borrower answer didn't raise the issue of standing I think is paramount." 

Court: So if I file a lawsuit against someone and they don't raise the issue of standing -- I suddenly have a cause of action? 

2/1/13

United States Supreme Court marked off with Crime Scene Tape

Lawless America The United States Supreme Court has been roped off with crime scene tape. 

Crimes have been committed inside these hallowed halls.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the FBI or the police stretching out the Crime Scene banner, it was members of the Lawless America Revolution.
2/1/13

FLORIDA CIRCUIT JUDGE DENIES SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO JPMORGAN CHASE 

BASED ON ISSUES IN NARDI DEPOSITION AND ADMISSIONS OF JPM IN FEDERAL CASE

JPM separately admitted in the Federal litigation that it is not the successor in interest to WaMu in its own motion for summary judgment which it filed in that case.

Foreclosure Defense

Nationwide

Mr. Barnes filed the Lawrence Nardi deposition in which Mr. Nardi, as a former employee of WaMu who became employed with JPM after the failure of WaMu, testified that although a schedule of WaMu mortgage loans to be purchased from the FDIC was contemplated, it was never prepared, has never been produced in any case, and does not exist.
2/1/13

Texas County Clerk Audit Findings Press Release

County Clerk Audit Findings Presentation

Wilco County, Texas The Williamson County Commissioners Court was presented with the final results of the real property records audit conducted in early October by DK Consultants LLC out of San Antonio.
2/1/13

The Fed blew it on Foreclosures.

Ooops, we ruined the country?

A headline appeared in the Boston Globe that was so disturbing that all I could do was stare at it before filing it away for a day when I needed some additional frustration. It read, “ Data shows Fed doubted foreclosures’ link to crisis.”

Mandelman Matters The Federal Reserve, the central bank for the world’s largest economy on the planet with an annual budget in the $6 billion range, with massive amounts of data and scads of experts on hand to interpret it… and they doubted that there was linkage between destroying the credit markets and eviscerating the trillions in accumulated wealth stored in the homes of this country’s middle class? They doubted that?
2/1/13

Firm Builds Up Force-Placed Insurance Class Action Lawsuit

Besides CitiMortgage, Citigroup, American Security and Assurant, the firm said it is investigating “similar claims” by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, SunTrust and GMAC.

 

Gilman Law LLP Such claims reiterate findings such as data reported by the New York Department of Financial Services, which showed that premiums of 15% or more collected by force-placed insurers “flow to the banks through insurance agents affiliated with the banks.”

Gilman is aggressively pursuing potential clients before their claims are barred from proceeding by state-based statute of limitations. It offers free legal evaluations to property owners who may be victims of predatory force-placed insurance practices.
2/1/13

 

Yet Another Cost of Doing Business Fine: Lender Processing Services Settles with 46 Attorneys General for $127 Million

The issues with LPS go well beyond robosigning. “Robosigning” was a convenient label to divert attention from the fact that the party that was attempting to foreclose didn’t merely have improperly executed documents, which is what this lame settlement would lead you to believe. It was that it was often the improper party, raising a host of issues (borrower exposure to liability from the proper party, which has occasionally turned out to be a real issue, clouded title). I happened to speak to a reporter on the mortgage beat one of the major New York papers, and that individual was sputtering about the settlement.

naked capitalism Worse, notice how this settlement institutionalized the undermining of procedures that go back to the 1677 Statute of Frauds. LPS is permitted to sign documents on behalf of a servicer if it is authorized to do so. But a bedrock concept of the law has been that evidence submitted in court (an an affidavit stands in lieu of testimony) is based on personal knowledge. LPS does not know the integrity of the underlying servicer systems (and our Bank of America series confirms our suspicion that they often suck). Is it going to be, as before, that servicers file affidavits attesting as to the amount the borrower owes? We might as well throw our judicial system down the toilet if so.

2/1/13

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation

If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

IRS The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.
2/1/13

THE STAGGERING INSULT THAT IS THE NATIONAL MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT….

THE DETAILED REPORTS SHOULD SEND PEOPLE RIOTING IN THE STREETS

Matt Weidner, Esq. Well, like every other example of staggering government collusion and corruption these days, the reality is a far more disturbing and disgusting truth.

Take some time to click on this link

then go to “consumer relief data”, there you will find the detailed, comprehensive reporting, that will make you sick. Break out the excel spreadsheets, you can do them for each state, and play with them.

1/31/13

Freddie Mac’s Diabolical Solution to Oregon’s Recording Requirement: Locate and Destroy the Assignment

One of the most hotly contested issues in Oregon foreclosure law is whether lenders who do not obtain written assignments of trust deeds can foreclose non-judicially. While other lenders fret about their missing assignments, Freddie Mac has taken a different approach. Freddie instructs servicers to destroy them prior to foreclosure.

Housekeeping Report So if you have to foreclose, locate and destroy the assignment so nobody will find out about it. And if you have to call off the foreclosure, create a new assignment immediately…just don’t make it a matter of public record.

Foreclosure defense attorneys and media started sniffing around about this policy a couple years ago, so recently Freddie announced that it is rescinding the rule (at least officially) effective immediately? Heck no! Effective June 1, 2013. Why not complete a few more foreclosures first? Or maybe the timing has something to do with the fact that an Oregon foreclosure case involving this very issue is set to go to trial this year. Who knows.

1/31/13

WARREN BUFFETT’s BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY MAY BE THE NEW FORECLOSURE MILL;

“THERE IS NO [PICK A STATE] LAW ON THIS”

Anyone with a foreclosure involving GMAC or any other the other 51 entities who sold their assets to Berkshire may find that Berkshire is the new foreclosure mill.

Foreclosure Defense Nationwide We have been advised that someone has been offered a significant principal reduction in connection with an unsolicited loan mod offer from MERS “for GMAC”. MERS in fact signed the proffered loan mod. Figure that: MERS, which does not extend credit, loan money, or collect money and is not a lender, is offering a loan mod on behalf of a bankrupt entity.
1/31/13

Ex-Countrywide executive added as defendant in BofA fraud lawsuit

Rebecca Mairone was added as a defendant in an amended civil lawsuit dated January 11 and filed in U.S. District Court in New York. 

USA ex rel O'Donnell v. Bank of America

 COMPLAINT IN INTERVENTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Reuters The complaint says it was at Mairone's direction that the bank implemented a program to speed up the processing of home loans and remove barriers intended to ensure loans are not tainted by fraud. The program was known internally at Countrywide as the "Hustle," the Justice Department said in the complaint.
1/31/13

New FTC Report Highlights Problems in the Collection of Purchased Debt, Consistent with Legal Aid Client’s Experience

“Debt buying” refers to the rapidly growing business of purchasing charged-off debt from creditors or other debt owners, with the intent to then collect the debt from the consumer or resell it to another purchaser. Such debts are typically sold at a deep discount – on average, 4 cents for every dollar of debt – and are accompanied by a limited amount of corresponding data, the accuracy of which is typically disclaimed by the seller.

Making Justice Real The FTC’s report examined data from purchased debt portfolios containing more than 90 million individual accounts, concluding that each year, debt buyers seek to collect about a million debts that consumers dispute they actually owe. Yet, for a variety of reasons – including lack of adequate notice of the actions filed against them – roughly 90 percent of consumers sued for debt collection do not end up appearing in court to defend themselves, according to the FTC.

1/31/13

Bank of America Returns to the Scene of the Crime

Bank of America apparently wants to reclaim a share of the fat profits that rivals such as Wells Fargo have been enjoying from a mortgage refinancing boom sparked by low interest rates.

Dirt Digger Digest Those profits are particularly tantalizing given the other recent news about BofA: it reported a 63 percent decline in fourth-quarter net income.

Ironically, that plunge in earnings was caused by BofA’s previous screw-ups in none other than the mortgage market, specifically the billions of dollars it has had to pay Fannie Mae to settle charges that it sold the housing finance agency large quantities of faulty mortgage loans it had originated.
1/31/13

Post-Foreclosure 'Eviction Rescue' Services

The Latest In Schemes Designed To Squeeze Cash From Beleaguered Homeowners

Home Equity Theft Reporter We’re told it’s a common M.O.; companies claiming to “guarantee” you more time in your home, before being forced out. Our viewer didn’t buy it, and she wondered: is this even legal?

1/31/13

Elizabeth Warren, Elijah Cummings, Maxine Waters Call For More Transparency On Failed Foreclosure Reviews

Contractors hired to review loans were poorly or inconsistently trained and it wasn't always clear whether they were sufficiently independent from bank influence. 

Huff Post Waters's concerns echo those of housing activists, and even former foreclosure review contractors. Regulators said that about 4 million people whose homes received a foreclosure will get some payment through the settlement, starting at $250 and topping out at $125,000. But with the review process eliminated, they say, it's impossible to separate the deserving from those who aren't.

1/31/13

LPS settles robo-signing foreclosure complaints with Ohio, 45 other states

Lender Processing Services has agreed to pay 44 states and the District of Columbia $121 million to settle claims of unlawful foreclosure practices

Cleveland It will be used to help consumers at risk of foreclosure or who have already lost their homes. 

THERE IS NO MENTION OF GIVING THE HOMES BACK THAT WERE STOLEN!

Attorney General DeWine Announces $120 Million Multi-State Settlement with Lender Processing Services, Inc.

Ohio Attorney General Once the judgment is entered by the courts, LPS will undertake a review of documents executed during the period of January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010 to determine what documents, if any, need to be re-executed or corrected. If LPS is authorized to make the corrections, it will do so and will make periodic reports to the Attorneys General of the status of its review and/or modification of documents.
1/31/13

THE BANKS: GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS COMING TO TAKE AMERICAN’S HOMES

The banks committed fraud when they originated loans that were defective and did not meet the specific underwriting requirements. They did this to make additional money.

After they originated the loans, they failed to service or collect the payments properly. They did this to make additional money.

When the loans went into default, they failed to do the loss mitigation that homeowners had paid for as part of the mortgage contract….i.e. face to face meetings for HUD loans. They did this to make additional money.

Matt Weidner, Esq. When they pushed homes into foreclosure they lied, they cheated, they committed fraud, they committed forgery, they committed perjury in state and federal courtrooms all across this country. They did this in order to fabricate their cases and make additional money.

When the banks were caught, they agreed to pittance settlement terms that include payouts that come not from the banks that engaged in the wrongdoing, but from the investors who invested in their faulty products. They spent their investor’s money on the fines so that they could hoard additional money.
1/31/13

Banks mis-sold more than 90% of rate swaps, says FSA

Telegraph UK The FSA has accused Britain's largest banks of selling small businesses "absurdly complex products" and said that lenders will have to compensate thousands of customers.
1/31/13

Lanny Breuer Now Blames 94 US Attorneys for Immunizing Banksters

Marcy Wheeler Lanny didn’t even show up for the big announcement that basically –the settlement was immunizing the banksters for stealing millions of people’s homes. Somehow, now that it’s time to claim credit, Lanny has forgotten about that willful attempt to help banks bury their crimes.
1/30/13

Freddie Mac, Deutsche Bank Caught Up In Securities Allegations

Basically, Freddie trapped its own borrowers, denying them refinances. And they stood to benefit from that, because the higher interest rates meant bigger streams of income from their MBS.

David Dayen FDL This may seem like a sidelight to the securitization bubble, but indeed, we’ve seen many instances of investment banks taking one side of a mortgage-backed securities bet, and selling investors the other side, without disclosure. That’s securities fraud. It’s been litigated. The SEC has been giving out settlements like candy for this kind of conduct. 

1/30/13

UNPRECEDENTED CIVIL JURY VERDICT FINDS MAJOR U.S. BANK GUILTY OF FRAUD 

BANK BREACHED MORTGAGE AGREEMENT IN CASE BROUGHT BY U.S. GOVT. FRAUD INVESTIGATOR

 

4closurefraud In October 2012, an historic civil jury verdict in the District of Columbia found that OneWest Bank, which also does business as IndyMac Mortgage Services, violated DC’s consumer protection law by breaching its contract and committing fraud against the plaintiff, Ross Yerger (“the customer”) – a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. Actual damages were awarded and accompanied by punitive damages and attorney fees. This is the highest level at which any such case has been decided against a financial institution in favor of victory for the plaintiff.
1/30/13

When banks face criminal charges

Felix Salmon

Reuters

Once again the question raises itself: what is the point of filing criminal charges against a bank — not a bank’s executives or employees, but the bank itself? The WSJ today says that the US wants RBS to plead guilty to such charges, in addition to paying the inevitable fine over Libor fixing
1/30/13

Who are Justice Department’s ‘outside experts’ on prosecuting banks?

They were economists brought in by targets to dissuade the department from indicting their clients. Let’s be clear: Listening to arguments from potential defendants is an entirely appropriate exercise of prosecutorial discretion; 

Alison Frankel ... as Breuer said in his speech, responsible law enforcement demands that prosecutors consider the consequences of their actions. But with Grassley and Brown now pressing the Justice Department on who advised Holder and Breuer to protect jobs and markets by deferring prosecution of big banks, Justice critics could try to turn Breuer’s words against him and his office.

1/30/13

Why no outrage over this Bailout? 

Fed likely to continue MBS purchases to secure housing recovery

This is the Government-Sponsored Enterprise at work when there is an implosion, and it forces the unwilling American Taxpayer to pay for it. 

The banks run the country and everything in it. Your only purpose in life is to make money for the criminals and to keep your mouth shut.

Please see below...............

Housing Wire This is the government actively concealing Wall Street's crimes. The Federal Reserve is buying $40+ Billion of worthless mortgages every month; effectively paying off all the toxic mortgages the banks created.  What is the benefit to the victimized  homeowners and American taxpayers?  There isn't any benefit.  The benefit is only another Bailout for the banks.  The government is using $40B a month in taxpayer money/debt to pay the banks for committing crimes against the public.

1/31/13

WHAT IS THE FED BUYING?

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

IF THE LOANS WERE ORIGINATED CONTRARY TO INDUSTRY PRACTICE, IF THE MONEY USED TO FUND THE LOANS CAME FROM INVESTORS, WHAT COULD THE FED BE BUYING FROM THE BANKS WHO ARE ONLY INTERMEDIARIES?  AND IF THE FED IS BUYING THESE SECURITIES, THEN WHY ARE THEY NOT THE PRINCIPAL NAMED IN FORECLOSURES? ANSWER: THE FEDS BOUGHT NOTHING AND THEY KNOW IT.  IT IS MERELY A RUSE TO GIVE THE BANKS MORE MONEY.
1/30/13

9.9 Earthquake in Default Servicing Turns California Into Judicial Foreclosure State

Mandelman Matters Okay, so it’s not like it’s official… yet. But, I’m going to go ahead call it early. It’s like Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, and the other states that have passed state laws related to foreclosure that we all might have seen were guaranteed to transform non-judicial states into de facto judicial foreclosure states, even though that didn’t appear on the surface to be the case.
1/30/13

When Homeowners Lose, Freddie Mac Wins

Freddie Mac Betting Against Struggling Homeowners

Freddie Mac, a taxpayer-owned mortgage company, is supposed to make homeownership easier. One thing that makes owning a home more affordable is getting a cheaper mortgage.

ProPublica But Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won't be able to refinance their mortgages at today's lower rates.

"If there was a mass re-fi program, the bets they made would get absolutely wiped out," PIMCO's Simon says. "The way these bets do the best is if the homeowner is barred from refinancing."

1/30/13

In Bankruptcy it Matters if Your House is Not Your Residence When You File

Bankruptcy Law Network Your house – the place where you have lived in the past and plan to live in again – may not be your residence when you file a bankruptcy petition. Does it matter? In several ways it might matter a great deal.

1/30/13

Local judge accused of misconduct


State commission to review accusations by landowner

The Florida Bar’s Third Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee has found probable cause to support a landowner’s accusations of misconduct and conflict of interest against Circuit Judge Andrew J. Decker III of Live Oak.

Suwanee Democrat The misconduct and conflict accusations were made last spring by Daniel A. Dukes of Union County, a partner in the B.W.D Land Trust represented by Decker in foreclosure negotiations with TD Bank. 

Among other things, Dukes accused Decker of conspiring with Judge Bryan to transfer Duke’s one-third ownership of the foreclosed property to the judge, then withdrew as Duke’s attorney and later represented the judge in a bankruptcy filing.

1/30/13

Banks Restarting Private Label “Securitizations”

The banks are starting up a major effort to sell more mortgage securities under private label, which means that (a) they are not required to register them with the SEC and (b) they will continue to veil the secret movement of money, making it more difficult for any borrower to know the identity of the lender in a residential loan transaction, contrary to the requirements of Federal and State laws.

The whole purpose of the Truth in Lending Act was to give the consumer an opportunity to choose between one vendor of loans and another. 

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The banks obliterated that choice in the first round of the mortgage meltdown and you can be sure that the only reason they are doing it again is because they intend to make the same gargantuan “profits” in this second round, so far, at $25 Billion.

One of the reasons why they feel emboldened to do this is because the basic laws have not been changed regarding the definition of a security, which excludes mortgage bonds and the hedges like insurance and credit default swaps, courtesy of laws passed in 1998.

1/30/13

Audit Report

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS REAL PROPERTY RECORDS AUDIT REPORT

Alvie Campbell There is an apparent break in the recordation of assignments from mid-2003, forward, to reflect the inclusion of MERS activities as they affect the number of assignments recorded in the real
property records of Williamson County, Texas.
Notice the drop in the number of actual assignments recorded due to the apparent "static" condition created by the MERS business model.
1/29/13

Exclusive: JPMorgan bet against itself in "Whale" trade

Reuters There is a new twist in the London Whale trading scandal that cost JPMorgan Chase $6.2 billion in trading losses last year. Some of the firm's own traders bet against the very derivatives positions placed by its chief investment office.

