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Is It Time to File Quiet Title Actions on Foreclosed Homes?

Is It Time to File Quiet Title Actions on Foreclosed Homes?

[GUEST POST]

Is It Time to File Quiet Title Actions on Foreclosed Homes?

THIS IS NOT Intended to Be Construed or Relied upon as COMPETENT LEGAL ADVICE—it is an academic paper discussing various perceptions of evolving potential facts and law, which may differ state by state and within jurisdictions within states. Readers are urged to obtain competent legal representation to review their facts.

In the past, foreclosed homeowners and their attorneys have discussed the utility of filing quiet title actions where homes have been seized and deficiency judgments entered by various foreclosure claimants that purport to unknowingly rely on faulty documentation. There are dangers. A buyer that has acquired a foreclosed home—or the foreclosing entity itself—may bring an action against a dispossessed person seeking redress. A pro se plaintiff or an attorney that represents the wronged homeowner may be subject to sanctions for raising a spurious or improperly supported claim. Today facts appear to put a defense attorney at risk of malpractice if he does not preserve his clients’ interest—even post foreclosure—unless he apprises the client of the opportunity to regain title to the family home. Courts have notice of these defects by reason of withdrawals of support documents—beyond GMAC.

Recent disclosures and admissions by document creation groups, together with widespread newspaper reported facts open avenues to additional discovery and formulation of academic legal opinion. These will open the door for claims to set aside erroneous judgments and/or pursue damages against those servicers, Indenture Trustees and document preparers that either knowingly, negligently, or acted with willful disregard to perpetrate fraud on the courts and the hapless home-owners. Mortgage-backed securities investors may also find an interest in these activities. Failed documentation may disguise outright fraud. Attestations and sworn affidavits serve a fundamental purpose—prevention of fraud. These are not mere technicalities as propounded by some industry apologists.  Certainly, homeowners with continuing duties of enforced silence may have opportunity to re-open their settlements in light of these possible fraudulent impositions and inducements.

There are at least two sets of circumstances raised to date whereby potentially void or voidable documents have been used to push homeowners into the streets and into bankruptcy;

  • Complaints in foreclosure supported by assignments of mortgage from purported representatives of MERS to various entities
  • Motions for Summary Judgment supported by Affidavits of Claimants—most notably GMAC’s Jeffrey Stephan

On September 23, 2010 the Washington Post added to the furor surrounding the (majority) federal government owned [ALLY] GMAC’s revelations from earlier this week. GMAC used affidavits executed by an employee, Jeffrey Stephan, who admitted in deposition testimony in December 2009 and June 2010, that he did not actually verify the mortgage foreclosure information to which he was testifying in connection with the foreclosures of two families.

In addition, he admitted signing these “affidavits,” and passing them for later notarization in bulk, a violation of proper notary procedure. Mr. Stephan signed off on 10,000 mortgage documents per month according to his June deposition and the Post article. GMAC, in this instance, took the honest and safe course of “temporarily suspending” some foreclosure-related activities in 23 states – as reported by several large newspapers, including the New York Times, Bloomberg and The Washington Post. The “temporary suspension” allows for evaluation of the impacts of this admitted breakdown in the system, rather than blatantly defrauding foreclosure courts in judicial foreclosure states.  The New York Times on the 22nd speculated that: [GMAC] “actions suggest concern about potential liability in evicting families and selling houses to which it does not have clear title.” [Emphasis added]  The same article notes that; “The lender said it was also reviewing completed foreclosures where the same unnamed procedure might have been used.” [Emphasis Added]. The step referred to in these articles, preparation and filing of an affidavit in support of a Motion for Summary Judgment—along with the Motion itself –occur well into the foreclosure process.

However, there is another critical document created and filed by a claimant with the foreclosure court at the beginning of foreclosure. This document, the Assignment of Mortgage, is supposed to support the claimant’s right or legal “standing” to press the Complaint in Foreclosure. The Complaint is the basis for the foreclosure and creation of a “deficiency judgment” – the amount left owing by the homeowner after the claimant sells the house for less than the amount owed and includes added fees and charges. The claimant uses the deficiency judgment to seize the homeowner assets and future paychecks. In most instances the assignment is the only document before the court that associates the claimant with the borrower. The complaint and supporting assignment frequently surprise and confuse the homeowner by naming an entity or sham “trust” that the homeowner has never heard of before.

The Assignment of Mortgage is significantly more important than the affidavit in support of the Motion for Summary Judgment, if for no other reason sheer numbers.  Typically most homeowners have undergone a psychological bruising and beating from the loan servicer by the time the actual Complaint in Foreclosure is filed. Often the family has lost the pay of one, if not both, wage earners and seeks some relief from one of the high cost, predatory loans created 2003-2007. Unfortunately the servicer typically refuses to discuss modification or any relief unless the homeowner has fallen behind in payments. The servicers may rely on terms limiting its authority within the securitization documents in respect of this hard-nose approach.

The hard-nose response gives the servicer cover for actions or abuses that often characterize its subsequent conduct. At that point, the servicer transfers the loan to the default department or outsources to a “default management” operation. This is an aggrandized term for collection agency. The “department” or collection agency often calls the family up to six or more times a day demanding money—rarely the same caller twice. Typically, this will throw the family into confusion and despair. Pleas for relief fall on deaf ears unless the family meets demands to “make up late payments and added fees.”  It’s just the beginning of a process that has the effect, if not the purpose, of destroying the family’s morale. The servicer may follow up with notices tacked on the homeowner’s door, a barrage of ominous if not outright threatening letters and other actions aimed at driving the homeowner to abandon the home and neglect a legal defense.

If the homeowner is either naïve enough to believe that the touted voluntary [for servicers] relief programs actually operate, or desperate to keep a roof over the family’s head, the loan modification dance begins. Under the guise of compliance with HAMP, the collection agency demands an array of homeowner financial and employment information. Irrespective of the use that the homeowner desires for that information, it will be of great help to the collection agency to locate assets and paychecks down the road to collect the looming deficiency. But today the information rarely satisfies the servicer in respect of moving towards a modification. The demanded documents are often purportedly “lost” by the servicer, or deemed inadequate—anything to drag out the nightmare and break the family’s spirits. After submitting and resubmitting documents, explanations, and hours on the telephone day after day, week after week, any false hopes that are raised are destroyed by a denial. Homeowners often will be told to try again-with the same results.

After about 3-4 months, perhaps even while the family thinks that a modification is soon to be forthcoming, the ax falls instead. An assignment is “created” and the Complaint is filed. Usually the family gives up without opposition at this point. The servicer may go so far as to place a note on the door offering to further discuss modification leaving a phone number. When the number is called by the confounded homeowner, the servicer representative may explain: “we didn’t really mean that; we just wanted to see if you have left yet!”

In some cases born of desperation, the struggling family may contact an attorney who demands $1000-$5000 just to open the case. The family has 30 days to raise the money to cause someone to simply look at the demands in the Complaint and the Assignment. In the vast majority of cases still remaining, the family gives up now, abandons the property, and no response is ever filed to the Complaint—a default judgment is entered in favor of the claimant. Most often, the family is not even aware that the demands seek more than just the home. That realization may take years to occur—when another collector knocks on the door demanding the long-forgotten deficiency. The process is aimed at breaking the family’s will, at winnowing out the homeowners. The servicer wants the home!

The articles printed prior to Sep 23, 2010 in connection with GMAC’s “unnamed procedure” did not focus upon the issue of potential forgery or related systemic fraud on the courts in connection with preparation of Assignments of Mortgage. By way of background, by reference to numerous anecdotes, it appears that often a claimant in possession of a list of homeowner loans in default provides superficial information to a default services company in respect of the borrower and property. One of the largest default service providers, by its own admission, is two-year old publicly traded Lender Processing Services (“LPS”), a spin-off from FINS. “Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP)” The lender, a servicer or Indenture Trustee contracts with LPS for creation and delivery of an Assignment of Mortgage to the requesting entity. (see exhibit at end) This document is often sent directly by LPS through the mail to County Recorders to be file-stamped and recorded in the county property records.  These steps lend false authenticity to the piece of paper. By the time the targeted family sees the Complaint and attached Assignment, the assignment has been file-stamped by their local County Recorder, the Clerk of Courts and probably was attached to a subpoena “served” upon them by their County Sherriff. The family is thoroughly intimidated by the Assignment of Mortgage, which has been used to convert the family’s local authorities into apparent agents and enforcers of the distant claimant. The assignment is a powerful weapon in the war of intimidation.

The Washington Post, September 23, 2010, correlated the GMAC admitted breakdown in verification of loan files and notarization process with the assignment creation process operated by LPS. LPS’ document creation division in Alpharetta, Georgia operating under LPS’ DOCX trademark, churned out thousands of assignments. The Post identified one prolific signatory, Linda Green. The article set out in its body several examples of Ms. Green’s signature—which differ dramatically one to another. The Post stated the likely observation that the signatures were made by other LPS employees in addition to Ms Green.  She is but one example at one LPS office: there are others with similar handiwork including Tywanna Thomas and Korrel Harp at that office. Mr. Harp has the added dubious distinction of having been jailed for and plead guilty to “Knowingly Possessing False Identification” relating to an arrest in Oklahoma in 2008.   At the age of 24, Mr. Harp was signing as Vice-President of Mortgage Electronic Services Inc., aka MERS. MERS has been nominal owner of 65 million home mortgages—and receives mortgage title to 60% of all new mortgages.

As a VP of MERS the 24 year-old Harp, like Ms. Green and Thomas, purportedly possessed the power to transfer mortgages with questionable oversight to LPS’ clients—perhaps others?  Based on the signatures of Harp, Green, Thomas— and other varied, yet purportedly notarized signatures, Courts across the country have foreclosed on homes and granted deficiency judgments.  One of the in house LPS notaries was only 18 years old at the time she notarized signature for Harp, Thomas and others at DOCX. Michelle Kersch, a senior vice president for Lender Processing Services, made limited explanations by email in the Post article but did not elaborate “due to the pending criminal investigation”.

Like GMACs Stephan, LPS’ stamp and sign department was a high volume operation. Powers of attorney were not consistently attached to the crucial assignments—if at all.

In the case of Linda Green, there was no power of attorney to represent MERS on an original “assignment of mortgage dated October 17, 2008 and filed on October 13, 2009”. This technicality was disclosed in a corrective filing of assignment by Florida foreclosure firm Shapiro and Fishman dated August 11, 2010 in Lee County, Florida in support of a foreclosure by servicer AHMSI. The POA status of other prolific signers such as Harp seems equally uncertain—but as Harp has emphatically stated “I’m sure everything is legal.” There seems to be little observable difference between the conduct of GMAC’s Stephan and the LPS’ high volume signers—but for the possible failure of the LPS signers to have representative capacity to sign at all.

LPS has also made admissions that GMAC seems to echo in terms of problematic “processes”. In the company’s 2009 Annual Report on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, published in March 2010, under “regulatory matters”Recently, during an internal review of the business processes used by our document solutions subsidiary, we identified a business process that caused an error in the notarization of certain documents, some of which were used in foreclosure proceedings in various jurisdictions around the country.”

