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The biggest unpunished heist in human history - Max Keiser

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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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3/31/14

LOAN MODIFICATIONS

Modifications are like a dirty word in the marketplace. Frustration, chicanery, luring borrowers into default, and crating modifications that are bound to fail so that the banks can get that ever precious foreclosure sale. But there is another side to it:

David Abellard There are hidden programs throughout the country that provide direct financial assistance to those who want to bring their loan current or who need a reduction in principal. The ďexpertĒ you are hiring had better know about them or you might turn down a deal that would otherwise be acceptable.

Snatch and Grab: Many of the banks are still secretly scripting their customer service people to lure you into a default with the promise of a modification, even accepting trial payments, and then foreclosing anyway. The courts are not amused and they are getting banged by this practice ó but only where the homeowner brings it up loudly.

Foreclosure guide criticized

Bank defends manual on how to produce files

A number of her past cases involving the bank featured mortgage notes that were not endorsed by anyone, but when she brought it to Wells Fargoís attention, the bank would ďmagicallyĒ produce the document, Tirelli said.

Washington Post Banking lawyer Jeffrey Naimon at BuckleySandler, a financial services law firm in Washington, said the law does allow lenders to endorse notes after filing for foreclosure. He said lenders can transfer ownership of a mortgage by filling out the endorsement or leaving a blank endorsement. 

WRONG! Employees and foreclosure mills are criminally counterfeiting and forging documents that do not exist!

Lawsuits allege predatory lending by HSBC, Bank of America

Chicago Sun Times Cook County has launched a pair lawsuits against two major banks, alleging that they helped cause the Chicago regionís foreclosure crisis by deliberately marketing predatory loans to black and Latino borrowers.

HAMP Mortgage Bailout Costs, Foreclosures Could Rise Sharply

The five-year-old HAMP was designed to prevent foreclosures at a time when home prices were sinking and unemployment was rising. Yet defaults, the precursor to foreclosures, have occurred at high rates anyway.

National Legal and Policy Center A number of federal officials, especially FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, believed that helping homeowners in over their heads in mortgage debt was defensible and necessary. If banks could receive emergency funds to cover poor lending practices, they reasoned, so could homeowners to whom they made loans.

3/31/14

B of A, James B. Nutter & Co. Settle HUD Reverse Mortgage Claims

Mortgage Servicing News Both Bank of America and James B. Nutter & Co. allowed borrowers to take out more than one HECM loan in violation of program requirements. The HECM program provides older homeowners with government-insured reverse mortgages in order to help them tap into home equity as a source of monthly income or credit. Borrowers can only take out loans for their principal residence and may not have more than one principal residence at a time.

3/31/14

The Chinese Are Acquiring Large Chunks Of Land In Communities All Over America

Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening.

What about you?

What do you think about all this?

The American Dream The Chinese are on a real estate buying spree all over America. In fact, in some cases large chunks of land are actually being given to them. Yes, you read that correctly. China is on the way to becoming the dominant land owner in the entire country, and that is starting to alarm a lot of people.

When the Chinese purchased Smithfield Foods, they suddenly owned 460 large farms and became the top employer in dozens of communities all over the United StatesÖ

3/31/14

Too Big To Fail not solved, says IMF

International Monetary Fund Absent reforms, another financial crisis is likely to leave taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions, warns the IMF, estimating the world's biggest banks receive up to $590B in implicit public subsidies because of their TBTF status.

  Shocking í60 Minutesí Report Will Shake Wall Street To Its Core!

Who are the victims? Everybody who has an investment in the stock market.

60 Minutes The bombshell í60 Minutesí report below just released last night will shake Wall Street to its core. Exposing that Wall Street is rigged to the benefit of certain insiders who have made BILLIONS of dollars via computerized trading, this report should bring Wall Street to its knees.

 

3/31/14

The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street

The RBC trading floor had a no-jerk rule (though the staff had a more colorful term for it): If someone came in the door looking for a job and sounding like a typical Wall Street jerk, he wouldnít be hired, no matter how much money he said he could make the firm.

NY Times Katsuyama had never laid eyes on Wall Street or New York City. It was his first immersive course in the American way of life, and he was instantly struck by how different it was from the Canadian version. ďEverything was to excess,Ē he says. ďI met more offensive people in a year than I had in my entire life. People lived beyond their means, and the way they did it was by going into debt. Thatís what shocked me the most. Debt was a foreign concept in Canada. Debt was evil.Ē

3/30/14

Bank of America* exorcises another mortgage ghost

Gulf Times After taxes, BofA estimates the settlement will cut first-quarter income by 21 cents a share. It is surely coincidental that BofA announced the settlement on Wednesday at the same time investors were preoccupied with the release of Federal Reserve stress-tests results.

3/30/14

N.Y. Budget Blocks A.G. From Controlling Settlement Cash

The budget deal reached by Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers would require New Yorkís attorney general to cede control of cash obtained from settlements to the governor and legislature.

BusinessWeek ďOur concern has always been that the funds from Attorney General Schneidermanís settlement with JPMorgan Chase be used for the purposes for which they were intended -- to help struggling homeowners in New York,Ē said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for Schneiderman, in an e-mail. ďWe will review the budget proposal through that lens.Ē

3/30/14

Ormond Beach fighting a plague of zombie homes

Bay News "It is an eyesore and it is exactly a zombie home because we don't even know at this point who owns the homes," said Rita Press, president of Citizens for Ormond Beach.

The group has identified at least 300 foreclosed homes throughout the city, and numerous abandoned homes with no paper trail that homeowners simply walked away from.

3/30/14

Irvington moves a step closer to using eminent domain to fight foreclosures

nj Since last year, town attorneys have been conducting a study of the legal process, also known as ďfriendly condemnations,Ē that would allow the township to seize underwater mortgages and restructure them on behalf of homeowners to make payments more affordable.

The resolution approved in a 6-1 vote on Wednesday effectively brings the issue of the radical approach to eminent domain before the township Planning Board, which will now identify properties ďin potential foreclosure that may be designated as areas in need of redevelopment,Ē the resolution states.

3/28/14

"Hero" foreclosure attorney slams Christopher Whalen, mortgage servicers

Not kind words

There is daily and massive evidence in our dealings with the servicers outside of court, in our foreclosure mediation programs and in our court cases, that the servicers could care less about keeping homeowners in their homes. In fact, in a high percentage of cases where homeowners are demonstrably able to afford loan modifications that would benefit investors, the servicers work their hardest to deny those modifications.

Tom Cox, Esq.

Housing Wire

Don't go blaming the homeowners for this--I am referring to huge numbers of cases where they have either housing counselor assistance or legal assistance, where complete loan modification applications are submitted, and where the servicers, in defiance of the National Mortgage Settlement and now in daily defiance of the new CFPB regulations, fail to review the applications and wrongfully deny them.

What the regulators are doing is trying to stop the extortion by the servicers of homeowners who are qualified for loan modifications but cannot get them. That extortion comes in the form of wearing down the emotional stamina of homeowners to stay with the modification process until they get fair and honest treatment. I just had a homeowner get a Freddie Mac modification that she first applied for five years ago. Most homeowners would have given up in tears of frustration before being able to stay with the process that long.

80 percent of U.S. adults face near-poverty, unemployment

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

CBS News Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The government program that failed homeowners


Chris Cooley never missed a payment on his mortgage. His application with HAMP was a success - and cut his payment in half. Wells Fargo had put him on what was only a trial Hamp payment program. He had been rejected for a permanent mortgage modification Ė only Wells Fargo never informed him about the rejection. 

The Guardian What followed was what most homeowners would consider a nightmare. While Cooley tried to stave off foreclosure to save his home and livelihood, Wells Fargo paid the other renters living in the property $5,000 to move out behind his back, and then denied Cooley further aid Ė because his income, which he drew from the rentals, was too low. ďThey took my income away from me, and then they couldnít give me a loan because I had no income,Ē Cooley said. ďWhat a wonderful catch-22.Ē

3/30/14

Different Versions of the Note Gets Jammed in Ohio Court of Appeals

Deutsche Bank v. Holden

Ohio Court of Appeals

Ninth District

Ms. Theodoro' s affidavit fails to explain why the copy of the note attached to her affidavit differs from the one attached to the complaint when, from her averments, the note, while in Chase's possession, had always contained a blank indorsement from Novastar to Deutsche Bank.

We concluded that the inconsistencies between the indorsements contained on the submitted notes created a genuine issue of material fact that precluded summary judgment as we could not
ascertain which lender possessed the note at the time the foreclosure was filed.

3/30/14


Obamaís Big Lie

His Administration Never Intended to Prosecute Bankers

On May 20, 2009, at the signing into law of both the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act and the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, President Obama said: ďThis bill nearly doubles the FBIís mortgage and financial fraud program, allowing it to better target fraud in hard-hit areas. Thatís why it provides the resources necessary for other law enforcement and federal agencies, from the Department of Justice to the SEC to the Secret Service, to pursue these criminals, bring them to justice, and protect hardworking Americans affected most by these crimes.

counterpunch Then, in the Presidentís 24 January 2012 State of the Union Address, he said: ďTonight, Iím asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. (Applause.) This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 

Privately, Obama had told Wall Street executives that he would protect them. On 27 March 2009, Obama assembled the top executives of the bailed-out financial firms in a secret meeting at the White House and he assured them that he would cover their backs; he promised ďMy administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforksĒ. Itís not on the White House website; it was leaked out, which is one of the reasons Obama hates leakers. What the DOJís IG indicated was, in effect, that Obama had kept his secret promise to them.

3/29/14

Prosecuting mortgage fraud not a priority

A better headline might have been ďJustice Department Acknowledges that Rich Bankers Who Committed Fraud Wonít Go to Jail

 

Former Senator Ted Kaufman I draw two depressing conclusions. First, without a real threat of criminal prosecution, there is no deterrent effect on anyone who commits financial fraud in the future. Second, the lack of action on mortgage fraud takes us a perilous step closer to a two-tiered system of criminal justice Ė one for the poor and one for the rich. Thatís something we cannot allow to happen.

Why Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Rich When the Next Storm Hits

NBC The changes shift the financial burden for the next destructive hurricane, tsunami or tropical storm onto the neighbors of these wealthy beach-dwellers ó and ultimately onto all American taxpayers.

Baby boomers choosing reverse mortgages over retirement plans

Theyíre playing with house money. But they could still lose big.

NY Post ďI would only consider the reverse mortgage as a last resort. They cost a lot, and there are better ways to pay for retirement,Ē said Charles Hughes, a financial adviser. ďGone are the days of gleefully burning the mortgage and passing the home on to the children.Ē 

3/29/14

HOMEOWNERíS SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES TO BANK

 

Timothy McCandless, Esq.  

New York Judge unseals guilty pleas in Dewey law firm fraud

Dewey & LeBoeuf collapsed in 2012, becoming the largest U.S. law firm to file for bankruptcy. If convicted of the top counts against them, the executives each face up to 25 years behind bars.

Reuters The records offer a new peek into the government's case against top executives at the defunct elite international law firm and how key witnesses might testify against them.

They were charged with taking part in a scheme to cheat banks and investors as they struggled unsuccessfully to keep the law firm alive.

 

Ohio Court Reverses Summary Judgment in Favor of HSBC Bank

HSBC v. Teagarden, Wells Fargo

REFinBlog The court did not find that foreclosure of the note was appropriate, ďuntil the 
Court determines which of the costs, advances, and other charges requested by the Plaintiff [HSBC Bank] are allowable in the interest of justice.Ē 

The Judgment Entries of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, dismissing the Teagardensí counterclaims, are affirmed; the 
Entry entering summary judgment in favor of HSBC Bank on the note is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

3/28/14

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Regional Results Of Homeowner Protection Program For Erie And Niagara Counties

NY AG Office I joined Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Congressman Brian Higgins to detail efforts to assist homeowners and localities with their ongoing recovery from the mortgage crisis. From funding land banks to connecting families to our Homeowner Protection Program.

We can ensure no community or individual New Yorker has to face the pain of foreclosure alone.

3/28/14

In an Hour, Judge clears 300 Foreclosure Cases

What about Florida's 5-year statute of limitations?

Herald Tribune Tearful homeowners also arrived, holding court orders and stacks of mortgage bills, not knowing what to expect. Before they could even get a word out, their cases were tossed.

Nobody was there to fight it.

The dismissals give homeowners more time, as the lenders now have to start over.

Brain scans link concern for JUSTICE with reason, not emotion

Science Daily People who care about justice are swayed more by reason than emotion, according to new brain scan research. Psychologists have found that some individuals react more strongly than others to situations that invoke a sense of justice ó for example, seeing a person being treated unfairly, or with mercy. The new study used brain scans to analyze the thought processes of people with high ďjustice sensitivity.Ē

3/28/14

Fla. Bar Can't Keep Disbarred Attys From Nonlegal Work

"Although we appreciate the Barís diligent work on this issue, we do not adopt the proposal because we do not have the authority to prohibit a lawyer from doing non-legal work." Fla.Sup.Ct.

Florida Supreme Court The Bar proposed amending Rule 3-6.1 (Employment of Certain Lawyers or 
Former Lawyers; Generally) by adding new subdivision (d)(4) to prohibit 
suspended attorneys and former attorneys who have been disbarred, or whose 
disciplinary resignations or revocations have been allowed, from representing 
clients in administrative proceedings and before administrative agencies which 
allow nonlawyer agents or ďqualified representativesĒ to represent clients in certain circumstances. 

3/28/14

Repairing Your Credit

Daívid Abellard Most people donít even think about credit restoration when the servicer proposes a settlement or modification because they are so emotionally torn up, the only thing they can think about is keeping their house. Credit restoration should be part of any modification or settlement deal.

3/28/14

FHFA Settles With BofA for $5.83 Billion Over Countrywide Legacy Loans

Of the 18 PLS suits filed in 2011, FHFA now has claims remaining in seven suits against various institutions and remains committed to satisfactory resolution of these pending actions.

National Mortgage Professional The cases alleged violations of federal and state securities laws in connection with private-label, residential mortgage-backed securities (PLS) purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. Allegations of common law fraud were made in the Countrywide and Merrill Lynch cases.

The Agreement provides for an aggregate payment of approximately $9.33 billion by Bank of America that includes the litigation resolution as well as a purchase of securities by Bank of America from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

3/6/14r

Cloudy With a Chance of Radicalism. Or... Turning the Tables on the Big Banks?

One industry insider told us that all non-Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages were transferred improperly. In other words, the ownership of potentially millions of mortgages is in question.

Hannah Appel & JP Massar First, simply the prospect of turning the table on the banks by forcing them to prove ownership (which they most likely cannot) is itself a significant step in the right direction. 

Second, as one lawyer we consulted for this article put it: ...these are issues of power. Create enough political leverage, and these nebulous and complex issues get resolved in favor of the people. Judges and policy makers have to understand that correct decisions are the only thing standing between them and 40,000 people marching in the street.

3/28/14

WELLS FARGO NOTICE FAIL

Samaroo v. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo failed to satisfy the notice requirement of section 22 of the mortgage as a condition precedent to foreclosure.

Florida Court of Appeals Fifth District Wells Fargo contends that it ďsubstantiallyĒ complied with the contractual notice requirements, an argument we cannot credit. None of the cases cited by Wells Fargo involved compliance with pre-acceleration notice requirements contained in a mortgage. 
Its own mortgage specified the important information that it was bound to give its borrower in default, and it simply failed to do so.

3/27/14

Despite Regulations, Survivors Face Foreclosures After Reverse Mortgage Borrowerís Death

The Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations for reverse mortgages require banks offer survivors the option to settle the loan for 95% of the homeís current fair market value.

Consumerist Because reverse mortgage loans are tied to the equity in oneís home, it is a finite amount, which can fluctuate with the changing home value.
Additionally, lenders must offer survivors up to 30 days from when the loan becomes due to decide what to do with the property, and up to six months to arrange financing. Isabel says she was never given that option.

3/27/14

Billions in Fines, but No Jail Time for Bank of America

The governmentís strategy for punishing big banks for the misdeeds of the financial crisis has revolved around filing civil lawsuits and imposing harsh financial penalties that ultimately fall on shareholders.

Business Week New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed his own $25 million settlement with the bank and its former chief executive, Kenneth Lewis, over allegations that both were less than forthright with shareholders over the 2009 purchase of Merrill Lynch. Lewis agreed to a $10 million fine and a three-year ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company

Lewis might experience some irritation writing that $10 million check, but it isnít likely to last long: When he announced his resignation in September 2009, he was due to receive pension benefits of $53 million, as well as $81 million in stock.

 

3/27/14

Is Benjamin Lawsky only going to get more aggressive?


Ballard Spahr says industry hasnít seen anything yet.

Lawsky also turned his sights on the mortgage servicing business, where banks have been fleeing the MSR business in favor of nonbanks, arising from an unintended consequence of Basel III.

Housing Wire Lawsky, notably, is the ďzealousĒ regulator who put the brakes on Ocwen Financial Corp.(OCN) and Wells Fargo (WFC) in their $2.7 billion MSR deal.

ďIt is appropriate for regulators, where warranted, to halt the explosive growth in the nonbank mortgage servicing industry before more homeowners get hurt,Ē Lawskey told the New York Bankers Association Annual Meeting and Economic Forum in February.

Lawsky said companies like Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) and Walter Investment Management (WAC) are in his sights and drawing his scrutiny.

