mortgage fraud

Foreclosure Settlement Shows 4.2 Million Borrowers Shafted in 2009-2010

The truth comes out on the mortgage fraud settlement.  The OCC announced the payout terms and for most people, they get less than $1,000 out of the deal.  Only in America can one be fraudulently foreclosed on, lose their home, have their credit ruined, only to be compensated less than $1,000 for the ordeal.

Foreclosed Upon Americans Get Chump Change While Banks Erode Regulations

bankstersgThe Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are cutting an $8.5 billion deal against ten of the largest banks for their systematic foreclosure and loan modifications abuse which resulted in millions losing their homes. From the settlement press release.

What's Up in Bankster Land?

bankstersIt might just be election time. We have Bank of America being sued for Countrywide's hustle, a program which pawned off bad mortgages onto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 2007 to 2009. The U.S. District Attorney, Office’s Civil Frauds Unit in New York filed a civil complaint against BoA, who acquired Countrywide, for $1 billion.

The Complaint seeks civil penalties under FIRREA, as well as treble damages and penalties under the False Claims Act, for over $1 billion in losses suffered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for defaulted loans fraudulently sold by COUNTRYWIDE and BANK OF AMERICA.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “For the sixth time in less than 18 months, this Office has been compelled to sue a major U.S. bank for reckless mortgage practices in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope. As alleged, through a program aptly named ‘the Hustle,’ Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill. As described, Countrywide and Bank of America systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance – they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects. These toxic products were then sold to the government sponsored enterprises as good loans. This lawsuit should send another clear message that reckless lending practices will not be tolerated.”

Never Ending Stupid Bank Tricks

moneyhatBanks are at it again, as usual, and these latest adventures in fictional finance are off the public radar. Maybe the public has lost their outrage and why the latest news is out of earshot. Maybe people are just exhausted, watching absurdity after outrage coming from these financial institutions and the ones who are supposed to watch them. After all, nothing ever changes. We hear the same song, just a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Abacus Bank Faces Criminal Charges for Liar Loans Yet Most Who Perpetuated the Financial Crisis Go Unpunished

dropinbucketOn May 31st, Manhattan prosecutors filed criminal charges against Abacus Federal Savings Bank and 19 employees. These are the first criminal charges against an actual bank associated with the financial crisis. This very small bank issued fraudulent mortgages, otherwise known as liar loans and sold them to Fannie Mae.

Abacus Federal Savings Bank, a small bank with a major presence in New York City’s Chinese community, and 19 of its former employees have been charged with inflating the qualifications of mortgage applicants to meet federal loan standards, a scheme that prosecutors say brought the bank tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten fees and sent hundreds of millions of dollars in risky mortgages to the investment market.

The thing is liar loans were extremely common, so why would New York Prosecutors go after this small community bank instead of the larger fish? Politics and resources.

Bill Black in the below Bloomberg law interview says this prosecution will probably be our token sacrifice. In other words, don't expect Countrywide, notorious for liar loans and now part of Bank of America to be put in cuffs, doing the perp walk.

A Change to our System of Property Rights based on Political Power

robosignforeclosureSo says Roosevelt Institute fellow Matt Stoller in the below interview. Stoller is talking about the 50 state mortgage fraud settlement and frankly he's right. It's beyond belief the government has literally shoved under the rug banks improperly seizing and foreclosing on properties owned by Americans.

Mortgage Settlement Is Corruption Poster Child

housemazeIt's simply a failure of law. Barry Ritholtz wrote a admonishment of the Obama administration and state attorney generals for buying into the 50 state mortgage settlement pig in a poke:

We never want to see an innocent party “accidentally” evicted from a home. The legal system has evolved so this has become a “legal impossibility.” Imagine returning home from work or vacation to find the front door padlocked, the belongings strewn all over the block, a big orange sticker screaming “FORECLOSED” on the garage door, with an auction sign in the front lawn. Now imagine that this occurred even though you are not in default or even delinquent on payments. Thanks to the robosigning banks, this legal impossibility has happened repeatedly, even to homeowners who paid cash for their houses and had no mortgages. Imagine that — foreclosed with no mortgage.

Pretty incredible huh? It used to be no one could simply just take your home. Such a violation of personal and property rights was unheard of. Now the stories are so routine, the press barely covers them.

Bloomberg Law interviewed an on fire Ritholtz, who explains, in simple English, why this settlement is such a big deal. Literally the settlement throws out 1000 years of individual property rights, law and is a loss of personal freedom you really need to pay attention to.

National Mortgage Settlement is a Big Fat Pig in a Poke

pigpokeThere are new revelations on the 50 state mortgage fraud settlement. From The Financial Times:

A clause in the provisional agreement – which has not been made public – allows the banks to count future loan modifications made under a 2009 foreclosure-prevention initiative towards their restructuring obligations for the new settlement, according to people familiar with the matter.

The existing $30bn initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Programme (Hamp), provides taxpayer funds as an incentive to banks, third party investors and troubled borrowers to arrange loan modifications.

The settlement is estimated to be $40 billion. The fines are only $5 billion of this, which implies U.S. taxpayers are on the hook, not the banks, for $30 billion. So instead of getting any justice that using people's homes, their shelter and main life investment as a gambling chip and paper chase game is wrong, once again we get to pay for financial folly while banks pocket the cash.

Naked Capitalism has put up a top 12 list of things wrong with the foreclosure fraud settlement. Here's reason #1:

Snippets From the 50 State Mortgage Settlement

mersAs expected, states were strong armed by the administration and have agreed to a $25 billion, 50 state mortgage fraud settlement with five banks for robo-signing and mortgage fraud. According to the Wall Street Journal:

The agreement covers five banks: Ally Financial Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. Together, the five firms handle payments on 55% of all home loans outstanding, or about 27 million mortgages, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

While the banks pony up $25 billion, they are the ones who made out like bandits.

About $5 billion would be cash payments to states and federal authorities, $17 billion would be pegged for homeowner relief, roughly $3 billion would go for refinancing and $1 billion would be paid to the Federal Housing Administration.

No Bank Prosecutions From Attorney General Who Used To Represent The Banks!

dojlogoWe all know there is no justice when it comes to criminal and even civil prosecutions for the financial crisis. We all know there is no justice when it comes to foreclosures. Are you aware the Obama administration is about to let the banks once again off the hook?

Maybe this has something to do with it. Reuters gives us just a little insight as to why their have been no criminal prosecutions of banks and civil penalties have been slaps on the wrist.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who's Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud.

Great, so the highest prosecutor in the land had the Banksters as clients for years.

Holder and Breuer were partners at Covington, the firm's clients included the four largest U.S. banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co - as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage servicers.

Reuters is really piecing together the implications with this paragraph. Wow!