Billion | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA - Part 2

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JP Morgan Set to Pay $1 Billion to Cover Yet Another Fraud

JP Morgan Set to Pay $1 Billion to Cover Yet Another Fraud

The Blaze-

JP Morgan has set aside another $1 billion to cover penalties for manipulating the foreign exchange market. The bank has paid out billions over regulatory violations and lawsuits in the last two years from the “London Whale” trading scandal to fraudulent sales of mortgage backed securities.

Meanwhile, Jamie Dimon, Wall Street’s darling, remains firmly in command of the fraud infested bank. It doesn’t seem to bother investors how banks make money, as long as the returns keep rolling in. Fines and penalties are merely a cost of doing business.

Back in the days when people were stigmatized for committing fraud, Dimon would have been out the door years ago. Now he is rewarded with oversize bonuses, stock options, and tons of perks. And the fines that JP Morgan has paid out have not gone to the victims; they have gone to the regulators instead.

[THE BLAZE]

(Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for JPMorgan Chase/AP Images)

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Elizabeth Warren: Obama sided with Wall Street over people losing their homes

Elizabeth Warren: Obama sided with Wall Street over people losing their homes

Like it or not, this is absolutely true. He knew what was happening and he knew they were his biggest donors. They made him President.


Raw Story-

In an interview with Salon’s Thomas Frank, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren lashed out President Barack Obama and his administration for repeatedly protecting Wall Street’s interests over those of the American people.

She began, however, on a somewhat conciliatory note, saying that “Democrats have not done all that they should, but at least we’re out there fighting for the right things,” whereas “Mitch McConnell has announced that if he gets the majority in the Senate, his first objective is to repeal healthcare and his second is to roll back the financial reforms, and in particular to target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the one agency that’s out there for American families, the one that has returned more than four billion dollars to families who got cheated by big financial institutions.”

“When I think about the president, for me, it’s about both halves,” Warren continued. “If Barack Obama had not been president of the United States we would not have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Period. I’m completely convinced of that.”

[...]

And yet, she added, “[a]t the same time, he picked his economic team and when the going got tough, his economic team picked Wall Street.”

[RAW STORY]

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Geoffrey Graber | U.S. Prosecutor Masterminded $37 Billion Bank Penalty Win

Geoffrey Graber | U.S. Prosecutor Masterminded $37 Billion Bank Penalty Win

“It was Graber, though, who quietly muscled the deals through behind the scenes.” Not Eric Holder…so what did Holder do? NADA.

Bloomberg-

Geoffrey Graber, the 41-year-old Justice Department attorney tasked with holding Wall Street accountable for the financial crisis, has a message for his prosecutors: Always be closing.

In the past year, Graber has won almost $37 billion in penalties from some of the world’s largest banks, a record haul for prosecutors. To colleagues, he compares his job to that of Blake, the notorious motivational speaker played by Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, who chastises real estate salesmen for failing to lock in deals.

“My role was to identify the most promising cases and accelerate those,” Graber said in an interview. “We’ve done our best to put a short fuse on this.”

[BLOOMBERG]

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

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GAO | Troubled Asset Relief Program: Treasury Could Better Analyze Data to Improve Oversight of Servicers’ Practices

GAO | Troubled Asset Relief Program: Treasury Could Better Analyze Data to Improve Oversight of Servicers’ Practices

What GAO Found

Through June 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) had disbursed about one-third of the $38.5 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds allocated to housing programs. However, the number of new borrowers added to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the key component of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program, began to decline in late 2013 after remaining relatively steady since 2012. Treasury has taken steps to assist more homeowners and also to address upcoming interest rate increases for borrowers already in the program (after 5 years, interest rates on modified loans may gradually increase to the market rate at the time of the modification). For example, Treasury has extended the HAMP deadline for a third time to at least December 31, 2016, and required servicers to inform borrowers about upcoming interest rate changes.

Treasury monitors HAMP denial and redefault rates, but its evaluation of data to help explain the reasons for differences among servicers is limited. GAO’s analysis of HAMP data found wide variation among servicers in reasons for denials of trial modifications. Some of these variations may be due to differences in servicer practices that would not necessarily be identified by Treasury’s compliance review process or analysis for reporting errors. GAO also identified wide variations in the probability of redefault even after controlling for differences in servicers’ loan, borrower, and property characteristics, using available data (see figure). Federal internal control standards state that analyzing relationships among data helps inform control and performance monitoring activities. Without more fully evaluating servicer data, Treasury may miss opportunities to identify and address servicer weaknesses and assist and retain as many borrowers as possible.

Probability of HAMP Redefault for Large Servicers and Others after Controlling for Certain Loan, Borrower, and Property Characteristics, as of March 2013

Probability of HAMP Redefault for Large Servicers and Others after Controlling for Certain Loan, Borrower, and Property Characteristics, as of March 2013

Finally, Treasury has implemented most of GAO’s past recommendations but has not fully implemented several that are intended to improve its oversight of the TARP-funded housing programs. For example, Treasury requires servicers to have controls in place for monitoring compliance with fair lending laws. But Treasury officials told us that they did not plan to assess these controls as GAO recommended because other federal agencies assess compliance with fair lending laws. Without such assessments, Treasury cannot determine whether servicers are complying with Treasury’s requirement. As stated previously, implementing this recommendation and others would improve Treasury’s oversight of TARP housing programs and help ensure that they assist and retain the greatest number of borrowers.

Why GAO Did This Study

Treasury introduced MHA in early 2009 and has allocated $38.5 billion in TARP funds to help struggling homeowners avoid potential foreclosure. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 requires GAO to report every 60 days on TARP activities. This 60-day report examines (1) the status of TARP-funded housing programs, (2) Treasury’s efforts to monitor and evaluate HAMP denial and redefault rates among servicers, and (3) the status of the implementation of GAO’s prior recommendations related to TARP-funded housing programs. To do this work, GAO reviewed program documentation, analyzed HAMP loan-level data, and interviewed knowledgeable Treasury officials.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that Treasury conduct periodic evaluations to help explain differences among MHA servicers (1) in the reasons they gave for denying applications for HAMP trial modifications and (2) in HAMP loan modification redefault rates. Such evaluations would help inform compliance reviews of individual servicers and help identify any needed program policy changes. Treasury agreed to consider making changes to its analytical methods for evaluating data on denial and redefault rates among individual servicers.

For more information, contact Mathew Scirè at (202) 512-8678 or sciremj@gao.gov.