How Banks Fleece Heirs on Reverse Mortgages

Never underestimate the willingness of banks to find new and creative ways to cheat customers, particularly when big bucks are at stake.

naked capitalism Reverse mortgages have long been seen as a quasi-predatory product: you really need to read the fine print very carefully and even then, itís not hard to miss something critical. But the behavior Silver-Greenberg describes has nothing to do with sneaky contract language. Itís flat-out fraud. Here are the critical parts of her article:

GALOPE v. DEUTSCHE BANK, OCWEN 

Contrary to the dissentís assertion, Galopeís standing does not turn on
whether she actually made interest payments that were adjusted in response to the allegedly manipulated LIBOR rate. Galopeís cognizable injury occurred when she purchased the loan, not upon payment of LIBOR-affected interest. 

9th Circuit California We reverse the district courtís ruling that Galope failed to establish injury in-
fact necessary for Article III standing on her LIBOR-based claims. Galope
adequately alleged that she would not have purchased her loan had she known that the Defendants were manipulating the LIBOR rate. Article III standing exists when a plaintiff purchases a product she would not have otherwise purchased but for the alleged misconduct of the defendant.

3/27/14

Judge Rules Goldman Must Face Lawsuit Over Mortgage Securities

The lawsuit is one of thousands filed against Goldman and other banks over mortgage securities that collapsed in value in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

NBC News Offering documents for the securities said lenders reviewed whether borrowers would be able to meet their monthly payments, when in reality mortgages were issued without regard to borrowers' ability to pay, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also said that lenders inflated borrowers' incomes and that appraisers submitted falsely inflated property appraisals.

3/27/14

Judge Urges Dismissal of Mortgage Suit Against Bank of America

The recommendation to toss out a Justice Department lawsuit over a soured mortgage deal at Bank of America could inspire other banks to test their luck in court.

DealBook Ultimately, it could also undercut the Justice Departmentís use of a novel legal theory against Wall Street.

The Justice Department has enjoyed success when invoking the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, or Firrea. Facing the obscure statute ó which requires a criminal violation but uses the lower burden of proof of a civil case ó banks are typically cowed into large settlements.

Two Cent Foreclosure

For the last TWO YEARS, this 80-year-old woman has been in fear of losing her home to foreclosure despite never having missed a mortgage payment.

WSVN Her attorney says Bank of America filed for foreclosure over two payments that were each one penny short, payments that the bank deducted from her account.

Tom Murphy: "Well, Bank of America shortchanged the payment that they were making to themselves for her mortgage."

Profits Per Loan Plummet to Record Low

Mortgage industry profitability took a big hit in the fourth quarter as the average profit per loan is about 7% of what it was one year ago.

Mortgage Servicing News The average profit of $150 per loan is the lowest since the Mortgage Bankers Association started doing its performance studies in 2008. The average is down from $743 in the third quarter and $2,256 in the fourth quarter of 2012, the MBA says.

3/26/14

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Former CEO Kenneth Lewis Barred For 3 Years From Serving As Officer Or Director Of Any Public Company

Attorney General Will Continue To Pursue Its Claims Of Fraud Against Bankís Former Chief Financial Officer Joe L. Price

NY AG Office Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a $25 million settlement with Bank of America Corporation and its former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth D. Lewis, regarding the bankís actions as it sought to merge with Merrill Lynch & Co in 2008. Despite its top executivesí specific knowledge of mounting losses at Merrill Lynch that were forecast at more than $9 billion, Bank of America failed to disclose that information to shareholders prior to their vote on a proposed merger with Merrill Lynch.
3/26/14

The next financial crisis looms: Hereís where it may come from


Thanks to bank misconduct, odds are that trouble will present itself again soon. And this is what it will look like

David Dayen

Salon

To be sure, danger still lurks in the mortgage market. The latest get-rich-quick scheme, with private equity firms buying up foreclosed properties and renting them out, then selling bonds backed by the rental revenue streams (which look suspiciously like the bonds backed by mortgage payments that were a proximate cause of the last crisis), has the potential to blow up. And continued shenanigans with mortgage documents could lead to major headaches. 

Did the District Court manifestly abuse its discretion by granting MERSís motion to set aside the default judgment entered against it?

The court further concluded that MERS would be injured if the default  judgment was left to stand because MERS would lose its interest in the property at issue. 

Montana Supreme Court Lastly, the District Court agreed that MERS had a meritorious defense to the quiet title complaint because the Trusteeís Sale by which JAS acquired the property was defective, there having been no Affidavit of Mailing recorded prior to the date of the sale, as required under ß 71-1-315(2), MCA. Having concluded that all four prongs of the test set forth in Blume were satisfied, the District Court granted MERSís motion to set aside the default judgment. 

3/26/14

Obama Definitely Lied About Having Intent to Prosecute Banksters

On 27 March 2009, Obama assembled the top executives of the bailed-out financial firms in a secret meeting at the White House and he assured them that he would cover their backs; he promised ďMy administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforksĒ.

Global Research then Obamaís flat tone turned to one of support, even sympathy. ďYou guys have an acute public relations problem thatís turning into a political problem,Ē he said. ďAnd I want to help. But you need to show that you get that this is a crisis and that everyone has to make some sacrifices.Ē According to one of the participants, he then said, ďIím not out there to go after you. Iím protecting you. But if Iím going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation.Ē

No suggestions were forthcoming from the bankers on what they might offer, and the president didnít seem to be championing any specific proposals.
 

3/26/14

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR RELIEF AND VACATING FINAL JUDGMENT AND JUDICIAL SALE 

BANK OF NEW YORK v. HANNIBLE

h/t Stop Foreclosure Fraud No motion has ever been made which seeks to challenge or set aside the entry of default against the Defendant, and the time to do so based on excusable neglect has expired. 
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED: 
1. The final judgment of foreclosure is vacated and set aside. The judicial sale is likewise set aside. 

3/26/14

Hedge Funds Unlikely Saviors for New York-Area Homeowners

Bloomberg American Homeowner Preservation, a Chicago-based investment firm, purchased the mortgage for less than half of what Ragusa owed. Chief Executive Officer Jorge Newbery called the father of three in August with an offer: Pay $5,000 and the company will drop the foreclosure case and erase the more than $100,000 of unpaid principal and penalties amassed.

3/26/14

Bank of America Announces Settlements With Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and New York Attorney General

Market Watch In return, FHFAís pending lawsuits will be dismissed with prejudice and Bank of America and its affiliates will be released from all securities law and fraud claims, as well as certain other claims related to the private-label RMBS in dispute.

Bank of America to Pay $6.3 Billion to Settle Mortgage Securities Suit

from comments: Why is Ken Lewis not in jail? 

Bank of America has been playing this game since 1988. Except now they are taking more and more. Where is the accountability? What has happened to business integrity?

Remember your nation's Total National Debt was $16 Trillion at the time of this Bailout...

DealBook Our national debt could have been eradicated or the monies could have been distributed directly to the public rendering every many woman and child $135,000.00 each!!! Instead, new jets, vacations, bonuses for the execs..... ..'ďNo agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president.Ē (Sen. Bernie Sanders)..

We the public were told of an $850 Billion dollar bailout... not $16 Trillion... anybody else feel lied to just a little bit.....???

3/26/14

NOTICE FAIL

Liberty Savings Bank v. Bowie

OHIO COURT OF APPEALS 
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
Liberty Savings failed to meet its initial burden under Dresher to demonstrate the 
absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether it complied with all applicable HUD regulations. Accordingly, the Bowiesí first assignment of error is sustained.

Pitfalls of Reverse Mortgages May Pass to Borrowerís Heirs

The same loans that were supposed to help their elderly parents stay in their houses are now pushing their children out.

Some lenders are moving to foreclose just weeks after the borrower dies, many families say.

DealBook Under federal rules, survivors are supposed to be offered the option to settle the loan for a percentage of the full amount. Instead, reverse mortgage companies are increasingly threatening to foreclose unless heirs pay the mortgages in full, according to interviews with more than four dozen housing counselors, state regulators and 25 families whose elderly parents took out reverse mortgages.

3/26/14

Judge Zloch Deals Blow to Wells Fargo and Ocwen on Trial by Jury

The judge dealt a huge blow to bankers pretending to be lenders and servicers pretending to be bankers. For him the issue was simple. And he is right. His opinion contains irrefutable logic.

Living Lies His reasoning is simple and bulletproof ó the borrower sued Ocwen stating that it had committed various wrongdoing. Ocwen by all accounts is only a servicer and never has been a lender notwithstanding its prior assertions in court, which many judges have rubber stamped and now wish they didnít.

Because Ocwen is a non-party the
Mortgage, it cannot enforce the Jury Trial Waiver.

HAMID v. OCWEN

Bank of America to Pay $6.3 Billion to Settle Mortgage Securities Suit

DealBook The bank agreed to pay that sum to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of the two government-sponsored mortgage finance firms by their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. As part of the settlement, Bank of America will also repurchase mortgage securities from Fannie and Freddie that are valued at about $3.2 billion.
3/26/14

FHA Will Get Back to Selling Nonperforming Loans in June

Mortgage Servicing News The loans are no longer insured, but the successful bidders are forbidden to foreclose for at least six months (until documents get forged). This restriction is designed to encourage the new servicer to restructure the loans and keep the borrowers in their home. (How nice.)

3/26/14

Taxpayer Subsidies and Too-Big-to-Fail Banks

Taking Note The study, by Jo„o Santos, a New York Fed vice president, finds that the biggest American banks got a significant break on their borrowing costs from 1985 to 2009. That funding advantage, a.k.a. unwarranted taxpayer subsidy, was due to investorsí belief ó correct it turned out ó that behemoth banks would be bailed out by the federal government if they ever got into trouble.

Ouch!

$100 Million Malpractice Action Filed Against Bryan Cave, LLP Reinstated By Ninth Circuit

 

Also see: Bank of America's Lawyer Plays Dirty, Suit Charges

FOX Carolina The suits allege that Bryan Cave committed malpractice and breached its fiduciary duty in advising the debtors on how to conduct their business operations in light of allegations of violations of complex real estate and securities laws. The unpublished decision reversed the District Court's determination that the doctrine of "in pari delicto" ("in equal fault") precluded the trustees from pursuing their claims against Bryan Cave on the merits.

From the transcript: Bryan Cave allegedly made EFI aware of the fraudulent behavior that was going on. And the allegation is Bryan Cave said it was okay to go ahead and continue that fraudulent behavior.

3/25/14

Measuring the Handouts to Big Banks

The largest U.S. banks and their lobbyists have been trying hard to counteract the growing impression that they present an unacceptable threat to the economy. In a new series of papers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers some evidence that they probably wonít like.

Bloomberg View Critics of the big banks assert that repeated government bailouts have created a perverse incentive: The bigger and more systemically important a bank becomes, the more certain its creditors can be that they will get rescued in an emergency. Such too-big-to-fail status, the logic goes, allows banks to borrow more cheaply than they otherwise would -- a taxpayer subsidy that encourages them to take the kind of risks that lead to disasters.

U.S. Banks Enjoy 'Too-Big-To-Fail' Advantage: Fed Study

Fox Business A landmark study by Federal Reserve economists found that large U.S. banks enjoy a "too-big-to-fail" advantage in financial markets, confirming the suspicions of many Wall Street critics more than five years after the financial crisis.

3/25/14

Another Class Action Lawsuit on the Horizon for JPMorgan Chase?

CheatSheet Ruth E. Moya filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan earlier this month in Floridaís Southern District, alleging the bankís return to ďrobo-signingĒ procedures after she was hit with a judgment greater than her past due balance. 

Instead of the highly criticized technique being used to rush mortgage paperwork without checking for accuracy, as is alleged to have been at the heart of 2010ís foreclosure crisis, Moya accuses JPMorgan of employing the same methods to quickly produce paperwork needed to initiate lawsuits against credit card holders.

3/25/14

Moody's Seeking Input on QM and Non-QM Loans

The Ability To Repay rules create incentives that could lead to incremental risks for RMBS trusts.

National Mortgage Professional ďThe broad scope of the ATR rules allows borrowers to claim they were wrongly given loans that they would not be able to repay.Ē (Which does what?)

Since the RMBS trusts bear the costs of Ability To Repay claims raised by borrowers as a defense to foreclosure, the incremental risk for losses increases as the trust covers expenses to defend against the claim, and penalties if the claim is successful. Moodyís new approach will identify potential underwriting flaws that could result in ATR violations or disqualification of loansí QM status.

3/25/14

Housing Watchdog Slams Massive Property Inspection Industry

The inspectors who decide whether homes have been abandoned and are ready for foreclosure are doing such a terrible job that the whole system requires a major overhaul, and maybe should be scrapped altogether, a government watchdog warned on Tuesday.

Huff Post Once directed to a property, they are supposed to take photos, talk to neighbors and take other steps to determine if a home in default is abandoned. Too often, homeowners and state officials allege, inspectors and other workers sent to fix broken windows or shore up a house against cold weather are disregarding obvious signs of habitation, such as mowed lawns and electric meters still running, and forcing their way into homes still in the legal possession of their owner. Once inside, some help themselves to whatever they find -- heirlooms, artwork, or even a kid's piggy bank.

3/25/14

More than half of Altisource revenue is from business with Ocwen

A real estate thief + title company = Fraud

Housing Wire In 2009, Altisource spun off of Ocwen Financial to become a publicly traded REO and title insurance company. Business ties remain, however, and as Ocwen continues to buy mortgage servicing rights. New revenue trickles down to Altisource for handling properties Ocwen foreclosed on.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must not Die

CNBC The prevalent belief is that these are failed companies with failed structures that exacerbated the American housing crisis that flared up in 2008 and therefore they must be expunged from the system. (That part is true.)

3/25/14

 

Phony Fannie-Freddie reform 

Garbage by any other name would stink just as badly, if not worse seems applicable to the ďreformĒ of the government-sponsored housing enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just introduced. The media often describe this plan as ďendingĒ Fannie and Freddie.

Daily Caller And yes, it does ďendĒ them in the sense that there will no longer be entities named Fannie and Freddie. But most of their functions would simply be transferred to a new giant government entity called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation. Not only would the governmentís role in subsidizing and micromanaging housing not be reduced, in some ways it would substantially be increased.

Worst of all, and sending the worst possible signal to potential private sector investors in the housing market, Fannie and Freddie common and preferred shareholders would be wiped out permanently under the billís Section 604.

Fidelity Mortgage consent order sends strong message the CFPB will enforce laws, no matter size of violator

Consent Order

Lexology On January 16, 2014, the CFPB issued a Consent Order resolving a claim that Fidelity Mortgage Corporation, a mortgage lender, and its president, Mark Figert, violated RESPA Section 8 by paying illegal kickbacks to a bank in exchange for mortgage loan referrals.

Bankruptcy Judge reflects on a career sorting out financial messes

Long before the 2008 mortgage meltdown, SheaĖStonum said, bankruptcy judges knew something was amiss.

Plain Dealer One case thatís bedeviled her is the unwinding Fair Finance, a Ponzi investment scheme that defrauded more than 5,000 Ohioans. Shea-Stonum has exhorted the trustee from the bench to find some money to return victims, something that hasnít yet happened. ďIíve been tearing my hair out over this,Ē she says of a case that she will hand off to her successor.

3/25/14

Saving a house ó a home ó from foreclosure

Journal Star ďItís not that we couldnít make our payments,Ē says Bryan. ďWe were just following instructions.Ē

The Kellys say they got caught in a Catch-22: months of contradictory messages from PHH Mortgage Services that left them falling behind in payments and falling into foreclosure.

Home inspection scams on foreclosed properties still a problem, IG finds

Home inspectors are likely scamming taxpayers out of millions by submitting false reports to federal officials in charge of mortgage delinquencies, a new report has found.

Washington Times In 2012, the inspector general found that one home inspection company had scammed the government out of $12.7 million from false reports and claims. Now the inspector general is warning that the practice hasnít stopped, and taxpayers could still be vulnerable for millions in loses.

Foreclosure attorney Tom Cox

From foreclosures - to fighting for homes

When the Savings & Loans Crisis hit the U.S. in the late 1980s, Cox worked with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation collecting faulty loans from members of his small Maine community.

Fortune "I was stunned by the abuses I was seeing," he says. "I saw extraordinary sloppiness and outright deceivability of the legal system."

"It is hard to describe the feeling of saving someone's house," Cox says. "Knowing that if I had not contributed, what all those people would have lost is really powerful."

"My future wife is kicking me," he says. "I am working way more than 40 hours a week, but I am loving it. I am thriving on it."

3/25/14

Report: Fannie, Freddie foreclosure inspectors did terrible job

Inspectors turned in manipulated and fraudulent reports.

In another case, an inspector submitted photographs that were dated April 2007 for a report submitted in December 2012. In several cases, dates on photographs were changed to reflect the date of the inspection.

Housing Wire In another case, an inspector submitted a series of inspection reports that appeared to have information about the property that was copied from previous reports. ďOIG also identified a series of inspection reports for a single property that claimed the propertyís grass height was exactly 8 inches for 7 months,Ē the report says. ďIn this example, further illustrated in Figure 3, it appears the inspector copied old inspection report information onto each subsequent monthís inspection form.Ē

REPORT: FHFA Oversight of Enterprise Controls Over Pre-Foreclosure Property Inspections

3/24/14

Carrington ups ante on Wells Fargo by lowering FICO standard

Loan Shortage Pushes Mortgage Firms to Accept Lower Credit Scores

Housing Wire

____

Mortgage Servicing News

Carrington Mortgage Services lowered its minimum FICO score to 550 and expanded its guidelines on a number of FHA, VA and USDA loan programs in order to better focus on underserved borrowers, typically those in the sub-640 FICO score range.

