News related to the Foreclosure Crisis

The biggest unpunished theft in human history

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Mortgage Servicing Fraud
occurs post loan origination when mortgage servicers use false statements and book-keeping entries, fabricated assignments, forged signatures and utter counterfeit intangible Notes to take a homeowner's property and equity.
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12/31/10 Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector  

Deceased Woman's Name Was Robo-Signed on Thousands of Affidavits 

Alternate site: Market Ticker

JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

WSJ

Martha Kunkle has come back to life. She died in 1995. Yet her signature later appeared on thousands of affidavits submitted by one of the nation's largest debt collectors, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., in lawsuits filed against borrowers.
12/30/10

Bank Of America’s Christmas present: Foreclose Even Though Not A Payment Missed

Yet another nightmare story has emerged involving a mistaken foreclosure. Bank of America reportedly put a Connecticut family's home in foreclosure despite the fact that the couple never missed a payment -- and was actually in the process of refinancing their mortgage with the bank.

Alternate site: Huff Post

CT WatchDog In one of the more bizarre foreclosure cases, Bank of America is threatening to throw a West Hartford family out of their home even though the couple never missed a mortgage payment. 

“I have never seen a case like this,” said Manchester attorney Wendell Davis, whose office handles many foreclosures.

Before taking the case, Davis said he thoroughly checked Baitch’s records and found that all his and his wife’s allegations were accurate.

“They have never even been late on a mortgage payment,” said Davis this morning in an interview.

12/30/10

Why Mortgage-Backed Securities Aren't (Backed by Securities):

 

 How MERS Toasted the Banks

 

It is likely that most or even all foreclosures occurring in the US are illegal seizures of property -- home thefts

 

We are talking about 100,000 completed home thefts per month, with another 250,000 new foreclosures started to steal homes every month. Projections are that 13 million homes will have been "foreclosed" (read: stolen) by 2012.

L. Randal Wray 

Huffington Post

MERS, a creation of the mortgage banking industry, has effectively destroyed the institution of private property in America.  Ironically, MERS was created to facilitate quick and easy and cheap securitization of mortgages -- what are called mortgage-backed securities.  In fact, what it did was to eliminate any backing of the securities by mortgages. Of the total securitized asset universe, something like $7 trillion are (supposedly) backed by residential mortgages. However, MERS helped to delink the securities from the mortgages.  At best, they are unsecured debt -- there is no property backing the securities. 

What this means is that foreclosure is not legally permitted.

12/30/10

How the mortgage clearinghouse MERS became a villain in the foreclosure mess

On March 4, 1994, the MBA unveiled its plan to county recorders who were charged with keeping track of titles signifying the ownership of land. Not everyone was sold on the idea.

Washington Post Critics say promises to increase transparency and iron out wrinkles in recordkeeping haven't panned out. The firm, which tracks more than 60 percent of the country's residential mortgages but whose parent company employs just 45 people in a Reston office building, is now on the firing line.
12/30/10

FORECLOSURES JUMP, MODIFICATIONS PLUMMET

Suzanne Kapner 

with comments by 

Neil Garfield

Cases that don’t settle are composed of at least one party that has determined they either have an incredibly strong position or that they have nothing to lose by shooting for the moon. In mortgage cases there is an actual disincentive to settle because (1) the lenders are not involved and (2) their “agents” are making money hand over fist by NOT settling. But the main reason is that the wrong parties are at the table. The agents lack both power and any incentive to settle. As a result BOTH the lenders (investors) and the borrowers (also investors under securities laws) are the ones to suffer.
12/30/10 Noncompliance with HAMP Guidelines as an Affirmative Foreclosure Defense?

Can a servicer's failure to comply with HAMP guidelines provide an affirmative defense to foreclosure? 

Law Professor 

Alan Levitin 

Credit Slips

The Indiana Court of Appeals held (citing a number of precedent rulings) that a compliance with servicing guidelines is a condition precedent to a foreclosure that can be raised as an affirmative defense. (Includes case)
5/6/09 "TAKE YOUR PROPERTY BACK FREE & CLEAR" California Chronicle So, you can move to stop the foreclosure, and fight for your home by acquiring a "Forensic Loan Audit" that will identify any possible lender fraud, or Federal violations of the Truth and Lending Act (TILA), or the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). 

Expose the fraud, stop the foreclosure, and take your home back by fighting your foreclosure!

12/29/10 GOOD HANDS (ALLSTATE) SLAP COUNTRYWIDE (BOA) FOR $700 MILLION FRAUD CHAD HEMENWAY 

Property & Casualty Magazine 

with comments by 

Neil Garfield

Hence the conclusion that the trustees are not acting in the interests of the the investors because either there isn’t or never was any trust or because the real show isn’t being run by the trustees at all. The defendants in both the investor and the borrower lawsuits should be the the underwriters from Wall Street and the aggregators like Countrywide. Investors got the message. Now it’s time for the borrowers.
12/29/10

GOP Shifts on Fannie, Freddie Overhaul

Republicans Say Quickly Privatizing Mortgage Giants Would Squeeze Access to Home Loans and Depress Sales, Prices

Alan Zibel

WSJ

"Of all the dumb regulation that caused our economic crisis, none was dumber than that which created the (Fannie and Freddie) monopolies," Mr. Hensarling said in March.

Democrats tend to favor a more active role for the government in housing to ensure that underserved communities have access to mortgages.

12/28/10 2011 Will Bring More de Facto Decriminalization of Elite Financial Fraud

 

What has gone so catastrophically wrong with DOJ, and why has it continued so long? The fundamental flaw is that DOJ's senior leadership cannot conceive of elite bankers as criminals.

The longer that delinquencies and defaults can be delayed - the more the CEO can loot the bank.

William F. Black Our best bet is to continue to win the scholarly disputes and to continue to push media representatives to take fraud seriously. If the media demands for prosecution of the elite banking frauds expand there is a chance to create a bipartisan coalition in Congress and the administration supporting prosecutions. In the S&L debacle, Representative Annunzio was one of the leading opponents of reregulation and leading supporters of Charles Keating. After we brought several hundred successful prosecutions he began wearing a huge button: "Jail the S&L Crooks!"
12/28/10
Ohio Attorney General Cordray

 Re: Fraudulent Foreclosure Affidavit

Ohio Attorney General 

Richard Cordray

As I stated in my October 29 letter, “it is improper for the plaintiff to ask the court to ratify a foreclosure judgment based on a false affidavit after the fact by simply substituting or supplementing what plaintiff now claims is a proper affidavit.” Rather, I believe vacating the judgment is the proper way to handle these cases, as it removes a judgment based on a false affidavit and gives the homeowner an opportunity to contest a new motion for default or summary judgment. 
12/28/10

New California AG could sue banks on foreclosures

Reuters But while Brown scored an early settlement against banks as home foreclosures mushroomed in California, other states have been more aggressive of late. Borrower activists are hoping Harris will make the most populous U.S. state a more powerful ally against the banks.
12/28/10 Banks Found Guilty Of Foreclosure Fraud As a result of the recent investigation launched by the Florida Attorney General’s office, Bank Of America, JP Morgan Chase, and others, have all been found guilty of foreclosure fraud. stock markets review Depositions by the banks employees revealed that the banks have been forging, falsifying, and fabricating documents in order to foreclose on millions of homes owned by unsuspecting American homeowners.

These are essentially mortgages that the banks knew they did not own, but were willing to break the law in order to put homeowners out on the streets to satisfy their insatiable greed for even more money.

12/27/10 Where Things Stand: Foreclosure Paperwork Scandal Marian Wang

ProPublica

Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller, the point man on a 50-state joint investigation of the foreclosure scandal and mortgage servicing industry, has said that a quick settlement with banks and loan servicers is unlikely and that settlements would be worked out "one bank at a time." He's also said that criminal charges are a possibility. "We will put people in jail," Miller told homeowners and advocates in Des Moines earlier this month. The states' joint investigation remains ongoing, and some states have separately sued banks for deceiving homeowners fighting foreclosure.
12/27/10 KC woman lives home foreclosure nightmare MICHAEL MANSUR 

Kansas City Star

Kansas Secured Title, which reviewed the deal for title insurance, declined to insure it because Willens had raised questions about whether the mortgage company was the legal holder of the note, said John Conaghan, the title company’s general counsel.
12/26/10

Novice Florida lawyers draw suspicion in foreclosure mess

Some may face Florida Bar investigations that could end their careers, while homeowner advocates wonder whether the foreclosure crisis would have reached its state of disorder if it weren't for legions of novice lawyers doing the legwork.

CHRISTINE STAPLETON

 KIMBERLY MILLER

 Palm Beach Post

And as the state's overwhelmed court system sorts through the foreclosure chaos, many of the attorneys who worked for the now deposed Stern law firm have been hired at other large companies doing foreclosure work.

12/26/10

No Mortgage with Bank of America? We Foreclosure Anyway!

Erin 

Africana Online

More and more people are suffering through a foreclosure process on a home that they never bought. False foreclosure complaints are on the rise. These are homeowners that paid their mortgage on time or have even paid off their loans. Now because of careless errors, they are in the midst of an impossible false foreclosure, one that is not so easy to resolve.
12/26/10 Financial institution fraud investigations increasing, says expert Jim Kouri 

Examiner

Tomko says that in these investigations, there is tremendous risk for decision makers at banks.  In bank fraud cases, there is often little or no controversy as to the acts and who performed them.  The key issue is usually whether the target individuals possessed criminal intent at the time.  Further, when criminal conduct is proven, the federal sentencing regime provides for lengthy prison sentences.
12/25/10 A Mortgage Nightmare's Happy Ending Gretchen Morgenson 

New York Times

This disaster has been accompanied by a still-unsettled debate about how best to stem the foreclosure crisis. When the federal government first stepped in to shore up the economy in 2008, it chose to buttress Wall Street and the banking system with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts while largely leaving homeowners on their own.
12/24/10

Virginia puts homeowners on fast track to foreclosure

"There's no question that people are losing their homes when they should not be," said James W. "Jay" Speer, executive director of the Virginia Poverty Law Center

David S. Hilzenrath 

Washington Post

Since the meltdown in the housing market began more than three years ago, Maryland and the District have changed their foreclosure laws to give borrowers greater protection. Virginia has moved in the opposite direction.
12/24/10 Florida expands probe into alleged foreclosure misconduct by law firms KIMBERLY MILLER 

Palm Beach Post

The Florida Attorney General's Office has expanded its investigation of alleged foreclosure misconduct by law firms, adding companies to its initial list of four, according to an attorney for one of the original firms.
12/24/10 Bank Of America’s Christmas present: Foreclose Even Though Not A Payment Missed George Gombossy

ctwatchdog

In one of the more bizarre foreclosure cases, Bank of America is threatening to throw a West Hartford family out of their home even though the couple never missed a mortgage payment. The largest bank in the United States earlier this month notified Shock Baitch and his wife Lisa (Friedman) Baitch that foreclosure action will start today – Christmas eve – unless the couple agrees to put their home up for a forced sale.
12/23/10 Bank of America Loses Key Battle In Mortgage Fraud Fight

Several links to mortgage put-backs

John Carney 

CNBC

A New York court ruled yesterday that a bond insurer claiming Bank of America’s Countrywide unit fraudulently induced it to insure $21 billion of mortgage-backed securities can use statistical sampling to prove its case.
12/23/10 Rush to foreclose by  Fannie, Freddie helped feed problems with legal paperwork Zachary A. Goldfarb

 Ariana Eunjung Cha

 Washington Post

As the housing market came crashing down in 2008, the giant mortgage company Fannie Mae took an unprecedented step to help tackle the rising tide of foreclosures. It named an exclusive group of law firms that would help rapidly carry out the unsavory task of filing legal paperwork to remove homeowners from their homes.
12/23/10 The Home Foreclosure Chain of Fraud  Time to Audit the Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Theft of one’s house today is certainly equivalent to theft of a horse 150 years ago. And, yet, we are not hanging the thieves who are stealing millions of homes from Americans. L. Randall Wray When we peel back the layers of the real estate “onion” what we find is layer after layer of fraud. From the mortgage brokers to the appraisers and lenders, from the securitizers to the ratings agencies and accountants, from the trustees to the servicers, and from MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registry System) through to the foreclosures, what we find is a massive criminal conspiracy—probably the worst in human history. I realize that is a harsh claim but I cannot find any other words that fit. In the old days, we used to hang horse thieves. The justification was that a man’s horse was necessary to his way of life, and in some cases, to his very survival. There can be little doubt that a home is equally important to maintenance of a middle class living standard today for most Americans. There is almost no calamity worse than loss of one’s home
12/22/10**

Deutsche Punished On Bogus Shelters

Deutsche Bank AG agreed Tuesday to pay $553.6 million and admitted criminal wrongdoing to settle a long-running probe over fraudulent tax shelters that allowed clients to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes.

