It don’t get much more obvious that the corruption in Ringgold Georgia. The judges there violate their ethics and the Cannons in blatant style. Check the link to the news on Brian House. He lied three times during the interview!
Fukushima nuclear material reported in West Coast groundwater; It’s discharging into Pacific Ocean — Fallout also found in meat and fish from same area — “Routinely detected’ in plant life long after March 2011
Published: September 4th, 2014 at 11:02 am ET
Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) Units 1 and 2 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report, published April 30, 2014: Isotopic releases occurred in Japan and were carried by the jet stream to the west coast of the United States… [DCPP] periodically detected cesium (Cs-137) within market fish and cow meat due to deposition of Cs-137 from [Fukushima]… Fukushima Cs-137 was detected within one sample of monitoring well… Cs-137 was detected in three samples of market fish most likely due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137… Cs-137 was detected in [a] 2013 meat samples due to the Fukushima Japan nuclear accidents. This detection occurred… in October… [DCPP] detected cesium within milk, vegetation, and meat throughout 2011 [and] continued to detect cesium within groundwater, fish, vegetation, and meat throughout 2012.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant Units 1 and 2 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report, Apr. 30, 2013: Throughout 2012 [we] continued to detect cesium (Cs-137) within milk, vegetation, monitoring wells, fish, and meat due to deposition of Cs-137 from that event… Concentrations of cesium (Cs-137) were also detected in two shallow monitoring wells… This cesium was evaluated and attributed to rain-washout of Fukushima fallout… Due to topography and site characteristics, this groundwater gradient flow discharged into the Pacific Ocean… Cs-137 was detected in three samples of fish most likely due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137… Cs-137 was detected in 2012 vegetation samples… due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137 [that] was absorbed by plant life and the soil. DCPP… has routinely detected Cs-137 in plant life since March of 2011 due to this Fukushima event… Cs-137 was detected in… [cow] meat samples due to the Fukushima Japan nuclear accidents… Vegetation uptake and subsequent digestion by the animals were the source of these Cs-137 isotopes into the meat.
See also: California Nuclear Plant Engineer: We were hit by explosion at Fukushima Unit 3 (MAP) — “The public started to freak out” — Tell colleagues what radioactive material is coming their way… don’t notify public — Don’t release initial data to officials until they’re ‘on board’
MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
- Massachusetts couple convicted of harassing neighbors with fake Craigslist ads, emails says actions protected by First Amendment
- Man convicted of murdering Springfield exotic dancer in 1984 has 5th request for new trial rejected by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Suffolk D.A. appeals after judge finds defendant not guilty without hearing any evidence
- Geraldine Hines nominated to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; would become 1st black woman on state’s highest court
- After diverse career, Ralph Gants confirmed as chief justice of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
BOSTON – A group of Western Massachusetts banks argued before the state’s highest court on Thursday that the city of Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinances should be overturned.
The banks say the local ordinances contradict state laws, and a bond levied on lenders constitutes an illegal tax. “It’s not that banks are opposed to mortgage laws and reform, but to how it’s being done,” said Craig Kaylor, general counsel for Hampden Bank, one of the banks that brought the lawsuit. “These are for the state to decide, not city by city.”
But the city disagrees and says the laws are necessary to avoid blight and protect neighborhoods that have high rates of foreclosure.
“This is the city’s response to the foreclosure crisis,” said Springfield Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Moore, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s a response from the city council and mayor based on what they see every day in the city. They’ve taken the strongest stance to protect homeowners and the city itself.”
The city of Springfield passed two anti-foreclosure ordinances in 2011 as the city was being hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. One ordinance requires a bank that forecloses on a home to pay for a $10,000 bond, which can be used by the city to maintain the foreclosed properties, if the bank fails to do so.
The other ordinance requires the establishment of a mandatory mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The bank would be responsible for paying most of the cost of the mediation.
Springfield is among the top cities in the state in the number of distressed properties it has. The city says high rates of foreclosures lead to health and education problems for children in families that lose their homes, and high rates of blighted or vacant properties lead to crime and violence in those neighborhoods.
Six western Massachusetts banks, with Easthampton Savings Bank as the lead plaintiff, challenged the ordinances. A U.S. District court judge upheld the ordinances. However, on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay preventing Springfield from enforcing them. The federal court then asked the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, to answer two questions related to state law before the federal court makes its ruling. The case is Easthampton Savings Bank and others vs. City of Springfield.
The SJC must decide whether the local foreclosure ordinances are preempted by existing state foreclosure laws. The court must also decide whether the $10,000 bond is a legal fee or an illegal tax. Cities and towns cannot create taxes without legislative approval.
The banks also argue that the ordinances violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by impairing the contract between the homeowner and the mortgage-holder, a question that remains before the federal court.
During Thursday’s arguments, Tani Sapirstein, an attorney representing the banks, argued that the bond is a tax because banks do not get any particular benefit from paying it – which is the criteria for calling something a fee. The way the bond works is when a foreclosed property is sold, if the city did not have to use the bond money to maintain it, $9,500 would be returned to the bank and $500 is kept by the city as an administrative fee, used to maintain blighted properties and implement the foreclosure laws.
Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned Sapirstein on whether the bank does not actually receive benefits. “You have an interest in preserving the value of your property,” Gants said. “If there are foreclosed properties going to hell all around your property, it diminishes the value of your property and diminishes the value of what you receive on the foreclosure. Why is this concern about avoiding blight not something that would benefit the bank as well as the city?”
Sapirstein replied that eliminating blight would benefit the bank “as well as the city and other property owners in the neighborhood.” “How is that a particularized benefit?” she said.
Moore argued that the bond is a fee, which the city needs to hire code inspectors and create a database of who controls foreclosed properties.
But Justice Geraldine Hines said if she pays for a copy of her birth certificate, she gets a document in return for the fee. “Here I don’t see that,” she said. “The property owners, the mortgagees, don’t have something tangible.”
Moore said the banks get a “well-regulated industry” and preservation of their property values. In addition, when a bank registers ownership in the database, the city knows who is responsible and problems can be resolved more easily.
Sapirstein also argued that local law cannot require more than state law in an area that is regulated by the state or the result would be “a patchwork of ordinances.”
Gants indicated that the court may move to narrow the ordinances – for example, applying them only to a bank that has taken possession of a house, not a bank that is in the process of foreclosure when the homeowner is still living there. Gants said the ordinance as written could fine a bank for not maintaining a property where the homeowner still lives. As a homeowner, Gants said, “I’d say I’m still living here. This is my home. How can they be punished for not invading what’s still my home just because they happen to be foreclosing on it?” Gants said.
Moore acknowledged that the ordinance may be overbroad and said the city does not anticipate pursuing a violation in a case like that. Moore said the lenders’ lawsuit is premature because there is no information yet about how the city will enforce the laws. “We have the lenders essentially saying the sky will be falling, we are worried about x, y, z happening. None of that has happened and none of that may happen,” Moore said.