Subsequently, April 3, 2010, the Wall St. Journal published an article regarding the issues with LPS and notary deficiencies; “US Probes Foreclosure-Data Provider”.  Foreclosure activists in Florida did not let the admission pass. These persons identified and brought to light signed and notarized Assignments that actually conveyed mortgages to named entities, “Bogus Assignee” and “Bad Bene”. These clearly established undeniable proof that LPS’ internal controls were compromised and virtually any name could be inserted as a claimant in a foreclosure action.

LPS’ CEO Jeffrey Carbiener authored a Letter to the Editor of the Florida Times-Union responding to an article published May 14, 2010 referring to “bad bene” and “bogus assignee”. In his open letter admissions in the press Carbiener asserted that the bogus names were “placeholders” put in the signed and notarized assignment documents “…until the missing information [claimant name] was provided…” Carbiener noted that the forms, as well as the data inserted, were based on instructions from clients with the “placeholders” used until more data is provided.  This amounts to a Nuremberg Defense.

The Carbiener comments attempt to place the onus of error in naming mortgage claimants on his clients—but for the obvious so-called placeholders. However, Carbiener’s comments have great significance beyond LPS role. This explanation is an admission that assignments were prepared in blank based on client information. According to Carbiener, it would appear that the named claimant was subsequently determined by the client and inserted. This process allows substantial opportunity for abuse, suggesting that a servicer determined that a loan was in default, and then someone engaged in a separate process to identify a claimant to whom the proceeds of foreclosure would be awarded.

The difficulties, or opportunities, for a servicer and his client Indenture Trustees to shift the benefits among potential investor beneficiaries are more apparent when one reviews the SEC filings of now bankrupt mortgage note originators such as American Home Mortgage group (“AHM”) and Option One.

Both originated loans that were supposedly stuffed into trusts. On paper the trusts supposedly issued mortgage-backed securities to trusting investors. However, purported trust-sponsors AHM and Option One and the Indenture Trustees were at best haphazard in meeting basic commitments and representations that were plainly stated in the securitization documents they themselves filed. The trust documents clearly state that the lists of loans included in the trusts were filed with the SEC and the appropriate Secretary of State (UCC). The securitization documents provided detailed descriptions of the information to be included in the filed list. This information was sufficient that a homeowner could determine if the trust owned his/her loan and was the proper party to receive his payments. Investors in the trust MBS could look to the list to determine the principal amount of the loans that “backed” the investment, as well as loan to value ratios and other relevant information that would indicate the value of the loans—and provide information adequate to determine if the same loan was placed in multiple trusts. However, for AHM, 7 of the 12 investment trusts filed with SEC lacked the lists.  The schedule stated, “manually filed”, but the manual filing was not made in many instances. The actual manual filings made are identified on the SEC dockets for the trusts as “SE” for “scanned exhibit.” Under the “SE” docket entry, the list would be found in specificity.  One such example of a trust with a proper loan list was American Home Mortgage Investment Trust 2005-2.

In motion practice in connection with a homeowner’s motion to dismiss a naked claim by one of Korrel Harp’s or Linda Green’s appointed mortgage assignment beneficiary trusts, one could note that the trust lacked a loan list and ownership of the loan could not be independently verified by reference to government records as intended. In so doing, it was possible to refer the court to the properly filed loan lists to note the clear distinction and value of the list. It was possible to prove that the lists were not intentionally missing due to some overriding concern for homeowner privacy—a common speculation. It was also useful to prove that missing loan lists were not customary “industry practice”. The filed list was a government record freely accessible to the public online. That changed between July 21, 2010 and September 02, 2010. Loan lists that had been on file and available for investors and homeowners to view online on the SE site were unceremoniously deleted. The lists are no longer freely accessible. A demand is now necessary under Freedom of Information Act—the proper loan lists can no longer be referenced in motions to dismiss. The effect was equivalent to, if not the same as, intentional destruction of evidence by the SEC. It is of interest that on the same day as the Washington Post detailed the LPS similarity to GMAC in terms of uncertain document authenticity, the WSJ also ran a front-page article detailing questionable actions taken in recent months by SEC. Washington Post, September 22, 2010, SEC Blasted on Goldman.

In summary, SEC failed to require actual filing of loan lists by the trust sponsors and the Indenture Trustees. This failing has lead to LPS and GMAC transfers of claims to unverifiable beneficiaries. This the Times suggests, creates a cloud on the title of the new home buyers of foreclosed properties. Then to complete the injury and remove opportunity for homeowners to defend unsupported claims, SEC destroys evidence that could be useful to homeowners being foreclosed and investors seeking to prove fraud. The mortgage fiasco has roots in SEC failure to regulate and its continuation and concealment of potential fraud is an abuse of discretion by SEC, which is supposed to support disclosure of information—not hide it.

Excerpted from: DOCX eAssignTM brochure (no longer found online)

eAssign utilizes the industry’s most robust property records database and data capture capabilities to significantly reduce timelines and costs for lienholders when creating (emphasis added) and recording lien assignment documents.

This article was contributed by an anonymous supporter of StopForeclosureFraud.com

© 2010 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved. www.StopForeclosureFraud.com

Creative Commons License

Related links:

LPS 101

MERS 101

NO. THERE IS NO LIFE AT MERS

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bogus, conflict of interest, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, DOCX, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, GMAC, investigation, jeff carbiener, jeffrey stephan, Korrel Harp, Lender Processing Services Inc., linda green, MERS, MERSCORP, michelle kersch, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., notary fraud, note, quiet title, robo signers, S.E.C., securitization, servicers, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.com, trade secrets, Tywanna Thomas8 Comments

WHAT CERTIFIED POOLING & SERVICING AGREEMENTS LOOK LIKE

WHAT CERTIFIED POOLING & SERVICING AGREEMENTS LOOK LIKE

Our friend in California Brian Davies recently got a “Golden Ticket” in the mail. Below are certified copies of the Pooling & Servicing Agreement of his loan including the Prospectus for RAST 2007-A5, pass thru 2007E, psa 03-01-07.

Via: Brian Davies

GET THESE INTO THE COURT RECORD FOR THE DEFINITIVE WAY THE RECORD NEED TO BE JUDICIALLY NOTICED–B.DAVIESMD@GMAIL .COM

How you can get these:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/36801952/The-Securities-and-Exchange-Commission-How-to-File-to-Get-Certified-Copies-of-the-Prospectus-and-Polling-and-Servicing-Agreements

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in chain in title, deed of trust, foreclosure, foreclosures, insider, investigation, mbs, originator, pooling and servicing agreement, psa, rmbs, S.E.C., servicers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, truth in lending act, Wall Street6 Comments

SEC CERTIFIED RECORDS OF TRUST OFFERINGS FOR COURT

SEC CERTIFIED RECORDS OF TRUST OFFERINGS FOR COURT

via: Brian Davies

The SEC is the regulator who allowed the Prospectus for many Mortgage Backed Securities to be filed. The Indymac MBS Residential Asset Securitization Trust 2007-A5, mortgage pass through 2007-E, with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement dated 3-1-2007 outlines proper assignment protocols and is the document that is needed for the court record. The SEC will do requests so you may judicially notice these documents for the record.

Your request was received in the certification office on 8/3/10; the time frame is 14+ working days to process

[ipaper docId=35735721 access_key=key-1idvnbxticok4iyv3im0 height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in brian w. davies, deed of trust, foreclosure, foreclosures, mortgage, S.E.C., securitization, trustee, Trusts1 Comment

WALL STREET FINES: “LARGE PONZI SCHEME”

WALL STREET FINES: “LARGE PONZI SCHEME”

CONGRESS IS COVERING UP! SHAM…SCANDAL!

Janet Tavakoli of Tavakoli Structured Finance tells what she thinks of recent fines the SEC has imposed on Wall Street giants and where she would like future investigations take place.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bogus, CitiGroup, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, goldman sachs, mbs, originator, Real Estate, S.E.C., scam, securitization, servicers, settlement, sub-prime1 Comment

MERS comments on the Commission’s Proposed Rule for Asset-Backed w/ Referrals

MERS comments on the Commission’s Proposed Rule for Asset-Backed w/ Referrals

Excerpts:

MERS was created in 1995 under the auspices of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), as the mortgage industry’s utility, to streamline the mortgage process by using electronic commerce to eliminate paper. Our Board of Directors and shareholders are comprised of representatives from the MBA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, large and small mortgage companies, the American Land Title Association (ALTA), the CRE Finance Council, title underwriters, and mortgage insurance companies.

Our initial focus was to eliminate the need to prepare and record assignments when trading mortgage loans. Our members make MERS the mortgagee and their nominee on the security instruments they record in the county land records. Then they register their loans on the MERS® System so they can electronically track changes in ownership over the life of the loans. This process eliminates the need to record assignments every time the loans are traded. Over 3000 MERS members have registered more than 65 million loans on the MERS® System, saving the mortgage industry hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) approved MERS for government loans because they recognized the value to consumers. On table-funded loans, MERS eliminates the cost to the consumer of the mortgage assignment ($30 – $150). In addition, the MERS process ensures that lien releases are not delayed by eliminating potential breaks in the chain of title. Similar to the residential product, we also addressed the assignment problem in the commercial market with MERS® Commercial, on which is registered over $110 billion in Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) loans.

More than 60 percent of existing mortgages have an assigned MIN, making a total of 65,000,000 loans registered since the inception of the system in 1997. The corresponding data for these mortgages is tracked on the MERS® System from origination through sale and until payoff. MERS therefore offers a substantial base of historical data about existing loans that can be harnessed to bring transparency to existing MBS products. Attached are letters from the MBA, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on this point.

[ipaper docId=35515524 access_key=key-vw36i36b7uiubwj5x8u height=600 width=600 /]

Related:

MERS May NOT Foreclose for Fannie Mae effective 5/1/2010

_________________________________________

Fannie Mae’s Announcing Miscellaneous Servicing Policy Changes

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of america, chain in title, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosures, Freddie Mac, mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, Mortgage Bankers Association, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Notary, R.K. Arnold, Real Estate, robo signers, S.E.C., securitization, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, title company, Wall Street2 Comments

re SEC rule-making now happening

re SEC rule-making now happening

SEC Publishes Public Request for Comment to Inform Study of Obligations of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010-134

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today published a request for public comment to inform its study of the obligations and standards of care of broker-dealers and investment advisers providing personalized investment advice about securities to retail investors.

The study is required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which President Obama signed into law on July 21, 2010.

As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC is requesting public input, comments, and data on issues related to the effectiveness of existing standards of care for brokers-dealers and investment advisers, and whether there are gaps, shortcomings, or overlaps in the current legal or regulatory standards.

“Broker-dealers and investment advisers provide critical financial services to millions of American investors,” said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. “A system that fairly and effectively regulates these market participants is essential to protecting investors. We look forward to receiving comments from the public on these important issues.”

The public comment period will remain open for 30 days, following publication of the comment request in the Federal Register.