1/29/13

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews

How the Cover-Up Happened (Part IV)

Well, we were having a very difficult time locating breach letters, you know, the letters of acceleration, and our pipelines were getting clogged up with – because we would have to wait for these documents … And so oftentimes we would have to have someone go find these, what we call document retrieval unit, try and find these, and our pipelines were getting very clogged up waiting for someone to find these documents and eventually we started getting breach letters sent back to us, say, from a Countrywide file, but the breach letter was on Bank of America letterhead.

naked capitalism But it was a Countrywide file. How did it get on Bank of America letterhead? So there was a big hue and cry through the, at least through the level 3s, saying, “What in the world is this? You know, this is a Countrywide loan, it has Countrywide loan numbers, it’s on Bank of America letterhead. How is this supposed to be legitimate?” Eventually all those files were taken away from us…it was causing enough of a stir so that we were simply told to stop what we were doing as far as these breach letters were concerned, and if we had a breach letter that was missing we were to notify management and it would be sent to another team…
1/29/13

Lawyer gets home confinement for failing to report boss's mortgage fraud

dbr Last September, Robbins pleaded guilty to 24 counts of misprision of felony—the failure to report knowledge of a felony to authorities. 
1/29/13

Michigan: Ex-Justice Admits Concealing Assets From Bank

Ms. Hathaway could face up to 18 months in prison under the terms of her deal with federal prosecutors.

NY Times Former Justice Diane Hathaway of the Michigan Supreme Court pleaded guilty to bank fraud on Tuesday for concealing assets. She was accused of hiding a Florida home that she and her husband owned while urging a bank to let her unload a Michigan house in a short sale, claiming financial hardship.

MERS leaves property records in shambles

County searches for solutions to save homeowners from foreclosure

Williamson County officials said the electronic registry failed to file the proper documents with the county clerk's office in Texas and across the country.

KVUE "This process may result and effect the property owners ability to refinance, to sell their property and to obtain title insurance," said County Clerk Nancy Rister. 

Rister said MERS used robosigning and, she claims, even asked notaries to fraudulently sign documents, which now clouds the titles of millions of unsuspecting American homes," she said.
"You don't know who really owns your note," Bierwirth explained.

1/29/13

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews: 

Why the Cover-Up Happened (Part IIIA)

 

Why the Cover-Up Happened (Part IIIB)

naked capitalism The reviews showed that Bank of America engaged in certain types of abuses systematically

The review process itself lacked integrity due to Promontory delegating most of its work to Bank of America, and that work in turn depended on records that were often incomplete and unreliable. Chaotic implementation of the project itself only made a bad situation worse

Bank of America strove to suppress and minimize evidence of damage to borrowers.

 

Bank of America v. Jimenez

COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
DELAWARE COUNTY, OHIO
Complete Order reads:

On application of the plaintiff (Bank of America), and for good cause shown, the Judgment and Decree in Foreclosure entered herein is set aside, and the plaintiffs Complaint is dismissed without prejudice and without record, at plaintiffs costs.

1/29/13

Two Banks' Foreclosure Reviews Grind On After Giants Give Up

Mortgage Servicing News The apparent decisions by EverBank and OneWest Bancorp to finish loan-by-loan foreclosure reviews will provide a glimpse of how the big banks' much-maligned foreclosure look-backs would have panned out. Both banks will complete their reviews by mid-summer
1/29/13

Fannie, Freddie to let underwater homeowners out of mortgages

In an extremely controversial move, Fannie and Freddie have decided to allow underwater homeowners out of their mortgages if they continued to pay on time.

AGBeat Supporters note that previous attempts to help struggling homeowners pushed borrowers to default before they could receive help, whereas this program incentivizes only behavior that is positive and keeps their loan on track, noting that underwater homeowners didn’t make a bad purchase decision, rather were punished by lending and housing policies that crashed the economy.

1/28/13

  Audit reveals Central Texas homeowners could face foreclosure

Williamson County homeowners could face unexpected foreclosure and those looking to buy or sell a home could face hidden headaches.

That was the warning Friday night from the Williamson County Clerk's Office after an audit turned up some serious red flags.

KVEU Homeowners in Travis County and Williamson County are discovering unsettling information about their mortgages.


County clerks are warning families that the ownership of tens of thousands of Central Texas home loans could be in question because of a company called Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. or MERS.

1/28/13

Remarks by Thomas J. Curry
Comptroller of the Currency
Before the American Securitization Forum

I have three questions to take up with you today. 

4closureFraud First, what are the prospects for a revival of the nation’s housing sector? Second, what role will mortgage-backed securities play in the evolving structure of housing finance? Finally, what changes are on the regulatory horizon and what is their likely impact on the housing sector and the financial system that supports it?
1/28/13

 

Case Dismissed over Broken Chain of Assignments

In opposition, Said contends that plaintiff lacks standing and has no legal capacity to sue because the assignment in which plaintiff was assigned the first mortgage was invalid since there was an improper chain of assignments prior to the assignment involving plaintiff.

Supreme Court, Queens County, NY For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied in its entirety; and Said's cross-motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's complaint is granted in its entirety. 

U.S. Natl. Assn. v Said

1/28/13

Officers injured in Rochester eviction


Shootings occurred in downtown apartment building

WIBV Reports state that the officers were there to carry out an eviction notice but the tenant didn’t want to cooperate. 

The officer shot at the tenant, wounding him. A total of four officers were injured, three men and one woman. All of their injuries appear to be non-life threatening.

1/28/13

Details are only now revealing just how far-reaching the scam was.

Libor Lies Revealed in Rigging of $300 Trillion Benchmark

Even in an era of financial deception -- of firms peddling bad mortgages, hedge-fund managers trading on inside information and banks laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists -- the manipulation of Libor stands out for its breadth and audacity.

Bloomberg For years, traders at Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Barclays, RBS and other banks colluded with colleagues responsible for setting the benchmark and their counterparts at other firms to rig the price of money, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg and interviews with two dozen current and former traders, lawyers and regulators. UBS traders went as far as offering bribes to brokers to persuade others to make favorable submissions on their behalf, regulatory filings show.
1/28/13

Eric Schneiderman: Mortgage Task Force Eyeing Broader Suits

One year after President Obama launched a new task force to investigate fraud during the subprime mortgage crisis, a co-chair of the group says a desire is now growing among prosecutors for a more aggressive response to the meltdown.

PBS New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says there is little question fraud played a role in the 2008 financial crisis. In October, his office filed the task force’s first case, a civil suit alleging “a systemic fraud on thousands of investors” by JPMorgan Chase between 2005 and 2007.
1/28/13

Interesting new FDCPA class action decision

Last Thursday, Judge Arthur Spatt, a federal district judge in Brooklyn, postponed a decision on final approval of a settlement in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) class action on the ground of inadequate notice. 

See Corpac v. Rubin & Rothman, 2013 WL 265318 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 24, 2012). 

Consumer Law & Policy Blog The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had sent written collection notices that falsely represented or implied that an attorney had meaningfully reviewed the plaintiff's account and was meaningfully involved with the decision to send the communication, in violation of the FDCPA. The proposed settlement would have paid $9,400 to an unnamed charitable organization (unnamed, at least, in the court's opinion) and $75,000 to plaintiff's counsel.

1/27/13

Flurry of Subpoenas Raises Force-Placed Stakes

 

Under Interrogation

Law enforcement officials have issued subpoenas to a number of companies as part of an investigation into the sale of force-placed insurance. Consumers who have outstanding loans for homes and other property are often required to buy force-placed coverage after allowing their own policies to lapse.

 Government officials suspect vendors may have gouged consumers in the sale of force-placed policies. 

American Banker In recent weeks New York State's Department of Financial Services has issued subpoenas to at least 18 mortgage servicers, a dozen insurers and 20 affiliated insurance agencies, according to someone familiar with the investigation.

The state officials are seeking information about force-place property insurance that banks purchase on behalf of uninsured borrowers. Force-placed insurance is a type of coverage that protects creditors in the event an uninsured borrower's property is damaged.

It's big business. One large insurer, Assurant Inc. receives around $2 billion in annual premiums, and banks are paid commissions on the policies.

1/27/13

Helpful Bankruptcy Videos

Bankruptcy Law Network You’ll learn from these nine videos published by the federal government which are a good entry into a pretty scary subject. They certainly do not substitute for sound legal advice, but they get you started on your path to a Fresh Start.

1/26/13

Evidence Establishes the FDIC Assigned WAMU Loans to Trusts

Now we have evidence of the FDIC's assigning WaMu loans to the Trusts for "valuable consideration" in violation of New York & Delaware trust laws and IRS REMIC provisions. This is quite unbelievable! So why this loan in particular? Without any schedules of assets ever being produced, how do they decide which ones will be assigned to the trusts from the FDIC, and which ones assigned from Chase? Either way it is illegal!

Victory Over Chase So now we know with certainty that at least some of the WaMu trust loans were retained on the books of WaMu, which violates the PSA's and the reps and warranties to the investors. There is no other way the FDIC can even attempt this assignment. So now what we have is the FDIC accepting "valuable consideration" for stolen merchandise and dumping the losses onto the REMIC investors. 
1/26/13

Making Them Pay (and Confess)

No-admission settlements can be little more than a wrist slap — and certainly do not qualify as punishment. Most financial penalties end up being paid for by the company’s shareholders or its insurance policies. That’s not much of a deterrent.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Negotiating admissions from defendants is a challenge, he added. “They don’t like it because they say ‘it will open us up to tremendous liability,’ ” he said. “Well, that’s kind of the idea — you did something wrong, you should be liable. You’re not going to change practices or behavior if there’s no penalty associated with it.”

REPLAY

HOT OF THE PRESSES, FAILURE TO PLEAD CAPACITY IS MOTION TO DISMISS IN FORECLOSURE CASE

The failure to register motion to dismiss issue is back…in a big way.

Matt Weidner, Esq. Mortgages — Capacity to sue: Where plaintiff has failed to plead or specify in what capacity it brings suit and failed to define or identify nature of its legal entity, plaintiff has not pled capacity to sue — Capacity to sue may be raised by motion to dismiss where defect appears on face of complaint — Case dismissed without prejudice
1/26/13

Assignments of Mortgage and Standing

The homeowner to carefully look at all the documents used by his or her bank in attempting to foreclose. There is a high degree of likelihood that there is fraud involved in their preparation and execution. If you can find fraud and expose it, it could make the difference between saving and losing your home.

Dan McGookey, Esq. Clearly, the Court must be presumed to have meant what it said, and that one seeking to foreclose must not only be entitled to “enforce” the note, but also have rights in the mortgage at the time the foreclosure complaint is filed. This standard significantly raises the bar on the proof requirements of foreclosing banks, and, quite appropriately, holds them accountable for their own fraudulent conduct in using robo signers.
1/26/13

Notice of Appeal in Cavanaugh

Glenn Russell, Esq. Notice to appeal a judgment that could effectively minimize or eliminate Bevilacqua and Ibanez.
2011

Report

Inequitable Justice: 

This report examines a federal law enforcement practice known as “equitable sharing.” 

It enables —indeed encourages state and local police and prosecutors to circumvent the civil forfeiture laws of their states for financial gain.

Institute for Justice Civil forfeiture is the government power to take property suspected of involvement in a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture—used to take the ill-gotten gains of criminal activity after a criminal conviction—with civil forfeiture, police can take property without so much as charging the owner with any wrongdoing.

Jennifer Britt, Detroit Foreclosure Activist, Speaks Out About How She Saved Her Home

Britt's eviction defense group can be contacted at detroitevictiondefense@gmail.com 

Huff Post In this interview (SEE VIDEO), the Huffington Post speaks with Britt about the campaign to save her home, her thoughts on the foreclosure crisis and how her neighbors, the Cullors, got involved in a very similar fight.

Editorial: Legislature should not raid foreclosure settlement money

Ms. Bondi asked that the $60 million go to housing-related programs. A state-run, first-time homebuyer program will get $35 million, legal aid groups will get $5 million to help foreclosure victims, $10 million will go to housing and credit counseling groups and $5 million will go to state courts, for hiring to expedite foreclosure cases. Another $5 million will reimburse the attorney general’s office for legal fees.

Rhonda Swan
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
House Speaker Will Weatherford promised this week that lawmakers would not spend millions in foreclosure settlement money on their “favorite projects that have nothing to do with the crisis.” That would be easier to believe if Rep. Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville hadn’t insisted that the Florida Legislature control the bulk of the $334 million settlement. And if they hadn’t already siphoned off $74 million for the state’s treasury.
1/26/13

Bill Black: Why the World Economic Forum and Goldman Sachs are Capitalism’s Worst Enemies

Bill Black The ability of the Systemically Dangerous Institutions (SDIs) to commit fraud with impunity from the criminal laws is a defining element of crony capitalism. The impunity and implicit national subsidies to  (SDIs) combine to make “free markets” an oxymoron. The SDIs’ economic power translates easily into dominant political power. Crony capitalism cripples markets and democracy.

1/25/13

SUCCESSFUL CHAIN OF TITLE CHALLENGE

SCHOSHINSKI V. COMPASS BANK

Bergman & Gutierrez LLP B&G filed suit against Compass Bank to cancel an Assignment of Deed of Trust and seek declaratory relief as to whether Compass Bank actually acquired the mortgage loan as it claimed in the Assignment. The problem? The Assignment of Deed of Trust was signed by MERS on behalf of a company that had gone out of business months before. How could MERS have been acting as an agent for a defunct company?
1/25/13

Activists Claim A Victory In Fight To Change Foreclosures

OPB "What the chair said is that he's totally willing and able to work with We Are Oregon to talk to the Legislature and to talk to judges about the process and explain some of the things that come out of it and how it affects people," Austin said.
1/25/13

Bank of America seeks to remove Boca Raton mansion squatter

Man claims oceanfront property under centuries-old adverse possession law

Bank of America's complaint

wpbf Adverse possession went on the books centuries ago when the integrity of record-keeping was questionable at best. It was aimed at ensuring the productive use of property when disputes over ownership arose.
1/25/13

Recent Foreclosure Settlement Was A Win For Big Banks

Huff Post The $8.5 billion foreclosure abuse settlement reached earlier this month with the mortgage industry was designed, bank regulators said, to speed quick relief to millions of homeowners. So far, however, it is the mortgage industry that is likely feeling the most relieved.
1/24/13

IRS Announces Guidance on the Principal Reduction Alternative Offered in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

If the loan is in good standing on the first, second and third annual anniversaries of the effective date of the trial period, the loan servicer reduces the unpaid principal balance of the loan by one-third of the initial PRA Forbearance Amount on each anniversary date.

IRS This means that if the borrower continues to make timely payments on the loan for three years, the entire PRA Forbearance Amount is forgiven. To encourage mortgage loan holders to participate in HAMP–PRA, the HAMP program administrator will make an incentive payment to the loan holder (called a PRA investor incentive payment) for each of the three years in which the loan principal balance is reduced.

How do they know the servicer or investor is the real party?

1/24/13

Recognize Foreclosure Scams for what they are

Chicago Tribune If researchers at the Center for Responsible Lending are on target when they say the country is only halfway through the foreclosure crisis, many more people are going to be conned out of a great deal of money trying to save their homes.

But it doesn't have to be like that. And it won't be if Uncle Sam has his way.

The government is coming down hard on swindlers who cheat terrified owners willing to try almost anything to avoid foreclosure.

Last month, for example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took steps to shut down two alleged loan modification mills that the agency claims bilked people out of more than $10 million.

1/24/13

Local woman, 99, fears sudden eviction

A friend of Berglund’s, Lois Davidson, is worried she’s going to have a heart attack from the stress of it all.

“It’s just so upsetting seeing what they’re doing to her and putting pressure on her life like this,” Davidson said.

Desert Dispatch A 99-year old local woman is facing a bank eviction from property in Newberry Springs after the original owner died.

“They’re trying to throw me out on the street,” Bernice “Bea” Berglund said. “I’m too old to be pushed around.”

Berglund has lived in her trailer behind a house on the 33000 block of Newberry Road for about 30 years.
1/24/13

IJ Scores Major Federal Court Victory In Massachusetts Civil Forfeiture Case

This outrageous forfeiture action should never have been filed in the first place,” said Larry Salzman, an IJ attorney. “What the government did amounted to little more than a grab for what they saw as quick cash under the guise of civil forfeiture.”

United States of America v. Caswell

This case epitomizes what an aggressive U.S. attorney wielding these laws can do to a small property owner like Russ Caswell.

Institute for Justice In one of the most contentious civil forfeiture fights in the nation, Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts concluded, based on a week-long bench trial in November 2012, that the motel was not subject to forfeiture under federal law and that its owners were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.

It is hard to believe anything like this goes on in our country, but the government goes after people they think can’t afford to fight. But with IJ’s help, we put up a heck of a fight and have won. The public needs to stand up against these abuses of power.

1/24/13

US banks shaken by biggest deposit withdrawals since 9/11

US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system hasn’t seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks.

RT The current “fast pace” of withdrawal comes as a surprise to financial analysts because the deposits are slipping away from those banks which supposedly were safe. Experts expected savers in small and medium banks would turn to bigger players come December 31. 
REPLAY

Why Title Insurance on “Securitized” Properties are Worthless

Mark A Brown and Christopher W Smart have published an article in The Florida Bar Journal July/August Edition starting on page 47. 

Are Consequential Damages Recoverable Under a Title Insurance Policy for the Time It Takes to Attempt to Cure a Title Defect?