3/24/14

Goldman Sachs' Outrageous Scheme to Profit Off Jailed Young Offenders

How many of the young men at Rikers Island ended up there in part because of the wreckage in the economy caused by that crisis and the subsequent cuts in services demanded by people like Lloyd Blankfein?

Perhaps we could create a social impact bond focused on sending criminal bankers to prison. The more who end up serving time, the more the bondholders will get paid. That would be a very interesting experiment. Any takers at Goldman Sachs?

  And while weíre at it, shouldnít we be focused on putting criminal bankers in jail instead of adolescent males who smoke pot?

You really hit the nail on the head there! We all know by now that a great way not to end up in jail is to be a powerful banker, so perhaps instead of cognitive behavioral therapy, the Rikers program could offer to send young adolescent men to business schools where they could learn to become financiers. Top Goldman executives appear to have engaged in plenty of misconduct that might well deserve to be prosecuted as crimes, but our two-tiered justice system ensures that they not only donít go to jail Ė but they continue to be repeat offenders.

3/24/14

No justice coming as top players remain unscathed in mortgage fraud

Modesto Bee The inspector general apparently didnít focus on efforts in the Eastern District of California. This is odd, given that some of the worst fraud took place in the Central Valley Ė i.e., Modesto, Merced and Stockton.

3/24/14

OCWEN's William C. Erbey Has Built an Empire on Misery

The head of Ocwen Financial runs a slew of companies that profit from foreclosures.

__________________________

Also see: Ocwen Servicing Knows Youíre AngryÖ

The explosion of non-bank mortgage servicers is hurting American homeowners.

In These Times Ocwen has become ground zero for regulatory shelling by government agenciesóand some members of the investment community arenít happy with Erbey, either.

According to Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB, ďOcwen took advantage of borrowers at every stage of the process

________________________

Discontinuities, lost paperwork and outright errors can lead to more pain for homeowners already caught in a labyrinthine and punishing process.

3/24/14

McLeod v. Deutsche Bank

Self Represented Homeowners WIN Quiet Title to $800,000 Home

Writ of Special Execution Quieting Title in Homeowners

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA "That the subject property is hereby awarded to, and title quieted in
favor of Plaintiffs Kenneth McLeod and Carol Ann McLeod...

... That Defendant SABR is permanently enjoined and prohibited from
recording any documents affecting or purporting to affect title of the
subject property; and, any acts or recordings now or in the future by
Defendant SABR relating to the subject property shall be of no force or
effect."

3/24/14

The Banks: Consideration is Irrelevant, Really? Then so is payment!

Wall Street banks were afraid of fraud --- that if the originators could touch the money, they might have faked a number of closings and taken the money. In short, the investment banks were afraid that the originators would not use the money the way it was intended. 

Wonder where they got that idea?

Living Lies The fact that money was on the table at the time of the alleged closing of the loan can only mean that the homeowner owed money to repay the source of the money. This duty to repay arises by operation of law and extends from the homeowner to the investor despite the lack of any documentation that explicitly states that. The result is false documentation in which the homeowner was induced to sign under the mistaken belief that the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage was the source of funds.
If you receive funds from John Smith and the note and mortgage are drafted for the benefit of Nancy Jones as ďlenderĒ would that bother you?

3/24/14

Document: JPMorgan Chase Bets $10.4 Billion on the Early Death of Workers

somehow, banks are allowed to collect death benefits on terminated workers right under the nose of State insurance regulators. The explanation is likely the secrecy which surrounds these policies, limiting knowledge of death payments to just the bank and the insurance company.

Wall Street 

 on Parade

Families of young JPMorgan Chase workers who have experienced tragic deaths over the past four months, have been kept in the dark on many details, including the fact that the bank most likely held a life insurance policy on their loved one Ė payable to itself. Banks in the U.S., as well as other corporations, are allowed to make multi-billion dollar wagers that their profits from life insurance policies on employees will outstrip the cost of paying premiums and other fees. Early deaths help those wagers pay off.

3/24/14

Cook County Blames HSBC for Blight

HSBC's predatory residential mortgage lending targeted minority homeowners, and triggered urban blight in black and Hispanic neighborhoods when the housing bubble burst.

Courthouse News Its predatory lending, especially in the subprime residential mortgage market, directly led to the housing market's collapse in 2008, causing "tremendous tangible and intangible damage to plaintiff including the erosion of plaintiff's tax base; the loss of property tax revenue; out-of-pocket costs relating to abandoned or vacant properties; the loss of certain intangible property recording fee income; and many other injuries to the fabric of plaintiff's communities and residents arising from the resulting urban blight," according to the 108-page lawsuit.

3/23/14

Federal judge took Wells Fargo to task over loan filings

A federal judge in New York blasted mega-bank Wells Fargo for submitting a ďfraudulentĒ foreclosure document to the court under penalty of perjury, according to a hearing transcript.

NY Post At issue in Carssow Franklinís case are the assignment of mortgage and endorsement of the note, documents that transfer ownership when a loan is sold.

Tirelli challenged the endorsement, and questioned how robo-signor Kennerty could have transferred a Washington Mutual asset in 2010, since the bank failed in September 2008.

Sign the petition to Eric Holder: Make prosecuting mortgage fraud a top priority!

Daily Kos More than five years after Wall Street crashed our economy, the banksters continue to get away with a slap on the wristówhile families lose their homes.

3/22/14

The Stone Unturned: Credit Ratings

Why have regulators done so little to rein in the credit rating agencies? Other institutions that contributed to the mortgage debacle have submitted to new rules and compliance requirements, but Moodyís Investors Service and Standard & Poorís and their peers remained relatively untouched.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

During the housing boom, however, the firms slapped high grades on complex mortgage securities that were filled with garbage. The ratings abetted Wall Streetís corrupt mortgage machine and did enormous damage to investors in those securities, which inevitably failed. The reverberations were felt in the economy as a whole.

In the scrutiny after the financial crisis, it became clear that not only were the ratings inflated, but also that the business model of the rating agencies contained a troubling conflict of interest: The rating agencies are paid by the very issuers whose securities they are rating.

Wells Fargo v. Ostiguy

The Court is not persuaded by the new affidavit, finding that the failure to refer to the sale of the loan to Freddie Mac on the original motion was more than an insignificant oversight.

Supreme Court, Columbia County, NY Remarkably absent from Ms. Frye's affidavit is any explanation as to what the Court viewed as a serious discrepancy ó that the loan was transferred or sold or no longer belonged to Wells Fargo, and yet the Note remained it its possession. 

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the motion by plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. for leave to renew and reargue the prior motion for summary judgment, and for summary judgment on its Complaint is denied.

3/22/14

Feds put out false stats on mortgage fraud

Those statistics were a fraud.


Inspector general says criminal charges were exaggerated, as were other claims.

Stacy Wisser of Lehighton isn't surprised, based on her experience with other federal authorities that were supposed to investigate accusations of another type of mortgage fraud ó banks botching foreclosures.

She told me her family lost its dream home to foreclosure about five years ago after, she says, it was misled by a bank.

The Morning Call In 2012, they saw hope in a program established by the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision. It was supposed to take a second look at how foreclosures were handled and compensate homeowners if mistakes were found.

But that initiative, the Independent Foreclosure Review, was halted before it ever really got going.

"They didn't do a damn thing," Wisser told me last week.

Only a fraction of eligible homeowners applied for the program, and as the process dragged on, the large auditing, accounting and bank consulting firms hired by the banks to conduct the reviews were getting paid but homeowners weren't.

3/21/14

The Confusion Over Consideration: 

If they didnít pay for it, they have nothing against the property.

Living Lies Allowing a party who did not acquire the mortgage rights for value would enable strangers to the transaction to acquire property for free, except the costs of litigation. Thus the ďfree houseĒ argument is specious. It is a distraction from the real facts as to who is getting a free house.

3/21/14

No surprise here...

Bernie Madoff: 'JPMorgan knew'

According to Madoff, one Wall Street bank knew long before then that something was wrong ó and chose not to do anything.

Politico But a group of shareholders is hoping to prove ó with Madoffís help ó that the bank knew more about his shady dealings than it has admitted.
Last month, they filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of New York against current and former JPMorgan executives. The complaint alleges that the bank was ďuniquely positioned for 20 years to see Madoffís crimes and put a stop to themĒ and that top executives ďchose to turn a blind eyeĒ to his behavior.

What The Government Wonít Tell You About The Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

The settlementís broader goal was to stop banks from abusing homeowners going forward. As Smithís previous reports show, it failed to deliver that kind of change. These same companies continue to violate the settlement.

Think Progress  Chronic violations of the deal forced the settlementís oversight board to rewrite some of the terms of the deal because banks werenít living up to the terms.
All of this fits the Obama administrationís ugly pattern of exaggerating its Wall Street accountability accomplishments. Other mortgage relief programs have failed to reach their goals. 

3/21/14

As Wells Fargo is Accused of Fabricating Foreclosure Papers, Will Banks Keep Escaping Prosecution?

"At the very least, I think now this document gives the New York attorney general free access to every attorney whoís ever followed this manual and hold them accountable, because it is illegal. We cannot knowingly produce false documents and submit them into a court of law." Attorney Tirelli

Democracy Now Reading it, my jaw just dropped. As I see it, itís clearly outlining procedures, not just for the $12-an-hour robo-signers that weíve heard about all these years, but for the lawyers, who need to be held accountable to a much higher degree. Itís the manual for the lawyers to actually fabricate documents, as I see it, and request that documents that are lacking be fabricated by Wells Fargo. Itís absolutely appalling. Attorney Tirelli

3/21/14

All Aboard The Bus To Home Ownership

The American Homeownership Dream is officially dead...

Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge

With home-ownership rates collapsing and the likelihood of 'wealth taxes' potentially weighing on even the oligarchs and 1%-ers willingness to throw cash at US housing, we thought the following rusting hulks of a bye-gone era in a storage yard deep in Middle America summed it all up...

Judgment Reversed for Notice Fail

BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON V. PRECIADO et al

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA 
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA 
APPELLATE DIVISION
The judgments entered on March 16, 2012, are REVERSED and the trial court is instructed to entered judgments in favor of Appellants. Appellants are the prevailing party and are entitled to costs on appeal.

Appellants were tenants.

3/21/14

 

 

Fraudulent mortgage modifier sentenced to nine years in federal prison

Dangled TARP dollars, then defrauded hundreds of homeowners.

Isaak Khafizov, 27, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for operating a fraudulent mortgage modification operation that defrauded hundreds of struggling homeowners out of more than half a million dollars.

Housing Wire ďKhafizov thought he had found his meal ticket scamming struggling homeowners during the height of the housing crisis, and he now has the next nine years in federal prison to think about how he destroyed so many peoplesí lives,Ē said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.

Tell us this doesn't sound like what the banks did: Promised modifications, repeatedly took millions from TARP, did nothing, and destroyed peoples' lives.

Convicted 'Home Recovery' Scam Operator's New Home is Jail

The former owner of a mortgage loan modification business was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for defrauding hundreds of distressed homeowners and their lenders...

Mortgage Servicing News   ... while the DOJ allows individual bankers and attorneys to defraud MILLIONS of homeowners.

Over half a million dollars in fees were taken from homeowners who lost their property to foreclosure as a result of this scheme.

Justice Department Names New Leader for Criminal Division

DealBook Mr. OíNeil has a background in white-collar cases. His Justice Department career began in Manhattan, where he worked as a federal prosecutor on cases involving financial fraud.

Credit Suisse Reaches $885 Million Mortgage Settlement

DealBook Credit Suisse said on Friday that it had reached an $885 million settlement to resolve claims that it sold questionable loans to the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the lead-up to the financial crisis.
White Paper

Four Ways to Use Property Records to Uncover Hidden Risks

National Title Clearing This paper is designed to give step-by-step guidance on how to use property records to ensure a clear title conveyance and reduce the risk of
buyback or inability to foreclose.
3/21/14

HUD Gets More Time to Find Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Fix

Mortgage Servicing News A federal judge gave the Department of Housing and Urban Development more time to come up with a fix to help widows and widowers facing foreclosure on federally-insured reverse mortgages.

3/21/14

Attorney Pressures Texas to Refund National Settlement Funds

The Texas Attorney General's Office promptly-and, indeed, unlawfully-diverted most of $134 Million in settlement funds away from Texas homeowners and into, among others, the Texas Judicial Fund.

MSFraud The money diverted to the Texas' Judicial Fund is meant to fund criminal
indigent defense programs across Texas. Yet, Texas has projected a large
budgetary surplus for 2014 and beyond and has given no indication regarding
this budget item, that it should be replenished using the diverted funds, now or ever.

TEXAS IS STEALING FROM HOMEOWNERS.

3/20/13

Bad Mortgage Loan Modifications?

This article is to show why some are better than others and to seek out any bad mortgage loan modifications to try to fix the defects before they cause more distress to homeowners, investors, and communities all across America.

LoanSafe The intended audience is anyone interested in learning more about loan modifications and why they could be considered bad versus being good and what can be done to correct a bad modification.

We are looking for bad loan modifications that meet the following parameters listed below.

You must be able to provide the full permanent Loan Modification Agreement for any of the following banks or lenders and dates:

10/18/13

Ohio Supreme Court concludes Cleveland Judge should undergo psychiatric examination for courtroom behavior

Complaint is included.

Plain Dealer Controversial Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes may be "suffering from a mental illness that substantially impairs her ability to perform her duties as a judicial officer," a complaint filed by the Supreme Court of Ohio's Office of Disciplinary Counsel concludes.

The 49-page complaint states that Stokes abuses court resources, abuses lawyers and court staff and defendants who appear before her.
 

3/21/14

Biloxi attorney Stephen Colson pleads guilty to bilking clients of $7.7 million

The scheme began in the summer of 2004

Gulf Live A federal investigation into Colson's activities revealed that Colson, through his business entities, willfully diverted funds from trust accounts for his own personal use, and concealed shortfalls in those accounts by co-mingling funds from other accounts when making payments to financial institutions.

3/20/14

Surprised?

Customer accuses J.P. Morgan of robo-signing credit-card collections

MarketWatch The banking industry was already bludgeoned by accusations that it ďrobo-signedĒ its way through mortgage-default paperwork, shuttling struggling homeowners closer to foreclosure without giving them their due process.

Now, accusations are cropping up that banks engaged in similar practices with credit-card customers.

3/20/14

Protest planned today outside Amherst mortgage servicing office

Buffalo News The picketing, which is designed to ďhold the PHH Mortgage Corp. accountable for firing workers and stealing our taxpayer dollars,Ē according to a press release from CEJ. ďPHH is breaking its promises to workers and the community.Ē

PHH Mortgage, a subsidiary of outsourcing company PHH Corp., took over the mortgage operations and loan servicing from HSBC Bank USA

3/20/14

Dying Memphis Neighborhood Foretells Next U.S. Crisis: Mortgages

Wall Streetís seven sins -- size, secrecy, regulatory capture (when government supervisors identify more with the industry they police than with the people theyíre supposed to protect), excessive pride, complexity, impunity, and a predatory greed -- risk the second avoidable economic cataclysm of the baby boom era.

Bloomberg She hadnít lived there for more than a year, but she got the tax bill, too. Her lender, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) called EMC Mortgage, never took ownership (but EMC was foreclosing???). The house was technically still hers.

So few people are better off financially than they were before the 2008 crisis, and so few of the lessons have been learned from that near-death experience, that it may take another plummet before the people in charge do something meaningful to repair this broken system.

3/21/14

Will Select Portfolio Servicing follow Bank of America's fraudulent lead?

Instead, what Bank of America did, as we see so often from all the loan servicers, was to have her complete financial forms as part of the HAMP application process, time and time again, without any real intention of allowing her to qualify for HAMP relief. In other words, BOA was violating federal law.

Sandusky Register In Roseís case, the servicing of her loan was recently transferred to an outfit called Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS). With regard to SPS, it is bound by the same HAMP requirements as was BOA before it. There is no doubt that Rose will get the HAMP relief she is entitled to under the law. The only question is how quickly we will be able to convince SPS that it has to play by the rules and grant that relief to Rose, or otherwise face serious consequences if it refuses

3/21/14

Court: Litigant Who Wouldn't Share Cost Can Get Transcript

Appeals Court says technicality meant woman hadn't waived right to get copy.

Daily Report A Georgia Court of Appeals panel decision says a woman appealing a order holding her in contempt in a child custody case must be allowed to access a hearing transcript even though she didn't pay her share of the court reporter costs.

Friday's decision does not say that a litigant always has the right to a transcript in a civil case. 

3/21/14

Bank Of America Executive Sentenced For Stealing

Another issue is at stake: the criminal behavior of one of its bankers draws attention to other criminal behavior at the corporate entity. For instance, earlier this year, the U.S. government fined Bank of America $2.1 billion in penalties after a jury considered the bank liable for fraud when its Countrywide unit sold defective mortgages

Seeking Alpha Elaina Patterson has pleaded guilty to charges of larceny and will face from three to five years in a state prison

During the hearing, Patterson wept bitterly, apologized profusely, and asked for forgiveness. However, the judge and victims remained unsympathetic because of numerous testimonies about how she had ruthlessly executed her schemes to fund a luxurious lifestyle.