# # #

http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-134.htm


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in S.E.C., STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD1 Comment

SEC Chairman Schapiro Announces Open Process for Regulatory Reform Rulemaking

SEC Chairman Schapiro Announces Open Process for Regulatory Reform Rulemaking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010-135

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2010 — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary L. Schapiro today announced that the agency is making it easier for the public to provide comments as the agency sets out to make rules required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Under a new process, the public will be able to comment before the agency even proposes its regulatory reform rules and amendments. Additionally, the SEC will provide greater public disclosure of meetings with SEC staff.

The new process goes well beyond what is legally required and will provide expanded opportunity for public comment and greater transparency and accountability. The SEC also expects to hold public hearings on selected topics.

“It has not even been a week since the President signed the regulatory reform legislation into law, but at the SEC we are already working to fully implement the dozens of studies and rulemakings required of our agency,” said Chairman Schapiro. “We recognize that the process of establishing regulations works best when all stakeholders are engaged and contribute their combined talents and experiences. We look forward to preliminary public comments in these areas.”

The SEC is generally required by law to establish a public comment period at the time it proposes rules or rule amendments. However, because of the significant rulemaking envisioned under the new regulatory reform law, the public will have an opportunity to voice its views before rules or amendments are even proposed as well as to see what others are saying to the agency about these issues.

To facilitate public comment, the SEC is providing a series of e-mail links on its website at http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/regreformcomments.shtml. These mailboxes are organized by topic and are listed starting with rules that have the shortest time frame for implementation. The public can provide preliminary comments on topics including OTC derivatives, hedge funds, corporate disclosure, credit rating agencies, and other areas in which the SEC will be engaged in rulemaking and studies over the next 18 months. Submitted comments will also be posted on the website for full transparency.

In addition to seeking public comment before rules and amendments are proposed, the SEC staff will follow newly-established best practices when holding meetings with interested parties in order to ensure full transparency to the public:

Staff will try to meet with any interested parties seeking a meeting. When the number of requests exceeds availability, the staff will seek out parties with varying viewpoints. Staff may have to limit the number of meetings with similarly situated parties and will limit multiple meetings with the same party.

Staff will reach out as necessary to solicit views from affected stakeholders who do not appear to be fully represented by the developing public record on a particular issue.

Staff will ask those who request meetings to provide, prior to the meeting, an agenda of intended topics for discussion. After the meeting, the agenda will become part of the public record.

Meeting participants will be encouraged to submit written comments to the public file, so that all interested parties have the opportunity to review and consider the views expressed.

# # #

http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-135.htm


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in S.E.C.1 Comment

SEC’s internal watchdog investigates timing of Goldman subprime fraud case settlement

SEC’s internal watchdog investigates timing of Goldman subprime fraud case settlement

The US financial regulator’s own internal watchdog has widened his investigation of the civil fraud lawsuit brought against Goldman Sachs to include a focus on the timing of last week’s $550m (£356m) settlement.

By James Quinn
Published: 6:00AM BST 24 Jul 2010

David Kotz, inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has said he is looking into the timing of Goldman’s settlement with the regulator, coming as it did on the same day that the US passed its wide-ranging financial reform bill.

Mr Kotz’s investigation to date has focused on whether politics played a part in the SEC bringing the case against Goldman in the first place.

Continue here…Telegraph

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in conspiracy, goldman sachs, S.E.C., securitization, settlement, Wall Street1 Comment

Goldman to pay record $550 million to settle CDO-related charges

Goldman to pay record $550 million to settle CDO-related charges

Firm Acknowledges CDO Marketing Materials Were Incomplete and Should Have Revealed Paulson’s Role

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010-123

View  high-resolution photo of Robert Khuzami, Director, SEC Enforcement

“This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing.”

Robert Khuzami
Director
SEC Enforcement

Washington, D.C., July 15, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Goldman, Sachs & Co. will pay $550 million and reform its business practices to settle SEC charges that Goldman misled investors in a subprime mortgage product just as the U.S. housing market was starting to collapse.

In agreeing to the SEC’s largest-ever penalty paid by a Wall Street firm, Goldman also acknowledged that its marketing materials for the subprime product contained incomplete information.

In its April 16 complaint, the SEC alleged that Goldman misstated and omitted key facts regarding a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) it marketed that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. Goldman failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, known as ABACUS 2007-AC1, particularly the role that hedge fund Paulson & Co. Inc. played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that Paulson had taken a short position against the CDO.

In settlement papers submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Goldman made the following acknowledgement:

Goldman acknowledges that the marketing materials for the ABACUS 2007-AC1 transaction contained incomplete information. In particular, it was a mistake for the Goldman marketing materials to state that the reference portfolio was “selected by” ACA Management LLC without disclosing the role of Paulson & Co. Inc. in the portfolio selection process and that Paulson’s economic interests were adverse to CDO investors. Goldman regrets that the marketing materials did not contain that disclosure.

“Half a billion dollars is the largest penalty ever assessed against a financial services firm in the history of the SEC,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing.”

Lorin L. Reisner, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, added, “The unmistakable message of this lawsuit and today’s settlement is that half-truths and deception cannot be tolerated and that the integrity of the securities markets depends on all market participants acting with uncompromising adherence to the requirements of truthfulness and honesty.”

Goldman agreed to settle the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations by consenting to the entry of a final judgment that provides for a permanent injunction from violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933. Of the $550 million to be paid by Goldman in the settlement, $250 million would be returned to harmed investors through a Fair Fund distribution and $300 million would be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

The landmark settlement also requires remedial action by Goldman in its review and approval of offerings of certain mortgage securities. This includes the role and responsibilities of internal legal counsel, compliance personnel, and outside counsel in the review of written marketing materials for such offerings. The settlement also requires additional education and training of Goldman employees in this area of the firm’s business. In the settlement, Goldman acknowledged that it is presently conducting a comprehensive, firm-wide review of its business standards, which the SEC has taken into account in connection with the settlement of this matter.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Honorable Barbara S. Jones, United Sates District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Today’s settlement, if approved by Judge Jones, resolves the SEC’s enforcement action against Goldman related to the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO. It does not settle any other past, current or future SEC investigations against the firm. Meanwhile, the SEC’s litigation continues against Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman.

The SEC investigation that led to the filing and settlement of this enforcement action was conducted by the Enforcement Division’s Structured and New Products Unit, led by Kenneth Lench and Reid Muoio, and including Jason Anthony, N. Creola Kelly, Melissa Lamb, and Jeffrey Leasure. Additionally, together with Deputy Director Reisner, Richard Simpson, David Gottesman, and Jeffrey Tao have been handling the litigation.

# # #

For more information about this enforcement action, contact:

Robert S. Khuzami
Director, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4500

Lorin L. Reisner
Deputy Director, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4787

Kenneth R. Lench
Chief of Structured and New Products Unit, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4938

http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-123.htm

[ipaper docId=34392476 access_key=key-17ciw5w4gbw6m59368vt height=600 width=600 /]


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in goldman sachs, S.E.C., settlement1 Comment

CAUGHT on VIDEO | DENNINGER ON MARKET MANIPULATION

CAUGHT on VIDEO | DENNINGER ON MARKET MANIPULATION

via kdenninger | July 04, 2010

It’s unlawful to enter an order into a securities market for the purpose of attempting to manipulate the price – that is, to express other than a genuine intent to buy or sell.

It happens every day. But tonight, it’s especially blatant, so I captured it and present it here for you.


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in corruption, S.E.C., stock0 Comments

With Banks Under Fire, Some Expect a Settlement: NYTimes.com

With Banks Under Fire, Some Expect a Settlement: NYTimes.com

From left, Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times; Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News; Ramin Talaie for The New York Times

From left, Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general; Robert Khuzami, of the S.E.C.; and Preet Bharara, of the United States attorney’s office. The agencies are investigating Wall Street.

By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and ERIC DASH

Published: May 13, 2010

It is starting to feel as if everyone on Wall Street is under investigation by someone for something.

News on Thursday that New York State prosecutors are examining whether eight banks hoodwinked credit ratings agencies opened yet another front in what is fast becoming the legal battle of a decade for the big names of finance.

Not since the conflicts at the center of Wall Street stock research were laid bare a decade ago, eventually resulting in a $1.4 billion industrywide settlement, have so many investigations swirled across the financial landscape.

Nearly two years after Washington rescued big banks with billions of taxpayer dollars, half a dozen government agencies are still trying, with mixed success, to peel back the layers of the collapse to determine who, if anyone, broke the rules.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, the United States attorney’s office and more are examining how banks created, rated, sold and traded mortgage securities that turned out to be some of the worst investments ever devised.

Virtually all of the investigations, criminal as well as civil, are in their early stages, and investigators concede that their job is daunting. The S.E.C. has been examining major banks’ mortgage operations since last summer, but so far, it has filed a civil fraud claim against just one big player: Goldman Sachs. Goldman has vowed to fight.

But legal experts are already starting to handicap potential outcomes, not only for Goldman but for the broader industry as well. Many suggest that Wall Street banks may seek a global settlement akin to the 2002 agreement related to stock research. Indeed, Wall Street executives are already discussing among themselves what the broad contours of such a settlement might look like.

“I would be stunned if any of these cases go to trial,” said Frank Partnoy, a professor of law at the University of San Diego. “I think Wall Street needs to put this scandal behind it as quickly as possible and move on.”

As part of the 2002 settlement, 10 banks paid $1.4 billion total and pledged to change the way their analysts and investment bankers interacted to prevent conflicts of interest. This time, the price of any settlement would probably be higher and also come with a series of structural reforms.

David Boies, chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, represented the government in its case against Microsoft and is now part of a federal challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban. He said a settlement by banks might be painful but would ultimately be something Wall Street could live with. “The settlement may be bad for everyone, but not disastrous for anyone,” he said.

A settlement also would let the S.E.C. declare victory without having to bring a series of complex cases. The public, however, might never learn what really went wrong.

“The government doesn’t have the personnel to simultaneously prosecute several investment banks,” said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor.

The latest salvo came on Thursday from Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general. His office began an investigation into whether banks misled major ratings agencies to inflate the grades of subprime-linked investments.

Many Americans are probably already wondering why this has taken so long. The answer is that these cases are tricky, like the investments at the center of them.

But regulators also concede that they were reluctant to pursue banks aggressively until the financial industry stabilized. The S.E.C., for one, is now eager to prove that it is on its game after failing to spot the global Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard L. Madoff, or head off the Wall Street excesses that nearly sank the entire economy.

The stakes are high for both sides. At a minimum, the failure to secure a civil verdict, or at least a mammoth settlement, would be another humiliation for regulators.

Wall Street wants to put this season of scandal behind it. That is particularly so given the debate over new financial regulations that is under way on Capitol Hill. The steady flow of new allegations could strengthen calls for tougher rules.

Even worse would be a criminal charge, which could put a firm out of business even if that firm were ultimately found not guilty, as was the case with the accounting giant Arthur Andersen after the fraud at Enron.

“No firm in the financial services field has the stomach for a criminal trial,” Mr. Coffee said.