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Montgomery County takes mortgage fight to banks files Class Action

Montgomery County takes mortgage fight to banks files Class Action

Keep it going…


Pennsylvania Record-

After winning a June 30, 2014 decision against the company that maintains a national Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds Nancy Becker registry of mortgage transactions, the Montgomery County Record of Deeds has filed a class action suit at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the banks who allegedly bought and sold mortgages without paying the real estate recording fees.

In June, U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner allowed Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds Nancy Becker to continue with her class action suit against Merscorps, the multi-billion dollar business that owns and maintains the MERS electronic database, which records mortgage transactions made between investors and trusts. Becker claimed that the database did not record thousands of transactions, denying Montgomery County more than $15 million in fees.

The civil trial has not yet begun, but in the meantime Becker has now gone after the banks that used the MERS system to avoid paying for each transaction of Montgomery County mortgages.

[PENNSYLVANIA RECORD]

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ELM TREE INVESTMENT L.P. vs OCWEN | Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit against Ocwen Financial Corporation

ELM TREE INVESTMENT L.P. vs OCWEN | Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit against Ocwen Financial Corporation

(BUSINESS WIRE) — Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP (“Robbins Geller”) ( http://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/ocwen/) today announced that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the District of the U.S. Virgin Islands on behalf of purchasers of Ocwen Financial Corporation (“Ocwen”) (NYSE:OCN) common stock during the period between October 3, 2012 and August 11, 2014 (the “Class Period”).

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from August 12, 2014. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Darren Robbins of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at djr@rgrdlaw.com . If you are a member of this class, you can view a copy of the complaint as filed or join this class action online at http://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/ocwen/ . Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

The complaint charges Ocwen and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Ocwen, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the acquisition, servicing and resolution of sub-performing and non-performing residential and commercial mortgage loans in the United States and internationally.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements or omitted adverse facts about the Company’s true financial condition and business prospects by failing to disclose, among other things, that: (a) the Company was experiencing difficulties integrating the large mortgage servicing rights portfolios it had been acquiring, which was causing the Company to experience higher operating expenses from the complexities of running multiple mortgage servicing platforms; (b) Ocwen lacked sufficient internal controls related to document execution and general borrower account management and had inadequate staffing related to customer service; (c) due to certain of Ocwen’s senior officers’ and/or directors’ conflicting financial interests in Ocwen affiliates, Ocwen was taking actions adverse to borrowers in order to keep directing revenues to those affiliated companies, which was exposing Ocwen to billions of dollars in potential regulatory and civil liability; and (d) one such affiliate, Altisource Portfolio Solutions, S.A. (“Altisource”), a company in which Ocwen’s Chairman had a 27% ownership interest, had been charging exorbitant fees to Ocwen in order to funnel as much as $65 million in questionable fees to itself. As a result of defendants’ materially false and misleading statements and omissions, Ocwen shares traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period, reaching a high of more than $60 per share in intraday trading on October 28, 2013.

According to the complaint, the artificial inflation started to come out of Ocwen’s stock price starting in late October 2013, after a series of disclosures revealed the truth about Ocwen’s business operations. On October 31, 2013, Ocwen announced its third quarter 2013 financial results in a press release and conference call during which defendants disclosed problems the Company was having integrating its acquisitions. On December 19, 2013, the CFPB and 49 states and the District of Columbia entered into a consent judgment with Ocwen under which Ocwen would fund a $2.1 billion mortgage settlement for mortgage servicing abuses. On February 6, 2014, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NY DFS”) held up a deal Ocwen had with Wells Fargo to acquire its portfolio of mortgage servicing rights due to concerns about Ocwen’s servicing abilities. On February 26, 2014, Bloomberg reported that the NY DFS had issued a letter to Ocwen expressing concerns regarding its business transactions with related companies and its officers’ and directors’ involvement in approving transactions with said affiliated companies. On August 4, 2014, the NY DFS issued another letter to Ocwen stating that it was reviewing what it called “a troubling transaction” with Altisource relating to the provision of force-placed insurance, which is “designed to funnel as much as $65 million in fees annually from already-distressed homeowners to Altisource for minimal work,” and questioning “the role that [Ocwen’s Chairman] played in approving this arrangement,” which “appears to be inconsistent with public statements Ocwen has made, as well as representations in company SEC filings.” Then, on August 12, 2014, the Company announced that it would be forced to the restate its financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and the quarter ended March 31, 2014. As a result of the restatement, the Company expected to report material weaknesses in its internal controls and stated that its financial statements for those periods should no longer be relied upon. On this news, Ocwen stock closed at $25.16 per share on August 12, 2014, a 41% decline from the stock’s Class Period high price of more than $60 per share.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Ocwen common stock during the Class Period (the “Class”). The plaintiff is represented by Robbins Geller, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.

Robbins Geller, with 200 lawyers in ten offices, represents U.S. and international institutional investors in contingency-based securities and corporate litigation. The firm has obtained many of the largest securities class action recoveries in history, including the largest jury verdict ever in a securities class action. Please visit http://www.rgrdlaw.com for more information.

SOURCE: Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Darren Robbins, 800-449-4900 or 619-231-1058
djr@rgrdlaw.com

Copyright Business Wire 2014

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COMPLAINT | COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA vs. BARCLAYS CAPITAL INC. | VA AG HERRING BRINGS RECORD $1.15 BILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST BANKS FOR DEFRAUDING VIRGINIA TAXPAYERS

COMPLAINT | COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA vs. BARCLAYS CAPITAL INC. | VA AG HERRING BRINGS RECORD $1.15 BILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST BANKS FOR DEFRAUDING VIRGINIA TAXPAYERS

State Seal
Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

name and titleaddress

 

For media inquiries only, contact: 
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone:
Email: mkelly@oag.state.va.us

 

HERRING BRINGS RECORD $1.15 BILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST BANKS FOR DEFRAUDING VIRGINIA TAXPAYERS

 

~ Largest suit ever brought under Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act seeks accountability for banks that fraudulently sold mortgage-backed securities to the Virginia Retirement System ~

RICHMOND (September 16, 2014)–Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced a historic lawsuit against some of the largest commercial banks in the world for fraud committed against Virginia taxpayers during the height of the real estate bubble. A lawsuit unsealed today in Richmond Circuit Court seeks $1.15 billion in damages against thirteen banks that are each accused of fraudulently misleading the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) during the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) to the state retirement fund. The VRS was entitled to accurate information about the underlying mortgages when making decisions on how to invest taxpayer money and contributions by employees. Instead, these large banks purposefully included high-risk mortgages in securities and fraudulently misrepresented the quality of those loans to rating agencies and large investors like VRS. The securities were purchased starting around 2004, and before 2010, Virginia was forced to sell the vast majority of these toxic securities built on junk mortgages and lost $383 million.