Living Lies While they disagree with some of the rulings contained in that article it is obvious that one way or the other, you are pretty much screwed when dealing with foreclosure properties unless you have safeguards in place by renegotiating the contents of the title policy, AND by obtaining cures of all potential title defects via Court Order. While this increases the expense of closing, it assures the buyer of something he is not getting now — clear title without clouds or defects and real insurance if the defects cannot be cured.
1/24/13

Eminent Domain Bid for California Mortgages Rejected

After months in the spotlight, a group formed by three Southern California municipalities has backed down on a plan to seize and restructure troubled home loans.

WSJ The local group, whose mission includes addressing the problem of underwater mortgages, rejected on Thursday the use of eminent domain as a way to restructure those loans, a win for banks and securities firms fighting the idea.
1/24/13

Another Judge Rejects No-Admission, No-Denial SEC Settlement

Forbes A federal judge in Colorado recently rejected the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attempt to settle a lawsuit over an alleged $15 million Ponzi scheme, saying he wouldn’t approve a deal where the defendants agreed to disgorge $6 million in ill-gotten gains without admitting or denying fault.
1/24/13

Texas County estimates nearly $1 million lost in unrecorded document fees

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the Williamson County Commissioners Court will hear a presentation of the findings of the real property records audit during its regular court meeting starting at 9:30 a.m.

Hill Country News The results of the audit revealed hundreds of issues involving suspect robosigning, suspect surrogate signing, suspect notary fraud and suspect forgery. In addition to the nearly $1 million lost from documents not being filed county officials said the public is also being victimized by the lack of accurate records and in some cases the loss of their home.
 1/24/13

The Impact of Fraud on the Real Estate Industry

Property Records Industry Assoc.

h/t Renee & CJ

To explore the perception of real estate fraud at the local level and to collectively identify tools to assist with combating it.

1/24/13

More fines for crimes

Brokers Getting Secret Payments Through Real Estate Software

California prosecutors have stumbled across a neat little real estate scam.

Title insurance companies are using software used by real estate brokers to facilitates unlawful secret payments to the brokers for the referral of business to title insurers and other providers.

Corporate Crime Reporter Last week, Jacksonville, Florida-based title insurance company Fidelity National Financial settled a case brought by the district attorneys of San Diego, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Fidelity National Financial will pay $873,588 to settle the charges.

In the civil complaint filed under California’s Unfair Competition Law, the district attorneys alleged that Fidelity National operated a software platform — called Transaction Point

1/24/13

Something sinister about the lack of prosecutions at Lehman Brothers

This is the first interview that Chicago lawyer Anton Valukas has given since the publication of his 2,292 page report into the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on March 11th, 2010. 

Ian Frasier At that time, Valukas found strong evidence of financial and accounting fraud designed to deceive investors at the defunct New York-based investment bank. Valukas is surprised, especially given Lehman Brothers’ rampant abuse of Repo 105 to disguise its precarious financial position in the quarters ahead of its September 2008 collapse, that neither Lehman Brothers’ former chief executive Dick Fuld nor any other former Lehman director has been charged with fraud or related offences
1/24/13

Obama SEC Pick Pleases Wall Street Critics

Neil Barofsky, former TARP cop whose recent book “Bailout” blasted Treasury’s response to the financial crisis, says she is a “terrific” choice and a “true beacon of independence.”

“Mary Jo White was a tough, smart, no nonsense, broadly experienced and highly accomplished prosecutor.

abc News She knew who the bad guys were, went after them and put them in prison when they broke the law. That’s what must happen if integrity and investor confidence is to be restored in our securities markets. Wall Street is a high crime area and Mary Jo White brings the right skill set to restore the rule of law on Wall Street. If the SEC does that, Wall Street, Main Street, our economy and our country will prosper.”
1/24/13

STOP CITIZENS TRI-COUNTY BANK FROM PUTTING MY 86 YEAR OLD MENTALLY ILL MOTHER ON THE STREET!

Our message to Citizens Tri County Bank is simple, you've gotten enough out of this family. It's time to do the right thing and make a deal that keeps us in our home.

Occupy Our Homes Knowing that her house of 45 years was free and clear, they are attempting to place a lien on the home in order to repossess it, which would leave her homeless. When the bank found out she transferred the home to her adult children 18 months ago, they sued her children for fraudulent transfer. They are determined to get the home. Citizens Tri-County Bank is holding my mothers adult children and her house hostage.

1/24/13

Battle of the Experts–What Happens To My Second Mortgage Now?

Bankruptcy Law Network If you own your home and you owe more on your first mortgage that your house is worth, that is, you are underwater, you can propose to treat your second mortgage like any other unsecured creditor! So, if you are proposing to pay your unsecured creditors 10 cents on the dollar through your chapter 13 plan, that is what your second mortgage will be paid and, upon successful completion of your plan, the mortgage will be discharged. 

Commonwealth of Kentucky v. MERS

To the extent that foreclosure proceedings were filed in MERS' name and MERS lacked standing, the foreclosures and any resulting foreclosure judgments and sales may be
INVALID
, creating a cloud of title for properties throughout the Commonwealth.

 Attorney General of Kentucky

h/t James McGuire

Each of these more than 8,500 foreclosure actions was improper, as MERS was never the real party in interest and, therefore, always lacked standing to foreclose. It should further be noted that MERS has represented to the Commonwealth that it does not have a record of the case numbers in which it appeared as the foreclosing party.

1/23/13

Merscorp Failed to Record Loan Sales, Kentucky Says

Bloomberg Conway seeks court orders to block MERS from assigning mortgages after the start of a foreclosure proceeding, record documents to correct the chain of title for MERS mortgages, pay recording fees and $2,000 in civil penalties for each violation of Kentucky recording law, and provide restitution to affected borrowers.
1/23/13

Evidence that Washington Mutual Bank Shipped Loan Files to Mexico

We are now seeing Chase provide copies of what they purport to be the "original documents." Recent court cases reveal that Chase or their agents have been forging documents and then providing forged documents to litigants, their attorneys, and the court thus presenting a potential fraud on the court. It is a highly sophisticated system.

Victory Over Chase For years borrowers of Washington Mutual Bank and its affiliates have been searching for and attempting to obtain the "original loan file" containing the original Note, Deed of Trust and supporting loan documents in order to save their homes from foreclosure. Across the United States, JPMorgan Chase Bank has delayed discovery efforts of homeowners fighting for their homes, their families and lives. Chase obfuscates, delays, and plays games with people's lives and what little financial means remain after being devastated by WaMu, the FDIC, Chase, their agents and minions.

1/23/13

The main problem for the banks is that they are holding overvalued assets and some non-existent assets on their balance sheet.

Deny and Discover — Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Now the rubber meets the road. The claim that somehow the banks got stuck with mortgage bonds is patently absurd. If they have mortgage bonds it is not because they bought them, it is because they created them, but were unable to sell them because the market collapsed and the PONZI scheme fails whenever the suckers stop buying.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The actual proceeds from theft from the investors and the borrowers is parked off shore around the world. The Banks have been feeding the money back in very slowly because they want to create the appearance of an increasingly profitable bank, when in fact, their revenues and earnings are slipping away quickly — except for the bolstering they get from repatriating stolen money from investors and borrowers and calling them “proprietary trades.”

1/23/13

Does losing money wipe away sin?

Explosive Charge: Morgan Stanley Peddled Security Its Own Employee Called ‘Nuclear Holocaust’

Unfortunately for Morgan Stanley, it had so many other pieces of C.D.O.’s, so many nuclear warheads, that it couldn’t find nearly enough suckers around the world to buy them all.

ProPublica A case brought in a New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Morgan Stanley by a Taiwanese bank, which bought a piece of the same deal the Chinese bank did, has cleared that bar.

The results are explosive. Hundreds of pages of internal Morgan Stanley documents, released publicly last week, shed much new light on what bankers knew at the height of the housing bubble and what they did with that secret knowledge.

1/23/13

For Once, Maybe Lying Does Not Pay: 

DoJ’s Lanny Breuer Resignation Leaked After Frontline Appearance

Breuer’s resignation is unlikely to be a bellwether that lying does not pay. He simply didn’t lie well enough and that made him an embarrassment.

naked capitalism The mere threat of indictment got Hank Greenberg, one of the most litigious and tenacious people on the planet, forced out of AIG pronto. That’s because an indictment is a death knell to a levered financial firm. Many customers and counterparties have to stop dealing with it immediately. That does not mean this weapon should be used casually. But the key element is not to destroy viable businesses through a prosecution, but to punish executives. Breuer, who as Marcy Wheeler pointed out, uncritically accepted presentations by economists hired by miscreant institutions who warned that indicting their client would be Too Terrible To Contemplate.

1/23/13

 

Dear Lanny – The “Intent” is at the Top …and in the Patents.

The FBI accurately described mortgage fraud as “epidemic”; but the media was so highly leveraged with Wall Street debt – they were compromised; and many politicians’ financial portfolios would be in ruin if Wall Street went under… so, everyone was walking on eggshells – at the expense of the American public.

Who gave the orders to relax the application software? Who designed the patents? Who paid for the patents? Who knew that the 1003 application software had been relaxed?

Deadly Clear Wall Street, including Fannie & Freddie, knew that the 1003 Application had revised its software, a patented program, and enabled a restricted program to be relaxed so that loan officers could massage the borrowers’ numbers until they could get an approval. Prior to 2005, the computer 1003 Application program could not be manipulated or changed without supervisor approval. After 2006 – “FUNDEM” was a lot easier because the 1003 Application software had been significantly relaxed. Doesn’t that sound like an element of “intent”?

1/23/13

 

The day after The Untouchables aired...

Justice Department CRIMINAL Division Chief Steps Down 

Breuer’s tenure has been filled with controversy and high-profile prosecutions. He was admonished for his role in the agency’s botched attempt to infiltrate weapon-smuggling rings in the operation dubbed Fast and Furious. And he has been accused of being soft on Wall Street for failing to throw senior bank executives behind bars for their role in the financial crisis.

  When Breuer was confirmed as assistant attorney general for the criminal division in April 2009, the agency was tainted by allegations of political interference in prosecutions and unprofessional conduct during the George W. Bush administration. The department continues to be mired in controversy stemming from the Bush years.

During Senate hearings in 2011, Breuer admitted that he failed to alert other Justice Department officials that federal agents had allowed guns to illegally flow into Mexico and onto U.S. streets.

 

 

 

1/23/13

 

DUAL TRACKING

St. Augustine couple wins foreclosure case against Wells Fargo, will stay in home

The end game? The couple gets to keep their home, and continue to pay their original mortgage.  Wells Fargo breached the contract and  them.  Why should they have to continue paying.

Business Journal The couple, facing foreclosure, was going through a loan modification when the bank advised them to make a lump sum payment of nearly $7,000 to bring their loan out of default. 

After the couple made the payment, the bank moved to foreclose on the home a month later, prompting the couple to defend the foreclosure with an attorney.

First Coast family wins foreclosure fight against Wells Fargo

In October 2012, a St. John's County judge sided with the Westbrooks, saying the bank failed to prove the loan was in default.

First Coast She said the bank told her she had to pay roughly $7,000 to stay current. She paid it.

"I did what they asked," she said.

She said Wells Fargo told her she had to be 90 days in default for the loan. But, by September 2010, the bank filed foreclosure.

The Westbrooks took the bank to court.
1/17/13

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules establish strong protections for homeowners facing foreclosure

Dual Tracking is Restricted

Summary of the final mortgage servicing rules

CFPB

Press release

Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued rules to establish new, strong protections for struggling homeowners facing foreclosure. The rules also protect mortgage borrowers from costly surprises and runarounds by their servicers.
1/23/13

Demonstrators cheer as eviction of Springfield homeowner called off by Fannie Mae

The anti-eviction demonstration was led by Springfield No One Leaves, a grassroots organization that is aiding families at risk of eviction. 

MassLive Solivan said he was unable to keep up his mortgage payments after becoming unemployed in late 2008, and after his unemployment compensation expired about 18 months later. 

He began receiving elderly assistance and food stamps, but is scheduled to start receiving $859 monthly in Supplemental Security Income benefits beginning Feb. 1, and wants to work out some reduced monthly mortgage payment with the lender. 

1/23/13

Ky. AG suit stems from mortgage foreclosure probe

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has filed a lawsuit resulting from his investigation of mortgage foreclosures.

Fox19 Conway said Wednesday his office sued MERSCORP Holdings Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. The lawsuit alleges the subsidiary violated Kentucky law by not recording mortgage assignments with county clerks when mortgages were sold or transferred from one bank to another.
1/23/13

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT: You can’t Fool All the People All the Time

In the decision Riverisland Cold Storage v. Fresno-Madera the California Supreme Court stopped the banks dead in their tracks. Whereas they were able to prevent the borrower from introducing parole evidence (events outside the four corners of a document) the banks are now to be confronted in California and other states that will follow with the probability that their lies and illegal steering people into foreclosure are going to haunt them and defeat them.

Reverses 1935 case: Bank of America etc. Assn. v. Pendergrass (1935) 4 Cal.2d 258, 263

Living Lies “The Pendergrass limitation finds no support in the language of the statute codifying the parole evidence rule and the exception for evidence of fraud. It is difficult to apply. It conflicts with the doctrine of the Restatements, most treatises, and the majority of our sister-state jurisdictions. Furthermore, while intended to prevent fraud, the rule established in Pendergrass may actually provide a shield for fraudulent conduct. Finally, Pendergrass departed from established California law at the time it was decided, and neither acknowledged nor justified the abrogation. We now conclude that Pendergrass was ill- considered, and should be overruled.”

1/23/13

Suit accuses Attorney of Forging real estate deed

Green and Goostree argue McGoey prepared the deed in January 2004, without their knowledge, using Green’s signature.

They insist Green did not know about the document’s existence until last month, and when he  noticed his name was misspelled.

Southwest Texas Record

h/t HETR

The original petition adds a notary public named Dianne Lynn Abrahamsen stamped the subject paperwork which apparently carried an acknowledgment that Green appeared before her on Jan. 4, 2004.

Green denies the meeting with Abrahamsen, who is a co-defendant along with McGoey’s spouse, and maintains she was not a notary public at the time of the supposed notarization.

1/23/13

Financially Strapped Elderly Veteran Files Suit Accusing R/E Operators Of Stripping Equity From His Free & Clear Home

Predators of the foreclosure era are still out there making money on other people's misery.

Home Equity Theft Reporter The complaint alleges that the money obtained through the loan was then distributed to an array of people and businesses that somehow participated in this deal.

It was all a way of "stripping money out of the house," says William Snell, an attorney who is working with Leen on the case.

1/23/13

Zombie Foreclosure could mean Free House for some

The foreclosure process started in April 2010, and for whatever reason, the bank hasn't finished. 

It's one of possibly two million so-called zombie foreclosures in the U.S.

WPTV So the homeowner, unbeknownst to them, actually remains on the title to the property.

So how do you know you're not the owner of a zombie foreclosure? Check public records. And if you're still on the title of your foreclosure, ask your bank its intentions. 

Olefson says under some foreclosure settlement deals banks are required to forgive the mortgage. 

1/22/13

FRONTLINE The Untouchables

FRONTLINE examines why no Wall Street execs have been prosecuted for the financial crisis

Prosecute Wall St.? How? 

Commenting on clips from the episode showing former home loan underwriters explaining how they would laugh as they pushed through mortgages that were too expensive for the borrowers, Smith said this type of behavior was "very frequent and common."

PBS

__________

Huff Post

"There are lawsuits that name 35 -- easily 36, 37 -- of these kind of testimonies," Smith told HuffPost Live host Jacob Soboroff. "And these guys are joking about it at this point, but of course it's not really funny in the end because it all resulted in the collapse of 2008, a million people losing their houses, many people out of work and businesses seeing demand sink."

1/22/13

 

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews: 

Whistleblowers Reveal Extensive Borrower Harm and Orchestrated Cover-up 

(Part I – Executive Summary)

(Part II)

In the executive summary to this series, we provided an overview of OCC/Federal Reserve foreclosure reviews which were abruptly settled at the beginning of January. Critics anticipated that the flawed design, of having supposedly “independent” review firms hired by the banks themselves, meant the reviews were highly unlikely to find much if any damage to homeowners. Leaks during the course of the reviews confirmed these concerns, revealing that the review process at many of the major servicers was chaotic and the reviews were designed and scored so as to make a finding of harm virtually impossible.


naked capitalism We asked our five whistleblowers to estimate the amount of borrower harm they saw for the borrowers whose cases they reviewed, and what portion of that was serious harm (all reviewers will be described as male irrespective of gender):

Reviewer A: 90% harmed, with 30% to 40% suffering serious harm

Reviewer B: 30% harmed, including instances of serious harm; described multiple instances of serious harm on other tests performed on his borrowers but could not readily quantify

Reviewer C: 67% harmed on his test; like B, saw multiple instances of serious harm in the borrower history not captured on his test as harm; could not readily quantify but specific examples cited during interviews alone exceed 10%

Reviewer D: 95% harmed, with 30% to 40% suffering serious harm

Reviewer E: 80% suffered serious harm

Foreclosure cases are being Reversed as Bank Affidavits are Challenged 

Fannie v. Brunner

OHIO COURT OF APPEALS 
SIXTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
LUCAS COUNTY
This is yet another appeal from a decision in an action to foreclose on residential property. In this appeal, the borrowers challenge the propriety of the affidavit used by the bank to obtain summary judgment. Finding that the bank’s affidavit fails to satisfy the requirements of Civ.R.56(E), we reverse the judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas.

1/22/13

They Just Don’t Get It: Meltdown Primer

The crash didn’t happen because of mortgage de faults. It happened because investors stopped buying the bogus mortgage bonds. That is the red flag for all Ponzi Schemes. When people stop buying and start demanding their money back, the scheme collapses.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

Whether you start from the top down, the bottom up, or even start in the middle and spread out to the top and bottom, there is no connection between the money trail, the promises and representations made, and the document trail which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that theft, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud and cover-up were at the heart of what Wall Street called a securitization plan, but which in practice was not securitization of credit, but rather a PONZI scheme completely dependent upon more investors buying bogus mortgage bonds. 