Moore said the city is still writing the regulations for the ordinances and if they are upheld, “The city is ready to go forward with implementation within a period of weeks.”
Similar foreclosure ordinances were established in Lynn and Worcester, and local banks challenged those as well. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case involving Lynn and Worcester could be affected by the SJC’s ruling in the Springfield case.
Several activists supporting homeowners came in from Lynn and Springfield to hear the arguments. Candejah Pink, a Springfield homeowner and community organizer battled foreclosure for four years before reaching an agreement to keep her home. She helped write the Springfield ordinances. Pink said the bond is there to ensure that homes are maintained, which keeps crime and violence down. The mediation program, she said, is important to help homeowners come to an agreement with lenders. “We’re not asking to live in our homes for free. We’re asking for some mediation,” she said.
Once Upon a Time…. I Thought the Worst We Had To Face Was Foreclosure Hell, I WAS WRONG!
Ya know, I used to think that Foreclosure Hell was the worst thing we in this Country had to face. Wow, Was I Wrong!
I didn’t realize that just like in Japan, they will cook us to death with radiation, and not even bother to tell us. I have condemned the Japanese for nuking the world and not telling us the truth about it, but fuck me, this country is doing the same thing.
While most people go about their daily business, they never think about the fact, that a pleasure of getting rained on is killing them. We are the walking dead, and being asleep to the fact is just fucking us up more.
I would apologize for my slang, no, crude language, but something needs to wake these sleeping zombies up!
So, they are not only going to take every house they can get their grimy paws on, but they are going to continue the slow kill of humankind from the planet.
It is not the kids growing up now that will suffer so much, it is like the butterfly test in Fukushima. It is the children’s children that will be riddled with deformities.
No matter what they try to tell us, we cannot be stupid, and believe that radiation is ok. The thought of believing that, well, it is, stupid. The sheeple that make up this country now, is amazing. If the government says the radiation is not hurting us, we’ll just believe them. Because the government says so? Yall need to get out from under the rock, and out of the sun, cause damn! You been drinking too much water with fluoride in it, for too long, and it has made you dumb! I take that back, it has made you dumber than dirt!
For years, they have been doing things with the weather, with our food, with our prescriptions, our health! They have taken healthy human beings and turned them into out of shape, fat slugs that have lives that are meant for cattle. Chemtrails is no lie either. What about HARP? I guess that you also believe that 911 was not an inside job.
No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I believe in taking what is put before me, studying it, seeing it for what it is, listening to scientists, listening to experts, and deducing my own opinion. You see, we woke up. We quit drinking the tap water. We quit watching the regular news. The news media is brainwashing you sheeple, which is not hard for them to do.
Terrorists are here, they are going to get you, so we have to militarize the Police forces. These false flag shootings, are to outrage you sheeple, so that you will agree that guns are bad, and they can confiscate our guns. We are told that our rights have to be taken, so that we can be protected from the terrorists, etc.,
If you are so blind you cannot see your nose on your face, you will not notice that Fannie Mae, and the banks are throwing our elderly out on the street. Right now, in Goodyear, Arizona, an 83 year old woman and her 86 year old husband are being thrown out of their home. No one cares. In Colorado Springs, CO, an 82 year old woman is being thrown out of her home. No one cares.
What the hell is wrong with you sheeple? It’s not you, so it is Ok? The Bank With the Most Homes in the End Wins, Get Used to It!!!
A MUST READ FOR EVERY AMERICAN!
Welcome to PaulCraigRoberts.org
- Notice To Readers (3/13/2014)
- HOW AMERICA WAS LOST: Clarity Press releases PCR’s latest book in print. (3/4/2014)
Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals — Paul Craig Roberts
The goon thug psychopaths no longer only brutalize minorities–it is open season on all of us –the latest victim is a petite young white mother of two small children
Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals
Paul Craig Roberts
The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.
At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.
The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers. Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.
At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.
The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge. Americans would be safer if the police forces were abolished.
The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control. No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.
In America today, police murder with impunity. All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”
There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue. Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.
Many Americans take solace in their erroneous belief that this only happens to minorities who they believe deserve it, but psychopaths use their unaccountable power against everyone. The American police are a brutal criminal gang free of civilian control.
Unaccountable power, which the police have, always attracts psychopaths. You are lucky if you only get bullies, but mainly police forces attract people who enjoy hurting people and tyrannizing them. To inflict harm on the public is why psychopaths join police forces.
Calling the police is a risky thing to do. Often it is the person who calls for help or some innocent person who ends up brutalized or murdered by the police. For example, on September 15 CNN reported a case of a young man who wrecked his car and went to a nearby house for help. The woman, made paranoid by the “war on crime,” imagined that she was in danger and called police. When the police arrived, the young man ran up to them, and the police shot him dead. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/north-carolina-police-shooting/
People who say the solution is better police training are unaware of how the police are trained. Police are trained to perceive the public as the enemy and to use maximum force. I have watched local police forces train. Two or three dozen officers will simultaneously empty their high-capacity magazines at the same target, a minimum of 300 bullets fired at one target. The purpose is to completely destroy whatever is on the receiving end of police fire.
US prosecutors seem to be the equal to police in terms of the psychopaths in their ranks. The United States, “the light unto the world,” not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison of every other country in the world, but also has the largest absolute number of people in prison. The US prison population is much larger in absolute numbers that the prison populations of China and India, countries with four times the US population.
Just try to find a prosecutor who gives a hoot about the innocence or guilt of the accused who is in his clutches. All the prosecutor cares about is his conviction rate. The higher his conviction rate, the greater his success even if every person convicted is innocent. The higher his conviction rate, the more likely he can run for public office.
Many prosecutors, such as Rudy Giuliani, target well known people so that they can gain name recognition via the names of their victims.
The American justice (sic) system serves the political ambitions of prosecutors and the murderous lusts of police psychopaths. It serves the profit motives of the privatized prisons who need high occupancy rates for their balance sheets.
But you can bet your life that the American justice (sic) system does not serve justice.
While writing this article, I googled “police brutality,” and google delivered 4,100,000 results. If a person googles “police brutality videos,” he will discover that there are more videos than could be watched in a lifetime. And these are only those acts of police brutality that are witnessed and caught on camera.
It would take thousands of pages just to compile the information available.
The facts seem to support the case that police in the US commit more crimes and acts of violence against the public than do the criminals who do not wear badges. According to the FBI crime Statisticshttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/summary in 2010 there were 1,246,248 violent crimes committed by people without police badges. Keep in mind that the definition of violent crime can be an expansive definition. For example, simply to push someone is considered assault. If two people come to blows in an argument, both have committed assault. However, even with this expansive definition of violent crimes, police assaults are both more numerous and more dangerous, as it is usually a half dozen overweight goon thugs beating and tasering one person.
