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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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12/31/11 The Frauds of Wells Fargo Were Warned of 100 Years Ago

The Assignment of Mortgage is the most telling document and is not readily available to the borrowers because it is not filed under their name – you need a recordation search. And if you don’t know it exists – its hard to find something you don’t know about. Assignments are usually fabricated right before the foreclosure notice.

Deadly Clear “This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When President Wilson signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized….the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill.” - Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. 1913


The PEB Report on Mortgage Notes Prof. Dale Whitman In many foreclosure cases, the litigated issues revolve around the interaction of the Uniform Commercial Code and state foreclosure law. Since relatively few foreclosure lawyers (much less judges) are UCC experts, the outcomes of the reported cases often reflect some degree of uncertainty or confusion.
12/31/11 A New Theory of the Role of the GSEs in the Housing Bubble Prof. Adam Levitin According to Black, the GSEs' involvement in nonprime mortgages grew out of their earlier accounting scandals. Black sees these scandals as the result of efforts to increase executive compensation.

White paper

Mortgage Foreclosure Meltdown: Flawed Affidavits, Improper Securitization and Breaks in the Title Chain

Brad Axelrod, 

Matt Weidner

These materials summarize several prominent decisions by bankruptcy courts faced with deciding whether to grant relief to purported lenders, servicers and/or their agents in bankruptcy cases.
12/31/11 Milford executive councilor leading the way to taking a closer look at foreclosures in area

They had said I was three months trailing, but I was making the payment on time. I made eight payments and the number eight payment they returned it, and said my house was going to be in foreclosure,” Casterguay said.

American Home Mortgage Servicing and Wells Fargo are involved.

Nashua Telegraph Executive Councilor David Wheeler, R-Milford, has championed their case and gotten state prosecutors and federal authorities involved to examine the issue more closely.

"There is more than a mortgage problem on the face of it; this could be a fraud or forced foreclosure phenomenon of epic proportions,” Wheeler said. “This is hard to watch.”




This is a great Best Evidence Rule case.

Deutsche Bank v. Day - NY Suffolk County

Motion for summary judgment filed by Deutsche Bank is DENIED for the following reasons:

Judge: Arthur G. Pitts

New York

I) An affidavit of merit from the plaintiff or, if the plaintiffs office submits an affidavit made by a servicing agent or attorney-in-fact for the plaintiff, then any renewed application must also be supported by a copy or the recorded limited power-of-attorney document and relevant excerpts of the servicing agreement. Without a properly offered copy of a recorded or certified power-of-attorney document or an affidavit from an officer of the plaintiff itself, the Court is unable to ascertain whether or not a plaintiffs servicing agent, for example. may properly act on behalf of the plaintiff to set forth the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amounts due, as required by statute. In the absence of either a verified complaint or a proper affidavit by the party or its authorized agent, the entry of judgment by default is erroneous. 

Whistleblower: With help on high, foreclosure avoided Star Tribune Nancy Gosselin was scheduled to lose her house in a sheriff's auction scheduled for Tuesday, even though an investigation by the attorney general determined that at most, she had missed one payment of $584 more than two years ago.
12/30/11 Is the OCC the Most Corrupt US Bank Regulator?

The first problem was, as he had indicated earlier, was rampant conflicts of interest. The second is that the entire process is bogus.

nakedcapitalism Levitin continues his scutiny with his latest post on the OCC’s cover-up, which was sparked by the Gretchen Morgenson story last weekend. That story suggested the supposedly independent foreclosure reviewers were every bit as compromised as Levitin had predicted. Levitin, based on what he called “the briefest of perusals” of the several engagement letters, including the Allonhill engagement letter (flagged by Michael Olenick), found plenty not to like. 
12/30/11 Widow Wins Battle To Wrestle Back Control Of Her Vacated Home From Adverse Possession Home Equity Theft Reporter Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon instructed Garcia's office to stop taking the affidavits because of alleged fraud. Shannon's office also has vowed to pursue criminal action against those who file fraudulent paperwork.
12/30/11 Homeowners Becoming More & More Comfortable Fighting Back Against Foreclosure Home Equity Theft Reporter Ironically enough, the banks have given delinquent borrowers some of the ammunition they need to delay the foreclosure process. During the "robo-signing" scandal in 2010, it was revealed that bank employees signed paperwork attesting to facts they had no personal knowledge of. Now, borrowers are routinely challenging that paperwork.
12/30/11 BofA Posts Worst Showing in Dow Average

The 59 percent decline through yesterday erased almost $80 billion of shareholder value

Bloomberg Bank of America is on track to be this year’s worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average as concern about mounting mortgage losses and a global economic slowdown weighed on the second-biggest U.S. lender.
12/29/11** Fannie and Freddie Fantasies Prof. Bill Black An important but fundamentally flawed debate about Fannie and Freddie’s role in the ongoing crisis has raged since the SEC sued the former senior managers of both entities for securities fraud.
12/29/11 A Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis: Make Banks Write Down Underwater Mortgages Publicola Unless the public stays vigilant, this settlement could turn into a slap on the hand for Wall Street, with a slap in the face to homeowners.

Recently reported settlement proposals would effectively absolve major financial institutions of meaningful civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes of the Wall Street Recession.

CA 9th Cir. Court of Appeals Reverses/ Remands "Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Right To Rescind"

Countrywide “demanded” their signatures “that night” and he couldn’t and wouldn’t leave without getting them.

Court of Appeals The Balderases protested and asked to arrange the loan signing when their English-literate daughter could attend.

 But Cazakov said that Countrywide had instructed him to stay until he got the signatures, and he “engaged in a series of actions designed to intimidate, harass, and pressure [the Balderases] into signing the loan documents.” After six hours of unrelenting pressure by Cazakov and several unsuccessful attempts to
read the paperwork, the Balderases capitulated and signed the documents just after midnight.

12/29/11 Bill Black: Did OFHEO Fix Fannie and Freddie’s Compensation Systems after discovering their Frauds?  Prof. Bill Black “Here is the crazy thing – the SEC, OFHEO, and Department of Justice all failed to demand that Fannie and Freddie end their perverse executive compensation system that made the executives wealthy through fraud and put the entities and the government at risk.”
12/29/11 Let's Fix The Fraudclosure Mess

Let's make ramming this through our state legislatures our personal priority for 2012.

Market Ticker Here it is folks.... let's push this as a singular piece of legislation that we want introduced and passed nationally on a state-by-state basis this coming year.


Case to be heard January 4, 2012+

Nevada Supreme Court to Hear Case to Determine Legality of MERS Foreclosures

Davis v. U.S. Bank case documents 

Related story

Total Mortgage The Nevada State Supreme Court is set to hear a case that may consider whether or not the MERS has the right to foreclose on a property in its own name.  If the State Supreme Court rules that mortgages assigned by MERS cannot establish ownership, homeowners could challenge any foreclosure done in MERS’ name.  Other  courts across the country are split on this issue.

HSBC like ‘know nothing’ Sgt. Schultz from ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Brooklyn judge says Blames bank in foreclosure errors

Judge Schack had ordered HSBC President and CEO Irene Dorner to appear at a hearing last July, but she blew it off.

NY Daily News A Brooklyn judge ridiculed HSBC's "know nothing" defense for filing a false document in a foreclosure case and slapped the bank with the maximum $10,000 penalty.

The ticked-off judge also docked the bank's Rochester-based law firm $5,000 for its conduct in the matter.

12/28/11** The year's top story is not getting coverage
The financial industry may end up doing what the media isn't - exposing its abuses and bringing itself down.
News Dissector Danny Schechter Lack of investigative oversight

This is not a call for revenge, but for justice. The reason: the barely exposed chain of criminality that started in some salon of securitisation and then rippled across the world, bringing down countries and economies. It has its origins in Wall Street, where three industries colluded as a cabal to sell fraudulent subprime loans and then transfer fees and foreclosures from poor and middle class Americans to themselves.
12/28/11 Bondi can go after banks: Appellate rulings have shielded lawyers, so target lenders Palm Beach Post Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (and others)should look to Nevada, California and Massachusetts for guidance on handling foreclosure fraud. Attorneys general in those states are going after the lenders and mortgage servicing companies that falsified court documents to foreclose on delinquent borrowers. Florida has, with limited success, gone after the lenders' attorneys who allegedly did the same.
12/28/11 Whistleblower Records Shed Light On BNY Mellon Case Huff Post Confidential whistleblower documents that helped spark a massive state and federal investigation into how Bank of New York ++Mellon Corp charged pension funds for currency exchange, provide a rare window into how a bank insider aided a lawsuit against the bank.

Fannie/Freddie Catastrophe Began in 1991!

NPR It's been more than three years since the government bailed out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gretchen Morgenson, of The New York Times, has co-authored a book about Fannie and Freddie called Reckless Endangerment. Morgenson talks to Linda Wertheimer about the taxpaer-owned entities.


Judge Schack releases a stinging Opinion against HSBC Judge Schack

Supreme Court - Brooklyn, NY

Consider the time Judge Schack spent on this case.

Judge Schack also imposed sanctions against HSBC and its law firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC


Texans adjusting to changes in homestead exemption rules Statesman House Bill 252, which created the new rules, requires applicants for new or revised homestead exemptions to provide a copy of their Texas driver's license or state-
issued ID card and a copy of their vehicle registration receipt. The old rules didn't require people to show ID or proof of residence when they applied for homestead exemptions, so there was concern that people were claiming homestead exemptions on multiple properties.
12/27/11** Yes, an expensive charade, but still a charade, and a far cheaper one than real justice would require.

More Rot in the OCC Foreclosure Reviews

The prepayment notification provision in the standard Fannie/Freddie note is an additional undertaking that makes a note non-negotiable under UCC 3-104.  In other words, it's just a regular contract, albeit one governed by UCC Article 9 for its transfer. That makes the evidentiary burden for foreclosure MUCH higher. It also means that there is no Holder in Due Course status possible; there's assignee liability, which is the basic rule of contract law. So there's an incorrect fundamental assumption in the reviews. 

Prof. Adam Levitin (1) It's clear that none of the reviews will look at PSAs and trust law. The OCC doesn't want anyone looking at this issue. It's OK if the reviews find some SCRA violations and the banks pay a few dollars here and there. But the chain of title issues are too sensitive and OCC has made them a no-go.

(2) The review is based on the assumption that the note is a negotiable instrument. (See p. 29 of Appendix A to Allonhill.) But they aren't. 

(Article contains links to referenced documents.)




I-Team: Nevada Supreme Court Case Could Impact Homeowners

8NewsNow A case before the Nevada State Supreme Court next week could have far-reaching impact on Nevadans struggling to stay in their homes. Among the issues before the justices is what proof lenders must provide to show they own the property they seek to foreclose.
12/27/11 How Banks Cheat Taxpayers Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

When you put a thumb on the scale in a financial services contract, the costs start to get outrageous very quickly. The banks would still do a very crisp, almost effortlessly lucrative business if they just stuck to submitting competitive bids for legitimate work – but instead of that, they for some reason have to game the system, grease politicians, rig bids, and stick the taxpayer with overpriced products.

Should State AGs Settle with Bankers? Ohio’s Former AG Marc Dann Weighs In… 

A Mandelman Matters Podcast

Mandelman Matters I decided that the best person to ask about what’s going on with these positively inane negotiations would be a former State Attorney General, so I called Ohio’s former AG, Marc Dann. Marc knows these people, he understands the process, and he’s heard some of the inside scoop.
12/27/11 Still Waiting for Cleanup in Foreclosure Mess

This is part of our year-end series, looking at where things stand in each of our major investigations.

ProPublica If last year was the year in which faulty foreclosures and bank errors became a full-blown scandal, this has been the year of waiting for something to be done about it.
12/27/11 Victims Sought in Countrywide Case

Officials there are also concerned that at least some victims haven't cashed the checks out of worries the refunds are part of a scam.

WSJ Minority borrowers who suffered the greatest harm from Countrywide's allegedly discriminatory mortgage-lending practices could be the most difficult to locate, observers say, because they are the victims most likely to have lost their homes to foreclosure and subsequently moved several times.

Credit Default Swaps Steve Kroft

CBS News

Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis


Utah Federal Court Rulings On Unqualified BofA Foreclosure Trustee In Conflict

 The Ruling

Home Equity Theft Reporter The Utah Attorney General intervened in another Utah homeowner's lawsuit filing an Amicus Curiae petition charging that the Bank of America was illegally foreclosing on Utah homeowners. 
12/26/11 Mortgage Modifications Not For Every Struggling Homeowner
Instead of lower payments some find foreclosure
Consumer Affairs Karen, of Winder, Ga., sounds like an ideal homeowner. She had owned her home for 12 years and never missed a payment.

All would have been fine, she insists, if she had not applied for a mortgage modification.

"I got on board the modification ride because our president told the American people to take advantage of the modification process, even if you are not in trouble, but got a bad loan from Countrywide,"
12/26/11 7 of the Nastiest Scams, Rip-Offs and Tricks From Wall Street Crooks
AlterNet These stories barely even reveal the tip of the iceberg of financial malfeasance. We have been hearing for years now about the scams, frauds, rackets, schemes, tricks and various other ways that people on Wall Street made gazillions while crashing the economy. The one thing we haven’t heard anything about is anyone at the top being held criminally accountable … for anything! 

The Video Congress Does Not Want You To See

Congress members were invested in the Wall Street Firms behind the Mortgage-Backed Securities Fraud. Congress passed an $8000 first-time home-buyer credit to lure more suckers into the scam, to front load the fraud with fresh mortgages of questionable worth, and raked in huge profits from the "tulip mania" sales of the MBS.

Government Gone Wild Then the scam fell apart. Foreign banks and investment companies (and indeed entire nations) were brought to the edge of ruin by the fraud and demanded that Wall Street refund their money. Wall Street does not like to surrender profits, even ill-gotten ones, and neither does the Congress. So Congress voted for the "bailouts", which are actually buy-backs, to use public money to purchase back the bad paper and cover the credit swaps, dropping the costs of the scam onto the American people. This was done despite 90% of the American people opposing the use of tax money to save the bankers form their own reckless behaviors. (Can you say "Taxation without representation?")
12/25/11 Lawyers Behaving Badly

Payouts From Wisconsin 'Attorney Ripoff Reimbursement Fund' Double; Incidents Of Dipping Into Client Trust Funds Increase

Home Equity Theft Reporter Officials and attorneys say the trends suggest there are more misbehaving lawyers, especially when it comes to stealing money from client trust funds. "It seems like there are more of them and they are for bigger amounts," said attorney Richard Cayo, who specializes in representing lawyers facing disciplinary charges.
12/25/11** Michael Olenick: The Coming of the Light

We gagged at the list of “Guardians,” who stand in when a borrower is incapacitated, on active duty in the military, or deceased; robo-guardians.

nakedcapitalism Eventually I started to download court filings in bulk to look for patterns, and what I saw was atrocious. First one county, then another .. I now have dozens; tens of millions of pieces of electronic data detailing dreck that would make the most bank-friendly legal ethicist cringe.

Public records show the judge owns a substantial stock portfolio that reads like the list of plaintiffs on her daily calendar. As the robosigning scandal was unfolding she’s famously quoted telling a local reporter “I haven’t seen any widespread problems.

12/25/11 Faces of foreclosure on Long Island: Villains, victims may not be as you imagine

In very real and dramatic ways, the shift from home ownership to a renter society also is changing the landscape and turning settled communities into transitory ones.

Examiner While New York State has not had the epidemic of foreclosures of places like Florida and Nevada, Long Island has some of the highest rates of foreclosure in the state, and certain neighborhoods are getting socked.
12/25/11 Wells Fargo vice president arrested on suspicion of DUI in Carmel Valley The Califonian Deputies attempted to remove Stapleton from his vehicle, but he was uncooperative. He resisted deputies and was wrestled down and handcuffed. The CHP evaluated Stapleton for DUI and he was arrested, the release said.
12/24/11 NY Times Takes on “The Big Lie” The Big Picture The perpetrators of the big lie all have something to hide. Whether they voted for more deregulation or passed the ridiculous the CFMA or supported the repeal of Glass Steagall or cheered Alan Greenspan’s monetary policy, the Big Lie supporters all bear some responsibility.


Foreclosure Relief? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The OCC Foreclosure Review Program is just another SCAM.  Surprised?

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

As the details trickle out, the program looks like more of the disappointing same. “This is just the next program that’s getting people’s hopes up,” said Alys Cohen, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Washington. “Not only will it not help people, it could easily harm them.
12/23/11 Eviction Delayed As Bank, Ms. Mills Agree To Negotiate A Way Forward

Before granting the request, however, Judge Carpenter asked a series of questions that indicated a level of skepticism about whether the foreclosure process had been followed properly.

Marie McDonnell, a certified fraud examiner and forensic mortgage specialist said Ms. Mills eviction is ripe for a challenge.

The Enterprise Judge Carpenter asked if Mr. Braucher agreed with the judge’s interpretation that the chain of title could be contested and that the bank would have to come in and prove what it owned and when. “Someone has to come up with the original note,” he said.
Mr. Braucher said he does not think the bank would have to prove chain of title and possession of the original note. The judge said he disagrees with that reading of the law.

The judge suggested to Ms. Mills that she find a lawyer and ask the attorney general to become involved.

12/23/11 The Bank Around the Corner  NY Times “I just didn’t realize there were people like that in the world, people who would help you.

“Especially,” she said, “a banker.”


Oregon Court discusses the problems with MERS

FANNIE MAE v. Goodrich (Pro Se)

Oregon Judge Daniel Harris


The court finds that non-judicial foreclosure is not available in this case because the MERS system confuses the identity of the beneficiary and violates the Trust Deed Act's recording requirement.  For the reasons stated above, the defect in the chain of title precludes Plaintiff from bringing this action based upon Plaintiff's assertion that it conducted a valid non-judicial foreclosure and subsequent trustee's sale.


If your landlord is facing foreclosure, stay put msn Just learned your landlord is going bust? Try not to panic. Even if buyers try to hustle you out, the law protects your right to stay. Find out what the laws are in your area.
12/23/11 Mortgage fraud highlighted in Get to Know Woodbury event

However, some have gone to prison under racketeering laws, in which a person is employed with an enterprise and intentionally commits property crimes.

Woodbury Bulletin A perpetrator makes a homeowner facing foreclosure believe that an angel investor would own the house, while the homeowner pays them rent. The house is never properly rented out and the foreclosure process continues.
12/23/11 Two Congressman Call on Justice Dept to Investigate Foreclosure Fraud Against Servicemembers LoanSafe The congressman, Reps. Brad Miller (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), have called upon the Justice Department to determine if mortgage services have violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by foreclosing on active duty members.
12/23/11 Details of Mortgage Servicing Settlement Between Banks and AGs Begin to Emerge
Time Nothing here. We are just posting it in case anybody is interested.
12/23/11 Matt Taibbi, Financial Schemes And The US Congress

But far-more often the issue isn't hating people who "made it" -- it's the utter revulsion and hatred of those who "made it" by stealing it, and used their money, power and influence to find new and creative ways to steal it without going to prison for doing so.

Matt's: A Christmas Message From America's Rich

Market Ticker I fear for this nation and the convulsion that lies ahead if we do not put a stop to the frauds and scams, starting in Washington DC.

Those on Fraud Street pulling these schemes and games got their example from Washington. Make no mistake about it -- this latest exhibition is just another in the long example of lies and scams, and if you're wondering how all these clowns on Wall Street get the idea that they can screw America with impunity you need only look to the US Capitol for the answer. 


Police arrest man who moved into vacant home wsbtv A man who told Channel 2 Action News that he could help anyone move into a foreclosed house and live for free, is now in jail.
12/23/11 Unprecedented Fraud, Toothless Watchdogs EconoMonitor Reuters has an outrageous article (below) detailing the absurdity of the lack of prosecution of financial crimes in modern America. It is a shocking to watch the United States, a nation that once followed the Rule of Law, slip into a banana republic.
12/22/11** Special report:

 The watchdogs that didn't bark

Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing.

But this part of the financial system, a Reuters examination shows, is filled with potential leads:

Reuters In Alabama, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled last month that Wells Fargo & Co. had filed at least 630 sworn affidavits containing false "facts," including claims that homeowners were in arrears for amounts not yet due.
Wells Fargo "took the law into its own hands" and disregarded laws banning perjury, Judge Margaret A. Mahoney declared.

"I think it's difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history," said Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written articles analyzing the role of courts in the financial crisis. "I can't think of one where you have literally tens of thousands of fraudulent documents filed in tens of thousands of cases." 


12/22/11** The Mortgage Salesman Who Wouldn’t Sell

Ex-WaMu worker claims he was shunned for refusing to push toxic loans on borrowers


Michael Hudson


Shegerian says his clients not only lost their jobs because they refused to go along with the practices at the bank, “their good names were totally soiled for having been employed by WaMu.”

SEC Enforcement Chief Whines that Trying Cases Takes a Lot of Effort

FDL The entire basis of the request for stay pending appeal is that the SEC is too busy to handle this trial. But think about that for a second. They claim to have done their investigation, so trial is only about pulling things together. What else do their trial lawyers have to do? They only filed a single suit against Goldman Sachs over one ABACUS deal, when Goldman Sachs did a bunch of them, all cookie-cutter deals.
12/22/11 Bank Of America: Piercing Its 'Opaque' Balance Sheet

Part II

The market hates Bank of America 

Seeking Alpha This article will deal primarily with shedding light on Bank of America's off balance sheet exposure. As is stated in Bank of America's 10-Q, the vast majority of repurchase requests are associated with loans that were originated from 2004-2008.
12/22/11 The Busted Homes Behind a Big Bet WSJ More than half of the 500,000 mortgages from 48 states contained in the Goldman deal—known as Abacus 2007-AC1—are now in default or foreclosed.

California Suing Fannie and Freddie WSJ Last month, the office issued subpoenas asking the firms to provide extensive answers to a range of questions about the mortgages they purchased and the foreclosed properties they own in California.



DOJ Arrests Mass-Joinder Attorney Mitchell Stein

If Stein is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on each count of mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and up to 10 years on each count of money laundering, and up to five years on the conspiracy to obstruct justice count.

Mandelman Matters Remember attorney Mitchell J. Stein? His law office was shut down along with the the law offices of Kramer & Kaslow. Stein filed the first lawsuit against Bank of America that came to be know as a “mass joinder,” or multi-plaintiff suit… Ronald v. Bank of America.
12/21/11 Break Up Bank of America Before It Breaks Us Huff Post Most Americans have had it with bailouts of the big banks on Wall Street when so little has been done for Main Street. Banks that are "too big to fail" are too big to exist.

Private Actions Are Not Precluded Under Martin Act, Panel Decides

In affirming the Appellate Division, First Department, yesterday, the Court of Appeals doused what had been conventional wisdom in other state and federal courts, and handed a significant consumer victory to investors and current Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The RULING in Assured v. JPM

New York Law Journal "Today's decision is an important recognition that private lawsuits brought by harmed investors are compatible with our office's public enforcement role under the Martin Act," said Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for the attorney general. "As the Court's decision reflects, the purpose of the Martin Act is in no way impaired by private legal claims, since actions by the Attorney General and harmed investors both further the same goal: to fight fraud and deception in the securities marketplace."

Wells Fargo v. McNee - NY 

Plaintiff’s arguments notwithstanding, this Court is not persuaded by Wells Fargo’s laborious interpretation of the myriad of transfer documents or the breadth of the language employed therein to confer standing upon it. 

Judge: John A. Fusco Another case regarding standing - you must have standing at the time an action is commenced. In this case, Wells claimed it had standing because it appeared in court with bearer paper which made it a "holder" under the UCC's definition:
12/21/11 The Value(s) of Foreclosure Law Reform? Credit Slips As Alan White reported recently, the Uniform Law Commission in the U.S. has named a committee to consider the need for and feasibility of proposing a uniform foreclosure act and to report back to the ULC by early 2012. A letter from the ULC president includes a list of questions that the committee is charged to consider. But what principles will guide their analysis of these questions?




Nevada homeowners file class-action lawsuit over foreclosure robosignings

“Plaintiffs and consumers have paid the ultimate price through bankruptcies, evictions and foreclosures that were predicated upon false, forged, fraudulent and/or inaccurate documents,”

Also named as defendants in Tuesday’s class-action lawsuit were lenders and foreclosure trustees that work with LPS. They are Bank of America, its subsidiary ReconTrust Co.; IndyMac Mortgage Services, a division of OneWest Bank; and Regional Service Corp., which acts as a foreclosure trustee.

Vegas Inc. The homeowner lawsuit said LPS’s use of “forged, fraudulent and/or erroneous” foreclosure documents tainted the foreclosure process to the point where LPS and banks it worked with “did not have authority to foreclose or to continue with the foreclosure process.”

The suit filed in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas alleges violations of Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, seeks to block pending foreclosures involving allegedly forged LPS documents and seeks unspecified damages for completed foreclosures.

$335 Million Settlement on Countrywide Lending Bias

The pattern and practice covered the years 2004 to 2008, before Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America.

NY Times A department investigation concluded that Countrywide had charged higher fees and rates to more than 200,000 minority borrowers across the country than to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk. It also steered more than 10,000 minority borrowers into costly subprime mortgages when white borrowers.
12/20/11 On foreclosure fraud, Bondi comes up short


All of America is suffering. But five states have been hit particularly hard by foreclosures — and foreclosure fraud.

In four of those five states, attorneys general have aggressively stood up for their constituents.

A.G.s in Arizona, California, Michigan and Nevada have used everything from lawsuits to criminal subpoenas to go after the fraudsters trying to improperly evict families from their homes.


Sentinel And then there's Florida.

Here, the biggest news Pam Bondi's office has made on the foreclosure front was for ousting two of her top fraud investigators.

Oh, and also when one of her top advisors left to work for a firm her office was investigating.

Something stinks. I've said so for months.

And now, as the Sentinel's Mary Shanklin detailed in her Sunday story — "Bondi lax in pursuing big lenders amid foreclosure crisis, critics say" — more people are noticing the stench.
12/20/11 FHFA’s DeMarco Considering Backdoor Bankruptcy Principal Modification Program for Freddie and Freddie nakedcapitalism It’s better late than never to see some regulators realize that business as usual on the mortgage front will result in only greater losses to homeowners, the economy, and ultimately, banks. Let’s hope DeMarco succeeds in moving his plan forward despite Team Obama. If nothing else, this idea demonstrates that more can be done than is being done.


Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Sued by California Attorney General

AG v. Fannie

 AG v. Freddie

Bloomberg Harris wants to know if drug dealing and prostitution occur in foreclosed homes owned by Fannie Mae, whether taxes are being paid on those houses, and whether military families have been illegally evicted by loan servicers, according to the lawsuits.

"FREDDIE MAC issued numerous securities marketed and underwritten by a wide range of parties-and purchased by Californians. Many of those securities are now virtually worthless, and there have been
serious accusations of fraud in connection with them."

12/20/11 AG Tom Miller Can’t Even Lie Well Anymore: Not Only No Deal By Christmas, As Promised, But Banks Upping Demands Even As Attorneys General Leave The Table nakedcapitalism A partial recap: Miller started by promising criminal prosecutions, then reneged. He has refused to do investigations, then had the temerity to try to claim they took place.

Foreclosure Fraud North by Northwest with Attorney Shawn Newman, A Mandelman Matters Podcast

Chances are Fannie or Freddie “own your mortgage.”  If you are in litigation, you should follow up with targeted discovery requests to the servicer confirming the servicer does not “own” your mortgage.  Moreover, you should inquire and demand any records showing Freddie or Fannie assigned the mortgage to the servicer.

Mandelman Matters Podcast Given a mortgage is an interest in land and the requirement under the statute of frauds that such contracts be in writing, the servicer’s standing to foreclose can be challenged absent some proof that the mortgage was specifically assigned by Freddie or Fannie to the servicer. Legally, Freddie and Fannie must assign back the note to the servicer. In fact, Freddie has a specific form 105 to do so.
However, Freddie and Fannie’s guidelines have evolved over time and you may find that there is no such assignment in most cases.
12/20/11 BofA Said Close to Settling Countrywide Fair-Lending Probe Bloomberg Bank of America is cleaning up Countrywide liabilities inherited from the takeover made by his predecessor, Kenneth D. Lewis. The company has spent about $40 billion for mortgage refunds, lawsuits and foreclosures since 2007.
12/20/11 Wall Street's 2011 Pay On Track To Break Records Despite Layoffs And Canceled Holiday Parties Huff Post The report found that big bank compensation, which includes salaries, benefits and bonuses, will likely total $156 billion -- a 3.7 percent boost from 2010 -- and a record breaking number

David Moffitt, Utah Man, Accused Of Running Foreclosure Aid Scam That Paid For Wife's Plastic Surgery Huff Post A man who owned a loan modification business in Lehi and St. George is being accused of defrauding homeowners to pay for personal expenses including entertainment and his wife's plastic surgery.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says 34-year-old David Shawn Moffitt faces nine felony counts of communications fraud, theft and racketeering. 

and Matt Weidner, Esq.

Neil said: “My head almost exploded clear off my body last week when I heard a foreclosure mill exclaim to a judge when questioned about how she was going to get a complaint verified": 

But we don’t represent the Plaintiff, we represent the servicer!” 

(Neil’s Note: That is an admission that they filed a lawsuit on behalf of someone they do not represent. They are not the attorney for the Plaintiff but they filed the suit anyway!)


Last Chance for 50-State Coalition to Help Wronged Borrowers

The state Attorneys General need to get a deal done soon, or they — and by extension American homeowners and those who have lost their homes — lose.

American Bankers As prominent states peel away from the settlement talks there is a concern other states will doubt the viability of the coalition, weakening AG Miller's negotiating power, perhaps fatally.  

(Solution: more Ambien. MSF)


You really have to hand it to the attorneys representing the nation's major lenders. They may have just played the long game well enough to save their clients billions of dollars in state settlements related to mortgage servicing fraud.



Living Lies If the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wishes, it could allow borrowers to challenge future foreclosure actions by questioning whether the loan was a “qualified mortgage” in court.
12/20/11 Obama and Geithner: Government, Enron-Style

Speaking in Kansas on December 6, [Obama] said, "Too often, we've seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there's no price for being a repeat offender." Just five days later on 60 Minutes, he said, "Some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street wasn't illegal." Which is it? Have there been no prosecutions because Wall Street acted legally (albeit unethically)? Or did Wall Street repeatedly violate major anti-fraud laws (and should thus find itself in the dock)?

Matt Taibbi The notion that what Wall Street firms did was merely unethical and not illegal is not just mistaken but preposterous: most everyone who works in the financial services industry understands that fraud right now is not just pervasive but epidemic, with many of the biggest banks committing entire departments to the routine commission of fraud and perjury – every single one of the major banks, for instance, devotes significant manpower to robosigning affidavits for foreclosures and credit card judgments, acts which are openly and inarguably criminal.

Lender Processing Services drops on fraud charges

Nevada attorney general accuses the company of document fraud and illegal fee-splitting. Shares are likely to continue to decline.

Abigail Field The shares of LPS came under fire Friday, dropping nearly 20% on unusually high volume after Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed fraud charges against the company. 

 Given the nature of the charges and the mound of evidence AG Masto cites in the complaint, Friday’s fall in share price is likely only the beginning.

12/20/11 The Servicing Fraud Settlement:

 I Won't Be Home For Christmas

As the negotiations continue, and news reports about last-minute haggling emerge on a daily basis, it seems less likely that a deal will be announced this week — and less clear what the final deal will really look like.

Mortgage Servicing News It looks like Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller won't be getting his Christmas wish this year. Miller, who is leading the settlement talks with the top five mortgage servicers, said earlier this month that the settlement should be reached by the holiday.

$19 Billion does not equal multi-Trillion dollars in damages.(MSF)  


Lawsuit: BofA's Misapplication Of Couple's Loan Modification Payments Among Misdeeds Leading To Foreclosure


Home Equity Theft Reporter “The Woodruff 'smade modification payments for nothing,” said Sherrod, an attorney with the Jump Legal Group. “Bank of America foreclosed on the Woodruffs even though they said, in their own documents, that they would not.


Setting the UCC Record Straight on Mortgage Notes


PEB The press is full of articles concerning residential real estate foreclosures. Sometimes questions arise in these judicial and non-judicial proceedings concerning ownership and enforcement of the notes and related mortgages. Uniform Commercial Code Articles 3 and 9 (and related definitions in Article 1) address some of the issues that have come up in these proceedings.
12/19/11 An Inconvenient Truth

 In a column I wrote at the time, I described Wallison’s dissent as a “lonely, loony cri de coeur.” He’s been trying to get me to take it back ever since.

Joe Nocera

NY Times

The truth is the opposite: Fannie and Freddie got into subprime mortgages, with great trepidation, only in 2005 and 2006, and only because they were losing so much market share to Wall Street. Among other things, the Wallison-Pinto case relies on inflated data — Pinto classifies just about anything that is not a 30-year-fixed mortgage as “subprime.” The reality is that Fannie andFreddie followed the private sector off the cliff instead of the other way around.

Defending an Appeal on the Issue of Verification

Post includes two briefs

Mark Stopa Esq. Banks are pushing for a ruling from a Florida appellate court on the issue of verification because they don’t want to have to verify complaints in foreclosure cases in a manner that would subject them to perjury charges. Instead, they want to verify “on information and belief,” which lends itself to virtually no sanction at all.

No Bond Required To Stall Foreclosure Where Lender Violates State Statute 

Bardasian v. Superior Court

Home Equity Theft Reporter Justice Ronald Robie, writing for the court, said that once the trial judge determined that the lender had violated the statute, it was an abuse of discretion to require a bond.

Occupy Atlanta Helps Save Iraq War Veteran's Home From Foreclosure

Chase alleges it owns the home.

Huff Post In a tangible victory by the Occupy movement, Occupy Atlanta has successfully helped save an Iraq War veteran from foreclosure.

A Sign Occupy Wall Street Is Having Political Impact Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

"The SEC’s practice of using 'no-contest settlements' has raised concerns about accountability and transparency, and I’m pleased the Committee will examine these concerns in a bipartisan manner," said Chairman Bachus
12/19/11 BofA Shares Fall Below $5; First Time Since 2009 Bloomberg “I am absolutely shocked that we see it at this price,” Thomas Brown, chief executive officer of Second Curve Capital LLC, said today before the stock broke $5. “I understand why. The management and the board don’t give you a lot of confidence, but that’s more than reflected in the value of the company.”

Fraudulent Foreclosure: Jump Legal Sues Bank of America for Foreclosure Fraud and Loan Modification Fraud in Ohio Press Release Ohio Attorneys John Sherrod and W. Mark Jump, of Jump Legal Group, have filed a class action lawsuit against Bank of America on behalf of Ohio homeowners who have been wrongfully foreclosed on by Bank of America despite never missing a single payment.
12/19/11 AG MADIGAN FILES 50th SUIT AGAINST MORTGAGE ‘RESCUE’ SCHEME, LEADS NATION IN CRACKDOWN ON SCAMS TARGETING DISTRESSED HOMEOWNERS Decatur Tribune Acceptance Financial Corporation, in Northbrook, and Elite Outsourcing Services Inc., based in Midlothian. Madigan also filed suit in Kane County Circuit Court against International Embassy Realty Inc., in Elgin.
12/19/11** FHFA Inspector General End Runs DoJ, Joins Forces With New York Attorney General Schneiderman  nakedcapitalism The development reported by the Financial Times that the inspector general for the FHFA, the supervisor of Fannie and Freddie, and the Federal Home Loan bank, has decided to share information with New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman, is far more significant than it appears on the surface.

It’s a well deserved slap in the face of the Department of Justice.

There Goes the Neighborhood

A law firm needs to find out how many of these homes were illegally foreclosed upon?

60 Minutes Perfectly good homes, worth 75, 100 thousand dollars or more a couple of years ago, are being ripped to splinters in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Here, the great recession left one fifth of all houses vacant. The owners walked away because they couldn't or wouldn't keep paying on a mortgage debt that can be twice the value of the home. Cleveland waited four years for home values to recover and now they've decided to face facts and bury the dead.
12/18/11 Critics: AG Bondi lax in pursuing big mortgage lenders amid continuing foreclosure crisis Orlando Sentinel As attorneys general in other foreclosure-battered states step up their investigations into fraudulent mortgage practices by large U.S. banks, some Florida groups are accusing state Attorney General Pam Bondi of being soft on the giant lenders.
12/18/11 Sticking it to the taxpayer:

Matt Stoller: Taxpayers Paying to Defend ex-Fannie, Freddie Executives from SEC

nakedcapitalism “Fannie and Freddie are paying the legal fees of the former executives, officials said.” To be clear, it’s not Fannie and Freddie putting out these fees, it’s the taxpayer that owns and continually pumps capital into these companies.

FBI: Former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos took bribes; fed indictment names Haggerty

Bear Stearns prepared a report with details of the county's financial status and the "possible savings" from refinancing. Roberto "Bobby" Ruiz and Chris Pak, who were with Bear Stearns, have both pleaded guilty to charges in the El Paso public corruption cases.

Las Cruses Sun-News Former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos took bribes from financial service companies in 2007 as they jockeyed for a lucrative role in refinancing $40 million in county debt, a federal indictment unsealed Friday charges.
12/17/11 #Occupy the SEC Nixes Repo Exclusions in the Volcker Rule  nakedcapitalism "Our regulators allowed the proprietary trading departments at investment banks to become hedge funds in disguise, using the ‘repo’ system – one of the most extreme credit-granting systems ever devised. The amount of leverage was utterly awesome."
12/17/11 Housing troubles mount, especially for Joplin’s poor Kansas City Greed, gouging, scams

Disasters bring out the worst in some people.

In the storm’s immediate aftermath, one company offered to haul off debris for residents. All they had to do was sign an agreement that many owners didn’t realize would transfer their property to the hauler for $1.
12/16/11 Fannie's Top Servicers Barely Making Satisfactory Grade Mortgage Servicing News With all that is known, we don't have a clue how any of them made a satisfactory grade.


Fannie Builds Servicing Business via Secret Contracts

Fannie Mae is giving the mortgage servicing industry's handling of troubled government-backed loans a makeover. But it would rather do so in private.

Longtime industry executives complain that Fannie could be cutting deals that wouldn't make economic sense in the private sector. At a time when many lawmakers are pressing to wind down Fannie and fellow GSE Freddie Mac, Fannie's servicing push is "a game plan for survival," says a former Fannie executive still in the industry.

American Banker To Fannie, yanking servicing rights from big banks has other appeal, Miller says. Fannie executives "don't like how Bank of America, or any other major servicer, is servicing the loans," he says. "The biggest servicers are totally dysfunctional and putting no resources into the process."

Even so, the secrecy of Fannie's deals has some worried that it is using government funds to further entrench itself in the mortgage market. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are howling about Fannie's lack of disclosure.

Pending CFPB rule could lead to flood of foreclosure challenges

HousingWire According to some, the "rebuttable presumption" would mean any future foreclosure would be thrown into court. Foreclosure defense attorneys will able to challenge whether or not the loan being foreclosed upon was QM compliant or not, and if it wasn't, judges could award TILA damages to the borrower.

"It would be much more expensive if everyone did this," said Richard Andreano, a partner at the financial law firm Ballard Spahr. "It would get to a point to where it would almost be malpractice for a foreclosure defense attorney not to pursue the claim."

Very interesting decision regarding standing. Bank of America was getting away with the crime until the appeal. There is one special concurrence and two dissents.


Released December 16, 2011.

Alabama Court of Appeals BAC did not submit to the trial
court evidence, nor has it asserted an argument to this court, explaining why the December 1, 2009, auctioneer's foreclosure deed awards it title to the property based, in part, upon an assignment "recorded" in the probate court on December 23, 2009, more than three weeks after the execution of the December 1, 2009, auctioneer's foreclosure deed. 
12/16/11 Bank of America Disables a Disabled Vet Mandelman Matters Arlie was confused, so he asked if this meant that he had been turned down for the government’s HAMP program.  She replied that she had no idea that he had applied in the first place.  He explained that he had been trying for three years.  She said she would talk to her supervisor and get back to him this week… and today is Friday… and surprise, surprise… no call yet from Suzanne at Bank of America.

Dear Colleagues, by Thomas A. Cox, Esq.

This letter was written today by attorney Thomas Cox of Portland Maine, and posted on several legal listservs.  It was totally unexpected and more than moving.  Tom is the lawyer whose work and depositions of GMAC’s Jeffrey Stephan brought to light what we now know as “robo-signing.” 

Thomas A. Cox. Esq. The refusal of the Maine Supreme Court to subject GMAC Mortgage to contempt proceedings for its nationwide six-year binge of foreclosure fraud tells me that my naïve belief that the judicial system would be our salvation was wrong. I already knew that a legislative solution was never going to happen, that the regulators are owned by the financial industry and would offer no meaningful solution, and that the attorneys general were not likely to do anything transformational.
12/16/11 NV AG Masto Strikes Again, Likely Slaying Lender Processing Services

Document fraud infects many if not most foreclosures across the country, and Lender Processing Services (LPS) is a major reason why.

Nevada has laid a path so clear it’s hard to see how the “Justice” Department misses it.

Abigail Field LPS organized its workforce to churn out documents that were replete with lies, improperly directed foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys, misrepresented its fees, and made numerous misleading statements to investors. Frankly, it’s hard to see how LPS survives this suit and the shareholder and other cases that are sure to follow.

Lender Processing Services shares tank after Nevada sues co

"Former employees and industry players describe LPS as an assembly-line sweatshop, churning out documents and foreclosures as fast as new requests came in and punishing network attorneys who failed to keep up the pace,"

Reuters The lawsuit filed on December 15 in the 8th Judicial District of Nevada includes allegations of widespread document execution fraud, improper control over foreclosure attorneys and the foreclosure process, and misrepresentations about LPS' fees and services.

Florida – Plaintiff Must Prove Ownership at Time Foreclosure is Filed

While this ruling may seemingly state the obvious; that you can’t put the cart before the horse, please understand that many Florida trial judges treat foreclosure cases differently.  They tend to allow plaintiff lawyers to “dumb down” the practice of law.

Chip Parker, Esq. In the McLean case, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s entry of summary final judgment in favor of the bank because the bank failed to provide evidence that, at the time the case was filed, it “obtained its rights and standing to proceed in this cause” prior to the filing date.  Instead, it presented to the trial court an Assignment of Mortgage dated three days AFTER the case was filed.

Something smells funny here.

Occupy group in solidarity with woman losing home

Star Beacon Cart says her family fell two payments behind her mortgage after she refinanced. Then a problem with a mortgage company led to a foreclosure and things spiraled from there.
Press release


SEC Charges Former Fannie, Freddie Executives With Fraud Over Risky Mortgages

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued three former executives at Fannie Mae and three at Freddie Mac, including former chief executives of both companies. 

Securities & Exchange Commission  

Foreclosure-mill attorneys are about to suffer the same fate - only on a much grandeur scale. 

Westbury Mortgage Fraud Kingpin Sentenced

Anton News Rice said that her office’s investigation, dubbed “Operation: Sweet Deal,” uncovered the largest mortgage fraud case in Nassau County history, with 17 defendants committing more than 45 independent acts of fraud including enterprise corruption, first-degree grand larceny, money laundering, identity theft, and conspiracy. The DA said that the ring, which stole more than $20 million in property and stolen mortgage proceeds over six years.

Woman Facing Foreclosure Gets Scammed NBC26 The BBB warns the companies often do not fulfill their promises to help customers modify their loans and often just pocket the money. The BBB says these scams are common, and there isn't much victims can do once they've signed a contract or given the company money.


AG probing some big banks’ foreclosure practices Nashua Telegraph “I want the state taking an active role to try and make sure these homeowners in danger of losing all they have, by no fault of their own, are made whole,” Wheeler said in an interview.
12/15/11** Treat foreclosure as a crime scene

Obama is wrong. Fraud was illegal before the crisis; it’s illegal now.

Matt Stoller


Turning our markets into playpens for predatory behavior didn’t happen overnight, and it will not be fixed overnight. But until we have public servants strongly focused on justice for all, we can expect the crime spree to go on. After all, what we’re all learning is that, at least for large banks, crime pays.
12/15/11 Neil Barofsky and American Banker Finally Catch Up to Mandelman Matters

I really don’t care how that headline sounds.  I’m going to make my point regardless, and I think it needs to be made bluntly.  I’m far too angry and way too upset to do anything else.  This is it for me.

Martin Mandelman I started this blog three years ago for ONE reason: Because the government and banking PR machine was blaming the crisis on “irresponsible borrowers,” and I KNEW then that would prove to be an ultimately destructive thing because, as I wrote back then… when they realize what’s really happened, that it’s not “irresponsible borrowers,” they will have destroyed  the political will to do what’s needed to fix it.  No one was going to support a bailout of the “irresponsible.”




From our Legislative page

California Congressmen Write to President Obama in support of AG Kamala Harris not going along with multi-state settlement

California homeowners, and those throughout the country, continue to suffer as a result of the
irresponsible and fraudulent actions of the mortgage industry.

California Members of Congress We believe that any meaningful settlement must provide assistance for struggling homeowners particularly
those underwater-and should not grant banks a broad release from liability for abuses that have not been investigated and are not remedied by the settlement. The current
multi-state settlement under review would relieve the banks of further liability without fully
investigating the alleged wrongdoings. Furthermore, it would not provide meaningful relief to homeowners as it would apply to only 13% of the mortgages serviced by banks nationwide. It would likely result in $5 billion in real penalties to mortgage servicers, with the rest of the
settlement coming in the form of non-cash accounting losses that servicers would have
experienced anyway, as the borrowers they declined to assist went into foreclosure. We can and we must do better for our constituents.

There is a little known item known as Regulation C that exists to assure lenders comply with fair credit reporting. 

The worst case scenario for the Banks is what most jurisdictions already follow: you cannot re-write history to suit you and correct fraud by later disclosure in most instances. THAT would leave the investor/lenders with a bare claim for money loaned without documentation or a secured lien on the property.

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

  Investors have universally steered away from getting involved in foreclosures because it would subject them to claims of predatory lending and fraud. So they have effectively abandoned claims against homeowners in favor of suing the banksters. But the banksters are foreclosing as if they are following the direction of the investors when in fact they are only doing it for themselves. And THAT, my friends, is the whole story.
Decided 12/13/11


Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. v. Smith

"Where a valid cause of action is not stated, the party moving for judgment is not entitled to the requested relief, even on default.

Judge Cutrona

New York

In the present case, since the assignment of the mortgage from MERS to Citigroup Global Markets Realty was a nullity, and no interest was acquired by it, the Plaintiff cannot show that it owns the mortgage and consequently does not meet its burden of making out a prima facie case. 
Decided 12/8/11

Deutsche Bank v. Alvarado  Judge: Paul J. Baisley

New York

ORDERED this unopposed motion by the plaintiff for an order of reference in this foreclosure action is considered and is denied, for the reasons stated herein, without prejudice to renew within One Hundred and Twenty (120) Days of the date of this Order and if the renewal motion is not submitted within that time period it shall be deemed denied and the action dismissed due to the plaintiff's failure to obey a direct Order of this Court and the dismissal shall be without a further Order of this Court;


Cantwell to Justice Department: Fully Investigate Fraudulent Foreclosures before Bank Settlement

In letter to DOJ, Cantwell demands full investigation into robo-signing scandal and ‘pump and dump’ mortgage bubble scheme.

The largest financial institutions … pump[ed] up profits and home prices, while dumping any potential losses on homeowners, taxpayers, and investors.” 

Senator Maria Cantwell Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) demanded the Department of Justice fully investigate financial institutions’ fraudulent foreclosure practices, prior to a settlement that absolves them of liability for their actions. 

“Continued reports of wrongful foreclosures, forged documents, and an inability of servicers and banks to prove chain of title…raises the alarming possibility that these defects were endemic to the mortgage servicing industry across the country. The sheer magnitude of the potential fallout…demands that we undertake a full investigation.”


This is Wild! Why stop committing felonies when you know the Feds will never wake up.

There Needs to Be a Permanent Injunction Against Mortgage Servicers

There is substantial evidence that mortgage servicing companies and their lawyers are continuing to file fraudulent mortgage assignments in county recorders offices throughout the country. 

Lynn's report also names Bear Stearns, Shapiro & Fishman, LLP, Linda Green, American Home Mortgage Servicing, U.S. Bank

Fraud Digest 

Lynn Szymoniak, Esq.

Instead of admissions that the documents are forgeries, the mortgage servicers are filing "ratifications." These ratifications are signed by other employees of mortgage servicing companies, using titles of MERS officers. 

The information continues to be false. In the first "Linda Green" Assignment, the mortgage is reported to have been transferred on September 9, 2009. In the "ratified" version, the mortgage is reported to have been transferred on July 13, 2011

If the 2009 Assignment from MERS to the trust were valid, MERS would have had nothing to transfer in 2011.


Woman in Loan Fraud Scheme Granted Bail

 Prosecutors say they can use more help from the public.

8NewsNow The Nevada Attorney General's Office charged Shepperd with paying notaries to forge signatures on home loans to speed up the foreclosure process. The AG says this fraud affects tens of thousands of Nevada home loans.
12/14/11 Barofsky Blasts Treasury, Obama for Housing Mess

Asked if there was any hope for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, Barofsky said: "Um, no."

American Banker "The crisis is an example of how people lose their faith in government, which has costs that are hard to quantify," Barofsky said.  "Everything that has happened since [Tarp] has been something of a mess."
12/14/11 Too Big to Stop: Why Big Banks Keep Getting Away 

With Breaking the Law

The Atlantic For the country's biggest financial institutions, it's still worth it to break the law, because the government has no way to make the banks pay for acting illegally.
January 2012 STOP PAYMENT!

A Homeowner's Revolt Against the Banks

Harpers Magazine His only power was to pester Sun-Trust, and to conduct what he called a “title audit” to find any breaks in the chain of title.
Koppa hung up, having gotten
nothing he wanted from SunTrust, and turned to me, waving a digital recorder: “The sixteenth hour of tape with these people. They’re going to jail. Fraud and lies, fraud and lies.
12/14/11 Max Gardner's Top Tips for Fake Mortgage Documents Max Garnder 6. The assignment of the mortgage or Deed of Trust is executed by an entity whose name is different than the entity named in the original document (i.e., National City Bank Corporation in lieu of ABC Corporation as a division of National City Bank).

7. The assignment was executed by a party pursuant to a Power of Attorney but no Power of Attorney is attached to the instrument or filed with the instrument or otherwise recorded with local land registry.

8. The mortgage note is allegedly transferred in a single document along with the Mortgage or Deed of Trust (i.e., “Assignment of the Note and Mortgage”). You cannot “assign” a mortgage note. You can only “negotiate” a mortgage note under Article 3 of the UCC.

Arizona’s Rep. Jack Harper Says Walk Away and You’ll Pay Mandelman Matters Inconceivably, Harper says he will introduce a bill that will make Arizona’s homeowners responsible for deficiency judgments after foreclosure. That could mean, if you owe say $500,000 and your home sells at auction… for say $100,000… like, in 2025 or whatever… now the bank will be able to come after you for the $400,000.
12/14/11 Fitch Downgrades Five Major Banks On European Debt Crisis Huffington Post Fitch Ratings on Wednesday downgraded five major European banks, saying tighter capital markets and slower economic growth resulting from the region's debt crisis should indirectly hurt their performance.
12/14/11 Ex-Bank Executives Settle F.D.I.C. Lawsuit

The F.D.I.C. initially sought $900 million in the case, which it filed in March.

NY Times Former executives at Washington Mutual have reached a $64 million agreement to settle a civil lawsuit with the government, according to officials with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which pursued the case after the savings and loan collapsed in 2008.
4/11/11 New Questions about Banks' Force-Placed Insurance Deals American Banker The use of carriers like QBE adds another public wrinkle to the controversy over banks' imposition of homeowners coverage, because the carriers are unregulated in major states such as Florida. Wells Fargo, SunTrust Banks Inc. and others are buying what is called "surplus-line" insurance, which is neither governed by state premium caps nor guaranteed by state funds. That leaves the insurer free to charge whatever rates it pleases — and to share some of the proceeds with banks through payments to their affiliates.
12/13/11** Foreclosure Crisis: The Story So Far ProPublica Systemic failures at the country's banks and mortgage servicers have exacerbated the most severe foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, and government efforts to limit the damage have fallen short.