1/22/13

El Paso County Goes Down in Flames

El Paso County v. The Banks et al 

and Louisiana v. The Banks

This suit is an action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act,
Title 18 Section 1961 et seq. ("RICO"), by the Clerks of Court of forty-seven Louisiana parishes against fourteen financial institutions. The suit alleges that the Plaintiffs have been injured by their loss of recording fee revenue by reason of the conduct of the Defendants' affairs through a pattern of acts indictable as mail and/or wire fraud related to MERS.

Richard Roman Esq. Pled the Wrong argument: Defendants make the same argument for dismissal of this lawsuit. Defendants therefore respectfully submit that Wellborn provides additional authority warranting dismissal of this lawsuit.

Accordingly, based on the lack of a private right of action for the Plaintiffs, and the administrative scheme of enforcement created by the TIA, it is inconsistent with legislative intent to allow the Plaintiffs to bring a RICO claim which seeks to enforce the TIA.

1/22/13

California State Bar May Just be Lazy

The controversy is so ripe that attorney Robert Scurrah of CDA Law Center filed a Declaratory Relief lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court this past September on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment, due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution

Richard Zombeck

Huff Post

The statute, as applied and in practice, effectively prohibited a homeowner from obtaining legal advice regarding mortgages, since no lawyers would undertake representation if they couldn't get paid. They are asking a judge to determine what the law really says. So, this Thursday a Superior Court Judge will determine and interpret how this law should be applied.
1/22/13

Elected officials must be behind this one.

Predatory Property-Tax Lenders Are Targeted In Texas Effort.

The housing meltdown over the last several years claimed many victims. But in Texas, it keeps creating new ones.

Home Equity Theft Reporter It turns out that thousands of homeowners not only have ponied up nearly usurious rates to property-tax lenders to get themselves out of a big financial squeeze but also that this specialized group of lenders legally jumps to the front of the line — even ahead of primary mortgage holders, and state and local governments with non-property-tax liens – when it comes to disposition of assets from subsequent foreclosure or sale of the house.

1/21/13

How many Fannie Mae borrowers were made “whole” as outlined in the “Olympia Fraud Model"?

“In the case of a fraud by Olympia Mortgage Corporation ("Olympia"), however,
Fannie Mae took extensive steps to ensure borrowers were made whole.  Really???  Where is the proof?

Richard Davet Since 2006, the date of the Lavalle Report, I would like to know exactly how many Fannie Mae borrowers were made “whole” as outlined in the “Olympia Fraud Model”? I would also like to know specifically how many such instances of fraud by the servicer have been addressed in the recent settlement with Bank of America announced January 7, 2013.
1/21/13

Well, we tried to tell them...

Henry Cisneros: The nation underestimated impact of foreclosure crisis

Voxxi “The process seems to have followed a pattern in which banks were not held accountable enough throughout this whole crisis. The Administration—from Secretary Geithner down—probably felt the turndown was so severe that they couldn’t put the banks over the cliff, but I know some people would disagree with this reason,” Cisneros stated.

1/21/13

 

More on Schwartzwald: Ohio Supreme Court Reverses Another Foreclosure 

The Schwartzwald case held that a Plaintiff in a foreclosure case that does not hold the note or mortgage at the time it files the complaint lacks standing, and the court therefore lacks jurisdiction. The big question that this left open was: what effect does that have on all of the faulty foreclosures that have already been completed? We may now have some insight into this thanks to a case that was reversed and remanded just last month, Washington Mutual Bank v. Wallace.

  Though the Supreme Court did not provide any written opinion to provide guidance on the issue, it appears that it may never be too late to challenge a judgment in a foreclosure case that is void for lack of standing under Schwartzwald. How then will the title industry deal with many properties plagued by old Schwartzwald problems?

Underwriters have begun to require exceptions on policies to make it clear that they will not cover claims related to attempts to set aside foreclosure judgments or subsequent sales based on lack of standing arguments. But, many policies have already been issued without such exceptions. Is there any way to cure this type of defect?

One possibility may be quiet title actions brought by the "new owners," but this was unsuccessfully tried in Massachusetts. Following the Massachusetts Supreme Court case, U.S. Bank v. Ibanez, which was similar to Schwartzwald, a homeowner plagued by defective title filed a "try title" action and the Court dismissed it for lack of standing. 
1/21/13

When U.S. Farmers Fought Foreclosures

Farmers demanded a "mortgage holiday," legislation suspending foreclosures

On Jan. 2, farmers used passive resistance to block property auctions in three Iowa counties. "There aren’t going to be any bidders," one man said. And there weren't. "More than 2,000 pieces of property were to be offered for sale, but there was not a bid from the 400 to 500 persons at the courthouse," the New York Times reported.

Bloomberg Governor Albert Schmedeman issued a proclamation asking state judges to refrain from enforcing mortgage-foreclosure law and promising that the legislature would work on a bill to provide a three-year moratorium on foreclosures.

Defiance continued, nonetheless, as 1,000 Minnesotans "thronged the court house" in Willmar to prevent foreclosure of a mortgage on a farm landowner Soren Hansen had tilled for 57 years.

Today, the banks and its government and foreclosure-mills continue to worsen the problem and make it more costly by piling fraud atop fraud as a solution that will eventually have to be undone and the enablers, including miscreant judges, jailed.

1/21/13

Homeowner Lawsuit: Law Office Charged Me Ten$ Of Thousand$ For Foreclosure Defense, Yet Had Me File As 'Pro Se' Defendant

Home Equity Theft Reporter Lori Lappas sued Illinois Foreclosure Defense LLC and Innocent Obi, in Cook County Court. The brief, 4-page complaint contains a welter of alarming allegations.
1/21/13

Feds seek immediate foreclosure on Rep. Hart’s home

Rep. Phil Hart’s Athol home, built in part with logs cut illegally from Idaho school endowment lands

Spokesman-Review Government lawyers are asking a judge to rule in their favor in a federal tax case against ex-state Rep. Phil Hart and allow them to immediately foreclose on his log home in northern Idaho.

1/20/13

U.S. AG Eric Holder, DoJ Head Lanny Breuer Linked To Banks Accused Of Foreclosure Fraud

The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington's biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

Huff Post The evidence, including records from federal and state courts and local clerks' offices around the country, shows widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures on the homes of thousands of active-duty military personnel.

In recent weeks the Justice Department has come under renewed pressure from members of Congress, state and local officials and homeowners' lawyers to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation of mortgage servicers, the biggest of which have been Covington clients

1/20/13

Former attorney sentenced to prison for 4 Years for misusing client's money 

Leaves Homeowner With Two Mortgages & Facing Foreclosure

Home Equity Theft Reporter If the victimized homeowner can't collect any money on its restitution judgment from the attorney, he/she may consider filing a claim (if one hasn't already been filed) with one of the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, which was established to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to dishonest conduct of an attorney. See post
1/20/13

New Judge Maltz ready to tackle civil docket in Florida


Former Jax attorney has seen his share of major cases

Traynor and Flagler County’s Judge Dennis Craig have the busiest civil dockets in the state because of the volume of foreclosures. 

St. Augustine Record County administrative judge John Alexander said there were more than 3,000 foreclosure cases last year in St. Johns County.

Sometimes they aren’t the most interesting cases, but Maltz said that’s no reason to disregard their importance.

“There’s hardly a neighborhood not affected by foreclosure,” he said.

1/20/13

Prosecution of foreclosure fraud against homeowners hits higher gear

 (but they are still not going after lawyers and judges who are aiding in mortgage fraud crimes)

Modesto Bee Authorities appear to be taking foreclosure fraud prosecution to a new level in Stanislaus County, with possible implications elsewhere in California.
A Turlock couple face felony charges of trying to stall foreclosure of their property by filing phony documents with the county recorder, similar to cases launched last month against four other homeowners in this county.
1/20/13

There seems to be a growing feeling that the banks have taken enough bashing. Really?  They are still committing a wide aray of felonies.

In Davos, Atmosphere for Bankers Improves

Two years ago, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, told an audience in Davos that people should stop picking on bankers. Mr. Dimon is still waiting for his wish to come true.

NY Times Bankers, always a big presence at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos, arrive this year under less regulatory pressure and with better profits than in past years. 

Mr. Dimon, scheduled to appear on one of the first panels when the Davos forum opens Wednesday, is again embroiled in controversy. Last week JPMorgan’s board cut his pay for 2012 in half, to $11.5 million (awww poor guy), holding him accountable for a multibillion dollar loss in derivatives trading.

1/20/13

TAXPAYERS WILL EASE BANKS’ PAIN OVER FORECLOSURE ABUSE DEAL

Because it’s a cost of doing business, billions fully tax-deductible

Consumer advocates have complained that U.S. mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners.

UT San Diego Now it turns out the deal is even sweeter for the lenders than it appears: Taxpayers will subsidize them for the money they’re ponying up.

The Internal Revenue Service regards the lenders’ compensation to homeowners as a cost incurred in the course of doing business. Result: It’s fully tax-deductible.

Critics argue that big banks that were bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis are again being favored over the victims of their mortgage abuses.
1/19/13

Maine Supreme Court considering dispute over ownership of foreclosed home

Bangor Daily News The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is considering the case of a Madawaska man embroiled in a dispute against another man over ownership of a home lost to foreclosure more than three years ago.

1/19/13

Exposed: The regime of fear inside Barclays - and how the boss lied and shredded the evidence

Daily Mail The report which Mr Tinney suppressed paints a devastating picture of incompetence and arrogance at the bank, showing that executives:
- Pursued a ‘revenue at all costs’ strategy.
- Fostered a culture of fear and intimidation.
- Were ‘actively hostile’ to the idea of compliance with banking rules.
- Presided over a ‘broken culture’ where problems were ignored or buried.
- Allowed the business to spin ‘out of control’.

1/19/13

 

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charged With Fraud

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is scheduled to appear Jan. 29 in federal court on a bank fraud charge stemming from a real estate scandal that caused her to resign from the high court Monday. Hathaway is expected to enter a plea on the charge.

Huff Post Federal prosecutors have filed a fraud charge against Michigan Supreme Court Justice Hathaway, just a few days before she leaves the state's highest court in a scandal involving the sale of a Detroit-area home and suspicious steps taken to conceal property in Florida.

1/19/13

CROOKS AND LIARS – ‘Breaking The Law Should Not Be A Business Expense’

Critics argue that big banks that were bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis are again being favored over the victims of their mortgage abuses.

Susie Madrak

Deadly Clear

“The government is abetting the behavior by not preventing the deduction,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “The taxpayers end up subsidizing the Wall Street banks after the headlines of a big-dollar settlement die down. That’s unfair to taxpayers.”

Many consumer advocates argued that regulators settled for too low a price by letting banks avoid full responsibility for wrongful foreclosures that victimized families.

1/19/13

Transcript

Fed Transcripts Open a Window on 2007 Crisis

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

More than five years later, the Fed continues to prop up the financial system, and the transcripts of the 2007 meetings, released after a standard five-year delay, provide fresh insight into the decisions made at the outset of its great intervention.
1/19/13

Lawmaker Seeks Details on Foreclosure Reviews

The high cost of reviewing foreclosures at big banks has ignited an inquiry by one member of Congress.

NY Times Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has asked the federal regulators who oversee foreclosure reviews to provide details about the independent contractors who examined borrowers’ cases. 

1/18/13

Why Investors (Pension Funds) Should Link With Borrowers in Suits Against Investment Banks

If investors and borrowers complained that the lending was not actually performed by the originators who were mere nominees for undisclosed parties and that the note and mortgage were fatally defective for lack of consideration, ANY investor could join that suit because it wouldn’t be about put-backs, it would be about fraud, theft and PONZI schemes.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

If the investors alleged that the money was put into a general fund instead of a trust fund for the REMIC they thought they were buying into, then the investors would not be bound by the constraints of the REMIC documents because the investment banks ignored those entities when they were moving the money around, doing and moving the documents and closing and selling paper that was fatally defective.
1/18/13

Zombie Titles: When Foreclosures Become Walking Dead Homes

Enter the zombie title. Homeowners Joe and Jane have suffered the financial consequences of the foreclosure process, their credit is ruined, and they don’t own a home (to their knowledge). 

Realtor They moved out of their home two years ago when their lender scheduled a foreclosure sale date. Out of the blue, their local city government begins sending them fines for not keeping up their property. They thought the bank had sold it off already. The house has been deteriorating for years, and might be boarded up or inhabited by squatters. This half-dead home is still haunting Jane and Joe financially because the zombie title is still in their names.

1/18/13

 

HAMP – The Modification Scam …and NOW SETTLEMENT SHAM!

This deal should be at the very least a couple of TRILLION dollar$ settlement and every unlawfully foreclosed home returned to the homeowner. And treble damages for economic crimes, along with CPA and FDCPA violations, only a few mentioned to start. Instead, this lousy settlement works out to about $2,000 per family – goofy and degrading!

Their crime was so outrageously huge and wide spread; their default nets so well orchestrated that millions of homeowners homes wound up in their lair of deception, causing the largest, deadliest catch of foreclosures of all time. 

Shelley Erickson They went one step farther and found if they lied to the homeowner who was not in default or behind in payments and just wanted a modification, that they would gain the homeowners’ confidence and tell them to stop making payments for 3-4 months in order to qualify for the modification.

The banks knew full well that the homeowners would rely on the banks to be telling them the right thing to do. After the homeowner was in default (per the banks’ instructions – all verbal of course), the banks would foreclose on the homeowner instead of approving the modification.

1/18/13

HSBC to Pay $249 Million in a Foreclosure Inquiry

HSBC agreed to pay $96 million to eligible borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, and provide $153 million in other assistance, including loan modifications and forgiveness.

NY Times The United States arm of the British bank HSBC Holdings agreed to pay $249 million to end a case-by-case review of past home foreclosures in the United States, bringing the total payout by banks to resolve related issues to $9.3 billion.
1/18/13

Oral promises can be used in fraud case

The court, in an opinion by Justice Carol Corrigan, said the 1935 ruling was poorly reasoned, had been rejected by other states and "may actually provide a shield for fraudulent conduct."

The ruling will "protect consumers from the old bait-and-switch" and should allow the Workmans to take their case to a jury, said Paganetti, their lawyer.

The lender sought foreclosure after the Workmans failed to meet the three-month deadline. 

San Francisco Chronicle But the couple said the credit association's vice president had told them two weeks before the agreement was signed, and repeated at the time of signing, that they would actually have two years to make the payments and would have to put up only two ranches as security.

The Workmans later repaid the loan - selling the eight properties at a loss, according to their lawyer, Steven Paganetti - and then sued the lender for fraud for allegedly misleading them about the terms of the loan.

Reverses 1935 case.

RIVERISLAND v. FRESNO-MADERA

1/18/13

COURT PERMITS CANCELLATION OF INSTRUMENT CLAIM

SUAREZ V. BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON

As Plaintiff alleges Defendant caused a false Assignment of Deed of Trust to be recorded, Plaintiff sufficiently alleges a violation of this provision. (¶30 of the FAC). Additionally, this allegation sufficiently establishes “fraudulent” conduct, for purposes of §17200, as the recording of the Assignment of the Deed of Trust is likely to deceive members of the public.

Continued to 2/22/2013 at 2:00 pm per written notice filed 1/25/2013

Bergman & Gutierrez LLP Further, while Defendant asserts that Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts, within the Complaint, demonstrating that Defendant knowingly recorded a false document, this argument fails. Firstly, Penal Code §115 
does not appear to require such knowledge and, second, judicially noticeable documents clearly demonstrate that MERS lacked individual authority to record the subject assignment.

Thus, judicially noticeable documents support Plaintiff’s claim and demonstrate that the Assignment of the Deed of Trust is void.

As a result, the instant Demurrer is overruled.
1/18/13

In re: Mortgage Foreclosure Cases (Amicus Brief)

On Monday, the Brennan Center filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a Rhode Island court program for foreclosure cases. The program helps borrowers and lenders agree on solutions that retain the value of mortgages and keep families in their homes. Some banks have challenged the court’s authority to establish the program.

In re: Mortgage Foreclosure Cases (Amicus Brief) (01/14/13)

Brennen Center For Justice The brief explains that the district court had the power to set up the program under court rules. Furthermore, “the process underway is not just fair and efficient; it will save millions of dollars for the parties and the state of Rhode Island.” The brief, co-authored by Mark Ladov and Matt Menendez, along with the National Consumer Law Center and Rhode Island Legal Services, was also signed onto by Direct Action for Rights and Equality and the Housing Network of Rhode Island. The court will hear argument in the case on February 5, 2013.
2006

An Analysis of the Systemic Risks Posed by
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that are central players in U.S. secondary mortgage markets.

Federal Reserve of Atlanta  Over the past decade, these institutions have amassed enormous
mortgage- and non-mortgage oriented investment portfolios that pose significant interest-rate risks to the companies and a systemic risk to the financial system. This paper describes the nature of these risks and systemic concerns and then evaluates several policy options for reducing the institutions’ investment portfolios.
1/18/13

New Ruling on Mortgage Putbacks a Potential Huge Win for Banks 

naked capitalism Alison Frankel of Reuters points to a new ruling which could make this investor-unfriendly picture even uglier. A new ruling has told bond investors to file separate cases on each loan they think was misrepresented. No, I am not making that up. 
1/17/13

Deutsche Bank Largest Unsecured Creditor in ResCap BK Filing, FHFA, Too

When Residential Capital Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week it left behind a trail of unsecured creditors with claims totaling well over $1 billion, according to court documents.