Bankers have been reluctant until now to take their case to the public. But that is changing as Wall Street chieftains like Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman take to the airwaves and New York politicians warn that the city’s economy will be endangered by the attack on some of the city’s biggest employers and taxpayers.

“In New York, Wall Street is Main Street,” Gov. David A. Paterson has said. “You don’t hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder.”

There are broader political consequences as well. At the top, there is President Obama, who was backed by much of Wall Street in 2008. Many of those supporters now privately say they are disillusioned and frustrated by his attacks on their industry, which remains a vital source of campaign contributions for both parties.

Closer to home, the man who hopes to succeed Mr. Paterson, Mr. Cuomo, is painting himself as the new sheriff of Wall Street. Another attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, rode a series of Wall Street investigations to the governor’s mansion in 2006.

But ultimately, it is what Wall Street does best — making money — that is already on trial in the court of public opinion.

Put simply, the allegations against Wall Street were prompted by evidence that the firms may have devised and sold securities to investors without telling them they were simultaneously betting against them.

Wall Street firms typically play both sides of trades, whether to help buyers and sellers of everything from simple stocks to complicated derivatives complete their transactions, or to make proprietary bets on whether they would rise or fall.

These activities form half of the four-legged stool on which Wall Street’s profits and revenue rest, the others being advising on mergers and acquisitions and helping companies issue stocks, bonds and other securities.

“This case is a huge deal. It has the potential to be the mother of all Wall Street investigations,” said Mr. Partnoy of the University of San Diego. “The worry is that the government will go after dealings that Wall Street thought were insulated from review.”

Even some Wall Street executives concede that all the scrutiny makes proprietary trading a bit dubious. “The 20 guys in the room with the shades drawn are toast,” one senior executive of a major bank said.

Posted in conspiracy, foreclosure fraud, goldman sachs, investigation, S.E.C., securitization0 Comments

SEC KNEW ABOUT SUBPRIME ACCOUNTING FRAUD A DECADE AGO

SEC KNEW ABOUT SUBPRIME ACCOUNTING FRAUD A DECADE AGO

by Elizabeth MacDonald FoxBusiness

The Securities and Exchange  Commission is missing a bigger fraud while it chases the banks. Even though it knew about this massive, plain old fashioned accounting fraud back in 1998.
Instead, the market cops are probing simpler disclosure cases that could charge bank and Wall Street with not telling investors about their conflicts of interest in selling securities they knew were damaged while making bets against those same securities behind the scenes, via credit default swaps.
Those probes have gotten headlines, but there aren’t too many signs that this will lead to anything close to massive settlements or fines.

For instance, the SEC doesn’t appear to be investigating how banks frontloaded their profits via channel stuffing — securitizing loans and shoving paper securitizations onto investors, while booking those revenues immediately, even though the mortgage payments underlying those paper daisy chains were coming in the door years, even decades, later. Those moves helped lead to $2.4 trillion in writedowns worldwide.
The agency said it  believed banks were committing subprime securitization accounting frauds back in 1998 and claimed to be ‘probing’ them.
I had written about these SEC probes into potential frauds while covering corporate accounting abuses at The Wall Street Journal. The rules essentially let banks frontload into their revenue the sale of subprime mortgages or other loans that they then packaged and sold off as securities, even though the payments on those underlying loans were coming in the door over the next seven, 10, 20, or 30 years.
Estimating those revenues based on the value of future mortgage payments involved plenty of guesswork.

Securitization: Free Market Became a Free For All
The total amount of overall mortgage-backed securities generated by Wall Street virtually tripled between 1996 and 2007, to $7.3 trillion. Subprime mortgage securitizations increased from 54% in 2001, to 75% in 2006. Back in 1998, the SEC had warned a dozen top accounting firms that they must do a  better job policing how subprime lenders book profits from loans that are repackaged as securities and sold on the secondary market. The SEC “is becoming increasingly concerned” over the way lenders use what are called “gain on sale” accounting rules when they securitize these loans, Jane B. Adams, the SEC’s deputy chief accountant, said in a letter sent to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the nation’s chief accounting rule makers.
At that time, subprime lenders had come under fire from consumer groups and Congress, who said banks were using aggressive accounting to frontload profits from securitizing subprime loans. Subprime auto lender Mercury Finance collapsed after a spectacular accounting fraud and shareholder suits, New Century Financial was tanking as well for the same reason.

SEC Knew About Subprime Fraud More than a Decade Ago
The SEC more than a decade ago believed that subprime lenders were abusing the accounting rules.
When lenders repackage consumer loans as asset-backed securities, they must book the fair value of profits or losses from the deals. But regulators said lenders were overvaluing the loan assets they kept on their books in order to inflate current profits. Others delayed booking assets in order to increase future earnings. Lenders were also using poor default and prepayment rate assumptions to overestimate the fair value of their securitizations.
Counting future revenue was perfectly legal under too lax rules.
But without it many lenders that are in an objective sense doing quite well would look as if they were headed for bankruptcy.
At that time, the SEC’s eyebrows were raised when Dan Phillips, chief executive officer of FirstPlus Financial Group, a Dallas subprime home equity lenders, had said the poor accounting actually levitated profits at lenders.
“The reality is that companies like us wouldn’t be here without gain on sale,” he said, adding, “a lot of people abuse it.”
But this much larger accounting trick, one that has exacerbated the ties that blind between company and auditor, is more difficult to nail down because it involves wading through a lot of math, a calculus that Wall Street stretched it until it snapped.

Impenetrably Absurd Accounting
These were the most idiotic accounting rules known to man, rules manufactured by a quiescent Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB] that let bank executives make up profits out of thin air.
It resulted in a folie à deux between Wall Street and complicit accounting firms that swallowed whole guesstimates pulled out of the atmosphere.
Their accounting gamesmanship set alight the most massive off-balance sheet bubble of all, a rule that helped tear the stock market off its moorings.
The rules helped five Wall Street firms – Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch – earn an estimated $312 billion based on fictitious profits during the bubble years.

Who Used the Rule?
Banks and investment firms including Citigroup, Bank of America and Merrill all used this “legit” rule.
Countrywide Financial made widespread use of this accounting chicanery (see below). So did Washington Mutual. So did IndyMac Bancorp. So did FirstPlus Financial Group, and as noted Mercury Finance Co. and New Century Financial Corp.
Brought to the cliff’s edge, these banks were either bailed out, taken over or went through bankruptcies.
Many banks sold those securitized loans to Enron-style off-balance sheet trusts, otherwise called “structured investment vehicles” (SIVs), again booking profits immediately (Citigroup invented the SIV in 1988).
So, presto-change-o, banks got to dump loans off their books, making their leverage ratios look a whole lot nicer, so in turn they could borrow more.
At the same time, the banks got to record immediate profits, even though those no-income, no-doc loans supporting those paper securities and paper gains were bellyflopping right and left.
The writedowns were then buried in obscure line items called “impairment charges,” and were then masked by new profits from issuing new loans or by refinancings.

Rulemakers Fight Back
The FASB has been fighting to restrict this and other types of accounting games, but the banks have been battling back with an army of lobbyists.
The FASB, which sets the rules for publicly traded companies, is still trying to hang tough and is trying to force all sorts of off-balance sheet borrowings back onto bank balance sheets.
But these “gain on sale” rules, along with the “fair value” or what are called “marked to market” rules, have either been watered down or have enough loopholes in them, escape hatches that were written into the rules by the accountants themselves, so that auditors can make a clean get away.
As the market turned down, banks got the FASB to back down on mark-to-market accounting, which had forced them to more immediately value these assets and take quarterly profit hits if those assets soured – even though they were booking immediate profits from this “gain on sale” rule on the way up.
Also, the FASB has clung fast to the Puritanism of their rulemaking by arguing a sale is a sale is a sale, so companies can immediately book the entire value of a sale of a loan turned into a bond, even though the cash from the underlying mortgage has yet to come in the door.

Old-Fashioned ‘Channel Stuffing’
This sanctioned “gain on sale” accounting is really old-fashioned “channel stuffing.”
The move lets companies pad their revenue and profit numbers by stuffing lots of goods and inventory (mortgages and subprime securities) into the system without actually getting the money in the door, and booking those channel-stuffed goods as actual sales in order to cook ever higher their earnings.
Sort of like what Sunbeam did with its barbecue grills in the ’90s.

Intergalactic Bank Justice League
Cleaning up the accounting rules is an easier fix instead of a new, belabored, top-heavy “Systemic Risk Council” of the heads of federal financial regulatory agencies, as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn) envisions in financial regulatory reform.
An intergalactic Marvel Justice League of bank regulators can do nothing in the face of chicanery allowed in the rules.

Planes on a Tarmac
What happened was, banks and investment firms like Citigroup and Merrill Lynch who couldn’t sell these subprime bonds, or “collateralized debt obligations,” as well as other loan assets into these SIVs got caught out when the markets turned, stuck with this junk on their balance sheets like planes on a tarmac in a blizzard.
Bank of America saw its fourth-quarter 2007 profits plunge 95% largely due to SIV investments. SunTrust Banks’ earnings were nearly wiped out, a 98% drop in the same quarter, because of its SIVs.
Great Britain’s Northern Rock ran into huge problems in 2007 stemming from SIVs, and was later nationalized by the British government in February 2008.
Even the mortgage lending arm of tax preparer H&R Block used the move. Block sold its loans to off-balance-sheet vehicles so it could book gains about a month earlier than it otherwise would. Weee!
The company had $75 million of these items on its books at the end of its fiscal 2003 year. All totally within the rules.

Leverage Culture
The rampant fakery helped fuel a leverage culture that got a lot of homes put in hock.
Banks, for instance, started advertising home equity loans as “equity access,” or ways to “Live Richly” or as Fleet Bank once touted, “The smartest place to borrow? Your place.”
In fact, Washington Mutual and IndyMac got so excited by the gain on sale rules, they went so far as to count in profits futuristic gains even if they had only an “interest rate” commitment from a borrower, and not a final mortgage loan.
Talk about counting chickens before they hatch.

Closer Look at Wamu
Look at Wamu’s profits in just one year during the runup to the bubble. Such gains more than tripled in 2001 at Wamu, to just shy of $1 billion, or 22% of its pretax earnings before extraordinary items, up from $262 million, or 9%, in 2000.
But in 2001, Washington Mutual took $1.7 billion in charges, $1.1 billion of it in the final, fourth quarter, to reflect bleaker prospects for the revenue stream of all those servicing rights.
It papered over the hit with a nearly identical $1.8 billion gain on securitizations and portfolio sales.

Closer Look at Countrywide
The accounting fakery let Countrywide Financial Corp., the mortgage issuer now owned by Bank of America, triple its profit in 2003 to $2.4 billion on $8.5 billion in revenue.
At the height of the bubble, Countrywide booked $6.1 billion in gains from the sale of loans and securities. But this wasn’t cold, hard cash. No, this was potential future profits from servicing mortgage portfolios, meaning collecting monthly payments and late penalties.