Chad Bray

WSJ

Under a nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service, the German bank won't be prosecuted for its participation in about 15 tax shelters involving more than 2,100 customers between 1996 and 2002, including shelters marketed by accounting firm KPMG LLP and defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist PC. Customers used the transactions to generate more than $29 billion in bogus tax benefits, mainly losses," according to the agreement.
12/22/10** Defense lawyers raise new issue: 'Robo-verifiers' Polyana da Costa

Daily Finance

The attorneys for homeowners claim that so-called robo-signers, who signed off on foreclosure paperwork en masse, have been replaced by "robo-verifiers" in the wake of the new Supreme Court rules
12/22/10** Bank Of America Accused Of Breaking Into Woman's Home, Taking Husband's Ashes The reports of banks improperly entering homes have been gathering in recent months.

A growing set of a Americans believe they have been mistakenly foreclosed upon.

Ryan McCarthy

Huffington Post

Bank of America is the subject of a federal racketeering lawsuit, one of many high profile lawsuits involving its foreclosure practices. Now, Bank of America has been accused of breaking into a woman's home and taking her possessions, including her late husband's ashes.
12/21/10 Fighting foreclosure and fraud, supporting criminal justice are Zoeller’s priorities kokomo perspective The Attorney General's Office serves in a dual role not only as the lawyer for state government but also as the state's consumer protection agency. Hoosiers can rest assured that my office is serving them by defending against unscrupulous companies and individuals who want to deprive them of their money and security," Zoeller said.
12/21/10 In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks  

According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

Andrew Martin 

New York Times

In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.
12/20/10

UPDATE ON BAC LITIGATION … LOOKING GOOD

Living Lies So now we come to demonstrating that it is impossible for both Fannie and BAC to own the same note and mortgage at the same time. (BTW, this note was actually an original holding of BAC, not in trust.) And this brings us to NYUCC 3-603, that states that the obligation is satisfied or discharged if payment is made by a third party even if that party is a stranger to the transaction.
12/20/10 Six Mortgage lenders ordered to appear in NJ court David Porter

 AP

Six lenders who have combined to file nearly 30,000 foreclosure actions in New Jersey this year face the possible suspension of their operations next month under a court order announced Monday by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

The action follows a report submitted to the Supreme Court that, citing depositions and court filings in other states, paints a picture of systemic abuses in the filing of foreclosures that include so-called "robo-signing," in which employees signed hundreds of documents without checking them for accuracy.

12/20/10**

Bank of America, Lenders Face Possible N.J. Foreclosure Freeze David Voreacos

 Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and four other mortgage lenders and service providers face a possible suspension of foreclosures in New Jersey by Jan. 19, under a judge’s order.
12/20/10

PAYBACK TIME: $5.1 IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES AGAINST SERVICER ON A $79K CASE

LivingLies NEIL’S ANALYSIS: For those slow learners out there practicing law, this might get your attention. The compensatory damages were $79,000. Punitive damages: $5,100,000. If the lawyers were on contingency, they just made over $2 million.
12/20/10 Why New York Foreclosures Are Grinding to a Halt

Attorneys in the state told me that they expected foreclosure filings by the big banks to halt, or nearly so, for up to several months.

Abigail Field

Daily Finance

Murphy explains the purpose of that mini-resume is to make sure these employees understand what they're looking at and that any "person claiming he is the vice president of the bank is in fact a vice president of the bank." While that sounds silly -- why would someone sign a document with an inaccurate title -- the robo-signing scandal has exposed the practice of people signing as a vice president who have no link to the financial institution except for a resolution authorizing them to sign.
12/20/10 Officials in Iowa announce mortgage fraud group  

"Mortgage fraud is a very serious crime," said Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. "It is an attack on the economic system of the United States".

Mike Glover 

AP

Miller said much of the focus to date has been on civil enforcement of the mortgage industry, but that the new partnership will bring into play the potential of criminal charges.
12/20/10

Fannie, Freddie repurchase demands reveal fraud

3 of 4 mortgage fraud reports involve pre-2008 activity

Homes by Hyatt Demands by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that lenders repurchase loans made during the housing boom are driving an increase in reports of suspected mortgage fraud, although short-sale “flopping” and fraud associated with loan modifications appear to be a continuing problem on newer loans.

Includes Top 20 counties for mortgage fraud, but completely misses Dallas, Texas. 

12/20/10

Ernst & Young Said to Face Fraud Lawsuit Over Lehman AuditsErnst & Young LLP may be sued for fraud by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for allegedly helping Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. mislead investors.

Karen Freifeld 

Linda Sandle 

Bloomberg

Ernst & Young could be accused of “professional malpractice” for its role as auditor. Repo 105 transactions are a form of short-term financing that Valukas said Lehman used to move as much as $50 billion off its balance sheet temporarily to show investors it wasn’t carrying too much debt. The Repo 105 transactions were sale and repurchase agreements, so that Lehman was obligated to buy them back, swelling its leverage again.
12/19/10

THE POOLS ARE EMPTY AND THE SEC IS COMING

LivingLies The pools were empty, the mortgages invalid, the title chain is corrupted, the foreclosure sales were fraudulent, the declarations of default were fraudulent, and the homes — millions of them — are still legally owned by people who had given up the fight. 
12/19/10

JPMorgan Chase Fraudclosure Whistleblower Emerges

 

*Includes the Almonte whistleblower complaint

Tyler Durden

 Zero Hedge

 It is reasonable to expect that now that the first whistleblower has emerged from the crowd, many other former employees will soon follow, making the legal headache for JPM's general counsel only comparable to the fees about to be charged by the firm's outside counsel. Furthermore, should this case come to court, it will become a public spectacle that will likely make JPMorgan be perceived in the same utterly fraudulent light in which Brian Moynihan's bank is currently basking: the preliminary evidence, if proven to exist, is very damning.
12/18/10 Opening the Bag of Mortgage Tricks  

A servicer might, for example, deny a loan modification to a borrower because it also owns a second mortgage on the same property and doesn’t want to write down that asset, as required in a modification.

Gretchen Morgenson 

New York Times

“No one really knows what is in the black box known as loan servicing, and most investors don’t even think of their servicer taking advantage of them,” Mr. Bickel said in an interview. “There’s not a lot of transparency, and I think this case is going to bring to the forefront the potential for abuse.”

Borrower difficulties also open the door to improprieties.

In short, loan servicing is a perfect setup for administrators who want to take advantage of both borrowers and lenders.

12/18/10

DISMISSING CASES FOR FRAUD ON THE COURT…IT IS HAPPENING

 

5th DCA Fraud on The Court

Attorney Matt Weidner There is a growing awareness, a sickening realization out there that fraud is being committed in our courtrooms…just how pervasive the fraud is remains an open question….but I predict the real truth is not going to be pretty.  Some judges are taking the initiative and dismissing cases when they uncover the fraud.  So what kind of fraud rises to the level that a case should be dismissed?
12/17/10 Big Banks Get More Subpoenas in Mortgage Probe Money News The sources said the SEC is asking for information about the role of so-called master servicers — specialized firms that oversee the selection and maintenance of the large pool of home loans that go into every mortgage-backed bond. 

In many cases, Wall Street banks that underwrite mortgage-backed securities either own their own master servicing firms or are closely aligned with on
e.
 
12/17/10

Chase Hit With SEC Whistleblower Complaint Over Credit Card Practices Abigail Field

Daily Finance

The core allegations add context to her lawsuit, and they charge Chase with grotesque and illegal practices involving its credit card debt processes, including robo-signing.

Chase Bank sold to third party debt buyers hundreds of millions of dollars worth of credit card accounts. . .when in fact Chase Bank executives  knew  that many of those accounts had incorrect and overstated balances.

12/17/10 FORECLOSURES FROM HELL — WILD DEEDS

A WILD DEED is one which is executed and recorded after having been signed by or on behalf of a party who has no interest in the property or any transaction relating to the property, and whose name does not otherwise appear in the chain of title. 

Living Lies The mortgage or deed of trust is, under the laws of most states (actually all of them as far as I know) only an incident to the NOTE because it says in black and white that it is intended to create security for the “Lender” as stated on the note. But since the “lender” was never disclosed to the borrower at all, much less on the note or mortgage, and in fact was misrepresented in the closing documents, the execution of the mortgage or deed of trust was also procured by fraud in the execution and probably qualifies as a WILD DEED or, at the very least, to be treated as a WILD DEED.
12/17/10

Two States Sue Bank of America Over Mortgages

Bank of America’s callous disregard for providing timely, correct information to people in their time of need is truly egregious,” Catherine Cortez Masto, the attorney general of Nevada said in a statement.

ANDREW MARTIN 

MICHAEL POWELL

 New York Times

In withering complaints filed in state courts in both states, the attorneys general accused Bank of America of assuring customers that they would not be foreclosed upon while they were seeking loan modifications, only to proceed with foreclosures anyway; of falsely telling customers that they must be in default to obtain a modification; of promising that the modifications would be made permanent if they completed a trial period, only to renege on the deal; and of conjuring up bogus reasons for denying modifications. 
12/17/10 Oops! Bank of America Sends Loan-Mod Letter in Error to WSJ Reporter Nick Timiraos

 WSJ Blog

But there was one problem: the letter was addressed to the couple that sold the Brooklyn apartment in 1998. It arrived in the mailbox of a Wall Street Journal reporter who bought that apartment and has never had a mortgage on it. 

It’s no secret that banks’ paperwork problems have plagued the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, and the letter offers a glimmer into potential miscues.

12/17/10

Arizona sues Bank of America over mortgage servicing

The state of Arizona has sued Bank of America, alleging that the bank has consistently misled consumers about its home loan modification process.

Reuters (Entire article) The lawsuit, filed on Friday by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, accuses Bank of America of violating the state's consumer fraud act. The state also says Bank of America violated a consent judgment over its loan servicing, and is seeking a $25,000 penalty per violation, according to the lawsuit.
12/16/10

In Foreclosure Limbo

A Florida couple is caught in a tangle of paperwork as their mortgage makes the rounds of lenders, databases, and debt-service agencies

Devin Leonard

Bloomberg

Yet Matthew Weidner, the Hassells' lawyer, is still fighting the claim. "This is a microcosm of the financial crisis," he says. Meanwhile, the Hassells' debt is again on the move. In November, AHMS passed the debt to Residential Credit Solutions, a Texas operation that buys busted home loans. For now, the Hassells aren't budging. "We own this home," Ernie says. "Even if they say we don't.
12/16/10** Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud, Part III:   

MERS'S Role in Facilitating the Mother of All Frauds

L. Randall Wray 

Huffington Post

And MERS helped banksters to defraud securities holders. Banks not only separated the mortgages from the notes, but they even destroyed the notes as they entered the mortgages into MERS's electronic data base. MERS told servicers that it is "customary" practice to retain notes, not to endorse them over to REMIC trustees as required both by federal tax law and by the PSAs that govern the trusts. This made the securities a "nullity" -- as the Supreme Court ruled over a hundred years ago -- because a mortgage without a note is unenforceable in foreclosure. At best, the securities are unsecured debt, with no real property behind them.
12/16/10**

NY JUDGE DENIES 127 ROBO-SIGNED FORECLOSURES BY VARIOUS BANKS  PER ORDER FROM CHIEF JUDGE

Includes all 127 orders

4closurefraud The plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a summary judgment proceeding and judgment will only be awarded when all doubt is removed as to the existence of any triable issue of fact. Under the present circumstances, where there have been numerous instances alleged as to “robo” signing of documents and a failure to attest to the accuracy of documents in mortgage foreclosure proceedings, the plaintiff must prove its entitlement to foreclose on a mortgage as a matter of law by establishing the regularity and accuracy of the financial documentary evidence submitted and the Court will be scrutinizing all documents for accuracy.
12/16/10

Goldman Sachs pay out $111 million in Bonuses despite taking billions in Bailout money

Goldman Sachs bosses are to pick up $111 million in bonuses in an 'outrageous' pay deal that flies in the face of the worst recession for 80 years.

Daniel Bates 

Daily Mail UK

Goldman has already been bullish about it's bonuses and has set out $13billion to cover compensation and benefits this year alone, the equivalent of paying each of its 35,400 employees $370,706 each.

'The public will be outraged.'

12/15/10

Lien Stripping in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Alive and Well in the 4th Circuit

Dan Press 

Virginia and D.C. Bankruptcy Attorney

This should come as a great relief to debtors in the 4th Circuit (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina) with homes with underwater mortgages.  It is now clear that the ability to strip off junior mortgages in Chapter 13 is secure in cases where the value of the property is less than the amount of the first mortgage.  The second mortgage is simply treated as unsecured debt in the Chapter 13 case, and upon completion of the plan it is removed from the ti
12/15/10

Bank of America in Settlement Talks Over Mortgages

DAN FITZPATRICK 

WSJ

Bank of America, after vowing to fight requests that it repurchase certain loans, has begun potential settlement discussions with some of its largest mortgage investors. 

The 17-member group now in talks with the nation's largest bank as measured by assets includes the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, government-owned mortgage company Freddie Mac, BlackRock and Allianz SE's, Pacific Investment Management Co., or Pimco.

12/15/10

U.S. Financial Crisis Panel Rift on Blaming `Wall Street' May Blunt Impact

(GET A BIGGER PANEL - THEY ARE LESS THAN 1/2 RIGHT!)