Reports of police brutality are commonplace, but hardly anything is ever done about them. For example, on September 10, AlterNet reported that Houston, Texas, police routinely beat and murder local citizens.http://www.alternet.org/investigations/cops-are-beating-unarmed-suspect-nearly-every-day-houston?akid=10911.81835.yRJa7d&rd=1&src=newsletter894783&t=9&paging=off
The threat posed to the public by police psychopaths is growing rapidly. Last July 19 the Wall Street Journal reported: “Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment–from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers–American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the US scene: the warrior cop–armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”
The Wall Street Journal, being an establishment newspaper, has to put it as nicely as possible. The bald fact is that today’s cop in body armor with assault weapons, grenades, and tanks is not there to make arrests of suspected criminals. He is there in anticipation of protests to beat down the public for exercising constitutional rights.
To suppress public protests is also the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security Police, a federal para-military police force that is a new development for the United States. No one in their right mind could possibly think that the vast militarized police have been created because of “the terrorist threat.” Terrorists are so rare that the FBI has to round up demented people and talk them into a plot so that the “terrorist threat” can be kept alive in the public’s mind.
The American public is too brainwashed to be able to defend itself. Consider the factthat cops seldom face any consequence when they murder citizens. We never hear cops called “citizen killer.” But if a citizen kills some overbearing cop bully, the media go ballistic: “Cop killer, cop killer.” The screaming doesn’t stop until the cop killer is executed.
As long as a brainwashed public continues to accept that cop lives are more precious than their own, citizens will continue to be brutalized and murdered by police psychopaths.
I can remember when the police were different. If there was a fight, the police broke it up. If it was a case of people coming to blows over a dispute, charges were not filed. If it was a clear case of assault, unless it was brutal or done with use of a weapon, the police usually left it up to the victim to file charges.
When I lived in England, the police walked their beats armed only with their billysticks.
When and why did it all go wrong? Among the collection of probable causes are the growth or urban populations, the onslaught of heavy immigration on formerly stable and predictable neighborhoods, the war on drugs, and management consultants called in to improve efficiency who focused police on quantitative results, such as the number of arrests, and away from such traditional goals as keeping the peace and investigating reported crimes.
Each step of the way accountability was removed in order to more easily apprehend criminals and drug dealers. The “war on terror” was another step, resulting in the militarization of the police.
The replacement of jury trials with plea bargains meant that police investigations ceased to be tested in court or even to support the plea, usually a fictitious crime reached by negotiation in order to obtain a guilty plea. Police learned that all prosecutors needed was a charge and that little depended on police investigations. Police work became sloppy. It was easier simply to pick up a suspect who had a record of having committed a similar crime.
As justice receded as the goal, the quality of people drawn into police work changed. Idealistic people found that their motivations were not compatible with the process, while bullies and psychopaths were attracted by largely unaccountable power.
Much of the blame can be attributed to “law and order” conservatives. Years ago when New York liberals began to observe the growing high-handed behavior of police, they called for civilian police review boards. Conservatives, such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, went berserk, claiming that any oversight over the police would hamstring the police and cause crime to explode.
The conservatives could see no threat in the police, only in an effort to hold police accountable. As far as I can tell, this is still the mindset.
What we observed in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing suggests that the situation is irretrievable. One of the country’s largest cities and its suburbs–100 square miles–was tightly locked down with no one permitted to leave their homes, while 10,000 heavily armed police, essentially combat soldiers armed with tanks, forced their way into people’s homes, ordering them out at gunpoint. The excuse given for this unprecedented gestapo police action was a search for one wounded 19-year old kid.
That such a completely unnecessary and unconstitutional event could occur in Boston without the responsible officials being removed from office indicates that “the land of the free” no longer exists. The American population of the past, suspicious of government and jealous of its liberty, has been replaced by a brainwashed and fearful people, who are increasingly referred to as “the sheeple.”
Foreclosure filings were reported on 124,419 U.S. properties in January 2014, an 8 percent increase from December but still down 18 percent from January 2013. Foreclosure filings were reported on 1,361,795 U.S. properties in 2013, down 26 percent from 2012 and down 53 percent from the peak of 2.9 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2010. But still, 9.3 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater representing 19 percent of all properties with a mortgage in December 2013, down from 10.7 million homes underwater in September 2013.
In 2006 there were 1,215,304 foreclosures, 545,000 foreclosure filings and 268,532 Home Repossessions. By 2007 foreclosures had almost doubled – up to 2,203,295 with 1,260,000 foreclosure filings and 489,000 Home Repossessions. 2008 saw an even further increase to 3,019,482 foreclosures, 2,350,000 Foreclosure filings and 679,000 Home Repossessions. In 2009 – 3,457,643 foreclosures, 2,920,000 foreclosure filings, and 945,000 Home Repossessions. 2010: 3,843,548 foreclosures, 3,500,000 foreclosure filings, and 1,125,000 Home Repossessions. 2011: 3,920,418 foreclosures, 3,580,000 foreclosure filings, and 1,147,000 Home Repossessions. Then January to September 2012: 1,616,427 foreclosures 1,382,000 foreclosure filings and 572,844 Repossessions. The remainder of 2012 – September through December saw an additional 2,300,000 foreclosures, 2,100,000 foreclosure filings and 700,000 Repossessions. In other words, from 2006 through 2012, there were a total of 21,576,117 foreclosures; 17,637,000 foreclosure filings; 5,926,376 Home Repossessions. The foreclosures added to the repossessions is equal to: 27,502,493. The numbers are staggering.
Many of the homes have been wrongfully foreclosed upon, where either the party had not been in default, or the foreclosing party lacked standing to foreclose. It has become almost as lawless as the wildwest, or comparable to a shark feeding frenzy.
 All of the foreclosure figures came from RealtyTrac: http://www.realtytrac.com/content/foreclosure-market-report
 http://www.statisticbrain.com/home-foreclosure-statistics/Statistic Verification Source: RealtyTrac, Federal Reserve, Equifax
DECEMBER 16, 2013
December 16, 2013
With the release of the US Bank admissions per our post of November 6, 2013; the issuance of the opinions from the Supreme Courts of Oregon and Montana holding that MERS is not the “beneficiary”; and recent opinions from various jurisdictions which are now, finally, holding that securitization-related issues are relevant in a foreclosure, a host of new legal issues are about to be litigated in the trial and appellate courts throughout the country. It has taken six (6) years and coast-to-coast work to get courts to realize that securitization of a mortgage loan raises issues as to standing, real party in interest, and the alleged authority to foreclose, and that the simplistic mantra of the “banks” and servicers of “we have the note, thus we win” is no longer to be blindly accepted.
One issue which we and others are litigating relates to mortgage loans originated by Option One, which changed its name to Sand Canyon Corporation and thereafter ceased all mortgage loan operations. Pursuant to the sworn testimony of the former President of Sand Canyon, it stopped owning mortgage loans as of 2008. However, even after this cessation of any involvement with servicing or ownership of mortgage loans, we see “Assignments” from Option One or Sand Canyon to a securitization trustee bank or other third party long after 2008.