Posted in bank of america, cdo, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, countrywide, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, S.E.C., scam, securitization, washington mutual0 Comments

THE REAL EMPLOYERS OF THE SIGNERS OF MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS TO TRUSTS: BY Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq.

THE REAL EMPLOYERS OF THE SIGNERS OF MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS TO TRUSTS: BY Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq.

THE REAL EMPLOYERS OF THE SIGNERS OF

MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS TO TRUSTS

BY Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq., Editor, Fraud Digest (szymoniak@mac.com),

April 15, 2010

On May 11, 2010, Judge Arthur J. Schack, Supreme Court, Kings County, New York, entered an order denying a foreclosure action with prejudice. The case involved a mortgage-backed securitized trust, SG Mortgage Securities Asset Backed Certificates, Series 2006-FRE2. U.S. Bank, N.A. served as Trustee for the SG Trust. See U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Emmanuel, 2010 NY Slip Op 50819 (u), Supreme Court, Kings County, decided May 11, 2010. In this case, as in hundreds of thousands of other cases involving securitized trusts, the trust inexplicably did not produce mortgage assignments from the original lender to the depositor to the securities company to the trust.

This particular residential mortgage-backed securities trust in the Emmanuel case had a cut-off date of July 1, 2006. The entities involved in the creation and early agreements of this trust included Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as servicer, U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee, Bear Stearns Financial Products as the “swap provider” and SG Mortgage Securities, LLC. The Class A Certificates in the trust were given a rating of “AAA” by Dominion Bond Rating Services on July 13, 2006.

The designation “FRE” in the title of this particular trust indicates that the loans in the trust were made by Fremont Investment & Loan, a bank and subprime lender and subsidiary of Fremont General Corporation. The “SG” in the title of the trust indicates that the loans were “securitized” by Signature Securities Group Corporation, or an affiliate.

Fremont, a California-based corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 19, 2008, but continued in business as a debtor-in-possession. On March 31, 2008, Fremont General sold its mortgage servicing rights to Carrington Capital Management, a hedge fund focused on the subprime residential mortgage securities market. Carrington Capital operated Carrington Mortgage Services, a company that had already acquired the mortgage servicing business of New Century after that large sub-prime lender also filed for bankruptcy. Carrington Mortgage Services provides services a portfolio of nearly 90,000 loans with an outstanding principal balance of over $16 billion. Nearly 63% of the portfolio is comprised of adjustable rate mortgages. Mortgage servicing companies charge  substantially higher fees for servicing adjustable rate mortgages than fixed-rate mortgages. Those fees, often considered the most lucrative part of the subprime mortgage business, are paid by the securitized trusts that bought the loans from the original lenders (Fremont & New Century), after the loans had been combined into trusts by securities companies, like Financial Assets Securities Corporation, SG and Carrington Capital.

Carrington Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, is headed by Bruce Rose, who left Salomon Brothers in 2003 to start Carrington. At Carrington, Rose packaged $23 billion in subprime mortgages. Many of those securities included loans originated by now-bankrupt New Century Financial. Carrington forged unique contracts that let it direct any foreclosure and liquidations of the underlying loans. Foreclosure management is also a very lucrative part of the subprime mortgage business. As with servicing adjustable rate mortgages, the fees for the foreclosure management are paid ultimately by the trust. There is little or no oversight of the fees charged for the foreclosure actions. The vast majority of foreclosure cases are uncontested, but the foreclosure management firms may nevertheless charge the trust several thousand dollars for each foreclosure of a property in the trust.

The securities companies and their affiliates also benefit from the bankruptcies of the original lenders. On May 12, 2010, Signature Group Holdings LLP, (“SG”) announced that it had been chosen to revive fallen subprime mortgage lender Freemont General, once the fifth-largest U.S. subprime mortgage lender. A decision to approve Signature’s reorganization plan for Fremont was made through a bench ruling issued by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, CA. The bid for Fremont lasted nearly two years, with several firms competing for the acquisition.

The purchase became much more lucrative for prospective purchasers in late March, 2010, when Fremont General announced that it would settle more than $89 million in tax obligations to the Internal Revenue Service without actually paying a majority of the back taxes. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana Division, approved a motion that allowed Fremont General to claim a net operating loss deduction for 2004 that is attributable for its 2006 tax obligations, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, Fremont General will deduct additional 2004 taxes, because of a temporary extension to the period when companies can claim the credit. The extension from two years to five went into effect when President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. While approved by the bankruptcy court judge, the agreement must also meet the approval of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, but according to the SEC filing, both Fremont General and the IRS anticipate that it will be approved. In all, Fremont’s nearly $89.4 million tax assessment was reduced to about $2.8 million, including interest. In addition, as a result of the IRS agreement, a California Franchise Tax Board tax claim of $13.3 million was reduced to $550,000.

Another development that made the purchase especially favorable for SG was the announcement on May 10, 2010, that Federal Insurance Co. has agreed to pay Fremont General Corp. the full $10 million loss limits of an errors and omissions policy to cover subprime lending claims, dropping an 18-month battle over whether the claims were outside the scope of its bankers professional liability policies.

All of these favorable developments are part of a long history of success for Craig Noell, the head of Signature Group Holdings, the winning bidder for Fremont. Previously, as a member of the distressed investing area at Goldman Sachs, Noell founded and ran Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending, investing Goldman’s proprietary capital in “special situations opportunities.”

Bruce Rose’s Carrington Mortgage Services and Craig Noell’s Signature Group Holdings are part of the story of the attempted foreclosure on Arianna Emmanuel in Brooklyn, New York. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for SG Mortgage Securities Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006 FRE-2 attempted to foreclose on Arianna Emmanuel. The original mortgage had been made by Fremont Investment & Loan (the beneficiary of the $100 milion tax break and the $10 million insurance payout discussed above).

To successfully foreclose, the Trustee needed to produce proof that the Trust had acquired the loan from Fremont. At this point, the document custodian for the trust needed only to produce the mortgage assignment. The securities company that made the SG Trust, the mortgage servicing company that serviced the trust and U.S. Bank as Trustee had all made frequent sworn statements to the SEC and shareholders that these documents were safely stored in a fire-proof  vault.

Despite these frequent representations to the SEC, the assignment relied upon by U.S. Bank, the trustee, was one executed by Elpiniki Bechakas as assistant secretary and vice president of MERS, as nominee for Freemont. In foreclosure cases all over the U.S., assignments signed by Elpiniki Bechakas are never questioned. But on May 11, 2010, the judge examining the mortgage assignment was the Honorable Arthur J. Schack in Brooklyn, New York.

Bechakas signed as an officer of MERS, as nominee for Fremont, representing that the property had been acquired by the SG Trust in June, 2009. None of this was true. Judge Schack determined sua sponte that Bechakas was an associate in the law offices of Steven J. Baum, the firm representing the trustee and trust in the foreclosure. Judge Schack recognized that the Baum firm was thus working for both the GRANTOR and GRANTEE. Judge Schack wrote, “The Court is concerned that the concurrent representation by Steven J. Baum, P.C. of both assignor MERS, as nominee for FREMONT, and assignee plaintiff U.S. BANK is a conflict of interest, in violation of 22 NYCRR § 1200.0 (Rules of Professional Conduct, effective April 1, 2009) Rule 1.7, “Conflict of Interest: Current Clients.”

Judge Schack focused squarely on an issue that pro se homeowner litigants and foreclosure defense lawyers often attempt to raise – the authority of the individuals signing mortgage assignments that are used by trusts to foreclose. In tens of thousands of cases, law firm employees sign as MERS officers, without disclosing to the Court or to homeowners that they are actually employed by the law firm, not MERS, and that the firm is being paid and working on behalf of the Trust/Grantee while the firm employee is signing on behalf of the original lender/Grantor.

Did the SG Trust acquire the Emmanuel loan in 2006, the closing date of the trust, or in 2009, the date chosen by Belchakas and her employers? There are tremendous tax advantages being claimed by banks and mortgage companies based on their portfolio of nonperforming loans. There are also millions of dollars in insurance payouts being made ultimately because of non-performing loans. There are substantial fees being charged by mortgage servicing companies and mortgage default management companies – being paid by trusts and assessed on homeowners in default. The question of the date of the transfer is much more than an academic exercise.

As important as the question of WHEN, there is also the question of WHAT – what exactly did the trust acquire? What is the reason for the millions of assignments to trusts that flooded recorders’ offices nationwide starting in 2007 that were prepared by law firm employees like Bechakas or by employees of mortgage default companies or document preparation companies specializing is providing “replacement” mortgage documents. Why, in judicial foreclosure states, are there thousands of Complaints for Foreclosure filed with the allegations: “We Own the Note; we had the note; we lost the note.” Why do bankruptcy courts repeatedly see these same three allegations in Motions For Relief of Stay filed by securitized trusts attempting to foreclose? If the assignments and notes are missing, has the trust acquired anything (other than investors’ money, tax advantages and insurance payouts)? In many cases, the mortgage servicing company does eventually acquire the property – often by purchasing the property after foreclosure for ten dollars and selling it to the trust that had claimed ownership from the start.

Where are the missing mortgage assignments?

Posted in bear stearns, case, concealment, conspiracy, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic loan audit, fraud digest, goldman sachs, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERS, mortgage electronic registration system, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, robo signer, S.E.C.0 Comments

Bank Investigations Cheat Sheet: ProPublica

Bank Investigations Cheat Sheet: ProPublica

by Marian Wang, ProPublica – May 13, 2010

Here’s our attempt to lay out exactly what’s known about which banks are being investigated by whom and for what. We’re going to keep updating this page, so please send usstories or details we’ve missed. Related: Covering the Bank Investigations: A Cautionary Tale

  What has been reported What the bank has said
 
Citigroup
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal has reported that Citigroup is under “early-stage criminal scrutiny” by the Department of Justice. Also citing unnamed sources, Fox Business reported on May 12 that the SEC has an active civil investigation into Citigroup and has subpoenaed the firm, but has not issued any Wells notices. A report on May 12th by the Journal cited unnamed sources saying that the Department of Justice is scrutinizing a few CDO deals that Morgan Stanley bet against–but which were underwritten by Citigroup and UBS. Neither the SEC nor the Justice Department have confirmed these reports.

Citing two anonymous sources, The New York Times has reported that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating eight banks to determine whether they misled rating agencies in order to get higher ratings for their mortgage-related products; Citigroup has been named as one of the banks. Subpoenas were issued on May 12, according to the Times and the Dow Jones Newswires, both of which relied on anonymous sourcing for their reports.

Citigroup has declined to comment to us and other outlets.

Credit Agricole
Credit Agricole has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating separately. Credit Agricole did not immediately respond to the Times’ request for comment and has not yet responded to ours.

Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating. Credit Suisse declined to comment to the Times about the New York attorney general’s investigation.

Deutsche Bank
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal has reported that Deutsche Bank is under “early-stage criminal scrutiny” by the Department of Justice. Also citing unnamed sources, Fox Business reported on May 12 that the SEC has an active civil investigation into Deutsche and has subpoenaed the firm, but has not issued any Wells notices. Neither agency has confirmed these reports.