In 2013, VRS was funded approximately 66% by Virginia taxpayers and 33% by contributions from state employees, with nearly 600,000 members including 145,000 teachers, 105,000 employees of city and county governments, and 78,000 state employees, as well as state troopers, local law enforcement, and court employees.

This is a rare state-level action brought by an Attorney General to hold banks accountable specifically for damages their fraud and recklessness caused state taxpayers through a public retirement system. It is the largest financial fraud action ever brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is the largest case ever brought under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The Commonwealth will also seek civil penalties against each bank in the amount of $5,500-$11,000 for each violation.

“The message today is clear. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small-time con artist or a multi-billion dollar Wall Street bank. If you try to rip off or defraud Virginia consumers or Virginia taxpayers, you will be caught and you will be held responsible,” said Attorney General Herring. “Every Virginian was harmed by the financial crisis. Homes were lost, retirement accounts were devastated, small businesses saw their credit dry up almost overnight, and state and federal budget cuts hurt vulnerable Virginians. It will take many more years to recover the economic strength and stability we lost, but I will not allow Virginians to be left holding the bag for the reckless, fraudulent business practices of a few big banks who thought they were above the law. These banks lied to Virginia, and taxpayers and state employees lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result.”

Each bank is alleged to have bundled risky residential mortgages into securities which were then sold to VRS in various quantities. The named banks are:

  • Barclays Capital Inc.
  • Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
  • Countrywide Securities Corporation
  • Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
  • Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • RBS Securities, Inc.
  • HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
  • Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC
  • UBS Securities LLC
  • WAMU Capital Corp.
  • J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (and as current owner of Bear, Stearns & Co.)
  • Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated(and as current owner of Banc of America Securities LLC)

 

While the banks offered the securities to VRS as stable, solid investments, an analysis shows that nearly 40% of the 785,000 mortgages backing 220 securities purchased by Virginia’s retirement system were fraudulently misrepresented in a way that made them a significantly higher risk for default. These banks knew, or should have known, that claims they made about the quality of the mortgages were false, but they systematically disregarded and hid their own evaluations, and third-party evaluations, that revealed just how risky these securities were. The Commonwealth of Virginia suffered hundreds of millions in losses after receiving and relying on this false information.

 

The banks misrepresented the underlying mortgages in the following ways:

1.      Misrepresenting the loan-to-value ratio of mortgages– A higher loan-to-value ratio significantly raises the risk of default. Across all banks, it was claimed that only 23.4% of loans were for more than 80% of the value of the property, when in reality, it was 54%. Additionally, 15% of homes were underwater, with mortgages that exceeded the value of the home.
2.      Misrepresenting the owner occupancy rate of the homes–Borrowers are more likely to default on a home they do not occupy, such as a vacation home or rental property.
3.      Misrepresenting the percentage of homes with a second mortgage–This is a major risk factor for default because borrowers with second loans tend to have fewer assets relative to the amount they have mortgaged.

Hundreds of securities that were offered at AAA or similarly high ratings with a 0.00% mortgage delinquency rate were eventually downgraded significantly as delinquency rates of the mortgages skyrocketed, in some cases as high as 75%.

While the losses to the Virginia Retirement System are estimated at $383 million, the law allows Virginia to seek “treble damages,” or three times the actual damage, as compensation and to deter this kind of conduct. It is expected that money recovered as part of this suit will be returned to Virginia taxpayers and that damages suffered by VRS will be redressed.

The fraud was reported to the Commonwealth using a provision of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act which incentivizes and allows whistleblowers to report fraud against Virginia taxpayers. After closely examining the evidence collected by the whistleblower and finding it to be accurate and convincing, Attorney General Herring is bringing the case on behalf of Virginia taxpayers. The whistleblower, a financial modeling and analysis firm called Integra REC, LLC, discovered the fraud using extremely sophisticated proprietary methods to match-up the RMBS purchased by VRS with the actual mortgages and properties they contained.

The case is being handled by Attorney General Herring’s Civil Litigation Division, including Deputy Attorney General Rhodes Ritenour, and Assistant Attorney General Peter E. Broadbent, III.

 

 

 # #

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(SOURCE: oag.state.va.us)

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Former analyst claims Moody’s falsely inflated ratings

Former analyst claims Moody’s falsely inflated ratings

AND why would Holder intervene? His former law firm Covington ALSO was counsel to Moody’s…read this memo:

MEMORANDUM

TO: File No. S7-12-03
FROM: Mandy Sturmfelz
DATE: October 20, 2003
RE: Concept Release No. 33-8236: Rating Agencies and the Use of Credit Ratings under the Federal Securities Laws

On September 11, 2003, Robert L.D. Colby, Michael A. Macchiaroli, Thomas K. McGowan, Mark M. Attar, and Mandy Sturmfelz of the SEC’s Division of Market Regulation met with John Rutherfurd, Jr., President and CEO of Moody’s Corporation, and Raymond W. McDaniel, President of Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (“Moody’s”), to discuss Moody’s comment letter on the above-referenced concept release. David B.H. Martin and Lanny A. Breuer of Covington & Burling, counsel to Moody’s, also attended the meeting.

Lexology-

Former Moody’s analyst, Ilya Kolchinsky, has accused the credit rating powerhouse of overstating its ratings for countless toxic mortgage-backed securities that caused the financial meltdown in 2008, misleading investors and costing the U.S. billions in funds spent bailing out Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks. Kolchinsky’s 107-page False Claims Act complaint, filed in 2012, was recently unsealed after the government failed to intervene.

The complaint alleges that from 2004 to 2007, Moody’s issued inflated ratings, often “triple-A,” for the majority of risky residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations it reviewed, as a result of “concealed conflicts of interest and Moody’s reckless profit-maximization policies.” According to Kolchinsky, it wasn’t until October 2007 when the market started its downward turn that Moody’s began downgrading its ratings.

[LEXOLOGY]

image credit: Jason Reed/REUTERS

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Many Bank Mortgage Cases Remain as Prosecutor (California AG Kamala Harris Brother-in-Law Tony West) Looks to Get Rich

Many Bank Mortgage Cases Remain as Prosecutor (California AG Kamala Harris Brother-in-Law Tony West) Looks to Get Rich

It’s not one but ALL of them! What are the chances??

The Street-

Bank of America’s (BAC) $16.65 billion mortgage settlement is done, so it’s time for Tony West, the architect of that deal, to get rich.