90-year-old woman facing foreclosure with a REVERSE MORTGAGE WSVN Now, the lending company that loaned the money to Rosalee wants the money back, and the 90-year-old may soon face eviction. The company claimed that debris near Rosalee's home is a code violation, which nullifies the reverse mortgage.

Appeals court tosses JPMorgan lawsuit against insurers

Vigilant Insurance Company and several other insurers, including Travelers, Liberty Mutual and Lloyd's of London, were not responsible for paying losses incurred through "any deliberate, dishonest, fraudulent or criminal act or omission," according to the policy, as long as there was an "adverse final adjudication to that effect,"

ThomsonReuters A state appeals court on Tuesday tossed a lawsuit filed by JPMorgan asserting that a $250 million settlement between Bear Stearns and the Securities and Exchange Commission should be covered by the bank's insurers.

Reversing Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos, the Appellate Division, First Department, held that the money paid in the settlement did not constitute an "insurable loss" because the actions that led to the agreement represented an intentional violation of the law.


'Conflicted robosigner' equals no foreclosure: NY state judge


Brooklyn's Judge Schack dismissed a mortgage-foreclosure case over a major New York firm's failure to vouch for the veracity of its court filings amid questions over whether it used a "conflicted robosigner" to support its case.

U.S. Bank v. Ramjit

ThomsonReuters "We cannot allow the courts in New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs — such as a family home — during this period of  economic crisis."

"This new filing requirement will play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take the drastic step of foreclosure."



Florida Supreme Court Says Bank and Homeowner Can't Settle Mortgage Foreclosure Case

In a significant decision that could widely impact mortgage foreclosure cases, the Florida Supreme Court has refused to allow a bank and a homeowner to settle a mortgage foreclosure case after the case had been appealed. Finding that the issue was "one of great public importance" that "has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state," the court rejected the parties' voluntary dismissal and ordered the homeowner and the bank to proceed with the appeal.

JDSupra In Pino v. The Bank of New York, No. SC11-697 (Fla. December 8, 2011), the Bank of New York Mellon ("BNY Mellon") filed a mortgage foreclosure case against a homeowner, Roman Pino. BNY Mellon alleged in the complaint that it owned the note, and held the mortgage, based on an assignment from an earlier lender. Pino soon filed a motion for sanctions, alleging that the assignment document was fraudulent. In response, BNY Mellon voluntarily dismissed the mortgage foreclosure case. Five months later, BNY Mellon filed an identical mortgage foreclosure case against Pino but attached a new assignment, dated after the original notice of voluntary dismissal had been filed.
12/13/11 Cloud on the title 12 years later. Closing Agent Screw-Up Failing To Clear Existing Mortgage Leaves Homebuyers' Equity Tied Up In Escrow Upon Subsequent Sale 12 Years Later

"When we bought the house we got title insurance so everything on the house should have been clear."

But apparently, it wasn’t.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Records showed there was a $133,000 mortgage from First Residential Mortgage dating back to 1993, in the names of the owners who sold the home to Moore and his girlfriend.
12/13/11 Event Offers Help For Struggling Homeowners

"We can put light where there's darkness, and hope where there's despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home."

- President George W. Bush, Oct. 15, 2002

Romeoville Patch “Our offices are always open — if you need us, please, just reach out and call us,” Wilhelmi said.

Wilhelmi’s district office is at 2200 Weber Rd. in Crest Hill (815-207-4445) and McAsey’s district office is at 416 N. Weber Rd. in Romeoville (815-372-0085).

Complying With This Court’s Order Would Require The Plaintiff To Perjure Itself…

That is what U.S. Bank's attorneys state in their writ.  (At least they didn't plead: "Dammit, Yer Honor, you just don't understand how our criminal enterprise steals homes!" MSF)

Matt Weidner Esq. The Florida Supreme Court had passed a rule revision that did a very simple thing… required Plaintiffs filing lawsuits to investigate the central facts in their complaint before trying to throw a citizen out into the street.
12/12/11 The Limits of Bigger Penalties in Fighting Financial Crime NY Times Seeking greater punishments for white-collar offenders gives the impression the government is taking steps to prevent crime, but there is a substantial question whether these proposals will have any appreciable impact on deterring future violations.
12/12/11 The Stalinist Era of Consumer Protection

It’s worth mentioning that the CFPB is about as benign a federal agency as could be imagined… they’ve got it operating under the Federal Reserve, for heaven’s sake. 

Mandelman Matters When Senator Lindsey Graham was asked why Senate Republicans blocked the appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), he responded by describing the new agency as, “something out of the Stalinist Era.”
12/12/11 Welcome to Freddie and Fannie’s Mortgage Shell Game

This begs the question: why would Fannie and Freddie have such a policy given the laws governing mortgage contracts and promissory notes?  Consider the fact that Freddie and Fannie are Government Sponsored Entities [GSEs] albeit private corporations owned by the major banks.  

It seems to me that Freddie and Fannie have been hijacked by the major banks and are being used to buy up bad mortgages and then seek a bailout from the taxpayers.

Shawn T. Newman J.D. If Freddie or Fannie truly “own” your mortgage, they have “legal title” to the property and are the “real party in interest” to foreclose. 

*While delivery of the note might seem a simple matter of compliance, experience during the past several years has shown that, probably in countless thousands of cases, promissory notes were never delivered to secondary market investors or securitizers, and, in many cases, cannot presently be located at all.

12/12/11** Dear Attorneys General: If You Want to Be Re-elected, Sue the Banks.

Voters are catching on to just how above the law bankers believe they are.

Abigail Field See, the gig is up. Large numbers of us 99% are beginning to understand “robosigning” is in fact “document fraud.” Large numbers of us are experiencing the banks’ lack of good faith in their interactions with us. Large numbers of us have been and are being repeatedly deceived by bank employees about loan modifications and foreclosure.


Judge Spinner Recuses From Foreclosure Involving His Lender

Justice Spinner wrote that he was taking the action “[u]pon the court’s own initiative, for reasons which are dehors the record” but provided no other details.

Young Law Group Justice Spinner canceled Diana Yano-Horoski’s $292,500 mortgage and judgment of foreclosure on her East Patchogue home in November 2009, faulting lender officials for their “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” treatment of Ms. Yano-Horoski during settlement conferences over which he presided (NYLJ, Nov. 23, 2009).

The canceled mortgage was reinstated when the Appellate Division, Second Department, held the “severe sanction was not authorized by any statute or rule nor was the plaintiff given fair warning that such a sanction was even under consideration” (Nov. 22, 2010).


Elderly Widow Tricked Into Signing Over Deed To Home Dies As Legal Battle To Recover Title, Possession Of Premises Remains Unresolved Home Equity Theft Reporter "where a statute pronounces a penalty for an act, a contract founded upon such act is void, although the statute does not pronounce it void or expressly prohibit it."
12/11/11 JP Morgan “Greed Washing”: Sponsors Orwellian TV Advertorial to Tout $2 Million of Charity Spending nakedcapitalism It’s a “‘greed-washing’ campaign to score P.R. points,” countered Lisa Graves, whose publication “PR Watch” investigates company public relations campaigns. The $2 million in donations that will be featured on Saturday “are a drop in the bucket compared to its ultra-lush benefits for bankers who profited richly from the swaps that undermined our nation’s financial security.
12/10/11 The Fattest or the Fittest?

A Fed Banker Wants to Break Up Some Banks

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

At the moment, they are being paid for taking risks that generate lush bonuses when things go well but that require taxpayer bailouts when the tide turns. Main Street understands that this is wrong and that allowing it to continue is dangerous. It’s past time that Washington did something about it.

Register of Deeds, Jeff Thigpen, Is Not Playing Around Mandelman Matters Podcast Jeff Thigpen is the Register of Deeds for Guilford County in Greensboro, North Carolina. The way he explains it, he has two primary responsibilities: 

1. To protect the chain of title when property changes hands. 2. A fiduciary duty to collect recording fees. And the fact is that MERS has pretty much blown a hole right through both of those things.


First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards: 

The battle for standing without ‘actual injury’

Thomson-Reuters The case implicates the vitality of a critically important structural protection: the standing doctrine. It creates the possibility of a series of class-action lawsuits in which lawyers representing the plaintiffs earn enormous fees from litigation when no plaintiff even suffered harm.

The Feds' Mortgage-Complaint window is now OPEN

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's home-mortgage complaint and dispute-resolution hotline went into service Dec. 1.

Seattle Times Did your loan officer bait-and-switch you into a more costly home loan than originally promised? Or worse yet: Did your loan servicer ignore you when you told him you've had an unexpected drop in income and needed a modification to avoid missing payments?
12/9/11 A $200K Mortgage for $2 a Month

If you do that math, you'll see that when the Fed gave Citigroup the money for a $200,000 mortgage, at 0.01 percent, Citigroup had to pay less than $2 each month for that money. Citigroup then lent that money to you -- if it deigned to lend you anything -- for maybe $1,000 a month, maybe more.

Former Congressman

Alan Grayson

The GAO's main report on its audit of the Federal Reserve exposed who received the trillions and trillions of dollars in Fed bailouts. But the GAO report wasn't very specific about the terms of those bailouts. For that, we have the Freedom of Information Act records obtained by Bloomberg News, which Bloomberg wrote about last week. Among other things, Bloomberg reported that the Fed lent out this cash to Wall Street at rates "as low as 0.01 percent."

Advisory On Risks on Mortgage-Backed Securities Dependant on MERS SEIU Legal decisions including state supreme courts in Arkansas, Kansas, Maine; Missouri court of appeals; NY Federal Bankruptcy Court have found in individual foreclosure and bankruptcy cases that security agreements dependent on MERS are legally VOID including MERS lacks legal standing to foreclose or transfer mortgages. Applying these precedents to pooled securities would mean investors bought unsecured loans and/or loans not actually owned by the seller.

BLOG + Occupy + Attorney = NO EVICTION OhioFRAUDclosure For those of you who may not have known, my family and I have been fighting a fraudulent foreclosure on our home by US Bank and Wells Fargo for nearly 4 years now.

The Destruction of a Foreclosure Lawyer’s Faith in the Justice System Attorney Tom Cox I have devoted my career to the legal system and to seeking justice for my clients. I believed in the integrity of the judicial system and its capacity to prevent fraud and injustice. It is sad to be nearing the end my career with that belief so deeply shaken.
12/9/11** Court Cases Revealing Massive Fraud in Mortgage Business

There actually is a better entity that can force banks into fair dealing and transparency with borrowers, and even mass reductions in principal or loan modifications. That would be the courts.

David Dayen


So Tom Miller can schedule holiday-based deadlines for settlements all he wants. These lawsuits will not stop until the banks stop the criminality. And there’s a sense that judges are finally turning the corner and seeing this fraud for what it is.

Amended Complaint Seeks to VOID all MERS Deeds in Georgia Ates Law Firm Suits seeks a finding and declaration that the security deeds at issue are VOID in Georgia.
12/9/11 "Another Tale Of Bank Of America Cheating Its Customers" As Bankster Is Accused Of Putting Borrower Into Default w/ Unauthorized Escrow Account

Dolfo v. Bank of America

Home Equity Theft Reporter Bank of America found a new way to illegally extract money from customers, according to a federal class action: deduct taxes and insurance from mortgage payments, even though the homebuyers make those payments themselves, then call the mortgage in default for the unauthorized deductions, and charge late fees and penalties.

Finally, someone is filing a harassment suit.

New Port Richey couple files harassment suit against Bank of America

Tampa Bay Times With a terminally ill husband, Sharon Bullington has had a bellyful of Bank of America.

"It's hurtful and upsetting and disgusting," she said, quivering on the telephone. "It's just terribly upsetting. We signed the modification."

Now, the couple has filed suit demanding the bank stop the harassment and stop contacting her.
12/8/11 Bank of America Error Almost Costs Valley Family Its Home KRGV-Texas Rodriguez says she wants to move forward. She wants nothing to do with the home loan modification program anymore. She warns others to be cautious

If nobody at Justice can get the job done, it's time for the Administration to bring in a whole new team and start again.

The "Banker Gangs" Are Still on the Loose, and the Justice Department Still Won't Come Clean

No financial executives have gone to jail, despite an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that a group of organized "banker gangs" conducted a widespread Wall Street crime wave that made them rich and while throwing millions into poverty.

Huffington Post The Justice Department's failure to act against these bankers is matched only by its declining credibility -- a problem it only makes worse whenever it tries to defend itself.

An interview with an outgoing Justice official in today's Wall Street Journal is merely the latest in a sad parade of weak excuses and implausible arguments, and it comes on the heels of Justice Department official Lanny Breuer's poor 60 Minutes showing this week on the same topic.



MERS Loses Texas Quiet Title Action

...and then the Texas Supreme Court Denied MERS Petition for Review

Texas Supreme Court Groves filed her original petition against MERS on May 8, 2009.  She alleged that she owns a certain tract of land subject to a lien secured by a deed of trust “accepted and recorded” by MERS.  She further alleged that the deed of trust is invalid and asked the trial court to remove it and quiet title in Groves.  MERS was served with process but failed to file an answer, and Groves filed a motion for default judgment.  The trial court signed a default judgment against MERS stating that (1) Groves owns the property in question; (2) the deed of trust is “void and of no force or effect;” and (3) the deed of trust be removed from the property title.



4closureFraud In a split ruling likely to send shivers through the mortgage banking community, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it will hear a case involving alleged “robo-signing” by a major mortgage lender even though parties in the individual case settled and asked that the case be dismissed.

Occupy Wall Street Turns to Foreclosure, Eviction Defense

"Somebody told me that this is illegal," she said. "But let me ask you a question: how legal was it to take us out of our homes?"

ibtimes Alfredo Carrasquillo got a resounding welcome when he and his family moved into their new home on Tuesday. Hundreds of people stood in a steady drizzle to celebrate and listen to speeches from a procession of community figures, activists and elected officials.

Leader of Largest Mortgage, I.D. Scam in County History Sentenced Patch Sweet, along with 16 others, were arrested in March and he pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 to Enterprise Corruption under New York’s Organized Crime Control Act, several counts of Grand Larceny, Money Laundering, and Falsifying Business Records, as well as Identity Theft, Scheme to Defraud and Conspiracy. He was also ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to lending institutions - (not homeowners)
12/8/11 Mortgage Complaint? Here's A New Federal Hotline Courant Got a beef with your mortgage lender? Is your bank unresponsive when you complain that your escrow account is fouled up and making your monthly payments needlessly high?
12/8/11 Wachovia Agrees to $148M Settlement In Bid-Rigging Case

Wachovia Bank, owned by Wells Fargo & Co , agreed to pay $148 million in a settlement with federal and state authorities over allegations of bid-rigging and other abuses in the municipal bond derivatives market.

Courant Wachovia rigged at least 48 municipal bond reinvestment transactions in 25 states and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement announcing the pact on Thursday. The SEC said Wachovia agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the allegations.

GRAND JURY Transcripts in Foreclosure Fraud Case

Transcript Day_1

Transcript Day_2

MyNews3 News 3 has received full transcripts of the grand jury indictment of Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, the title officers who allegedly directed a "robo-signing" scheme that led to the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents.
12/8/11** Related: Massive foreclosure fraud's scope revealed by transcripts

The massive robo-signing scandal that throws into question tens of thousands of Las Vegas foreclosures is unfolding. Newly-released transcripts from last month's Grand Jury hearing shed light on how the foreclosure fraud went down.

My News3 A criminal investigator for the Nevada Attorney General’s office said that out of tens of thousands of documents from LPS that his investigation of the fraud examined, an overwhelming majority seemed suspicious.

“It’s hard to find [a document] that you wouldn’t be suspicious of,” the investigator said, adding that legitimate documents from the company seemed to be the exception instead of the rule.

It wasn’t just the signatures that were fraudulent. According to the investigator, some of the forged documents contained information that had not been verified by those signing them. This sometimes led to the wrongful foreclosure of houses because of the inaccuracies.

Landmark foreclosure ruling upheld

Fannie Mae v. Bradbury Opinion

kjonline The landmark legal case that last year led to a temporary freeze on foreclosures across the nation reached its conclusion Tuesday morning when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld a lower court ruling by a 5-1 margin.

White Paper

Property Title Trouble in Non-Judicial Foreclosure States: The Ibanez Time Bomb?

 When the authority is absent, foreclosure sales may be reversed.

Elizabeth Renuart - Assistant Professor at Law - Albany Law School The consequences of years of mortgage related frauds and fraudulent documents are now coming to the surface.

All over the country, courts are scrutinizing whether the parties initiating foreclosures against homeowners legally possess the authority to repossess those homes.


Widow: Bank of America won’t honor loan mod after husband dies

"Here I was, paying every month (the amount the bank told me to pay), thinking I was OK and waiting for the OK that the loan would be approved in my name and everything," said Geffre. "Then they hit me in July saying, ‘We can't accept your money anymore.'" 

KPHO "There's absolutely a great injustice," said Vivattanapa. "Bank of America should have accepted the HAMP agreement and let her stay in home."

"I don't have a whole heck of a lot, but what I do have I worked hard for," said Geffre. "What right do they have to do this to anybody?"


Common Pleas Court judge rejects most of Cleveland's suit against banks over subprime loans

The dismissal cuts off another avenue the city sought to collect millions of dollars in damages related to the foreclosure crisis.

Cleveland Plain Dealer A Cuyahoga County judge has dismissed most of a 2008 public nuisance lawsuit Cleveland officials filed against 21 banks and mortgage companies in an attempt to punish them for bankrolling subprime loans.



States Take Charge of 'Fraudclosure' Crackdown....While Attorney General Holder is Asleep

Dylan Ratigan


AG Coakley also accuses these banks of forging documents and basically STEALING HOMES by virtue of their inability to legally prove the right to FORECLOSE by virtue of the documents that indicate their ownership . It has actually become impossible in the current system to answer that question.

FANNIE / FREDDIE PAY ATTORNEYS $1,000 PER HOUR TO MANAGE FORECLOSURE FIRMS Matt Weidner, Esq. If you can’t stand listening to the whole thing, just listen to this exchange by United States Congressman Elija Cummings:

Cummings: Robosigning is not normal, it’s not supposed to be normal. Have we taken any efforts to punish these folks?

I’m not aware of any action that’s been taken.

Occupy Wall Street Took Over Its First Foreclosed Home Yesterday
Business Insider Occupy Wall Street is taking it on by showing that the entire movement is against foreclosures and wants Americans back in decent housing. That is why they came up with Occupy Our Homes — an action that would take place in 20 cities all over the country.
Their point is this: There are so many empty dwellings in America, why can't they be filled with Americans?
12/7/11 Balance Transfer Day Linked To Company That Profits Off New Credit Users Huffington Post Germanovsky isn't an activist working against big banks. He's a paid consultant and writer for Credit-Land and its sibling site BestCreditOffers, two so-called lead generator websites that push customers to products, in this case credit cards, via ads and special offers.

Some Florida lawmakers want to repossess foreclosed homes more quickly Palm Beach Post Foreclosure defense attorneys and homeowner advocates have opposed changes to Florida law that would take cases out of the court system. They argue that chain of ownership confusion created by the mass securitization of mortgages, as well as paperwork problems caused by banks taking foreclosure shortcuts, would sail through without correction if judges were taken out of the process.

Occupy Our Homes Campaign Launches Against Foreclosures Indoors abc News A subset of Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country are bringing their fight indoors with plans to stay in foreclosed homes for months. The group launched a national campaign on Tuesday called Occupy Our Homes -- literally living in the homes of foreclosed homeowners, giving temporary reprieve from the bitter cold.



U.S. Bank v. Bressler 

MERS lacks the power and authority to assign the mortgage because the mortgage documents state "for purposes of recording, MERS is the mortgagee of record." Additionally, the assignment from MERS on behalf of Fremont is dated December 18, 2008 - Fremont had ceased to exist. 

Judge Debra Sibler New York "Further, it must be noted that the execution of an Assignment of Mortgage by MERS is barred by the Settlement Agreement between the US Attorney's Office on behalf of the United States of America and the Office of Steven J. Baum P.C. and Pillar Processing, LLC, dated October 6, 2011, which states at paragraph 14 that "Baum shall no longer permit anyone employed by or contracted by Baum to execute any assignment of a mortgage as an officer, director, employee, agent or other representative of MERSCORP, Inc., and/or Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc."


The controversy is important since the CSPA could add considerable difficulty to mortgage servicers’ efforts to prosecute foreclosure actions. Now that the federal courts have referred this dispute directly to the Ohio Supreme Court, mortgage servicers will be watching closely to see how the Court deals with the matter.

American Conference Brief Background of the CSPA

The CSPA is a powerful tool for consumers and plaintiffs’ counsel. The Act broadly prohibits “unfair and deceptive practices,” and does not limit what a court may find fits this description. If an “unfair and deceptive practice” is proven, the consumer can choose between rescinding (undoing) the transaction or recovering damages, and may also obtain an award of attorney fees. In some instances the consumer may even recover treble damages.


In the Matter of the foreclosure of a Deed of Trust executed by Tonya R. Bass 

v. U.S. Bank, as Trustee, c/o Wells Fargo Bank

North Carolina Court of Appeals The decision defines what constitutes a proper endorsement of a note.

Respondent did not testify or present evidence at the foreclosure appeal hearing. Respondent contended only that Petitioner "is not entitled to foreclose because [Petitioner is] not the proper holder of [the Note]." Specifically, Respondent asserted that the indorsement from Mortgage Lenders to Emax Financial Group was not a proper indorsement because "you have to have more than a stamp" and "We don't know who had authority [at Mortgage Lenders] to authorize the sale of (unintelligible) to [Emax].".


AG Harris Announces Mortgage Investigation Alliance Press Conference Attorney General Harris, joined by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, today announced that their states have entered into a joint investigation alliance designed to assist homeowners who have been harmed by misconduct and fraud in the mortgage industry.
12/6/11 Transactional Infraction: How Bank Practices Increase Overdraft Fees

Presenting How Wells Fargo Nickel And Dimes Clients To (Account) Death

Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

Banks have a "malicious" algorithm designed to maximize client pain, while ignoring actual sequence of events. The net result an overdraft balance that is 4 times higher than what it would have been if proper temporal sequence had been followed. And that is why banks are desperate to pickpocket their clients: because once news of such practices is made public, everyone should pull their money. That they still don't is quite incomprehensible.


The Next Frontier for Occupy: Protesters Take Over Vacant Homes, Rally to Protect Those Facing Eviction and Foreclosure

Occupiers rallied with homeowners facing foreclosure or eviction, interrupted housing auctions, protested at banks, and took over vacant properties to move homeless families in.

AlterNet On Tuesday occupiers all over the country took part in a day of action to do what politicians and the courts have repeatedly failed to: hold banks accountable for creating the housing crisis and then making it massively worse by rushing through millions of shady and illegal foreclosures.

Occupy Movement Protests Home Foreclosures VOA News This is an action about people who are going to reclaim their homes, their basic right to shelter and this is a very positive first step," he said. 

Banking executives are accused of using government bailout money to give themselves multimillion dollar bonuses while people got foreclosure notices.

12/6/11 "Mortgage-Backed Trusts - Running on Empty?"


Also see below...

Lisa Epstein and Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq. What is left in residential mortgage-backed trusts? Investors, those with retirement plans tied to pension funds invested in mortgage-backed trusts, citizens from cities and counties that are heavily invested in mortgage-backed trusts and economy watchers in general
are asking that question as conflicting data on foreclosures continues to be reported.
Does The Mortgage Loan Trust Even Exist?


Matt Weidner, Esq. How many millions of dollars have been transferred into trusts that no one has any idea whatsoever who owns/controls or operates? Has there ever been a time in American jurisprudence where such massive amounts of wealth have been transferred with no evidentiary basis to support the transfers?

Why No Financial Crisis Prosecutions? Ex-Justice Official Says "It’s Just too Hard" ProPublica According to a now-departed Justice Department official who used to be in charge of investigating such matters, the Justice Department has decided that holding top Wall Street executives criminally accountable is too difficult a task

Occupy Our Homes day of action highlights fraudulent lending, illegal evictions Examiner The national day of action on December 6 will focus on the foreclosure crisis and protest fraudulent lending practices, corrupt securitization, and illegal evictions by banks. The Occupy movement actions, including eviction defense at foreclosed properties and takeovers of vacant properties by homeless families, will take place in more than 20 cities across the country.

Bank Of America Settles Investors' Mortgage Lawsuit For $315 Million

Bank of America to Cut Thousands of Jobs

Huffington Post The settlement represents another attempt by Bank of America to put its legal issues behind it. Just in the first half of the year, the bank put up $12.7 billion to settle similar claims from different groups of investors.

California, Nevada team up to investigate foreclosure fraud

California and Nevada, two states at the heart of the nation’s housing crisis, will join forces to investigate allegations of foreclosure fraud and other types of mortgage improprieties.

L.A. Times The agreement to share resources and work jointly is the latest sign that the nation’s state attorneys general want to be out front in cracking down on bank practices that caused the housing crisis — from the selling of mortgage-backed securities to the handling of foreclosures.


NO PLACE LIKE HOME: "Occupy Wall Street" targets foreclosures

Occupy Wall Street is going house-hunting. A spinoff of the protest movement, Occupy Our Homes, is launching a campaign Tuesday to helppeople facing foreclosure fight eviction.

CBS News "This is not just about one event; this is a huge frontier for us. We can do these kinds of actions all the time, and we should. And it doesn't have to be just us. We got to do this one right so we can inspire people to do it themselves."

"Occupiers" in California, Georgia, Ohio and elsewhere have had some success temporarily blocking foreclosures or re-taking seized homes.

12/5/11 MF Global customer: "Where's Our Money?"