Phil Mattingly 

Robert Schmidt 

Bloomberg

The four Republicans on the 10-member panel today made their views public in a nine-page document, saying they place much of the blame for the 2008 crisis on the government and mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rather than banks.
12/15/10

HEARING

Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis — Part II Committee on the Judiciary Written Testimony:
Statement of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse U.S. Senate D-RI

Attorney James A. Kowalski Jr. Law Offices of James A. Kowalski, Jr., PL Jacksonville, FL

Attorney Vanessa G. Fluker

Thomas A. Cox Retired lawyer and Volunteer Program Coordinator Main Attorneys Saving Homes Project
Portland, ME

Tom Deutsch Executive Director American Securitization Forum New York, NY

Sandra Hines Former Homeowner Detroit, MI

Christopher L. Peterson Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Professor of Law S.J. Quinney College of Law University of Utah

12/15/10 MERS may skirt millions in property fees

Attorney general, others probe system created by lenders

Jenifer B. McKim

Boston Globe

O’Brien estimated that in Essex County alone, $10 million was lost over the past decade because MERS failed to pay a $75 fee each time a mortgage was transferred between lenders.

MERS created their own registry of deeds,’’ he said. “MERS have to record these assignments. The taxpayers deserve these fees.’’

Critics of MERS say that in addition to skirting fees, MERS has illegally foreclosed upon some homeowners and helped to obscure the identities of mortgage holders.

12/15/10 Banks Push Fed to Curb Borrowers' Right to Rescind Mortgages Carter Dougherty 

Bloomberg

Mortgage firms are pressing the Federal Reserve to curb homeowners’ right to invalidate loans based on flawed documents -- a right consumer groups say is one of the few weapons borrowers have to battle unfair lending.

Consumer groups and industry lawyers say a rule under consideration by the central bank would make it harder for borrowers to exercise their right of “rescission,” which forces a lender to relinquish a lien on a mortgaged property. 

12/14/10

Geithner Blocking Legal Help For Foreclosure Victims Zach Carter 

Huffington Post

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has authorized big payouts to banks in an effort to encourage mortgage modifications, but is preventing borrowers in danger of losing their homes from accessing legal assistance under the Obama administration's foreclosure relief plan -- even when banks are wrongfully or fraudulently attempting evictions.
12/14/10 Foreclosure Investigator Meets With Distressed Homeowners

With no end in sight to the massive foreclosure scandal, furious homeowners are taking matters into their own hands.

Siddhartha Mahanta 

Mother Jones

"Foreclosures at the scale we are currently experiencing, and unfortunately will continue to experience for some time, are a public policy issue," 

According to a new report from the SEIU, restoring equity to underwater homeowners would cost $73 billion per year—approximately one-half this year’s bonus & compensation pool.

12/14/10**

 

"We Will Put People in Jail" - Iowa's AG Tom Miller during Tuesday's meeting.

 

Miller also agreed that principal reductions, loan modifications, and compensation for defrauded homeowners are necessary to clean up the mortgage mess created by the big banks.

showdowninamerica This is the first of a series of similar meetings with the state ttorneys General who are on the investigation’s executive committee. 

Participants in the meeting included borrowers who have lost their homes unjustly, other homeowners in danger of foreclosure, clergy and community advocates from 15 states – including Iowa, California, Illinois, Washington, New York, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Massachusetts, Kansas, Michigan, Montana and Oregon. The participants presented a stack of homeowner testimonies to Mr. Miller and made it clear that this investigation is their best hope for resetting the housing market and helping millions avoid foreclosure.

12/13/10** False Attorney Signatures Cast New Doubts on Foreclosures

Lawyers who are found to have authorized fake signatures could face sanctions, such as reprimands, or suspensions of license, said Dianne Coscarelli, a partner at the firm Thompson Hine and the vice-chair of the American Bar Association's Real Estate Finance Group.

Sasha Chavkin 

ProPublica

Many foreclosures have been thrown into question because of flawed documentation such as inaccurate affidavits describing a mortgage's history. But three recent court cases point to another type of flaw in foreclosure filings that could place thousands more cases in doubt: false attorney signatures n court documents.
12/13/10 Foreclosure affidavit do-overs face challenges, auction canceled

Also read comments

Kim Miller 

Palm Beach Post

Foreclosure defense attorneys have been watching this case to see how the judge would react to the claim that the affidavit submission was not fraud and considering that there are possibly thousands of such resubmissions occurring statewide.

It’s likely the banks’ attorneys trying to figure out the right legal way to file these things to move the foreclosure to the finish line as quickly as possible.

12/13/10

Government Files Lawsuit Against New York Sellers, Lenders and Appraisers Alleging Broad Consumer Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
The United States has filed a civil fraud lawsuit against 14 defendants  – including sellers, lenders and appraisers - alleged to have engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud in New York that caused at least 17 home buyers to default on their mortgages and face foreclosure.  The complaint also requests the court to bar what the government alleges to be an on-going mortgage fraud by a number of the defendants.
12/13/10**

Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud, Part II: The Mother of All Frauds  

No one can manufacture a note, claim to be a creditor, and then take a homeowner's property. (But they do and the courts allow it. MSF)

L. Randall Wray 

Huffington Post

But, in fact, the notes were never transferred, there is no clear chain of paperwork, and in many cases the notes have "disappeared" so that when the servicers or MERS tries to foreclose, they must file "lost note affidavits" claiming rightful ownership even though they do not have evidence. They have also been caught using "robo-signers" to forge documents -- and sometimes they have foreclosed on the wrong properties and even seized homes on which there was no mortgage. That is precisely why the law requires proper transfers of the note. Without that, the mortgage is a fraud and foreclosure is fraudulent.
12/13/10

Toxic CEO Pay Story

For a new generation of Angelo Mozilo wannabes, the sky is still the limit.

Sarah Anderson

Common Dreams

While any petty shoplifter or check-bouncer would have to face the prospect of jail time, Mozilo thus far has managed to escape criminal charges. He's free to spend his remaining ill-gotten loot any way and anywhere he pleases.

Countrywide's recklessness also continues to be a drag on federal agencies that purchased or guaranteed their trashy mortgages. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are among the investors who are demanding that Bank of America repurchase mortgage packages that were based on sloppy paperwork.

12/13/10**

Woman's Foreclosure Nightmare: 'Like A Black Hole'

But when she tries to explain that she was the victim of fraud, she says, "They don't want to hear it. They don't believe me. They don't want to hear it."

Chris Arnold

NPR

The banks say they do not seize people's houses without justification. But NPR has uncovered a case that might suggest otherwise. In fact, the homeowner in this case was actually the victim of a scam run by one of the Countrywide's very own employees. 

But despite that, Bank of America moved to foreclose anyway.

12/12/10

Removal of videos a dangerous ruling

St. Petersburg Times A Sarasota judge in a foreclosure action who ordered the removal of video depositions from YouTube is violating the First Amendment and preventing the public from seeing how alleged "robo-signers" churned out mortgage-related paperwork without verifying the information.
12/12/10

AG Miller says foreclosure investigation is broad-based 

"servicers have had three and a half years to get this right, and they haven't. "

Des Moines Register Q: There have been reports about your group requiring some kind of compensation fund. Is that an option?

A: That's an option - to
compensate homeowners who were foreclosed upon that shouldn't have been. And I think that's something that should be in a resolution.
12/12/10** Law Professor Katherine Porter says Financial Crisis is a wakeup call

We have a system in this country where people have to follow rules, big or small. And if a small consumer has to follow the rules, like if they don't pay their mortgage they get foreclosed on, then a big bank has to follow the rules when they take a person's house.

Des Moines Register One of the real black holes about this is that we don't know how bad or good the processes might be in states where foreclosures happen outside the judicial system.

We have a lot of families whose biggest contact with the legal system is going to be this foreclosure event. It's important that they feel like it was fair and honest. If they can't pay and they lose their house, that will be hard for them. But it shouldn't be an occasion to lose confidence in our justice system and system of laws and lawyers in country.

12/11/10** Not having a mortgage won't free you from foreclosure mess

"In virtually every case, I believe the homeowner was not in default when you looked at the surrounding facts. It is a widespread problem throughout the country."

Michelle Conlin 

AP

Homeowners in Florida, Nevada, Texas and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits alleging that they were victims of mistaken foreclosure. In many of those cases, the bank went so far as to haul away belongings and change the locks on the wrong homes.
12/11/10 Batting Cleanup at Bank of America Nelson Schwartz  

NY Times

Bank of America is staggering under the weight of his predecessors’ decisions, and each day seems to bring more bad news. More than 1.3 million of the bank’s customers are behind on their home loans, all 50 state attorneys general are investigating the industry’s foreclosure practices and Bank of America has become a leading symbol of the mortgage mess.
12/11/10

Criminal Prosecutions Of Sale Leaseback Peddlers In Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Deals

Home Equity Theft Reporter This post is an attempt to organize the links for some of the posts appearing on this blog on criminal prosecutions of alleged sale leaseback, equity stripping scams by the various law enforcement authorities throughout the country, which I expect to update occasionally, as time permits.
12/11/10

Criminal Prosecutions Of Sale Leaseback Peddlers In Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Deals Home Equity Theft Reporter This post is an attempt to organize the links for some of the posts appearing on this blog on criminal prosecutions of alleged sale leaseback, equity stripping scams by the various law enforcement authorities throughout the country
12/11/10 GMAC Can Sell Foreclosed Homes in Maine After Court Ruling David McLaughlin 

Bloomberg

The Maine case, filed in state court in October and moved to federal court by GMAC in November, involves five homeowners who are suing GMAC, claiming the company relied on defective court documents in seizing homes. The plaintiffs are seeking to represent Maine homeowners who are facing foreclosure by GMAC or who lost their homes in a GMAC foreclosure during the past six years and whose case relied on false documents, according to court documents.
12/10/10

Who is protecting the predatory lending victims from the predatory lawyers?

Rebecca Sharp

Examiner

It has finally come to the forefront that not only Homeowners who have fallen on bad times and could not pay their mortgage payments, but Homeowners paying on time without fail, are also being foreclosed upon.  It is these folks who can afford an attorney to fight this fraud, but only for so long.
12/10/10 Watching A House of Cards, Part 1 Jennifer Barry 

Market Oracle

JB: Wow. So why do you think that Bear Stearns spent that much money fighting over a property not worth nearly that much?

 

NL: They didn't own the note, they churned these properties, they double-pledged their notes sometimes. They had no right to the note, they had no right to foreclose, and they were cooking the books, all those things.

12/10/10 Home Prices Falling Fast, Eroding  American Wealth And Threatening Recovery  

Plunging home prices hammered household finances in the third quarter, eroding homeowners' wealth and making them more vulnerable to foreclosure

William Alden

Shahien Nasiripour 

Huffington Post

Millions of homeowners saw their most valuable asset decay between July and September, according to recently released data from the Federal Reserve, as they lost a portion of the stake they can claim in their homes. A series of new reports reflects home prices are continuing to decline, increasing the pressure on America's tepid housing market. Until the market finds a bottom, the foreclosure epidemic will feed upon itself, analysts say, as foreclosed properties drive home values down.
12/9/10** Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud: MERS's Smoking Gun, Part I

MERS planned from the get-go to defraud the counties, and the IRS, and the homeowners, and the buyers of the mortgage-backed securities.

Professor 

L. Randal Wray

The real mystery is why these trustees cannot produce the notes. I think we have finally found the smoking gun. An interested reader alerted me to MERS's instruction manual, "MERS Recommended Foreclosure Procedures -- State by State", originally written in 1999, updated in 2002 and available on MERS's website (accessed by clicking on: Recommended Foreclosure Procedures).

The first thing to note is the date. Folks, this strategy was formulated in 1999. The second thing to note is these documents demonstrate that failure to properly endorse the notes and transfer them to the REMIC trustee was not an occasional mistake, but rather was MERS's business model. 

11/22/10 Homeowners sue over alleged foreclosure fraud, seek state help

Homeowners allege the banks have not proven under Georgia law the banks' right to foreclose on their homes.

J. Scott Trubey 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Marietta couple locked in a federal lawsuit over their claims of wrongful foreclosure are asking the state to investigate allegations of fraud.

The couple along with a Columbus homeowner allege fraud and racketeering in a federal suit against nearly two dozen defendants, including Roswell-based real estate law firm McCalla Raymer and a metro area foreclosure document processor.

12/9/10 Wells FargoMortgage 'Modification' Called RICO Fraud Lisa Coston 

Courthouse News Service

A homeowner claims Wells Fargo instructed her to stop making her monthly mortgage payments to qualify for its loan modification program, then foreclosed after she followed the bank's instructions. The class action seeks damages for RICO fraud, in Cobb County Court.
12/9/10 Treasury Blocks Legal Aid for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Katrina vanden Heuvel

The Nation

Some of those states, including Ohio, let Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner know as far back as this past spring that they wanted to use some of those funds to assist legal aid groups that help individual homeowners. Seems like a reasonable request--unlike the absurdity of handing over trillions of dollars to robo-signing, foreclosure-mad banks, no questions asked.
12/9/10 Wall Street Sees New Profits In Homeowner Distress The Huffington Post 

Investigative Fund

Barely more than a year after a taxpayer bailout of major financial institutions, Bank of America and the hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group, spotted a fresh money-making opportunity - collecting the tax debts of tens of thousands of people like Walker. The bank and hedge fund can add interest charges and fees, and they bundled the debts as securities for investors.