Never mind that at least 11 similar mortgage fraud investigations are still open. Though the $16.65 billion fine being paid by Bank of America includes only $9.65 billion in cash, it will undoubtedly be the largest. So why should West, the Associate Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) third-ranking official, bother finishing the job in relative obscurity when a private sector payday awaits?

West will step down effective Sept. 15, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the DOJ website.

[THE STREET]

image credit: ibabuzz.com/ AP

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Bank of America seeks to void verdict in $1.27 billion ‘Hustle’ case

Bank of America seeks to void verdict in $1.27 billion ‘Hustle’ case

Where else can you get caught with as much fraud as all these cartels and still stay in business and manage to service government related loans? Only in Amerika! Unfreakin Believable!

So lets get this straight. BOA has paid billions for other fraudulent acts and is saying this is no way, no how tied to fraud? REALLY??


Reuters-

Bank of America Corp on Thursday asked a federal judge to throw out a jury verdict finding it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit that resulted in a $1.27 billion penalty.

The bank urged U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan to rule for it as a matter of law or order a new trial, arguing that the evidence at trial did not support the jury’s October 2013 verdict.

Bank of America said prosecutors were required at trial to prove that loans originated by Countrywide Financial Corp in a process called “Hustle” that were then sold to government mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not as good as the lender represented.

[REUTERS]

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HSBC, Nomura lose bid to avoid U.S. agency’s mortgage lawsuits

HSBC, Nomura lose bid to avoid U.S. agency’s mortgage lawsuits

Reuters-

A U.S. regulator can proceed with lawsuits accusing HSBC Holdings Plc and Nomura Holdings Inc of misleading Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying mortgage-backed securities that later turned toxic, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan clears the way for HSBC to face trial Sept. 29 in a case by the Federal Housing Finance Agency that the bank has estimated could expose it to $1.6 billion in liability.

FHFA launched 18 lawsuits in 2011 over about $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities. HSBC, Nomura and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are the remaining banks being sued by the regulator.

[REUTERS]

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You Thought the Mortgage Crisis Was Over? It’s About to Flare Up Again

You Thought the Mortgage Crisis Was Over? It’s About to Flare Up Again

Tic-Toc…tic-toc


New Republic-

We are nearly eight years removed from the beginnings of the foreclosure crisis, with over five million homes lost. So it would be natural to believe that the crisis has receded. Statistics point in that direction. Financial analyst CoreLogic reports that the national foreclosure rate fell to 1.7 percent in June, down from 2.5 percent a year ago. Sales of foreclosed properties are at their lowest levels since 2008, and the rate of foreclosure starts—the beginning of the foreclosure process—is at 2006 levels. At the peak, 2.9 million homes suffered foreclosure filings in 2010; last year, the number was 1.4 million.

But these numbers are likely to reverse next year, with foreclosures spiking again. And it has nothing to do with recent-vintage loans, which actually have performed as well as any in decades. Instead, a series of temporary relief measures and legacy issues from the crisis will begin to bite in 2015, causing home repossessions that could present economic headwinds. In other words, the foreclosure crisis was never solved; it was deferred. And next year, the clock begins to run out on that deferral.

The problem comes from many different angles. First, as the Los Angeles Times reported recently, home equity lines of credit—second mortgages that homeowners took out during the bubble years, essentially using their homes as an ATM—will start to feature increased payments, as borrowers must pay back principal instead of just the interest. TransUnion, the credit rating firm, estimates that between $50 and $79 billion in home-equity loans risk default because of the increased payments, which could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to payments a month.

Home equity resets will be concentrated in areas most affected by the housing bubble, because that’s where the most lending took place. These are precisely the areas whose economies remain depressed b_

[NEW REPUBLIC]

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FHFA Announces Settlement with Goldman Sachs

FHFA Announces Settlement with Goldman Sachs

HAPPY FRIDAY! In hopes this all is forgotten by Monday and so their stock don’t take a hit. Nice going as usual.

Heard from the sources that Wells Fargo is next…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8/22/2014

? Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, today announced it has reached a settlement with Goldman Sachs, related companies and certain named individuals.  The settlement addresses claims alleging violations of federal and state securities laws in connection with private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007.

Under the terms of the settlement, Goldman Sachs will pay $3.15 billion in connection with releases and the purchase of securities that were the subject of statutory claims in the lawsuit FHFA v. Goldman Sachs & Co., et al., in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.  Goldman Sachs will pay approximately $2.15 billion to Freddie Mac and approximately $1 billion to Fannie Mae.  This settlement, worth approximately $1.2 billion, effectively makes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whole on their investments in the securities at issue.  As part of the settlement, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will release certain claims against Goldman Sachs & Co. related to the securities involved.

The settlement also resolves claims that involved a Goldman Sachs security in FHFA v. Ally Financial Inc., et al.  FHFA previously settled claims against Ally Financial Inc.

This is the sixteenth settlement reached in the 18 PLS lawsuits? FHFA filed in 2011.  Three cases remain outstanding and FHFA is committed to satisfactory resolution of those actions.

Link to Settlement Agreement with Fannie Mae

Link to Settlement Agreement with Freddie Mac???

 

###

? The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.  These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.6 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.

Contacts:

?Corinne Russell (202) 649-3032 / Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030?

SOURCE: fhfa.gov

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Some homeowners could get hit with a whopping tax bill if they accept help through Bank of America’s settlement

Some homeowners could get hit with a whopping tax bill if they accept help through Bank of America’s settlement

The never-ending saga…


WAPO-

The $17 billion settlement that Bank of America reached with the Department of Justice on Thursday provides mortgage debt relief for some troubled homeowners. But those that accept the help could get hit with a hefty tax bill later.

As part of the settlement, the bank agreed to spend $7 billion on helping struggling homeowners and communities, including lowering the mortgage balances of certain borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth. The problem is that some of these “underwater” borrowers might have to pay taxes on the debt that’s forgiven.

In 2007, Congress adopted a law that spared homeowners from being taxed on the amount of the loan that was written off. But that tax break expired in December, and now that kind of relief can be counted as income by the IRS, an issue we wrote about in April.