MF Global CEO: "I don't know" 

Huffington Post Jon Corzine said he "never intended to break any rules" while he was chief of MF Global and that he doesn't know what happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars in missing customer money.

We need a national Justice Index

America's justice system should not be a mystery, and its workings should be open and understandable to all. But that ideal is far from the truth Millions of people each year come to civil court to fight for their homes, their businesses, their families. Many can't afford a lawyer, and states aren't required to give them one. Legal aid groups turn away more than half of the people who come asking. The funding simply doesn't exist. Even in the criminal justice system, with its constitutional right to counsel, we still see "lawyerless courts" where people are arraigned and jailed on their own.


(In)validity and (in)admissibility of out-of-state documents and affidavits: the CPLR 3212/2309(c) - RPL 299-a ‘Bermuda triangle’

Thomson Reuters Without a so-called “certificate of conformity”, as required CPLR 2309(c) and RPL 299-a, is the mortgagee’s motion for summary judgment based upon a defective “house of [inadmissible] cards”:  an attorney’s affirmation that is not based upon personal knowledge of the facts, a New Jersey verification of the complaint, a Pennsylvania assignment, and a California power of attorney?
12/5/11 The Fed Bailouts: Money for Nothing Alan Grayson I think it’s fair to say that Congressman Ron Paul and I are the parents of the GAO’s audit of the Federal Reserve

Taylor Bean & Whitaker – Proof of a Legitimate Transfer? Attorney Mark Stopa Establishing that the prior owner/holder of a Note/Mortgage actually had the authority to assign or convey those documents is a significant, bona-fide defense in a fair number of foreclosure cases.  Make sure you’re not overlooking it!

Three more notaries charged in Nevada robo-signing scandal

Meghan Shaw, Jennifer Bloecker and Joseph Noel were charged with notarization of the signature of a person not in their presence, a gross misdemeanor.

HousingWire According to the Nevada Attorney General criminal complaint, Shaw's and Bloecker's alleged crimes took place in 2005 and were discovered in 2010. Noel's alleged crimes took place in 2008 and were discovered in 2010.

"These actions were performed in a secretive manner in order that the false documents be given full legal effect and that this criminal activity not be discovered," the complaint states.

New Jersey foreclosures wait in the wings as court deliberates key case

Legal scholars suggest lenders are waiting to see what the court will do with the U.S. Bank National Association v. Guillaume case before moving forward with thousands of pending foreclosures.

Housing Wire The issue in the case causing lenders to pause is the question of whether a foreclosure notice is made invalid because the lender filed a notice of intent to foreclose with the servicer listed on the notice instead of the lender.

If it turns out that Guillaume forces the 24 data points to be filled out perfectly, banks will have to retrace their filing steps to ensure they don't end up facing sanctions.


Mass. official tells of pervasive fraud in mortgages MSNBC O’Brien say he is troubled that he can’t “look a constituent in the eye and tell them who owns their mortgage. That’s very sad.”

“(The banks) are filing fraudulent documents to take their homes away from them.”

12/5/11 Our Goal: Find 100 Florida HOMES in 90 DAYS that can be saved from a wrongful foreclosure.

Inspired by lawyers who use modern DNA techniques to free innocent men and women from prison, convicted of crimes they had never committed, we want to bring that same approach to restoring families to the homes that were wrongfully taken from them.

Hundred Homes Project

by Ricardo, Wasylik & Kaniuk

This project will search throughout the state for homes that have been wrongfully foreclosed, either by mistake, by fraud, or by other circumstance. Our goal is to identify 100 homes in the next 90 days, and immediately begin working to undo the foreclosures that took these homes from the families that once lived in them.

We’re looking for cases where the foreclosure judgment has already been entered, or the house already sold. 


Big Banks Finance Payday Lenders: You Knew that but did you Know some also Make payday loans?

This video is totally worth you 2 minutes. It describes big banks in rather unflattering terms (as parasites, for example) but the main thing I got out of it is that big banks finance payday lenders. 


Credit Slips Yes, it is true that the same banks that received TARP bailout money are funding payday lenders. The payday lenders include Advance America, Cash America and ACE Cash Express, which allow customers to borrow against future paychecks, and which charge an average interest rate of 455 percent on top of fees of $15-18 per $100 loaned. These lenders depend on the big banks' financing for their business. Moreover, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bank, and U.S. Bank, all make their own payday loans too. Talk about double dipping!
12/5/11** The 11 Most Bizarre Foreclosure Stories Of 2011 Huffington Post The housing collapse and subsequent foreclosure crisis has claimed the homes of millions of Americans. But that tragedy may only be matched by the absurdity of *some of its tales.

George Soros: Global Financial System In 'Self-Reinforcing Process Of Disintegration'

Billionaire investor George Soros says that the global financial system is on the brink of collapse.

Huffington Post The United States itself continues to grapple with federal debt that topped $15 trillion for the first time last month,

12/4/11 Squatters claim more than $8 million worth of Tarrant County properties

While county officials were asleep at the wheel, Tarrant County became a magnet this year for an odd assortment of squatters claiming other people's houses all over the area.

Includes filings.

Star Telegram The schemes are hard to unravel because of a loophole in a state law that allows people to suddenly claim supposedly abandoned sections of property if no owner is on the spot to challenge such a claim. The law's intent was to help ranchers and others who had tended vacant land for years, so they could eventually gain legal ownership of the property. That's done by filing a document called an adverse possession affidavit with the county clerk.

Author Michael Hudson Knows The Monster – A Mandelman Matters Podcast Martin Mandelman If you’ve wondered how the banking and financial services industry amassed so much political power over the last 30 years… how all the different pieces of litigation came together to create today’s situation, you need toread this book… and listen to this podcast.

Prosecuting Wall Street


60 Minutes Two high-ranking financial whistleblowers say they tried to warn their superiors about defective and even fraudulent mortgages.

So why haven't the companies or their executives been prosecuted?


Foreclosure battle: A new hope

As Occupy gears up for a foreclosure campaign, state attorneys general show backbone in tussle over bank fraud

Salon Foreclosure lawyers have been pointing out for a while that banks didn’t have the paperwork to do the foreclosures correctly. They were foreclosing on people who weren’t behind, they were foreclosing on people who were supposed to be in loan modifications, and they were foreclosing in the name of the wrong company. There were significant false statements being made in court filings to foreclose. 
12/2/11** CA AG Harris (and others): Where Are the Search Warrants?

Document Fraud Defined

But all you other AGs, most if not all of you have a document factory in your locale. To find them, do what Michael Olenick did: look at the place of notarization in your land records. And then get those search warrants.

Abigail Field Seems to me these crimes, which involve stealing homes and messing up land records and generally asserting a non-existent privilege of being above the law hurt far more people than mobsters generally do.

And if you can’t figure out criminal charges in those fact patterns, either you’re not trying or your legislators better get busy–with you educating them and leading the way–because your Mom will tell you that not one of those fact patterns is ok, they’re all fraudulent.

12/2/11 GMAC Mugs Massachusetts for Insisting on the Rule of Law, Suspends Mortgage Lending in the State

I hope the state and other groups that do substantial financial business with banks make it clear than any effort to punish the state for enforcing the law will be met by moving their accounts to smaller institutions that respect the law.

nakedcapitalism This move by GMAC, now Ally, is remarkably brazen. GMAC has effectively said that Massachusetts must hew to its demands of how to deal with foreclosures. It announced it is withdrawing from mortgage lending in the state in an effort to bring it to heel.

California AG faces tough choice on mortgage deal

The AG's decision is an easy one.  Her duty is to protect the people of her state - not the criminal enterprise swindling money from the state and  destroying the lives of innocent people. MSF

Mercury News The matter poses political risks for Harris, who won the job by a narrow margin last year. If she stays out of the deal, she will displease the White House. If she rejoins it, she will anger the progressives who helped get her elected.


Can You Find the Fraud? The Judge Did. Attorney Mark Stopa At my motion to dismiss hearing today, Citimortgage’s lawyer argued this was irrelevant – whether the Note was specifically indorsed or indorsed in blank, Citimortgage would have standing either way. 

The judge’s view, however, was much different. 
10/20/11 Seems Americans can't be swindled into buying homes, so a...

Bill would encourage foreigners to buy U.S. homes that they will never own because of all the frauds committed by the bank's criminal enterprise.

L.A.Times The bipartisan Senate bill would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on a residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States.

The Greatest Hoax in the History of Money The Fed the Banks the Lies

We now know that the Fed’s secret $7.7 trillion lending program wasn’t just the most massive bank bailout ever seen, and it wasn’t just free money for mega-bankers – though it was certainly both of those things. It was also the greatest hoax in stock market history.

Our Future And it was built on lies. How many? Let us count the ways.

Here’s the first one: The banks paid back all the money back that they were given. No, they didn’t. They paid back the principal on these loans. But by obtaining loans at rates far below market value, we now know they received the equivalent of $13 billion in cash giveaways.

Promoting an idea to our readers This amicus brief may be relevant against foreclosure-mill lawyers for withholding evidence.

BASF and law firm sued for withholding evidence

PUBLIC JUSTICE, P.C. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Decisions Recognizing the Litigation Privilege Demonstrate Its Inapplicability to Acts of Concealment and Destruction of Evidence Aimed at Derailing the Search for Truth.

Not in the U.S.

Iceland Arrests Former CEO Of Failed Bank
While U.S. official's "Joint Task Force" direct their focus to some guy on the corner who made $500. in a loan mod scam.

Business Insider Former director of market trade Jóhannes Baldursson and former broker Ingi Rafn Júlíusson were also taken into custody and between ten and twenty other former employees of Glitnir Bank were also investigated.

originally posted on Nov. 4

“The REMICs have failed! “The REMICs have failed!”

The documents that killed the REMICs may actually help save your home.

If Paul Revere were alive today he would be riding through the town warning “The REMICs have failed!” 
However, the U.S. government and IRS are saying, “Shhhhhh!

Related: Exclusive: IRS weighs tax penalties on mortgage securities

Deadly Clear If the original transfers did not comply with the method and timing for transfer required by the trust documents, then such belated transfers to the trust would be void.

Without valid assignments, attorneys say that standing and jurisdiction issues rise to the top and may be asserted at any time – even first time on appeal.  If the pretender lender did not have a standing to non-judicially foreclose because the assignment of mortgage is void, logically everything thereafter would be a nullity – that could open up a can of worms beyond the pretender lenders’/servicers’ repair.


Press Release

December 6: Occupy Wall Street “Goes Home”-National Day of Action to Stop (and Reverse) Foreclosures

We will take stock of foreclosed properties for the growing Occupy Real Estate Listing Service, so families can reclaim foreclosed homes in their neighborhood — and connect with allies in their communities to defend the human right to a home.

Press Release This action is part of a national kick-off for a new frontier for the occupy movement: the liberation of vacant bank-owned homes for those in need, and the defense of families under threat of foreclosure and eviction.

Actions will take place in more than 20 cities across the country on Tuesday.

We are reclaiming our democracy. And we are reclaiming our homes.


BOMBSHELL: A Tale of Two Attorney Generals…. California and Florida
One Fights For Consumers - One Fights For Banks
Attorney Matt Weidner After AG Bondi took office, foreclosures in foreclosure ravaged Florida jumped 150%!

How fast can Florida get rid of her?


590 face layoff as Foreclosure-Mill woes spread to Pillar

In April, State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued subpoenas to Steven J. Baum PC and Pillar Processing as part of an investigation into Baum's foreclosure practices.

Buffalo News Pillar Processing, a back-office and document-processing firm with close ties to the Steven J. Baum PC foreclosure law firm, will lay off 590 full- and part-time employees at its offices in Amherst.

National Occupy Movement Taking On Foreclosed Homes

ACCE is organizing a “Know Your Rights” teach-in on Saturday, December 3 at 11am at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza, which will include a discussion of our local participation in the national day of action.

OB Rag Four years ago Wall Street bankers crashed our economy after reckless gambling with our homes and our livelihoods. Then they looted our Treasury for bailouts and bonuses while their 1% allies used the economic chaos as an excuse to rob us of the investments we’ve made in helping every Californian achieve the American Dream. 

First Quiet-Title Order in Virginia Voiding Deed of Trust (by default)

A Northern Virginia Circuit Court entered an order granting plaintiff homeowner a default judgment in a quiet title action, voiding the deed of trust.

The redacted Order

BRYLLAW Frustrated by the fact that she could not get to the real party in interest to modify a loan, the homeowner went on the offensive and filed a court action to quiet title to her property and seeking nullification of the deed of trust supposedly encumbering the property with a first mortgage. Subsequently, a bank servicer (posing as an owner) moved to intervene into the case on the grounds that it's ownership rights in the debt and the property would supposedly be at stake. The homeowner successfully opposed the motion and the motion was withdrawn.

Because none of the remaining defendants responded, the homeowner moved for judgment by default, seeking nullification of the deed of trust. The judgment was granted and the court entered an order voiding the deed of trust. This appears to be the first ruling of this kind in Virginia. Similar rulings have been obtained in Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, Texas, and Florida.

New York AG targets banks over foreclosing on U.S. soldiers

 The number of U.S. soldiers whose homes have been illegally seized may be much greater.

CBS News The probe, part of Schneiderman's broader inquiry into allegations of foreclosure fraud in the state, follows the release of data by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency earlier this month indicating that 10 major lenders may have broken the law in foreclosing on roughly 5,000 active-duty military personnel. 

Mortgage Modification Scammers On Notice As THREE Federal Offices Announce Crack Down

How many offices will be cracking down on bank modification scammers?  Zero

The Press Release

Huffington Post The , together with the Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP, announced on Thursday that they will be collaborating on a task force to investigate mortgage modification scams that involve anyone... except banks.

MA Fed Judge: Non-Payment Doesn’t Make Homeowner an Outlaw Without Rights

Decision in Culhane v. Aurora and against MERS

Living lies A STEP FORWARD AND A STEP BACKWARD. THE JUDGE ALLOWED THE FORECLOSURE TO PROCEED DESPITE NUMEROUS SHORTCOMINGS IN THE PROCESS. But the Court’s analysis and conclusions on the issues leading up to its ruling are educational, to say the least, and contain valuable pieces of information that can be used in other jurisdictions. -Neil

Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

Their ill-fated home had sat unoccupied for more than a year, after the family succumbed to pressure from Bank of America, who notified them that their home would be subject to foreclosure because they had missed a mortgage payment. The Kings, who have eight children, knew that they had actually made their payments but gave in to the bank in order to shelter their children from the rocky proceedings.

AOL About a year later, they received a letter from Bank of America telling them the bank had made a mistake.
When they returned to their home, they found a house that has fallen into such disrepair that a contractor estimates that the cost of fixing it exceeds its value.

"It's really awful, it's really awful what was done to us," King told WLUK


Five National Banks Sued by AG Coakley in Connection with Illegal Foreclosures and Loan Servicing

In the complaint the Attorney General alleges these five entities engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of Massachusetts’ law by:

Massachusetts Attorney General
Martha Coakley
Pervasive use of fraudulent documentation in the foreclosure process, including so-called “robo-signing”;
Foreclosing without holding the actual mortgage (“Ibanez” violations);
Corrupting Massachusetts’ land recording system through the use of MERS;
Failing to uphold loan modification promises to Massachusetts homeowners.

Interview: AG Coakley Sues Banks For Foreclosure Practices WBUR The lawsuit is seeking redress for what Coakley calls “unlawful and deceptive” conduct in the foreclosure process, including unlawful foreclosures, false documentation, robo-signing and deceptive practices related to loan modifications.
12/1/11 Marie McDonnell Commends Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Lawsuit Against Banks and MERS Press release "Today, AG Coakley took strong and decisive action to enforce the rule of law and obtain meaningful relief for Massachusetts consumers. As someone who has worked extensively with homeowners who have faced the threat of foreclosure due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness and job loss or because they were intentionally victimized by these banks for profit motives, I feel it is imperative the banks be held responsible for the damage they have caused to people’s lives, their communities and the Commonwealth at large."


Inside Mass. AG Foreclosure Fraud Lawsuit

Requiring each of the Bank Defendants to take all actions necessary to cure defects in title resulting from its initiation of foreclosure proceedings on mortgages secured by land within the Commonwealth where (i) it was not the holder of such mortgages or (ii) it published notices that failed to accurately identify the present holder of the mortgage; and

FDL The lawsuit is very readable. It provides illustrative examples of homes illegally foreclosed on, of homeowners abused by the system. The claims for relief begin on page 54. Coakley asks for $5,000 per violation, and considering the breadth of the lawsuit, those violations could add up. Every illegal transfer under MERS, for example, is one violation. There are additional fees and claims of restitution sought, as well as this:

November 2011

Cracking the Mortgage Assignment Shell Game

Florida Bar The attorneys who pioneered these transactions were comforted that the structure would work by legal conclusions they drew from Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), the Official Comments to the UCC (Comments), and favorable case law. The law was clear enough that attorneys were able to give legal opinions concerning perfection, but as the amount of securitized mortgages reached into the trillions of dollars, the uniform law commissioners decided to revisit Article 9 and make it safe for securitizations by officially sanctioning these practices.
11/30/11** Banks Cash in on Foreclosures in Providence GoLocal The homestead exemption is meant for homeowners who live in their houses. But banks were able to collect this exemption as well if they filed a foreclosure deed after the annual December 31 property tax assessments. The exemption then was not revoked until the next annual assessment.
11/30/11** A Banker Speaks, With Regret

One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers — those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English — and nudged them toward subprime loans.

NY Times “The bigwigs of the corporations knew this, but they figured we’re going to make billions out of it, so who cares? The government is going to bail us out. And the problem loans will be out of here, maybe even overseas.”

 He thinks it is profoundly unfair that troubled banks have been rescued while troubled homeowners have been evicted.


"The Wikipedia of Land Registration Systems"

Pretty amazing opinion in Culhane v Aurora Loan Services of Nebraskaby Judge Young of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Judge Young breaks out a fresh can of whoop-ass on MERS, which wasn't even a litigant.

Prof. Adam Levitin Judge Young seems to assume the note is negotiable. Otherwise it doesn't matter who holds the note. If it's not negotiable, then it's just a plain old contract, and physical possession is irrelevant. Just because I hold the original loan contract between Karl and Soia doesn't mean that I have any right to enforce it if it isn't a negotiable instrument. But it doesn't look like negotiability was raised by the parties; I would think it is in the purview of judicial notice as it is obvious from the face of the instrument, but if the issue isn't flagged for a judge, it is often missed. 
11/30/11 Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie abuses went unchecked

A government watchdog said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac improperly foreclosed on homeowners and cost the government billions of dollars by not holding major banks to strict underwriting requirements.

AP The inspector general report found that Fannie and Freddie did not force banks to repurchase mortgages when they failed to meet strict underwriting requirements. That decision cost the government billions of dollars.

(So when can we expect criminal charges to be filed? - MSF)

11/30/11 Financial Industry's 'Value Added' Significantly Overestimated, Report Contends Huffington Post With everyone now on the hook for shoring up those banks and severe economic hardship being felt across the North Atlantic countries, the debate about "socially useless" aspects of banking has been intense.

US Bank Never Transferred the Notes: Suit

An Oklahoma pension fund filed a
putative class action against U.S. Bank NA on Thursday alleging the bank's shortcuts, including a failure to actually take possession of loan documents underlying mortgage-backed securities

Law360 Because the bank never actually transferred the mortgages notes on hundreds of underlying
mortgages, investors are entitled to unwind the MBS purchase and reclaim their payments, according to the complaint filed by the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System in New York federal court.

Greenberg’s ‘Audacious’ AIG Bailout Suits Stretching U.S. Legal Precedents Bloomberg Greenberg’s Starr International Co. sued the government Nov. 21, calling the public assumption of 80 percent of stock in the insurer in 2008 an unconstitutional “taking” of property that requires $25 billion in compensation.
11/30/11** Deputies Refuse to Evict 103-Year-Old From Home

Lee, who will turn 104 within weeks, is hopeful that she can work out a deal with her lender, Deutsche Bank. A local community activist says the family has been "waging war" with the bank for years.

AOL  The sheriff's deputies and moving company tasked with carrying out the eviction refused to remove the two from their home after seeing centenarian Vita Lee. Despite that, Lee's daughter was rushed to the hospital, perhaps because of the stressful circumstances of the planned eviction.
11/30/11 Holding Wall Street Accountable

with Peter Wallison, Harvey Pitt, Gretchen Morgenson and Michael Greenberger

Diane Rehm Show A federal judge has rejected a proposed SEC settlement with Citigroup: What the ruling means for efforts to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.


Mich. County could join suit against mortgage registration giant MERS Boyne City Gazette “They ripped off our county,” said Charlevoix County Register of Deeds Charlene Novotny. “It’s the biggest shyster I’ve seen since I’ve worked here and the government of the United States of America went along with it.


Nueces County, Texas could join lawsuit over lost filing fees caller Nueces County could join a group of Texas counties suing Bank of America and MERS over unpaid courthouse filing fees.

Victims of Robo-Signing: Fight the Machine! AOL There is no word yet as to how much individual homeowners may recoup, nor is there any indication that foreclosed homeowners who fall outside the 2009-2010 window will receive a similar deal. And while this may be a step in the right direction for homeowners wronged by their lenders during the housing bubble, it falls far short of getting to the root of the problem. Robo-signing may have been a widespread phenomenon as far back as the mid-1990s,according to The Associated Press.

Occupy’s next frontier: Foreclosed homes
A campaign to defend families from evictions and protest foreclosure fraud launches next week
Salon Occupy Wall Street is promising a “big day of action” Dec. 6 that will focus on the foreclosure crisis and protest “fraudulent lending practices,” “corrupt securitization,” and illegal evictions by banks.

Score One for a 96-Year-Old Victim of the Mortgage Predators

Washington and her Alzheimer's-afflicted son, Hobert (now deceased), signed mortgage papers in late 2006 only to learn afterward that the monthly payment and fees were far larger than they had understood.

Includes Order

Mother Jones Lillie Mae Washington, the 96-year-old woman whose foreclosure nightmare Mother Jones covered in August, has won a crucial battle in her multiyear court fight. Last week, a federal judge granted Washington's request for a temporary restraining order preventing a mortgage servicer, Ocwen Loan Servicing, from foreclosing on her home in Los Angeles.
11/29/11** This FDIC-Sponsored Scheme Lets Loss-Share Lenders Get Rich Off Foreclosure

In the event of foreclosure, the FDIC would cover from 80%-95% of losses, using the original loan amount, and not the current balance.

Business Insider By perverting the terms and spirit of loss-share agreements, these lenders are reaping windfalls while prolonging the foreclosure crisis, depressing real-estate values and sticking taxpayers with the bill.

It becomes readily apparent why OneWest Bank has no intention of conducting loan modifications. Any modification means that OneWest would lose out on all this additional profit.


Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie abuses went unchecked

\So what are the GSE's going to do for the people who suffered wrongful foreclosures??? MSF

CBS News A government watchdog said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac improperly foreclosed on homeowners and cost the government billions of dollars by not holding major banks to strict underwriting requirements.


Report charges FHFA for ignoring rep and warranty concerns at Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency failed to review certain concerns over problematic mortgage buyback requests Freddie Mac made against Bank of America

HosuingWire The examiner raised concerns that the settlement was struck for many loans that hadn't foreclosed yet but were inevitably doomed to. And because Freddie only sent repurchase claims back on loans that completed the foreclosure process in the first two to three years, the settlement with BofA would have left the bank off the hook for the majority of the problem mortgages.

Bank settles subprime loans case for $52m

Deal will aid 700-plus struggling homeowners
Boston Globe A Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary will pay $52 million to settle claims related to its role in the state’s “subprime mortgage meltdown,’’ Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday, an agreement that will benefit more than 700 borrowers in Massachusetts.

Dylan Ratigan: To Eric Holder – A Simple Way To Prosecute Bank Crimes

Bank of America isn’t admitting anything, and the Eric Holder’s Department of Justice isn’t making them admit anything.

nakedcapitalism the SCRA is a simple law with teeth; it carries real jail time, and the parties have already confessed to the crime. Here’s Section 303(d)(1) of that law, which spells out penalties. (PDF)

(1) MISDEMEANOR.—A person who knowingly makes or causes to be made a sale, foreclosure, or seizure of property that is prohibited by subsection (c), or who knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Are Remotely-Processed Mortgage Assignments Another Smoking Gun?

Edward DeMarco, head of the FHFA that oversees the GSEs, Stern’s largest client, testified to Congress a couple weeks ago he was “puzzled” why crooked lawyers hadn’t yet been disciplined, a clear reference to Stern.

Michael Olenick Robosigning is not a victimless crime. The reason we have careful, document-intensive processes for handling real property is that it is the foundation of a nation’s wealth. A home is most families’ biggest asset. The practice of having independent parties verify the validity of signatures dates back to the 1677 Statute of Frauds. It was implemented because the lax evidentiary standards of the early 1600s allowed rich people to hire experts who would swear falsely in court about the ownership of property. The result was court-sanctioned theft and rising disorder.


Tracy Lawrence, Notary Public Who Blew The Whistle On Massive Foreclosure Fraud, Found Dead

Earlier this month, Lawrence came forward and admitted to the Nevada Attorney General's Office that she notarized 25,000 fraudulent documents for Lender Processing Services, a Florida company used by most major banks to process home repossessions. 

Huffington Post Lawrence would have faced up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine earlier Monday for her guilty plea Nov. 17 to one criminal charge of notarizing the signature of a person not in her presence.

Lawrence also accused two loan officers of allegedly running the massive robo-signing scheme, saying they forged signatures on tens of thousands of default notices

11/29/11 HISTORY

The Man Who Busted the ‘Banksters’

Smithsonian The public was just beginning to get a taste for the retribution that Pecora was dishing out. In June 1933, his image appeared on the cover of Time magazine, seated at a Senate table, a cigar in his mouth. Pecora’s hearings had coined a new phrase, “banksters” for the finance “gangsters” who had imperiled the nation’s economy, and while the bankers and financiers complained that the theatrics of the Pecora commission would destroy confidence in the U.S. banking system, Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana said, “The best way to restore confidence in our banks is to take these crooked presidents out of the banks and treat them the same as [we] treated Al Capone.”