The United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire concluded, with the admission of the President of Sand Canyon, that the homeowner’s challenge to the foreclosure based on a 2011 alleged transfer from Sand Canyon to Wells Fargo was not an “attack on the assignment” which certain jurisdictions have precluded on the alleged basis that the borrower is not a party to the assignment, but is a situation where no assignment occurred because it could not have as a matter of admitted fact, as Sand Canyon could not assign something it did not have. The case is Drouin v. American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. and Wells Fargo, etc., No. 11-cv-596-JL.
The Option One/Sand Canyon situation is not unique: there are many originating “lenders” which allegedly “assigned” mortgages or Deeds of Trust long after they went out of business or filed for Bankruptcy, with no evidence of post-closing assignment authority or that the Bankruptcy court having jurisdiction over a bankrupt lender ever granted permission for the alleged transfer of the loan (which is an asset of the Bankruptcy estate) out of the estate. Such a transfer without proof of authority to do so implicates bankruptcy fraud (which is a serious crime punishable under United States criminal statutes), and fraud on the court in a foreclosure case where such an alleged assignment is relied upon by the foreclosing party.
As we stated in our post of November 6, the admission of US Bank that a borrower is a party to any MBS transaction and that the loan is governed by the trust documents means that the borrower is, in fact, a party to any assignment of that borrower’s loan, and should thus be permitted to seek discovery as to any alleged assignment and all issues related to the securitization of the loan. We have put this issue out in many of our cases, and will be arguing this position at both the trial and appellate levels beginning early 2014.
Jeff Barnes, Esq., http://www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com
James and I were working outside, and he called me over and we began talking about that which occupies most of out time…
Many people don’t realize it, but there are many unseen reasons that people are foreclosed on. After putting people into toxic loans, and putting those toxic loans into pools with numerous other toxic loans, there was just a matter of time before the loans would go default, we all know that, the payments would become unmanageable.
But many people, those who came to a better standing than they had been before, and being more prosperous, and even those who were not, would have gone on to refinance those loans. That could not be allowed to happen, because the loans would be paid off and the loans dissolved. How do you stop someone from refinancing their loan? Foreclose before they can.
They could not have anyone pulling the loans out of the Trusts that the loans had allegedly gone into, there was no money in the Trusts anyway. The Banksters have a way of turning everything into a matter of profit.
US BANK ADMITS, IN WRITING FROM THEIR CORPORATE OFFICE, THAT THE BORROWER IS A PARTY TO AN MBS TRANSACTION; THAT SECURITIZATION TRUSTEES ARE NOT INVOLVED IN THE FORECLOSURE PROCESS; HAVE NO ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE OF WHEN A LOAN HAS DEFAULTED; THAT THE “TRUE BENEFICIAL OWNERS” OF A SECURITIZED MORTGAGE ARE THE INVESTORS IN THE MBS; AND THAT THE GOAL OF A SERVICER IS TO “MAXIMIZE THE RETURN TO INVESTORS” November 6, 2013
We have been provided with a copy of U.S. Bank Global Corporate Trust Services’ “Role of the Corporate Trustee” brochure which makes certain incredible admissions, several of which squarely disprove and nullify the holdings of various courts around the country which have taken the position that the borrower “is not a party to” the securitization and is thus not entitled to discovery or challenges to the mortgage loan transfer process. The brochure accompanied a letter from US Bank to one of our clients which states: “Your account is governed by your loan documents and the Trust’s governing documents”, which admission clearly demonstrates that the borrower’s loan is directly related to documents governing whatever securitized mortgage loan trust the loan has allegedly been transferred to. This brochure proves that Courts which have held to the contrary are wrong on the facts.
The first heading of the brochure is styled “Distinct Party Roles”. The first sentence of this heading states: “Parties involved in a MBS transaction include the borrower, the originator, the servicer and the trustee, each with their own distinct roles, responsibilities and limitations.” MBS is defined at the beginning of the brochure as the sale of “Mortgage Backed Securities in the capital markets”. The fourth page of the brochure also identifies the “Parties to a Mortgage Backed Securities Transaction”, with the first being the “Borrower”, followed by the Investment Bank/Sponsor, the Investor, the Originator, the Servicer, the Trust (referred to “generally as a special purpose entity, such as a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC)”), and the Trustee (stating that “the trustee does not have an economic or beneficial interest in the loans”).
The second page sets forth that U.S. Bank, as Trustee, “does not have any discretion or authority in the foreclosure process.” If this is true, how can U.S. Bank as Trustee be the Plaintiff in judicial foreclosures or the foreclosing party in non-judicial foreclosures if it has “no authority in the foreclosure process”?
The second page also states: “All trustees for MBS transactions, including U.S. Bank, have no advance knowledge of when a mortgage loan has defaulted.” Really? So when, for example, MERS assigns, in 2011, a loan to a 2004 Trust where the loan has been in default since 2008, no MBS “trustee” bank (and note that it says “All” trustees) do not know that a loan coming into the trust is in default? The trust just blindly accepts loans which may or may not be in default without any advanced due diligence? Right. Sure. Of course. LOL.
However, that may be true, because the trustee banks do not want to know, for then they can take advantage of the numerous insurances, credit default swaps, reserve pools, etc. set up to pay the trust when loans are in default, as discussed below.
The same page states that “Any action taken by the servicer must maximize the return on the investment made by the ‘beneficial owners of the trust’ — the investors.” The fourth page of the brochure states that the investors are “the true beneficial owners of the mortgages”, and the third page of the brochure states “Whether the servicer pursues a foreclosure or considers a modification of the loan, the goal is still to maximize the return to investors” (who, again, are the true beneficial owners of the mortgage loans).
This is a critical admission in terms of what happens when a loan is securitized. The borrower initiated a mortgage loan with a regulated mortgage banking institution, which is subject to mortgage banking rules, regulations, and conditions, with the obligation evidenced by the loan documents being one of simple loaning of money and repayment, period. Once a loan is sold off into a securitization, the homeowner is no longer dealing with a regulated mortgage banking institution, but with an unregulated private equity investor which is under no obligation to act in the best interest to maintain the loan relationship, but to “maximize the return”. This, as we know, almost always involves foreclosure and denial of a loan mod, as a foreclosure (a) results in the acquisition of a tangible asset (the property); and (b) permits the trust to take advantage of reserve pools, credit default swaps, first loss reserves, and other insurances to reap even more monies in connection with the claimed “default” (with no right of setoff as to the value of the property against any such insurance claims), and in a situation where the same risk was permitted to be underwritten many times over, as there was no corresponding legislation or regulation which precluded a MBS insurer (such as AIG, MGIC, etc.) from writing a policy on the same risk more than once.