[WASHINGTON POST]

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A.G. Eric Schneiderman Led State & Federal Working Group Announces Record-Breaking $16.65 Billion Settlement With Bank Of America

A.G. Eric Schneiderman Led State & Federal Working Group Announces Record-Breaking $16.65 Billion Settlement With Bank Of America

RMBS Task Force, Co-Chaired By Schneiderman, Secures Settlement That Includes $800 Million For New Yorkers, Including, For The First Time, Relief For Borrowers With FHA-Insured Loans

Settlement Addresses Misconduct That Contributed To The 2008 Financial Crisis

Schneiderman: “Today’s Settlement Is A Major Victory In The Fight To Hold Those Who Caused The Financial Crisis Accountable”

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined members of a state and federal working group he co-chairs to announce a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America. The settlement is the largest in U.S. history with a single institution, surpassing the $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase that was secured by the same state and federal working group last November. The settlement includes $800 million – $300 million in cash, and a minimum of $500 million worth of consumer relief – that will be allocated to New York State. As part of today’s settlement, Bank of America acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – arising out of the packaging, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) by Bank of America, as well as by Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, institutions that Bank of America acquired in 2008. The resolution also requires Bank of America to provide relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers, and affected communities through a variety of means, including relief that for the first time will assist certain homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) who were ineligible for relief under previous settlements.

The settlement requires Bank of America to pay $9.65 billion in hard dollars and provide $7 billion in consumer relief. New York State will receive at least $800 million: $300 million in cash and a minimum of $500 million in consumer relief for struggling New Yorkers. The settlement was negotiated through the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, a joint state and federal working group formed in 2012 to share resources and continue investigating wrongdoing in the mortgage-backed securities market prior to the financial crisis. Attorney General Schneiderman co-chairs the RMBS working group.

“Since my first day in office, one of my top priorities has been to pursue accountability for the misconduct that led to the crash of the housing market and the collapse of the American economy,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This historic settlement builds upon our work bringing relief to families around the country and across New York who were hurt by the housing crisis, and is exactly what our working group was created to do. The frauds detailed in Bank of America’s statement of facts harmed countless of New York homeowners and investors. Today’s result is a major victory in the fight to hold those who caused the financial crisis accountable.”

The settlement includes an agreed-upon statement of facts that describes how Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide made representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans they securitized and sold to investors.  Contrary to those representations, the firms securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that they knew had material defects. Bank of America also made representations to the FHA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about the quality of FHA-insured loans that Bank of America originated and underwrote. Contrary to those representations, Bank of America originated and underwrote FHA-insured mortgages that were not eligible for FHA insurance. Bank of America and Countrywide also made representations and warranties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about mortgages they originated and sold to those Government Sponsored Entities (GSE’s). Contrary to those representations and warranties, many of those mortgages were defective or otherwise ineligible for sale to GSE’s.

As the statement of facts explains, on a number of occasions, Merrill Lynch employees learned that significant percentages of the mortgage loans reviewed by a third party due diligence firm had material defects. Significant numbers of loans—50% in at least one pool—that were found in due diligence not to have been originated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, not to be in compliance with applicable underwriting guidelines and lacking sufficient offsetting compensating factors, and loans with files missing one or more key pieces of documentation were nevertheless waived into the purchase pool for securitization and sale to investors. In an internal email that discussed due diligence on one particular pool of loans, a consultant in Merrill Lynch’s due diligence department wrote: “[h]ow much time do you want me to spend looking at these [loans] if [the co-head of Merrill Lynch’s RMBS business] is going to keep them regardless of issues? . . . Makes you wonder why we have due diligence performed other than making sure the loan closed.” A report by one of Merrill Lynch’s due diligence vendors found that from the first quarter of 2006 through the second quarter of 2007, 4,009 loans that were part of loan pool samples reviewed by the vendor were not in compliance with underwriting guidelines or applicable laws and regulations, and were waived in to purchase pools by Merrill Lynch. This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled defective and toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.

Attorney General Schneiderman was elected in 2010 and took office in 2011, when the five largest mortgage servicing banks, 49 state attorneys general, and the federal government were on the verge of agreeing to a settlement that would have released the banks – including Bank of America – from liability for virtually all misconduct related to the financial crisis. Attorney General Schneiderman refused to agree to such sweeping immunity for the banks. As a result, Attorney General Schneiderman secured a settlement that preserved a wide range of claims for further investigation and prosecution.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the formation of the RMBS Working Group. The collaboration brought together the Department of Justice (DOJ), other federal entities, and several state law enforcement officials – co-chaired by Attorney General Schneiderman – to investigate those responsible for misconduct contributing to the financial crisis through the pooling and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. The negotiations for settlement, which were led by Associate Attorney General Tony West of DOJ, were part of the RMBS Working Group.

Under the settlement, Bank of America will be required to provide a minimum of $500 million in creditable consumer relief directly to struggling families and communities across the state. The settlement includes a menu of options for consumer relief to be provided, and different categories of relief are credited at different rates toward the bank’s $500 million obligation. The agreement also requires Bank of America to provide minimum amounts of creditable relief under certain priority categories in New York. The Consumer Relief Credit Menu, available here, details the how each category of relief will be credited and the minimum amounts for each category where applicable.

The most significant priority on the Consumer Relief Credit Menu is a change that will allow first lien principal reductions for certain types of FHA-insured mortgages. Borrowers with these types of loans have previously been excluded from getting the benefits of principal reduction under past settlements, despite the fact that a significant number of distressed loans fall into this category. According to data collected by the Office of the Attorney General, roughly 23% of all distressed loans in New York have FHA insurance, and FHA-insured loans represent the largest portion of Bank of America’s remaining distressed loan portfolio in New York.

Attorney General Schneiderman made it a high priority to extend principal forgiveness to FHA-insured mortgages in negotiations with Bank of America, and their inclusion in this settlement represents a huge step forward in Attorney General Schneiderman’s ongoing commitment to helping families move past the foreclosure crisis.

“Empire Justice Center is very pleased that the settlement with Bank of America provides for principal balance reductions on FHA-insured loans,” said Kirsten Keefe, Senior Attorney at the Empire Justice Center. “This is a critical component that has not been included in prior bank settlements. It has left homeowners with FHA loans at a disadvantage when trying to negotiate with their bank to save their homes. We thank Attorney General Schneiderman for making this a priority in the Bank of America Settlement.”