Mortgage Servicing News Other large creditors include Bank of New York Mellon, U.S. Bank, and several bond insurers including MBIA and Ambac. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is also listed as a top creditor. But in the case of the FHFA and the bond insurers no debt amount is listed.
1/17/13

Three Things You Need to Know About the CFPB’s New Mortgage Servicing Rules

Housekeeping Report 1. The Rules Do Not Take Effect Until January 10, 2014.

2. Once in Effect, Homeowners Will Have Limited Ability to Enforce the Rules Through Private Lawsuits.

3. Not All Servicers Are Bound By All the Rules.

About 14,000 homeowners in Cuyahoga eligible for foreclosure settlement

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners nationwide have gotten ensnared in the red tape and legal nightmare of foreclosure and find it nearly impossible to get out, no matter what.

Most of the improper foreclosures were driven by what Brown called "Wall Street greed" as well as some mistakes made honestly by the banks, but that they refuse to fix. 

Second, banks should not be able to foreclose on a family first and then ask questions later, he said. 

Cleveland Martin said Bank of America filed for foreclosure three times and each time it has been dismissed because the bank didn't have proper documentation that it even owned her loan. She originally took her loan out through KeyCorp and it was eventually sold to Bank of America.

While she thinks she still owns the Cleveland Heights property and uses it as her permanent address, she doesn't live there because she sold all of her furniture and belongings when she thought she would be kicked out. "I'm just waiting for them to sue me again," she said. 
1/17/13

ResCap Wins Approval to Try to Sell Pool of Defaulted Loans

Residential Capital LLC, the bankrupt mortgage company whose parent is owned by the U.S. government, won court approval to try to sell a pool of defaulted loans with a balance of about $130 million.

Mortgage Servicing News The mortgages are the best of about $1 billion in bad loans that ResCap was forced to repurchase after borrowers quit paying.

Ocwen Financial Corp. won the Oct. 24 auction for the loan-servicing unit with a bid of $3 billion. The next day, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. won the auction for a portfolio of ResCap’s loans with a $1.5 billion offer. 

1/17/13

Will New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau New Rules for Struggling Homeowner Stop Predatory Servicing?

naked capitalism I’m highly skeptical that these new measures will make much of a difference unless the CFPB has aggressive monitoring and tough penalties, and those details have yet to be released. The sorry history of the servicing industry is, again and again, various servicing standards have been promulgated and are routinely violated, even with consent orders in place.
1/16/13

MFI-Miami In Talks With Black Panthers To Help Battle Illegal Eviction By Taxpayer Owned Fannie Mae

Citimortgage and their attorneys, Orlans Associates began a process referred to as “Dual Tracking”. The process whereby a mortgage servicer makes the homeowner believe the servicer is working on their behalf when in reality the servicer is covertly foreclosing on them. Since Orlans Associates began this process, Ms. Plumb's attempts to either purchase the property at market value or modify the existing mortgage have been rejected by Orlans Associates.

MFI-Miami

h/t HPN

“I’m excited about the possibility that the New Black Panther Nation/New Marcus Garvey Movement will be joining us in this fight to keep Ms. Plumb in her home,” said MFI-Miami President Steve Dibert, 

She’s been dealt a bad hand by the Michigan legal system that is clueless about the systemic breakdown and utter corruption of the U.S. financial system. I’m hoping their involvement will get Fannie Mae’s attention.”

1/16/13

WHO’S YOUR LENDER?

The bare naked truth is that tens of millions of mortgages were fake securitized. The cronies who fleeced Institutional Investors of $13 trillion clouded title on all the mortgages they originated and purportedly sold on the secondary market. They stole the pension money and now they’re stealing our houses.

The Burning Platform They could have pulled an Iceland, told the truth, arrested the bad actors and instituted real safeguards to restore the capital markets and consumer confidence.

But they chose to continue the lies and backstop the fraud on the taxpayer’s dime. The cronies covered up their partners’ crimes and orchestrated the bailout.

They feasted on our pension money and left us with the tab.

1/16/13

Register of Deeds John O'Brien files Amended Affidavit and Request for Restitution

I am filing this Affidavit and Request for Restitution in order to carry out my fiduciary duty a Register of Deeds and my responsibility to my constituents.

Affidavit of Marie McDonnell

USA v. Lorraine Brown

John O'Brien Massachusetts

Register of Deeds

Massachusetts law classifies the crime of forgery as a felony. The felony of forgery carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 267. Section 1.  Massachusetts law also classifies the separate crime of uttering a forgery, e.g.. by filing a
forgery with a Registry of Deeds, as a felony . The felony of uttering a forgery also carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 267, Section 5.
Rendered

4/24/08

The mortgage industry is not filing Satisfaction of Mortgage post foreclosure or pay-off of the loan as required by law.

Radatz v. Fannie Mae

Fannie's appeals the judgment of the trial court granting plaintiff-appellee Rebekah R.
Radatz’s motion for class-action certification. For the following reasons, we affirm.

EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA
Radatz’s proposed class consisted of the following:
All persons who, since May 9, 1997 and thereafter, paid off
residential mortgages recorded in Ohio, where Federal National
Mortgage Association was the mortgagee at the time of mortgage
satisfaction, and where the mortgage satisfaction was not recorded within 90 days.

1/16/13

2 Banks to Pay $557 Million in Foreclosure Settlement


For years, the banks have been claiming lying ad nauseum that no homeowner was foreclosed on that didn't deserve it.

NY Times Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will pay a combined $557 million to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes.

1/16/13

OCC Defends Foreclosure Deal, Says It Drove 'Hard Bargain'

The abrupt and embarrassing end of the independent foreclosure review raised many questions that policymakers didn't bother to answer.

Morgan said the government came up with a "range of outcomes" for each of those three categories: borrower harm; consultants' costs; and other expenses. "The difference between the cash payout and the total was simply a negotiated number that includes, and was informed by, that range of outcomes," Morgan said.

American Banker To determine who gets how much of that $3.3 billion, servicers will slot borrowers in to one of 11 categories, depending on their experience. Each category has a dollar figure attached to it. For instance, a borrower whose loan modification application was wrongly denied is entitled to $5,000. 

[The OCC published this matrix last June.]

 

1/16/13

Fear of Unraveling the Truth: Is the Fed Running Interference for the Banks

Now AIG is attempting to open the door to suing banks besides the suit it already filed against Bank of America for selling them worthless trash instead of high rated bonds that were safe and verified. But the Fed created Maiden Lane II stands in the way even though it has already wound down its affairs.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

The argument is that AIG transferred its litigation right to Maiden Lane. So the question is whether that was standard procedure and did the Maiden Lane entities get such a transfer of litigation rights on ALL the debts that were “contributed” to the Maiden Lane entities. While this particular suit has more to do with life insurance than mortgages, it has far reaching implications.

1/16/13

  BofA Takes a Mortgage Mulligan

WSJ Less than two years after embarking on a painful retreat from home lending, Bank of America is girding for a new run at the U.S. mortgage business. 
1/7/13

If Judges Aren’t Politicians, What Are They?

Bloomberg Justice is not exactly blind. In many important cases, the predispositions of the judges play a significant role in determining the nature of people’s legal rights.
1/16/13

Justice is not Law, Law is Not Justice

Iam Welsh There is no justice without proportionality, no justice in a land with secret laws, no justice in a country where the rich skate and the poor plead out. There is only law, the same law the Stasi proclaimed: do what we say or else.

1/15/13

REMIC Trusts: Where are the Trust Accounts?

QUESTION: WHY WOULD A CREDITOR STONEWALL AND DELAY PROCEEDINGS WHEN IT IS THE PARTY SEEKING AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF? ARE THEY PLAINTIFF OR DEFENDANT?

The witness or declarant or affiant should be someone who says that they manage the account for REMIC TRUST XYZ and that they have received payment on a particular loan on certain dates, after which they stopped. The witness should be able to show when the REMIC trust paid for the loan by producing the records of the account in which the REMIC funds (contributed by investors) were kept, distributed and received from subservicers or Master servicers.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

If you don’t deposit money into an account bearing the name of the trust and you don’t transfer property into the name of the trust the trust exists only in a theoretical sense. It has nothing in it and therefore the terms of the trust are irrelevant.

We are left with a stream of money from the investors to the closing agent in which everyone assumed the money came from the named loan originator — a mistaken sleight of hand trick played by Wall Street in order to divert money from the investors and documentation from both the investors and the borrowers. The actual monetary transaction is undocumented except for the wire transfer receipt and wire transfer instructions; and the documented transaction shown on the note and mortgage never occurred.

Rendered

June 8, 2004

Mootness doctrine

Nextel v. Franklin County Board of Zoning Appeals

This court determined that the mootness issue raised by Nextel's motion to dismiss could not be evaluated by this court if the judgment of the trial court was void ab initio.

Based on the foregoing, we find that this appeal is moot. Additionally, because no exception to the Mootness doctrine applies, we dismiss this appeal.

COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO
TENTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
[S]ubject-matter jurisdiction is a prerequisite to assertion of the mootness doctrine. Indeed, if the common pleas court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the action, its "judgment" is void ab initio and a nullity. Therefore, no
"satisfaction" of such void judgment (here, the construction of
the telecommunications facility) could occur. For this reason, the common pleas court's possible lack of subject-matter jurisdiction to render any judgment in this matter cannot somehow be avoided by application of the mootness doctrine.
1/15/13

A.I.G. Seeks Approval to File More Bank Suits

Since the summer of 2011, the insurance giant American International Group has been battling Bank of America over claims that the bank packaged and sold it defective mortgages that dealt A.I.G. billions of dollars in losses.

NY Times Now A.I.G. wants to be able to sue other banks that sold it mortgage-backed securities that plunged in value during the financial crisis. It has not said which banks, but possibilities include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan 

1/15/13

No duty to record in Missouri

Jackson County Missouri v. MERS et al

Subsequent transfers are tracked by the MERS® System and not recorded because “the MERS® System allows MERS Members to claim that the
transfers are not assignments and, therefore, need not be recorded.”

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI

h/t McGuire

If Plaintiff seeks redress, it must go to the Legislature to get the statute changed.
Until there is a legal duty to record assignments, Plaintiff cannot recover for the failure to record. Plaintiff cannot enforce a nonexistent obligation. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is granted, and Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is dismissed in its entirety for failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted.

1/15/13

More Whistleblower Leaks on Foreclosure Settlement Show Both Suppression of Evidence and Gross Incompetence

What actually took place was even worse than hardened cynics had imagined.

naked capitalism  The first, as stressed by Sheila Bair and other observers, is that the reviews were never designed to succeed. This is something we and others pointed out; this was all an exercise in show. The OCC had entered into these consent orders in the first place with the aim of derailing the 50 state attorney general settlement negotiations. This was all intended to be diversionary, but to make it look like it had some teeth, borrowers who were foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010 who thought they were harmed were allowed to request a review. If hard was found, they could get as much as $15,000 plus their home back if they had suffered a wrongful foreclosure.
1/15/13

Banks, Not Homeowners, Should Be Target of Florida “Foreclosure Reform”

The vast majority of Florida homeowners experiencing foreclosure, a number predicted by Realty Trac to rise in 2013, know that they are facing foreclosure DESPITE having the ability and desire to pay their mortgages

Bankruptcy Law Network Many middle class Americans who got behind on their mortgages are now in a position to resume those payments. Unfortunately, they find that their mortgage servicer has erected a wall of confusion and lies preventing a reasonable modification of their home loan.

1/15/13

Mass. residents who lost homes to foreclosure running out of time to file for payment

Massachusetts residents who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011 have until Friday to apply for a one-time payment connected to a $25 billion national mortgage settlement reached by attorneys general and five major lenders.

Boston Globe Residents eligible to receive between $1,500 and $2,000 risk losing out on the payment if they fail to act this week.

Borrowers do not have to prove they were financially harmed to receive a payment, Coakley said.

Those eligible for a payout should have received a claim form in the mail, the state said. It advised borrowers who did not receive such notification to immediately contact the settlement administrator HERE or by phone at 1-866-430-8358.

1/15/13

Citing Federal Protection, Army Dentist Fights Foreclosure

"It's disgusting and it makes me ashamed to be an American," Garcia said as he looked around at what's left of his condo

NBC Los Angeles U.S. Army reservist Diana Zschaschel has filed suit against Bank of America, which claims she was not eligible for federal protection while a foreclosure went through.

An NBC4 investigation into the code found that "active duty" does include training, a point now under scrutiny in the lawsuit filed by Zschaschel against the bank.

1/15/13

OUTRAGE! (OF THE DAY) THE BILLION DOLLAR FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENTS ARE PAID FOR...

WITH TAXPAYER DOLLARS…

No one reported on the fact that homeowners who “benefit” from these sweetheart deals between the banks and the governments they own will be receiving IRS Form 1099-c forms and that many of these homeowners will now have real tax liabilities traded in for phantom debt that was not collectible.

Matt Weidner, Esq. On top of that, those headline grabbing numbers are just delusions…everyone knows that the banks will pay nothing near those numbers….(much of the losses will in fact be borne by the investors in those mortgage loans)…but here’s another big swift kick in the teeth….

THE BANKS GET TO WRITE THEIR FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENTS OFF AS BUSINESS EXPENSES!
1/15/13

American Homeowners Trapped Underwater Find Salvation: Mortgages

Bloomberg “If prices are rising, homeowners believe that they will once again have an appreciating asset. It’s a very big change in how they think about their wealth and their balance sheets.”
1/15/13

Will Bankruptcy Save my Home from Foreclosure?

Fox Business You state that you want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to save your home. This will not stop the foreclosure, only delay it -- in some cases, only for a month or two.

Rendered

4/30/12

BRIDGE v.  OCWEN 

OCWEN FEDERAL BANK, FSB; OCWEN
FINANCIAL CORPORATION; OCWEN LOAN
SERVICING, LLC; OCWEN FEDERAL LOAN
SERVICING COMPANY; AAMES CAPITAL
CORPORATION; FIRSTAR BANK, nka US
BANCORP
; DEUTSCHE BANK
NATIONAL TRUST CO., fka BANKERS TRUST
COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA

All of these entities and others made money on this single loan.  WHY? 

OHIO COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Ocwen subsequently began
dunning Bridge and her husband, who is not a co-borrower on the mortgage loan, for the
May payment claimed to be overdue, despite proof of the double payment submitted by
Bridge to Ocwen and Aames.

Because the Bridges’ allegations in the SAC, accepted as true, are sufficient to state a claim for relief under the FDCPA that is plausible on its face, we hold that the
district court erred in dismissing those claims. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s judgment as to the Bridges’ FDCPA claims and remand.

Rendered

1/14/13

Foreclosure-mill liable for FDCPA

Glazer v. Chase and Foreclosure-Mill

We hold that mortgage foreclosure is debt collection under the Act. Lawyers who meet the general definition of a “debt collector” must comply with the FDCPA when engaged in mortgage foreclosure. 

OHIO COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
And a lawyer can satisfy that
definition if his principal business purpose is mortgage foreclosure or if he “regularly” performs this function. In this case, the district court held that RACJ was not engaged in debt collection when it sought to foreclose on the Klie property. That decision was
erroneous, and the judgment must be reversed
.
more...  (complete post)

Is enforcement of a security interest (e.g. a foreclosure) "debt collection" under the FDCPA?

Yes, says the Sixth Circuit, in Glazer v. Chase (above) issued yesterday. This is good news for FDCPA plaintiffs, who have had to contend for years with a district court consensus that the enforcement of a security interest is not subject to most of the provisions of the Act. See below...

Consumer Law & Policy Blog An odd type of split is developing on this issue: most district courts are getting it wrong, whereas most courts of appeals are getting it right. Usually, one expects the districts to follow the circuits, but the narrow view of debt collection continues to prevail at the district court level. (The circuits also have the better reading of the statute, in my view, which makes it all the more strange that the split seems to have persisted for so many years.)
1/14/13

6th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules FDCPA Applies to Foreclosures

The FDCPAhas been treated as “off-limits” in mortgage foreclosure actions. The opinion of many trial judges based upon some appellate decisions was that the FDCPA expressly excluded foreclosure actions.

Living Lies In this Opinion, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, using common sense and basic rules of statutory construction, came to the opposite opinion and it would appear that the opinion will be followed in most states. As it is, anecdotal evidence from Connecticut and other states suggests that trial judges were questioning the legal theory that foreclosures were not about the collection of money.
 

Investigation: 5 Banks Accused of Fraudulent Foreclosures in MA

Essex County Register, O’Brien, said that the agreement the banks signed has turned into a “total sham.”

None of the affiant signatures on the foreclosure documents matched the bank agent names on the possession documents.

“The gist is that banks part of the settlement for Attorney General signed an agreement for legal standards they haven’t been meeting. The Settlement Monitor says that major banks are saying they had met some key metrics – signing all affidavits on personal knowledge and state laws,” Ross said.

Smith, of the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement said, “I encourage people who see potential violations to report them to me through my website: www.mortgageoversight.com.”

GoLocal “The total disregard by these banks for the integrity of the land recordation system is appalling. I look forward to the day when all levels of government take this fraud as seriously as we do and work together to put a stop to these illegal practices once and for all. I am pleased that we were able to provide our records as evidence of this continuing fraud,” O’Brien said. “The public knows that the banks are still acting illegally no matter what they say to the contrary.”

Vawter said that it is not uncommon for the signer’s knowledge to be completely based on documents they may or may not have seen – making it impossible for them to have personal knowledge of the affidavits they would sign.

“They haven’t changed their ways at all,” he said of the banks. Vawter said that banks are likely acting in this manner for the cost benefits.