Her victims included people who had won her trust like aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as elderly people. Eight of the elderly were in their 60s, while six were over 80. One elderly victim said that Patterson talked her out of $100,000 only a week after her husband had died from cancer. 

3/20/14

Deutsche Bank fails to end four U.S. lawsuits over soured mortgages

Deutsche Bank AG has failed to win the dismissal of four U.S. lawsuits seeking to force it to pay damages or buy back troubled home loans it had packaged into residential mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

ACE SECURITIES v. DEUTSCHE BANK

Reuters HSBC, a unit of HSBC Holdings Plc had accused Deutsche Bank of dumping a "massive number" of home loans into the four trusts that it knew breached its representations and warranties, and ignoring its contractual duty to buy back, fix or substitute for the bad loans.

The cases, all in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, are: ACE Securities Corp Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2007-HE3, by HSBA Bank USA NA as Trustee v. DB Structured Products Inc, No. 13-1869; Series 2007-WM2, No. 13-2053; Series 2007-HE4, No. 13-2828; and Series 2007-HE5, No. 13-3687.

In Effect

from our Legislative page

2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules

From Dann Law: These amendments are great news for our clients for two reasons. First, they give us the opportunity to ask for some extremely helpful information regarding the servicing of your loan. Through this new procedure we will be able to request and obtain information which lenders and servicers have traditionally attempted to withhold. 

CFPB Having this information will greatly help in defending your case. Second, if your servicer or lender fails to comply with the requests, there are now strict penalties that we will be able to enforce for each violation. 

Essentially, these new regulations give us a no-risk procedure for obtaining helpful information to aid in the defense of your case. Moreover, these regulations have the potential for us to form claims against your servicer in order to collect money damages. The other great part about these claims is that the regulations provide that the servicer would have to cover any legal expenses in bringing and prosecuting these claims.

3/20/14

CFPB Issues Report on Debt Collector Harassment

The report finds that many consumers complain that they are being hounded by debt collectors about debts they do not owe. Top complaints also include debt collectorsí use of aggressive communication tactics and threats of illegal actions.

National Mortgage Professional ďConsumers should never be hounded about debts they do not owe,Ē said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. ďWe will not tolerate companies harassing consumers or threatening illegal actions in the debt collection market. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers are treated with dignity and fairness.Ē

The Only CEO Prosecuted For The Mortgage Crisis Is Someone You've Never Heard Of, And He Feels Like A 'Zombie' In Prison

Lee Farkas, 61, hid billions of dollars through phony accounting and triple-selling mortgages to various financial institutions.

Business Insider He is serving a 30-year prison sentence at Butner Federal Penitentiary in North Carolina and supposedly withering away. 

Farkas, who says he is lonely and suffering from depression said, "You're not really alive in here, you're a zombieójust a body walking around, eating, sleeping and being yelled at."

3/20/14

Inspector General: FHFA fails to report FHLB expense data

Since 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency failed to submit the Federal Home Loan Banksí director expense data to Congress, as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.

Housing Wire Despite the FHLBanks submitting the required information to the FHFA, a review of the data found that it contained inconsistencies and limitations that diminish its usefulness

The FHFA realized it was not reporting this information when it was being evaluated and said it would begin doing so in its 2013 annual report.

3/20/14

Whistleblower Reveals Favoritism Toward the Rich, Robo-Signing at the IRS

Lazy workers and poor management at the IRS mean tax evaders have an easier time escaping notice, Kim wrote. ďRather than fixing the situation by forcing the non-workers to actually work for their salaries, management[,] knowing that the working attorneys face an impossible workload, is advising us to give up cases worth millions of dollars,Ē she said.

  This is no different than robo-signing. The documents initialed by ďWandaĒ presumably get submitted as evidence in tax court cases. I donít know whether or not Wanda in any way legally attests that the underlying information in the legal documents is correct, but if errors routinely get found after the fact, some documents in all likelihood deliver false information to the court. No wonder nobody in Washington cared that much about robo-signing, I hadnít entertained the possibility that it was official government policy.

3/19/14

Mortgage Slaves

We have so much invested in fraud now, it would be foolish to turn back now and try to prosecute fraud. And of course every time they try to prosecute fraud, the bankers and the brokers whip out their threat to crash the economy and to crash the markets. And they have done this a few times to get their way.

Keiser Report And of course the politicians (and judges) are invested in these same stocks and bonds and options and they are not going to argue against their own interests having been invested themselves in the fraud. So you won't see any progress in correcting the fraud, but you will see the consequences of the fraud, which is enormous wealth and income gaps, and the elite who feel they have the right to commit all kinds of additional crimes, because once you allow them to commit fraud with impunity - they simply extend that to other areas of everyone's lives. 

3/19/14

Mistaken Foreclosure Locks Up Paid-For Home

A couple recently came back to their ďsnowbirdĒ home away from home to find themselves locked out, eviction-style.

Mel and Harriet found a lock box on their door, the power turned off, and items missing from their kitchen. It turns out the whole thing was a mistake.

WebProNews Mel and Harriet, whose property was paid off 15 years ago, had been visited by such a ďproperty preservationĒ contractor. But it turns out that contractor had the wrong address. Upon further investigation, however, it was discovered that the lockout had been authorized by SafeGuard Properties, in Valley View, Ohio. SafeGuard has been the subject of legal actions in 31 states due to ďillegal break-insĒ resulting from mistaken foreclosures.

3/19/14

You Want Our Clientsí Houses? MOLON LABE! (Come and get it)

We all know the facts behind the historic foreclosure crisis the world is still facing. 

When the house of cards collapsed, the reckless, greedy sociopaths, who call themselves Wall Street executives, were allowed to fly off into the sunset on their private jets, fortunes intact with millions in new bonuses to boot, while so many of us got wiped out and are still struggling to put the financial pieces of our lives back together.

Evan Rosen Law All the subsequent lawsuits and settlements which resulted from banks being caught red handed breaking laws and its own contracts, followed by more lawsuits and settlements from banks breaking preceding settlements and itís enough to make your head spin. Itís outrageous and Iím still angry. I know the courtís role in our society is to resolve disputes, and to interpret and apply the law as passed down by the other two branches. Its role is not to police the banks or punish them within a single foreclosure case because of their improprieties in other matters. Yet, I want the courts to hold banks accountable, and as part of their role in our government, they can.

3/18/14

Family wins $100,000 claim of wrongful eviction over service dog

KATU A Southern Oregon housing agency will pay nearly $100,000 to a family that faced eviction because it had a puppy being trained to detect blood sugar levels in a 5-year-old girl with diabetes, state officials said Tuesday.

3/18/14

Just 83,000 Homeowners Get First-Lien Principal Reductions from National Mortgage Settlement - 90 Percent Less Than Promised

What the mainstream media reports on this donít tell you is that the $50 billion number is wildly inflated: for example, it includes $12 billion worth of deficiency waivers in non-recourse states, which the IRS confirmed have no value whatsoever. But I didnít know just how inflated these numbers were, and how empty the promises, until I went through them all.

David Dayen Joseph Smith, in his final statement, has the gall to say that ďin many cases, the banks exceededĒ their requirements under the settlement. That speaks to how flawed the settlement was in its design more than anything.

The servicing standards, which have gone so well that Attorneys General have threatened to sue the banks for non-compliance, will continue until the end of 2015. But they are largely duplicated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureauís servicing rules. So in effect, the book has closed on the National Mortgage Settlement, one of the most shockingly awful examples of government cowardice and corruption in recent American history.

3/18/14

Hearsay on Hearsay: Bank Professional Witnesses Using Business Records Exception as Shield from Truth

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the the intermediary banks were hell bent for foreclosure regardless of what was best for the investors or the borrowers.

Living Lies This included, fraud, fabrication, unauthorized documents and signatures, perjury and outright theft of money and identities. The Bush and Obama Administrations didnít have a clue. And they were relying on Wall Street to report on its own behavior. But Iím sure the agreement did not even contemplate the actual crimes committed. I think it is time for US attorneys and the Atty. Gen. of each state to revisit the issue of prosecution of the major Wall Street banks.

The misinformed are still out there...

Deadbeats Want Bigger Piece of Mortgage Settlement 

Non-profits are suing California for portion of the $25 billion that was taken from banks. 

Jillian Kay Melchior

National Review Online

Only a miniscule portion of the $25 billion went to a few homeowners who had truly been wronged ó in large part because such victims were scarce, despite what politicians proclaimed.

In reality, most of those who lost their homes lost them for justifiable reasons. Many borrowers had taken out steep loans on properties more lavish than they could afford and were in default on their mortgages, at a time when the vast majority of responsible Americans continued to pay on time.

Fifth financial executive with ties to JPMorgan found dead

Marks the 11th in a rash of reports of banker, financial suicides

Housing Wire Kenneth Bellando, who worked at Levy Capital since January, was found dead on the sidewalk outside his East Side building on March 12 after allegedly jumping from the sixth-story roof, sources said. The Post reported that Bellandoís brother is John Bellando, the chief investment officer with JPMorgan.

SHOW US THE REAL MONEY!

Watchdog: U.S. banks' relief to borrowers exceed terms of 2012 deal

Reuters "I will say, as we have come to the end of all of this, I am satisfied and actually, happy," Joseph Smith, the person assigned to monitor banks' compliance with the settlement terms, said of the value of the mortgage debt the banks agreed to reduce for distressed borrowers.

3/18/14

Do you have what it takes to investigate mortgage fraud for Fannie Mae?

Fannie Mae posts new job with interesting timing.

The government-sponsored enterprise put out a job posting Tuesday seeking a Mortgage Fraud Investigator.

HINT: Fannie Mae's own business model and manuals demonstrate how it commits fraud.  

The job description reads:

Housing Wire Apply comprehensive knowledge of mortgage fraud schemes. Operate with considerable latitude to substantiate suspicion of fraud relating to single or multifamily originations, servicing or REO, and other frauds involving Fannie Mae financial instruments (but not Fannie's Fraud). Perform highly complex duties related to planning, conducting, and documenting inquiries into allegations of mortgage fraud. Reconcile fraud risk or recommend investigation. Utilize wide-ranging experience to conduct research and problem-solving on highly significant matters. Prepare and review complex reports.

Wells Fargo Accused of Fabricating Documents to Foreclose

FoxBusiness Wells Fargo has a 150-page instruction Manual that is a blueprint on how to fabricate documents to illegally foreclose on homes. CFPB, NY AG, U.S. Trustees are all investigating.

OH HOW THEY LOVE TO RECYCLE: KEEP THE FRAUD MACHINE RUNNING

Sounds like a class-action against the ďIndependentĒ Foreclosure Review folks may be in order for perpetrating a fraud on the American public for at least an intentional nondisclosure of a conflict of interest.

Foreclosure Defense Nationwide Rebecca Marione, the executive who ďlooked the other way while her company, Bank of America removed every removed every speed bump, road block, and toll gateĒ (read: the regulations as to the proper origination and sale of mortgage loans under the law) is now in the position of reviewing whether all of the proper procedures were followed during the foreclosure process.

from 2013

While on the topic:

In 2008 Prosecutors Agreed to Not Prosecute Mortgage Origination Fraud, and They Have Kept Their Promise

Mortgage FlimFlam Do an internet search on mortgage fraud and try to find even a single case of a prosecutor going after a mortgage broker or lender for defrauding a borrower.  There are plenty of cases involving straw buyers and others who have defrauded the lenders - but no prosecutions where the borrower was defrauded. There have been no significant prosecutions for mortgage origination fraud, yet that is the precise crime that precipitated the Great Recession and the near total collapse of the economy.

3/18/14

Why the Justice Department Inspector General Report on Mortgage Fraud Matters

Because I donít feel the coverage so far has plumbed the depths of this corruption, and because itís still happening, itís not worth going silent just yet. Itís probably spitting into the wind, yes, but Iíve got the time and the spit, so I want to note a few things.

David Dayen This was all part of the same overall scheme. Even if the DoJ did a ďgoodĒ job on mortgage fraud as defined by this report, it wouldnít have touched Wall Street, because the definition mostly comprises lying on loan applications. In a way, the FBIís compartmentalizing here shows how the law enforcement apparatus was never going to get to the bottom of the scandal. They placed a false frame on it, one that inherently goes after the little guy and not the bigger players.

Of course, as we see, DoJ couldnít even be bothered to get the small spade work done (which could have led them to the top). And if they wouldnít prosecute small-time fraud, they werenít going to prosecute anything.

 

3/18/14

Lawsuit Against Californiaís Robbing Homeowners of National Mortgage Settlement Funds Has Very Good Chance of Success

Is this California lawsuit nothing more than a show of vanity, destined to fail? Absolutely not. In fact, by a strict reading of the case law and the documents in the case, the plaintiffs should win in a walk.

David Dayen There is no question that the $369 million at issue was required to be deposited into a Special Deposit Fund. There is no question that this sum was supposed to be devoted to the specific purposes for which the Special Deposit Fund was created, as expressly recited in the pertinent settlement documents co-signed by the California AG's Office. There is no question that most of the money was instead diverted to the Stateís General Fund to pay off the Stateís general debts. And there is no question that the Governor has projected a large budgetary surplus for 2014 and beyond, but has given no indication in his budget that he intends to replenish the diverted funds, now or ever.

3/18/14

Full post

Wells Fargo employee admits role in $40.8 million straw buyer scheme

Last Friday, a former Wells Fargo branch manager, sales manager and loan officer, Robert Serao, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge stems from Seraoís involvement in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud scheme during his time at Wells Fargo. Allegedly working in concert with at least nine others, Serao used ďstraw buyersĒ to obtain underwriting approvals of what in actuality were fraudulent loan applications.

Lexology In the pre-2008 mortgage boom, if a potential homebuyer lacked sufficient credit to obtain the necessary loan, unscrupulous loan officers and real estate brokers enlisted (or sometimes created) an individual with good credit (i.e., a ďstraw buyerĒ) to pose as the loan applicant, in the stead of the actual buyer. In exchange for allowing his name and credit profile to be used in connection with the loan application, the straw buyer received a kick-back from the loan proceeds. Meanwhile, officers such as Serao, who approved the loans, benefitted from increased commissions from loans to borrowers that, but for the scam, would not have qualified for the loan for which he or she was applying.

Serao faces a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for his involvement in the conspiracy.

3/17/14

GE Consumer Finance Unit Faces Two Federal Probes

General Electric Co.'s retail credit business is facing a pair of probes from federal regulators over possible violations of consumer financial laws.

Dow Jones Synchrony Financial, the new name of GE's consumer-credit arm, said in filings with securities regulators last week that it is in discussions with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau related to "debt cancellation products" and marketing practices for those services. It is also in talks with the Justice Department to resolve a separate issue investigated by the CFPB involving a potential violation of federal lending discrimination laws for excluding Spanish- speaking customers from settlement offers.

Ex-BofA banker pleads guilty to theft, gets prison

Reuters A former personal banker at Bank of America Corp pleaded guilty on Monday to stealing more than $2.1 million from 31 people in a Ponzi-like scheme.

3/17/14

Clouded titles cleared in land trust case

A judgment against the Boca Raton-based Fidelity Land Trust Co. clears the titles of hundreds of homes statewide that were signed over to the firm in what the Florida attorney general says was a foreclosure-rescue scheme.

Palm Beach Post ďFidelity made false and deceptive or unfair promises and representations to consumers in order to induce consumers to transfer title to their homes to Fidelity for no consideration and to pay Fidelity thousands of dollars in advance fees for services that could not be delivered,Ē the judgment says.

ďThe damage done by these scams is not only to the consumers who are taken by them, but to the justice system overall because it muddies the water for other consumers and judges as to what constitutes a legitimate defense to foreclosure,Ē said attorney Tom Ice.

3/17/14

First Ocwen, then Nationstar, now Walter Investments

A group of Walter Investment common stockholders is alleging that the company made false and misleading statements that violate Federal Securities Law.

Housing Wire The group filed a lawsuit which alleges that between May 9, 2012 and Feb. 26, 2014, Walter Investments made false and misleading statements, failed to disclose that the company lacked adequate internal controls over financial accounting, was in violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations and that its business practices violated consumer financial protection laws and jeopardized future revenues and profits.

3/17/14

Did Wells Fargo create bogus foreclosure document manual?

Wells Fargo is being accused of developing a 150-page manual for generating bogus mortgage documents to justify home foreclosures

Housing Wire Tirelliís lawsuit alleges that Wells Fargo used the manual Ė the copy she entered into evidence was dated February 24, 2012 Ė to falsely create evidence of ownership, known as the note, and on how to proceed with a foreclosure when crucial documents are missing.

3/17/14

Senator Warren Gets Taken In by a False Analysis


A St. Louis Fed paper is being cited as 'proof' that affordable housing goals did not contribute to the subprime mortgage boom. While it might delight some lawmakers by supporting their position, the paperís analysis is mistaken.

The American The affordable housing goals created substantial demand for subprime loans, a high percentage of which ó as the paper notes ó met the technical requirements of the goals. For this reason, Fannie and Freddie, the two GSEs were, by far, the largest buyers of securities backed by such loans. Indeed, as shown in the chart below, the GSEs bought more than 40 percent of all these securities issued in 2004, a dramatic increase from their purchase share only three years earlier. To achieve this rise in market share, the expansion of GSE purchases in 2002, 2003, and 2004 accounted for more than half of the growth in the market for private mortgage-backed securities (PMBS) backed by subprime mortgages.