As those of you know who have had Bloomberg reports done on securitized loans, the screens show loans which have been placed into many tranches (we saw one where the same loan was collateralized in 41 separate tranches, each of which corresponded to a different class of MBS), and with each class of MBS having its own insurance, the “trust” could make 41 separate insurance claims AND foreclose on the house as well! Talk about “maximizing return for the investor”! What has happened is that the securitization parties have unilaterally changed the entire nature of the mortgage loan contract without any prior notice to or approval from the borrower.
There is no language in any Note or Mortgage document (DOT, Security Deed, or Mortgage) by which the borrower is put on notice that the entire nature of the mortgage loan contract and the other contracting party may be unilaterally changed from a loan with a regulated mortgage lender to an “investment” contract with a private equity investor. This, in our business, is called “fraud by omission” for purposes of inducing someone to sign a contract, with material nondisclosure of matters which the borrower had to have to make the proper decision as to whether to sign the contract or not.
U.S. Bank has now confirmed, in writing from its own corporate offices in St. Paul, Minnesota, so much of what we have been arguing for years. This brochure should be filed in every securitization case for discovery purposes and opposing summary judgments or motions to dismiss where the securitized trustee “bank” takes the position that “the borrower is not part of the securitization and thus has no standing to question it.” U. S. Bank has confirmed that the borrower is in fact a party to an MBS transaction, period, and that the mortgage loan is in fact governed, in part, by “the Trust’s governing documents”, which are thus absolutely relevant for discovery purposes.
Jeff Barnes, Esq.,
Attorney Mark Stopa Shows Guts Confronting Appellate Court Bias
Posted on October 4, 2013 by Neil Garfield
I have just received a copy of a daring and tempestuous motion for rehearing en banc filed by the winner of the appeal. The homeowner won because of precedent, law and common sense; but the court didn’t like their own decision and certified an absurd question to the Florida Supreme Court. The question was whether the Plaintiff in a foreclosure case needs to have standing at the commencement of the action. Whether it is jurisdictional or not (I think it is clearly jurisdictional) Stopa is both right on the law and right on his challenge to the Court on the grounds of BIAS.
The concurring opinion of the court actually says that the court is ruling for the homeowner because it must — but asserts that it is leading to a result that fails to expedite cases where the outcome of the inevitable foreclosure is never in doubt. In other words, the appellate court has officially taken the position that we know before we look at a foreclosure case that the bank should win and the homeowner should lose. The entire court should be recused for bias that they have put in writing. What homeowner can bring an action or defend an action where the outcome desired by the courts in that district have already decided that homeowners are deadbeats and their defenses are quite literally a waste of time? Under the rules, the Court should not hear the the motion for rehearing en banc, should vacate that part of the decision that sets up the rube certified question, and the justices who participated must be recused from hearing further appeals on foreclosure cases.
Lest their be any mistake, and without any attempt to step on the toes of Stopa’s courageous brief on an appeal he already won, I wish to piggy back on his brief and expand certain points. The problem here might be the subject of a federal due process action against the state. Judges who have already decided foreclosure or mortgage litigation cases before they even see them are not fit to hear them. It IS that simple.
The question here was stated as the issue of standing at the commencement of the lawsuit. Does the bank need to have a claim before it files it? The question is so absurd that it is difficult to address without a joke. But this is not funny. The courts have rapidly evolved into a position that expedited decisions are better than fair decisions. There is NOTHING in the law that supports that position and thousands of cases that say the opposite is true under our system of law. Any judge who leans the other way should be recused or taken off the bench entirely.
In lay terms, the Appellate Court’s certified question would allow anyone who thinks they might have a claim in the future to file the lawsuit now. And the Court believes this will relieve the clogged court calendars. If this matter is taken seriously and the Supreme Court accepts the certified question for serious review it will merely by acceptance be making a statement that makes it possible for all kinds of claims that anticipate an injury.
It is bad enough that judges appear to be ignoring the requirement that there must be an allegation that a loan was made by the originating party and that the Plaintiff actually bought the loan. This was an obvious requirement that was consistently required in pleading until the courts were clogged with mortgage litigation, at which point the court system tilted far past due process and said that if the borrower stopped paying there were no conditions under which the borrower could win the case.
It is bad enough that Judges appear to be ignoring the requirement that the allegation that the Plaintiff will suffer financial damage unless relief is granted. This was an obvious requirement that was consistently required in pleading until the mortgage meltdown.
Why is this important? Because the facts will show that lenders consistently violated basic and advanced protections that have been federal and State law for decades. These violations more often than not produced an unenforceable loan — as pointed out in law suits by federal and state regulators, and as pointed out by the lawsuits of investors who were real lenders who are screwed each time the court enters foreclosure judgment in favor of the bank instead of the investor lenders.
It is not the fault of borrowers that this mess was created. It is the fault of Wall Street Bankers who were working a scheme to defraud investors by diverting the real transaction and making it appear that the banks were principals in the loan transaction when in fact they were never real parties in interest. Nobody would seriously argue that this eliminates the debt. But why are we enforcing that debt with completely defective mortgage instruments in a process that confirms the fraud and ratifies it to the damage of investors who put up the money in the first place? The courts have made a choice that is unavailable in our system of law.
This is also judicial laziness. If these justices want to weigh in on the mortgage mess, then they should have the facts and not the stories put forward by Wall Street that have been proven to be pure fiction, fabrication, lies and perjury. That the Court ignores what is plainly documented in hundreds of thousands of defective mortgage transactions and the behavior of banks that resulted in “strangers to the transaction” being awarded title to property — that presents sufficient grounds to challenge any court in the system on grounds of bias and due process. If ever we had a mass hysteria for prejudging cases, this is it.
Neil Garfield | October 4, 2013 at 9:26 am | Tags: bias, Mark Stopa, motion for rehearing en banc, recusal, removal of judge, standing | Categories: CORRUPTION, Eviction, foreclosure, foreclosure mill, investment banking, Investor, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Motions, Pleading, politics, securities fraud, Servicer | URL: http://wp.me/p7SnH-5GX
Protesters Turned Into Those Whom They Were Protesting SUX!
BY NOOTKABEAR ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
You know, I have been thinking a lot lately about why it is that the Protesters from the 60′s and early 70′s are really pissing me off nowadays. They act like a bunch of sheep or cattle. The whole country is running amock and nobody says a damned thing about it. IT SUX!
I have come to the realization that the Protesters from the 60′-70′s turned into the very thing they were protesting, except even more so. It SUX!
You would have thought that those protesters would have gone on to make a difference, and that there would not be all of this corruption that we deal with on a daily basis. The flower children, peace – love and rock & roll. What the hell happened? Those people forgot everything about why they were protesting in the first place. They forgot “let’s love one another”, forgot about “live and let live”. Hell they are worse than the people they were protesting, because they are hypocrites.