1/14/12**

The Foreclosure Fiasco

It’s been five days since Jessica Silver-Greenberg’s article on the latest bank settlement. 

If you lost your house in 2009 and 2010, you are going to get money — whether the bank was culpable or not. “The notion of error is not involved in this settlement,” conceded Hubbard.

As a result, those who really were truly harmed by bank behavior will be shortchanged. As Karen Petrou, the well-known banking consultant, puts it, the government has “come up with something that gives every borrower — maybe — a pittance and leaves the truly hurt — and there were many — as much in the lurch as before.”

Joe Nocera

NY Times

I’m still shaking my head. Her “story behind the story” of the $8.5 billion settlement between federal bank regulators and 10 banks over their foreclosure misdeeds illustrates just about everything that is wrong with the way the government has handled the Great Foreclosure Crisis.

Shall we count the ways?

1. It is more about public relations than problem-solving. Pick a program — any program — that the Obama administration unveiled to help troubled homeowners over the past four years. Not one has amounted to a hill of beans.

Rendered

1/14/13

Court Denies Chase's Dismissal of Loan Mod Scam Claim

Ayala v Chase Home Fin.

Plaintiffs allege that defendant made false and misleading statements regarding the
harm caused by the discontinuance of the mortgage (loan) payments; that it urged plaintiff to call back when delinquent;...

 

Supreme Court, Queens County NY ... that it misrepresented the available means of curing the default; that it failed to disclose the necessary details of a forbearance agreement; and that it failed to offer plaintiffs an opportunity to evaluate their eligibility under HAMP. On a motion to dismiss, these facts sufficiently allege a consumer practice, as these alleged
practices have ramifications to the public at large and not unique to the plaintiffs generally
1/14/12

Who owns AIG's MBS fraud claims? Billions ride on the answer

Amid the furor last week over whether AIG would thumb its nose at its federal rescuers and join former chairman Hank Greenberg's $25 billion constitutional case against the United States, a curious side deal by AIG and Greenberg's Starr International was mostly overlooked.

AIG's new filing, styled as a New York State Supreme Court complaint against the New York Federal Reserve's Maiden Lane special purpose vehicle.

Alison Frankel A filing Friday by AIG shows that the insurer has its own megabucks dispute under way with the Federal Reserve. That could be one of the reasons AIG didn't help the government defend against Starr's suits -- and, more importantly, at this point, it could affect AIG's $10 billion claims against Bank of America, as well as BofA's proposed $8.5 billion breach-of-contract settlement with holders of Countrywide mortgage-backed securities.  

BA's MOTION TO DISMISS

1/14/12

 

Billionaire Takes JPMorgan to Trial over Subprime Loss

The bank bought and held hundreds of millions of dollars of subprime securities for CMMF, the fund created by Access Industries, and converted what was supposed to be a “short-term, highly liquid and very conservative cash management account” into an account making a “massive bet” on the subprime mortgage securities sector, Blavatnik claims.

Mortgage Servicing News JPMorgan should be held responsible for the loss, Blavatnik,  said in his lawsuit, because it loaded his Access Industries fund with subprime and alt-A mortgages while CEO Jamie Dimon was unloading such securities from the bank’s books.

“This was not supposed to be a high-risk, swing-for-the-fences investment,” said Richard I. Werder Jr., an attorney for Blavatnik’s fund. “This was supposed to be the opposite: conservative and safe,” he told the court today.

1/14/12

U.S. Attorney Continues to Prosecute Despite Settlements

I would suggest you track the pleadings of this U.S. Attorney and pick up some pointers along the way. He is definitely on the right track. As for now, the focus is on the bad mortgage bonds, bad loans, and lack of documentation up at the lender level.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

But the real stuff is going to hit the fan as more and more people realize that this standard practice in the industry allegedly to “protect” the investors, invalidated the chain of title and there has been no effort to correct the problem. When it is revealed that the investors were cheated out of their money by a use of proceeds that crosses the borders of fraud, and that the terms of the bonds were never intended to be satisfied, just as the terms of the loan were never meant to be satisfied or secured, then we will have justice peeking its head out over the mess.

1/14/12**

Investigation: 5 Banks Accused of Fraudulent Foreclosures in MA

Five of the nation’s largest banks are now violating an agreement with the federal government in Massachusetts, according to an investigation of local foreclosure affidavits 

GoLocal Essex County Register, O’Brien, said that the agreement the banks signed has turned into a “total sham.”

“The total disregard by these banks for the integrity of the land recordation system is appalling. I look forward to the day when all levels of government take this fraud as seriously as we do and work together to put a stop to these illegal practices once and for all. I am pleased that we were able to provide our records as evidence of this continuing fraud,” O’Brien said. “The public knows that the banks are still acting illegally no matter what they say to the contrary.”

 

1/14/12

Foreclosure Review Insiders Portray Massive Failure, Doomed From The Start

"We knew what we were looking at," said one employee. "But we were told under threat of losing our jobs to not report what we saw."

Huff Post The problem wasn't just with the banks. The regulators, led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, made a colossal mistake at the outset by not insisting on a uniform and truly independent process, critics say. Moreover, regulators didn't seem to realize that the entire process was compromised until it was far too late to save it.

"It was doomed from the beginning," said Sheila Bair, the former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "It was designed to generate fees for consultants, not to help homeowners."
1/14/12

Barrett: Settlement money should go to foreclosure help, not pay raises

But about $2 million of that money is targeted for pay raises for DOJ attorneys and assistant district attorneys across the state, to fund tribal law enforcement and for victim/witness programs 

FDL reporter Republican Gov. Scott Walker decided to use the bulk of the money — $24.3 million — to pump up the state’s general fund. The rest, Walker said, would be used to mitigate the damage caused by the foreclosure crisis, including helping blighted areas of Milwaukee and bolstering training for prosecutors to go after mortgage and foreclosure fraud.

1/13/12

 

Mortgage mediation, MERS need quick attention in Legislature

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in a case filed by borrower Rebecca Niday that a lender must ensure a complete ownership history of a mortgage is filed in county records before it can foreclose outside a courtroom. The decision has restricted lenders' use of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, which was created to streamline the mortgage documentation process. Lenders appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, which heard arguments last week

OregonLive But title questions will linger in Oregon until the Supreme Court rules on MERS. That's why, in addition to cleaning up language in the 2012 bill, the Legislature should at least temporarily extend mediation to judicial foreclosures.

Depending on what the Supreme Court determines on MERS, the Legislature might need to revisit the foreclosure issue later. But to help troubled homeowners and ensure the housing recovery doesn't lose momentum, it needs to repair its 2012 bill as soon as possible.

1/13/12

Once a Failed REMIC, Never a REMIC

Loan origination and securitization practices became egregiously negligent, perhaps criminal.

Professors Bradley Borden, David J Reiss

Brooklyn Law School

...in addition to failing to transfer mortgage notes, the parties often failed to assign and record the
mortgages.
1/13/12

Usury Laws Are Dead. Long Live the New Usury Law. The CFPB's Ability to Repay Mortgage Rule

Prof. Levitin QM Rulemaking Overview
The Dodd-Frank Act requires that mortgages be underwritten based on the borrower's ability to repay. Failure to do so is an absolute defense against foreclosure. There is an exception allowed, however, for Qualified Mortgages. The CFPB rulemaking defined the term Qualified Mortgage. Oversimplifying (but only slightly), a QM is defined as a mortgage that meets the following six criteria

1/12/12

Foreclosure victims might reap windfall

(There is no windfall to the homeowner because you cannot put a price tag on their combined losses. MSF)

The Hagerstown woman’s letter might be the ticket to her receiving as much as $125,000 — a windfall after years of nightmarish wrangling with her bank, followed by foreclosure and personal bankruptcy.

“Eligible borrowers will receive compensation whether or not they filed a request for review form, and borrowers do not need to take further action to be eligible for compensation,” the Federal Reserve Board said in a statement.

So you don’t need to do anything.

Herald Mail If you’re eligible, regulators said, you’ll be hearing soon from a company hired to do this work.

“Borrowers will be contacted by the end of March,” Hubbard said. The contact will be made “primarily in writing — probably slow mail,” he said, referring to postal mail.

Though many such people probably have moved, it’s “not very hard” to find them, he said. “Banks do a very good job of knowing who owes them money and tracking them. ... They may have a checking account, credit card. It’s not as complicated as other people make out.”
1/11/12

What happened to Move Your Money?

Wells Fargo's loan-margin pressure highlights bankers' plight: Too much money

BizJournal Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf blames the squeeze, experienced industrywide amid the Fed's low-rate policies, is due to the flood of deposits pouring into the bank.
Wells saw customers deposit another $30 billion into their accounts, bringing total deposits to more than $945 billion.
1/11/12

Paying the Price, but Often Deducting It

But there’s more than meets the eye to the big legal settlements you’ve been reading about involving some of the nation’s biggest banks.

Actually, there’s less than meets the eye.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

“You can be sure the Wall Street banks consider tax consequences in negotiations and the government should, too,” he said. “Any portion of a settlement that’s intended to be a penalty should include language clarifying it isn’t deductible. Otherwise, the government’s punishment will have less sting than intended.”

1/10/12

Avoiding Loan-Modification Hoaxes

BOGUS operations have been quick to change their practices as homeowners get wise to their tactics. Instead of selling loan modification services, they are advertising so-called loan workouts and forensic loan audits. Some are even posing as nonprofit groups

NY Times HOMEOWNERS wary of being taken in by bogus “loan modification specialists” should not assume that a law office is the safest conduit to their lender. Consumer advocates say a growing number of fraudulent modification services involve lawyers, or people who say they are lawyers.

Ms. Mullenbach advises borrowers that “when you go to a lawyer and his sole business is loan modifications, that’s a real signal.”

1/10/12

Mortgage Overhaul Begins With Borrower Scrutiny Measure

Comment by RFD: This is more than a mere smoke screen, it is a misdirection play.

The "fix" being attempted is to the "GSE Business Model", born approximately 20 years ago. Previous to the Model's adoption by the mortgage industry, bankers used to lend borrower "Joe" the money directly and then hold Joe's paper for the duration of the loan. This gave the banker "skin in the game" when dealing with Joe and his loan and property. 

Bloomberg With the mortgage industry's adoption of the GSE Business
Model
, which is now assailed by every creditable scholar on the subject as fatally-flawed, dozens of other players enter the transaction on Joe's loan which was sold by the bank immediately upon walking out the door. MERS, trustees, servicers, nominees, securitizers, etc. all collecting a fee for their role in the franchise, and most have adopted practices detrimental to the loan because they have "no skin in the game", and they are all conflicted and interested in only the fees generated by their role in the Model.
Our dear Congress bet the US Treasury on this fatally-flawed
business Model by issuing first implied and now explicit guarantees on the industries Mortgage-Backed Securities that has now cost the taxpayers $190
Billion with no end in sight.

We need to get the government out of the mortgage industry. Then one week later; we will all have better mortgage industry.

1/12/13

There is No Lender in Securitization

Wells Fargo The thing most borrowers fail to realize about conduit loans is that once a loan has been securitized, they are not working with a "lender" anymore. The loans are pooled into a securitization called a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC). The REMIC is a trust and it has no lenders, only fiduciaries of the "certificate holders."

1/11/13

Audio from Attorney Babcock’s Oral Arguments in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit arguing for the homeowner in:

Culhane vs. Aurora  

 

 

Babcock Law Offices On Wednesday, January 9th 2013, Attorney George Babcock argued an appeal in the case of Culhane vs. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska, in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Attorney Babcock made oral arguments to a panel of three judges that included; Chief Judge, the Hon. Sandra L. Lynch, retired Supreme Court Justice, the Hon. David Souter, and Rhode Island Senior Circuit Judge, the Hon. Bruce M. Selya. 

1/11/13

Christiana Bank & Trust as Owner Trustee of the National Funding Trust v. Ostrander

Court disregarded what the borrower said and recognized the borrower as the victim and did the right thing.

COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO
SIXTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
LUCAS COUNTY
Nowhere in the record is there any document in support of appellee’s assertion that it is the present holder of appellant’s note and mortgage, let alone any evidence that the assignment was antecedent to filing the complaint. Absent establishment of a justiciable interest of the subject matter of the suit at the time it attempted to invoke the jurisdiction of the court, the suit must be dismissed, rendering all of appellant’s assignments of error moot.

1/11/13

 

Bank Deal Ends Flawed Reviews of Foreclosures

A bank reversed the foreclosure of Christine Lucier, but her home, while empty, was vandalized.

Employees sat around with no work for more than a month while collecting a paycheck. “We would just read our books,” one of the reviewers said.

NY Times One borrower, for example, declined a loan modification because the proposed payment was twice as high as his existing mortgage. 

Other reviewers said that entire days were wasted assessing files to determine whether the borrowers had been overcharged by minuscule amounts like $5 for lawn mowing.

1/11/13

CITIMORTGAGE v. FINOCCHIARIO

The Court of Appeals spoke to this topic over one hundred years ago in the Matter of Pirie, where it stated that, “[t]he collateral lien of the
mortgage could have no legal existence when separated from the note and transferred to others
than the holder of the note, but so long as the two remain together, owned and possessed by the same person, they operate together and are obligations for the payment of the same
indebtedness.”

It has become evident that especially in
the realm of foreclosure litigation that it would be a miscarriage of justice to continue to treat
standing as a defense that can be waived
.

Stop Foreclosure

Fraud

The plaintiff has not demonstrated ownership of the mortgage and note prior to the commencement of this action for foreclosure and sale. Absent a demonstration of both
ownership of the mortgage [and] the note, the plaintiff lacks both the capacity and standing to sue the defendants.
 

While the defendant may have waived his defense of lack of capacity, pursuant to CPLR §§ 3211(a)(3) and 3211(e), his defense of lack of standing is preserved under CPLR § 3211 (a) (2). And consequently, the motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint is granted.

1/10/13

What a mess.

Special Report: The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title

The Kellers are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title. Six years in, thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn't know they still owned after banks decided it wasn't worth their while to complete foreclosures on them.

Marlon Sheafe, was sentenced to probation in May. The citation from the Cleveland Housing Court says that if he doesn't fix the problems with the investment property he bought in 2005, the grandfather of three, who suffers from advanced cancer, will go to jail in May 2014

Reuters By walking away, banks can at least reap the insurance, tax and accounting benefits from documenting the loss — without having to take on any of the costs and responsibilities of ownership, according to a 2010 Federal Reserve paper. A walk-away also enables them to "sell the unpaid debt to debt collectors, sometimes noting to the court that the loan has been charged off," according to a Case Western Reserve University study released in 2011.

Banks say that because they are not the legal owners of these homes, they aren't required to maintain them, pay taxes on them, or take any legal responsibility for them. Homeowners legally own their properties until the day of sale. And it's not until that day, the banks point out, that a homeowner's name vanishes from the title.

1/11/13

"Failure of Epic Proportions": Treasury Nominee Jack Lew’s Pro-Bank, Austerity, Deregulation Legacy

Former bank regulator William Black and Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi join us to dissect the career of Jack Lew, President Obama’s pick to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Democracy Now! Currently Obama’s chief of staff, Lew was an executive at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008 at the time of the financial crisis. He backed financial deregulation efforts while he headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton. During that time, Clinton enacted two key laws to deregulate Wall Street: the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.
1/10/13

Another Nightmare, “Zombie Title” Shows How Servicer Refusal to Foreclose Hurts Stressed Homeowners and Communities

No regulations require that banks let homeowners know when they change their minds about a foreclosure. So they rarely do, according to housing court judges, homeowners’ lawyers and academics who study foreclosure problems.

 “The banks do not answer inquiries, they do not answer phone calls, they do not answer letters,” says Judge Patrick Carney of the Buffalo, New York, Housing Court. His zombie-title caseload has swollen in the past few years to well into the hundreds. “The whole situation is surreal,” he says.

naked capitalism First, the delay in foreclosure is due to servicers gaming the system. Attenuated foreclosures allow servicers to suck more of the value of the properties away from investors to themselves by continuing to charge late and various “junk” fees, which will be recouped when the home is finally sold. In Florida, one of the ground zeros of foreclosures, it is overwhelmingly the banks, not borrower attorneys, who are putting off foreclosures. Second, borrowers not living cost-free in the homes; are maintaining the properties and liable for property taxes. Third, it is not a party to live in a home with the uncertainty of eviction hanging over your head.

1/10/13

In Court, Bank of America Seeks to Avoid 'Toxic' Countrywide Liabilities

In a two-day hearing Wednesday and Thursday, BofA argued it structured its 2008 deal with Countrywide in a way that allowed it to avoid liability for certain Countrywide assets, branded "too toxic" in one internal bank email.

Fox Business Bank of America has accepted responsibility for other aspects of Countrywide, as recently as Monday entering an $11.6 billion deal with Fannie Mae to resolve disputes over Countrywide mortgages the agency said didn't meet proper standards. Case observers say a judicial finding that BofA is liable for Countrywide could expose the bank to billions more in additional claims.
1/10/13

Recent Court Ruling May Signal Go-Ahead For Thousands Of New Jersey Foreclosures

After the Guillaume case was decided, state Chief Justice Stuart Rabner set guidelines under which mortgage companies could send out corrected notices, so they could move forward with foreclosures. 

Home Equity Theft Reporter The impact may be felt beyond those 3,300 homeowners because the Wells Fargo case "provided an example for other big lenders to follow procedurally," according to Kristi Jasberg Robinson, a lawyer with the state judiciary. Foreclosure activity could begin this year on 15,000 or more homeowners affected by the same faulty paperwork that was at issue in the Wells Fargo case, she said.
1/10/13

U.S. Consumer Watchdog to Issue Mortgage Rules

NY Times Mortgage originators will in most cases be restricted from charging excessive upfront points and fees, from making loans with balloon payments and from making loans that load a borrower with total payments exceeding 43 percent of income.