Wells Fargo foreclosure manual under fire

Washington Post ďThis is a blueprint for fraud,Ē said Tirelli, who attached a copy of the manual as evidence in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y. ďThe idea that this bank is instructing people how to produce these documents is appalling

3/16/14

Suit claims bank cannot foreclose

The loan was among more than 60 million that were sold by originating lenders to investment banks through a securitization between 1998 to 2009.

Garden Island Defendant Wachovia alleges it is the holder and owner of the Pascuaís note and also the beneficiary of the mortgage. However, the suit states that Wells Fargo is identified as the note and mortgage holder and no documents show a legal transfer prior to closing.

San Antonio Lawyer Admits Bribing Judge

Daily Report Alberto Acevedo Jr. appeared in court Monday and has admitted he was caught in an FBI investigation into suspected corruption at the Bexar County courthouse.

Acevedo is scheduled to be sentenced in June and faces a maximum 10-year sentence and $250,000 fine. He was released on bond pending his sentencing.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others question lack of prosecutions for mortgage fraud

In recent years the government has been accused of not doing enough to go after the kind of conduct that fueled the housing crisis, including mortgage fraud.

Raw Story The trio asked to review the reportís findings with Holder and discuss steps the agency will take to improve its efforts to prosecute the crimes.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and representatives Elijah Cummings and Maxine Waters are seeking an audience with Holder over a new watchdog report that said the FBI ranked mortgage fraud as a low threat after the height of the financial crisis, even though the Justice Department had said investigating that crime would be a top priority.

3/16/14

14 US Housing Markets Struggling With Foreclosures

Business Insider "The biggest threat from foreclosures going forward is properties that have been lingering in the foreclosure process for years, many of them vacant with neither the distressed homeowner or the foreclosing lender taking responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the home - or at the very least facilitating a sale to a new homeowner more likely to perform needed upkeep and maintenance."

3/16/14

Eviction email scams making the rounds again

For Bill of Albuquerque, the steady stream of emails began last month, carrying the eye-popping headings of ďNotice to quit,Ē ďVacate noticeĒ and ďMove out notification.Ē

Each one urged him to click on a link to read the ďofficial notification from the court.Ē

ABJ ďWe have been receiving these emails off and on throughout February,Ē he informed me by email earlier this month. ďNeedless to say we have not clicked the link. You might want to let people know through your column that this fraud is occurring and to NOT click on the link.Ē

Kudos to him for observing one of the key rules in protecting yourself and your computer from email scams: Never click on a link or an attachment contained in an unsolicited email, particularly if the subject or header makes you suspicious.

Bill to help NJ families avoid foreclosures advances

NJ Legislation that would create a fund to help low and moderate income families afford foreclosure prevention services was passed out of committee Thursday and can now be voted on by the entire Assembly.

3/15/14

Foreclosure delayed for Granville couple

"The Mortgage Law Group gave them six months of stories about, 'Don't worry about your mortgage. We got you covered. We got your back. Don't make your payments, just pay us,'" said Ann Saccoccio of the DuRant Law Firm, who is trying to help the Williamses keep their home. "They were able to rob this couple of their home and their trust."

WRAL The Attorney General's Office also is investigating Legal Helpers and another company possibly linked to The Mortgage Law Group, Consumer First Legal Group.

The law firm representing BB&T didn't give a reason why Friday's foreclosure sale was postponed. The reason isn't important for the Williamses, who hope to attract a private lender in the next few weeks to help them stop the sale altogether.

3/16/14

Full post

Wells Fargo accused of fabricating foreclosure documents

Wells Fargo, is being investigated for allegedly setting up detailed internal procedures to fabricate foreclosure papers on demand.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and three major regulators are handling the investigation into the foreclosure manual, which the lender maintains does not violate any rules.

The Real Deal ďWells Fargoís foreclosure processes ó today and back in 2012 ó are appropriate [and] legal. To allege otherwise is simply misrepresenting the facts,Ē a Wells Fargo spokesperson said. ďWells Fargoís Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual provides guidelines for outside attorneys to be compliant with state and regulatory requirements.Ē
But according to the New York Post, lawyers, forensic accountants and consumer advocates have long suspected that banks were habitually fabricating documents to prove ownership of loans ó something foreclosure defense lawyers call a ďta-da endorsement,Ē which describes the miraculous appearance of documents as needed by the bank in a foreclosure case.

3/16/14

This speaks volumes about the nature of justice in the United States today.

Locking Up the Banksters: It's Not Hard

The folks who were constructing the securities are all smart people who know what a good mortgage looks like. They surely knew that many of the mortgages they were throwing into the pools were not properly documented and almost certainly fraudulent. In these cases the Justice Department investigators would ask the Harvard MBAs whether they are really stupider than rocks.

Center for Economic and Policy Research Since this was a widespread practice and not the work of a few rogue agents, presumably office managers told these agents to get mortgages and that proper documentation did not matter. Faced with the risk of jail for committing fraud, it is likely that many agents would be prepared to testify that they were acting on instructions from their branch manager. The investigators would then confront their branch managers with the testimony from their employers and ask them what prompted them to tell employers to ignore standard procedures and pass through improperly documented mortgages. Again, faced the prospect of several years in jail, it is likely that many branch managers would be prepared to testify against their bosses at the corporate headquarters. 

3/15/14

The public demands criminal prosecutions!

A Loan Fraud War Thatís Short on Combat

In the years since the financial crisis of 2008, the Justice Department has been regularly questioned about a lack of criminal prosecutions related to the mortgage mess.

Adam J. Levitin, a professor at the Georgetown University Law School, said the report was troubling not only because of what it revealed about past cases, but also because it suggests that there will be few consequences for those who commit financial fraud in the future.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

ďWe found that, despite public statements by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and the department about the importance of pursuing financial fraud cases, including mortgage fraud, the F.B.I. Criminal Investigative Division ranked complex financial crimes as the lowest of the six ranked criminal threats within its area of responsibility, and ranked mortgage fraud as the lowest subcategory threat within the complex financial crimes category. Additionally, we found mortgage fraud to be a low priority, or not listed as a priority, for F.B.I. field offices in the locations we visited.Ē

Got that? Complex financial crimes were the lowest priority for the criminal investigative division.

California Sued Over Diversion of Money From National Mortgage Settlement

Three nonprofit groups offering homeowner counseling sued Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Friday, demanding the state replace $369 million that had been earmarked to help troubled borrowers but was used instead to pay down the stateís debt.

ďTo this day, countless California victims of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis and their supporters are waiting to receive any benefit, much less the full benefit, of the settlement the attorney general obtained for the state of California as compensation for the harms the victims suffered and continue to suffer,Ē the complaint said.

NAAC v. CA Gov. Brown Complaint

NY Times Under California law, the suit said, money placed in a so-called special deposit fund, as the $369 million was, can be transferred to the stateís general fund only ďif the transfer does not interfere with the object for which the special fund was created and the transferred amount is repaid when feasible.Ē

It is not clear how many other states have such clear restrictions that could allow similar lawsuits to be mounted.

The nonprofit organizations are represented by Neil Barofsky, a partner at Jenner & Block and a former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. 

In a statement, Mr. Barofsky said, ďIt is an honor for us to represent such an impressive and courageous group of petitioners as they seek through this action to bring some measure of relief and justice to the struggling homeowners who continue to suffer as the front-line victims of the financial crisis.Ē

3/15/14

NY state regulators eyeing Wells Fargo foreclosure manual

Lawyers, forensic accountants and consumer advocates have long suspected that banks were systematically creating improper documents to falsely prove ownership of loans.

NY Post Four major watchdogs have taken notice. New Yorkís attorney general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the New York State Department of Financial Services and the United States Trustee Program ó a unit of the Department of Justice that oversees bankruptcy courts ó have obtained copies of the 150-page Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual cited in the allegations filed in federal court in New York, sources said.

Foreclosure defense lawyers use the term ďta-da endorsementĒ to describe situations in which they say a document appears, as if by magic, in the bankís possession as needed in a foreclosure case ó even though the proper endorsement was not included in the original foreclosure filing.

Settlements Reached in Multiple Force-Placed Insurance Lawsuits

Lawyers & Settlements Banks and mortgage lenders who thought their use of force-placed insurance on homeowners would be an easy way to increase profits might be thinking twice, following numerous settlements in force-placed insurance lawsuits. According to reports, settlements have been reached in lawsuits filed against Bank of America, HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, concerning their use of force-placed insurance.

3/14/14

BofA, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Sued by FDIC Over Libor

FDIC claims the banks committed fraud and violated U.S. antitrust laws in fixing the Libor benchmark. It seeks unspecified damages.

Bloomberg Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. (C) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) were among more than a dozen banks sued by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate from 2007 to 2011.

The case is Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), 14-cv-01757, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

3/13/14

CFPB targets "zombie" foreclosures after Reuters report

The Reuters story revealed that thousands of borrowers across the country were the unwitting owners of zombie homes. Many were on the hook for thousands of dollars of mortgage debt, code violations and municipal services like water and trash.

Reuters "There is direct borrower harm if a borrower believes a foreclosure on their property has been conducted and they are no longer responsible, and months or years later find out that they are, that there was never a foreclosure and they have large financial responsibilities that they never knew about."

The CFPB also said that it has joined a task force, led by several industries, to identify the hundreds of thousands of homes that have become zombie foreclosures.

3/13/14

Countrywide Seeks to Throw Out U.S. Claim for $2.1 Billion

Bloomberg The judge who heard the arguments today in Manhattan federal court said heíll take his time analyzing their rationale since the case is the first time the U.S. went to trial against a bank alleging a violation of a civil fraud statute enacted during the Savings-and-Loan Crisis of the 1980s.

AUDIT

REPORT

3/13/14

Justice Department's watchdog faults mortgage fraud prosecutions

The U.S. Justice Department used faulty statistics to overstate its mortgage-fraud prosecution efforts and ranked mortgage-fraud last in its list of priorities despite public pledges to combat these types of crimes.

Also: Audit: Justice Department, FBI, failed to jail mortgage fraudsters
Inspector General publicly shames law enforcement

L.A. Times

 

 

____

 

Housing Wire

Thursday's report undercuts contentions by the federal government made four years ago that it would aggressively investigate cases of mortgage fraud, which proliferated following the housing bubble and eventual crash. 
President Obama in 2009 signed an executive order creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an inter-agency group that included 25 federal and state agencies, regulators and inspectors general. The task force was headed by a Justice Department official and among its missions was to ensure cooperation with the myriad of agencies.

DoJ faulted by watchdog over mortgage fraud programme

The US Department of Justice has been criticized for ďimmenselyĒ overstating the success of a homeowner fraud programme and failing to prioritize mortgage fraud, according to an internal watchdog.

AUDIT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
JUSTICEíS EFFORTS TO ADDRESS MORTGAGE FRAUD

FT It found the DoJ overstated the results of a 2011 initiative targeting fraud against distressed homeowners. In an October 2012 press conference led by Eric Holder, attorney-general, the DoJ said 530 individuals were charged for frauds exceeding $1bn.
In reality, the audit found, only 107 people were charged for distressed homeowner frauds totaling $95m, 91 per cent lower than stated. The audit said DoJ officials almost immediately became aware of problems with the statistics but failed to correct public statements for 10 months.

Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards

Administration Wonít Name Offending Prosecutors

The violations include instances in which attorneys who have a duty to uphold justice have, according to the internal affairs office, misled courts, withheld evidence that could have helped defendants, abused prosecutorial and investigative power, and violated constitutional rights.

POGO The violations include instances in which attorneys who have a duty to uphold justice have, according to the internal affairs office, misled courts, withheld evidence that could have helped defendants, abused prosecutorial and investigative power, and violated constitutional rights.

From fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2013, the Justice Departmentís Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) documented more than 650 infractions.

In the majority of the mattersómore than 400óOPR categorized the violations as being at the more severe end of the scale: recklessness or intentional misconduct, as distinct from error or poor judgment.

3/13/14

New mortgage scam targets NM homeowners


Scammers advertise with mail, phone calls

KOAT Scammers advertise by mailings and phone calls, including a mailing titled "Payment Reduction Notification." The homeowner is promised a lower home loan payment. The scammers tell the consumer to send money orders or cashier's checks to an address in Long Beach, California and to make the payments to "US Recovery Program" or "Legal Department." 

3/13/14

Treasury Prepares for HAMP Rate Resets, More Defaults

Mortgage Servicing News The Treasury Department has directed mortgage servicers to notify borrowers 120 days in advance of upcoming increases in monthly payments on loans previously reworked through the HAMP ruse.

3/13/14

Zombie Attack!! (Foreclosures, that is)

Marketplace "They're sitting vacant," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist of these so-called zombie properties. "The bank is not claiming responsibility, the homeowner is not claiming responsibility, the property is falling into disrepair. The property taxes aren't being paid. So it's causing an eyesore in the community, and also potentially dragging down home values of surrounding properties."

3/13/14

Number Of Calif. Homes In Foreclosure Process Soars

NPR Foreclosures are at a seven-year low nationwide. In California, however, the number of notices of default, which is the first step in the foreclosure process, jumped.

3/3/14

WORTH WATCHING

How Insiders Rob Banks and Cause Crises

This is a great piece to share with friends and who still arenít sure why we had a crisis or are predisposed to blame it on greedy borrowers, as opposed to greedy and reckless financial services industry players.

Criminologist and former financial regulator

Professor

Bill Black 

Black explains how banks caused the financial crisis and why it was completely avoidable.

Savings & Loan fiasco and Ameriquest mentioned. DOJ gets hammered!

"Remember there is no Fraud exorcist. Once it starts out a fraudulent loan, it can only be sold to the secondary market through more frauds."

3/13/14

 

New Jersey Clears Docket: Dismisses 80,000+ cases

We have seen cases dating back to the 1990′s that have not been prosecuted and judges in all states are dismissing for failure to prosecute

Living Lies We have reached a turning point where courts and others are saying to the banks, ďif your claims are real, why didnít you prosecute them for years?Ē

The essential problem that is now bubbling to the surface after years of suppression is this: the lender is receiving payments based upon a different deal and computation than the deal and computation the borrower is required to pay. The lenderís right to repayment comes from the bond indenture on the mortgage bond issued by a REMIC trust that never had any money, assets, income or expenses.

3/13/14

3/12/14

New Lawsuit Alleges That Wells Fargo Has a Manual for Mass Fabrication of Foreclosure Documents

The notion was clearly to complete as many foreclosures as cheaply as possible, the law be damned.

naked capitalism Wells Fargo has consistently been arrogant and obstructionist. So as much as Wells allowing her to proceed with discovery will be a longer, harder road than a quick and quiet settlement, it has the potential to do a tremendous amount of good for beleaguered borrowers by exposing the deliberate, orchestrated nature of Wellsí bad conduct. Stay tuned.

Wells Fargo made up on-demand foreclosure papers plan: court filing charges

According to court papers, the Manual details ďa procedure for processing [mortgage] notes without endorsements and obtaining endorsements and allonges.Ē

If the allegations in Tirelliís court filing are true, this manual represents the first time Ďta-daí endorsements are ďbeing described and admitted to be a procedureĒ at a major bank.

Wells Fargo Foreclosure Attorney Procedure Manual

NY Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

--------

h/t Deontos

The manual, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, appears to provide step-by-step instructions for a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage ďDefault Docs TeamĒ and foreclosure attorneys if a blank endorsement is in a file and the attorney wants that note executed. In addition, the manual outlines steps for attorneys and the Default Docs Team to create allonges, endorsements to a note on a separate sheet of paper when there is no room left at the bottom of the note. Step 3 under the header ďAllongeĒ on page 17 reads: ďWFHM Default Docs Team: If file was ordered and received, review Ö to determine what entities the attorney needs the note endorsement to reflect.Ē

Trader kills self in finance worldís latest suicide

NY Post A Manhattan trader was killed Tuesday morning by a speeding Long Island Rail Road commuter train, marking at least the seventh suicide of a financial professional this year.

3/12/14

42 Foreclosure Auctions In Pinellas County Ė Most Will Return Foreclosures to The BanksÖ.Why?

There is this madness that is burning all across the State of Florida, across the country. The madness is that millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on a court system that works to return properties in foreclosure to ďThe BanksĒ. But itís not really ďThe BanksĒ that will take back the properties. 

Weidner Law Even though ďBank of AmericaĒ or ďWells FargoĒ or ďCitiĒ may ďwinĒ the auctionÖ.these nominal plaintiffs donít take anythingÖ.they arenít the real party in interest in these proceedingsÖ..these plaintiffs are straw parties, place holdersÖ.the bag men of the debt collecting/foreclosure world. The real party in interestÖthe real entity that owns the notes and mortgages are hiding behind the scenes. Fannie or Freddie or any of the other shadowy and concealed aggregate debt owners who themselves donít actually own the debt they are pimping.

3/12/14

In 2009, these people avoided foreclosure. Will they lose their homes now anyway?

San Jose Mercury News Starting in 2009, the Obama administration helped hundreds of thousands of Americans avoid foreclosure by reducing their monthly mortgage payments for five years.
Time is running out. Many of the beneficiaries of the Home Affordable Modification Program will see their payments go up starting this year, and there are indications that some may lose their homes now anyway.