Now, they go sludging along, fuck it if everyone is being foreclosed upon, even if they paid for the property in full. Fuck it if we have WWIII because our president is a fuck up. Fuck it if Russia nukes us. Fuck it if the Japanese have ended life on earth with their meltdown problem. Fuck it if Russia’s Putin now speaks when the United States should have been speaking. Fuck it if the Christians are being slaughtered. Fuck it if there are no jobs. Fuck it if Obamacare causes all of us to be denied healthcare we are entitled to.
Fuck it, Fuck it, fuck it. THIS SUX! This is not who we are. This is not what are forefathers would have accepted. This is not how we got to where we were.
So this week, the Protesters, turned cattle, sheep and couch potatoes are what SUX!!!
New post on Livinglies’s Weblog
“We are still in the death grip of the banks as they attempt to portray themselves as the bulwarks of society even as they continue to rob us of homes, lives, jobs and vitally needed capital which is being channeled into natural resources so that when we commence the gargantuan task of repairing our infrastructure we can no longer afford it and must borrow the money from the thieves who created the gaping hole in our economy threatening the soul of our democracy.” Neil Garfield, livinglies.me
We all know that dozens of people rose to power in Europe and Asia in the 1930′s and 1940′s who turned the world on its head and were responsible for the extermination of tens of millions of people. World War II still haunts us as it projected us into an arms race in which we were the first and only country to kill all the people who lived in two cities in Japan. The losses on both sides of the war were horrendous.
Some of us remember the revelations in 1982 that the United States actively recruited unrepentant Nazi officers and scientists for intelligence and technological advantages in the coming showdown with what was known as the Soviet Union. Amongst the things done for the worst war criminals was safe passage (no prosecution for war crimes) and even new identities created by the United States Department of Justice. Policy was created that diverted richly deserved consequences into rich rewards for knowledge. With WWII in the rear view mirror policy-makers decided to look ahead and prepare for new challenges.
Some of us remember the savings and loans scandals where banks nearly destroyed everything in the U.S. marketplace in the 1970′s and 1980′s. Law enforcement went into high gear, investigated, and pieced together the methods and complex transactions meant to hide the guilt of the main perpetrators in and out of government and the business world. More than 800 people went to jail. Of course, none of the banks had achieved the size that now exists in our financial marketplace.
Increasing the mass of individual financial institutions produced a corresponding capacity for destruction that eclipsed anything imagined by anyone outside of Wall Street. The exponentially increasing threat was ignored as the knowledge of Einstein’s famous equation faded into obscurity. The possibilities for mass destruction of our societies was increasing exponentially as the mass of giant financial service companies grew and the accountability dropped off when they were allowed to incorporate and even sell their shares publicly, replacing a system, hundreds of years old in which partners were ultimately liable for losses they created.
The next generation of world dominators would be able to bring the world to its knees without firing a shot or gassing anyone. Institutions grew as malignancies on steroids and created the illusion of contributing half our gross domestic product while real work, real production and real inventions were constrained to function in a marketplace that had been reduced by 1/3 of its capacity — leaving the banks in control of $7 trillion per year in what was counted as gross domestic product. Our primary output by far was trading paper based upon dubious and fictitious underlying transactions; if those transactions had existed, the share of GDP attributed to financial services would have remained at a constant 16%. Instead it grew to half of GDP. The “paradox” of financial services becoming increasingly powerful and generating more revenues than any other sector while the rest of the economy was stagnating was noted by many, but nothing was done. The truth of this “paradox” is that it was a lie — a grand illusion created by the greatest salesmen on Wall Street.
So even minimum wage lost 1/3 of its value adjusted for inflation while salaries, profits and bonuses were conferred upon people deemed as financial geniuses as a natural consequence of believing the myths promulgated by Wall Street with its control over all forms of information, including information from the government.
But calling out Wall Street would mean admitting that the United States had made a wrong turn with horrendous results. No longer the supreme leader in education, medical care, crime, safety, happiness and most of all prospects for social and economic mobility, the United States had become supreme only through its military strength and the appearance of strength in the world of high finance, its currency being the world’s reserve despite the reality of the ailing economy and widening inequality of wealth and opportunity — the attributes of a banana republic.
All of us remember the great crash of 2008-2009. It was as close as could be imagined to a world wide nuclear attack, resulting in the apparent collapse of economies, tens of millions of people being reduced to poverty, tossed out of their homes, sleeping in cars, divorces, murder, riots, suicide and the loss of millions of jobs on a rising scale (over 700,000 per month when Obama took office) that did not stop rising until 2010 and which has yet to be corrected to figures that economists say would mean that our economy is functioning at proper levels. Month after month more than 700,000 people lost their jobs instead of a net gain of 300,000 jobs. It was a reversal of 1 million jobs per month that could clean out the country and every myth about us in less than a year.
The cause lay with misbehavior of the banks — again. This time the destruction was so wide and so deep that all conditions necessary for the collapse of our society and our government were present. Policy makers, law enforcement and regulators decided that it was better to maintain the illusion of business as usual in a last ditch effort to maintain the fabric of our society even if it meant that guilty people would go free and even be rewarded. It was a decision that was probably correct at the time given the available information, but it was a policy based upon an inaccurate description of the disaster written and produced by the banks themselves. Once the true information was discovered the government made another wrong turn — staying the course when the threat of collapse was over. In a sense it was worse than giving Nazi war criminals asylum because at the time they were protected by the Department of Justice their crimes were complete and there existed little opportunity for them to repeat those crimes. It could be fairly stated that they posed no existing threat to safety of the country. Not so for the banks.
Now as all the theft, deceit and arrogance are revealed, the original premise of the DOJ in granting the immunity from prosecution was based upon fraudulent information from the very people to whom they were granting safe passage. We have lost 5 million homes in foreclosure from their past crimes, but we remain in the midst of the commission of crimes — another 5 million illegal, wrongful foreclosures is continuing to wind its way through the courts.
Not one person has been prosecuted, not one statement has been made acknowledging the crimes, the continuing deceit in sworn filings with regulators, and the continuing drain on the economy and our ability to finance and capitalize on innovation to replace the lost productivity in real goods and services.
We are still in the death grip of the banks as they attempt to portray themselves as the bulwarks of society even as they continue to rob us of homes, lives, jobs and vitally needed capital which is being channeled into natural resources so that when we commence the gargantuan task of repairing our infrastructure we can no longer afford it and must borrow the money from the thieves who created the gaping hole in our economy threatening the soul of our democracy. If the crimes were in the rear view mirror one could argue that the policy makers could make decisions to protect our future. But the crimes are not just in the rear view mirror. More crimes lie ahead with the theft of an equal number of millions of homes based on false and wrongful foreclosures deriving their legitimacy from an illusion of debt — an illusion so artfully created that most people still believe the debts exist. Without a very sophisticated knowledge of exotic finance it seems inconceivable that a homeowner could receive the benefits of a loan and at the same time or shortly thereafter have the debt extinguished by third parties who were paid richly for doing so.