The anticipated return - estimated at between 7 to 10 percent - is possible because buyers of tax debts can assess a panoply of interest charges and other fees. When the debt goes unpaid long enough, the liens buyer can seize properties through foreclosure.

12/9/10 U.S. Home Values To Fall By 1.7 TRILLION This Year: Zillow Hui-yong Yu 

John Gittelsohn 

Bloomberg

This year’s estimated decline, more than the $1.05 trillion drop in 2009, brings the loss since the June 2006 home-price peak to $9 trillion, the Seattle-based company said today in a statement.
12/8/10** Homeowners Wrongfully Foreclosed Upon Go Through Legal Wringer    

Former employees at banks and foreclosure law firms have testified that they also knowingly pushed through foreclosures on the wrong people.

MICHELLE CONLIN 

Huffington Post

The minute Marconi ripped the foreclosure notice from the door of his house in Garrison, N.Y., on Oct. 20, he saw he was named as a defendant along with a woman who had run a red light and smashed into Marconi's car four years earlier.

 Marconi had received a payment from her insurance company. It was her house, in Rye, N.Y., that Wells Fargo was foreclosing on. 

Marconi explained the bizarre mix-up to Wells Fargo's customer service department, its ethics complaint department, its law firm and the office of the chief executive officer, John Stumpf. Marconi says they all told him that they could not help him and that he needed to get a lawyer.

12/8/10 Fannie, Freddie Pressed to Reduce Loan Balances on Mortgages 

A deal would deepen losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which already have cost taxpayers about $134 billion.

NICK TIMIRAOS

 ALAN ZIBEL 

WSJ

Participation by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would put additional pressure on the nation's biggest banks to follow suit. Banks have shown little enthusiasm for the programs without the two mortgage giants.
12/8/10**

(Powerpoint)

Janet Tavakoli Explains How Banks Converted US Housing Into "Fraud As A Business Model"   Tyler Durden

 Zero Hedge

Securitization professionals at several financial institutions knowingly bundled fraud-riddled loans into RMBS. New investors needed to pay-off old investors. To delay being busted, they escalated and sped up the fraud.  This required more "complexity" and the involvement of more cronies.   

Many CDOs and virtually every CDO-Squared were more fraud to cover-up fraud.

12/7/10

BANK OF AMERICA ATTEMPTS ANOTHER THEFT OF AN AMERICAN HOME WITH PAID OFF MORTGAGE!

Includes complaint

4closurefraud.org This action seeks to determine that Defendants have no present right to foreclose on Plaintiffs’ home and to quiet title, remove encumbrances and obtain damages arising from Defendants’ wrongful efforts to collect a previously paid note and deed of trust covering Plaintiffs’ home,
12/7/10** Some Lenders Sell Foreclosed Homes Without Holding Title

A funny thing happened to DeBary resident Russ Vas Dais as he was about to buy a foreclosed home: He learned the bank selling him the house didn't actually own it.

Mary Shanklin 

Orlando Sentinel

Fannie Mae had foreclosed on the property but, in an apparent paperwork problem, never took ownership.


Christopher Hunt, senior attorney with the Orlando law firm
KEL, said the firm has beefed up its appeals staff and plans to start filing 20 foreclosure appeals a week. The firm In July persuaded the 5th District Court of Appeal to overturn state Circuit Judge William Law's foreclosure against Stephanie and John Crown of Lake County.  

 

Buyers of foreclosed properties could find themselves caught up in such litigation if the foreclosure is overturned in the courts, Hunt said.

12/6/10**

 

OUTRAGEOUS is right! 

You must read it to believe it.

Foreclosure Judge Rules Bank is NOT required to comply with the LAW.

4closurefraud.org This Order is a tacit admission that the Rules of Civil Procedure are not being followed in Foreclosure cases in the same manner as these same rules have been followed in other areas of the law or judicial divisions in the court system.  This is the travesty to which – www.4closureFraud.org – has dedicated itself to eliminate.

Great work Michael!

12/6/10**

Pennsylvania Case Shows More Problems for Lenders in Containing Foreclosure Fraud Damage

David Dayen

FDL

This would not only stop the foreclosure process for thousands of homes, but nullify existing actions where the homeowner was evicted. That could potentially cause a huge mess.

Adam Levitin adds that GMM had a very good reason to use non-lawyers on these cases. The cases themselves were faulty. “Every Pennsylvania foreclosure filing that I’ve looked at by Goldbeck, McCafferty, & McKeever appears to be facially defective because of a failure to include the note with the complaint,” he says. This violates Pennsylvania law.

12/6/10 Special report: Legal woes mount for a foreclosure kingpin

Fidelity National Financial, LPS's former parent, had bought DocX in 2005. The unit soon became a high-speed mill, churning out mortgage assignments -- many of which are now known to be of doubtful validity -- 

Scot J.Paltrow

Reuters

But a Reuters investigation shows that LPS's legal woes are more serious than he let on. Public records reveal that the company's LPS Default Solutions unit produced documents of dubious authenticity in far larger quantities than it has disclosed, and over a much longer timespan.
TRUSTS

ARE EMPTY

12/6/10**

Bank of America, the MBS unwind, and the other side of the coin

Levitin also asserted that these allegedly fraudulent securitizations could bring down the biggest banks, arguing that “there is not the capital in the financial system to pay for the rescission claims; the rescission claims would be in the trillions of dollars, making the major banking institutions in the United States … insolvent.”

Paul Jackson

Housing Wire

The newest fight in the mess that is now the U.S. foreclosure process is a real doozy. It's the idea that securitization trusts may not actually own their own mortgages, and therefore have no standing to foreclose.

A recent case involving Bank of America  in a New Jersey bankruptcy lit the most recent fire, after reporter Kate Berry at American Banker first reported on a ruling in the case on Nov. 22.

12/6/10**

LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES Produced More Bogus Foreclosure Documents Than It ‘Fessed' To

Yves Smith

nakedcapitalism

Housing Wire’s Paul Jackson attacked critics of LPS, including this blogger, of going off half-baked in accusing the company of engaging in document fabrication. A Reuters investigation published today supports the critic’s case, revealing that document creation was far more extensive that the company has suggested.
12/6/10

Press Release

Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Announces Results of Largest-Ever Nationwide Operation Targeting Investment Fraud... not Mortgage Fraud

(Homeowners are investors too!)

Department of Justice “Fraud by well-known companies or high-profile executives gets the biggest headlines, but other scams are equally devastating to hard working families and retirees,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Victims want justice and don’t much care who the fraudster is or how unique the fraud. Today’s actions underscore that law enforcement agrees and will pursue fraud in whatever form.

(Fraud by well-known companies or high-profile executives gets bigger headlines because it involves more money, affects everyone (including investors) and is devastating entire  communities. MSF)

12/6/10 Reuters investigation shows LPS's legal woes are more serious than what investors were told

The lawsuit also charges that LPS illegally practices law and routinely misleads homeowners and federal bankruptcy judges

Reuters The criminal investigation in Jacksonville by federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is intensifying. The same goes for a separate inquiry by the Florida attorney general's office. Individuals with direct knowledge of the federal inquiry said that prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury, begun calling witnesses and subpoenaed records from LPS.
12/6/10 Bank of America Promises to Meet Bailout Requirement, But Challenges Remain William Alden 

Huffington Post

Bank of America, mired in scandal and facing potential losses over its alleged mishandling of mortgages, now says it will be able to fully leave its taxpayer bailout behind. Whether the nation will soon escape its own bad experiences with Bank of America -- not least, a spate of allegedly unfair and improper foreclosures -- remains an open question.
12/5/10

Foreclosure fees has local judge steaming mad Alan Cohn

abc Action  News

Five local lawyers have their own date in court later this month.

A Pasco County judge is demanding to know why, in many cases, law firms are serving families who are being foreclosed on over and over again with the same paperwork.

12/5/10

Jamie Dimon Profile Misses The Point:

Trusting Bankers Is Too Stupid To Try Again

Peter S. Goodman

Huffington Post

The recent meltdown laid bare the sharp divergence between the interests of Wall Street and those of everyone else. Ordinary people need a stable, transparent banking system that allows businesses to borrow and households to finance the purchase of homes, cars and education. But the chiefs running banks can cash in spectacularly as individuals even as they lead the rest of us off a cliff.
12/5/10

No, The Big Banks Have Not "Paid Back" Government Bailouts and Subsidies  

The big banks claim that they have paid back all of the bailout money they received, and that the taxpayers have actually made money on the bailouts.

Washington's Blog Mortgages and Housing  

PhD economists John Hussman and Dean Baker (and fund manager and financial writer Barry Ritholtz) say that the only reason the government keeps giving billions to Fannie and Freddie is that it is really a huge, ongoing, back-door bailout of the big banks. Many also accuse Obama's foreclosure relief programs as being backdoor bailouts for the banks. (See this, this and this).

The fact that the giant banks are "too big to fail" encourages them to take huge, risky gambles that they would not otherwise take. If they win, they make big bucks. If they lose, they know the government taxpayer will just bail them out. 

This is a gambling subsidy.

12/3/10

Former manager for Ocwen Loan Servicing faces fraud charge 

Faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

South Florida Business Journal Graves was a residential sales manager at Ocwen Loan Servicing, which managed foreclosure properties under contract with the VA.

(He should have limited his crimes to the frauds of Ocwen since they appear to have immunity from wire fraud prosecution. MSF)

12/3/10 Woman Nearly Loses Hoe Over Bank Error  

What bank?  Bank of America... again.

Joe Nocera

NY Times

Was life any better with the mighty Bank of America now servicing her mortgage? Not a chance. Bank of America took her money in May and June. But in July and again in August, a bank employee told her not to send a payment because the bank was close to offering her a new repayment plan. Instead, in late August, the bank foreclosed and turned the property over to Fannie Mae.
12/3/10

Fulton Class Action Challenges Foreclosures involving MERS

Up until a few years ago, people used to be able to go down to the county and trace the title of a property, but today it is nearly impossible to trace the title because of MERS.

SHERYL ROSENBLUM

MATTHEW CARDINALE 

Political Affairs

MERS shareholders, board of directors, and members are some of the very entities that received bailouts, and contributed to the current US economic crisis.  

Many of these same companies made billions by packaging risky mortgages, giving them AAA ratings, selling them for a profit, and then betting that the loans would default. 

The
MERS system was created to avoid recording fees, while they transferred these loans over and over, causing the current economic crisis.
  
12/3/10

Important Commentary on Changes to UCC and Impact on Foreclosures– Ignored by Almost Everyone.

Attorney Matt Weidner But while filing is useful to a creditor who takes a security interest in a note, it does not provide the creditor with the full protection it might wish. The creditor remains subject to the risk that, if its debtor retains possession of the promissory note in question, the debtor will “double pledge” it, giving a second security interest to another creditor, and this time transferring possession of the notes to the new creditor.
12/3/10

FORECLOSURE FRAUD BOMBSHELL :

THOUSANDS OF PENNSYLVANIA FORECLOSURES COULD BE VOID

 

 

4closurefraud.org As long as a lawyer supervises foreclosure filings, and at least reads them before they’re submitted to the court, that is acceptable. But Loughren is suing because all three named partners of GMM, have admitted under oath — during depositions last September and in a separate case in December 2009 — that no attorney ever read the filings. The partners made clear that the practice has gone on for the past several years.
12/2/10

Real Issues in Foreclosure Fraud Laid Out at 

House Judiciary Hearing

Mortgage lenders and their servicers, by flooding courts with falsified foreclosure documents, have created chaos in the judicial system, housing lawyers told lawmakers.

David Dayen

FDL

Julie Williams, the chief counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said in the hearing that banks could face “civil money penalties, removals from banking and criminal referrals, if warranted” from the documentation problems.
12/2/10

CRAZY!  Bank of ScAmerica Modifies Mortgage and then Forecloses 12 News Bank of America's response? "Ma'am, we are so sorry, we sold your home by mistake".  (Or was the mistake that they got caught? MSF)
12/2/10

and AGAIN!...

Chicago family refuses to leave home after foreclosure fraud

Hadn't missed a payment since their loan modification was granted. What they hadn't realized was that the bank had already started the foreclosure process.

Megan Cottrell 

Chicago Now

Today, the Tellez family is standing up, with help from the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and saying they won't go, even if the sheriff comes to evict them, because they were victims of the sub-prime loan craze and foreclosure fraud.
12/2/10

Fed Trying to Make It Harder for Homeowners to Fight Mortgage Fraud by Gutting Truth In Lending Laws

 

 

 

You can submit a comment opposing the Fed's proposed change to the Truth In Lending Act by clicking here.