3/12/14

Fannie Mae worker's foreclosure kickback trial begins


Armando Granillo viewed the kickbacks as commonly accepted behavior and did not intend to defraud Fannie Mae, his lawyer says.

L.A. Times It was unclear whether evidence from Cecelia Carter, another Fannie Mae foreclosure specialist in Irvine, would be introduced to bolster Granillo's contention that kickbacks were widespread and tolerated at the government-backed company.
In a pending state court lawsuit, Carter contends Fannie Mae fired her in 2011 after she tried to expose widespread corruption, including her belief that Mary Irvine, a supervisor who oversaw both her and Granillo, was among those accepting kickbacks for property listings. She and Granillo have said they discussed the kickbacks and the agency's lack of interest in doing anything about them.

3/12/14

Opinion:

Court Holds Note & Mortgage are Unenforceable

In Re: Dorsey v. Vanderbuilt Mortgage

Kentucky Appellate Court "It appears that the chain of title of the Note was not properly proved and therefore the party entitled to enforce the Note is not the Appellant. As neither a holder of the Note nor a non-holder with the rights of a holder, Vanderbilt cannot enforce the Note. Because ďa mortgage is valid and enforceable only if the underlying debt continues to be an enforceable obligation,Ē the Mortgage is no longer enforceable under Kentucky law."

Questions are asked of Rot in Banking Culture

William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, criticized banks for their ďlack of respect for law, regulation and the public trust

There is evidence of deep -seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions.

NY Times  Money laundering, market rigging, tax dodging, selling faulty financial products, trampling homeowner rights and rampant risk-taking ó these are some of the sins that big banks have committed in recent years.

Now, some government authorities are publicly questioning whether such misdeeds are not just the work of a few bad actors, but rather a flaw that runs through the fabric of the banking industry.

Mortgage Investors to Send Letters on Ocwen ĎServicing Abusesí

Bloomberg ďThe Association of Mortgage Investors remains committed to the rights of investors,Ē Chris Katopis, executive director of the group, said by telephone. ďWe are currently reviewing action against a number of servicers for their actions that have been harmful for both investors and borrowers.Ē

3/12/14

CFPB Takes Aim at 'Zombie' Foreclosures

Mortgage Servicing News The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to address the growing problem of vacant and abandoned properties that banks and mortgage servicers have walked away from to avoid maintaining the homes.
Some borrowers are being harmed when a mortgage servicer starts a foreclosure but then fails to complete it, leaving borrowers on the hook for the mortgage debt, taxes and maintenance even though they may have already moved out

3/12/14

South Florida Couple Says "Dream Home" Deal Went Bad When Owner Couldn't Deliver Title

The South Florida couple thought they were getting the perfect home at a bargain thanks to the continuing foreclosure crisis. Instead they claim they walked into a real estate nightmare.

NBC Miami Now, thereís yet another hurdle to clear the title Ė a $40,000 lien a construction company owner has slapped on the property because he says FASTP didnít pay him.

Real estate attorney Norman Powell told NBC 6 these kinds of situations are happening across South Florida.

ďItís extremely common,ď he said.

3/12/14

New In-Depth Study Shows How Debt Collectors Abuse Legal System and Borrowers

What is striking about Hollandís investigation is how little rigorous work has been done in this area, despite its importance to ordinary Americans. The few previous empirical studies have been small in scale, limited to single counties or courts, and thus could easily be brushed off as not representative (the one exception was not as in depth as the Holland study). This is the first large-scale statistical analysis of this type.

Junk Justice: A Statistical Analysis of 4,400 Lawsuits Filed by Debt Buyers

naked capitalism

 

_____ 

 

Peter A. Holland 
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

In the overwhelming majority of cases, these are junk claims that could be beaten if the borrower had the means. In many cases, the debt is invalid by being too old (the statute of limitations has expired), previously discharged (the borrower actually paid it or it was wiped out in bankruptcy). And even when it might be valid, debt collectors can rarely meet the legal standards needed to enforce the obligation (which includes a copy of the original agreement with the borrowerís signature, the payment history that proves the amount owed, and the complete documentation to substantiate all the transfers of the debt from the original lender to the current holder). To add insult to injury, the debt collectors typically canít begin to prove how the borrower came to owe the amount it says is due. But broke borrowers arenít in a great position to pay legal fees.

 

3/12/14

Damage awards for wrongful foreclosure are rising across the country.

Damages Rising: Wrongful Foreclosure Costs Wells Fargo $3.2 Million

For every one of these judgments that are reported, I hear about dozens of confidential settlements that are of similar nature, to wit: clear title on the house, damages and attorneys fees.

Living Lies Where a loan is subject to claims of securitization, and the investment banks lied to insurers, investors, guarantors and other co-obligors, they most likely have been paid many times for the same loan and never gave credit to the investors. By not crediting the investors they created the illusion of a higher balance that was due on the loan. They also created the illusion of a default that probably never occurred. But by pursuing foreclosure and foreclosure sale, they compounded the illusion and avoided claims for refund and repayment received from third parties and created claims for recovery of servicer advances. In many foreclosures that I have reviewed, payments received from the FDIC under loss-sharing were never taken into account. Thus the bank collects money repeatedly for a loss it never incurred.
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3/12/14

Fannie Mae Investors May Be Using Magic Calculators

DealBook Hedge funds like Fairholme Capital Management have urged Washington to revitalize Fannie, the mortgage finance giant, which along with Freddie Mac was kept alive with nearly $190 billion of taxpayer cash in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The prospect has pushed up the price of Fannieís preferred stock more than tenfold in 18 months. But according to a Breakingviews analysis, even cheerful assumptions suggest Fannieís business isnít worth enough for shareholders to get much if anything back.

3/12/14

Plan for FANNIE/FREDDIE Takes Shape

The "big fix" that fixes nothing.

Must Read: GUARANTEED TO FAIL

WSJ The government is going to dress Fannie/Freddie in new clothes, call it something else, and use the same fatally-flawed business model that Paulson and Soros said "Simply does not work".

 

3/12/14

The foreclosure crisis is still burning years after the housing crisis ended

... because the people with the power to stop (elected officials, judges, regulators and lawyers are profiting from it.

Washington Post After all the increases take effect, the median monthly payment would rise by about $200 at the national level. But many borrowers face steeper increases.
In California and Hawaii, which have a high concentration of HAMP modifications, the median increases will be $300 and $356, respectively. In California, payments will jump by as much as $1,724 in some cases.

3/12/14

Home Again: Free Homeowner Relief Program in Nevada

The Nevada Attorney General is teaming up with the state's top housing counselors to help you keep your home.

KOLOTV The program protects homeowners from becoming victims. One of the biggest problems Nevadans face is mortgage fraud due to the foreclosure crisis the banks created.

"People have been prayed upon because they have been trying to save their homes and you have some disreputable person or company coming along saying, 'I can help you, but in order for you to do that you have to pay me some money," Cortez Masto said.

3/11/14

Homeowners With HSBC Mortgages Beware! 

Unless HSBC can produce a Power of Attorney or some other written document signed by Intervale granting Decision One the proper authority to indorse, or transfer rights to promissory note, to another party, then it most likely will not be able to succeed in prosecuting the foreclosure. 

McGookey Law In short, our client will have put a major dent in HSBC's plan to take his home away. Only when HSBC realizes it has not successfully passed it slipshod paperwork under everyone's noses will it come to the table and treat our client fairly. And this brings us to one of the biggest tragedies of our time; in the world of securitized lending, one's bank is not the owner of the loan, but merely a loan servicer.

3/11/14

Two Senators Draft Plan to Phase Out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

Under the outline, private interests would take the first 10 percent of any mortgage losses, before an emergency government backstop would kick in that the taxpayers would have to pay AGAIN.

NY Times Under the proposal, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be wound down and replaced with a new government reinsurer called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation, which would provide assistance only after private creditors had taken a hit. The entity would be financed by fees on lenders who want the government backstop.

They are going to put a new dress on Fannie & Freddie, give it a new name, and use the same business model that has already been widely publicized as FATALLY FLAWED and DOES NOT WORK.

The GSE is a cash cow for criminals and another bill for taxpayers.

3/11/14

Hope LoanPort Expands Consumer Data Sharing to Combat Fraud

Mortgage Servicing News Hope LoanPort has started new collaborative partnerships with several national organizations, including the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network, to collectively provide foreclosure related fraud prevention assistance to homeowners.

3/11/14

Off-topic

Brief: Warrantless Cellphone Searches Should Be Prohibited

Brennan Center for Justice Law enforcement officers should not be allowed to search the contents of a cellphone without a warrant when they arrest someone, argues the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in an amicus brief filed Monday.

3/11/14

Who Has the Power to Execute a Satisfaction and Release of Mortgage?

The answer to that question is that probably nobody has the right to execute a satisfaction of mortgage. That is why the mortgage deed needs to be nullified.

 

Living Lies The execution of fabricated, forged and unauthorized assignments or endorsements does not mean that there is any underlying business transaction with offer, acceptance and consideration. Hence, when a Court order is entered requiring that the parties claiming rights under the note and mortgage prove their claim by showing the money trail, the case is dropped or settled under seal of confidentiality.

This is why so many cases get settled after the borrower aggressively seeks discovery.

3/11/14

Swiss Insurers and JPMorgan Have More than ĎSuicidesí in Common

Dickenson had worked for Swiss Re since March of 2002 according to his LinkedIn profile. One would think that out of respect for his service to the company, it would release a statement of sorrow for the family, his age and bio. A search of Swiss Reís web site turned up no media release.

Pam Martens

Wall Street on Parade

JPMorganís ties run deep with Zurich Insurance Group. JPMorgan is a market maker in the stock of Zurich Insurance Group, which raises red flags since it also puts out overweight, underweight and neutral ratings on the company which can move the share price up or down. JPMorgan also serves as an investment banker to the company, raising still more red flags for potentially conflicted research. (This is all a reminder of just how little has changed under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in the U.S.)

3/10/14

Fed Chair Bernanke Held 84 Secret Meetings in the Lead Up to the Wall Street Collapse

Bernankeís appointment calendar suggests two things: (1) that the depth of the crisis began on Friday, March 7, 2008 and (2) that Bernanke played a far greater role than previously known.

By Thursday, March 13, as a full blown run on the liquidity of Bear Stearns took place, there is a 6 inch long black box redaction of everyone the Fed Chairman spoke to or met with from 4:30 p.m. that day.

Wall Street on Parade What we do know is that sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning, the Fed and JPMorgan hatched a plan to inject liquidity backstopped by the Fed into Bear Stearns. An announcement of the plan to the press early Friday morning was meant to stabilize things. Instead, the stock of Bear Stearns dropped 46 percent that day. By Sunday night, JPMorgan had agreed to take over Bear Stearns with billions in backstop guarantees from the Fed.

Unfortunately for the American people, what men on the payroll of the U.S. government, earning $199,700 a year and a pension, do during their workday is apparently off limits to public scrutiny.

3/10/14

Securities Suit Deadlines Get U.S. Supreme Court Scrutiny

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to use a case involving mortgage-backed securities to rule on the time limits that apply to some fraud suits filed by investors.

Bloomberg The issue centers on the three-year time limit that typically applies to suits over securities offerings. The Public Employeesí Retirement System of Mississippi, known as MissPERS, argues in its appeal that the period should be extended in its case because Wyoming officials had filed a similar class action suit.

3/10/14

Whoís sending the bill for your mortgage? It might be a hedge fund

Servicing becomes more of a shadow industry: 

Market Watch The government, unimpressed by banksí previous handling of troubled mortgage loans, has been pushing banks out of the mortgage-servicing industry. But thatís creating a market thatís wide open for hedge funds and other non-bank financial companies to step in, which has some advocates just as worried.
Pay-To-Play Pam

3/10/14

Pam Bondi- Floridaís Attorney General Supports Banks, Not Consumers!

Florida consumers need an attorney general that will support the interests of consumers. But we donít have that. Florida currently has an attorney general that works with banks and big businessÖ.and in doing so does such harm to Floridaís consumers. Itís just disgusting. Bondi is nothing but an extension of the universally reviled corporate demon Rick Scott.

Weidner Law When the Attorney General takes the continuing big-dollar support from Donald Trump and his rich friends, people canít have confidence in any decision she makes. Now she is shamelessly doubling down on her pay-to-play ethics.Ē

Three days after Bondi said she was reviewing a complaint against a Trump organization, the Donald J. Trump Foundation gave $25,000 to an organization Bondiís campaign set up called ďAnd Justice for All.Ē

Three days after the money came in, Bondi decided NOT to pursue the complaint against Trump, according to the Tampa Tribune. 

3/10/14

Fed proposes foreclosure fast-track

Longtime foreclosure defense lawyer Dan McGookey rejects the idea of a fast-track, noting the courts are the only way to reveal the bad actions that led to the foreclosure crisis.

Newark Advocate McGookey said ďthere is fraud in every case,Ē and he pointed to the ďrobo-signingĒ scandal. He added that more than half the clients at his Sandusky and Columbus offices were, he believes, illegally denied assistance from a loan-modification program by the lender.

ďIf youíre fast-tracking foreclosures, that form of fraud is not going to get exposed either,Ē McGookey said.

 

3/10/14

Discovery and Due Process in California

The Requirements of Due Process.óAlthough due process tolerates variances in procedure ďappropriate to the nature of the case,Ē694 it is nonetheless possible to identify its core goals and requirements. First, ď[p]rocedural due process rules are meant to protect persons not from the deprivation, but from the mistaken or unjustified deprivation of life, liberty, or property.Ē

Living Lies Thus, the required elements of due process are those that ďminimize substantively unfair or mistaken deprivationsĒ by enabling persons to contest the basis upon which a State proposes to deprive them of protected interests. The core of these requirements is notice and a hearing before an impartial tribunal. Due process may also require an opportunity for confrontation and cross-examination, and for discovery; that a decision be made based on the record, and that a party be allowed to be represented by counsel.
688 Ballard v. Hunter, 204 U.S. 241, 255 (1907); Palmer v. McMahon, 133 U.S. 660, 668 (1890).

2/24/14

 

Lawyer Suicides Inspire Bar Action

Depression, stress, burnout, a profession filled with workaholics. Does the work drive lawyers to kill themselves? 

Texas Center for Legal Ethics Although there is no single thread that unites the instances of suicides among lawyers, the American Psychological Association says depression generally is the most likely trigger. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death among practicing attorneys.

2/24/14

Foreclosure-Mill Marshall Watson suspended for 91 days

Georgia Supreme Court We grant the voluntary petition and suspend Watson from the practice of law in Georgia for 91 days nunc pro tunc to June 5, 2013.
In his petition, Watson asserts that in Florida he maintained a high-volume
foreclosure practice representing lenders, but admits that he failed to take
reasonable steps to supervise and train his employees.

Prof. Whitman on Servicer Lies

Professor Dale Whitman posted a commentary on Quintana v. Bank of America.

Synopsis: A borrowers who is ďjerked aroundĒ by a mortgage servicer may have claims in fraud or on other theories.

REFinBlog Karoly Quintanaís home mortgage loan was serviced by Bank of America, When she began having difficulty making her payments in 2009, she was told by B of A that she would have to miss three payments to be considered for a loan modification, and that the servicer would forbear foreclosure while it did so. She missed the payments and applied for a modification, but (she alleged) B of A did not consider it, and instead accelerated her loan and commenced foreclosure.

In general, of course, thereís no legal right to a modification. But this court holds that a false promise to consider a modification is enough to make out a claim of fraud.

3/10/14

Florida Foreclosure Bench Book (2013 version)

There are a lot of legal errors and omissions in this document most notably UETA Section 16 is misquoted. Basically, it's a handbook on how to foreclose faster. 

Weidner Law  The filing of a forged document warrants disbarment. The Florida Bar v. Hall, 49 So. 3d 1254, 1259 (Fla. 2010)

Fraud - Elements of fraud must be pled using specific, ultimate facts. 
Moreover, fraud cannot form the basis for recovery of damages unless the damages directly arise from the fraud and are causally connected to the fraud. Simon v. Celebration Co., 883 So. 2d 826, 829 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004).

 

3/9/14

Lawsky to step up assault on Wall Streetís corporate wrongdoing

Mr Lawskyís office is now investigating the rapid growth of non-bank mortgage servicing companies Ocwen and Nationstar. He is also looking into possible sanctions violations by several banks and the consultants that advise them.

FT New Yorkís aggressive banking regulator who is campaigning to clean up Wall Street, is turning his sights on the individuals as well as the institutions who squeeze struggling homeowners or help banks violate US sanctions.

ďPeople who did the conduct are going to be held accountable.Ē


Mr Lawskyís name-and-shame strategy taps into a wave of popular discontent in the US and Europe over the fact that few individual bankers have been personally sanctioned for the bad decisions that led to the global financial crisis. Taxpayers have been forced to stump up hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue banks brought low by reckless behaviour

3/9/14

Banking isnít a wonderful life now as suicides sweep financial district

If youíre a banker today, many who once looked up to you as a success now think youíre evil; maybe youíre even the type who caused the economy to crumble.

NY Post On top of that, you hear politicians from the president on down blaming ďWall Street and bankersĒ for the crisis, as if they were all the same, when in reality it was only five or six individuals very high up at places like Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. who share responsibility.

Today many Wall Street bankers are in the midst of their own emotional and economic crises.

3/9/14

Credit Suisse Documents Point to Mortgage Lapses

The documents are noteworthy because Credit Suisse, unlike many other major banks, has refused to settle large lawsuits stemming from the mortgage crisis. 