Fed Faces New Scrutiny for Trillions in Assistance to Banks After Crisis PBS Newshour A report published Monday raises new questions about money that the Federal Reserve provided to banks in the wake of the financial crisis. Judy Woodruff discusses the report with Bob Ivry of Bloomberg News.
11/29/11 5,000 Active-Duty Military Foreclosures Reviewed for Violations of Law FDL Most of the reviews are being carried out by “independent” entities selected and paid for by the banks. And the OCC simply doesn’t have a track record for forceful regulation.

But Shahien Nasiripour has found at least one instance where the OCC appears to be getting the facts straight, uncovering an epidemic of wrongful military foreclosures that is more widespread than at first thought.

People v First American

We conclude that federal law does not preclude the Attorney General from pursuing these claims against defendants



New York

This appeal arises out of an action commenced by the New York State Attorney General against defendants The First American Corporation and eAppraiseIT, seeking injunctive and monetary relief as well as civil penalties for violations [*2]of New York's Executive Law and Consumer Protection Act (see Executive Law § 63 [12]; General Business Law § 349) as well as the common law. The primary issue we are called upon to determine is whether federal law preempts these claims alleging fraud and violations of real estate appraisal independence rules. 

Federal Judge Pimp-Slaps the SEC Over Citigroup Settlement

Judge Rakoff's Opinion

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

Just a quick update on a big piece of news that came through yesterday. In one of the more severe judicial ass-whippings you’ll ever see, federal Judge Jed Rakoff rejected a slap-on-the-wrist fraud settlement the SEC had cooked up for Citigroup.
11/29/11 Dear Judge Rakoff: Thank You for Defending the Public Interest Abigail Field You really take a strong stand on defending the public interest, and that’s something tragically rare among our branches of government in recent years.

Hang 'em High

Assured Guaranty’s New EMC Mortgage Complaint

Here is the amended complaint in Assured Guaranty Corp. v. EMC Mortgage Corp., 10-cv-05367, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Bloomberg's Article

BerNews and Bloomberg “The truth is now coming directly from Bear Stearns’ own former employees,” the insurer said in the complaint. “Seven confidential witnesses who were responsible for underwriting at EMC each have affirmed that they faced intense pressure to approve the purchase of high volumes of loans for Bear Stearns’ securitizations without adequate review.”
11/29/11 Flipping houses in a post-bubble world WBEZ As the housing market has tanked, investors have discovered new ways to make quick profits. We examine how some Realtors have been buying and quickly reselling distressed properties, in some cases, possibly to the detriment of taxpayers.
11/29/11 Hank Paulson Tipped Off The Goldman-Led "Plunge Protection Team" About Fannie Bankruptcy 7 Weeks In Advance Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

Today, BusinessWeek's Michael Serrill and Jonathan Neumann have released ablockbuster report based on a FOIA response by the Treasury, which proves that in America rules are only for little people, that this country has been a banana republic for years, that Animal Farm was spot on, and gives excruciating detail of how Hank Paulson tipped off a select group of Goldman diaspora hedge fund managers about the eventual failure of Fannie and Freddie
11/29/11 Mortgage Servicers: Getting Away with the Perfect Crime?

The criminal charges could have been filed in the 1980s.

Without prosecutions, there's nothing keeping fraud from becoming a standard business practice.

Matt Stoller A lack of criminal prosecutions means that unethical business practices like this one drive out ethical business practices. After all, why should a bank hire an ethical default servicer that charges a high price for its product when it can pay nothing to one that simply extracts from investors and homeowners?
11/29/11 Some lenders resist foreclosure-prevention buybacks

Worry a program to prevent foreclosures will prompt other homeowners to stop paying mortgages
Boston Globe Gregoria Rivera tried to save her home in Lynn, but her lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co., rejected the repurchase deal.

Former Real Estate Agent Guilty of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

Each count that Seeley was found guilty of is punishable by a maximum of 20 years' incarceration and a $500,000 fine.

Mortgage Servicing News A former Pennsylvania real estate agent has been convicted of four counts each of wire fraud and money laundering for defrauding more than $6.2 million from 14 mortgage lenders and 34 homeowners.
11/28/11 Should the Courts Appoint an Equitable Receiver for Bank of America? Institutional Risk The path of economic interest is strewn with casualties, what some analysts call collateral damage. In this issue, we look at the who is looking out for whom and ask the question of whether or not something other than the relatively narrow interests of central government and corporate management need to be taken into account in the greater scheme of restoring confidence in the financial system

Occupy Santa Cruz asks County Supervisors to halt home foreclosures and prevent bank fraud

Occupy Santa Cruz has gathered 24 hours a day everyday since October 6th currently occupying the county courthouse steps on Water Street.

IndyBay The financially strapped and stressed out homeowner, unable to afford a lawyer, does not have the benefit of a hearing, and is unable to present their case to a judge. Consequently homeowners automatically lose the rights to their property. 


Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C.

Judge Rakoff's Opinion

NY Times “An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous,Judge Rakoff wrote in the case, S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets. “In any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth.”
11/28/11 How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word Bloomberg The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information -- to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

Real vs. Personal Property: Lender Screw-Up Leaves It Holding The Bag On Voided Mortgage Purportedly Secured By Manufactured Home Home Equity Theft Reporter On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed. The court noted that, under Sections 522(g)(1) and 547of the Bankruptcy Code, a Chapter 13 debtor may avoid a lien if, among other things, it resulted from an “involuntary” transfer that occurred within the ninety-day period that precedes the filing of a bankruptcy petition.


U.S. Foreclosure Fraud in a Nutshell, How Average Joe's Home Was Stolen Market Oracle The lesson: if you have record title to a mortgage but cannot show that you have possession of and/or entitlement to enforce the promissory notes that the mortgage secures, you lose.

This is true for 62 million securitized loans.

11/27/11** Secret Fed Loans Helped Banks Net $13 Billion Bloomberg The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

60 Minutes

A reporter's story: Finding homeless families

"Guess what? It's getting worse."

CBS 60 Minutes Those were words that CBS News producer Nicole Young didn't expect to hear about poverty in central Florida. After all, last year Nicole worked with Scott Pelley on a "60 Minutes" piece about families in that region who had lost their jobs, lost their homes, and moved into highway motels.

Shrinking State Court Budgets Further Hamper Unrepresented Litigants’ Ability to Access Justice NY Times “We are now at the point where funding failures are not merely causing inconvenience, annoyances and burdens; the current funding failures are resulting in the failure to deliver basic justice.
11/26/11 Foreclosure-Mill collapse throws NY foreclosures a curve
Thousands of Baum foreclosures in NY limbo

It is unclear whether criminal charges will result from the AG’s probe.

New york Post One attorney suggested that other large foreclosure firms — which are the only ones to take on this size caseload — would be leery to step into the void left by Baum’s closure.




Coming Home to Roost – Congressional Oversight Panel, “Banks cannot prove they own the loans…”


Deutsche Bank v. Holden

Deadly Clear Like most of the mortgage loan documents-to-trust manipulation, Holden’s assignment is 5 years too late. The REMIC has failed. 


Hopefully, the court will mount the stallion of integrity and ride through Akron alerting the good folks of Summit County that Governments can no longer tolerate the use of misrepresentation, opaque, and confusing language in drafting, maintaining and executing financial instruments.


Federal courts: Phenix City woman pleads guilty to lying to Secret Service about bank fraud scheme
Horne faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine
Ledger-Enquirer A Phenix City woman has pleaded guilty to lying to the U.S. Secret Service six years ago while the agency was investigating a bank fraud scheme at a mortgage company in Columbus.
11/25/11** Banking System Rotten to the Core William Black Phd The following is a transcript of a recent speech given by Professor William Black on an Economics Panel regarding the fraudulent roots of our current crisis and the urgent need for criminal prosecutions among major US banks.

Why No Bank Executives Have Gone to Jail nakedcapitalism PBS interviews Yves Smith of

FANNIE AND FREDDIE IMPOSED $150 MILLION IN PENALTIES ON BANKS FORECLOSING TOO SLOWLY Rep. Elijah E. Cummings Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Edward DeMarco requesting information about $150 million in fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac imposed on mortgage servicing companies last year for failing to conduct foreclosures fast enough.

Unmistakably April Charney – A Mandelman Matters Podcast

Mandelman Matters Podcast If there was a Hall of Fame for the foreclosure crisis, and perhaps one day there will be, there is no question that attorney April Charney would be one of the first to be indoctrinated. 

Whether you’re a homeowner fighting to keep your home… or a lawyer who represents homeowners in foreclosure, here’s an opportunity to hear what April has to say about where we’ve been, where we are today, and where she thinks we might be tomorrow…

11/24/11 Foreclosure Justice Advocates are Thankful in 2011 Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq.,

 Fraud Digest

MSFraud greatly appreciates Lynn for sharing her research and many skills to help expose the largest financial crimes in history that continue to adversely affect millions of people around the globe. 
11/23/11 Massachusetts Foreclosures Increase After Bevilacqua case Mortgage Servicing News “A rise in foreclosures is troubling for distressed homeowners, but in this case it's a positive signal that the backlog of foreclosures on bank's books is working through the system,” Warren said. “The real estate market cannot fully recover until foreclosures have been dealt with one way or another.”


PMI Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, cites subsidiaries’ seizure by Arizona

PMI said bond holders’ ability to enforce their rights under the notes has been halted because of the bankruptcy filing.

Washington Post PMI has been able to sell profitable policies in recent years, but the gains from those sales hasn’t outpaced losses from policies sold before the housing market collapsed. As flagging home prices have strapped borrowers, the company has had to pay more claims.

CUMMINGS CALLS FOR UNREDACTED COPIES OF “ENGAGEMENT LETTERS” BETWEEN MORTGAGE SERVICING COMPANIES AND PRIVATE CONSULTANTS Rep. Elijah E. Cummings “Although I am encouraged that some information is being made public today, our Committee should issue subpoenas to obtain full, unredacted copies of these documents so we can ensure that homeowners are being fully and appropriately compensated. Six months is too long to wait to conduct oversight of mortgage servicing companies that illegally foreclosed against homeowners.


How the Banks are out to use the OCC to Hide their Crimes against Homeowners

If you look at what little information is available about the process, it smells just as bad as the entire MERS business model. Like MERS, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy. The homeowner is asked to strip naked by providing all manner of personal information, and to do so to some nameless, faceless reviewer, with whom no personal contact is available, other than a “final” written report.

Chink in the Armor Recently, a relative asked my opinion on whether to consider participation. Given that I have more than 20 years of trial experience under my belt,  the answer was a resounding “run away from this program as fast as you can.”

The program is not available to everyone victimized by the banks’ fraudulent actions, and there is no promise that any compensation will be granted, nor how it is computed, and the “reviewers” are mostly multinational accounting firms like Deloitte, Touche, who have long been in bed with the major banking institutions.


Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Bank Break-In Case Against JP Morgan, Lender Processing Services

Get this: JP Morgan had NO legal relationship to Jacobini at the time of the break ins. It has filed a robo-signed assignment of mortgage that post-dates the break-in. The practical implication is that random financial institutions are being allowed to barge into people’s properties, and the only recourse they have is a slow, costly adjudication.

The Order

nakedcapitalism If you read the order, the judge clearly does not buy the bank’s position that it had a broad right to enter the house. The judge looks to the limitations put on the banks’ right to gain access and dismissed JP Morgan’s motion to dismiss, except with regards to a claim regarding good faith and fair dealing (a motion generally included in most suits related to contracts but seldom meaningful on a practical level). 

The logic of the ruling suggests this case is not looking good for the bank side.


Feds shut down dozens of online mortgage relief scams CNN Hundreds of con artists have been taking advantage of victims through online advertisements on search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo! promising to help homeowners modify their mortgages through the government-run program known as the Home Affordable Modification Program (or HAMP).
11/23/11 Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators

Wells Submission on behalf of Michael W. Perry - former CEO of IndyMac

NY Times In the whodunit of the financial crisis, Wall Street executives have pointed the blame at all kinds of parties. But a new defense has been mounted by a bank executive: my regulator told me to do it.

Local TV station tackles mortgage mess as investigative reporter discovers he’s a victim, too

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office confirmed the reporter does not own his home because of bogus signatures and improper filings on his home’s title.

Poynter Knapp was interviewing attorney Tisha Black, considered one of Vegas’ premier foreclosure lawyers, when she told him that “9 of every 10 people she sees who bought homes out of foreclosure have some kind of problem with their chain of title.

Knapp said he wondered if she was exaggerating and mentioned that he had purchased a foreclosed home from a bank. Within a few minutes, she handed over a stack of papers showing the reporter that he had been taken in by the very fraud that he was investigating. 
Multi-part Series


Desert Underwater: Progress Made as Residents Fight to Keep Homes

No matter how big and powerful the banks are, persistence and hard work by individuals who have the guts to stand up to them can make a difference.

  Legal Aid operates a self help center at the regional justice center. Anyone involved in a legal dispute can get information on how to navigate the system. In addition, they run a free class every week at UNLV which teaches homeowners everything about the foreclosure process.

OCCUPY MOVEMENT BURGEONS ACROSS STATE AMIDST NATIONWIDE CRACKDOWN Yes Weekly “People are being foreclosed on without any time for law enforcement to investigate who really holds these mortgages,” participant Dave Reed said. “We’ve been talking about putting a moratorium on foreclosures. There is massive, massive fraud.”

Attorney Generals Balk at Proposed Deal 8NewsNow "You know what? From my perspective, don't come into my state and take advantage of these folks and think you're going to be able to walk away from it," Nevada AG Masto said.
11/23/11 Debit-Fee Review, ‘Swipe' Suit, MF Global: Compliance BusinessWeek Banks and their consultants, under the OCC's oversight, will determine who was harmed, the extent of any financial injury and the amount of compensation.

The move is part of a settlement between the biggest mortgage-servicing firms, the OCC, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
11/22/11 Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators

A new defense has been mounted by a bank executive: my regulator told me to do it.

“There’s a lot more than what’s been written, but I can’t talk. I could go to jail.”

Gretchem Morgenson

NY Times

This unusual rationale is presented by the bank executive in one of the few fraud suits brought against a mortgage banking official in the aftermath of the financial crisis — the one filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Michael W. Perry, former chief executive of IndyMac Bancorp, which failed spectacularly in mid-2008.

Nevada Notary Pleads Guilty In 'Robo-Signing' Case That Revealed Thousands Of Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents National Notary Assoc. In a statement, the Nevada Chief Deputy Attorney General John Kelleher noted that the case actually involved “tens of thousands of fraudulent documents” filed with the County recorder’s office from 2005 through 2008.

Collin County District Judge Suzanne Wooten found guilty of bribery

Update: Collin County District Judge Suzanne Wooten sentenced to 10 years probation with full pay!

Dallas News A state district judge was convicted Tuesday after a two-week trial that spelled out how she accepted money to finance her 2008 campaign in exchange for future favorable rulings in court.


Harry White, who with Adrienne McFarland prosecuted the Wooten case as members of the Texas Attorney General's staff, promised that he would also bring the Carys and Spencer to trial in relation to the same case.

11/22/11 Underwriter uncovered three frauds in one loan, suit claims Michael Hudson


During the nine months she worked at the branch in 2005 and 2006, her suit alleged, managers used a variety of methods to get suspicious loans approved.

One manager’s frequent refrain, she said, was that she needed to approve a loan today because she’d declined one the day before: “You owe me.”

Nevada Lawmakers Propose Solutions

U.S. Representative Joe Heck, a Republican, wants to come at this from the other side. He's writing a law that would give homeowners a second chance by repairing the credit that was damaged by foreclosure or a short sale. That would mean they would have a chance to once again own a home, something that at present looks nearly impossible for many of them.

8NewsNow Businessmen and political candidates are urging Washington to stay out of the foreclosure crisis and let troubled homeowners sink or swim on their own.

"There are people in this country who think we need to hit rock bottom," she said. "How much further down do they want us to go? We have people who were middle class until a couple of months ago or a year ago, and they can't afford to stay in their homes. It's outrageous."

Stop wrongful foreclosures. Protect affordable housing. Keep responsible homeownership opportunities available.

NCLR In the Latino community, one in six is either at imminent risk of losing their home or has already lost it. This disturbing national crisis must be addressed immediately. 

Put BOA on the endangered species list. Whatever hope they had to survive is being diminished by their arrogance.

Living Lies [I]t is the equivalent of BOA declaring by fiat that it is the creditor when they never loaned any money nor did they buy the loans, and then naming itself as the “independent trustee” on the deed of trust. Plenty of problems with that scenario. Whoever takes over that function will have a Madoff-like mess on their hands potentially requiring reversal of tens of thousands of foreclosures.
11/22/11** Whistleblowers ignored, punished by lenders, dozens of former employees say

 63 former employees at 20 financial institutions who say they were fired or demoted for reporting fraud or refusing to commit fraud. 

In many cases, the former employees say, management encouraged the fraud and protected the fraudsters.

Michael Hudson


Many whistleblowers who worked inside major banks counter that it was fraud by lenders — not borrowers — that was the driving force in the growth of toxic loans that caused the mortgage meltdown.

“Fraud is fraud,” Parker said. “It’s fraud if someone changes information in a loan file without the borrower’s knowledge or does anything deceptive to get a loan approved and passed through. How can you say those are not criminal acts?”

Loan Modification News – California AG Addresses Mortgages Examiner Borrowers being exploited by unscrupulous lenders and loan modification scam artists, banks giving homeowners nightmarish mortgage modification experiences (including the dual track practice of pursuing foreclosure proceedings while hindering loan modification efforts). And all the while, the avalanche of foreclosures in California, and indeed across the United States, shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

MBS Litigation Update: Why BofA Will Lose the Loss Causation Argument and Wish It Had Settled with MBIA

MBIA's Memorandum in Support of SJ and to Strike Defenses

Countrywide Memorandum in Opposition

Subprime Shakeout The purchase and sale contracts for these loans specified that if any of these reps and warranties were breached with respect to a particular loan, and the breach materially and adversely impacted the value of the loan or the interest in the loan of the investor or bond insurer, the originating bank would have to buy back the loan at par (the original face value).

Guess Who is Leading the Review of 4.5 Million Criminally-Charged Foreclosures?

A Foreclosure-Mill Attorney!

FRS website

4closurefraud FRS’s Director of Operations and Training,Miriam Mendieta, Esq., is a nationally recognized industry expert who served as the managing attorney for Foreclosure-Mill David J. Stern where she was responsible for the oversight of all the aspects of foreclosure and bankruptcy related services.

Police arrest 15 at Massachusetts foreclosure protest Reuters Fifteen people were arrested at a sit-in against home foreclosures at a Bank of America branch in Massachusetts on Monday, while Tea Party supporters demonstrated across the street, organizers and police said.
11/21/11 BAC Clash With Fannie Mae Over Loan Buyback Escalates B2C You probably thought you’d heard the last of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae after they sparked off the mortgage lending crisis and basically received government bailouts to stay afloat back in 2008.  But the truth is that these two major mortgage institutions are still around and apparently, at least one of them is still causing problems.  
11/21/11 Foreclosure-Mill Steven J. Baum  Shutting Down Bloomberg Steven J. Baum PC, one of the largest law firms specializing in home foreclosures in New York state, is shutting down after losing business from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

New York AG is investigating the Baum firm.



Vacating a Foreclosure Judgment for Lack of Notice

Established case law provides that since my client did not receive notice of the withdrawal of her counsel or the subsequent summary judgment hearing, the Final Judgment of Foreclosure must be vacated.

Attorney Mark Stopa My client hired an attorney to represent her in a foreclosure case.  For whatever reason, the lawyer withdrew as counsel.  Thereafter, the bank procured a Final Judgment of Foreclosure. 
11/21/11 BofA's Clash With Fannie Escalates Over Loan Buyback Stance Bloomberg Bank of America Corp. told Fannie Mae it won't cooperate with the U.S. mortgage firm's new stance on loan buybacks, setting up the lender for a potential surge in claims and penalties.

11/20/11 Under Pressure From Feds, Google Shuts Down Bogus Mortgage Ads

Google says it has suspended deals with more than 500 advertisers

ConsumerAffairs Consumer groups have complained for years of the proliferation of ads for scams and outright frauds on Google -- and at least one organization is demanding Google donate its proceeds from the tainted ads to consumers who have lost their homes. 


Exclusive: Lobbying Firm's Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street (VIDEO)

The Memo

Up w/Chris Hayes A well-known Washington lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by MSNBC.


Job Title: Criminal Investigator

Agency: Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency

USAJOBS Conducting Title 18 criminal investigations involving working with Assistant United States Attorneys, testifying before Grand Juries, writing and swearing to Search and Arrest warrants involving sensitive or complex mortgage related frauds where fraud is committed against and by financial institutions. 


Soured on Saurman v. MERS

Unfortunately, it's a terrible opinion.

Residential Funding Co. v. Saurman 

Prof. Adam Levitin To reach this conclusion, the Michigan Supreme Court had to conclude that MERS had an interest in the indebtedness--that is an interest in the note.  MERS, however, expressly disclaims any interest in the note. So it took some acrobatics and legerdemain and outright tautology to get no to mean yes. Here's how they did it:
11/18/11 Resurrect the Resolution Trust Corp.

(Those familiar with the RTC all claim it was corrupt to its core. MSF)

WSJ There is something we can do to resolve the problem. We should move decisively to create a new, temporary resolution mechanism. There are precedents -- such as the Resolution Trust Corporation of the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as the Home Owners Loan Corporation of the 1930s. This new governmental body would be able to buy up the troubled paper at fair market values, where possible keeping people in their homes and businesses operating.
11/18/11 Steven J. Baum Weighs In After Uproar NY Times “Mr. Nocera — You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC. It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”
11/18/11 Is Bank of America Gambling on Resurrection (or Is BoA Holding the US Hostage)?

 If BoA isn't a zombie, it's the next thing to it. 

Prof. Adam Levitin We've seen the disastrous results of banks gambling on resurrection.  That was the S&L crisis. Rising interest rates in the late '70s decapitalized the S&Ls as the S&Ls' assets were long-term, fixed rate mortgages that paid lower rates than the S&Ls had to pay depositors.  The S&Ls, however, got a pliant Congress to agree to massive deregulation that allowed them to expand into all sorts of new business lines, like commercial real estate and race horses and junk bonds. Insolvent S&Ls went chasing high risk/high return projects.  The result was that the tab for taxpayers to fix the S&L mess was significantly greater.
11/18/11 The Heirs of Karl Lleywellyn: the PEB Report, Green Cheese, and the Hijacking of American Law (Part I)

(Part II)

(Part III)

Prof. Adam Levitin First, it is important to understand that the PEB report is not law. It is not authoritative or binding. The PEB does not determine what the law is or what the Uniform Commercial Code means or does not mean. The report is merely dicta on dicta from a completely nonrepresentative, politically unresponsive body that includes some patently conflicted members.

Dear AG Masto: Thank you For Your Courage, Leadership & Common Sense

To date, no other law enforcer has been willing to act on the obvious: the banks’ document fraud is criminal.

Abigail Field Thank you so much for flatly stating the obvious, that there’s no banker exemption to the law. These days it really feels like there is.

I, Robosigner… A three act play about affidavit fraud in AG Masto’s Nevada Martin Mandelman The bankers all said the robo-signings were just isolated incidents. Doesn’t seem right to me, in fact it looks to me as if foreclosing legally is the isolated incident.
I do know this for sure… we just need more like AG Masto… quite a few more.

Foreclosures: A Crisis in Legal Representation Melanca Clark with Maggie Barron

Brennan Center for Justice

The nation's massive foreclosure crisis is also, at its heart, a legal crisis. Many homeowners are losing their homes because they lack the ability to navigate the landscape of our lending laws. The Legal Services Corporation ("LSC"), the major federal source of funding for civil representation for the poor, reports that nonprofit legal services programs across the nation are "besieged with requests for foreclosure assistance." Too few people are ever able to obtain qualified legal guidance.
11/18/11 Bank Of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley Could Be Downgraded When S&P Issues Ratings Within Weeks Huffington Post Standard & Poor's plans to update its credit ratings for the world's 30 biggest banks within three weeks and may well mete out a few downgrades in the process, possibly surprising battered global bond markets.

Processor: No wrongful foreclosures tied to Nevada indictments 

Vegas Inc. If the (foreclosure) Notice of Default is fraudulent or filed in violation of the law, it calls into question the legality of any subsequent foreclosure, as well as any subsequent sale or transfer of title following the foreclosure.” - AG spokesperson
11/18/11 HARP 2.0 rules, and who will benefit
Some limitations lifted on revamped government refinance program
MarketWatch Lew Sichelman, a nationally syndicated columnist who has been covering the housing market for more than 40 years, responds to readers’ questions on real estate.

Retired police captain arrested at Occupy Wall Street Daily Kos Lewis has been a part of the protests for several days. Here is a video of Lewis being interviewed by a fellow protester the day after Occupy Wall Street was forcibly evicted from Zuccotti Park. In the video, Lewis promises that "as soon as I'm let out of jail, I'll be right back here, and you'll have to arrest me again."
11/17/11 California's Welfare Families Paid Banks Millions In Fees For Public Assistance Huffington Post Across much of the nation, administering relief programs such as unemployment benefits and emergency rental assistance has become an increasingly substantial profit center for banks and other financial services firms, according to analysts.
11/17/11 Foreclosure mill getting peppered NY Post These two developments are going to bring the demise of the Baum law firm, and it can’t come quickly enough," said consumer bankruptcy lawyer Linda Tirelli of White Plains.

Matt Stoller: Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto Cracks Open the Financial Crisis

Learn the name Catherine Cortez Masto, because she just took a big leap in front of every public servant in the country in terms of restoring faith in government.

nakedcapitalism These would be the only charges served involving the housing crisis and its link with the structurally corrupt securitization chain so far. By itself, these indictments signify that the fraudulent foreclosure game is over for the big mortgage servicers in Nevada, which is the center of the foreclosure epidemic. It says the rule of law matters, in at least one corner of the country.