Zero Hedge

After Alan Greenspan changed his mind and admitted that financial players commit fraud unless  laws are enforced (see this and this), many hoped that the Fed would start cracking down on fraud a little bit.

Unfortunately, the Bernanke Fed is continuing to try to sweep fraud under the rug. As just one example, the Fed has been consistently trying to downplay the significance of mortgage fraud, claiming it's not widespread and that nothing much really has to be done about it.

Now, the Fed is proposing a change to the Truth in Lending laws which would make it harder for homeowners to fight mortgage fraud.

Action Alert

12/2/10 Wall Street Banks In Talks To Settle SEC Lawsuit Over CDOs Ryan Grim 

Huffington Post

The SEC is looking at banks such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, to determine whether they knew crucial information that they didn't tell investors, when they sold complicated mortgage-based securities. But those banks and their regulators have begun talks that could lead to out-of-court settlements, agreements that would relieve the banks of an enormous legal headache, the Wall Street Journal reports.
12/2/10** American Securitization Forum Tells Monstrous Whoppers in Senate Testimony on Mortgage Mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affidavit of Thomas Adams for US Bank v. Congress

Affidavit of Professor Ira Bloom for US Bank v. Congress

Yves Smith

nakedcapitalism

The problem is that the pooling and servicing agreements, which governs the formation and operation of securitization trusts, have very specific provisions for how the notes were to be conveyed to the trust. The notes were to be conveyed through multiple entities, which each transfer being a “true sale” before getting to the trust (this was to create “bankruptcy remoteness” so that if the originator failed, its creditors would not be able to take notes back from the trust to satisfy their debts).

A mere week after the ASF launched its pot-holed battleship, news broke of Kemp v. Countrywide, in which a seasoned Bank of America employee testified that it was not the practice of Countrywide to transfer the notes to the trustee, but to retain them until the trustee needed them to foreclose. Whoops! Suddenly the ASF’s white paper argument looks irrelevant.

Affidavits
12/2/10**

Congressional hearing: Do banks lack the legal standing to foreclose?

A state judge, law professor and consumer attorneys are testifying before Congress that in many cases the banks trying to foreclose on borrowers do not have the legal standing to do so.

Washington Post Cox refuted claims by banks that they are foreclosing only on borrowers who are hopelessly behind in their payments.

"I hear and see reports of wrongful foreclosure actions on virtually a daily basis," Cox said in his written testimony.

12/2/10

A Real Jaw Dropper at the Federal Reserve

Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks -- Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse -- which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed's purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

Also see:

Fed Lifts Veil of Secrecy

"Almost two years ago I asked Chairman Bernanke to tell the American people which financial institutions and corporations received trillions of dollars as part of the Wall Street bailout. He refused. Today, as a result of an audit-the-Fed provision I put into the financial reform bill, we finally learn the truth - and it is astounding."
— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), author of Fed disclosure provision

Senator Bernie Saunders

In addition to stealing homes & equity from millions of homeowners...

 

We have learned that the 

"$700 billion Wall Street bailout"

signed into law by President George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country. Among those are:

 

Goldman Sachs, received nearly $600 billion; Morgan Stanley, received nearly $2 trillion; Citigroup, received $1.8 trillion;   

Bear Stearns, received nearly $1 trillion;   

Merrill Lynch, which received some $1.5 trillion in short term loans from the Fed.

12/2/10

Lapses in Foreclosure Documents Said to Cause `Chaos' in Courts

There is a persistent refusal in the servicing industry to be honest about its conduct,” Cox said

 

Lorraine Woellert  

Bloomberg

“As we allow the mortgage loan industry to circumvent the rule of law, we show that corporate interests can get away with such massive dishonesty,” said Thomas A. Cox, a foreclosure- defense lawyer. “We thereby encourage more of it.”

Mortgage lenders and their servicers, by flooding courts with falsified foreclosure documents, have created chaos in the judicial system, housing lawyers told lawmakers. 

Action

Alert

Fed wants to strip a key protection for homeowners

Letter to Federal Reserve opposing the rescission proposal

Federal Register notice explaining its proposed changes on rescission (begins on pg. 58541)

To submit a comment to the Federal Reserve

Tony Pugh

McClatchy Newspapers

As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms.
12/1/10
12/1/10

AG Olens wants authority to launch criminal investigations of improper foreclosures.

The Bankers Criminals say involving the courts in foreclosure cases is unnecessary and would slow the process.

J. Scott Trubey 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The attorney general has the power to prosecute mortgage fraud, but apparently not foreclosure fraud. Olens said he wants to change that, and he also said he might ask the State Bar of Georgia, which licenses lawyers, to look into allegations of misconduct by real estate attorneys in the mortgage origination as well as foreclosure process.
12/1/10 Are The Banks Insolvent? Fair Question, Given This Chart Karl Denniger  

Market Ticker

There's a problem of course - BAC never reported that sort of loss any time during this "crisis."  That leaves me with the question as to where these so-called "assets" are now, what they're marked at, and whether we're still dealing with massive and outrageously bogus "marks" - that is, claims of value - in these securities!
12/1/10

Deposition

BANK OF AMERICA DEPOSITION RENE HERTZLER- I SIGN DOCUMENTS BUT DON’T READ THEM  

 Renee-Hertzler-deposition Countrywide_08_11 09DiMartini

Attorney Matt Weidner Blog

You mad yet?  Why don't we just turn over all the homes in America to the banks?  

Why don't we all just  dispense with the charade of courts or legal process and turn it all over to the banks... WAIT, WE ALREADY HAVE.

12/1/10

Bankers Win: No Capitol Hill Action on Mortgage Foreclosure Protection for Two Years

Marcy Kaptur's bill would require lenders to show they have title to a loan before they can foreclose -- a requirement which is supposed to already be part of every foreclosure claim.

Peter G. Miller  

Huffington Post

Stashed away in a draw somewhere on Capitol Hill is a simple piece of legislation that would have done much to stop the mortgage mess, robo-signing, unfair foreclosures, and the growing claims against lenders. But Congress has not touched the Produce the Note Act since it was first introduced in February 2009 -- nearly two years ago.  Now, with this session of Congress drawing to an end, the chance of a hearing, consideration or a vote has dropped to just about ZERO.
  Subprime Shakeout  

Lenders that Have Closed Shop, Been Acquired, or Stopped Loans

Here's a table of the damage so far.

Compiled by 

Worth Civils 

Mark Gongloff

More than 80 mostly subprime mortgage lenders -- those that make home loans to the riskiest borrowers with questionable credit -- have closed shop since the end of last year as clients defaulted on payments and banks cut off the funding required to make the loans. The trend accelerated early this year, and by the spring it seemed companies both large and small were stopping new loan activity, closing shop, declaring bankruptcy or being sold off every other day or two. Though California suffered most of the casualties, with some 25 lenders going under, no region of the country was untouched. 
11/30/10 Servicer-Driven Foreclosures: The Perfect Crime?

One thing foreclosure defense attorneys stress is that a significant number of their clients facing foreclosure has made every single mortgage payment. . Read that again.

Yves Smith 

nakedcapitalism

Now the servicer starts playing the sort of tricks practiced elsewhere in retail banking. Under the terms of the loan and Federal law, monthly payments are to be applied to principal and interest first, fees second. But the bank applies it to fees first. This makes his second month come up short. He gets charged a fee for insufficiency, and perhaps a late fee too.
11/30/10

Regulators Weren’t Looking at Foreclosure Practices, Says GAO

David Dayden 

FDL

The foreclosure fraud issue has exposed the criminal practices of the big bank loan servicers, who have resisted calls for modifications because they have a financial incentive to foreclose. This has also led to an epidemic of servicer-driven defaults,
11/29/10 Foreclosures Are the Mortal Enemy to Economic Recovery Lori Ann LaRocco 

CNBC

Taylor would like to see widespread mortgage modifications that would allow homeowners in danger of defaulting to keep their homes. Taylor is on the board of directors of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights. He has also served on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank Board, The Fannie Mae Housing Impact Division as well as The Freddie Mac Housing Advisory Board

He is extremely passionate on why his idea is the right choice to help turn around the real estate market.

11/29/10

Forged Comment Letters Sent to U.S. Regulators Writing Derivative Rules Silla Brush 

Clea Benson

 Bloomberg

Some of the letters to the agency, which is writing rules for derivatives trading, contain identical passages criticizing banks for their “cartel-like control” of the $583 trillion swaps market. They include signatures from a circuit court judge, a county sheriff and a mental health counselor. All were forgeries, according to interviews conducted by Bloomberg News.
11/29/10

???

 

 

Criminal Probe Of Wall Street Currently Underway, Holder Confirms

Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed that the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district of New York is conducting a criminal investigation of Wall Street.

Huffington Post (Entire article) At a news conference, Holder declined to say whether the investigation involves hedge funds and allegations of insider trading – as news reports have suggested. Holder would say only the probe by the U.S. attorney's office is very serious and is ongoing.  

A week ago, the FBI searched the offices of three hedge funds in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts as part of what outside experts say could turn out to be one of the largest probes in Wall Street history. Last Tuesday, mutual fund company Janus Capital Group said it was cooperating with an inquiry on insider trading.

11/29/10** Why Access to Lawyers Matters for the Working Class A recent study reveals that 63% of homeowners who had the gumption to reach out to the court in response to a foreclosure complaint and were participating in the pre-judgment foreclosure conferences established in that state continued to be unrepresented by counsel.

Marc Dann is a community affiliate of the Center for Working-Class Studies and a Cleveland lawyer specializing in labor and working-class issues.

The inability of many working-class families to afford legal services is making the protections of the due process clause of the constitution elusive to a growing segment of American citizens . This is not an abstract theory.  It has  become the vivid reality in the recent foreclosure crisis. Thousands of families may have been removed from their homes based on the negligent behavior and fraudulent representations of  mortgage servicers and some lawyers who represent them.  U.S. Trustees are beginning to hold banks accountable to prove their right to collect and foreclose.
11/29/10 Bank of America Mortgage Morass Deepens on Promissory Notes Issues “If this is correct, many, many, many foreclosures already occurred in which this plaintiff didn’t have the note,”  “This could affect thousands or hundreds of thousands of loans.” Prashant Gopal   

Jody Shenn   

Bloomberg

Testimony by a Bank of America Corp. employee in a New Jersey personal bankruptcy case may give more ammunition to homeowners and investors in their legal battles over defaulted mortgages. “If they do an end run and directly deliver it to the trust, that would violate all the documents they filed with the SEC under oath as to what they did,” Gardner said.
11/29/10

Bank of America Stock Declines on WikiLeaks Anticipation

 

Bank of America Corp.'s stock dropped more than 3% Tuesday on speculation that website WikiLeaks would soon release internal documents.

Dan Fitzpatrick

WSJ

Few financial institutions have been under more public scrutiny than Bank of America, with thousands of pages of emails, notes and sensitive regulatory conversations aired via congressional hearings and investigations.
11/29/10

County Register of Deeds Picks Fight with MERS

 

The recording fees Essex County has missed out on as a result of MERS purportedly bypassing normal recording channels was O'Brien's primary concern. These fees, in many cases by the way, are used to fund the county offices and in most cases contribute to county and state revenue. Some counties use real property recording fees to fund their courts, police departments, legal aid offices, and schools - the apparent lower operating expenses.

Richard Zombeck  

Huffington Post

Another gigantic potential issue is that roughly 90 percent of all residential mortgage loans originated over the last decade have been sold to either Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or to private securitization trusts, few of whom prepared, and none of whom actually recorded a complete unbroken chain of assignments of the mortgage together with the notes, so the mortgages (borrower IOU) have been separated from the note (proof of ownership, i.e. collateral).

This separation, known as bifurcation, means that the entity that purchased and allegedly holds the note does not have the legal rights contained in the mortgage. The consequence of this bifurcation is that the debt has become unsecured. Unsecured debt is when a lender loans money without the security of an underlying asset - like a house.
11/28/10

Bankruptcy Courts: 

Foreclosing? Prove It . . .

Barry Ritholtz

The Big Picture

The foreclosure mess has now entered a new phase, courtesy of the US Bankruptcy courts. The Trustees are forcing institutions to prove “they even have the right to foreclose at all.”

If Courts had always forced banks to prove its right to foreclose, we wouldn't be in this mess. MSF

11/28/10 Original article Justice for Some

  A Homeowners' Chapter 11  In today's America, the proud claim of "justice for all" is being replaced by the more modest claim of "justice for those who can afford it." And the number of people who can afford it is rapidly diminishing.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, 

Nobel laureate in economics  Professor at Columbia University

The mortgage debacle in the United States has raised deep questions about the "rule of law" the universally accepted hallmark of an advanced, civilized society. The rule of law is supposed to protect the weak against the strong, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. In America in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, it has done neither. Americans have seen several instances in which individuals have been dispossessed of their houses even when they have no debts.
11/28/10**

Shortcuts on the FORECLOSURE paper trail

To get a sense of the lawlessness in Florida's court-run foreclosure process, look no further than public records at the Sarasota and Manatee county courthouses.