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

The emails are part of a newly released trove of internal communications and documents, mostly from 2006 and 2007, that paint a troubling picture of how Credit Suisse, a major player in the American mortgage market, operated as the housing bubble inflated. 

 

 

3/6/14

Bergman & Gutierrez Argues An Important Foreclosure Case Before The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The plaintiffs in this case lost their home to a foreclosure in May 2011. Although plaintiffs tried to avoid foreclosure by negotiating with Wells Fargoís servicing company, Americaís Servicing Company, U.S. Bank nevertheless foreclosed and sold their home at auction. Despite seeking information from U.S. Bank and ASC concerning why ASC refused to provide them with a modification after entering into several trial loan modification plans, plaintiffs lost their home of over 25 years in March 2011.

Bergman & Gutierrez Deborah Gutierrez argued Junod v. MERS et al., before a 3 judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves issues similar to those in Glaski v. Bank AmericaĖ whether a homeowner can challenge a foreclosure by claiming that a post-closing date transfer into a securitized trust governed by New York Trust law was void. While this issue involves a complex analysis of California law, New York trust law, and IRS codes, the issue is relatively simple. The theory advanced by the Plaintiffs in this case was that as U.S. Bank as Trustee for the CSMC Trust Mortgage Backed 2006-6 did not actually own the mortgage loan on which it foreclosed. More specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that the Assignment of Deed of Trust, dated April 16, 2010, purporting to assign their mortgage loan to a securitized trust with a ďclosing dateĒ of June 29, 2006, was void since the trust had closed years before in 2006. Thus, U.S. Bank as the trustee, could not have validly accepted the untimely transfer of the mortgage.

3/9/14

A Whistle Thatís Lost in the Crowd

What if the S.E.C. doesnít bring a successful case based on a whistle-blowerís complaint but another law enforcement agency does, using the same information?

The answer appears to be this: The whistle-blower may get no award at all.

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Late last month, deep in the annual financial statement filed by SunTrust Banks ó there was this nugget of news: The Justice Department is investigating mortgages that SunTrust, a large bank holding company operating in the Southeast, underwrote and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the home loan finance giants.

The whistle-blower said, SunTrust failed to alert investors to buyback risks on ďtens of billionsĒ worth of loans.

Oral Argument In Foreclosure

Aurora Loan Services v. Hunter

Weidner Law See this very powerful videoÖit really drills down into the important issues in a foreclosure trial.

3/8/14

Wells Fargo to pay $3 million for Ďshockingí foreclosure

Wells Fargo foreclosed on the family home despite the accidental death insurance policy the bank sold his father along with the mortgage Ė conduct an Albuquerque judge said was so ďhighly reprehensibleĒ she slapped the company with a judgment awarding the Dollens estate $2.7 million in punitive damages.

ABQ Journal Judge Beatrice Brickhouse, who also awarded damages of $15,633 under the New Mexico Unfair Trade Practices Act, used words like ďshockingĒ to describe conduct by Wells Fargo, summing up evidence from a bench trial in December 2012 and March 2013.

She also awarded $390,000 in fees to the law firm that has been litigating the case on behalf of the estate, along with almost $50,000 in costs, though attorney Katy Duhigg-Kennedy says it may be years before they see any of it since Wells Fargo has said it will appeal.

3/8/14

This shadow bankís explosive growth in mortgage lending makes US regulators nervous

Regulators worry that non-bank lenders will jeopardize people's homes

Quartz The emergence of non-traditional bank lenders (paywall) in the US home lending market has drawn intense scrutiny from regulators, and a look at the eye-popping growth of one non-bank mortgage lender, Ocwen Financial, can help explain why.

A person familiar with Lawskyís review of the mortgage servicer said that the company has at times been slow to deliver loan documents requested by the DFS. Ocwen did not immediately return calls requesting comment

Bank of America CEO pay jumped 77 percent

VC Star Bank of America's finances have been improving. Last year its profit more than tripled to $10.08 billion, while worsening unemployment by cutting staff and focusing on its core business of stealing homes it doesn't own and ripping off more of its customer base. Its balance sheet and shadow banking improved after the Justice Department announced it is simply too frail and undereducated to stop the banks' theft by deception and manipulation scheme.

3/7/14

JPMorgan whistleblower gets $63.9 million in mortgage fraud deal

The government said it ultimately had to cover millions of dollars of losses after some of the bank's loans went sour, resulting in evictions and foreclosures nationwide.

Reuters In the February 4 settlement, JPMorgan admitted that for more than a decade it submitted thousands of mortgages for insurance by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs that did not qualify for government guarantees.

JPMorgan also admitted that it had failed to tell the agencies that its own internal reviews had turned up problems.

Chase Class Action Force-placed Insurance Information

Saccoccio v. JPMorgan Chase

GCG Who Is Included in the Settlement Class?

The Settlement Class consists of all borrowers in the United States who, between January 1, 2008 and October 4, 2013, were charged by the Chase Defendants as insureds or additional insureds under a hazard lender-placed insurance

3/7/14

Memo on Arizona Steinberger case with Florida Case Citations

Steinberger Memo

GKW This case, in combination with other legal arguments will help tip the outcome in many cases for years to come. And it reveals some simple concepts that are not being discussed in the main stream of legal writing. The main thing is the simple idea that banks cannot lure people into default, foreclose on them and get away with it. Where the Glaski case in California shows that the banks can and should be liable for wrongful foreclosure, the Steinberger decision shows one of the ways that can be mapped out in your pleadings.

3/7/14

Speeding Up Vacant-Home Foreclosures Could Save Big: Fed Paper  (Tainted Titles?)

The researchers warn, however, that it is difficult to draft legislation that balances the interests of creditors and homeowners because it "requires the input of creditors, attorneys, communities and the judiciary."

Mortgage Servicing News Legislators in some judicial foreclosure states have attempted to address these deadweight losses by creating foreclosure fast-tracking programs. Ohio is one example where legislators created a private mortgage foreclosure fast-track for tax foreclosures in 2006, and are now considering a pilot foreclosure fast-track for properties abandoned by the homeowner.
3/7/14

Deutsche Bank Sells First Homeowner Energy-Efficiency Securities

The debt is backed by liens on homes created as consumers are given funds for work such as weather sealing, insulation upgrades or solar-panel installations, called Property Assessed Clean Energy assessments. 

Bloomberg The notes might incur losses if the overseer of government-backed mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac decides to challenge the priority status of the liens in federal court, Kroll said.

With the liens that are similar to tax assessments said to rank more senior than mortgages, giving them a greater right to foreclosure proceeds, the Federal Housing Finance Agency told Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac in 2010 to avoid guaranteeing new loans on properties with them. Last year, after facing opposition from Californiaís attorney general, the FHFA defeated a court challenge to the directive.

3/3/14

Chase To Pay Out $300 Million Over Force-Place Insurance Allegations

Consumerist On Friday, a federal judge signed off on a settlement that will have JPMorgan Chase paying out at least $300 million to around 750,000 mortgage borrowers. Itís the first of what could be several large settlements with major lenders over the issue of forced-place insurance.
3/7/14

IndyMac's PETITION FOR REVIEW OF A SPECIAL ACTION DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS

INDYMAC v. STEINBERGER

Arizona Supreme Court IndyMac claims THE APPELLATE COURT'S DECISION IS INCONSISTENT WITH THIS COURT'S REJECTION OF "SHOW-ME-THE-NOTE"
CHALLENGES TO NON-JUDICIAL FORECLOSURES.

Floridaís Hardest Hit Fund Becomes Focus for Help to Homeowners

There are dozens of programs available in many of the states that could help thousands of homeowners. The problem is that nobody is making application to those programs.

Living Lies So I am publicizing facts about those programs in an effort to encourage homeowners and attorneys to do their homework and to make proper application. It is probably a good idea to utilize the services of the law firms that have already started to concentrate on these programs. These firms are willing to cocounsel with other lawyers who have been litigating cases or web clients that might benefit from these programs.

3/6/14

Cloudy With a Chance of Radicalism. Or... Turning the Tables on the Big Banks?

One industry insider told us that all non-Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages were transferred improperly. In other words, the ownership of potentially millions of mortgages is in question.

Hannah Appel & JP Massar First, simply the prospect of turning the table on the banks by forcing them to prove ownership (which they most likely cannot) is itself a significant step in the right direction. 

Second, as one lawyer we consulted for this article put it: ...these are issues of power. Create enough political leverage, and these nebulous and complex issues get resolved in favor of the people. Judges and policy makers have to understand that correct decisions are the only thing standing between them and 40,000 people marching in the street.

3/6/14

With billions at stake, U.S. court weighs Madoff clawback claims

Reuters Victims of Bernard Madoff's epic fraud may be able to recoup only a small portion of the billions of dollars he allegedly funneled to selected customers in the last years of his Ponzi scheme.

CFPB to Mortgage Servicers: The Shell Game Is Over

Washington Informer ďServicing transfers where the new servicers are not honoring existing permanent or trial modifications will not be tolerated. There will be no more shell games where the first servicer says the transfer ended all of its responsibility to consumers and the second servicer says it got a data dump missing critical documents.Ē

3/6/14

Petition to US Supreme Court: Should Foreclosure Fraud Be Allowed to Continue In Florida Courts?

We all know that consumers continue to suffer gross abuses at the hands of the banks and a court system which has largely reached the conclusion that banks must be rewarded with Final Judgments of Foreclosure no matter what the facts.

Petition for a Writ of Certiorari  (3-4-14)

Weidner Law Largely missing from this consideration is the long term and disastrous consequences for the entirety of the judicial system because in order to continue with this madness of providing rewards to the banking institutions in spite of and in the face of their gross misconduct, Floridaís courts are dispensing with due process and ignoring all sense of balance and equal justice under the law.

Recently a judge simply signed a Final Judgment of Foreclosure despite the fact that the bank witness didnít have a single piece of paper with him in court. No note. No mortgage. No evidence of amounts due and owingÖ..NOTHING. 

3/6/14

HSBC, Wells Fargo Settle Forced Property Insurance Lawsuits

The cases are Hall v. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), 12-22700, Lopez v. HSBC Bank USA NA, 13-21104, and Fladell v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., 13-60721, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

Bloomberg So-called force-placed insurance is taken out on homes by banks or mortgage servicers when, for example, a homeownerís policy lapses or the bank decides the borrower doesnít have enough coverage. The homeowners alleged in class-action lawsuits that the banks got a financial windfall by cutting deals with insurance companies and over-charging borrowers for the coverage.

3/6/14

Law Could Force Lenders to Force-Place More Insurance Policies

A jump in lender-paid policies would come at an inopportune time for the industry, which faces new regulatory requirements for such insurance, underscoring the need to educate borrowers why it is necessary.

Mortgage Servicing News A 2012 law designed to stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program's finances could have the unintended consequence of dramatically increasing the price of coverage for borrowers in flood zones. This in turn could result in more borrowers failing to pay or renew flood coverage, requiring lenders to force-place coverage, says Tom Elder, the program manager for financial institutions at the wholesale insurance brokerage All Risks.

Financing for Foreclosed Homes

NY Times In addition to low-down-payment financing and priority status for owner-occupants, the government controlled mortgage giant has begun offering closing-cost assistance to qualified buyers WITHOUT DISCLOSING THE TITLE IS TAINTED!
3/6/14

Can Bankruptcy Rescue You from a Financial Scam?

Bankruptcy Law Network Has anyone ever offered you $500, $1,000, $2,000 or more for you to sign your name Ė no strings attached?

3/5/14

Foreclosure Lawyer tramples his legal opponent after hearing at Brooklyn court 

Dunn's firm ended up dropping the underlying foreclosure action a few months after the incident.

NY Daily News The bizarre brouhaha unfolded on March 6, 2013 after Dunn, representing the Bank of New York Melon for Hogan Lovells law firm, was summoned to a conference room on a foreclosure case.
After the referee read a five-page ruling that suggested Dunnís firm and the bank acted in bad faith, the attorney attempted to storm out of the cramped quarters and walked all over his adversary who was sitting next to him, court papers said.

3/5/14

SunTrust Bank Might Face ĎSubstantial Penaltiesí From Feds

Go Banking Rates In a mortgage investigation led by the federal government, it was found that Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank made alleged mistakes processing applications for loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

3/5/14

How much time will the foreclosure-mill lawyers get?

Bucks lawyer gets year in prison for mortgage scheme

A Doylestown, Pa., lawyer was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in a $14.6 million mortgage fraud scheme that affected 35 homeowners.

  According to the indictment, the defendants targeted financially distressed homeowners facing foreclosure, falsely promised them help in saving their homes, engaged in real estate transactions with straw purchasers, and obtained dozens of fraudulent mortgages. The defendants, according to prosecutors, took whatever equity the homeowner had left, funneled it through various shell corporations they controlled, used some of it to pay the new mortgages, and put the rest of the equity into their own bank accounts.

Federal judge tosses Dallas County lawsuit seeking millions from mortgage banks

dallasnews The suit alleged that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System ó founded by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and several large U.S. banks in 1995 ó was a conduit for buying and selling mortgages by lenders. The suit said MERS avoided paying recording fees to the county when mortgages changed hands, as required by law.

2/28/14

Texas Justice and Juries are Not for Sale (Sure they are)

The right to a trial before an impartial jury of citizens is the fundamental principle of our judiciary system under the U.S. Constitution. When a jury verdict or the actions of a court raise questions about the law, the state appellate courts provide a forum to consider, interpret and rule on those questions. Tragically, in recent years, Texans have witnessed the denigration of juries and the erosion of the judiciary by the very body entrusted to protect bothóthe Texas Supreme Court.

SacBee During the decade spanning 2000-2010, the members of your Texas Supreme Court found that Texas juriesómade up of every day, hardworking Texans - were wrong an astonishingly 74 percent of the time, overwhelmingly favoring the position of corporate defendants over small businesses, consumers and families. This lopsided practice is further revealed in a recent edition of the Baylor Law Review, in which the author notes: "[O]f the thirty-one major causation opinions the court has issued since [1995], only four decided the causation issue in favor of the plaintiff. The remainder found a way to benefit the defendant, most overturning jury verdicts, and many overturning courts of appeals' decisions that found sufficient evidence of causation."
3/5/14

PICTURES: Bucks sheriff's deputies peacefully end standoff over foreclosure

Morning Call Bucks County sheriff's deputies peacefully ended a standoff Wednesday afternoon on East Cherry Road in Richland Township and removed a man from a home that was foreclosed upon and sold at sheriff's sale last year.

3/5/14

Dog owner charged after beagle's frozen body found in foreclosed home

A dog was found dead, frozen on its pet bed, in a foreclosed home in Sheboygan County, and the dog's owner now faces charges.

jsonline Kimberly Fidlin, 39, was charged with animal cruelty and neglect after a maintenance worker found her dog, a beagle named Lucky, in the foreclosed home. The dog died from starvation, authorities said.

Fidlin said she walked away from all of her possessions, including the dog, when the home went into foreclosure.
Full Opinion in Case No. 2D12-6255:

Hoffman v. BankUnited 

Hoffman appeals the final judgment of foreclosure entered in favor of BankUnited, FSB, and raises four issues. As to the three issues regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the final judgment, we conclude that Hoffman is not entitled to relief and affirm without discussion.

Florida Court of Appeals Second District On the fourth issue, we agree that the foreclosure sale of the property must be set aside because the sale was conducted while Hoffman's timely motion for rehearing was pending. See Wollman v. Levy, 489 So. 2d 1239, 1239 (Fla. 3d DCA 1986). Accordingly, we vacate the foreclosure sale
Because the trial court disposed of the rehearing motion some time after the sale, the court may again order the foreclosure sale of the property on remand. Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded with directions.

LA MER ESTATES v. BONY

BONY took no action for over one and a half years. Finally, on August 31, 2012, it moved pursuant to rule 1.540(b) to vacate the quiet title judgment on grounds that it was void because the complaint failed to state a cause of action to quiet title. 

because the appellee failed to move for relief within a year of the judgment, it was not entitled to have the judgment vacated. We reverse. 

Florida Court of Appeals Fourth District The bank argued that because it was void, the one year limitation which applied to the other grounds for relief under rule 1.540(b), did not apply. See M.L. Builders, Inc. v. Reserve Developers, LLP, 769 So. 2d 1079, 1081 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000) (a motion to vacate a void judgment may be made at any time). The bank argued that a complaint to quiet title must allege not only the associationís title to the property and how it obtained title, but must also show why the bankís claim of an interest in the property is invalid and not well founded.

White paper

GUARANTEED TO FAIL

Fannie, Freddie, and the Debacle of Mortgage Finance

Since the book-----FHFA has "settled" trillions for millions allowing voodoo accounting  to allow  Fannie to "show a profit" to start chapter two. without the FHFA write-downs the GSEs would have been shut down

All this demonstrates not only government involvement from the onset as well as the more incriminating current conduct of cover up FHFA write-downs under the color of "settlements".
Prof. Acharya, Richardson, Vannieuwerburg
and White
A decade later, we know how it all turned out: the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and bailouts so large that we no longer consider the savings and loan debacle to have been much of a financial crisis. This is not to argue that all of the blame should be placed on the doorstep of Fannie and Freddie. There is plenty of blame to go around at other large, complex financial institutions including Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Wachovia, and Citigroup, among others.