Job creation would be unleashed if we had the courage to stop the continuing fraud. It is time for the government to step forward and call them out, stop the virtual genocide and let the chips fall where they might when the paper giants collapse. It’s complicated, but that is your job. Few people lack the understanding that the bankers behind this mess belong in jail. This includes regulators, law enforcement and even judges. but the “secret” tacit message is not to mess with the status quo until we are sure it won’t topple our whole society and economy.
The time is now. If we leave the bankers alone they are highly likely to cause another crash in both financial instruments and economically by hoarding natural resources until the prices are intolerably high and we all end up pleading for payment terms on basic raw materials for the rebuilding of infrastructure. If we leave them alone another 20 million people will be displaced as more than 5 million foreclosures get processed in the next 3-4 years. If we leave them alone, we are allowing a clear and present danger to the future of our society and the prospects for safety and world peace. Don’t blame Wall Street — they are just doing what they were sent to do — make money. You don’t hold the soldier responsible for firing a bullet when he was ordered to do so. But you do blame the policy makers that him or her there. And you stop them when the policy is threatening another crash.
Stop them now, jail the ones who can be prosecuted, and take apart the large banks. IMF economists and central bankers around the world are looking on in horror at the new order of things hoping that when the United States has exhausted all other options, they will finally do the right thing. (see Winston Churchill quote to that effect).
But forget not that the ultimate power of government is in the hands of the people at large and that the regulators and law enforcement and judges are working for us, on our nickle. Action like Occupy Wall Street is required and you can see the growing nature of that movement in a sweep that is entirely missed by those who arrogantly pull the levers of power now. OWS despite criticism is proving the point — it isn’t new leaders that will get us out of this — it is the withdrawal of consent of the governed one by one without political affiliation or worshiping sound sound biting, hate mongering politicians.
People have asked me why I have not until now endorsed the OWS movement. The reason was that I wanted to give them time to see if they could actually accomplish the counter-intuitive result of exercising power without direct involvement in a corrupt political process. They have proven the point and they are likely to be a major force undermining the demagogues and greedy bankers and businesses who care more about their bottom line than their society that gives them the opportunity to earn that bottom line.
New Fraud Evidence Shows Trillions Of Dollars In Mortgages Have No Owner
Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
“Bank of America’s practice is to string homeowners along with no apparent intention of providing the permanent loan modifications it promises,” said Erika Brown, one of the former employees. The damning evidence would spur a series of criminal investigations of BofA executives, if we still had a rule of law in this country for Wall Street banks.
The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards, was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners (to date, active permanent modifications numberabout 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner famously described HAMP as a means to “foam the runway” for the banks, spreading out foreclosures so banks could more readily absorb them.
These Bank of America employees offer the first glimpse into how they pulled it off. Employees, many of whom allege they were given no basic training on how to even use HAMP, were instructed to tell borrowers that documents were incomplete or missing when they were not, or that the file was “under review” when it hadn’t been accessed in months. Former loan-level representative Simone Gordon says flat-out in her affidavit that “we were told to lie to customers” about the receipt of documents and trial payments. She added that the bank would hold financial documents borrowers submitted for review for at least 30 days. “Once thirty days passed, Bank of America would consider many of these documents to be ‘stale’ and the homeowner would have to re-apply for a modification,” Gordon writes. Theresa Terrelonge, another ex-employee, said that the company would consistently tell homeowners to resubmit information, restarting the clock on the HAMP process.
Worse than this, Bank of America would simply throw out documents on a consistent basis. Former case management supervisor William Wilson alleged that, during bimonthly sessions called the “blitz,” case managers and underwriters would simply deny any file with financial documents that were more than 60 days old. “During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time,” Wilson wrote. “I personally reviewed hundreds of files in which the computer systems showed that the homeowner had fulfilled a Trial Period Plan and was entitled to a permanent loan modification, but was nevertheless declined for a permanent modification during a blitz.” Employees were then instructed to make up a reason for the denial to submit to the Treasury Department, which monitored the program. Others say that bank employees falsified records in the computer system and removed documents from homeowner files to make it look like the borrower did not qualify for a permanent modification.
Senior managers provided carrots and sticks for employees to lie to customers and push them into foreclosure. Simone Gordon described meetings where managers created quotas for lower-level employees, and a bonus system for reaching those quotas. Employees “who placed ten or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus,” Gordon wrote. “Bank of America also gave employees gift cards to retail stores like Target or Bed Bath and Beyond as rewards for placing accounts into foreclosure.” Employees were closely monitored, and those who didn’t meet quotas, or who dared to give borrowers accurate information, were fired, as was anyone who “questioned the ethics … of declining loan modifications for false and fraudulent reasons,” according to William Wilson.
Bank of America characterized the affidavits as “rife with factual inaccuracies.” But they match complaints from borrowers having to resubmit documents multiple times, and getting denied for permanent modifications despite making all trial payments. And these statements come from all over the country from ex-employees without a relationship to one another. It did not result from one “rogue” bank branch.
Simply put, Bank of America didn’t want to hire enough staff to handle the crush of loan modification requests, and used these delaying tactics as a shortcut. They also pushed people into foreclosure to collect additional fees from them. And after rejecting borrowers for HAMP modifications, they would offer an in-house modification with a higher interest rate. This was all about profit maximization. “We were regularly drilled that it was our job to maximize fees for the Bank by fostering and extending delay of the HAMP modification process by any means we could,” wrote Simone Gordon in her affidavit.
It is a testament to the corruption of the federal regulatory and law enforcement apparatus that we’re only hearing evidence from inside Bank of America now, in a civil class-action lawsuit from wronged homeowners, when the behavior was so rampant for years. For example, the Treasury Department, charged with specific oversight for HAMP, didn’t sanction a single bank for failing to follow program guidelines for three years, and certainly did not uncover any of this criminal conduct. Steven Cupples, a former underwriter at Bank of America, explained in his statement how the bank falsified records to Treasury to make it look like they granted more modifications. But Treasury never investigated. Meanwhile, the Justice Department joined with state Attorneys General and other federal regulators to essentially bless this conduct in a series of weak settlements that incorporated other bank crimes as well, like “robo-signing” and submitting false documents to courts.
These affidavits, however, should return law enforcement to the case. William Wilson, the case management supervisor, alleges in his statement that this “ridiculous and immoral” conduct continued through August of 2012, when he was eventually fired for speaking up. That means Bank of America persisted with these activities for at least six months AFTER the main, $25 billion settlement to which they were a party. So state and federal regulators could sue Bank of America over this new criminal conduct, which post-dates the actions for which they released liability under the main settlement. Attorneys general in New York and Florida have accused Bank of America of violating the terms of the settlement, but they could simply open new cases about these new deceptive practices.
They would have no shortage of evidence, in addition to the sworn affidavits. According to Theresa Terrelonge, most loan-level representatives conducted their business through email; in fact, various email communications have already been submitted under seal in the Massachusetts civil case. State Attorneys General or US Attorneys would have subpoena power to gather many more emails.