Deutsche Bank has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating separately.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment to Fox, the Journal, and the Times about possible investigations.

Goldman Sachs
The SEC has brought a civil fraud lawsuit against Goldman, alleging that the investment bank made “materially misleading statements and omissions” when it allowed a hedge fund to help create and bet against a CDO, called Abacus, without disclosing the hedge fund’s role to investors.

The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the probe,” reported in April that the Justice Department has been conducting a criminal investigation into Goldman’s CDO dealings following a referral from the SEC. Neither agency has confirmed this, but the AP, citing another unnamed source, has reported the same thing. Since then, many news organizations–including the The New York TimesABC News and the Washington Post–have also reported on the criminal probe, citing unnamed sources. No charges have been brought.

Goldman Sachs has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating separately.

Goldman called the SEC’s accusations “unfounded in law and fact.

After the reports of a criminal investigation, a Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to confirm that the bank had been contacted by the DOJ but also told several news outlets that “given the recent focus on the firm, we’re not surprised by the report of an inquiry. We would cooperate fully with any request for information.”

The bank has declined to comment to us on the New York attorney general’s investigation.

 
JP Morgan Chase
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal has also reported that JPMorgan Chase has received civil subpoenas from the SEC and is under “early-stage criminal scrutiny” by the Department of Justice. Neither the SEC nor the Justice Department has confirmed these reports. A JPMorgan spokesman told the Journal that the bank “hasn’t been contacted” by federal prosecutors and isn’t aware of a criminal investigation.

Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America)
Merrill has not been named in any SEC investigations. But as we pointed out, a lawsuit brought by a Dutch bank asserts that Merrill Lynch did a CDO deal that was “precisely” like Goldman’s. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it is investigating the deal.

Merrill Lynch has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating.

Merrill has said its CDO deal was not like Goldman’s, calling Goldman’s Abacus deal an “entirely different transaction.”

The bank did not immediately return the Times’ request for comment about the investigation by Coumo, but when we called and asked, a spokesman from Bank of America, which merged with Merrill, said, “We are cooperating with the attorney general’s office on this matter.”


Morgan Stanley
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal reported on May 12 that the Justice Department has been conducting a criminal investigation into Morgan Stanley’s CDO dealings, including its role in helping design and betting against two sets of CDOs from 2006 known as Jackson and Buchanan. The Justice Department declined to comment. No charges have been brought, and according to the Journal, the probe is “at a preliminary stage.” A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said the bank had “no knowledge of a Justice Department investigation into these transactions.” The Journal reported that the SEC has subpoenaed Morgan Stanley on several occasions, but the bank says it has received no Wells notices, which would indicate pending SEC charges.

Morgan Stanley has also been named as one of the banks that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said on May 12that the firm has “not been contacted by the Justice Department about the transactions being raised by The Wall Street Journal, and we have no knowledge of a Justice Department investigation into these transactions.”

The investment bank declined to comment to the Times about the Coumo’s investigation.


UBS
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal reported that UBS has received civil subpoenas from the SEC and is under “early-stage criminal scrutiny” by the Department of Justice. In a report on May 12, the Journal reported that the Justice Department is scrutinizing a few CDO deals that Morgan Stanley helped design and bet against–but which were marketed by Citigroup and UBS. Neither the SEC nor the Justice Department has confirmed these reports. The firm has not disclosed that it has gotten any Wells notices.

UBS has also been named as one of the banks New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating.

A UBS spokesman has declined to comment on any of the investigations.

Posted in bank of america, citi, CitiGroup, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, Credit Suisse, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, foreclosure fraud, goldman sachs, investigation, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, S.E.C., scam, securitization0 Comments

Moooove Over SLACKERS!! NY AG CUOMO probing 8 banks over securities

Moooove Over SLACKERS!! NY AG CUOMO probing 8 banks over securities

AP Source: NY AG probing 8 banks over securities

NEW YORK — The New York attorney general has launched an investigation into eight banks to determine whether they misled ratings agencies about mortgage securities, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is trying to figure out if banks provided the agencies with false information in order to get better ratings on the risky securities, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation has not been made public.

Cuomo’s office is investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Credit Agricole and Merrill Lynch, which is now part of Bank of America Corp.

Continue reading HERE

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of america, cdo, citi, concealment, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, foreclosure fraud, goldman sachs, S.E.C.0 Comments

Securities and Investments: Fraud Digest

Securities and Investments: Fraud Digest

Securities and Investments 

Morgan Stanley

Action Date: May 12, 2010 
Location: New York, NY 

EDITORIAL: On May 12, 2010, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Executive announced in response to a Wall Street Journal article that he was unaware of any criminal investigation by the Justice Department that his firm, like Goldman Sachs, misled investors about mortgage-backed derivative deals. The WSJ had reported that Morgan Stanley was the subject of such an investigation. In addition to determining whether the firm was betting against the very products it was promoting to investors, the Justice Department COULD investigate whether Morgan Stanley and other securities firms exercised secret control over the rating agencies, causing risky investments to get the highest ratings by these firms. The Justice Department COULD also investigate whether the mortgage-backed trusts put together by Morgan Stanley were comprised of much riskier mortgages than represented to investors. Another investigation COULD be conducted regarding the pay-outs from the insurance policies behind the CDOs and whether the servicing companies working for the trusts are collecting twice – from the insurance and from the foreclosures – and then turning around, acquiring the foreclosed properties for $10 – and profiting yet a third time. Investigators COULD even determine whether foreclosure mills working for trusts created by Morgan Stanley are now using forged proof of ownership to foreclose because Morgan Stanley never acquired the mortgages, notes and assignments they claimed to have in their vaults, backing the mortgage-backed securities. In the battle between the Justice Department and Wall Street, Goliath is in New York, not D.C. 

Posted in cdo, concealment, conspiracy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, fraud digest, goldman sachs, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, S.E.C., securitization0 Comments

Goldman: More CDO Litigation And Investigations Likely Coming

Goldman: More CDO Litigation And Investigations Likely Coming

Is the most in-fraudential firm finally going down?

Joe Weisenthal | May. 10, 2010, 7:17 AM BuisnessInsider.com

Goldman’s latest 10-Q is out, and as Bloomberg first noted, the firm is expecting more CDO-related litigation and investigations.

Here’s the key line:lloyd blankfein goldman sachs protestor

We anticipate that additional putative shareholder derivative actions and other litigation may be filed, and regulatory and other investigations and actions commenced, against us with respect to offerings of CDOs.

The full passage is below.

———–

 On April 16, 2010, the SEC brought an action (SEC Action) under the U.S. federal securities laws in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against GS&Co. and one of its employees in connection with a CDO offering made in early 2007 (2007 CDO Transaction), alleging that the defendants made materially false and misleading statements to investors and seeking, among other things, unspecified monetary penalties. Notices of investigation subsequently have been received by GS&Co. from FINRA and by GSI from the U.K. Financial Services Authority, and Group Inc. and certain of its affiliates have received requests for information from other regulators regarding CDO offerings, including the 2007 CDO Transaction, and related matters.
 
Since April 22, 2010, a number of putative shareholder derivative actions have been filed in New York Supreme Court, New York County, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Group Inc., the Board and certain officers and employees of Group Inc. and its affiliates in connection with CDO offerings made between 2004 and 2007, including the 2007 CDO Transaction. These derivative complaints generally include allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, abuse of control, mismanagement, unjust enrichment, misappropriation of information and insider trading, and challenge the accuracy and adequacy of Group Inc.’s disclosure. These derivative complaints seek, among other things, declaratory relief, unspecified compensatory damages, restitution and certain corporate governance reforms. In addition, plaintiffs in the Delaware Court of Chancery actions described in the “Compensation-Related Litigation” section above have amended their complaint to assert, among other things, allegations similar to those in the derivative claims referred to above.
 
Since April 23, 2010, the Board has received letters from shareholders demanding that the Board take action to address alleged misconduct by GS&Co., the Board and certain officers and employees of Group Inc. and its affiliates. The demands generally allege misconduct in connection with the 2007 CDO Transaction, the alleged failure by Group Inc. to adequately disclose the SEC investigation that led to the SEC Action, and Group Inc.’s 2009 compensation practices. The demands include a letter from a Group Inc. shareholder, which previously made a demand that the Board investigate and take action in connection with auction products matters, and has now expanded its demand to address the foregoing matters.
 
In addition, beginning April 26, 2010, a number of purported securities law class actions have been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging the adequacy of Group Inc.’s public disclosure of, among other things, the firm’s activities in the CDO market and the SEC investigation that led to the SEC Action. The purported class action complaints, which name as defendants Group Inc. and certain officers and employees of Group Inc. and its affiliates, generally allege violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act and seek unspecified damages.
 
We anticipate that additional putative shareholder derivative actions and other litigation may be filed, and regulatory and other investigations and actions commenced, against us with respect to offerings of CDOs.

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, S.E.C.0 Comments

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?  The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy? The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH

May 3, 2010

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?

The Subprime Conspiracy

By MIKE WHITNEY

Many people now believe that the financial crisis was not an accident. They think that the Bush administration and the Fed knew what Wall Street was up to and provided their support. This isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. As we will show, it’s clear that Bush, Greenspan and many other high-ranking officials understood the problem with subprime mortgages and knew that a huge asset bubble was emerging that threatened the economy. But while the housing bubble was more than just an innocent mistake, it doesn’t rise to the level of “conspiracy” which Webster defines as  “a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act.”  It’s actually worse than that, because bubblemaking is the dominant policy, and it’s used to overcome structural problems in capitalism itself, mainly stagnation.

The whole idea of a conspiracy diverts attention from what really happened. It conjures up a comical vision of  top-hat business tycoons gathered in a smoke-filled room stealthily mapping out the country’s future. It ignores the fact, that the main stakeholders don’t need to convene a meeting to know what they want. They already know what they want; they want a process that helps them to maintain profitability even while the “real” economy remains stuck in the mud.  Historian Robert Brenner has written extensively on this topic and dispels the mistaken view that the economy is “fundamentally strong”. (in the words of former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson)  Here’s Brenner :

“The current crisis is more serious than the worst previous recession of the postwar period, between 1979 and 1982, and could conceivably come to rival the Great Depression, though there is no way of really knowing. Economic forecasters have underestimated how bad it is because they have over-estimated the strength of the real economy and failed to take into account the extent of its dependence upon a buildup of debt that relied on asset price bubbles.