FLORIDA FORECLOSURE MILL MARSHALL WATSON SHUT DOWN

LEAD ATTORNEY SUSPENDED; ROBO-SIGNING ATTORNEY PAID TO SIGN AFFIDAVITS; THOUSANDS OF FORECLOSURE CASES TO BE LEFT IN THE LURCH

Jeff Barnes, Esq. The closing of Marshall Watson will leave tens of thousands of foreclosure cases without counsel and thus “up in the air” to be re-routed to other Firms, assuming they will accept them. With the legal infirmities in these files, no other Firm may want to take on a file from a Firm which has been found (and admitted) to have created fraudulent foreclosure documents. Many of the Stern cases still have not been re-assigned to this day despite that Firm having been out of business for over a year.
1/10/13

The New Future of Mortgages: An Explainer

Business Week The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today released its first in a series of major rules that will shape the future of mortgages. The hotly contested measures, mandated as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, are generally somewhat less stringent than consumer groups wanted, and less onerous than lenders feared.

1/10/13

Davet receives victory 

in the 8th District Court of Appeals, Cuyahoga County based on Schwartzwald

Davet v. Parks 98351: The trial court improperly granted summary judgment in appellees’ favor because it failed to consider the initial determination of whether the county treasurer had standing to foreclose on appellant’s property.

Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals Where a foreclosure sale is invalid and no title at all passes to the purchaser, such constitutes more than an irregularity or omission and renders the entire proceeding VOID. Symons v. Miller, 5th Dist. No. 05-CA-7, 2006-Ohio-137, ¶ 31. Lack of standing at the outset of litigation cannot be cured by receipt of an assignment of the claim or by substitution of the real party in interest. Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-5017. Cuyahoga 2013-Ohio-31
1/10/13

Former Deutsche Bank Employee Claims Bank Took Big Libor Bets During Crisis Because It Could Influence Rates

naked capitalism The former employee has told regulators that some employees expressed concerns about the risks of the interest-rate bets, according to documents. He also said that Deutsche Bank officials dismissed those concerns because the bank could influence the rates they were betting on.
1/9/13

SERVICER NEGLIGENCE 

BECKER V. WELLS FARGO

Bergman & Gutierrez LLP This court overruled Wells Fargo’s demurrer finding Plaintiffs had adequately pled causes of action for negligence, promissory estoppel, and unfair business practices.
1/9/13

S.E.C. Seeks to Penalize 2 Auditors in Bank Case

NY Times In its first case against auditors stemming from the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday took action against two KPMG employees who had given a clean audit opinion to a Nebraska-based bank holding company that later failed because of bad loans it had made to real estate developers in Nevada and Florida.
1/9/13

View from Inside the Financial Crisis with Former Treasury Chief Economist Phillip Swagel

Mandelman Matters Here’s your first chance to listen to Phillip Swagel, author of “The Financial Crisis – An Inside View" on a Mandelman Matters Podcast… he’ll be back again… but you don’t want to miss this one because we won’t be going backward in time, so listen to a true “insider’s view” of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
1/9/13

Schadenfreude Alert: With or Without AIG’s Help, Hank Greenberg Plans to Torture Treasury and Geithner

naked capitalism The media and even some Congressmen exploded over the notion that AIG might join Greenberg in a suit against its rescuer, the US government, meaning ultimately the American taxpayer. 

1/9/13

Lesbian Couple Alleges Bank Of America Discriminated Based On Sexual Orientation

As part of the agreement, Bank of America paid $7,500 to the government housing agency for the claim.  "What about us? This happened to us, and we are the ones with the emotions and the losses," Snyder said.

Huff Post Unfortunately, Patty and Shelley won’t see a dime of that settlement, as the $7,500 was designated as an administrative payment by the bank to the government agency. "We are still very upset about it," Shelley said. "We were disrespected and treated as less than."
CASE TO WATCH

1/9/13

 

Oregon Supreme Court hears key foreclosure case


The roles of the electronic mortgage registry and the judicial system will be decided

Lenders will face an uphill climb in the Legislature, however, after Democrats took control of the state House. Incoming House Speaker Tina Kotek has been a vocal critic of lenders’ foreclosure practices.

Oral Argument in Niday v. GMAC 

(start at 6:00)

The Register-Guard A state appeals court ruled in July that lenders using MERS must go through the courts to begin foreclosure proceedings. Since then, so-called nonjudicial foreclosures, which used to comprise nearly all foreclosures in Oregon, have all but stopped as lenders have turned to the court system or waited out a definitive ruling on the status of MERS.

It’s unclear what would happen to foreclosures already completed, although the court has been asked to rule on that question, Harpster said.

1/8/13

Oregon Supreme Court hears arguments in MERS foreclosure cases

The future of foreclosures in Oregon now rests in the hands of the state Supreme Court.

OregonLive MERS argues that, because it's a consistent beneficiary on the deed, those ownership changes don't each have to be recorded in county land records. MERS' name appears on hundreds of thousands of deeds in Oregon.

But attorneys representing homeowners fighting foreclosure cases argued Tuesday that MERS can't qualify as a beneficiary under state law.
1/8/13

 

The States of Foreclosure

Housing prices stabilize when lenders can enforce contracts... (IF the banks have any 'enforceable' contracts left. MSF

COMMENT: There is a thousand-pound gorilla in the room with your suggestion. How would you like to buy one of the properties with a Clouded Title that exists as a product of the fatally flawed “GSE Business Model”?

Purchasing property from a thief does not make a “bona fide purchaser”.  This was addressed in the esteemed Massachusetts Supreme Court BEVILACQUA v. RODRIGUEZ decision, which upheld the Honorable Judge Keith Long’s decision...

WSJ 

reporting for the banks

"I have great sympathy for Mr. Bevilacqua’s situation — he was not the one who conducted the invalid foreclosure, and presumably purchased from the foreclosing entity in reliance on receiving good title — but if that was the case his proper grievance and proper remedy is against that wrongfully foreclosing entity on which he relied."

Judge Long has been prescient as the law has long held the "Nemo Dat doctrine" trumps the “bona purchaser doctrine”.  As the Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts noted 135 years ago, "No person can sell a thing he does not own.” Barnard v. Norwich & W.R. Co., 2 F. Cas. 841, 845 (Cir. Ct. D. Mass. 1876).

 You simply cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. 

Whether it is a judicial or non-judicial state, you can’t steal someone’s house by mischief under the color of law. - Richard Davet

1/8/13

Expert Declaration of Forgery

The examiners opinion is that the Jonson signatures are forgeries.

Rob Harrington This Examiner's professional opinion is that Q1 document is not a copy made directly from the original Note; and the signatures thereon were systematically fabricated to make them appear as direct copies of the "blue Ink" signature of the original Note. 
1/8/13

A Financial Service for People 

Fed Up With Banks

The company’s biggest challenge, banking analysts say, will be to persuade people to give it a try.

NY Times After the financial crisis, smaller community banks and credit unions gained customers eager for alternatives to larger corporate banks. Experts say Simple could attract those customers as well.
1/8/13

Another Slap on the Wrist

In the face of widespread evidence of illegal foreclosure practices, federal regulators in 2011 told the big banks to investigate themselves.

NY Times editorial Regulators have said that the goal in ending the reviews is to provide relief to borrowers “in a more timely manner.” If it’s timely relief they wanted, they would not have instituted the deeply flawed review process in the first place, nor would they have let the sham reviews drag on for more than a year. Worse, the settlement amount is inadequate.

1/8/13

Feds Replace Flawed Foreclosure Review With Vague $8.5 Billion Settlement

Banking regulators admitted the Independent Foreclosure Review was a big expensive mess and shut it down.

ProPublica The reviews had taken far too much time. That was great news for the consultants that had been hired by the banks to conduct the reviews, because the banks have paid them more than $1.5 billion.

 But all that work has not resulted in a single payment to a borrower.

1/8/13

Finding Little Evidence Of Foreclosure Fraud, Feds Give Up

Forbes Like professor Bill Black said:    "If you look - you will find."

It is hard to imagine the media is still chirping the banks meme: "Nobody was thrown out of their home that didn't deserve it."

The foreclosure crisis grossly overshadowed the thousands of homeowners who never missed a payment and yet had their homes STOLEN.  

1/8/13

Even Fannie Mae's CEO Thinks the Company Is Too Big

Bloomberg Fannie is backing about 50 percent of all mortgages and, in combination with Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, the government now owns or guarantees about 95 percent of the mortgage market. "That's not healthy" or sustainable, Mayopoulos said

1/8/13

$8.5 Billion Foreclosure Fraud Settlement: Yet Another Loss for Homeowners Touted as a Victory

It’s bad enough to see long suffering homeowners take it once again in the chin, thanks to the way the bank regulators prostrate themselves before their supposed charges. It adds insult to injury to see this type of ritualized sellout yet again presented as a boon for consumers.

naked capitalism So the bank basically scammed the borrower out of an additional $25,000 before foreclosing as originally planned. Under the old formula, he’d be owed $15,000 plus his house back or $125,000 plus accrued equity. Instead, he’ll get an insultingly small amount. Oh, and he’ll almost certainly also be asked to release the bank from any liability as a condition of getting the dough.

This is what passes for justice in America: the authorities are all too happy to paper over what any sensible person would consider to be criminal conduct.

1/7/13

Head of Fla. Foreclosure Mill Firm Agrees to Shut Down Law Practice

The head of one of Florida's well-known so-called foreclosure mill law firms, Marshall C. Watson, has agreed to state bar discipline that will require him to close down his law office.

Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment

ABA Journal

 

 

 

 

4closureFraud

Among other issues, the document says a Watson attorney was paid $1 for each of the 150,000 affidavits in which the lawyer said he had reviewed and attested to the reasonableness of fees charged. However, at least some of the affidavits weren't signed in the presence of a notary, as they were supposed to be, and "in numerous instances” the lawyer was given only the affidavit's final page to sign.
1/7/13

Michigan Trial Court OKs Homeowner Challenge To Validity Of Mortgage Assignment

Where Assignee's Lack Of Title Is Raise As A Defense

Home Equity Theft Reporter A Michigan state court found that a debtor may oppose foreclosure on the basis that the assignment of the mortgage to the foreclosing party was in violation of the Pooling and Service Agreement and, therefore, ineffective.

HSBC v. Young

1/7/13

MI Supreme Court Justice Hathaway to retire after Fraud accusation, commission's move to suspend her

Too many public corruption scandals have damaged the public’s trust in government and tarnished our state’s reputation. 

Action News The JTC complaint accuses Hathaway of fraud and money laundering and comes on the heels of a November civil complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney, which also accused Hathaway of fraud. 

US banks pay billions to settle mortgage mess

A group of 10 mortgage providers have agreed to pay a total of $8.5bn as compensation to end a US government-mandated review of housing crisis foreclosures. 

Al Jazeera Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Case & Co, Wells Fargo & Co, MetLife Bank, and five others will pay $3.3bn directly to eligible borrowers, and $5.2bn in loan modifications and forgiveness, regulators said. 

A total of 3.8 million people are eligible for payments under the deal announced by the Office of Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve. 

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports from Washington, D.C.
1/7/13

US Foreclosure Settlement Angers Wall Street Critics

The bottom line is: Fraud pays, and it pays big time,” William Black, a former federal bank regulator.

You or I would be in jail for a very long time if we filed a bunch of affidavits we knew were false,” said Kelleher, a former senior aide in the US Senate.

rianovosti A multibillion-dollar settlement announced Monday between US financial regulators and major banks over alleged abuses related to home foreclosures is the latest example of the financial industry running roughshod over the rule-of-law without repercussions, Wall Street critics said.

BofA Reaches Repurchase Claims Agreement with Fannie Mae

FHFA Statement on Fannie Mae Agreement with
Bank of America

DSnews Bank of America and Fannie Mae reached a $10.3 billion agreement Monday to resolve repurchase claims on garbage loans originated from 2000 through 2008. The agreement also requires BofA to pay the GSE $1.3 billion in compensatory fee obligations.

1/7/13

 

"I feel fear," he said. "Fear that the person who committed the injustice is now going to be the judge and jury about that injustice."

Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks' Hands

"The regulators have decided to replace the fox in the henhouse with the wolf," said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington-based housing nonprofit. "It is just incomprehensible to me that they could not find a third party that has the wherewithal and independence to fairly determine what the damage is to homeowners."

Huff Post The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board -- the two regulatory bodies that had taken the lead in making the nation’s largest banks accountable for rampant foreclosure fraud -- announced that homeowners no longer need worry about the independence of the reviews. The regulators, essentially admitting that the reviews were too difficult to conduct, and that assigning appropriate compensation to those most harmed by the banks was no longer a priority

1/7/13

Void vs. Voidable: The Difference Is Subtle, But Significant

Voidable sales may be set aside, but only if the mortgagor can show it was prejudiced by any alleged deficiencies.

Sales that are void ab initio are simply invalid, whether the mortgagor was harmed or not – and even if the foreclosed property has since been sold to one or more innocent purchasers.

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Kim decision comes in response to a growing number of Michigan Court of Appeals decisions following the Court of Appeals’ 2007 ruling in Davenport v HSBC Bank USA, which held that at least certain types of deficiencies made a foreclosure sale void ab initio. 275 Mich App 344; 739 NW2d 383 (2007). By rejecting Davenport and its progeny, Kim gives a great deal more certainty to foreclosing mortgagees, purchasers of foreclosed property and the title companies insuring those sales alike.
1/7/13

Un-Freezing Foreclosures in the Nevada Desert – What Nevada’s Homeowners Need to Know

If all states had enacted a law similar to Nevada's AB 284 back in the early 1990s, it may have prevented our Foreclosure/Financial Crisis ?

Mandelman Matters A SINGLE LAW THAT COULD HAVE CHANGED IT ALL.

In October of 2011, the State of Nevada made national news when it passed a law related to foreclosures known as Assembly Bill 284. It was often referred to as Nevada’s “robo-signing law,” because among other things, the law made it a felony for loan servicers to sign documents without “personal knowledge” of who owns the note, and it further required lenders to provide an affidavit showing they have the authority to foreclose.

1/7/13

Widows/Widowers Who Are Not Named In Now-Deceased Spouse's Reverse Mortgage Score Big Appeals Court Win - Dodge Foreclosure 

A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit accusing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of setting up its reverse-mortgage program in a way that makes it more likely a surviving spouse will end up in foreclosure.

Home Equity Theft Reporter The widowers claim that HUD rules on when loans become due and payable conflict with language in the law aimed at protecting surviving spouses from foreclosure.

“We admit to being somewhat puzzled as to how HUD can justify a regulation that seems contrary to the governing statute,” U.S. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman wrote in the 13-page opinion.

Bennett v. Donovan

1/7/13

Why Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill Matter: We Can Stop Corruption If We Understand It

The public reaction to revelations of these subsidies is bitterness and resignation. People are bitter because they think they are being cheated, which is true. But they are resigned because they feel the system is inherently going to lead to outcomes like this. 

naked capitalism That is not true. We do not have to operate according to the norms of cheats. That is a choice we have. But when we resign ourselves to a dirty system, and blame Congress because it is a nameless faceless organization, we contribute to the welfare of our own pickpockets. When we actually learn the details, and take the time to expose what is going on, we can stand dignified against the PR flacks who justify their own graft by pointing to artistically compelling Michael Bay films.

If there’s one shift in perspective I would encourage, it would be to “follow the money.”
1/7/13

NCUA Files New Suit Against JPMorgan Over Collapse of Corporate CUs

“The damage caused by the actions of firms like Washington Mutual has been extremely expensive to contain and repair, and that job isn’t finished, yet,” said NCUA chairman Debbie Matz.

NCUA has now filed suits against nine Wall Street banks claiming the banks violated their own underwriting standards by packaging subprime mortgages into MBS that failed soon after they were purchased

Mortgage Servicing News The latest suit is over MBS sold to U.S. Central FCU, WesCorp FCU and Southwest Corporate FCU by Washington Mutual Bank, the failed banking giant that was acquired with all of its liabilities by JPMorgan in 2008. NCUA has also filed suit against JPMorgan for MBS sold to the corporates by Bear Stearns & Co., the investment bank it acquired in 2008, as well as MBS sold to the corporates by Morgan’s own investment bankers. In all, NCUA is seeking recompense from JPMorgan for almost $7 billion of MBS that went sour soon after they were sold to the now-failed corporates.
1/6/13

Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings Letter to Federal Reserve, OCC | re: Foreclosure Fraud Settlement 2013

Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings

Committee On Oversight and Government Reform

In light of these recent press reports suggesting that a settlement may replace the Independent Foreclosure Review process, we respectfully request a staff briefing prior to the conclusion of the reported settlement agreement. We would like more information about how the potential settlement amount is to be determined in light of potential wrongdoing identified to
date, how such aid may be distributed and in what form, and what may happen to homeowner
files that are still awaiting review.

1/6/13

Bank of America reaches multi-billion dollar deal with Fannie Mae

The agreement covers loans with a $1.4 trillion unpaid principal balance and resolves remaining compensatory fees.

Housing Wire Bank of America announced a multibillion-dollar mortgage settlement deal with Fannie Mae Monday morning to resolve legacy mortgage repurchase claims through a $3.6 billion cash payment to the GSE. In addition, BofA said it would buy back $6.75 billion in residential mortgages sold to Fannie Mae.