New Dept. of Justice office to help Delawareans facing foreclosure WGMD Homeowners facing foreclosure throughout Delaware are now receiving vital assistance thanks to a new law championed by Attorney General Beau Biden and legislative leaders. 
11/17/11 Woman Gets Jail For Food-Stamp Fraud; Wall Street Fraudsters Get Bailouts

All of these companies have been repeatedly dragged into court for fraud, and not one individual defendant has ever been forced to give back anything like a significant portion of his ill-gotten gains.

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

Here’s another thing that boggles my mind: You get busted for drugs in this country, and it turns out you can make yourself ineligible to receive food stamps.

But you can be a serial fraud offender like Citigroup, which has repeatedly been dragged into court for the same offenses and has repeatedly ignored court injunctions to abstain from fraud, and this does not make you ineligible to receive $45 billion in bailouts and other forms of federal assistance.


Foreclosure Fraud: First Criminal Charges Filed In Nevada Over Robo-Signing

Nevada's is the first criminal indictment since last year's discovery of the nationwide "robo-signing" scandal, in which mortgage servicing companies and banks were processing foreclosures en masse at lightning speed by signing documents they neglected to review and falsifying information.

  The Nevada attorney general has indicted two midlevel staffers at a mortgage document company, Lender Processing Services, on a whopping 606 counts of felony and gross misdemeanor for directing employees to forge signatures and falsely notarize documents used to illegally foreclose on Nevada homeowners.


Corrupt government


In Rick Perry's Texas, A Safe Haven For High-Interest Payday Lenders


Also see: Perry bet big on tax grants to subprime lenders

Huffington Post Perry has proven a reliable ally to one powerful local industry that has successfully exploited weak regulations to improve its own fortunes at the expense of its customers, assert critics: the payday lending business. These businesses populate strip malls throughout urban and rural Texas, charging hefty fees that effectively mean interest rates reaching 1,100 percent.
11/17/11** California Deserves a Better Deal

By settling now, and for so little, the attorneys general could be leaving potentially hundreds of billions of dollars on the table. No wonder the banks want a deal so badly.

Rep. Maxine Waters [t]o address all the negative equity in California, the settlement would have to provide $214 billion to our state alone. How big is the settlement currently on the table? $30 billion. And that's for the entire country. 

This isn't a settlement; it's a bailout for the banks.said Waters


Michigan Supremes Rule MERS Can Foreclose, Will Create A Nightmare For Foreclosure Mills

If I seem a bit overjoyed about this ruling, its because the Michigan Supreme Court just made things easier for the homeowner to drag out the foreclosure process and increased the chance of getting their notes dismissed.

Includes links to decisions.

To see 2-page Order only.

MFI-Miami Contrary to what some people may initially think, this is not a devastating defeat for the homeowner.  This ruling actually makes MERS more vulnerable.   MERS’ power according to the Michigan Supreme Court is now limited to being nothing more than an agent for the lender.  This role is dictated in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) that governs the Mortgage Backed Security.   In other words, it will force the foreclosure mills into arguments about securities law they do not understand and force them to admit things in court that will damage the credibility of their clients.



Two county registers of deeds filed a class action lawsuit Monday on behalf of Michigan’s 83 counties alleging that the MERS owes millions of dollars in property title transfer taxes.

Class action lawsuit filed against MERS over unpaid taxes

Hertel alleges the company has created a “shell game” designed to dodge taxes.

Foreclosure firms also implicated

Michigan Messenger MERS has transformed the entire mortgage industry into a giant shell game”, said Hertel. “The current servicer of a mortgage is no longer a matter of public record, and once a property is foreclosed, the real games begin, as deeds and other paperwork are filed in such a way to avoid transfer taxes at every step. Property ownership is clouded, and the simple task of collecting transfer tax has been turned into this legal battle, largely because of the involvement of MERS.”




Don’t Buy Mortgage Industry Hype on Mortgage Modifications

The overwhelming majority were either cosmetic or detrimental to the borrower. 

More typical is the loan modification on page 24058/951, recorded Sept. 3, 2010. That loan started had an unpaid principal balance of $284,000. The servicer/trust combo, Saxon Mortgage and Deutsche Bank, capitalized all past due amounts, unpaid interest, and unpaid fees — which often include larded-up fraudulent foreclosure fees — into a new mortgage, adding $62,337.39 to the principal and writing a new loan for $346,264.58.

That is, people were essentially waiving their best foreclosure defense — that the servicer or trust does not have standing to foreclose because they did not lend money. In exchange they appear to be receiving .. nothing.

Michael Olenick It quickly became apparent that while theses modifications are, at best, worthless, and more often than not border on an extension of the same predatory practices that resulted in the original mortgages.

These modifications are to mortgages as vultures are to predators, another opportunity to take one last bite out of people trying to keep their homes. Banks are “modifying” lots of loans, but to terms even more favorable to banks.

None of these modifications, which capitalized garbage fees — including foreclosure fees so outlandish that a Florida judge went on a tirade about without any borrower complaining — are atypical. I simply grabbed a few from various quarters at the beginning of 2009-2010. I could review a larger sample size, but that would be a waste of time: the pattern was clear.


Scam Artists Prey on Struggling Homeowners

Read the Criminal Complaint

Read the Affidavit in Support

8NewsNow "We have a handle on the loan modification scams and then boom, foreclosure scams start popping up. We start addressing those or the origination fraud and now we're seeing fraud or scams in the short sales. Start looking at those and we see scams in the rentals. This is an unprecedented scheme," said Kelleher.


Utah's "Quiet Title Law" Bypasses MERS, Awards Homes Free and Clear; One Homeowner Had $417,000 Debt Erased

If MERS is not able to start a foreclosure action, “then there will be a brick wall put up over all nonjudicial foreclosures prosecuted in this state,” Bates said.




A Utah court case in which the owner of a Draper townhouse got clear title to the property, even though he still owed $132,000 on it, raises new legal and financial questions about a property-records database created by mortgage bankers.
11/16/11 Bank of America to Pay for Illegal Foreclosures on Military Members

Additional links in article.

LawInfo BofA will Pay for Illegal Foreclosures, Literally

Bank of America will pay over $100,000 to each of the servicemembers whose homes it illegally foreclosed on. This amount is in addition to compensation for lost equity due to its indiscretions.


Duval County Clerk of Court sues MERS

The eight-count suit, filed Oct. 31, claims civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation.

Jacksonville Bus. Journal "MERS does not originate any loans, lend any money, or own or hold any promissory notes. MERS instead acts merely as a straw man — a placeholder in the public records — allowing the true, beneficial owner of a loan to remain anonymous and to be changed at will without notice to the public and without recording an assignment in the official records or paying the fees.”


MERS Wins Appeal of Decision Limiting Right to Foreclose on Michigan Homes Bloomberg The reversal of the earlier ruling “is an embarrassment to those of us who care about the property records of this state, and more importantly the citizens who are affected by these foreclosures,” Curtis Hertel, Ingham County Register of Deeds, said in an e-mail.

California attorney general's office subpoenas Fannie, Freddie

"If Mr. DeMarco is unwilling to support principal reduction for these home loans in crisis, he should step aside for someone who will," Harris said.

L.A. Times Information is sought on the mortgage giants' roles as landlords who own thousands of foreclosed properties in California. Also sought are details of their mortgage-servicing and home-repossession practices, a source says.

The California investigation comes as DeMarco and the chief executives of the two companies faced bipartisan outrage this week over multimillion-dollar salaries and large bonuses at the housing finance giants, which still owe the government a combined $150 billion in the largest financial crisis bailout.

11/16/11 “The bottom line is everybody feels slighted by the banks. They say they’re working with people, and from what I’m seeing, they’re not.”

Evictions don’t take a holiday

Dillard was supposed to inherit the home, but because of a paperwork error — the bank has her mother’s Social Security number incorrect by one digit — the sisters have been unable to transfer the mortgage into their names and take over making payments.

Beacon News Since then, Griffin said, she and her sisters have struggled with banks and other players in the home mortgage industry.

First, they worked directly with the bank, Griffin said, but because of the paperwork problem, the bank wouldn’t work with her. Then there was the mortgage modification company, which, after taking the sisters’ money and promising to secure them a loan modification, shuttered and left town.

SIGTARP and Google Take Down Ring of 85 Fraudulent Loan Mod Sites Mortgage Professional The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) has announced that it has shut down 85 alleged online loan modification scams promoted through Web banners and other Web ads.

Occupy Wall Street Groups Protest Foreclosure, Try To Halt Evictions Huffington Post Occupy Wall Street kicked off in September to protest economic injustice, and now in at least three American cities, Occupy protesters are using the stories of local residents losing their homes to dramatize and protest the ongoing foreclosure crisis. 

SEC official called the “face of foreclosure fraud” in Florida lawsuit

Four years ago, homeowner Lindsay Jenkins of West Palm Beach was sued in a fraudulent lawsuit by DB. DB claimed it “owned” Jenkins home mortgage and had “possession” of her note and mortgage. These claims were made under penalty of perjury by DB’s law firms. These allegations were untrue. DB has never produced any evidence of any link to Jenkins'
mortgage. DB later recorded a fraudulent “deed” to Jenkins’ home.

Lindsay Jenkins Robert Khuzami, who currently heads the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has been accused in a Florida lawsuit of being the “face of the foreclosure fraud litigation explosion.” Khuzami is charged with masterminding Deutsche Bank's (DB) filing of tens of thousands of frivolous and fraudulent lawsuits in courts across the United States during the period when Khuzami served as DB’s general counsel.

Defending a Foreclosure Lawsuit, Years After the Fact StopaLaw Hence, for the countless pro se homeowners who have not been defending their foreclosure cases, please realize – it’s probably not too late. If a default has not been entered, you can hire an attorney and file an Answer and Affirmative Defenses, even if the case has been pending for many years. And even if you’ve been defaulted, there are a variety of circumstances where such a default can be vacated.

Duval County Clerk of Court sues mortgage servicer Jacksonville Business Journal The eight-count suit, filed Oct. 31, claims civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation.

New York and Connecticut based law firm is now representing clients in the matter of MF Global's bankruptcy and the improper seizure of clients' segregated funds. mfglobal-lawsuit I'm getting calls and representing people all across the country. This is not just about brokers and millionaires. There are mom and pops who invested in the commodities."



Robo-Signing Problems on Foreclosure Documents

"We've been finding so many fraudulently signed documents that I think it would be fair to say you could declare the county recorder's office a crime scene. It's that bad," Kelleher said.

8NewsNow "You look at the document and they sign as an officer of MERS and you look at the next recording down and it's the same person signing as the vice president of Bank ABC and then the next document down, they're signing as the foreclosure trustee and it's like wait a minute," Newberry said.


More on the FHA: Robo-Signing’s Effect

While banks are completing foreclosures on FHA-backed loans, they aren’t yet filing claims to be reimbursed because of the “robo-signing” and other dubious back-office practices that surfaced last year.

WSJ Banks that submit claims to the FHA for improperly handled mortgages can be liable under the False Claims Act to pay treble damages—or fines that are triple the amount of the claim the lender is submitting to the government. Banks have been holding off on submitting claims, it seems, until they’ve double- and triple-checked their processes to ensure that their reimbursement requests to Uncle Sam are iron proof.
11/15/11 INSANE

Professor Learns the Hard Way About Loan Modifications at Bank of America

Martin Mandelman He wasn’t going to take any chances this second time out, and we can all imagine how relieved he was that the whole ordeal was finally over.
Imagine his surprise when the next letter he received explained that his package had been deemed incomplete… his permanent loan modification was now denied and Bank of America would be accelerating the foreclosure of his home.
11/15/11 Freddie Mac bans Baum foreclosure-mill from N.Y. loan service

This could ruin Baum's widely-publicized Halloween parties, and its laid-off employees may lose their homes.

(See 10/29 article below.)

Buffalo News National mortgage servicing giant Freddie Mac has barred its loan servicers from referring any new foreclosure or bankruptcy cases in New York State to Steven J. Baum PC, delivering a severe blow to a firm that depends on such work.


Snapshot reaction to MERS 2.0

"The privatization of any mortgage and note ownership system is giving license to avoid taxes and fees and ignores consumer protections.

HousingWire "There is almost no way to make a uniform system for tracking ownership of mortgages and notes," said Richard Isacoff, a Massachusetts-based foreclosure defense attorney. "Further, differences between judicial foreclosure states and nonjudicial foreclosure states add some complications. Also, it has been shown, MERS doesn't work. The concept is great but application will require certain uniform laws in the states regarding real estate law. That will not happen in this century."


Loan Modification Impact – Fannie Mae Hits Up Treasury For Further $7.8 Billion in Free Money Examiner Fannie has siphoned off over $112 billion in taxpayer funds since being taken over by the federal government in 2008. In that time, it has 'graciously' returned just over $17 billion in dividends to taxpayers. According to the head financial officer at Fannie Mae, Susan McFarland, the organization has loads of pre-2009 loans that it needs to slog through, which is a factor resulting in the credit losses which have been evident. McFarland stated further that the company is doing what it can to limit losses and shield the taxpayer from further risk. How thoughtful.
11/15/11 Fact Sheet and Talking Points: The Fight for a Strong CFPB and Director Americans for Financial Reform Big Wall Street banks and financial industry special interests, and their friends in Congress, are still fighting the Bureau. They are blocking the appointment of a Director for the Bureau, to keep it from being able to do its job. Without a Director, the Bureau will not have its full authority to protect consumers in the financial marketplace 
11/14/11 Debtors to collectors: Show proof the debt is really owed

A growing number of states are requiring collectors to prove money is owed.


Former Loan Officer Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Scheme Mortgage Servicing News The former loan officer worked for a Virginia branch of SunTrust Mortgage where he prepared and submitted false and misleading mortgage loan applications for unqualified buyers who did not have the finances, credit rating or legal status to obtain the loan amount given to them.

U.S. Sheriffs Rise Up Against Federal Government: Sheriff Threatens Feds With SWAT Team ~ Grass Roots Take Charge! politicalvelcraft Dean Wilson, sheriff of Del Norte County (Sacramento), is a great example of this great awakening. He confessed past faults after apologizing for not understanding the central government assault and land grab being committed against the people and what he should have been doing about it. 

AIG Resists Concessions to Banks for Obama Refinancing Plan Bloomberg American International Group Inc. (AIG) is holding out as rival mortgage insurers accept policy changes that support the U.S. government push to stoke refinancing among borrowers with little or no home equity.
11/14/11** Our future hinges on just ONE thing…

Far too many Americans believe the “irresponsible borrower” stereotype caused the foreclosure crisis.

Mandelman Matters First of all, let’s start with the simple truth… people do not knowingly buy homes they cannot afford.  No, they do not.  They don’t.  It’s a preposterous thought.  Like telling me that there are millions of people somewhere in the USA that like to buy cars with payments they can’t afford… because I suppose they like to hide them around the block every day and night until they get repossessed.  Then they wait 7-10 years until they can buy another one with payments they can’t afford so they can enjoy the experience all over again
11/14/11 ‘Put-back’ relief at center of HARP mortgage fix

Fewer lender appraisals translate into lower costs for borrowers, analysts say

MarketWatch Lenders hoping they won’t need to repurchase faulty mortgages when they refinance home-loans are focusing on a new Obama administration effort that wants to help them out.

Foreclosure Justice climbing to the top of the toxic waste.

Bank Excuses on Foreclosure Growing Stale

Either bank officials show up in person, the justice said, or I’m going to order them “here in handcuffs.”

“You want to appeal me, you go right ahead,” the judge told the bank lawyer. “Because what happened here is disgusting.”

NY Times The Bank of America lawyer laid down a patented rhetorical move heard in courts across America. Your Honor, this Orange County, N.Y., homeowner — a New York City police officer — didn’t make enough money to qualify for a mortgage modification. He didn’t send us the right documents.

He didn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t, and so we should be allowed to foreclose.

Justice Catherine M. Bartlett of New York State Supreme Court cut off the lawyer. You, she said, are telling me lies.



Priceless! Judge Fillets U.S. Bank and its Motion to Dismiss

"Georgia prohibits wrongful foreclosures. In fact, Federal law also prohibits wrongful foreclosures."

Living Lies Georgia allows claims for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress by persons who are victim's of malicious, willful, or wanton conduct specifically directed at them, even if not a party to the contract whose breach
causes such injury. 

Class Action Against GMAC Mortgage and Balboa Insurance Services for Illegally Backdating Insurance Policies and Charging for Worthless Coverage Press Release The lawsuit alleges that GMAC and Balboa illegally backdated force-placed insurance policies and charged borrowers for insurance coverage that was, in some cases, expired on the day it was purchased. The suit also alleges that GMAC and Balboa charged borrowers inflated premiums that were as much as 14 times the market rate.
11/14/11** Mr. President, Stop the Great Bank Heist

"One of the greatest of the Obama administration's failures is its reluctance to assist homeowners while continuing to aid the banks." - Mayor Ed Koch

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch Why is the Obama administration seeking to assist the banks and endangering the broader claims that exist against those banks? Why wouldn't the public be better served by having the trials expose the banks chicanery and fraud? By pushing for the limited settlement, the U.S. government is aiding what in effect is a cover-up of the banks' misdeeds.

The Banks are in the foreclosure business — regardless of their right to foreclose and regardless of who takes the loss.

Original story:Bank forecloses even though experts say homeowner made all payments 

Neil Garfield

Living Lies

 Just how many times does this obligation need to be paid in full before we stop the foreclosures?

And here is the real bulletin. When the dust clears after litigation, this lady is going to be entitled to restoration of possession and title to her home. When she gets it, title will be cleared of all other transactions that were recorded and she will probably be awarded damages, maybe treble damages as well. And some investor buying cheap homes is going to have a total loss, with no home and a claim against Citi that will be contested because of disclaimers in the closing paperwork with the investor. When the investor turns to the title insurance carrier it will be the same story.



Texas Homestead Claim Fails To Fully Protect Sale Proceeds For Homeowner Who Unloaded Moldy Home Onto Unwitting Homebuying Couple

For the ruling, see In re Chastain

Home Equity Theft Reporter The court believed that these expenditures constituted a conversion of nonexempt property into exempt property—spent to hinder and delay the unwitting couple in the collection of their judgment and, consequently, ruled that the value of Chastain's homestead exemption from creditors' claims for her replacement homestead must be reduced.
11/14/11 Banks Jacking Up Fees to Retail Customers nakedcapitalism U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis made it clear that he regarded breaking rules as no big deal. 

It’s time for customers to tell banks executives what they think, not simply by moving your account, but also severing other relationships with your bank, such as credit cards. In most businesses, the guiding principle is “The customer is king.” Time for long suffering bank customers to demand better treatment.


Bankruptcy made easier: Appeals court decision allows stripping of second mortgages twincities His attorney, Tim Theisen, filed a plan that would strip the second mortgage off Johnson's list of debts, giving the bank in question a small portion of the money owed. When the bank didn't file an objection to that plan, Johnson was able to structure a Chapter 13 plan that allowed him to stay in his house.
11/13/11 Big Banks Turn Unemployment Benefits Into a Profit Center

Despite big banks putting up a brave front, there’s a good deal of anecdotal evidence that individual managers are trying desperately to stop customers from moving their money.

BofA isn’t alone in this practice. US Bank, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and others have seized control of public benefits in the states, forcing beneficiaries to use their services.

David Dayen


 Whether it’s just throwing up additional hurdles like a $10 closure fee, or outright begging customers to stay, or bad-mouthing credit unions or community banks, or simply refusing to allow people to close accounts, it’s clear that at the local level, bank managers are trying to hold onto deposits, which even in this go-go age remains an important tool for maintaining capital requirements and funding the risky bets banks continue to make.



Devastating Analysis of MERS


nakedcapitalismROCKWELL. P. LUDDEN We’ve tended to think the securitization industry is in for a world of hurt even before you get to the legal and practical mess created by MERS. A national registry done correctly could have been a very useful, but “correct” was apparently too hard (as in costly) to be seen as attractive to the mortgage industrial complex. And the stripped down version is proving to be a disaster.
11/12/11 BofA Bagged For Charging $39 Interest On $0 Balance; Insists It Was Right, But Refunds Cash Anyway "As A Courtesy" After Media Begins Asking Questions Home Equity Theft Reporter "However, we need to inform you that credits are not considered as payments on credit accounts," the representative wrote. "Therefore, the credits (of $1,450) were not considered as payments on this account, and the interest charges were applied correctly.
11/12/11 Collier, Lee veterans face their latest battle - foreclosure on their homes - PHOTOS

He paid $189,000 for his south Fort Myers home near Page Field in 2006 before the market tumbled. Today it's valued at less than $37,000, Lee property records show.

Also see the story below

naples news Romero fought his foreclosure for three years, hoping to stop it because the mortgage holder couldn't produce the original note. But his time ran out Wednesday after his home was scheduled for auction a third time – and this time it wasn't canceled. The bank had the winning bid of $17,100.
11/11/11 Defending a Foreclosure Lawsuit, Years After the Fact

The homeowner’s Answer to the Complaint, with affirmative defenses, was more than two years late but I still filed it.

Mark Stopa Esq. As the Fourth District explained in Woodrum, when the defendant has not been defaulted, he may defend the case at any time, even years later. The Answer must be filed before Final Judgment is entered, of course, but without a default, and without a Final Judgment, an Answer can be filed at any time.


Banks' New Scam against veterans

Banks cheated vets, lawsuit claims

CNN Video Banks deliberately ripping off veterans trying to refinance. 90% of them had fraudulent fees.



HUD Sues Allied for Fraud, Questions Net Branch Deals

Houston-based Allied—once considered the largest net branch operator in the U.S.—asked for FHA insurance based on what the government calls “false certifications.”

Mortgage Servicing News Not only is the government suing Allied Home Mortgage for FHA fraud, its lawsuit calls into question how company founder and CEO Jim Hodge handled complaints by insiders about its net branch arrangements.

Mortgage fraud: State a holdout in bank settlement SFGate "I am committed to doing as thorough an investigation as is needed - and to taking the time that is necessary - to set the stage for achieving appropriate accountability for misconduct," California AG Harris said.


Occupy Atlanta Encamps In Neighborhood To Save Police Officer’s Home From Foreclosure ThinkProgress Last week, Tawanna Rorey’s husband, a police officer based in Gwinnett County, e-mailed Occupy Atlanta to explain that his home was going to be foreclosed on and his family was in danger of being evicted on Monday. So within a few hours Occupy Atlanta developed an action plan to move to Snellville, Georgia on Monday to stop the foreclosure. At least two dozen protesters encamped on the family’s lawn, to the applause of neighbors and bystanders.


PA Counties lose $100 million in fees, suit claims Pittsburg Live The county sued U.S. Bank Corp. of Minneapolis in Washington County Court, claiming the bank failed to pay a $52 recording fee when it acquired residential properties bundled in investment securities and sold them through the Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. of Reston, Va., known as MERS


SELLOUT TO MERS MEMBERS — AMNESTY!?: FANNIE MAE ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES ON RECORDING ASSIGNMENTS Living Lies This is an attempt to say that MERS is a legitimate operation and that FANNIE will continue using it. It gives the impression that what they are doing it right, when in fact it is contributing to the title mess that is growing into nightmarish proportions throughout the United States

Those documents if false would return the prior owner to title and possession of the property. 

Living Lies And as we have already seen, the fact that a title company or even an ACTUAL lender (actually lending their own money) is willing to close doesn’t mean that title is clear. Both have been consisting violating basic underwriting standards of the industry for at least 15 years.


Occupy Homes: New Coalition Links Homeowners, Activists in Direct Action to Halt Foreclosures truth-out A loose-knit coalition of activists known as "Occupy Homes" is working to stave off pending evictions by occupying homes at risk of foreclosure when tenants enlist its support. The movement has recently enjoyed a number of successes. 
11/11/11 Iceland's New Bank Disaster

These scavengers of the financial system are the bane of many states. But there is now a danger of their rising to the top of the international legal pyramid, to a point where they are in a position to oppress entire national economies.

nakedcapitalism The problem of bank loans gone bad, especially those with government-guarantees such as U.S. student loans and Fannie Mae mortgages, has thrown into question just what should be a “fair value” for these debt obligations. Should “fair value” reflect what debtors can pay – that is, pay without going bankrupt? Or is it fair for banks and even vulture funds to get whatever they can squeeze out of debtors?
11/10/11 Finally, a Judge Stands up to Wall Street Matt Taibbi “Why should the court impose a judgment in a case in which the SEC alleges a serious securities fraud but the defendant neither admits nor denies wrongdoing?” And this: “How can a securities fraud of this nature and magnitude be the result simply of negligence?” Judge Rakoff


Corker proposes alternative to MERS HousingWire The plan essentially establishes a 10-year time line for privatizing the entire mortgage market, eventually eliminating the need for Fannie and Freddie.
11/10/11 Mortgage Settlement: Many Are Left Behind NY Times Meanwhile, Raul Peña wonders why Bank of America could not cut him a break since it will be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on his sale anyway.

“They could have given it to me at $100,000, and I’d be able to afford it,” Mr. Peña said.

Foreclosed Homeowners Could Receive Small Checks Under Big Bank Settlement

Foreclosed borrowers abused by their lenders won't get their homes back, but they could get a little cash from a settlement under negotiation between state officials, the Obama administration, and the nation's biggest banks

Huffington Post Fraudulent loan origination is beyond the scope of the of the main settlement negotiation led by Miller. But Schneiderman and Biden have said they are investigating "banks and the other lenders engaged in patterns of deceptive conduct when they made mortgage loans across the country."

U.S. Bank  v. Solorin 

Having to certify to the accuracy of the filings is scaring away the banks.  If courts had started that 20 years ago, we may not be in this F/C crisis.