“In the U.S., during the recent business cycle of the years 2001-2007, GDP growth was by far the slowest of the postwar epoch. There was no increase in private sector employment. The increase in plants and equipment was about a third of the previous, a postwar low. Real wages were basically flat. There was no increase in median family income for the first time since World War II. Economic growth was driven entirely by personal consumption and residential investment, made possible by easy credit and rising house prices. Economic performance was weak, even despite the enormous stimulus from the housing bubble and the Bush administration’s huge federal deficits. Housing by itself accounted for almost one-third of the growth of GDP and close to half of the increase in employment in the years 2001-2005. It was, therefore, to be expected that when the housing bubble burst, consumption and residential investment would fall, and the economy would plunge. ” (“Overproduction not Financial Collapse is the Heart of the Crisis”, Robert P. Brenner speaks with Jeong Seong-jin, Asia Pacific Journal)

What Brenner describes is an economy \that–despite unfunded tax cuts, massive military spending and gigantic asset bubbles–can barely produce positive growth.  The pervasive lethargy of mature capitalist economies poses huge challenges for industry bosses who are judged solely on their ability to boost quarterly profits. Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein and JPM’s Jamie Dimon could care less about economic theory, what they’re interested in is making money; how to deploy their capital in a way that maximizes return on investment. “Profits”, that’s it.  And that’s much more difficult in a world that’s beset by overcapacity and flagging demand.  The world doesn’t need more widgets or widget-makers. The only way to ensure profitability is to invent an alternate system altogether, a new universe of financial exotica (CDOs, MBSs, CDSs) that operates independent of the sluggish real economy. Financialization provides that opportunity. It allows the main players to pump-up the leverage, minimize capital-outlay, inflate asset prices, and skim off record profits even while the real  economy endures severe stagnation.

Financialization provides a  path to wealth creation, which is why the sector’s portion of total corporate profits is now nearly 40 per cent. It’s a way to bypass the pervasive inertia of the production-oriented economy. The Fed’s role in this new paradigm is to create a hospitable environment (low interest rates) for bubble-making so the upward transfer of wealth can continue without interruption. Bubblemaking is policy.

As we’ve pointed out in earlier articles, scores of people knew what was going on during the subprime fiasco. But it’s worth a quick review, because Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and others have been defending themselves saying, “Who could have known?”.

The FBI knew (“In September 2004, the FBI began publicly warning that there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud, and it predicted that it would produce an economic crisis, if it were not dealt with.”) The FDIC knew. ( In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, FDIC chairman Sheila Bair confirmed that she not only warned the Fed of what was going on in 2001, but cited particular regulations (HOEPA) under which the Fed could stop the “unfair, abusive and deceptive practices” by the banks.) Also Fitch ratings knew, and even Alan Greenspan’s good friend and former Fed governor Ed Gramlich knew. (Gramlich personally warned Greenspan of the surge in predatory lending that was apparent as early as 2000. Here’s a bit of what Gramlich said in the Wall Street Journal:

“I would have liked the Fed to be a leader” in cracking down on predatory lending, Mr. Gramlich, now a scholar at the Urban Institute, said in an interview this past week. Knowing it would be controversial with Mr. Greenspan, whose deregulatory philosophy is well known, Mr. Gramlich broached it to him personally rather than take it to the full board. “He was opposed to it, so I didn’t really pursue it,” says Mr. Gramlich. (Wall Street Journal)

So, Greenspan knew, too. And, according to Elizabeth MacDonald  in an article titled “Housing Red flags Ignored”:

“One of the nation’s biggest mortgage industry players repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other bank regulators during the housing bubble that the U.S. faced an imminent housing crash….But bank regulators not only ignored the group’s warnings, top Fed officials also went on the airwaves to say the economy was “building on a sturdy foundation” and a housing crash was “unlikely.”

So, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America [MICA] also knew. And, here’s a clip from the Washington Post by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who accused Bush of being a ‘partner in crime’ in the subprime fiasco. Spitzer says that the OCC launched “an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general just to make sure the looting would continue without interruption. Here’s an except from Spitzer’s article:

“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis….the OCC promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules. (Washington Post)

So, the Fed knew, the Treasury knew, the FBI knew, the OCC knew, the FDIC knew, Bush knew, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America knew, Fitch ratings knew, all the states Attorneys General knew, and thousands, of traders, lenders, ratings agency executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity bosses, regulators knew. Everyone knew, except the unlucky people who were victimized in the biggest looting operation of all time.

Once again, looking for conspiracy, just diverts attention from the nature of the crime itself. Here’s a statement from former regulator and white collar criminologist William K. Black which helps to clarify the point:

“Fraudulent lenders produce exceptional short-term ‘profits’ through a four-part strategy: extreme growth (Ponzi), lending to uncreditworthy borrowers, extreme leverage, and minimal loss reserves. These exceptional ‘profits’ defeat regulatory restrictions and turn private market discipline perverse. The profits also allow the CEO to convert firm assets for personal benefit through seemingly normal compensation mechanisms. The short-term profits cause stock options to appreciate. Fraudulent CEOs following this strategy are guaranteed extraordinary income while minimizing risks of detection and prosecution.” (William K. Black,“Epidemics of’Control Fraud’ Lead to Recurrent, Intensifying Bubbles andCrises”, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law)

Black’s definition of “control fraud” comes very close to describing what really took place during the subprime mortgage frenzy. The investment banks and other financial institutions bulked up on garbage loans and complex securities backed by dodgy mortgages so they could increase leverage and rake off large bonuses for themselves. Clearly, they knew the underlying collateral was junk, just as they knew that eventually the market would crash and millions of people would suffer.

But, while it’s true that Greenspan and Wall Street knew how the bubble-game was played; they had no intention of blowing up the whole system. They simply wanted to inflate the bubble, make their profits, and get out before the inevitable crash.  But, then something went wrong. When Lehman collapsed, the entire financial system suffered a major heart attack. All of the so-called “experts” models turned out to be wrong.

Here’s what happened: Before to the meltdown, the depository “regulated” banks got their funding through the repo market by exchanging collateral (mainly mortgage-backed securities) for short-term loans with the so-called “shadow banks” (investment banks, hedge funds, insurers) But after Lehman defaulted, the funding stream was severely impaired because the prices on mortgage-backed securities kept falling. When the bank-funding system went on the fritz,  stocks went into a nosedive sending panicky investors fleeing for the exits. As unbelievable as it sounds, no one saw this coming.

The reason that no one anticipated a run on the shadow banking system is because the basic architecture of the financial markets has changed dramatically in the last decade due to deregulation. The fundamental structure is different and the traditional stopgaps have been removed. That’s why no one knew what to do during the panic. The general assumption was that there would be a one-to-one relationship between defaulting subprime mortgages and defaulting mortgage-backed securities (MBS). That turned out to be a grave miscalculation. The subprimes were only failing at roughly 8 percent rate when the whole secondary market collapsed. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill explained it best using a clever analogy. He said, “It’s like you have 8 bottles of water and just one of them has arsenic in it. It becomes impossible to sell any of the other bottles because no one knows which one contains the poison.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The market for structured debt crashed, stocks began to plummet, and the Fed had to step in to save the system. Unfortunately, that same deeply-flawed system is being rebuilt brick by brick without any substantive changes.. The Fed and Treasury support this effort, because–as agents of the banks–they are willing to sacrifice their own credibility to defend the primary profit-generating instruments of the industry leaders. (Goldman, JPM, etc) That means that Bernanke and Geithner will go to the mat to oppose any additional regulation on derivatives, securitization and off-balance sheet operations, the same lethal devices that triggered the financial crisis.

So, there was no conspiracy to blow up the financial system, but there is an implicit understanding that the Fed will serve the interests of Wall Street by facilitating asset bubbles through “accommodative” monetary policy and by opposing regulation. It’s just “business as usual”, but it’s far more damaging than any conspiracy, because it ensures that the economy will continue to stagnate, that inequality will continue to grow, and that the gigantic upward transfer of wealth will continue without pause.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached atfergiewhitney@msn.com

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, fdic, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, foreclosure fraud, geithner, hank paulson, S.E.C., securitization0 Comments

OTS Consumer Complaint Form BANK REGULATORS

OTS Consumer Complaint Form BANK REGULATORS

THE OCC IS THE BEST FOR THE DBNTC TRUSTS. This is a helpful way to get the masses to contact the regulators.

[scribd id=30990205 key=key-1vrttnja1ovtf5hh3iho mode=list]

Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, S.E.C., securitization0 Comments

Borrower Bailout?: Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt

Borrower Bailout?: Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt

 Via: Livinglies

Borrower Bailout?: Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt

  • If you have a GSAMP securitized loan you might want to pay particular attention here. In fact, if you ever had a securitized loan of any kind you should be very interested.
  • Hudson Mezzanine: The use of the word “mezzanine” is like the use of the word “Trust.” There is no mezzanine and there is no trust in the legal sense. It is merely meant to convey the fact that a conduit was being used to front multiple transactions — any one of which could be later moved around because the reference to the conduit entity does not specifically incorporate the exhibits to the conduit.
  • The real legal issue here is who owns the profit from these deals? The profit is derived from insurance. The cost of insurance was funded from the securitized chain starting with the sale of securities to investors for money that was pooled.
  • That pool was used in part to fund mortgages and insurance bets that those mortgages would fail. 93% of the sub-prime mortgages rated Triple AAA got marked down to junk level even if they did not fail, and insurance paid off because of the markdown. That means money was paid based upon loans executed by borrowers, whether they were or are default or not.
  • If enough of the pool consisted of sub-prime mortgages, the the entire pool was marked down and insurance paid off. So whether you have a sub-prime mortgage or a conventional mortgage, whether you are up to date or in default, there is HIGH PROBABILITY that a payment has been made from insurance which should be allocated to your loan, whether foreclosed or not.
  • The rest of the proceeds of investments by investors went as fees and profits to middlemen. If you accept the notion that the entire securitization chain was a single transaction in which fraud was the principal ingredient on both ends (homeowners and ivnestors), then BOTH the homeowner borrowers and the investors have a claim to that money.
  • Homeowners have a claim for undisclosed compensation under the Truth in Lending Act and Investors have a claim under the Securities laws.  (That is where these investor lawsuits and settlements come from).
  • What nobody has done YET is file a claim for borrowers. The probable reason for this is that the securities transactions giving rise to these profits seem remote from the loan transaction. But if they arose BECAUSE of the execution of the loan documents by the borrower, then lending laws apply, along with REG Z from the Federal reserve. The payoff to borrowers is huge, potentially involving treble damages, interest, court costs and attorney fees.
  • Under common law fraud and just plain common sense, there is no legal basis for allowing the perpetrator of a fraud to keep the benefits arising out of the the fraud. So who gets the money?
April 26, 2010

Mortgage Deals Under Scrutiny as Goldman Faces Senators

By LOUISE STORY

WASHINGTON — The legal storm buffeting Goldman Sachs continued to rage Tuesday just ahead of what is expected to be a contentious Senate hearing at which bank executives plan to defend their actions during the housing crisis.

Senate investigators on Monday claimed that Goldman Sachs had devised not one but a series of complex deals to profit from the collapse of the home mortgage market. The claims suggested for the first time that the inquiries into Goldman were stretching beyond the sole mortgage deal singled out by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The S.E.C. has accused Goldman of defrauding investors in that single transaction, Abacus 2007-AC1, have thrust the bank into a legal whirlwind.

The stage for Tuesday’s hearing was set with a flurry of new documents from the panel, the Permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. That was preceded by a press briefing in Washington, where the accusations against Goldman have transformed the politics of financial reform.

In the midst of this storm, Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, plans to sound a conciliatory note on Tuesday.