 "Every one of them is suspect. Some of them are clearly criminal. All of them need to be investigated by law enforcement." -- Michael Belle, Sarasota real estate attorney  

Todd Ruger  

Herald Tribune

An orderly real estate market depends on the legal transfer of property. Someone who bought a home from a bank that used questionable paperwork might have trouble selling the property. In addition, previous owners may be able to sue to get their house back. Two real estate attorneys and two longtime notaries consulted by the Herald-Tribune said the documents clearly constituted a crime.
11/27/10

‘Bank Run 2010′ aims to end ‘criminal, corrupt’ financial system  

The Raw Story The organizers of "Bank Run 2010" have chosen December 7 as the day when protesters are meant to withdraw their money from the banks, which they hope will cause a run on the banks that could collapse financial institutions.

But critics of the move say it's futile: If the protest is successful, they say, it will only result in another taxpayer bailout of the banks. (But Congress said there will be no more bank bailouts. MSF)

11/27/10** Don’t Just Tell Us. Show Us That You Can Foreclose.  

“Until now, what we had was homeowners complaining about a lack of due process,” Mr. Rothbloom said. “Now you have the federal government complaining about the abuse of the judicial process. That’s really what was missing before.”

Gretchen Morgenson 

New York Times

While banks may have booted a few robo-signers and tightened up some lax procedures, one question at the heart of the foreclosure mess refuses to go away: whether institutions trying to take back a property can prove they even have the right to foreclose at all. The United States trustee for the region, has intervened, filing motions contending that the banks trying to foreclose have not shown they have the right to do so.
11/26/10**

The Give and Take of Liar Loans

Did you hear the one about Countrywide Financial demanding that mortgage originators buy back many of the so-called stated-income loans that it had purchased from them during the late great housing bubble? 

Joe Nocera

NY Times

This same company is now insisting that other lenders that made stated-income loans — loans that Countrywide eagerly bought to fatten its balance sheet — must repurchase them on the grounds that, golly, the loans turned out to be fraudulent. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
11/26/10 CITIMORTGAGE – FAMILY W/ AUTISTIC DAUGHTER, FATHER WITH ALZHEIMERS, HOMELESS DESPITE MAKING PAYMENTS 4closureFraud They made 11 trial payments on time, sent in paperwork as requested and stayed in close touch with Citi.

Citibank gave them a HAMP loan modification and took it away from them – because the house is worth more than the loan, so Citi will financially benefit from foreclosure”
11/24/10 The Defense of Homeowners In Foreclosure is Our Profession’s Highest Calling  

It is not only ethical for attorneys to defend homeowners in foreclosure, it’s a lawyers highest ethical calling because the issues extend far beyond the homeowner in foreclosure and touch the cornerstone of our American experience…. The United States Constitution.

Attorney Matt Weidner Where have the billions of dollars in federal money paid to servicers and banks gone?  How much have the banks, the servicers, the foreclosure mills, the document mills made while everyday Americans wallow in the pit of despair, uncertainly and misery that is foreclosure.  The banks and institutions that are driving this crisis made billions when they originated these loans (often under fraudulent circumstances). They took billions in the 2008 bailout orgy.  They took additional billions in HAMP money that was supposed to provide relief to homeowners.  But what relief do homeowners have to show for all these billions of dollars sloshing around?  Precious little but generations of additional debt.
11/24/10
Lender Processing Services Sued by Shareholders for Fraud The lawsuit
Daily Finance Lender Processing Services (LPS) which claims to be "the country's number one provider of ... default solutions" -- that is, foreclosure services for creditors -- is being sued by a pension fund shareholder for securities fraud. The suit, which is dated November 23 and seeks class action status, charges that LPS falsely inflated its stock price by making false and misleading statements in multiple places, including press releases, on analyst conference calls, and in SEC filings.
11/24/10 Bank of America official: Countrywide mortgage documents were not transferred properly to trusts

Chief Judge Judith H. Wizmur said that because the debt note was not transferred correctly it was not enforceable.

Ariana Eunjung Cha 

Washington Post

Testimony by a Bank of America executive in a bankruptcy case in New Jersey seems to indicate that Countrywide Financial wasn't passing along some crucial mortgage documents during the securitization process for residential mortgages.
11/24/10** A KeyBank Foreclosure Draws Fire  

Mr. Cox says that he plans to showcase Ms. Vaughan’s case before national lawmakers at a December 2 congressional hearing on foreclosure abuse, and he has sent a letter to the lender asking them to sell the house back to Ms. Vaughan, with more “rational” loan terms.

WSJ Blog In Mr. Cox’s account, Ms. Vaughan, who was current on her $50,000 first mortgage, had lost her job at a paper mill, but found a new job that paid less, and was seeking to restructure her second loan to make lower monthly payments. KeyBank declined the offer, and instead foreclosed on the home, bought out the first mortgage holder and listed the property for sale.  KeyBank earlier this year valued the house at $110,000, a number which Mr. Cox says is outrageously high
11/24/10 Home Buyers “Boycotting” Distressed Properties BEREL News Team Thanks to rumors that some lenders might be pulling all their REO properties off the market and accusations of foreclosure “malpractice” horror stories flooding the media, home buyers remained spooked even after major lenders called an end to their moratoria on foreclosures.
11/24/10 Sheriff Meister Letter to the Courts Sheriff Meister "It would behoove you as the chief judge of the five-county circuits to stop all mortgage foreclosure proceedings in all cases involving Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems ("MERS") and in all cases involving the absence of an original note because of the fraud involved, including, but not limited to, the backdating of MERS mortgage assignments.
11/23/10**

Banks Lobby to Make Stealing Your Home *Legal* 

A "Plan" to cover up Fraudclosure and convince Congress to make it legal.

This is a story the banks would prefer you didn't know.

MSNBC's 

Dylan Ratigan Show 

with Marcy Kaptur

The industry is pouring money and lobbying hours into protecting its interest - at the expense of ours.  Right now, lobbyists on Capital Hill pushing for legislation that would not only legalize this process but affirm MERS as the standard.  The industry could get rid of all the fraudclosure lawsuits and destroy the property rights of all Americans.
11/23/10

Obama Administration faults firms in foreclosures

Barr said the goal of the foreclosure task force was to hold banks accountable for fixing the problems that have been found and making sure that individuals who have been harmed are given a way to seek redress.

Associated Press Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr said Tuesday that a foreclosure task force composed of 11 federal agencies had found serious problems in the way home foreclosures were being handled.
11/23/10 Review of foreclosure paperwork process finds 'widespread' and 'inexcusable' breakdowns, Goldman Sachs' Treasury official says "These problems must be fixed," said Michael Barr, assistant secretary for financial institutions. Link to Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) Jim Puzzanghera 

L.A.Times

An ongoing review by government regulators of foreclosure paperwork problems has found "widespread and, in our judgment, inexcusable breakdowns" in the process for seizing homes of delinquent borrowers, a top Treasury Department official said Tuesday.

(What about the inexcusable breakdowns in the process of seizing homes of borrowers who are current, or when the loan was intentionally destroyed to cover up fraud??? MSF)

 

11/23/10**

 

Banks Burned by their own Fraud

another interview with Matt Taibbi

Once the banks completed  the fraud, they stopped doing their paperwork. Why bother doing the paperwork - you've already committed the crime.

MSNBC

with Matt Taibbi

The foreclosure mess didn't  become this dangerous because people missed their payments. The problem isn't with the borrowers, it's with the lenders and servicers.  

A growing number of lawyers, activists and journalists who are now digging into this say, it's beginning to seem possible - that literally hundreds of  billions and maybe even trillions of dollars in securities at the heart of financial crisis were never properly created.

8/17/10 COURTS AND SELF-REPRESENTED  (PRO SE) LITIGANTS   1 hour, 42 min.  

"Courts have an affirmative obligation to ensure that all litigants have meaningful access to the courts regardless of representation status". 

 - 2002 Conference of State Chief Justices

Laurnce Tribe

  Justice Department  

Senior Counselor for   

Access to Justice

Participants talked about self-represented (pro se) litigants and the challenges they present to the justice system. Among the topics they addressed were the number of pro se litigants engaged in civil litigation, providing free (pro bono) representation, case management, and programs set up by courts to provide legal advice. Videotaped testimony from several people familiar with self-representation were shown.
11/23/10**

Foreclosure Hearings Show Homeowners Who in Washington Cares   

with links and excerpts from the hearings "There's a good reason why homeowners are being blamed for this: It's easy and the banks tell us to blame them".

Richard Zombeck   

Huffington Post

 Servicers do not believe that the rules that apply to everyone else apply to them. This lawless attitude, supported by financial incentives and too-often tolerated by regulators, is the root cause of the robo-signing scandal, the failure of HAMP, and the wrongful foreclosure of countless American families.
Fall 2009 White paper A Glance at the Impact of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis on the Title Insurance Industry PDF  This essay will discuss these issues and how they have changed the way title insurance companies currently do business, particularly in the New York market.

Suzanne M. Garcia 

Westcor Land Title Insurance Company

The pressure to reduce losses has caused

massive layoffs, brought about the closing of many title insurance offices, and triggered underwriters to terminate hundreds of title agency agreements. The combination of layoffs and terminated agency relationships has cost the title industry hundreds of years of historical knowledge and expertise as these title experts search for new employment.

11/22/10** Foreclosure Detectives Hunt for Lies  

In two squat, suburban office-park buildings here, Richard Barrent is digging through loan files that could help decide who pays for the mortgage-paperwork debacle.

Ruth Simon 

WSJ

The former Wells Fargo & Co. quality-assurance manager's two-year-old company is part of a cottage industry of loan detectives obsessed with detecting fraud, misrepresentations and violations of underwriting guidelines. Such discoveries can be used as ammunition to force banks and other lenders to buy back loans from bond insurers, holders of mortgage-backed securities and other customers of forensic loan-review firms.

"There is a growing interest across the board" for such reviews, says Charles Cacici, managing member of Risk Management Group, a Brooklyn, N.Y., company that also scours mortgage files for problems. Competitors include Digital Risk, Clayton Holdings and Allonhill.

11/22/10

Acting Comptroller Testifies; CFO of Lender Processing Services Buys

Dr. Duru

Seeking Alpha

Where we (OCC) find errors or deficiencies, we are directing banks to take immediate corrective action, and we have an array of enforcement actions and penalties that we will not hesitate to impose if warranted. These can include civil money penalties, removals from banking, and criminal referrals. We expect to complete our examinations by mid to late December. By the end of January, we hope to have our analysis of the exams completed to determine what additional supervisory or enforcement actions may be needed.
11/22/10 Countrywide's Mortgage Document Errors May Doom Bank of America ABIGAIL FIELD 

Daily Finance

Testimony in a New Jersey foreclosure case decided last week may spell big trouble for Bank of America (BAC). If what one bank employee said on the stand proves to be accurate, paperwork problems it acquired when it purchased the failing mortgage provider Countrywide in 2008 could leave BofA on the hook for billions of dollars.
11/22/10

Banks Face Another Mortgage Crisis

Jonathan R. Laing

Barrons

The argument hinges on the arcane contract principle of representations and warranties, known as reps and warranties in legal jargon. Namely, did the mortgages go bad because of the unanticipated nationwide collapse in home prices (a so-called exogenous factor) or are the banks responsible for the mess because they "misrepresented" to the mortgage purchasers the shoddy quality of the mortgages they put in securities and pools?
11/22/10

Foreclosure takes toll on increasing number of children

Dina ElBoghdady 

Washington Post

Children who are forcibly uprooted from their homes and schools tend to suffer emotionally, socially and academically, studies preceding the mortgage meltdown show. Researchers suspect the same might be happening with children who have been dragged through foreclosures and they are urgently exploring the consequences.
11/22/10 One dead, two wounded in shooting involving South Beach eviction case JENNIFER LEBOVICH

 UISA YANEZ CRLINE

 Miami Herald

A man being evicted from a South Beach condominium complex apparently opened fire Monday morning.
11/21/10

The United States Constitution Has Been Suspended Until Further Notice

Attorney Matt Weidner Because the federal government owns or backs the majority of the loans that are being foreclosed on, the Fourth Amendment which should protect against unreasonable seizures must be suspended.
11/21/10 Think you've read the worst about foreclosures? Read this

This is tragic.  The court is ignoring the fraud in this case so it can give the banks another free house.  COURTS MUST BE INVESTIGATED.

MISPRISON OF FELONY sounds about right.

Toluse Olorunnipa 

Miami Herald

"These cases are handled in large volume -- and the majority of them are pro forma -- but many of the files are tinged with fraud and irregularities,'' he said. 

"The court simply does not have the time to hear the grievances of a homeowner raising fraud issues, which are fairly prevalent.''

11/21/10 N.C. AG questions Wells Fargo foreclosure practices Letter asks why N.C. isn't among states where bank's methods are being reviewed. Rick Rothacker 

Charlotte Observer

The use of unverified affidavits could be considered a fraud upon the court, he wrote.  

In particular, he said, Wells could be asserting that it attempted to modify loans for struggling borrowers without having a valid basis for those assertions.