Bank of America will provide a minimum of $60 million in first lien principal reductions in New York, including the FHA-insured portfolio. Other New York-specific minimum requirements for consumer relief under this settlement include:

  • A minimum value of $20 million in donations, including cash and contributions of vacant and abandoned properties to land banks, units of local government and other nonprofits. Bank of America estimates that this will help address as many as 300 vacant properties—also known as zombie properties—across the state of New York.
  • The bank must also earn at least $35 million in credits for making cash donations to legal service providers, housing counseling agencies, land banks and other community development nonprofits. These relief options are a direct compliment to the investment Attorney General Schneiderman has made to these types of programs over the past three years, including more than $60 million in funding to support a network of housing counseling and legal service provider across the state under the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which has provided free, high-quality services to more than 30,000 homeowners since launching in 2012.
  • Bank of America must also provide $125 million in credits to create and preserve hundreds of units of affordable rental housing across New York State. This initiative is particularly critical in New York, where affordable rental housing is scarce and many families are struggling to find decent and affordable alternatives to homeownership following the economic crisis.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasiosaid, “We’re in the midst of an affordability crisis hitting New Yorkers from the very poor to those once solidly middle class. We are deeply grateful to the Attorney General for securing a historic settlement that will make a real difference for families struggling across the city and state. We are pushing hard to build and preserve an unprecedented amount of affordable housing to meet this crisis, and the Attorney General’s continued advocacy is proving vitally important in supporting that effort.”

“We applaud AG Schneiderman’s efforts to hold the too-big-to-fail banks accountable to lower income communities,” said Josh Zinner, Co-Director of New Economy Project. “We are hopeful that this settlement will provide relief to people and communities that have been hardest hit by predatory lending and high rates of foreclosure.”

Compliance with the settlement will be overseen by an independent monitor who will be responsible for ensuring that targets under the settlement are met and that quarterly reporting requirements, which will measure how relief is being allocated at a Census Tract level, are made available to the public.

This matter was led by former Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Virginia Chavez Romano, Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau Chad Johnson, Senior Enforcement Counsel for Economic Justice Steven Glassman, and Assistant Attorneys General in the Investor Protection Bureau Hannah Flamenbaum and Melissa Gable.

SOURCE: http://ag.ny.gov

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Countrywide’s Mozilo Said to Face U.S. Suit Over Loans

Countrywide’s Mozilo Said to Face U.S. Suit Over Loans

AND …Again…But aren’t the statute of limitations NOW after them? I’m sure they are! Nice try Holder, Nice try!

Look forward to the complaint coming soon.


Bloomberg-

Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo hasn’t escaped the wrath of prosecutors for his company’s role in inflating the U.S housing bubble that preceded the financial crisis.

More than 12 months after a deadline passed to file criminal charges, U.S. attorneys in Los Angeles are preparing a civil lawsuit against Mozilo and as many as 10 other former Countrywide employees, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The government is making a last ditch-effort to hold him accountable for the excesses of the past decade’s subprime-mortgage boom, using a 25-year-old law that has helped the Justice Department win billions of dollars from Wall Street banks, said the people, who weren’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.

[BLOOMBERG]

image: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg

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Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection

Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection

NYT-

One afternoon in October 2009, a former banking executive named Aaron Siegel waited impatiently in the master bedroom of a house in Buffalo that served as his office. As he stared at the room’s old fireplace and then out the window to the quiet street beyond, he tried not to think about his investors and the $14 million they had entrusted to him. Siegel was no stranger to money. He grew up in one of the city’s wealthiest and most prominent families. His father, Herb Siegel, was a legendary playboy and the majority owner of a hugely profitable personal-injury law firm. During his late teenage years, Aaron lived essentially unchaperoned in a sprawling, 100-year-old mansion. His sister, Shana, recalls the parties she hosted — lavish affairs with plenty of Champagne — and how their private-school classmates would often spend the night, as if the place were a clubhouse for the young and privileged.

So how, Siegel wondered, had he gotten into his current predicament? His career started with such promise. He earned his M.B.A. from the highly regarded Simon Business School at the University of Rochester. He took a job at HSBC and completed the bank’s executive training course in London. By all indications, he was well on his way to a very respectable future in the financial world. Siegel was smart, hardworking and ambitious. All he had to do was keep moving up the corporate ladder.

Instead, he decided to take a gamble. Siegel struck out on his own, investing in distressed consumer debt — basically buying up the right to collect unpaid credit-card bills. When debtors stop paying those bills, the banks regard the balances as assets for 180 days. After that, they are of questionable worth. So banks “charge off” the accounts, taking a loss, and other creditors act similarly. These huge, routine sell-offs have created a vast market for unpaid debts — not just credit-card debts but also auto loans, medical loans, gym fees, payday loans, overdue cellphone tabs, old utility bills, delinquent book-club accounts. The scale is breathtaking. From 2006 to 2009, for example, the nation’s top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in “face value.” And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paid just 4.5 cents on the dollar. These debt buyers collect what they can and then sell the remaining accounts to other buyers, and so on. Those who trade in such debt call it “paper.” That was Aaron Siegel’s business.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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Who is Dyck-O’Neal, and why are they suing 10,000 Floridians for $1Billion?

Who is Dyck-O’Neal, and why are they suing 10,000 Floridians for $1Billion?

In a nutshell, on July 1, 2013, The Florida Legislature passed the Fair Foreclosure Act (or some other nonsense name) which gutted consumer rights in foreclosure cases, but it actually did one positive thing – it reduced the time period for filing a deficiency lawsuit from 5 years to one year after foreclosure sale.  A deficiency lawsuit seeks a money judgment for the difference between the money owed to the bank in the final judgment minus the fair market value of the collateral (house) at the time of the foreclosure sale.
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Anyway, for judgments entered prior to the enactment of the new law, the deadline for filing a deficiency was July 1, 2014.  
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Well, Dyck-O’Neal, Inc. approached Fannie Mae and bought up tens of thousands of stale foreclosure judgments for cheap since the statute of limitations was about to expire – The source I know estimates $1B worth of Florida deficiencies.  The deal probably took place last summer, just after the Act passed, and the portfolio consists primarily of the oldest possible judgments – late 2009 and early 2010.  
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This year (primarily April through June), D.O. has filed thousands lawsuits throughout Florida seeking enormous money judgments against consumers who thought the foreclosure crisis was in their rear view mirror.  There was an enormous volume just prior to July 1st deadline.  So thousands of these lawsuits are starting their journey through the pipeline.  I’ll bet 90+% of these consumers will be defaulted.
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It gets better.  D.O. is bringing these lawsuits in the county in which the foreclosure occurred.  They are choosing the foreclosure county because (I assume) they surmise the lawsuit is based upon the original mortgage and note which relate to real property in that county.  However, its clear that a deficiency judgment is merely a general unsecured debt, meaning that the only proper place to sue the former homeowner is in the county where they now reside.  THOUSANDS of these defendants reside outside the state of Florida – My source even represents someone who lives in Japan.  Currently, their firm represents dozens of these defendants.
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On Monday, Parker & Dufresne filed the attached class action lawsuit against The Law Offices of Daniel Consuegra and Dyck-O’Neal, Inc. (Copy attached).  Attached to our complaint, you will find a sample Dyck-O’Neal complaint.
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There are a few of angles here:
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1)  D.O. purchased the stalest of debts from Fannie.  Why?  Because (a) those are the people who have had the longest period to recover, and (b) this is when Florida home values were at their lowest, creating the greatest deficiency gap.  Imagine these people who have already taken the credit hit and have moved on, only to be sued 8 years after they walked away from their underwater home.
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2)  D.O. and its lawyers are knowingly violating the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act by suing hundreds of out-of-state consumers on a purely unsecured debt.
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3)  Every one of these lawsuits attach two assignments – One from the original plaintiff to FNMA and another from FNMA to Dyck-O’Neal.  The FNMA to Dyck-O’Neal assignment is executed by an officer of Dyck-O’Neal “as attorney in fact for FNMA.”  See the attached POA which purportedly gave D.O. the power to do this back in October of 2008 pursuant to a separate “Deficiency Pursuit Agreement” from 2008.  I think this agreement raises all sorts of questions.  This is right after it was placed into conservatorship by the U.S. Treasury in September 2008.
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4)  Homeowners are getting it on both ends – Foreclosure courts, run by retired Senior Judges, rammed all of these foreclosures through the system with the justification of getting the collateral back to the banks.  In order to do this, these senior judges routinely rule in favor of the banks with watered-down evidence because the banks have such a hard time proving ownership of the loans.  I believe that these retired judges never thought FNMA would be showing up in court again to get these deficiency judgments. 
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5)  In addition to D.O., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation – a mortgage protection insurance company who paid out claims to servicers also filed a bunch of suits just under the deadline.  These suits were also filed by the same D.O. lawyers.  Many of these suits also violate the FDCPA by suing out of state defendants on unsecured claims.
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Huthsing v Dyck-O’Neal and Consuegra COMPLAINT