Judge J. Flug It has taken U.S. Bank 16 months to decide whether it wants to certify the accuracy of the papers it has filed. IMO, I don't think they want to certify those papers. In any case, the judge did not think that it should take 16 months and opined as follows:
11/10/11 Ocwen to Raise Equity, Agrees to Buy $15B of MSRs from JPMorgan Mortgage Servicing News Ocwen Financial Corp. this morning said it would raise $375 million of new equity and use some of the proceeds to buy $15 billion of mortgage servicing rights from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Classes Claim Illegal Fees in Foreclosures

Fowler v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., et al

Fowler v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC, et al

Home Equity Theft Reporter The class consists of all Missourians who reinstated their mortgage loan and paid attorney's fees in foreclosure proceedings for Missouri real estate from Nov. 7, 2006 to the present. Fowler seeks actual damages and $3,000 in punitive damages for each class member. She estimates that both classes number in the thousands.
11/9/11 Ties to Insurers Could Land Mortgage Servicers in More Trouble

State court filings show alleged abuse in which banks charged borrowers for unnecessary insurance and backdated policies providing coverage retroactively. Often the insurance was acquired only after banks stopped advancing the premiums of delinquent borrowers' escrowed policies, causing those cheaper and more comprehensive policies to expire.

American Banker Evidence of abuses and self-dealing in the force-placed insurance industry suggests that there may be far larger problems in how servicers are handling distressed loans than the sloppy document recording that has been the recent focus of industry woes.

"There's no arm's-length transaction here, and that creates all sorts of incentives for the servicer to force-place excessive insurance and overcharge consumers for policies that provide minimal benefit," said Diane Thompson, of counsel for the National Consumer Law Center. "Servicers and insurers have turned this into a gravy train."

11/9/11 Tarrant County DA: Squatters don't understand adverse possession law KHOU "Some of these people are saying, 'Once we file the affidavit, that gives me the house,'" said Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon. "And that is not right."
11/9/11 Rescue Bear Stearns? What about Preventing the Mortgage Servicing Fraud First locators Bear Stearns owns EMC Mortgage Servicing, a notorious servicer alleged to have been involved in hundreds of cases of mortgage servicing fraud. By means of some quite shady practices, they were instrumental in pushing people out of their homes. Whether or not through outright fraud or forced institutional incompetence, the servicing firm is no stranger to foreclosures.
11/9/11 Fannie and Freddie Need Another $14 Billion Atlantic Fannie Mae announced a big quarterly loss and requested another $7.8 billion from taxpayers. This comes a few days after Freddie Mac posted a big loss and needed $6 billion more from the government. These Treasury draws, which amount to nearly $14 billion, easily dwarf their second quarter cash request of $6.6 billion. As bad as this looks, it isn't really due to housing market deterioration.

“Misplaced” Funds From Sheriff’s Office Legally Belong to Victimized Property Owners

The mayor, sheriff and city controller have no right to give this money to the government

Philly Post The news that nearly $56 million had been recovered from the bowels of the sheriff’s office’s sloppy bookkeeping was welcomed by government officials. However, the former owners of properties sold at sheriff sale—who are due much of that money—continue to be victimized by government ineptitude.
11/9/11 Foreclosure backlogs could take decades to clear out

New York = 57 years!

azcentral The longer time frames give borrowers more time to work out their situations, and may support home prices by reducing the supply of distressed properties for sale. But they also delay recoveries because buyers may wait, fearing further price drops when distressed homes do hit the market, says James Sacchio, RealtyTrac CEO.


The Multistate Foreclosure Settlement Prof. Adam Levitin Consider all the critical issues the settlement does not (and cannot) address: 

-The $700B in negative equity in the US.
-Clouded title from MERS 
-Clouded title from wrongful foreclosures
-Billions in investor putback and securities fraud claims
-Investor suits against trustee banks
-Disposal of the REO inventory and the shadow REO inventory

Can Litigation Bring Down Wall Street? FT Years after the US housing bubble burst, regulators are just now bringing cases against the banks which sold complex mortgage-backed investments that helped inflate the bubble in the first place. The FT’s Kara Scannell speaks to the key regulators and politicians to find out what comes next in the litigation related to the financial crisis
11/9/11 FINANCIAL INJUSTICE STRIKES SOUTH L.A. HOMEOWNER LA Wave Fremont sold its fraudulent Robbins loan to Bear Stearns, which then sold it to EMC Mortgagewhich sold it to Bank of America which sold it to Chase Bank, all of them knowing full well the thing was the product of a criminal enterprise.

Disturbing News from Behind Closed Doors – Attorney Thomas Cox

A Mandelman Matters Podcast

Mandelman Matters Thomas Cox is a retired banking lawyer from Portland Maine. who came out of retirement to volunteer to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.  The last time he was involved in foreclosing, he was on the other side of the table as a result of the S&L crisis of the early 1990s.  Of course, things were sure a lot different then.

January 20, 2012 Move to Amend Occupies the Courts! movetoamend Occupy the Courts will be a one day occupation of Federal courthouses across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday January 20, 2012.

Judge To Foreclosure Mill: 

“We All Assumed You Took Your Ethics Rules Seriously When You Started...

We No Longer Have A Presumption That We Can Rely On!”

Buffalo News

Home Equity Theft Reporter

The state Attorney General’s Office, intervening in the private case because of the constitutionality issue, said the rule is needed to protect the integrity of the legal system, by guaranteeing factual papers.

Foreclosure Law Firm Steven J, Baum Vilified for Making Fun of Homeless, Now Attacks Constitutionality of New Rules to Assure It Verifies Court Documents nakedcapitalism He noted that lawyers have long had an obligation to bring problems with documentation to the court’s attention when they discover it in a pending case. But he said that never happened in New York with foreclosures.

AG Harris Targeted by California Groups Over Foreclosure Fraud Settlement David Dayen


Californians for a Fair Settlement, an ad hoc group of multiple progressive and labor organizations in the Golden State have written a letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris, asking her to reject any foreclosure fraud settlement that would allow broad liability release for banks’ deceptive and fraudulent mortgage practices, in exchange for a pittance for borrowers.
11/8/11 They Walked Away, and They’re Glad They Did

Wells Fargo was handing mortgages out like candy, and I was able to borrow from the house on Day 1 of signing the loan.” 

NY Times Mr. Wittenberg found himself agreeing to lower and lower rents, eventually resulting in a monthly shortfall of $1,200 between the rental income and his mortgage payment. By 2009, comparable homes in the area were selling for $210,000, and he still owed more than $300,000.
11/8/11 Letting the Banks Off Easy

The banks want California, and the Obama administration hopes they can get it.

NY Times The best outcome would be for government officials to do what they should have done all along: develop the strongest possible legal case by fully investigating the banks’ conduct during the bubble and since the crash and then — and only then — talk settlement. In the meantime, the public is being well served by attorneys general who are willing to say that the deal currently on the table is not nearly good enough.
11/8/11** Policy Makers: Bank and Wall Street Greed, Not “Irresponsible Homeowners”, Caused Our Crisis Abigail Field Somehow the banking industry has convinced much of the public and most of our political leaders that our housing and foreclosure crisis is the fault of irresponsible borrowers despite the overwhelming evidence that greedy bankers are to blame.

Exposing HOPE Foundation for nationwide mortgage scam

Woman paid $800 for software password, application for lower mortgage rates denied

Contact 6 Investigators say the owners of HOPE knowingly told homeowners across the country they'd be approved, when most, like Daniels, were denied. The lawsuit also accuses the company of making homeowners pay for the same software Daniels bought - the same software provided by the government for free!
11/8/11 200 Bear parcels sold at sheriff's sale

AG Biden said he has heard many complaints like those expressed by Wharton and charged that a number of banks are pursuing a "dual-track process." That is when one bank employee crafts a compromise with the homeowner, say for a lower payment, but a different employee then calls, claims ignorance of the deal and, citing the lower-than-usual payments, moves forward with foreclosure.

Delaware Online Wharton said he is upset that despite all the talk from politicians about helping homeowners who are underwater, his bank aggressively pursued foreclosure and has been difficult to deal with. He said he was told $18,000 would stop the foreclosure so he worked to get the money. Two weeks later, with $28,000 in hand, he was told he needed $30,000, he said.


Florida Clerk, Delaware AG Sue MERS Mortgage Servicing News The most recent lawsuit was filed by a county clerk in Florida, and seeks class action status to represent the state's 67 counties. The complaint alleges the use of MERS does not comply with state property laws and has cost municipalities millions in unpaid recording fees.

The 46-State Mortgage Fraud Settlement Is Guaranteed To PREVENT A Housing Recovery New Deal The banks have attempted to deflect their misdeeds by suggesting that these illegal acts did not harm anyone. The laws were related to process only. The answer to such claims is that they are irrelevant. The banks are acknowledging that they perpetrated victimless crimes on a massive scale. And, each year, I suspect thousands of American citizens go to jail for perpetrating victimless crimes on a far lesser scale.



Attorney general to sponsor foreclosure prevention workshops

The first workshop will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Nanticoke Senior Center, located at 1001 W. Locust St. in Seaford.

DoverPost The workshops are offered to facilitate loan modifications, reduce foreclosures and provide information to help residents stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure fraud.
11/8/11 The great $26 billion real estate swindle 

Almost everyone who took the bribe of an $8,000 tax credit to buy a house in 2009 and 2010 has lost money on the deal.

The IRS says the entire program cost taxpayers $26 billion (though of course it was put on the national credit card, on which interest rates are very low). That money has vanished. It has, as the saying goes, “gone to money heaven.”

MarketWatch Call it the Great Rock & Roll Real Estate Swindle. Call it a $26 billion Bait & Switch. Call it the Mother of All Boondoggles., the real estate information company, says the average price of an American home fell again last month to $171,500. In other words, based at least on average prices, you’ve lost about $14,500 — nearly twice the value of the credit. 

11/8/11 Buyer beware has new meaning in foreclosure flood TriCities Unfortunately, law professors said, issues like this – disputes over ownership of property either attached to or sitting on a foreclosed piece of land – are not uncommon, and, are likely to increase as more homeowners lose their properties to foreclosure.

Simple solution cures wrongful foreclosures.

Nevada Foreclosure Filings Dry Up After ‘Robo-Signing’ Law

Nick Timiraos


The Nevada law makes an important technical change to those rules by forbidding trustees from handling foreclosures if the trustee is a subsidiary of foreclosing bank. That change appears to strike a blow for Bank of America Corp., which uses a wholly owned subsidiary, ReconTrust, as its trustee for foreclosures in Nevada and other western states. ReconTrust wasn’t involved in filing any default notices in Nevada during the month of October, according to the ForeclosureRadar data.
11/7/11 Bankers Want More Government Solutions for Foreclosure Crisis Mortgage

Servicing News

Worried that the latest federal efforts to ease foreclosures will fall short, some bankers and community advocates want Washington to offer even more ways to keep borrowers in their homes.
11/7/11 BofA turns to Facebook to win back public

Not only is the bank trying to change public opinion, but it's also trying to gain support for its marketing efforts without actually mentioning its own name. Maybe it's afraid that a lot of people might not click like if they knew who was really behind it.

CBS News The bitterness may come from his claim that Bank of America foreclosed on his home even though he had "jumped through every single hoop" to modify his mortgage and was verbally told that the modification was approved. Or maybe it comes from allegedly getting a letter from the bank in April 2011, nearly 5 months after he had to move out, saying that he was now current on his mortgage payments.
11/7/11 BofA pays $1.3 billion to Fannie, Freddie for foreclosure delays

The government-sponsored enterprises charge servicers for taking too long to complete the foreclosure process under specific, state-by-state guidelines.

And the bank is already searching for new capital. Also in the SEC filing, BofA disclosed it was exploring an issuance of commons stock to raise nearly $3 billion in cash.

HousingWire "We expect that these costs will remain elevated as additional loans are delayed in the foreclosure process and as the GSEs assert more aggressive criteria," according to the filing. 

"We also expect that additional costs related to resources necessary to perform the foreclosure process assessment, to revise affidavit filings and to implement other operational changes will continue for at least the remainder of 2011."

11/7/11 Special Servicers Sort Out Billions in Delinquent CMBS Mortgage

Servicing News

Data indicate the current volatility in commercial real estate prices and loan traffic in and out of delinquency will continue to keep billions in securitized CRE loans under the auspices of special servicers.
11/7/11 Promises Made, and Remade, by Firms in S.E.C. Fraud Cases

Senator Carl Levin said the S.E.C.’s method of settling fraud cases, is “a symbol of weak enforcement.

NY TIMES Citigroup, after all, was merely promising not to do something that the law already forbids. 

Citigroup’s main brokerage subsidiary, its predecessors or its parent company agreed not to violate the very same antifraud statute in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far as back as March 2005 and April 2000.


Chase Settles Suit Over Improperly-Filed Mortgage Lien Release That May Have Led To 'Free House'

This sounds like Chase swindled them into creating a new note when the original note was uncollectable.

Home Equity Theft Reporter Chase and the Guerrero's have reached a settlement that will require the couple to pay a portion of their $86,750 mortgage note. (huh?)

The Guerreros will not have to pay any late fees, penalties or taxes, he added. “What we're going to do is renew, extend and modify that original note and lien so it will be a different number (with) longer terms,” Cochran said.

11/7/11** Bill Black: The High Price of Ignorance

Prosperity is reserved for the SDIs and their senior managers – the one percent.

Prof. Bill Black Attorney General Holder made two extraordinary statements at that hearing demonstrating his utter ignorance. Chairman Angelides asked Holder to explain the actions the Department of Justice (DOJ) took in response to the FBI’s warning in September 2004 that mortgage fraud was “epidemic” and its prediction that if the fraud epidemic were not contained it would cause a financial “crisis.” Holder testified: “I’m not familiar myself with that [FBI] statement.”

Ohio Court: Improperly Notarized Mortgage Does Not Attach As Lien To Property, Leaving Earlier-Recording Lender In Lien Priority Dispute Holding Bag  Home Equity Theft Reporter In OneWest Bank v. Dorner, 164 Ohio Misc.2d 63 (Lucas County 2011), he decided that the statute did not apply because the first filed mortgage was defectively executed.

PROHIBITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS ON PROPRIETARY TRADING AND CERTAIN INTERESTS IN, AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH, HEDGE FUNDS AND PRIVATE EQUITY FUNDS OCC, FDIC, SEC, FR Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank bill dealing with "prohibitions and restrictions on the ability of a banking entity and nonbank financial company supervised by the Board to engage in proprietary trading and have certain interests in, or relationships with, a hedge fund or private equity fund."
11/7/11 Saving your home: Options offer hope to Lowcountry, S.C. families facing foreclosure

Help is available for struggling homeowners in S.C.

Post & Courier In South Carolina, $295 million in federal cash is available to help as many as 33,000 families to avoid foreclosure through S.C. HELP, a program administered by the State Housing Finance and Development Authority. So far, more than 4,000 applications are being reviewed for approval, including applications for 142 homes in Berkeley County, 240 in Charleston County and 96 in Dorchester County.

State AGs target mortgage mess

America’s free markets work only when there is one set of rules for everyone — and everyone plays by those rules.

 "The American people deserve a full investigation and public exposure of the conduct that got us into the economic quagmire we face today. We must ensure that it never happens again. And we must restore public confidence that ours is a nation committed to the goal of equal justice for all."

By AG ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN & BEAU BIDEN It is now clear, however, that many in the mortgage finance industry ignored the rules over the past decade. This led to a breakdown in our housing market and in the market for mortgage-backed securities.

These two markets are inextricably linked. Any real effort to repair the damage caused by the collapse of the housing bubble must address the injury in both sectors. Tens of millions of homeowners and millions of investors — including retirees with money in pension and mutual funds — were devastated by this manmade catastrophe.



Legal issues slow foreclosures

Though lenders were given the go-ahead in August to start foreclosing again in New Jersey after showing a judge they were following the rules, they have been slow to resume activity. Many have indicated to Wolfe that they are reluctant to sign such a certification, because they're concerned that the lender's paperwork may not meet the requirements set out in the Laks decision.

Bank of Mew York v. Laks


Bill Maher Interviews Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden

I am a Prosecutor and Consumer Protector.

Bill Mayer Discussion on prosecuting the  foreclosure crisis and MERS.


Featuring the McCoy case

NIGHTMARE! Is Freddie Shredding Things Again?!

If the Servicer is foreclosing on a property in the State of Oregon, the Servicer must destroy any unrecorded assignment to Freddie Mac no later than 10 days after the date the Servicer refers the foreclosure to its foreclosure attorney or trustee. If the Borrower subsequently reinstates his or her Mortgage, the Servicer does not need to prepare a new assignment to Freddie Mac. Refer to Section 22.14 for additional information on Freddie Mac’s requirements for assignments of the Security Instrument.” [Sec. 66.17 Freddie Mac Seller/Servicer Guide.

Querin Law The McCoy case sent shock waves through the lending and title industries.

Lenders began rescinding their non-judicial foreclosures, fearing that they would be deemed ineffective;
Title companies began inserting special exceptions in their preliminary title reports, warning that they may exclude insurance coverage to buyers of REO property if the lender had not complied with the recording requirement of ORS 86.735(1) when completing a non-judicial foreclosure.
Both industries sought relief in the Oregon 2011 Legislative Session, but to no avail.

A non-judicial foreclosure in Oregon is invalid if there were one or more assignments of the lender’s trust deed that were not recorded in the country records;

11/5/11 One Last Note on Michael Bloomberg

In 2005, for instance, Washington Mutual did an internal audit of two of Long Beach’s biggest offices, one in Downey, California, and one in Montebello, California. They found that 53 percent of the Downey loans involved some type of fraud, while the number in Montebello was 83 percent.

So you know what WaMu did about all that fraud they found? Zip.

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

What we have on the other hand, however, is a bunch of financial companies who consciously created huge volumes of bad loans, dumped them on retirees and foreigners and union stiffs, then doubled down on the problem by creating mountains of new liabilities based on those bad loans via synthetic derivatives. Then, when it all blew up, they came to us and asked us buy the whole pile at full retail prices, clones and all.

Which we did, flooding them with bailout cash. This allowed them to instantly jack their annual bonus pools back up into the $150 billion range while the rest of the country waited out mass unemployment and a foreclosure epidemic.

The Other Side of the Foreclosure Crisis

Fighting Foreclosure: Why Legal Assistance Matters

In this multi-part video series, homeowners from around the country speak about the experience of going through foreclosure alone and the difference it makes to have legal assistance and counseling on their side. 

Brennan Center for Justice The series draws on perspectives across the foreclosure process, from the legal aid lawyer or advocate working to even the playing field between banks and homeowners, to the sheriff forced to evict families from foreclosed homes.

Despite all the fraud against her

Mortgage fraud victim ends up losing her house

Gives warnings of what not to do.

Miami Herald Hall’s account of her housing experience involves a harrowing combination of mortgage fraud, foreclosure rescue scams, title fraud, predatory lending and unscrupulous foreclosure attorneys.

“The REMICs have failed!" 

“The REMICs have failed!”

The documents that killed the REMICs may actually help save your home.


Deadly Clear If Paul Revere were alive today he would be riding through the town warning “The REMICs have failed!” However, the government these days would go, “Shhhhhh!”

Since the mortgage-backed securities trust controlling documents, the Pooling & Servicing Agreement (PSA), requires that the trustee and servicer not do anything to jeopardize the tax-exempt status; PSAs generally state that any transfer after the closing date of the trust is invalid.



Judge dismisses 'gross negligence' claim against Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services

FDIC sought $154.5M for 'negligence' over property appraisals The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which became the receiver of Washington Mutual after the bank failed in 2008, filed a $154.5 million claim in May against LPS, contending appraisal services by an LPS subsidiary set the stage for losses when loans went bad.

Flaws Jeopardize New Attempt to Help Homeowners ProPublica The most central question — how compensation will be calculated — has not been determined, regulators said, and it’s even unclear what type of compensation borrowers would get: cash or a non-monetary remedy. Many key elements of the program have been kept secret, including the specific bank errors or abuses that would merit compensation. 

Move Your Money Today

People Dumping Their Banks On Bank Transfer Day

Click here to find a bank or credit union near you.

Examiner November 5th has been adopted as Bank Transfer Day by thousands of disgruntled Americans who are fed up with being bullied by the big banks in America. 

Examiner writer, Carla Ghosn, empathizes with the plight of many ordinary citizens who are seeking justice in the face of a myriad of banking malpractices.


Occupy Wall Street to March Against Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

President Obama is on the brink of cutting a backroom deal that would give bankers broad immunity for illegally throwing tens of thousands of Americans out of their homes. The Administration is pressuring state attorneys general to abandon an ongoing investigation into the massive “robo-signing” fraud, in exchange for a relatively small payoff by the banks.

David Dayen


There’s a possibility that the law will change in New Jersey to affirm that only the “established holder” of a mortgage – the party identified in records at the county recording office – has the right to foreclose on the property. Foreclosures will stop in New Jersey then, too. Yves adds that in New York, where attorneys have to certify that they have verified the accuracy of the documents they submit to the court, foreclosures have also slowed to a trickle. Without robo-signing or fabricating documents, the banks simply can’t foreclose.
11/4/11** OCC Help for Homeowners; Signs of the Anti-Borrower Bias

Our legal system frequently compensates people for pain and suffering, but obviously not in this situation. That omission can only be because of anti-homeowner bias. We’re not talking about trivial stresses; people are committing suicide, torching their homes, and otherwise exhibiting deep trauma. But the only thing on the OCC table is “financial injury,” which isn’t defined.

Abigail Field I just want to highlight how bad the practices the OCC is targeting are, and how limited the relief offered is. That contrast exists only because of an anti-debtor bias that’s widely held and essentially holds that anything is justified against people behind on their payments, regardless of why.

 But I’m also guessing most people who go through that nightmare feel fundamentally injured. And we should ask: why are those fees legal?



Nevada's Catherine Masto - is the epitome of a state Attorney General

  Bank CEOs Lying When They Say They’ve Stopped Robosigning
Once Nevada made it a crime (a felony) to file improper paperwork with the courts, subject to 10 years in jail and fines of $10,000 per violation... 
Foreclosures stopped

nakedcapitalism The Nevada attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, was instrumental in getting legislation passed that makes it a crime (a felony) to file improper paperwork with the courts, subject to 10 years in jail and fines of $10,000 per violation. Note that this legislation did not change the legal requirement for foreclosure; it simply criminalized failure to comply.

What happened when the law became effective? Foreclosures stopped. In other words, no one who had been filing foreclosures was confident that their procedures complied with the law. Moreover, Masto says in this segment today on Dylan Ratigan, “There’s no doubt that there’s robosigning occurring

Bay State Appeals Court: Failure To Record Loan Extensions, Passage Of Time Fatal To Mortgages; Lenders Left Holding Bag With Voided Lien Interests Home Equity Theft Reporter The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently issued two separate decisions interpreting Massachusetts General Laws c. 260, § 33, the Obsolete Mortgages statute. The result, in both cases, was a finding that each lender's mortgage had been discharged, notwithstanding the fact that the party seeking to obtain the benefit of the discharge had actual knowledge that there was an off-record extension of the mortgage.


Bank of America fights back in battle with AG Masto 

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto's push to have a 3-year-old settlement with Countrywide Financial Corp. and Bank of America Corp. overturned may take longer than expected.

Las Vegas Business Press The bank requested the conference in a court filing, assuming Masto's motion to overturn the settlement is granted.

Masto served 73 requests for information to Bank of America, Countrywide and six other corporations that the bank claims were not parties to the consent judgment they allegedly violated, according to the complaint. She also sought information on documents relating to "internal servicing processes" for "potentially tens of thousands" of borrowers.

11/3/11 JPMorgan steals the wrong house

Bank admits error after couple claims home was illegally taken

Conway Daily Sun The structures were owned by different people even though they once shared the same lot. The confusion led the bank's agents to change the locks on the Drews' home and remove $14,000 worth of belongings from the property.

EMC Mortgage and Bankers Trust of California are involved.


Is GMAC, Now Ally, Just Dishonest or Criminally Incompetent?

Carpenter said Ally reviewed 25,000 foreclosure cases with potential evidence of forged documents and affidavits. The bank found each borrower reviewed had been delinquent on the loan at least one year, in some cases two, he said.


nakedcapitalism The evidence piling up in courtrooms all over the US is too overwhelming for them to pretend they have clean hands. And that gridlock getting worse is what will finally force a resolution. Any real remedy of these problems is certain not to be to the banks’ liking.


County Recorders vs. The MERS Machine


Deed keepers say they’ve lost millions to the mortgage industry

BusinessWeek Becker says she can’t always call up a property with a keystroke and see who holds its note. That’s because more than 200,000 of her records list the lien holder as MERS, the private company that acts as a proxy for banks that bundle and sell off mortgage securities. That can make it all but impossible for a recorder to determine who really holds the paper.

Have Ohio's Appellate Courts Created a Double-Standard for those Wrongfully Foreclosed Upon? Press Release Ohio Courts rule one way in Wells v. Jordan, Deutsche v. Triplett, etc., but the exact opposite in the Richard Davet case.  CRAZY!


Green Party calls for a Nationwide Moratorium on Home Foreclosures

Greens urge Obama, Congress to halt further bank foreclosures: Wall Street firms should suffer 'austerity' for the economic crisis they caused, not the American people "An order barring lenders from evicting people from their homes would be a powerful first step towards restoring financial stability and easing the fears of middle- and low-income working Americans," said John Eder, Green candidate for Mayor of Portland, Maine and former State Representative in Maine. "The economy might be thriving again for the one percent, but for most Americans, the Subprime Mortgage Crisis and 2008 recession are not over. Millions of families face the loss of their homes, millions are without a job or only semi-employed, millions have no health coverage or inadequate coverage."

Six-Year Saga Of Long Island Couple Fighting Foreclosure Takes New Twist As Trial Judge Agrees To Reopen Foreclosure Judgment

The central allegation is that IndyMac has no right to foreclose because it does not own the mortgage note.

Post includes links to previous court opinions.

Home Equity Theft Reporter A state judge Monday agreed to reopen the foreclosure judgment against an East Patchogue couple -- a year after his order to wipe out their mortgage was overturned -- in the latest twist in a six-year battle.

They're also suing for $10 million in fraud damages. 

"The anxiety that has been caused over the years is much more than the value of the mortgage," Greg Horoski said in an interview.