11/20/10 Prominent South Florida foreclosure lawyer faces losing his own home DIANE C. LADE 

SUN SENTINEL

He said he's confident he and his attorney, Jamie Sasson, can defend against the action. ``[Deutsche Bank] doesn't have the paperwork,'' Ticktin said.
11/19/10

A COLLECTION OF BOGUS ASSIGNMENTS

Bogus+Assignments+#3

Bogus+Assignments+of+Mortgage

Attorney Matt Weidner Look carefully at these assignments (actually you don’t need to look too carefully), these are the types of “technical” issues that are at the heart of Fraudclosuregate.
11/19/10

FTC Press Release

FTC Issues Final Rule to Protect Struggling Homeowners from Mortgage Relief Scams

Rule Outlaws Advance Fees and False Claims, Requires Clear Disclosures

 
Federal Trade Commission Homeowners will be protected by a new Federal Trade Commission rule that bans providers of mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they decide is acceptable.
11/19/10 Distressed homeowners get mixed results from meeting TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA 

Miami Herald

"I'm done negotiating,'' he said. ``It's so compartmentalized that no one has the authority to make the decision.''

He walked out of the one-on-one session determined to stop paying the mortgage, and also strategically default on two investment properties that are severely underwater with Bank of America mortgages.

11/19/10 Citigroup Sued in N.Y. for ‘Accelerated’ Foreclosures Patricia Hurtado 

Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. was accused of using fraudulent paperwork to process “accelerated” mortgage foreclosures in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York. “Motivated by speed and profits rather than obligatory attention to detail, Citi failed to record necessary documents to legally foreclose,”
11/19/10

Gasparino on FCIC Delaying Report to Investigate Foreclosure Fraud

A lot of the republican members of the commission didn’t even know that they were going to go this route until they read it in the paper, until Fox Business Network was the first to report they were going this way.”

Wall Street Pit FBN’s Charlie Gasparino reports that Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) Chairman Phil Angelides has delayed the report “due out in December until the next year” so that the bipartisan commission can take a closer look “at this new issue of mortgage foreclosure fraud. 

(This was a "new" issue in the early 1990's. MSF) MSF)

11/19/10

Robo-Judges In Foreclosure Court

Two Florida Robo-judges interviewed

Consumer Warning Network First it was the missing “note“, then blind “rubber stamping” of foreclosure documents and now Florida Judges are brought out of retirement to fast track foreclosures in the system.  Is what they are doing fair?
11/19/10 Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents Threatens Investors Looking to Buy Foreclosed Homes Adriana Barnes   

Daily News Pulse

The decision to buy foreclosed homes does not make sense for many people. 

Given the state of the economy in general it is unlikely that many young people will want to invest in the housing market soon. 

Many of the banks and financial institutions that foreclosed on mortgages are now waiting to see what the government is going to do regarding the flawed foreclosure paperwork.

11/19/10

Foreclosure Fraud - MSNBC w/ Cenk & Matt Taibbi MSNBC  
11/19/10

Under Fire, Foreclosure King Resigns

Andy Kroll

Mother Jones

Beyond the backdated assignments, David J. Stern law firm routinely doctored legal filings. Case chronologies—the timeline of important events in a foreclosure—were changed "all day long" to create the appearance of propriety. Internal documents show that the firm attempted to push cases through the courts even when key documents like the assignment of mortgage—or the mortgage contract itself—were missing from the file.
11/19/10

Report

CRS Report Details Dangers of Foreclosure Fraud David Dayen

 FDL

More than anything else, I think this is why Treasury and other federal entities are taking a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach to this situation. Trustees are simply not meeting their clients’ expectations by actually performing due diligence over the securitization process, and this is true for when government is the trustee as well. Too many people have a stake in keeping the fiction of bank solvency alive.

Nevertheless, this isn’t going to end by closing your eyes and ears and shouting “la-la-la.”

11/18/10

Rep. Frank: Homeowners should not have 'false hopes' in foreclosure mess

Ariana Eunjung Cha 

Washington Post

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Thursday called for bipartisan support for legislation that will make sure another foreclosure "mess" does not happen again, but said that homeowners who are delinquent should not have "false hopes" that a substantial number will get their homes back due to the paperwork problems.

What about the homeowners who made ALL their timely payments?

11/18/10 False Statements -R.K. ARNOLD (MERS

Until courts require Trusts to come forward with actual proof that they acquired the mortgages in question, specifying whom they paid and how much they paid for each such trust-owned mortgage, the actual owner of these mortgages will never be known.

Lynn Szymoniak   

Fraud Digest

The titles were false, the signatures were forged, the “witnessing” was a lie, as was the notarization.

 Despite all of these false statements, the BIGGEST LIE on these documents is that the trust acquired the mortgage on the date stated plainly on the Mortgage Assignment. In truth, no such transfers ever took place as represented by these MERS certifying officers (or their stand-in forgers).

11/18/10 Foreclosure Fraud Hearings Update: Just 21 Second-Lien Mods in HAMP  

The banks have only allowed 21 second lien modifications out of 495,000 permanent HAMP modifications. That’s absolutely crazy.

David Dayen

 FDL

 

Waters got not only the Treasury Department to admit that they’ve levied no penalties on servicers who violate HAMP guidelines, but got the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to admit they’ve levied no fines, made no cease and desist orders, and threatened no charters of any banks and servicers who have violated the law. 

In their defense, the acting director of OCC, John Walsh, said that he’s set up a consumer complaint center. “How would anyone know that?” asked Waters.

11/18/10

Letter

and

 response

Register of Deeds to Mass. AG Coakley

Re: MERS

John L. O'Brien 

Mass. Register of Deeds

MERS may have wrongfully bypassed Massachusetts recording requirements, thereby frustrating the borrower's right to know the true identity of the holder of their mortgage.  As this practice has been going on for ten years, this could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss revenue to the Commonwealth.  If these allegations are proven true, then I would request that a lawsuit immediately be filed against MERS to recoup any and all fees penalties and interest.
MERS Response to Request from Register of Deeds to Mass. AG Martha Coakley to Investigate MERS MERS Fees are paid for a service performed, and if a document is eliminated because it is no longer necessary, no fee is due because there is nothing to record. In fact, MERS greatly reduces the workload of county recorders, resulting in lower operating expenses for the county recorder’s office. Moreover, it would be the borrower, and not the lender, who ultimately pays the costs of recording assignments, either directly or indirectly.
11/18/10**

Levitin Addresses Elephant in the Room: Regulators Don’t Want to Fix the Foreclosure Crisis

Nothing gets fixed, despite all kinds of documented evidence that the banks and servicers have committed fraud. 

David Dayen

 FDL

But this was the key moment. Levitin said that we don’t have the full data sets from the servicers, or any comprehensive data to see whether there is a full-on crisis of unclear title and improper mortgage assignment. In other words, we don’t quite know the full extent of the problem. Levitin said, essentially, “The federal regulators don’t want to get info from servicers, because then they’d have to do something about it.” They don’t want to recognize the scope of the problem because it would require them to act.
11/18/10

 

 

 

Judge wants answers to foreclosure document fees

 

Judge Gardner said: 

" I don't want to throw anybody in jail, but I'm getting really angry, and I'm not going to tolerate it anymore," Gardner said. "I want some answers. This stuff isn't getting through on my watch."

 

Video: Judge wants answers

 

SHANNON BEHNKEN 

The Tampa Tribune

"Routinely, routinely, I'm seeing charges of $1,600, $1,800, $1,000, $800, any of those are ridiculous, and there had better be a good reason for it," Gardner said, noting that these fees should typically be $45 to a couple hundred bucks.

The judge chose 12 random files and said she found 11 of them had what she says appear to be inflated charges to serve homeowners with lawsuits. Some of the lawyers who submitted affidavits to the court saying the fees are "reasonable" often sign their names and bar numbers in an illegible scribble, court records show.

"I used to think this was just sloppy work, but I truly have begun to wonder if it's not concealment," Gardner said.

11/18/10

Judge: Remember, foreclosure proceedings are open to public SHANNON BEHNKEN 

The Tampa Tribune

The Florida Supreme Court's top judge issued a memorandum Wednesday directing state judges to make sure foreclosure proceedings are open to the public.

 

11/18/10

Aggressive lobbying defends MERS mortgage-trading system Ariana Eunjung Cha 

Brady Dennis 

Washington Post

The financial services industry has launched an aggressive campaign on Capitol Hill to bolster the legality of the way companies have turned mortgages into securities and traded them across the globe in recent years.
11/18/10 US banks warned on cost of foreclosure mess

Banks could face fines or criminal referrals if widespread problems are found in foreclosure documents used to evict hundreds of thousands of homeowners

Reuters Lenders are accused of having used "robo-signers" to sign hundreds of foreclosure documents a day without proper legal reviews, a fiasco that has reignited public anger with banks that received billions of dollars in taxpayer aid during the financial crisis.

"These range from informal memoranda of understanding to civil money penalties, removals from banking, and criminal referrals," OCC's Mr. Walsh said.

11/18/10 SHAREHOLDERS DEMAND: WHERE ARE BANKS' DIRECTORS IN FORECLOSURE MESS?   

Liu: “Their Silence is Deafening”

New York City Comptroller 

John C. Liu

Since July, we have warned that flawed bank procedures are forcing New Yorkers from their homes and hurting our economy. It is now clear that foreclosure and mortgage irregularities expose shareholders to substantial liabilities and loss. This would hurt our retirees and taxpayers.”
11/18/10

Gulfport man kills himself as bank forecloses on his home

(MSFraud believes a cursory investigation would prove the bank did not legally own the home.)

Jamal Thalji 

St Pete Times

"When the foreclosure started a couple of years ago, he told us that he was not giving up his house for anything," his daughter said. "They would have to take him out or he'd kill himself.
11/18/10

HEARING on ROBO-Signing, CHAIN OF TITLE, LOSS MITIGATION and the FAILURE of the SERVICERS, etc.   This hearing is about the failure of the mortgage servicing industry to uphold due process, to obey the law, and to live up to its all-stated goal of preventing foreclosures. It is also about the aftermath of what happens when an industry is essentially broken and what happens when our regulators do nothing to pick up the pieces. 
11/18/10 Why a Foreclosure Compensation Fund Is a Bad Idea Ethan Cohen-Cole 

CREDIT SLIPS

(Judge Bean's comment to the article): 

Why is it error-prone? Because it can be. There is no penalty for error because in the vast majority of cases, the victim of the error can accomplish nothing without costly legal assistance.

The collateral damage has been acceptable for almost a decade and now, suddenly, everyone is somehow exorcised and carrying torches and pitchforks.

If there is a fund established for this kind of thing, the money should come from the foreclosure mill firms and their malpractice insurance carriers with a major contribution from Bar Association professional oversight entities.

Imagine where we'd be today if a servicer couldn't find local counsel to file a bogus foreclosure?

11/18/10

Erroneous Foreclosures

Alan White

CREDIT SLIPS

Erroneous foreclosures thus come in two flavors.  Foreclosing someone who is not actually behind, or whose default was precipitated by junk fees, unnecessary or overpriced forced-place insurance, or payment application errors (common in bankruptcy cases) is obviously wrong.  Equally wrong, however, are foreclosures of homeowners who have sufficient income to fund a modified loan that will produce significantly higher investor returns than a distressed foreclosure sale.  Contrary to the pronouncements of servicers and Treasury officials, modification and workout consideration is not happening before foreclosure starts, it runs on a parallel track with foreclosure processes.  Frequently, the foreclosure train wins the race.
11/18/10

Federal Agencies Examining Loan Servicers, MERS, and LPS Jann Swanson 

Mortgage News Daily

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) and Lender Processing Services (LPS) will be joining eight mortgage servicers as the subjects of "examinations" by federal regulatory agencies according to testimony prepared for presentation today at a House Financial Services hearing on Robo-Signing, Chain of Title, Loss Mitigation, and Other Issues in Mortgage Servicing
11/18/10 CitiMortgage admits to foreclosure paperwork problems Ariana Eunjung Cha   

Washington Post

Citigroup, which for almost two months has claimed its process for preparing foreclosure affidavits was sound, is reviewing about 14,000 documents, including 4,000 that may have been notarized improperly

Citi expects that affidavits executed prior to the fall of 2009 will need to be refiled," Lewis said. 

(This could represent hundreds of thousands of homes that were taken unlawfully. MSF)

11/17/10**

The Foreclosure Mess's Potentially Devastating Consequences

A related problem is that the loan servicers that are doing mortgage modifications with homeowners may not have the right to do modifications. Similarly, an entity without the right to foreclose also doesn't have the right to modify a loan.

 
Abigail Field

Daily Finance

To understand how likely the worst-case scenario is, take a look at what would have to go wrong with documentation during the securitization process, and consider it in light of robo-signing and all the other paperwork problems. The basic issue is this: to get the notes and mortgages into the trust in a way that kept them there -- even if the mortgage originator or the sponsor went bankrupt (as many originators did) -- they had to be transferred at least twice before entering the trust.
11/17/10

Foreclosure class actions pile up against banks  

Foreclosure-fraud class action lawsuits are starting to pile up against major banks across the country, threatening a besieged industry with billions more in potential losses.