In a statement prepared for the hearing and released on Monday, Mr. Blankfein said the news 10 days ago that the S.E.C. had filed a civil fraud suit against Goldman had shaken the bank’s employees.

“It was one of the worst days of my professional life, as I know it was for every person at our firm,” Mr. Blankfein said. “We have been a client-centered firm for 140 years, and if our clients believe that we don’t deserve their trust we cannot survive.”

Mr. Blankfein will also testify that Goldman did not have a substantial, consistent short position in the mortgage market.

But at the press briefing in Washington, Carl Levin, the Democrat of Michigan who heads the Senate committee, insisted that Goldman had bet against its clients repeatedly. He held up a binder the size of two breadboxes that he said contained copies of e-mail messages and other documents that showed Goldman had put its own interests first.

“The evidence shows that Goldman repeatedly put its own interests and profits ahead of the interests of its clients,” Mr. Levin said.

Mr. Levin’s investigative staff released a summary of those documents, which are to be released in full on Tuesday. The summary included information on Abacus as well as new details about other complex mortgage deals.

On a page titled “The Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt,” the subcommittee described five other transactions beyond the Abacus investment.

One, called Hudson Mezzanine, was put together in the fall of 2006 expressly as a way to create more short positions for Goldman, the subcommittee claims. The $2 billion deal was one of the first for which Goldman sales staff began to face dubious clients, according to former Goldman employees.

“Here we are selling this, but we think the market is going the other way,” a former Goldman salesman told The New York Times in December.

Hudson, like Goldman’s 25 Abacus deals, was a synthetic collateralized debt obligation, which is a bundle of insurance contracts on mortgage bonds. Like other banks, Goldman turned to synthetic C.D.O.’s to allow it to complete deals faster than the sort of mortgage securities that required actual mortgage bonds. These deals also created a new avenue for Goldman and some of its hedge fund clients to make negative bets on housing.

Goldman also had an unusual and powerful role in the Hudson deal that the Senate committee did not highlight: According to Hudson marketing documents, which were reviewed on Monday by The Times, Goldman was also the liquidation agent in the deal, which is the party that took it apart when it hit trouble.

The Senate subcommittee also studied two deals from early 2007 called Anderson Mezzanine 2007-1 and Timberwolf I. In total, these two deals were worth $1.3 billion, and Goldman held about $380 million of the negative bets associated with the two deals.

The subcommittee pointed to these deals as examples of how Goldman put its own interests ahead of clients. Mr. Levin read from several Goldman documents on Monday to underscore the point, including one in October 2007 that said, “Real bad feeling across European sales about some of the trades we did with clients. The damage this has done to our franchise is very significant.”

As the mortgage market collapsed, Goldman turned its back on clients who came knocking with older Goldman-issued bonds they had bought. One example was a series of mortgage bonds known as Gsamp.

“I said ‘no’ to clients who demanded that GS should ‘support the Gsamp’ program as clients tried to gain leverage over us,” a mortgage trader, Michael Swenson, wrote in his self-evaluation at the end of 2007. “Those were unpopular decisions but they saved the firm hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The Gsamp program was also involved in a dispute in the summer of 2007 that Goldman had with a client, Peleton Partners, a hedge fund founded by former Goldman workers that has since collapsed because of mortgage losses.

According to court documents reviewed by The Times on Monday, in June 2007, Goldman refused to accept a Gsamp bond from Peleton in a dispute over the securities that backed up a mortgage security called Broadwick. A Peleton partner was pointed in his response after Goldman refused the Gsamp bond.

“We do appreciate the unintended irony,” wrote Peter Howard, a partner at Peleton, in an e-mail message about the Gsamp bond.

Bank of America ended up suing Goldman over the Broadwick deal. The parties are awaiting a written ruling in that suit. Broadwick was one of a dozen or so so-called hybrid C.D.O.’s that Goldman created in 2006 and 2007. Such investments were made up of both mortgage bonds and insurance contracts on mortgage bonds.

While such hybrids have received little attention, one mortgage researcher, Gary Kopff of Everest Management, has pointed to a dozen other Goldman C.D.O.’s, including Broadwick, that were mixes of mortgage bonds and insurance policies. Those deals — with names like Fortius I and Altius I — may have been another method for Goldman to obtain negative bets on housing.

“It was like an insurance policy that Goldman stuck in the middle of the sandwich with all the other subprime bonds,” Mr. Kopff said. “And it was an insurance policy designed to protect them.”

An earlier version of this article misidentified Senator Levin’s home state.

Relatated Stories:

Shareholders Sue Goldman, Blankfein Confirming Trusts Do NOT Own the Loans

Posted in cdo, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure fraud, goldman sachs, hank paulson, john paulson, livinglies, matt taibbi, neil garfield, S.E.C., securitization1 Comment

Why Don’t Lenders Renegotiate More Home Mortgages? The Effect of Securitization

Why Don’t Lenders Renegotiate More Home Mortgages? The Effect of Securitization

Abstract:

Securitization does not explain the reluctance among lenders to renegotiate home mortgages. We focus on seriously delinquent borrowers from 2005 through the third quarter of 2008 and show that servicers renegotiate similarly small fractions of securitized and portfolio loans. The results are robust toseveral different definitions of renegotiation and hold in subsamples where unobserved heterogeneity is likely to be small. We argue that information issues endemic to home mortgages where lenders negotiatewith large numbers of borrowers lead to barriers to renegotiation fundamentally different from thosepresent with other types of debt.

[scribd id=30566817 key=key-ojw4kxq7pqgfvsh43qo mode=list]

Posted in conspiracy, foreclosure fraud, LPS, S.E.C.0 Comments

Spitzer & Black: Questions from the Goldman Scandal

Spitzer & Black: Questions from the Goldman Scandal

Spitzer & Black: Questions from the Goldman Scandal

Monday, 04/26/2010 – 6:37 am by Eliot Spitzer and William Black 

money-question-150Spitzer and Black argue that the Goldman revelations underscore the need for serious financial reform.

For those who have spent years investigating fraud, it was no surprise to hear that Goldman Sachs, the (self-described) jewel of Wall Street, is the latest firm to emerge from the financial crisis with tarnished reputation. According to a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman misrepresented to its customers the quality of the toxic assets underlying a complex financial derivative known as a “synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO).”

As you may now have heard, the story involves a pair of Paulsons. As CEO of Goldman, Hank Paulson oversaw the buying of large amounts of CDOs backed by largely fraudulent “liar’s loans.” When he became U.S. Treasury Secretary, he went on to launch a successful war against securities and banking regulation. Hank Paulson’s successors at Goldman saw the writing on the wall and began to “short” CDOs. They realized that they had an unusual, brief window of opportunity to unload their losers on their customers. Being the very model of a modern investment banking firm, they thought that blowing up their customers would be fine sport.

John Paulson (unrelated), who controls a large hedge fund, also wanted to short CDOs and he, too, recognized that there was a narrow window for doing so. The reason there was a profit opportunity was that the “market” for toxic mortgages only appeared to be a functioning market. It was, in reality, a massive bubble in which ratings and “market” prices were grotesquely inflated. The inflated prices were continuing only because the huge players knew that the prices and races were fictional and were covering it up through the financial equivalent of “don’t ask; don’t tell.” According to the SEC complaint:

In January 2007, a Paulson employee explained the company’s view, saying that “rating agencies, CDO managers and underwriters have all the incentives to keep the game going, while ‘real money’ investors have neither the analytical tools nor the institutional framework to take action.”

We know from Bankruptcy Examiner Valukas’ report on Lehman that the Federal Reserve knew that the “market” prices were delusional and refused to require entities like Lehman to recognize their losses on “liar’s loans” for fear that it would expose the cover up of the losses. Valukas reports that Geithner explained to him when interviewed (p. 1502) that:

The challenge for the Government, and for troubled firms like Lehman, was to reduce risk exposure, and the act of reducing risk by selling assets could result in “collateral damage” by demonstrating weakness and exposing “air” in the marks.

Goldman and John Paulson worked together. One of the key things to understand about shorting is that it is extremely valuable if other major players short similar targets at the same time. By helping Paulson take advantage of Goldman’s customers (the ones that lacked “the analytical tools” to avoid being hosed), Goldman not only earned a substantial fee, but also aided its overall strategy of shorting the toxic paper.

Goldman created a deal in which John Paulson played a major role in selecting the toxic paper that would underlie the investment. He picked assets “most likely to fail – quickly” and studies show that he was particularly good at picking the losers. At this juncture, there is some dispute as to whether ACA was complicit with John Paulson and Goldman in picking losers (ACA initially invested in the synthetic CDO, but then transferred the risk of loss to German and English taxpayers).

What isn’t in dispute is that Goldman, ACA, and Paulson all failed to disclose to purchasers of the synthetic CDO that it was designed to be most likely to fail. The representation was the opposite: that the assets were picked by an independent entity with their interests at heart (ACA). Goldman claims it’s a victim because while it intended to sell its entire position in the synthetic CDO to its customers, it was unable to sell a chunk. One feels the firm’s pain. Goldman tried to blow up its customers to the tune of over $1 billion, but were unable to sell them the last $90 million in exposure.

The Goldman scandal raises several important questions: Did John Paulson and ACA know that Goldman was making these false disclosures to the CDO purchasers? Did they “aid and abet” what the SEC alleges was Goldman’s fraud? Why have there been no criminal charges? Why did the SEC only name a relatively low-level Goldman officer in its complaint? Where are the prosecutors?

In a December New York Times op ed, we, along with Frank Partnoy, asked for the public disclosure of AIG emails and key documents so that we can investigate the deceptive practices exposed by the Goldman case. Goldman used AIG to provide the CDS on most of these synthetic CDO deals (though not the particular one that is the subject of the SEC complaint), and Hank Paulson used tax payer money to secretly bail out Goldman when AIG’s deceptive practices drove it to failure.

The SEC’s Goldman fraud complaint points to fundamental problem in the financial sector that has been at the root of the financial crisis — one that still exists today. The market is not transparent. It has been fraudulently manipulated to enrich managers. Investors lack clear information to make decisions about what they are buying. A continuing absence of real consumer protections makes people like those trying to obtain mortgages before the crash understand that they were, in many cases, being ripped off. According to internal Goldman Sachs e-mails, the company vice president, 31-year old Fabrice Tourre, did not really understand the complex deals he was making. And yet we note that many of these Goldman-style deals were “insured” by AIG. Without transparency, regulators cannot properly see all these kinds of deals in the aggregate. So they can neither stop the fraud nor prevent catastrophic results.

We applaud the SEC lawsuit, but it will not solve the problem. Unless our financial system is reformed to put adequate protections and checks and balances in place, we can expect this kind of fraud to continue. Financial executives will continue to take risks they do not understand. Those who control the flow of capital will continue to churn out profits with socially disastrous consequences.

Related Stories:

Taibbi: Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed Is God?

Jon Stewart on Goldman Sachs (Red Hot Energy and Gold – Global…, 4/20/10)

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, matt taibbi, S.E.C.0 Comments

GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
Kenneth Eric Trent, www.ForeclosureDestroyer.com

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