Dyck-O’Neal Power of Attorney

Attorney Chip Parker, www.jaxlawcenter.com

 

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Bank of America raises settlement offer for toxic mortgage deals to $7B cash. DOJ wants $10B

Bank of America raises settlement offer for toxic mortgage deals to $7B cash. DOJ wants $10B

NY TIMES-

Bank of America and federal prosecutors have accelerated their negotiations to resolve an investigation into the bank’s sale of troubled mortgage securities before the financial crisis. The two sides, however, remain far apart on crucial issues and a settlement remained elusive late Wednesday, even after the bank significantly raised its offer.

The bank’s lawyers and Justice Department prosecutors met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the size of a potential cash penalty, a major sticking point in the settlement talks, according to people briefed on the meeting. Heading into the meeting, the Justice Department was demanding roughly $17 billion to settle the case, more than $10 billion in the form of a cash penalty and the rest in so-called soft dollar payments to help struggling homeowners.

The bank was offering a total of $13 billion, the people said, including $4 billion in cash. The bank narrowed the gap on Wednesday, the people said, raising its cash offer to about $7 billion and its total proposal to roughly $14 billion.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

image: Victoria Will/Reuters

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Judge Rakoff Orders Bank of America’s Countrywide ordered to pay $1.3B “BRAZEN FRAUD”

Judge Rakoff Orders Bank of America’s Countrywide ordered to pay $1.3B “BRAZEN FRAUD”

Bloomberg-

Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide unit was ordered to pay $1.3 billion in penalties for defective mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, a little more than half of what the federal government had requested.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan issued the civil penalty against the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank today in the first mortgage-fraud case brought by the federal government to go to trial.

Countrywide and Rebecca Mairone, a former executive with the mortgage lender, were found liable by a jury in Manhattan federal court in October for selling thousands of bad loans to the two government-sponsored enterprises. Mairone was ordered to pay $1 million.

[BLOOMBERG]

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SB1987 | FACT SHEET: OPPOSE ACT TO CLEAR TITLE TO FORECLOSED PROPERTIES

SB1987 | FACT SHEET: OPPOSE ACT TO CLEAR TITLE TO FORECLOSED PROPERTIES

H/T Richard Zombeck

Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending
www.maapl.info

FACT SHEET: OPPOSE ACT TO CLEAR TITLE TO FORECLOSED PROPERTIES

Senate Bill 1987

Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has declared thousands of foreclosures void and homeowner rights violated. Massachusetts has a problem going forward with hundreds of thousands of titles to property, 65,000 of which were “foreclosed” homes. S1987’s attempt to deny former owners the right to regain illegally foreclosed property is not the same as clearing titles and is not the solution. It disparately impacts women and communities of color foreclosed on early in the crisis before the SJC recognized the many lender illegalities in foreclosure.

What Does This Bill Do? It does nothing to clear title – it attempts to exclude the party most likely to sue.
The Senate version of the bill shortens the time to overturn an illegal foreclosure after filing a foreclosure deed and accompanying affidavit from the long standing, 20 year statute of limitations to 3 years for future auctions and to only one year for those previously foreclosed. The bill provides no notice to MA homeowners of this curtailing of long-standing, property rights. In passing the bill on July 23rd, 2014, House leadership changed the bill to limit the decrease from 20 years to 10 for both present and future foreclosed homeowners. This change will at least protect homeowners in the present crisis.
The bill offers an exemption only if the former homeowner sues or is sued, knows to ask and can convince a judge to give permission to file a copy of their complaint in the Registry of Deeds. Getting such an allowance can be hard since court rulings on foreclosed homeowners’ claims against lenders’ illegal procedures are still evolving.
While S1987 provides triple, monetary damages if the foreclosing lender is found to have lied on its affidavit, the home in which people raised their children, invested all their incomes and participated in their communities is forever gone. A home is not just a financial investment. S1987 misses that reality: denying our right to fight for and reclaim an illegally foreclosed home and limiting judgment to financial recompense which can never repay what is lost when a home is taken illegally.

Will S1987 protect innocent, new homeowners who purchase post-foreclosure?
The clear majority of new purchasers (58%) are big, cash-only investors – not new owner-occupants or small local investors. Only homeownership and long-term stable rental ensure healthy neighborhoods.
The recording of any legal challenge to title –lis pendens– exists specifically to protect future buyers.
However, only a judge can approve such a filing (G.L. Chapter 184 sect. 15). When legal rulings evolve so quickly, judges are learning like the rest of us. Prior to each recent major SJC ruling in foreclosed homeowners’ favor, most judges ruled against those same legal claims, declaring arguments “frivolous” when homeowners attempted to appeal. Judges have not been able to fully assess what will or will not be determined a “frivolous challenge” in the near future and thus merit recording in the Registry now. If a homeowner is permitted to record the initial claim, they are also laid open to counter-suits that their filing was frivolous.
S1987 does nothing to clear title. The now common problems of broken chains of title to mortgages and missing notes means there may be other parties besides former homeowners who have rights unaffected by S1987. The only sure protection for new or old homeowners will be swift adjudication of or another remedy to the now numerous valid challenges to post-foreclosure titles and broken chains of ownership of mortgages and notes.