And they would have very specific targets: the ex-employees listed specific executives by name who authorized and directed the fraudulent process. “The delay and rejection programs were methodically carried out under the overall direction of Patrick Kerry, a Vice President who oversaw the entire eastern region’s loan modification process,” wrote William Wilson. Other executives mentioned by name include John Berens, Patricia Feltch and Rebecca Mairone (now at JPMorgan Chase, and already named in a separate financial fraud case). These are senior executives who, if this alleged conduct is true, should face criminal liability.
Bank accountability activists have already seized on the revelations. “This is not surprising, but absolutely sickening,” said Peggy Mears, organizer for the Home Defenders League. “Maybe finally our courts and elected officials will stand with communities over Wall Street and prosecute, and then lock up, these criminals.”
Sadly, it’s hard to raise hopes of that happening. Past experience shows that our top regulatory and law enforcement officials are primarily interested in covering for Wall Street’s crimes. These well-sourced allegations amount to an accusation of Bank of America stealing thousands of homes, and lying to the government about it. Homeowners who did everything asked of them were nevertheless pushed into foreclosure, all to fortify profits on Wall Street. There’s a clear path to punish Bank of America for this conduct. If it doesn’t result in prosecutions, it will once again confirm the sorry excuse for justice we have in America.
Update: Read the full affidavits from the active court case here.
David Dayen is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.MORE DAVID DAYEN.
<a href="http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/mandated-national-land-record-audit.html">National Land Records Audit Petition | GoPetition</a>
Bank Of America Mortgage Fraud: Feds Sue For Over $1 Billion Alleging Multi-Year Scheme
Posted: 10/24/2012 12:20 pm EDT Updated: 10/25/2012 10:27 am EDT
Federal prosecutors sued Bank of America for $1 billion on Wednesday, alleging that the bank’s former Countrywide unit concocted a mortgage scheme it called the "Hustle" in order to sell thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"In order to increase the speed at which it originated and sold loans … Countrywide eliminated every single checkpoint on loan quality and compensated its employees solely based on the volume of loans originated," the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal district court, alleges.
This led to "rampant instances of fraud and other serious loan defects," all while Countrywide was telling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy up mortgages for resale, that it had strengthened its lending requirements, the lawsuit claims.
When the loans "predictably" defaulted, Fannie and Freddie, which in 2008 required a massive taxpayer bailout due in large part to the purchase of toxic mortgages, incurred more than $1 billion in losses, the lawsuit alleges.
The mortgage scheme, called the "High Speed Swim Lane" or the "Hustle," for short, continued through 2009, well after Bank of America acquired Countrywide, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara characterized the activity as "spectacularly brazen in scope."
Bank of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The government’s lawsuit comes quick on the heels of two other high-profile mortgage fraud cases filed by federal and state law enforcement officials, who have taken fire for not aggressively pursuing those responsible for the financial crisis.
Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Bear Stearns, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase, accusing it of stuffing mortgage bonds with bad loans without informing investors of the risk.
A week later, the Department of Justice sued Wells Fargo, claiming the bank lied about the quality of thousands of loans it certified for a federal insurance program. Both of those cases are pending.
The government’s case also comes after years of allegations by whistle-blowers that Countrywide railroaded borrowers into bad loans and in some cases even fraudulently altered documents so that they would qualify.
One of these whistleblowers, Eileen Foster, told the Center for Public Integrity last year that Countrywide allegedly used scissors, tape and Wite-Out to create fake bank statements, inflated property appraisals and other phony paperwork — and that the company tried to cover it up.
Countrywide was once the largest mortgage lender in the U.S. From 2004 to 2007, it originated more than $1.3 trillion in loans. But the company’s remarkable growth was built on the issuance of subprime mortgages, often to borrowers with bad credit or no ability to repay.
In 2007, though, market growth began to slow and air began to leak out of the housing bubble. The mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or control more than half of all loans in the U.S., began to push the lenders to impose stricter limits on underwriting, which is the process of qualifying someone for a home mortgage loan.
But rather than tightening up those standards, Countrywide crafted a new program meant to move more loans through the pipeline more quickly than before, according to internal documents in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the aim of the Hustle was to have loans "move forward, never backward" and to remove unnecessary "toll gates" slowing down the loan origination process.
For instance, instead of reviewing the loans, Countrywide allegedly assigned critical underwriting tasks to loan processors who were previously considered unqualified even to answer borrower questions. The mortgage company also eliminated previously mandatory checklists that provided instructions on how to do this vital task, the lawsuit says.
"Under the Hustle, such instructions on proper underwriting were considered nothing more than unnecessary forms that would slow the swim lane down," the lawsuit says.
Countrywide put the new program in place in August 2007, just as Fannie and Freddie tightened their repurchase requirements due to escalating default rates. The company also concealed from Fannie and Freddie quality control reports that showed instances of fraud and other defects were "legion," the lawsuit alleges.
Specifically, the lawsuit says Countrywide’s own quality control reports identified defect rates of nearly 40 percent in some months, rates that were 10 times the standard industry defect rate.
One of these loans, which closed on Oct. 12, 2007, was made to a borrower in Tampa. Countrywide sold the loan to Fannie Mae with the promise that it complied with underwriting requirements.
But that’s not what a post-default review of the loan revealed, according to the lawsuit. The mortgage application showed that the borrower, a nurse, earned $8,000 a month, when in fact she earned $4,112 a month. Moreover, the home appraisal misrepresented the size of the home and the decline of home values in the neighborhood, the lawsuit says.
The loan defaulted 12 months after closing. Countrywide’s internal fraud investigator later confirmed fraud in connection with the loan.
The Bank of America lawsuit alleges violations of civil fraud statutes, meaning that potential penalties will be measured in dollar terms, not jail time. It also does not single out any current or former officials at the beleaguered bank or at Countrywide.
Bank of America purchased Countrywide in 2008, a decision that has cost the bank an estimated $40 billion in real-estate losses, legal expenses and settlements with state and federal agencies, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.
On April 5, 2012, a five-judge panel for the New York’s First Department intermediate appellate court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that denied Bank of America’s motion to sever successor liability claims brought against it from the primary claims in four separate actions brought by four monoline insurers. Bank of America had requested that, once severed from the underlying lawsuits, the successor liability claims should be consolidated into a separate proceeding for discovery purposes. The four insurers, Ambac Assurance Corp, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co, MBIA Inc, and Syncora Guarantee Inc., claim in their respective lawsuits that Countrywide ignored underwriting guidelines, resulting in loans that were riskier than had been represented to the insurers and thus subjecting the insurers to billions of dollars in insurance claims when the loans defaulted. They seek to hold Bank of America liable under theories of successor liability related to Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide. In affirming the denial of Bank of America’s motion, the appeals court reasoned that the four actions were at different stages of discovery and that consolidation would result in undue delay. Order.