1/6/13

Judge Calls for Revision of $20 Million Payout in Bank of America Suit

Investors sued Bank of America’s directors, including Kenneth Lewis, its former chief, over its 2008 takeover of Merrill Lynch.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

The judge, P. Kevin Castel, voiced clear reservations about the $20 million settlement in a ruling on Friday, concluding that fees requested by the lawyers for the two funds could consume “some, most or all” of the money. The deal was reached last spring, months before two other pension funds in a separate lawsuit negotiated a $2.4 billion settlement with the bank over the Merrill purchase.
1/6/13

Deal in Foreclosure Case Is Imminent, Officials Say

NT Times An estimated $3.75 billion of the $10 billion would be distributed in cash relief to Americans who went through foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, these people said. An additional $6 billion would be directed toward homeowners in danger of losing their homes after falling behind on their monthly payments.
1/6/13

Banks Win an Easing of Rules on Assets

Mervyn A. King, governor of the Bank of England and chairman of the group, said there was no intent to go easier on lenders.

NY Times Proponents of the new rules argue that banks will be able to raise money more cheaply if they are perceived as being less vulnerable, thus offsetting the cost of the new rules. They point out that American banks have generally recovered from the crisis more quickly than European banks because United States regulators forced them to raise new capital.
6/7/12 We missed this one?

Former ACORN Director Gets $445 Mil From U.S. Treasury

The Obama Administration has violated the congressional ACORN funding ban, however. Last summer Judicial Watch uncovered records that show ACORN got tens of thousands of dollars in grants to “combat housing and lending discrimination.” The money came via Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which awarded a $79,819 grant to AHCOA.

Judicial Watch The Obama Administration has given a former director at the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) nearly half a billion dollars to offer “struggling” Illinois homeowners mortgage assistance, a Judicial Watch investigation has found.

It means the ACORN official (Joe McGavin) will go from operating a corrupt leftist community group that’s banned by Congress from receiving federal funding to controlling over $445 million in U.S. taxpayer funds. 
1/6/13

Texas Homeowner Seeks To Invoke State Homestead Law To Invalidate Mortgage

A man claims a mortgage company is attempting to wrongfully foreclose on his home, despite its failure to provide him with notice of its intent. 

Home Equity Theft Reporter Bryson is now questioning whether the lien on his home is even valid.

“This property was known by all parties to constitute the plaintiff’s homestead and as such, any acquisition of the lien upon said property would have to comply, clearly and completely, with the provisions not only of the Texas Property Code, but also the Texas Constitution,” the suit states.

1/6/13

Citimortgage v. Cotton

 

Illinois Court of Appeals First District, Second Division The denial of defendant’s motion to vacate the judgment of foreclosure
and confirmation of judicial sale and to quash service by publication was reversed and the cause was remanded for an evidentiary hearing on whether plaintiff made a diligent and due inquiry to locate defendant prior to being granted leave to serve defendant by publication, since such a hearing was warranted by the discrepancies between the parties’ affidavits.
1/5/13

In America, most people do nothing but sit around and complain.

LOCKSMITHS join Revolt as banks throw families from their homes

De Carlos believes that Pamplona's locksmiths have now lost 10% of their trade, but recovered their honour and dignity.

Guardian UK Tired of accompanying court officials to evict unemployed people as banks foreclosed mortgages, De Carlos consulted his fellow Pamplona locksmiths before Christmas. In no time at all, they came to an agreement. They would not do the dirty work of banks whose rash lending pumped up a housing bubble and then, after it popped, helped bring the country to its knees.

1/5/13

New year, same story.

Surprise, Surprise: The Banks Win

IF you were hoping that things might be different in 2013 — you know, that bankers would be held responsible for bad behavior or that the government might actually assist troubled homeowners — you can forget it. 

A settlement reportedly in the works with big banks will soon end a review into foreclosure abuses, and it means more of the same: no accountability for financial institutions and little help for borrowers.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Stopping the reviews before they are finished means that the banks will be allowed to claim that abuses were rare and that $10 billion is an adequate penalty.

Another problem is that the money will be doled out to wronged borrowers based on work done by consultants hired by the banks responsible for the improprieties. How can their findings be trusted? What’s more, the reviews’ conclusions about harm are based on the servicers’ side of the story, not homeowners’.

1/5/13

US Bank v. McGinn 

While it may be true that U.S. Bank met its initial burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact existed, appellants responded by showing that a genuine issue of material fact did exist by pointing to the inconsistency in the two notes.

Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals The difference in the two notes calls into question whether U.S. Bank actually possessed the original note prior to filing the complaint. If U.S. Bank did not, it was not a holder and, thus, lacked standing to bring the foreclosure action in the first place. Construing the evidence in a light most favorable to appellants, we conclude that the trial court erred when it granted U.S. Bank’s motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, appellants’ assignment of error is well-taken.

1/4/13

Secret and Lies of the Bailout


The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

The most appalling part is the lying. The public has been lied to so shamelessly and so often in the course of the past four years that the failure to tell the truth to the general populace has become a kind of baked-in, official feature of the financial rescue. Money wasn't the only thing the government gave Wall Street – it also conferred the right to hide the truth from the rest of us. And it was all done in the name of helping regular people and creating jobs. "It is," says former bailout Inspector General Neil Barofsky, "the ultimate bait-and-switch."
2009

White Paper

ADDRESSING OHIO’S FORECLOSURE CRISIS:
Taking the next steps

Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program This paper lays out a detailed, concrete series of steps by which the state can not only better help homeowners and tenants affected by foreclosure, but help stabilize its
distressed neighborhoods and communities.

1/4/13

JPMorgan Faces Sanction for Withholding Madoff Documents

The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general has threatened to punish JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) for failing to turn over documents to regulators investigating the bank’s ties to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Bloomberg Inspector General Eric Thorson gave the largest U.S. bank a Jan. 11 deadline to cooperate with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency probe or risk sanctions for impeding the agency’s oversight.

UPDATE: JPM did not produce documents

1/4/13

Sheriff fired after claims of mortgage, foreclosure fraud involving Chase Bank, judges

Reid's firing comes on the heels of complaints of mortgage fraud and illegal foreclosure activity with help allegedly from some Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judges and magistrates.

Cleveland Urban News Reid has allegedly stolen homes in Cuyahoga County with the help of Judges Friedland and O'Donnell and other judges and magistrates, including Bucha. And data show that the beneficiaries are affiliates of both the Republican and Democratic parties of the county, some judges, Reid himself, and a host of mortgage companies and banks that have bankrupt a plethora of innocent homeowners victimized by the widespread county CORRUPTION.

1/4/13

OCC Foreclosure Reviewer: “Independent” Reviews Were Controlled by Banks, Which Suppressed Any Findings of Harm to Foreclosed Homeowners

You simply must read this post if you care at all about the rule of law or can stand to see the gory mechanisms by which “regulation” has now become a fig leaf for criminal corporate conduct.

It wasn’t simply that the consulting firms airbrushed out unflattering findings so as not to ruffle their current and hoped-for future meal tickets. 

naked capitalism The banks were actively involved in overseeing the project and the results were shameless rejection of any and every possible basis for borrowers getting recompense. He provides numerous examples of unquestionably abusive conduct, such as foreclosing on homeowners in non-judicial states without advertising the notice of sale as required by law, or failing to send a notice of acceleration. Enough of the reviewers understood state law requirements that they would find many, often over a dozen, violations on a single file. So how did the bank and the OCC conspire to solve this problem? They redefined the review process so as to omit matters of law. I am not making this up.

1/4/13

Chase Reliance on Bogus Affidavit and “operation of law”

Chase clearly has a problem, as set forth in the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision. There is no “operation of law” by which the loan could have been transferred. The purchase and assumption agreement do not transfer the loans —- especially and obviously the loans that WAMU had already sold. The FDIC receiver has stated that no document exists assigning the loans. 

Living Lies Although Chase is communicating with the borrower on the review process, there is no evidence that they have any right to do so. A letter should be sent back to Chase saying that based upon the information available thus far, there is a question as to whether they are the authorized servicer, and if so, how that happened. Secondly, there is a question as to the party for whom they are performing the review process as the creditor. They should be asked in the letter, for the identity of the creditor — i.e., the party who can show assignment and proof of payment.

1/4/13

Ohio Title Agents: Be Aware of Recent Ohio Case Law


Since lack of jurisdiction cannot be cured by the passage of time, defeated with a laches or bona fide purchaser defense and impervious to prospective application, we must now take the steps to except the result of the Schwartzwald case entirely.

General Title

Company

For all Ohio refinance transactions and the issuance of an Ohio preliminary judicial report, please use the following exception language:
“The Policy does not insure, and the Company will not be liable for attorney’s fees and defense costs, against loss or damage by reason of an attempt to VOID and set aside the foreclosure judgment and subsequent sale, or a decree VOIDING and setting aside the foreclosure judgment and subsequent sale occurring prior to the Date of Policy by reason of lack of standing and jurisdiction.”

1/3/13

Writing the ‘Hardship Letter’

Ms. Snitkin advises her clients that less is more when it comes to writing a hardship letter. 

NY Times The lenders’ loss mitigators, faced with mountains of modification requests, are unlikely to spend time reading more than the first few lines of each letter. And there is always the risk that borrowers who go on at length could unknowingly trip themselves up with unnecessary details that raise red flags for a mitigator.

1/3/13

Bill filed to speed up foreclosures in Florida

For their part, banks get a bit of a gift in the bill as well. If a lender forecloses on a home and later is sued for doing so wrongfully, the lender can only be forced to pay monetary damages. 

That means the homeowner can’t get his or her house back—a proposition that could be especially difficult if the bank has sold the home to an unsuspecting third party. Passidomo’s bill would theoretically eliminate that awkward hypothetical scenario, and free the bank from having to recoup a house it sold to another party after a faulty foreclosure.  This bone-headed decision allows fraud upon the court to stand which is contrary to the US Sup Ct.

(Also read law professors amicus brief in Bevilacqua)

Tampa Bay Times (Nemo dat quod non habet, literally meaning "no one gives what he doesn't have" is a legal rule that states that the purchase of a possession from someone who has no ownership right to it also denies the purchaser any ownership title. This rule usually stays valid even if the purchaser does not know that the seller has no right to claim ownership of the object of the transaction (a bona fide purchaser) (See Bevilacqua Opinion)

 If the property was stolen, then they certainly should get the home back.  Clouded title is also an issue that requires a criminal act of fraud to cover it up.  MSF)

1/3/13

Brockton considers plan to seize bad mortgages

“It would be very hurtful for the industry,” said Deborah Sousa, executive director of the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association. “You couldn’t sell a garbage mortgage on the secondary market.”  

Boston Globe Brockton is exploring using eminent domain powers to seize bad mortgage loans that have devastated many residents and, with a private financial partner, sell them back at lower interest rates to help people keep their homes.

1/3/13

County Sheriff Sits On Over $100K Owed to Foreclosure Victims

The government can’t find the people to give them the money.

Home Equity Theft Reporter “They assumed the sale meant a total loss of their home,” Navarro said. “In these cases, there was money left over and I want to get it to them, because it’s not the government’s money. It’s theirs.”

1/3/13

Sheila Bair deemed the consent orders to be inadequate, argued that millions of mortgages were likely “infected.

Pending Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Achieves New Level of Abject Regulatory Failure

I hope to convince you that a yet another mortgage settlement, leaked on New Year’s Eve when hopefully no one would notice, achieves the difficult task of reaching a new level of dereliction of duty.

naked capitalism Having the OCC look at a whole passel of foreclosures and say, “See, the overwhelming majority were OK” would be an important step in turning the clock back to before the robosigning scandal broke.

And as this farce went on, what little information that did come to light was even worse than our low expectations.

1/3/13

"No wronged borrowers have been paid."

Nearly 500,000 borrowers seek formal reviews of their foreclosures for mistakes by lenders

After a deadline-inspired surge, nearly 500,000 borrowers are seeking formal reviews of their 2009 and 2010 foreclosures for mistakes by lenders, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported.

Cleveland.com Federal regulators are set to replace the existing victim-by-victim compensation effort with about $10 billion in flat penalties against the banks, according to five people briefed on the talks who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

The 14 firms could be instructed to give lump-sum payments of between $500 and $125,000 in each case involving improper practices, the agencies said in June. No wronged borrowers have been paid, Hubbard said.

1/2/13

St. Louis County home values falling, foreclosures threaten entire market

The historic foreclosure crisis of the 2008 recession is finally stabilizing, but in a large part of St. Louis County the damage is already done.

kmov The north county home Kim Killian paid $70,000 for 19 years ago was recently appraised for re-financing.
“The company tells me the appraisal for my home is $28,000, and I’m like, you have got to be kidding,” she said.
A big part of the reason for the value of Killian’s home plummeting is the fact her home is an island in an ocean of foreclosures.
The problem isn’t just Killian’s, it affects every tax payer in St. Louis County.
1/2/13

Pragmatism may kill massive foreclosure review process

It seems regulators and policymakers who want banks to pay for the foreclosure crisis just can't make up their minds as to how they plan to do so.

Housing Wire "As far as the review, the review is supposed to cost so much per loan," he said. "You look at how many loans you have to do, how long it is going to take, and the OCC and other regulators are not happy with the results of the reviews."
1/2/13

Lawyers question Utah AG’s 180 in foreclosure case

Just days before leaving office, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has reversed the state’s position and personally signed on to a settlement in a foreclosure lawsuit that Bank of America appeared to be losing.

Salt Lake Tribune The practical effect of Shurtleff’s move, according to an attorney who filed the lawsuit, is to weaken Utah’s ability to enforce state law. It also weakens the state’s position in other lawsuits challenging foreclosures carried out by ReconTrust Co., Bank of America’s foreclosure arm, Abraham Bates said.
1/2/13

 

How to Halt the Terrorist Money Train

HSBC is hardly alone. The Justice Department has signed similar agreements, withholding prosecution in exchange for bank promises to tighten oversight, with Wachovia, Union Bank of California, Lloyds, Credit Suisse, ABN Amro Holding (now owned by Royal Bank of Scotland), Barclays and Standard Chartered. All admitted to criminal offenses; all were handed the equivalent of traffic tickets — pay a fine on your way out the door.

NY Times The standard of proof needed to charge and convict a bank officer of money laundering is simple. If the person knows that funds are proceeds of a crime and, thereafter, he attempts to disguise or conceal the true source of the funds, he has committed the criminal offense of money laundering. Any individual who intentionally provides financial services to criminal organizations should be dealt with as harshly as possible under the law.
1/2/13

HSBC's 'Stunning Failures Of Oversight' Allowed Colombian Drug Traffickers To Launder Money

Huff Post The situation was so bad, according to the Department of Justice, that in 2008, the head of HSBC's Mexican operations was told by Mexican regulators that a local drug lord described the bank as "the place to launder money."

1/2/13

F. Lee Bailey Denied Bid To Practice Law In Maine

"Mr. Bailey has not met his burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that he possesses the requisite good character and fitness necessary for admission to the Maine Bar," 

Sun Journal

The Unmasking of Maine

According to the Board's written report, Kenneth Fishman, an associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court who had worked with Bailey as a law partner and continues their friendship, said the case resulting in Bailey's disbarment was an "aberration" and that "Bailey's demeanor since (the Claude) Duboc (case) is now less arrogant and 'far more humble' than before."
1/2/13

Unraveling the Freddie-Fannie Tangle

Now controlled by the government, the companies play an even larger role in the economy than they did before the crisis and their bailout, but they are riven by conflicts of interest and clashing goals.

ProPublica NPR's Chris Arnold and ProPublica revealed that Freddie Mac had placed multibillion-dollar bets that pay off only if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates. Freddie began increasing these bets dramatically in late 2010, the same time that the company was making it harder for homeowners to get out of such high-interest mortgages.
1/2/13

Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure Act: Collection Of Cases

Home Equity Theft Reporter The following court cases, collected by the National Housing Law Project, may be of some guidance to those representing tenants in enforcing their rights under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act:
1/1/13

AIG Announces PR Blitz To “Thank” Taxpayers For Bailouts

In what borders on performance art, AIG is launching a condescending public relations campaign to thank American taxpayers for letting them extort bailout money from Congress.

DS Wright - FDL And what is the message here from AIG?

“I needed money so I stole your car, robbed a liquor store, and now I am giving you your car back and I left a portion of the liquor store loot…”

“Thank you?”

“You’re welcome!”
12/31/12

Sarasota author suing biggest U.S. bank over foreclosure

The August Order Denying Defendants' Motions to Dismiss in:

 Coursen v. JPM et al

She expects to demonstrate "a conspiracy to divest people of their property using sham pleadings and fabricated evidence."

Sarasota Times Coursen's problems with Washington Mutual began in early 2006, when the bank started tacking on hundreds of dollars each month to her mortgage payments.

Asked to explain, bank representatives pledged to research the charges and get back to her. They didn't, but Coursen kept paying her mortgage.

12/31/12

FHA policies helped cause foreclosure crisis
Agency's aggressive efforts to push homeownership have backfired

Imagine that a federal agency wanted to hurt America's working-class families on purpose. How would it inflict maximum damage?

Baltimore Sun It might start by aggressively marketing homeownership to marginal borrowers. It would tell them that bad credit scores aren't a problem. It would push them into homes they can't afford, saddle them with loans that barely build equity and provide no incentives for fiscal discipline. And when many of these homes go underwater and into foreclosure, it would leave families in financial ruin.
12/31/12

A Mortgage Acquired Through Voluntary Purchase Agreement With FDIC Must Be Recorded Before Foreclosure By Advertisement

Warner Norcross & Judd The court further held that failure to do so renders the foreclosure sale voidable, as opposed to void ab initio.

The Kims granted Washington Mutual Bank a mortgage interest in their home. After the Office of Thrift Management closed Washington Mutual, the FDIC acquired the mortgage. Chase later acquired the mortgage from the FDIC, along with all of Washington Mutual’s assets.

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