MICHELLE CONLIN 

 CURT ANDERSON

 ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bank executives are swarming Capitol Hill this week to defend themselves against multiple foreclosure-related investigations, including one by all 50 state attorneys general. Talks are under way in that probe in hopes of reaching a settlement, but that wouldn't extinguish the mounting threat of an avalanche of class actions.
11/17/10 Foreclosure Fix Is Seen as Distant  

“The large banks say they are doing everything they can to avoid foreclosure, but that is not the reality on the ground,” said Patrick Madigan, an assistant attorney general in Iowa who is a lead figure in the investigation.

DAVID STREITFELD 

NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

 New York Times

The banks, who have been subjected to bad publicity, have played down the investigation and want to see it end as quickly as possible. The state attorneys general, however, say that there is an opportunity to fundamentally change the way banks deal with defaulting borrowers so that more people can stay in their homes by modifying their mortgages, and that they will take the time needed.
11/17/10

Recapping Yesterday’s Senate Banking Hearing on Foreclosure Fraud FDL This problem becomes worse when you realize that the major third-party servicers… are also owned by the same big banks that own the second liens!! Don’t tell me there’s no collusion there. The failure to modify and the rush to foreclose is a giant protection scheme for the big banks.
11/17/10

Fla. chief justice says foreclosures must be open

Chief Justice letter to the Florida Courts

BILL KACZOR 

MSN

The courts of Florida belong to the people of Florida. The people of Florida are entitled to know what takes place in the courts of this state. No crisis justifies the administrative suspension of the strong legal presumption that state court proceedings are open to the public.
11/17/10 Bank Regulators Launch Examination of MERS Alan Zibel 

WSJ

Federal bank regulators are conducting examinations of two companies (MERS & LPS) that banks use to process foreclosures, amid concerns that banks cut corners on thousands of foreclosure documents.
11/17/10

VICTORY!- YOUR COURTS HAVE LISTENED TO YOU- Lisa Epstein!

Attorney Matt Weidner There is one other critical piece of information that the entire world needs to be aware of  when the history on the entire  Fraudclosuregate saga is written. 
11/17/10

"Some Heads Have to Roll" Senate  Hearing

STOP THE LOOTING 

AND 

START PROSECUTING!

11/17/10

States, mortgage lenders in talks over fund for borrowers in foreclosure mess

Ariana Eunjung 

Cha Brady Dennis 

Washington Post

State attorneys general and the country's biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure.
11/17/10 U.S. Sets 50 Bank Probes  (but the wrong banks)

FDIC Steps Up Investigations at Failed Lenders; 'These Numbers Will Increase'

Jean Eaglesham

WSJ

The agency responsible for dealing with bank failures is stepping up its effort to punish alleged recklessness, fraud and other criminal behavior, as U.S. officials did in the wake of the savings-and-loan crisis a generation ago. More than 300 banks and savings institutions have failed since the start of 2008, but just a few have led to criminal charges being filed against bank officials.
11/17/10 Foreclosure class actions pile up against banks CURT ANDERSON 

MICHELLE CONLIN 

AP

Perhaps an even bigger threat are the lawsuits that contend the banks' foreclosure machinery amounted to a racketeering enterprise. One such case, an Indiana lawsuit against Bank of America, was filed under civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations or RICO laws, which allow damages to be tripled.
11/17/10** Foreclosuregate: The Buck Stops Nowhere

  Will Congress force accountability for the rapacious companies who forced Americans out of their homes? Don't count on it.

Andy Kroll

Mother Jones

Most startling of all, though, was the nagging feeling of déjà vu that hung over the hearing: that we've been here before, asked the same questions, and heard the same answers from the banks. 

Worse yet, the answers offered by two of the housing industry's representatives at Tuesday's hearing—Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans, and Chase Home Lending CEO David Lowman—offered little assurance that the dual track problem was being fixed. 

MERKLEY: Have you changed your practices to suspend the foreclosure proceedings, not the final step but the whole stream of events?

LOWMAN: We have not.

11/17/10

Pressure Builds Over Loan Modifying VANESSA O'CONNELL 

VICTORIA MCGRANE 

WSJ

The attorneys general are scrutinizing whether home-loan servicers violated state laws against deceptive practices by using "robo signers" to submit affidavits and foreclosure documents without confirming the paperwork's accuracy. But the states' investigation, which could lead to civil charges, already has expanded to include other issues, such as the fees charged by servicers.
11/16/10

 

 

Senator Ted Kaufman Introduces Congressional Oversight Panel's November Report Senator Kaufman A MUST SEE VIDEO
11/16/10

CNBC: Three Large Banks May Settle With Improperly Foreclosed Homeowners

The Ledger (Entire article) Three big U.S. banks are nearing a settlement in which they would compensate borrowers whose homes were improperly foreclosed upon, according to a CNBC report. Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. would also agree not to start foreclosure proceedings until they have exhausted all efforts to modify a borrower's mortgage, CNBC reported Tuesday. Many borrowers have complained of receiving foreclosure notices while they're negotiating to lower their loan payments.
11/16/10 CNBC BREAKING NEWS FROM CNBC'S DIANA OLICK: 

TOP MORTGAGE EXECUTIVES FROM BANK OF AMERICA AND JP MORGAN AND IOWA ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM MILLER NEAR DEAL

AN INDEPENDENT, THIRD PARTY MEDIATOR WILL REVIEW THE CASES SEEKING PAYMENT FROM THE FUND.

CNBC

Diana Olick

BANKS WOULD PAY INTO A FUND USED TO COMPENSATE BORROWERS WHO HAVE CLAIMS AFTER THEIR HOME HAS BEEN SOLD IN FORECLOSURE. THE FUND WOULD BE ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE AG'S, NOT THE BANKS. 

BORROWERS WOULD HAVE TO PROVE THEY WERE WRONGED IN THE FORECLOSURE PROCESS. SO FAR NO DOLLAR FIGURE HAS BEEN PUT ON THAT, AND EACH BANK COULD SETTLE ON ITS OWN NUMBER.

11/16/10

Dodd: Robo-signing the tip of the iceberg

The head of the Senate Banking Committee said Tuesday the foreclosure “robo-signing” crisis is the tip of the iceberg of mortgage documentation problems as he called for federal regulators to step up their efforts

MarketWatch Attorney Matt Weidner wrote in his blog: For years we’ve been screaming in the wilderness about the systemic problems that exist in foreclosures and the mortgage servicing industry. 

For years, many of our arguments and legal pleadings have been rejected or disregarded. (Surely these banks cannot be lying in the pleadings, not in this courtroom, not in this state!?) And still, the system continues. 

Well, the allegations of fraud, widespread abuse, lies and systematic violations are no longer just conjecture, speculation or opinion of advocates and defense attorneys.  After the testimony and admissions before the United States Senate, the allegations take on a whole other level of legitimacy.

11/16/10

PDF

Press Release

AMI Supports Long Term, Effective, Sustainable Solutions to Avert Foreclosure; 

Invites Bank Servicers to Join 

"All too often, homeowners are being victimized by the servicers’ past and ongoing actions. The time is now for a permanent solution to America’s housing crisis," continued Katopis.

Association of Mortgage Investors Again, everyone agrees that helping all willing homeowners find sustainable solutions should be the primary goal. Further, AMI also urges all servicers to no longer place their own conflicted interest ahead of homeowners. 

"We urge all the major bank servicers to invest the time and resources necessary to allow for borrowers to find sustainable solutions in a timely manner and customary fashion," remarked Katopis.

11/16/10

BROOKLYN BEATDOWN!

 

JUDGE SHACK SLAMS CITI:

4closurefraud "The Court does not work for CITI and cannot wait for CITI to get its 'act' together."
11/16/10

Faulty Foreclosures Blamed on Fla. Courts

Josie Gulliksen 

Housing Watch

Getting $6 million to clean up faulty foreclosures as quickly as possible is probably the worst thing that could have happened to Florida's court system. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the First Amendment Foundationand several press entities have joined forces in an effort to put a stop to the rampant "rocket docket" mentality that has arisen after state lawmakers allotted those funds.
11/16/10 Foreclosure Fraud Assault - A Cry For Help Alan Gray 

NewsBlaze

The victim has no option other than to cry out for help in this urgent appeal, and hope that people who read this story will be prompted to outrage, as well as motivated to circulate this story so that change can come, to target judicial systems that facilitate social harm.
11/16/10 Man Makes Ridiculously Complicated Chart To Find Out Who Owns His Mortgage William Alden 

Huffington Post

But just how complicated? This chart from Zero Hedge shows the convoluted journey a mortgage takes as it morphs into a security. Dan Edstrom, of DTC Systems, who performs securitization audits, and who is giving a seminar in California next month, spent a year putting together a diagram that traces the path of his own house's mortgage. "Just When You Thought You Knew Something About Mortgage Securitizations," says Zero Hedge, you are presented with this almost hilariously complicated chart
11/16/10

David J. Stern's Florida Foreclosure Firm May Default On Loan

Reuters DJSP Enterprises Inc, run by the lawyer David Stern, on Monday said its DAL Group LLC unit defaulted on a credit line and an equipment note after failing to repay money advanced by Bank of America Corp. It also said DAL has missed November office rent payments
11/16/10

Mortgage industry problems broad, Iowa AG says MARCY GORDON 

The Associated Press

CNBC reported that Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. are nearing a settlement with the 50 attorneys general in which they would compensate borrowers whose homes were improperly foreclosed upon
11/16/10

Watchdog Warns of 'Potential Crisis' From Foreclosure Fraud

MATTHEW JAFFE  ABC News Foreclosure fraud problems could cause the U.S. housing market to collapse, push the "precarious" financial system into disarray and shatter the economy's fragile recovery, a government watchdog warned in a new report due out today.
11/16/10**

The Fed’s New Foreclosure Predator Bailout

Banks are once again mobilizing to screw borrowers in the pursuit of epic bonuses.

A bank is barred from engaging in predatory lending, but if it does it anyway, it faces no serious punishment.

Zach Carter 

AlterNet

Despite escalating outrage over rampant foreclosure fraud, the Federal Reserve now appears ready to eviscerate a key mortgage regulation in an effort to spare banks the losses from their own wrongdoing. Even as bank executives preposterously claim to have wronged nobody in the foreclosure process, they’re pushing hard to unwind the only serious federal rule that protects borrowers from predatory loans and improper foreclosures. 
11/16/10** Hearing on MORTGAGE SERVICES and FORECLOSURE FRAUD C-SPAN
11/16/10

REPORT

NOVEMBER OVERSIGHT REPORT

Examining the Consequences of Mortgage
Irregularities for Financial Stability and Foreclosure
Mitigation

This Report should be read by all judges and cited in your briefs.

Congressional Oversight Panel In the fall of 2010, reports began to surface alleging that companies servicing $6.4 trillion in American mortgages may have bypassed legally required steps to foreclose on a home.
Employees or contractors of Bank of America, GMAC Mortgage, and other major loan servicers
testified that they signed, and in some cases backdated, thousands of documents claiming
personal knowledge of facts about mortgages that they did not actually know to be true.
11/16/10

Mortgage Transfers Are Valid, Group Argues as Foreclosure Hearings Begin Jody Shenn 

 Prashant Gopal 

Bloomberg

The oversight panel’s report said that if the procedures called for in so-called pooling and servicing agreements, or PSA, weren’t followed, New York law related to the formation of trusts would consider the transfer of debt “void.”
11/16/10

White paper

Transfer and Assignment of Residential Mortgage Loans in the Secondary Mortgage Market American Securitization Forum The White paper provides a detailed overview of the legal principles and processes by which mortgage loans are typically held, assigned, transferred and enforced in the secondary mortgage market and in
the creation of mortgage-backed securities (“mbS”). These principles and processes have centuries-old origins,and they have continued to be sound and validated since the advent of MBS over forty years ago.
11/16/10

Bank of America Home Loan Head Says No Homes Improperly Seized

Clea Benson 

Lorraine Woellert 

Bloomberg

“This will be the chance for Congress on both sides of the Capitol to get their oar in the water relative to what’s happened since the news broke,” said Bill Killmer, senior vice president of legislative and political affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “It’s also an opportunity for those who have been called forward to separate myth from reality.”
11/16/10

Suits Over Foreclosure 'Robo-Signing' Are Piling Up Sheri Qualters 

The National Law Journal

"Courts are realizing that this has infected the integrity of the judicial system and are more sympathetic to homeowners who are challenging the foreclosure proceedings," Mason said.
11/16/10

Voices of Foreclosure Speak Daily About Desperation and Misery

Sensing the public mood, Ms. Desoer also plans to apologize for shortcomings in the foreclosure process, while reiterating her defense that no foreclosure or eviction was pursued by mistake.  

(The TRUTH: Hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and evictions were pursued by unlawful and illegal means. MSF)

NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

Herald Tribune

David Lowman, chief executive of Chase Home Lending, is also scheduled to testify and adopt an apologetic stance. 

“Our process was not what it should have been,” he is expected to tell the committee, according to prepared testimony. “Quite simply, it did not live up to our standards.”