JPMorgan’s Dimon Draws Seattle Protests Bloomberg “They’re bringing to the surface the pent up disappointment, anger, frustration and fear that the American people has with the direction that the economy and country has taken over the last decade,” 
11/3/11 FEDERAL REGULATORS WILL ALLOW REVIEW OF MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE CASES, WITH SOME STRINGS ATTACHED IVN If reviewers find that homeowners were harmed financially, the borrowers may be allowed compensation. The Servicers participating in the program are: America's Servicing Co., Aurora Loan Services, Bank of America, Beneficial, Chase, Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, EMC Mortgage, EverBank/Everhome Mortgage, First Horizon, GMAC Mortgage, HFC, HSBC, IndyMac, MetLife, National City, PNC, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.
11/2/11** US Bank CEO Sniffs About Breaking Rules - When His Bank Has Huge Trustee Liability

“Everybody’s breaking the rules, blah blah blah,” Davis said at one point, mocking the general sentiment behind the public outrage before admonishing them to “Get over it.

nakedcapitalism Because those agreements had strict cut off dates as to when those transfers had to be completed, and governing law for the overwhelming majority of the trusts (New York law) is unforgiving on this matter (New York trusts are not permitted to deviate from their written directives) the failure to perform as stipulated cannot be remedied…Hence the widespread use of document fabrication to get around this mess.
11/2/11 This could change OCCUPY protests into a RIOT

Outrageously pathetic!

Loan Modification And Foreclosures – Big Lenders Get a Small Slap on the Wrist

If any of these or similar scenarios resonate with you, what are you to make of the offer of $1,500.00 from the big banks of the USA as being representative of righting all the wrongs of the past?

Examiner  I'll tell you what I would make of it. I think it's outrageously pathetic! This settlement, if concluded, will amount to banks throwing a few scraps and crumbs in the direction of devastated and ruined lives, while enjoying the protection of freedom from any future investigations into their wrongdoing, ever. These are Wall Street banks: allegedly too big to fail! If this does not anger you as an American homeowner, past or present, nothing on God's green earth will.

The World of the Investor with Attorney Talcott Franklin – A Mandelman Matters Podcast


Mandelman Matters You know how servicers are always saying “the investor says no,” when they want to deny a loan modification… well, Tal explains why that simply isn’t true. And he walks us through the securitization process in a way that you’re likely to remember forever. And you’ll learn all sorts of other things you did not know. I’m telling you, you’re going to love spending an hour with Talcott Franklin on this, A Mandelman Matters Podcast.
Homeowners, Investors in Mortgage Backed Securities Feel Your Pain. Hear Their Lawyer Talk About Servicer Nightmares. Abigail Field
11/2/11 Wells Fargo costs Minneapolis Public Schools $28 million

The foreclosure crisis has drained $150 million from the Minneapolis Public Schools. Wells Fargo bank is responsible for nearly 20% of this ($28 million) as well as making a disproportionate number of equity-stripping subprime loans to people of color in Minneapolis. The negative impact of these actions is now evident to people not just in here in Minneapolis and not just in education but in all aspects of our lives across the entire country. We think that, therefore, it is just and fair to ask the Minneapolis Public Schools move their checking account ($20 million per month for payroll) from Wells Fargo into a responsible community bank.

Sticky-Fingered Title Agents Continue Getting Hammered

Suspect Cops Plea To Mortgaging Home Out From Under Unwitting Owner, Diverting Closing Cash

Home Equity Theft Reporter In 2007, Pierce applied for and received a mortgage on a property in Edgewater that he did not own. Pierce used funds obtained from the lender to perpetuate the scheme and diverted $50,000 from the funds provided by the mortgage lender to himself. The true owner of the property had no knowledge that documents were created that purported to show that he had sold the property to Pierce.
11/2/11 Bayview woman moves back into foreclosed home

"If you ask me the question 'Why are you doing this,' I am here today because I'm reclaiming my home," she said, to cheers from a crowd of about 60.

SFGate "We've had enough people around here losing their homes," she said.

"I've attempted to pay my mortgage, tried to modify the loan, even sued them, but Bayview Mortgage Capital haven't worked with me," she said.


Bank of America Home Foreclosure Over Missing $1 Get Gephart In August, 2010, Shantell Curtis sold her Vernal, Utah house.

But months later, when Shantell sat down to do her taxes, her accountant noticed a problem. She still owns that Vernal house.

And worse, Shantell's credit score says she is now months behind on the payments.



Dallas Revises MERS Filing-Fee Suit to Add All Texas Counties

Bloomberg Dallas County, Texas, is seeking to represent all counties in the state in its lawsuit against Bank of America Corp. and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. over unpaid filing fees.

Title Company owner found guilty of mortgage fraud, pattern of corrupt activity that led to 17 foreclosed homes

It's the first case in which a Cuyahoga County jury found the owner and title company guilty under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.


Plain Dealer

A jury Monday found 34-year-old title company owner Donna Sherman guilty of corrupt activity, theft by deception, money laundering, tampering with records and telecommunications fraud -- a total of 23 counts.
Sherman Title Agency was convicted of the same crimes. 
11/1/11** Hotline Now Open for Foreclosure Complaints

Bank regulators and the mortgage industry have launched a complaint process to reach out to more than 4 million homeowners to find and compensate any who were harmed by deficiencies in banks’ foreclosure operations

WSJ Consumers who want to have their foreclosure cases reviewed must submit their information by April 30, though it remained unclear how much they will be compensated, or whether they would be required to waive their right to sue their mortgage company to receive compensation.

Go to their website

10/18/11 CDO holders at risk: New Jersey Bankruptcy court declines to dismiss CDO issuer’s involuntary Chapter 11 case Association of Corporate Counsel The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, in  In re Zais Investment Grade Ltd. VII,1 recently jolted the structured finance community by declining to dismiss an involuntary chapter 11 case commenced against a Cayman-based collateralized debt obligation (“CDO”) issuer. 

The ruling, which is currently on appeal, broke new ground by permitting the debtor’s senior noteholders to use chapter 11 as a means of avoiding express provisions in the indenture that otherwise required each tranche of senior noteholder debt to approve any liquidation of the issuer’s assets by a supermajority vote. 

11/1/11** Administration Favors Settling With Banks on Criminal Actions They’re STILL Engaged In David Dayen


If the banks weren’t able to robo-sign, they wouldn’t be able to foreclose on anyone, because without fraudulent means they cannot prove ownership. That’s the implication of the slowdown in Nevada, that’s the implication of the ongoing criminal activity.

Feds sue Texas-basedAllied Home Mortgage and founder for fraud

"The losers here were American taxpayers and the thousands of families who faced foreclosure because they were could not ultimately fulfill their obligations on mortgages that were doomed to fail," he said.

AP The federal government sued one of the nation's largest privately held mortgage brokers Tuesday, saying its decade-long fraudulent lending practices cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars and forced thousands of American homeowners to lose their homes.

Bharara said Allied was playing a "lending industry equivalent of heads-I-win, tails-you-lose."
"Allied never played by the rules,
" he said.

(None of the do and that is why we have a crisis. MSF)

11/1/11 The Looming Occupy Foreclosures Movement

The Occupy Oakland general assembly, a day before a proposed general strike, ruled that they would encourage the occupation of foreclosed and abandoned properties across the city. This is a natural development, but also a useful one.

David Dayen


If the Occupy movement extends to vacant homes, it creates a living space for people and saves the properties from demolition. What’s more, the dirty secret is that the banks cannot prove ownership on these properties, making it difficult for them to evict the squatters without some chicanery.


Where Wall Street Stands Right Now CNBC




CASE STUDY: Judges 4 Sale
Judges Are for Sale — and Special Interests Are Buying

A new report details how big business and corporate lobbyists are packing courts with judges who put special interests ahead of the public interest.

Time The Occupy Wall Street movement is shining a spotlight on how much influence big-money interests have with the White House and Congress. But people are not talking about how big money is also increasingly getting its way with the courts, which is too bad. It’s a scandal that needs more attention. 

Out of Control!

  For more than 15 years, Bank of America has been stealing homes of homeowners that never missed a payment. 
What is it going to take to stop them?

Bank of America Forecloses on Non-Existent Home

Huffington Post The story is only latest public relations mix-up for the company that recently lost its status as the largest bank in the country. It was reported earlier this month that one family, also living in the Houston area, faces foreclosure due to an un-transferred title and in spite of making payments on time.

In another case, Bank of America foreclosed on an elderly couple in Pasco County, Florida, in part because they made a payment too early.

Md. Title Agency owner steals $5 million from homeowners

Because the existing mortgages were not paid off, the liens against the property were not removed and clear title could not be passed to the new lender and borrower.

Examiner At a time in our nation’s history when homeowners are already suffering enough, Gary Pierce has been adding insult to our economic injuries.  Pierce pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a five year scheme to divert or hold mortgage payoff funds from clients’ closings on 17 Maryland properties.

Let’s first get our terms straight so you know who the players are and what they do. Start at the beginning:

Living Lies Investors are starting to get restless as they see what is left of their “equity” in the MBS deals they advanced money to buy, dwindling to zero. They are onto the game and the pension fund and other fund managers responsible for the purchase had best start acting to protect their pensioners or they will find themselves in the same position as the so-called trustees of what are now emerging as non-existent trusts for pools of money that have nothing but the investor money in them as assets and no loans.
10/30/11** ‘Bail out the people, not the banks’

Occupy foreclosed homes!

Workers World The total lost home-equity wealth due to foreclosures is expected to be $1.9 trillion for the years 2009-2012. Foreclosures this year alone are expected to total a record 3.8 million homes. The oppressed communities were especially targeted with predatory, racist, subprime and exotic loans, and are suffering from the complete collapse of housing values, which was the fundamental repository for what wealth may have existed.
10/30/11 Terms for Proposed Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Shock the Conscience

The biggest issue here is that banks have shown no interest in the past of actually holding to any settlement terms.

Links to other articles

David Dayen 


Here’s how that plays out: $1.5 billion would go in the form of a $1,500 check to any borrower that lost their home to foreclosure THEFT since September 2008. So, a couple months’ rent, thanks for playing, and there’s no demarcation here: you get this if you stopped paying and were foreclosed upon properly (I’m sure there were a few) or if you were evicted wrongly.

Great Recession begets a new class of homeless

Area residents once able to help others now need aid themselves

Toledo Blade The Balls are in many ways the new face of poverty: former homeowners, lifelong workers, educated. They are fallen members of the middle class, people who have weathered past recessions but have not managed to escape the long reach of the Great Recession. They are people unlikely to ask for help, even as their lives crumble.
10/30/11 The Multistate Settlement Lottery: Bupkis

The banks can do principal write-downs only on loans that they own.  They have no legal authority to pledge write-downs on loans that they service on behalf of investors.

Prof. Adam Levitin So if this is a matter of dollars, not principles, why on earth are the AGs in the multi-state settlement going to cut a deal for $25B? This is pocket change for the defendants and doesn't come anywhere close to rectifying the harm they wreaked on the economy, preventing future foreclosures, or pushing a measure of accountability for the financial crisis.  

An Important Message from Register of Deeds, John L. O’Brien sent to msfraud Entire message: Please be advised that banks have been sending out letters offering to record your discharge for a fee of $150You may record the discharge yourself by bringing it in or mailing it to the Registry of Deeds with a check for $75.  Please contact customer service at 978-542-1704 with any additional questions.
10/29/11 The Mindless Mindset of Criminal Foreclosure Mills

What the Costumes Reveal

Joe Nocera

NY Times

In an e-mail, the former employee said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

She added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.

10/29/11** A Foreclosure Settlement That Wouldn't Sting


The banks contend that they have seen no evidence that they evicted homeowners who were paying their mortgages.

 Then again, state and federal officials conducted few, if any, in-depth investigations before sitting down to cut a deal.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Things could change, of course, and the deal could go by the boards. But here’s the state of play, according to people who have been briefed on the negotiations but were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Cutting to the chase: if you thought this was the deal that would hold banks accountable for filing phony documents in courts, foreclosing without showing they had the legal right to do so and generally running roughshod over anyone who opposed them, you are likely to be disappointed.
10/29/11** Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?

It doesn’t get any more immoral than this.

(Last Thursday, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case demanded that the S.E.C. explain how such serious securities fraud could end with the defendant neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing.)

NY Times The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.


Delaware AG Beau Biden: Fighting Fraudclosure

Dylan Ratigan, one of the best media advocates we have, discusses the Delaware AG's lawsuit against MERS.

Dylan Ratigan Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden sued the private national mortgage registry MERS, alleging a slew of deceptive trade practices that prevent homeowners from staving off foreclosure.


MERS turning Mortgages into Monopoly Money for over a Decade Daily Kos MERS engages in ... deceptive trade practices ... sow confusion among consumers ... is deceptive and harms consumers by permitting and encouraging foreclosures for which the authority has not been fully determined and may not be legitimate.
10/28/11 Colossally Low Residential Investment Due to Fraudulent Housing Market

It’s been five years, and we’re still seeing difficulties and deficiencies with mortgage servicing,” Date said. And that’s because the servicing model simply doesn’t work, and for the regulator with oversight over the servicing industry to say that, it has an impact. But it’s true.

David Dayen


Servicer compensation doesn’t work. It’s not in a servicer’s incentive to do a good job on loss mitigation,” Date said. “I find that people generally do what they get paid to do.” In addition, he noted that servicers, by selling the servicing rights, can fire the borrower, but the borrower cannot fire the servicer. This leads to a major lack of focus on consumer needs.
10/28/11 Nye's Letter to FHFA/OIG Nye Lavalle  
10/27/11 10 Reasons Bank of America Is the Most Hated Bank in America Nomi Prins Here are ten reasons to take your money out of Bank of America - and park it at a credit union or community bank near you. (And yes, that may be near impossible if you have a mortgage with them, as refinancing away from any big bank nowadays is a nightmare.)
10/27/11 What Shall We Tell Our Children, Mr. President? Mandelman Matters Should we tell them that the working class people of this country all became irresponsible at the same time, went out and bought homes they couldn’t afford, and now deserve to be losing them… 20 million or more Americans… all losing their homes, and that once that happens our economy will be better?  Is that what you’d have us tell them, Mr. President?


Delaware AG sues MERS, claims mortgage deception

Delaware chose to challenge the firm through the state’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, alleging that consumers were the ones shortchanged by its system.

Delaware Online Delaware AG joined what is becoming a growing legal battle against the mortgage industry today, charging that consumers facing foreclosure were purposely misled and deceived by the company that supposedly kept track of their loans’ ownership.

By operating a shadowy and frequently inaccurate private database that obscured the mortgages’ true owners, Merscorp made it difficult for hundreds of Delaware homeowners to fight foreclosure actions in court or negotiate new terms on their loans.


November 19th

Attorneys: Foreclosure Defense at a Whole New Level – Max Gardner in-person or on Video

Max is coming to New York City

“What You Need to Know About the UCC for Foreclosure Defense”

WHEN: November 19th & 20th
WHERE: New York Law School, New York City

Max’s all-star team of former mortgage industry professionals, forensic accountants, software consultants and others to help you understand what’s really going on inside the mortgage industry and how to use it to your client’s advantage.

Max O. Gardner Speakers include:
Judge Arthur Schack – New York Supreme Court Justice

Hon. Samuel L. Bufford – a former United States Bankruptcy Judge

Tara Twomey – National Consumer Law Center and the Amicus Project Director for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. 
Thomas Cox – The attorney responsible for setting off the temporary freeze against foreclosures.
Richard Shepherd – Former Vice-President and General Counsel for Saxon Mortgage (now Morgan Stanley)
Margery Golant –  Former Assistant General Counsel at Ocwen Financial Corporation and Department Manager of a major plaintiff's foreclosure firm.


Why Have We Arrested 2,511 Protesters And Zero Bankers? Business Insider "Equal justice under the law" is a cornerstone of the American Republic. In statues, Lady Justice is blindfolded to symbolize that justice is blind to the differences between the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor. Today, I fear that Justice's blindfold is in tatters, and equal justice under the law has become a myth in the American economic system.
10/27/11** Make the banks pay

Obama and the AGs still balk at the only solution to the housing-driven recession

Prof. Adam Levitin There is $700 billion in negative equity in the U.S. housing market. That means Americans owe $700 billion more than their homes are worth. Any plan for the housing sector or the U.S. economy, that doesn’t take a serious bite out of negative equity isn’t serious.


PA and NJ Homeowners File Foreclosure Fraud Class Action Against Wells Fargo and Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg

Documents filed with the SEC reveal that, in 2009 and 2010 alone, Phelan and its affiliated companies obtained $48 million in "default services" fees from just one of their many clients -- Fannie Mae -- a government sponsored enterprise in which the brother of Phelan's senior partner held a top management position as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer.

Digital Journal The lawsuit alleges defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to "pile on" unlawful foreclosure fees from financially troubled families on the brink of losing their homes. The lawsuit contends that, to carry out the scheme, defendants systematically filed falsified complaints, affidavits and mortgage assignments to bring foreclosure actions in the name of parties without legal standing to sue.

The Complaint


Cleveland County commissioners file suit against MERS The Norman Transcript Cleveland County commissioners have filed a class action lawsuit against a mortgage registration system and finance corporations that used it claiming the companies illegally avoided the filing of mortgage transactions with county clerks
10/26/11** Obama's Re-Fi Plan: The Perfection Of Debt-Serfdom

The key purpose of this "plan" is to leave the principle owed to banks on their books at full value while ensnaring the hapless debt-serf (the "homeowner") into permanent servitude to the banks.

Charles Smith for Zero Hedge This is the Federal Reserve's entire game plan in a nutshell:

Don't write off any debt, as that would reveal the banking sector's insolvency, but play extend-and-pretend with crushing debt-loads by lowering the cost of servicing the debt.

If the net worth of your home is a negative number, then what exactly do you own? You have the right to occupy the shelter, and you own the debt. So how is this any different from a lease? There is no equity, and no equity being built: there is a monthly payment in return for the right to occupy the dwelling.



White Paper

Roy D. Oppenheim
Jacquelyn K. Trask
Oppenheim Law
From 2003 to 2007... real estate sold at astonishing prices as people were sold a bill of goods known as the “American Dream.” But for many, that American Dream turned out to be the American Nightmare. 

The systemic fraud and illegal
conduct of the banks has continued to pervasively infect court systems
throughout the nation; further, the  court system has suffered from extreme abuse at the hands of the banks that have high jacked it and effectively turned it into a private collection agency for the banking industry.

10/26/11 Cheat Sheet: What’s Happened to the Big Players in the Financial Crisis ProPublica So here’s a quick refresher on what’s happened to some of the main players, whose behavior, whether merely reckless or downright deliberate, helped cause or worsen the meltdown. This list isn’t exhaustive -- feel welcome to add to it.

New York Working With Delaware on Criminal Foreclosure Probe

 New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is working with Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden to investigate possible “criminal acts” by financial institutions tied to the foreclosure crisis.

Bloomberg “Beau Biden, who is the attorney general of Delaware, and I thought we really needed to dig in a little bit deeper,” Schneiderman said yesterday. “We're also looking at the conduct of individual institutions and individuals to see if there were misrepresentations made, to see if there was any fraud committed, to see if criminal acts were also a part of this, and that's what Beau and I are looking at.”

Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that thousands of home foreclosures are invalid because banks do not have promissory notes

This means that all mortgage payments made to banks for illegitimately foreclosed upon properties are fraudulent since such banks do not technically own the properties in question. It also means that anyone who purchased a foreclosed property, or who is threatened currently with potential foreclosure, does not necessarily have a legal obligation to continue paying their mortgage.

Global Research More than five million US homeowners and counting have had their homes foreclosed upon by banks since the "economic crisis" first began several years ago. But the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that the vast majority of the foreclosures that took place in the Commonwealth (and likely in most other states) within the past five years are illegitimate because the banks did not, and do not, actually hold the promissory notes for the properties.


Houston-Area Court Delays Vote to Approve MERS Lawsuit

Briefing was postponed until the court's upcoming Nov. 12 meeting.

Mortgage Servicing News “There's no reason to rush the vote,” Soard said. “It's an important lawsuit and an important case and we want to make sure everyone is comfortable with this project.”

Want to Lower the Cost of Law School and Legal Advice? Allow Nonlawyers to Practice Law, Op-Ed Says


ABA Journal “Eliminating entry barriers and allowing nonlawyers to perform legal services would, among many other gains, ensure that such talents have a place within our legal system,”
Are Law Schools and Bar Exams Necessary? NY Times OP-ED

Nevada Makes Illegal Foreclosures A Felony

The law requires mortgage companies to provide a new affidavit with the amount owed on the loan, the person who is in possession of the note and the individual with the authority to foreclose on the property.



Responding to homeowner complaints, Nevada has become the first state in the nation to make illegally repossessing a home a felony, and may send bankers to JAIL for doing such. The new law was enacted after tens of thousands of homeowners complained to lawmakers about their homes being foreclosed without proof of ownership.
10/24/11 UPDATE 1-Morgan Stanley to rid itself of mortgage servicer

You can read comments about this in our Forum

Reuters Morgan Stanley plans to sell its mortgage-servicing business to Ocwen Financial Corp for $59.3 million, closing out a money-losing strategy that stemmed from the subprime housing bubble.

AZ Regulators Seize PMI Group

Walnut Creek-based PMI Group said Monday it has hired three companies that are experts in restructuring or bankruptcy efforts following the seizure of its main mortgage insurance unit

The Order

Mercury News The company also warned it faces hundreds of millions of dollars in debts it can't repay.

"Time is up for PMI," "This may be the end of an era for PMI as a leading mortgage insurance company."

"The Arizona Department of Insurance now has full possession, management and control of PMI Mortgage Insurance,"



Second motion to dismiss and Judgment of Dismissal 

Living Lies This Judge in Missouri, Mark Stephens is wide awake — His analysis consisted of just reading the name of the would-be forecloser, word by word and arriving at the only possible legal conclusion: HSBC and the Trust were a crock. Certificates are not people nor are they legal persons. They can’t sue or be sued and they can’t perform any legal act. 

Here is how he did it: HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a bank, but it wasn’t being named as a bank or for performing any function of a depository or lending institution. So the question is why mention HSBC? The answer is that the Banks are playing word games inside the heads of most Judges and it is working. Not with this Judge though.

10/24/11 Got A Hundred Bucks? Buy A Home (Or Virtually Anything Else) Using 2,000x Non Recourse Leverage Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

"HUD’s $100 down payment incentive program can also be applied to an FHA 203k loan, which can be used to fund repairs and renovations on the home. The 203k program allows buyers to finance both the mortgage and additional money for rehabilitation needs with a single government-insured loan." Said otherwise, a $100 down payment gives one unlimited degrees of freedom how to spend non-recourse, massively levered capital, and courtesy of money's fungibility, to even fund, shhh, the occasional iPhone. 
10/24/11 Ocwen to Buy Saxon for $59.3 Million DSnews This will mark Georgia-based Ocwen’s second major acquisition of a residential mortgage servicer in less than a year’s time. In both cases, Ocwen took the servicing businesses off the hands of investment banks.
10/24/11 BNCCORP, INC. Reports 2011 Third Quarter Net Income of $1.594 Million, or $0.38 Per Diluted Share

--2011 Third Quarter Overview - Credit quality continues to improve as nonperforming assets decrease by $2.2 million

Market Watch Our insurance carriers commenced a declaratory judgment action against the Company in an Arizona federal court seeking a judicial determination that the losses associated with the servicing fraud are not covered by the policies. We have subsequently countersued the insurance carriers for failure to honor the policies and for acting in bad faith. We intend to vigorously pursue our claims to recover amounts due under the insurance policies and for losses incurred as a result of the carriers acting in bad faith.


Harris County, Texas may sue over mortgage revenues

It could join other Texas counties accusing private tracking system of owing them millions

chron The county attorney's office will ask the Commissioners Court on Tuesday for authority to hire a law firm to sue Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., which claims to hold title to some 60 million loans around the country.

Harris County estimates it's owed at least $10 million in unpaid fees, and possibly as much as $100 million with penalties.

"MERS has jeopardized the clear title of every Texas homeowner with a mortgage and has cheated Texas counties out of millions of dollars in property recording fees," Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said in an email.

Unusual Lawsuit Attacks Foreclosures

When banks chose to turn mortgages into investment products, they gave up the right to take the house, attorney Luke Lucas argues.

Rich Lord


Bank of America, which bought America's Wholesale Lender, filed for foreclosure in 2008. But according to the complaint, the loan had long since ceased to be a mortgage.

Because mortgages and stocks are separate under U.S. law, Mr. Lucas said, the loans ceased to be secured to the house. So the foreclosure, which has been stayed, was invalid.



Guest opinion: Non-judicial foreclosures will kill property rights Denver Post Florida's clown Gov. Rick Scott recently voiced support for the renewed effort of the Florida Bankers Association to eliminate judicial foreclosures in Florida and to convert non-judicial foreclosures.

An Example Of What Should Lead To Handcuffs

Oh yeah, there's this pesky statute of limitations problem too. Anyone note the dates? Just draw it out until you can't prosecute - on purpose. This is nothing more or less than an organized looting operation with the full participation of the government in stealing from the victims.

Karl Denninger


Where are the handcuffs for the obvious false statements? This "transaction" was a clear (and successful) attempt to simply rob people.

If you or I do something like this through some fraudulent edifice we go to prison. But when a big national bank does it, we simply order them to a pay a fine when they get caught.

This makes stealing a simple business proposition: Since you will not get caught all of the time, there is no reason not to steal.  Any time you do not get caught you get to keep all the loot.  When you get caught you negotiate to return some of the loot.

10/22/11 Texas Entrepreneur Unconstitutionally Stripped of His Company, Assets, Liberty and Privacy Post & Email Baron told The Post & Email that Dallas is home to a criminal cabal of attorneys operating “in their own little club,” one of whom is Texas State Senator Royce West.



California is wooed in mortgage settlement talks

Seeking to draw California back to settlement talks, state attorneys general and federal agencies offer a proposal for banks to devote $5 billion to refinance the mortgages of as many as 300,000 "underwater" U.S. homeowners.

L.A. Times Under the proposal, homeowners would have to be up to date on their payments and would get new mortgages with lower interest rates.

The Swap:  The banks will swap your old unsecured and possibly uncollectable mortgage for a brand new one and securitize it.

The FRAUD in your old one has now been covered up.