Can the foreclosure deed affidavit be considered as “conclusive evidence” of a valid foreclosure?
The foreclosure affidavit filed at the Registry in a foreclosure is a purposefully abbreviated form created by the legislature to memorialize the bare bones of a foreclosure. As has been adjudicated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in two decisions in the last two years:
“The statutory form was intended as an alternative to the more lengthy form prescribed by G.L. c. 244, §
15,… The purposes of a statutory form are…: to be recorded with the foreclosure deed and “secure the preservation of evidence that the conditions of the power of sale… have been complied with… Such an
affidavit is not conclusive proof of compliance with G.L. c. 244, § 14.”
The statutory affidavit covers none of the legal challenges that have been the critical breakthrough defenses against illegal foreclosures in the last few years: a mortgage having sub-prime characteristics, a broken chain of title to the mortgage, lacking an enforceable note, proper service on the homeowner of the notice of the auction, strict compliance with the right to cure period, etc. The affidavit S1987 attempts to elevated to a “conclusive evidentiary” status would require creation of a lengthier affidavit to cover the most salient issues. The abbreviated version used for decades cannot be elevated to proof of legal foreclosure. “Evidence” by its very nature must be the subject of scrutiny in court. “Conclusive evidence” without adjudication is a legal impossibility.

Can a curtailed time period to sue be fair when courts broaden the number of winnable offenses monthly?
Can the outcome of a lawsuit best predicted by the date it is brought be fair? If previously foreclosed homeowners had been limited to 1 year in 2008, none of the now common legally successful challenges to foreclosure could win in court then.

What new claims will become winnable in coming months?
S1987 will drown our Civil Court system in legal claims. As the state judiciary has grasped the many problems in the procedures of mortgaging and foreclosure of homes, they have moved to enforce our laws more and more completely. A significant percentage of the 65,000+ households that were foreclosed since 2007 now have valid and potentially winnable legal challenges to regain their title. The Massachusetts courts will be deluged as homeowners and their advocates rush to file suit on now viable claims within one year. A small percentage of such filings (1,300) will mean slightly fewer lawsuits in one year than were filed in the last six!

S1987 unjustly lacks any notification to former or present homeowners of vast cut in right to sue
S1987 provides a one year window for the over 65,000 foreclosed homeowners since 2007 to sue and get a copy of their complaint recorded at the local registry of deeds, rather than the traditional 20, a serious curtailment of traditional rights. The House bill, as amended, improves a still flawed bill by increasing the period to 10 years. Homeowners deserve notification that the state has changed the time period. S1987 includes no provision. Nor would S1987 notify future foreclosed homeowners of their Senate-proposed three year window to sue.
A homeowner will not know when their clock to sue starts. No Massachusetts law requires a deadline for recording a foreclosure deed and subject affidavit. S1987 does not fix this nor require notification to the supposed former homeowner of the filing. Currently deeds are recorded from 1 to 21 months after auction. No ‘foreclosed’ homeowner can be expected to check every week for the date a foreclosure deed is recorded.

Shouldn’t laws reverse the huge economic loss to the state rather than make that impossible?
Conservatively, the 65,000+ Massachusetts foreclosures represent a $20-$40 billion loss in wealth to the state’s households. The vast majority of those foreclosures were done by out of state lenders, who took almost all of those billion out of our state. It is well recognized that the loss of value in a home represents a concomitant loss of spending power representing additional billions of dollars of lost economic activity and spending in the Commonwealth. Studies also show concomitant unemployment and job losses, negative health impacts, much lower school performance by children, the tearing apart of the fabric of our communities, losses in property tax revenue to our municipalities, increase in crime and its concomitant costs. We should support our residents to get their homes back, receive justice they deserve, bring their pillaged wealth back and rebuild our economy.

Our Housing Market is Still Unstable: S1987 does not help
S1987 will not stabilize the housing market. MAAPL, the Mass Bankers Association, and Commissioner of Banks all stated publicly that they do not believe foreclosures are over. Spring 2014 foreclosures spiked again: March, April and May’s petitions to foreclose and June auctions more than doubled. Percentages over the prior year were still far higher than the height of the then believed to be devastating foreclosure crisis of the early 1990s.
While the initial cause of the foreclosures and damage to our housing market appeared to be sub-prime lending policies, evidence now shows that the damage was caused by the huge housing bubble. Now that property prices have dropped down closer to the normal historical curve, those hugely overpriced mortgages are still common place in our state. These continue to destabilize neighborhoods and our housing market as a whole. Surface solutions that allow some properties to be purchased more easily will not address the underlying problems or the continuing accumulation of damages from the foreclosures that have happened already.

S1987 Only Claims to Address a Small Part of the Widespread Ruined Titles in our Registries
In addition to the problems exposed in the Ibanez ruling of “broken chain of title to the mortgage,” numerous additional examples of other chain of title to mortgage problems exist, such as the recent Eaton decision’s on “holding the note” and a dozen others highlighted in seminal, SJC decisions in the last couple years alone. These problems compromise the marketability of title. Their property record contains the same legal violations. What are the homeowners to do who face these problems each and every month over the next 30 to 50 years when they or their heirs go to refinance or sell their home? S1987 is a response to the tip of the Housing Bubble/Housing Crash iceberg. It does not resolve title problems either for those who have been illegally foreclosed or the much larger percentage of homeowners who will face these problems in the decades going forward. Damage to titles can be located. The state should commit to finding them and providing a genuine repair.

maaplinfo@yahoo.com    www.MAAPL.info Legislative Contact: Grace Ross, 617-291-5591

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Goldman Sachs mortgage deal with federal agency FHFA could reach $1.25 billion

Goldman Sachs mortgage deal with federal agency FHFA could reach $1.25 billion

Reuters-

A deal to resolve a U.S. regulator’s claims against Goldman Sachs Group Inc over mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leading up to the financial crisis could cost the bank between $800 million and $1.25 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person said Goldman Sachs is discussing a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which filed 18 lawsuits against Goldman and other banks in 2011 over about $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later went sour.

Goldman Sachs and the FHFA declined to comment on Saturday.

[REUTERS]

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