The financial collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008 led to one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in history. The bailout has already cost American taxpayers close to $150 billion, and substantially more will be needed. The U.S. economy--and by extension, the global financial system--has a lot riding on Fannie and Freddie. They cannot fail, yet that is precisely what these mortgage giants are guaranteed to do. How can we limit the damage to our economy, and avoid making the same mistakes in the future?

3/5/14

N.Y. Regulator Raises Questions on Mortgage Firm Nationstar

DealBook New Yorkís superintendent of financial services, said his office had received ďhundreds of complaints from New York consumersĒ about problems related to the Nationstarís mortgage modifications, improper fees and lost paperwork.

3/5/14

Clueless law firmís out-of-touch boasting: ďGot off with just a $5 million fine!Ē


Former bank prosecutor Lanny Breuer is back defending corporate clients. Wait 'til you see what his new job prizes

David Dayen Salon Covington (which also counts Attorney General Eric Holder as an alumnus) routinely defends the very white-collar clients Breuer was supposed to be pursuing with criminal charges in Washington. That potential for conflict of interest should be even clearer when you see how Covington & Burling promotes themselves to colleagues and potential clients.

Continued mismanagement and fraud by banks around the globe ensures a steady stream of business to Covington & Burling in white-collar defense. And as they proudly brag, theyíre experts at knowing how to keep their clients out of jail with no damage greater than a petty fine, experience gained from a lifetime on both sides of the negotiating table between regulators and Wall Street banks.

3/5/14

Fed Nominee Stanley Fischer Has a Citigroup Problem

As if as on cue, news broke just yesterday that Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to Citigroup in a money-laundering investigation, a topic with which the bank is intimately familiar.

Wall Street on Parade During Fischerís stint at Citigroup, from February 2002 through April 2005, he ďamassed a personal fortune of between $14.6 million and $56.3 millionĒ according to Bloomberg News. During that same period, Citigroup was repeatedly charged with fraud and embarked on its own exotic financial shenanigans that would end up collapsing the firm in 2008.

3/4/14

Wall Street Has Found Its Latest Dangerous Financial Product, Activists Warn

Housing and consumer activists warn that Wall Street is about to crash the housing market -- again.

Last fall, HuffPost uncovered that renters were moving into homes, then discovering major plumbing and other household repair flaws that their Wall Street landlords wouldnít fix.

NCLC letter

Huff Post This time, gun-shy bankers are hard-pressed to give anyone but the most stellar borrowers a mortgage, said the groups, which include California Reinvestment Coalition and the National Consumer Law Center. Yet, home prices are rising again.

That's because Wall Street investors with deep pockets and the ability to pay cash for homes are muscling out ordinary buyers in places hard-hit by the housing crisis, like Phoenix and Atlanta. Once these wealthy investors have bought the homes, they flip them into rentals -- often covering up large issues like plumbing and mold with cosmetic fixes.

3/4/14

BofA, Wells Fargo draw most complaints from Floridians

ďWhen someone starts filing complaints way in excess of their market share you know thereís a problem,Ē Thomas said.

South Florida Business Journal The other non-banks that got many CFPB complaints from Florida were Nationstar Mortgage and credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

3/3/14

JPMorgan Chase Engaged in Mortgage Fraud 

JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging, yet no prominent banker has gone to jail. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all mortgages nationally remain underwater, sapping homeowners' budgets, the housing market and the economy. Since the banks, the courts and the federal government have failed to give adequate relief to homeowners, some cities are taking matters into their own hands.

Ellen Brown, JD Banks have signaled that if Richmond or another city tries the eminent domain gambit, they will rush to court seeking an injunction. Their grounds: an unconstitutional taking of private property and breach of contract.

You first need to grasp the massive fraud perpetrated on homeowners. It is how you were duped into paying more than your house was worth, why you should not just turn in your keys or short-sell your underwater property away, why you should urge Congress not to legalize the MERS scheme, and why you should insist that your local government help you acquire title to your home at a fair price if the banks won't.

White paper

11/13/13

Foreclosing on Nothing: The Curious Problem of the Deed of Trust Foreclosure Without 
Entitlement To Enforce the Note

Most lawyers familiar with the process of mortgage foreclosure in the United States would probably have regarded it as a satisfactory, if not somewhat dull, area of the law. Foreclosure did not generate much appellate litigation, and those few lawyers who specialized in the field, mostly representing lenders, had little difficulty in getting the results they needed from the mechanisms of 
foreclosure. 

Dale A. Whitman
 Professor of Law, University of Arkansas 

Drew Milner 

That process has now changed radically. The foreclosure crisis resulted in the creation of a new kind of lawyer: the foreclosure-defense specialist.

As these specialists began to poke and prod at the foreclosure process, they found plenty of weaknesses. They raised dozens of questions about precisely what sort of evidence or proof, and in what form, needed to be adduced by those instigating foreclosure, particularly when the loan had been sold on the secondary-mortgage market. For example, they forced the courts to focus on issues such as whether a chain of mortgage assignments (recorded or not) was required as a prerequisite to foreclosure.

UPDATE:

NO MORE DIRTY DEEDS

George Mantor Citizens have lost their right to due process as 96% of all foreclosures go uncontested because of forged documents. IT MUST STOP! "The integrity of land title records and the rights of the public now hang in the balance. Itís time to occupy the Recorders office. We need to identify and develop our own candidates to challenge bank-owned incumbents."

3/4/14

Identifying Potential Violations on a Loan

All homeowners who were foreclosed upon since 2005 or are currently in the foreclosure or modification process are encouraged to review their original loan paperwork for signs of a wrongful foreclosure.

United Law Center What was the date of your Assignment of Deed of Trust? Look in your county's property records to see if an Assignment of Deed of Trust was filed. If so, it is likely that your lender does not own your note. If the recording date of the Assignment is over 90 days past the inception of the loan, then the bank had no legal right to foreclose.

3/4/14

FAILURE TO APPEAR BRINGS SANCTIONS & DISMISSAL with PREJUDICE

Bayview Loan Servicing v. Bartlett

MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT To the extent that a testimonial hearing would have permitted Bayview to show that its third failure to appear was the result of an inadvertent error of counsel, the court concluded that such an error was not excusable in light of Bayviewís previous failures to appear at mediation. Moreover, Bayview does not contest any of the material facts found by the court. The court did not err or abuse its discretion.

3/3/14

PNC Gets Justice Department Subpoena on Payment Processing

Bloomberg PNC  disclosed more details about three subpoenas it received from the U.S. Attorneyís Office related to National City Bank, the Cleveland-based subprime home lender PNC purchased in 2008. Two of the investigations were in connection with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration as well as some non-FHA-insured practices. The third probe is tied to costs for foreclosure counsel related to loans insured by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, according to the filing. PNC disclosed that U.S. officials were investigating the unit last year.

3/3/14

Chase To Pay Out $300 Million Over Home Insurance Allegations

Chase Class Action Force-placed Insurance Information

Consumerist The class-action lawsuit had alleged that the high rates on forced-place policies purchased by Chase werenít just a matter of the insurance company, Assurant, charging more, but also of the bank receiving kickbacks and commissions. Thus, the plaintiffs claimed that Chase had a financial stake in seeing that homeowners were charged a higher premium.

3/3/14

Bank of America moves trash inside - boards up house

thfj The trash included over 200 tires. This is a small home in a residential neighborhood of modest homes, many still occupied.
Tired of the bad publicity, BOA decided to address the situation. They hired a team of guys to move all 200 plus tires into the house, then board up the house. Who but a big bank would have chosen that solution?

3/3/14

JPMorgan pays $400 million to settle with Syncora over toxic loans

Syncora brought several cases against JPMorgan to recover losses on securities created and sold by the former Bear Stearns and Co and its EMC Mortgage affiliate. JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns in 2008.

The bond insurer claimed the bank misrepresented the quality of loans underlying the securities and that it was deceived into insuring them.

Reuters Home loans such as those issued by the Bear Stearns "securitization machine," as the bond insurer's lawsuits have called it, were at the center of the financial crisis. As the loans became delinquent, mortgage-backed securities collapsed, helping to trigger a wider market meltdown.

The cases are Syncora Guarantee v. EMC Mortgage Corp, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-cv-3106; and Syncora Guarantee v. JPMorgan Securities, Syncora Guarantee v. EMC Mortgage, and Syncora Guarantee v. EMC Mortgage, New York state Supreme Court, New York County, Case Nos. 651566/2011, 650420/2012 and 653519/2012.
3/3/14

Pay to Play

Ocwen plans $2 billion in mortgage principal reduction

Mortgage servicer reaches agreement with regulators

Housing Wire The modification program includes underwater borrowers at imminent risk of default and is designed to be sustainable for homeowners while providing a net present value for mortgage loan investors that is superior to that of foreclosure.

3/3/14

Are Regulators Driving Banks Out of Mortgage Servicing?

Hopefully all the criminal ones.

"Itís a proposed gift to community banks in an election year," said Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at Compass Point Research and Trading.

Critics argue that the Basel III provision is further accelerating the transfer of mortgage servicing business from banks to nonbanksóa move that is already under way due to a number of market forces.

Mortgage Servicing News "In the last couple of years, the nonbank servicers have exponentially grown, and are now controlling about half of the market," said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics.

Banks also face a squeeze from another direction. Several large institutions were hit hard with enforcement actions over their servicing practices for dealing with delinquent loans after the financial crisis and servicers now face tough new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureauóproviding more rationale for banks to consider moving away from the business, which can be risky and expensive when loans sour.

3/3/14

New Jersey Breaks Foreclosure Logjam, Yields Flood of Dismissals

Municipal officials, lawyers, and housing counselors have all pointed to a related phenomenon: foreclosure cases never finalized, or judgments never taken to sheriffís sale, with homes sitting vacant. In December 2010, state Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ordered major lenders to demonstrate that their foreclosure practices are clean. ďItís important that the judiciary ensures that judges are not rubber-stamping documents of questionable reliability,Ē he said at the time.

NJ Spotlight That dramatic wave of dismissals became possible once the court system automated its tracking of foreclosure cases, according to Kevin Wolfe, administrator of the civil practice division. The system flags those cases where there has been no action for a year or more, he said.

Notices go out to lawyers on those cases, giving them ď30 days to file an appropriate pleading or a certification of exceptional circumstances, such as when a defendant has filed for bankruptcy,Ē said Kathryn Shabel, an attorney in Wolfeís division. Without a timely reply from the plaintiff attorneys, the case gets booted, she said 

3/3/14

Battling a Bank to Collect a Judgment

This battle continues because U.S. Bancorp refuses to give up, appealing at every turn. After the jury ruled against the bank last March, it not only appealed, but filed a new lawsuit against Mr. Rosenberg.

A judge in one of the many cases found that U.S. Bancorp improperly used a series of special-purpose entities ďto artificially create six creditors for the improper purpose of attempting to satisfy the provisions of bankruptcy code that allow creditors to file involuntary bankruptcy petitions.Ē

DealBook ďIf they can do this to me,Ē he said, ďimagine what they do to people that canít defend these actions. Iím truly learning that it doesnít matter if Iím right or wrong because they keep filing more and more appeals and motions. Itís getting to the point that I canít afford the legal fees and I canít ask my attorneys to work for free.Ē

Like some foreclosure cases: The bank, according to Mr. Rosenberg, even privately approached his lawyers and offered to pay their fees, which Mr. Rosenberg is in arrears on, if they would stop representing him. The bank has denied this.

Mr. Rosenberg draws parallels between his situation and the homeowners who lost their houses through foreclosure.

ďWhen you compare it to the mortgage business, itís exactly the same issue,Ē he said. ďThe little guy that owns a mortgage and has been assigned to a million different people and nobody knows who the debt is really due to, canít afford to go fight it.Ē

FTC Goes After Abusive Collectors

FTC Fifteen "abusive, unfair and deceptive" collectors have illegally taken millions of dollars from purported debtors, using the words "Federal," "US," "American" or "State" to imply or state "that they are affiliated with federal, state, or local government," the FTC claims in a federal lawsuit.

Wilson v. HSBC

Opinion addresses:

Standing, and Have the Wilsons alleged a Void or Voidable Mortgage Assignment?

 

First Circuit Court of Appeals

Massachusetts

A void mortgage assignment is one in which the putative assignor "never properly held the mortgage and, thus, had 
no interest to assign." We have also found that a party who challenges a mortgage assignment on the grounds that the assignor was but a nominee for the mortgage holder and "never possessed a legally transferable interest" in the mortgage alleges a void, as opposed to merely voidable, assignment.

3/3/14

BOA Ė RED OAK Ė Countrywide Merger Revealed in all its ďGloryĒ

Countrywide, as it argued to the Court at the outset of the case.
see MBIA PowerPoint Presentation

Living Lies Judges, attorneys, title agents, and other experts have examined this issue and concluded that we are headed for a crash of the recording system that will undermine the title and priority of owners and lenders.

3/3/14

A Closer Look at Young Worker Deaths at JPMorgan Chase

Wall Street on Parade In the past three months, at least eight JPMorgan Chase employees, aged 22 to 39, have passed away, including the three highly publicized, suspicious deaths of Gabriel Magee, Ryan Crane and a young man the media is now calling Dennis Li.

2/28/14

Full Post

Dallas Lawyer Gets 7 Months for Bank Fraud

A North Texas lawyer has been sentenced to seven months in prison and must repay more than $2.1 million for his role in a bank loan fraud scam.

Goh must report to prison by May 26.

NBCDFW A federal judge in Dallas on Monday sentenced 51-year-old Jerry Goh, of Allen. Last April Goh pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, or concealing another person's felonious act, related to the fraud scheme.

Prosecutors said Goh, with law offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, acted as an escrow officer and allowed the fraudulent transfer of some funds involved in a loan.

Two other North Texas residents have pleaded guilty and await sentencing in the case involving fraud against the lender ó Prosper Bank.

3/2/14

Surviving Spouses File Reverse Mortgage Lawsuit Against HUD

Plaintiffs ďchallenge HUDís failure to protect them and other surviving spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers from foreclosure and displacement, as required by the reverse mortgage statute.Ē

Reverse Mortgage Daily The new suit seeks relief for a class of borrowers who faced situations similar to those detailed in the earlier lawsuit; namely those who faced foreclosure of their homes because they had been removed from the home title or were not named on the title prior to the closing of the reverse mortgage and had survived their borrower-spouses.

3/2/14

Bank of America Returns to a Familiar Battlefield

Motley Fool The legal fracas over toxic mortgages pumped out by Countrywide in years past hasn't died down just yet. Ambac Financial, recently emerged from bankruptcy, is looking for more than $2.5 billion from B of A for damages related to junk loans underlying disintegrating mortgage bonds.

Ambac, which insured these mortgages, has been paying out on these loans Ė and it wants its money back, not only for what it has already forked over, but also for "future claims it has paid or claims it will be obligated to pay under the policies, increasing over time as it pays claims under relevant policies, plus unspecified punitive damages."

Give this video to your attorney, regardless of what state you are in.

Big Bank FAIL - Judge rules BOA foreclosures unconstitutional

Bradburn v. ReconTrust (Defendants' Opposition brief)

Letter from the Court

Banks stealing homes DO NOT want the public to know how they are doing it.

Susanne Posel This is Scott Stafne's 41st win. Scott fought the case based on constitutional law, which is almost a rarity these days. Scott is trying to set precedent so that other attorneys across the country can use this as secondary law in order to fight and keep the homeowner in their home or that they can sue for damages for the the house being illegally seized and sold. In 2013, foreclosures dropped 30% because people are standing up and taking the banks to court. 

Bank of America named the MERS system as the beneficiary. MERS is a computer system -not a sentient being, so it cannot be a beneficiary for a foreclosure. They changed their tactics and named Recontrust as the beneficiary, but it is a subsidiary of BA, creating a conflict of interest.

3/1/14

Many New Yorkers living in foreclosure limbo

Dainoís lawyer, Renee Cadmus of MFY Legal Services, alleges that Wells Fargo prefers to collect foreclosure fees instead of resolving the case.

New York Post Since January 2013, Daino has been trying to sign over the deed, plus a $25,000 insurance check, to her bank and be released from liability. She wants to move on.
But Freddie Mac, which (allegedly) owns her loan, and Wells Fargo, her servicer, wonít let Daino sign over the deed, and arenít completing the foreclosure on an essentially worthless property.
3/1/14

Break Up the Bank? Itís Not for You to Ask

Gretchen Morgenson

NY Times

Given some of the management missteps at JPMorgan in recent years ó most notably the London Whale mess ó and its regulatory run-ins, it certainly seems appropriate to ask shareholders whether they think the institution is too big to manage. Even as simply a point of information, such a vote could be revealing.

3/1/14

Glaski

Attorney: Court ruling could help families in foreclosure

A California Supreme Court decision could help more than a million people keep their homes after a breakthrough ruling on home foreclosures.

Lawyers for the financial institutions claimed the decision could be catastrophic for the banking industry.

More here:

KCRA With an estimated 1.3 million California homeowners in foreclosure, a Roseville attorney says the state Supreme Court has made a decision that could ultimately keep many from losing their homes.

A Fresno homeowner fought foreclosure in court and won in the case known as Glaski v. Bank of America. In the case, the homeowner claimed the bank trying to take his home didn't have the right to because the loan was improperly transferred to a securities trust.

"These are no joke," Foondos said. "That's why the banks have been aggressively trying to suppress this information from the public."

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