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The Destruction of a Foreclosure Lawyer’s Faith in the Justice System

The Destruction of a Foreclosure Lawyer’s Faith in the Justice System


If the courts can’t address clear instances of fraud and injustice, how can they protect our citizens?

 New Deal 2.0-

It has been exactly 18 months since I deposed GMAC Mortgage’s prolific document signer, Jeffrey Stephan, in a case where I was defending a Maine homeowner in foreclosure. Stephan admitted to signing 8,000 to 10,000 foreclosure documents a month (that is about one a minute, if you do the arithmetic), including summary judgment affidavits used by courts as the basis for entering forclosure judgments. Stephan’s affidavits were sent by GMAC to courts all over the country. Obviously, and as Stephan admitted, he did not bother to read those affidavits. He also admitted that he had no idea as to whether the foreclosure affidavits that he signed were true. He didn’t even trouble himself to appear before a notary to be sworn, even though his affidavits said that he had done so. While Stephan admitted that he understood that judges were relying upon his affidavits to take away the homes of homeowners all over the country, he seemed serene and untroubled by his dishonesty in signing these false affidavits. (Conduct like this has since been awarded the slang term “robo-signing,” but I never use it because it fails to adequately describe the dishonesty and deception involved.)

[NEW DEAL 2.0]

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Maine Supreme Judicial Court upholds ruling in robo-signing foreclosure

Maine Supreme Judicial Court upholds ruling in robo-signing foreclosure


A Denmark woman whose case touched off a national uproar over foreclosures with faulty paperwork may finally lose her home.

KJOnline-

By a 5-1 decision released this morning, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld a lower court ruling that allowed loan servicer GMAC Mortgage, despite admittedly flawed practices involved in affadavit signing, to foreclose upon a home in Denmark purchased in 2003 by Nicolle M. Bradbury.

[KJONLINE]

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Jeffrey Stephan, the first bank employee outed as a “robo-signer,” still works at GMAC (not as a robo-signer)

Jeffrey Stephan, the first bank employee outed as a “robo-signer,” still works at GMAC (not as a robo-signer)


For some these are documents and for others it represents families.

 

WSJ-

GMAC Mortgage LLC, the mortgage servicer that vaulted “robo-signing” into the headlines, says it has overhauled its foreclosure procedures.

The unit of Ally Financial Inc. has put each employee who works on foreclosures through an additional 40 hours of training, testing them on what they learned. Outside law firms that handle foreclosures for GMAC must answer questions about their own practices and are subject to on-site reviews.

The changes came after GMAC employee Jeffrey Stephan said in a deposition last year that he had signed off on as many as 10,000 foreclosure documents without proper review.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Maine Appeal pushes for sanctions in foreclosure

Maine Appeal pushes for sanctions in foreclosure


Portland Press Herald-

PORTLAND – The “robo-signing” foreclosure case of a Denmark woman represents such a serious attack on the integrity of the state’s judicial system that an investigation of the mortgage servicer’s practices is warranted, the woman’s lawyer argued before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday.

Nicolle Bradbury’s attorney, Thomas Cox, also said a lower court erred when it failed to find GMAC Mortgage in contempt because one of its employees signed a sworn document in support of foreclosure on her home without reviewing the relevant records. Cox, who discovered the flawed process, argued that it was part of a pattern and that the trial court should have considered remedial or punitive action against GMAC.

Cox said such affidavits affect all of the 1,152 foreclosure actions brought in Maine by GMAC over the past six years. He said GMAC was sanctioned in Florida for the same problems in 2006, but failed to reform its practices.

[PORTLAND PRESS]

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Vexed by Securitization Suit, Banks Pull Out of Mortgage Fraud Settlement Meeting

Vexed by Securitization Suit, Banks Pull Out of Mortgage Fraud Settlement Meeting


Banks blow up mortgage settlement talks, despite Iowa AG Tom Miller’s begging and whimpering!!

TIME-

The five biggest mortgage servicers have cancelled a planned negotiating session with representatives of the 50 State Attorneys General in apparent protest over a federal regulator filing suit against them, a source familiar with the matter tells TIME.

The banks canceled the meeting on Tuesday afternoon in protest over the announcement last Friday that the Federal Housing Finance Agency would bring a broad case against 17 firms, including those in talks with the State AGs. The FHFA, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, alleges the firms violated securities law by misrepresenting the value of bundles of high-risk mortgages they sold. FHFA did not say how much the case might be worth, but outside analysts have said it could potentially produce billions of dollars in compensatory damages from the firms.

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In Disputed Fannie and Freddie Mortgage Deals Evidence of ‘Robo-Signing’

In Disputed Fannie and Freddie Mortgage Deals Evidence of ‘Robo-Signing’


TIME-

Long before the banks started evicting delinquent homeowners, Wall Street, it appears, used robo-signers to ink mortgage deals that would eventually cost investors tens of billions of dollars and in part led to the financial crisis.

According to lawsuits filed last week by the U.S.’s Federal Housing Financing Agency, one individual was used by three different banks to sign off on 36 different mortgage bond deals in 2006 alone. Many of the deals contained as many as 4,000 home loans. Yet, according to the lawsuits, the individual Evelyn Echevarria signed documents attesting to the fact that all the loans – well over 100,o00 in 2006 alone


Read more:
[Curious Capitalist.blogs.time.com]

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It’s hard to Believe the Gnomes at Freddie and Fannie didn’t know what they were buying

It’s hard to Believe the Gnomes at Freddie and Fannie didn’t know what they were buying


This is a great article written by Kevin Villani who was senior vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985.

American Banker-

In the 1980s Freddie Mac had a marketing campaign “The Gnomes Know,” touting their expertise in mortgage markets. Now the Federal Housing Finance Agency has filed a $200 billion lawsuit against 17 of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders arguing that during the subprime lending debacle of the last decade the gnomes didn’t know!


[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Prove Fannie and Freddie Innocent Before Suing the Banks–And Here Is How

Prove Fannie and Freddie Innocent Before Suing the Banks–And Here Is How


Business Insider-

Last Friday the U.S. regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has the oversight responsibility of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued 17 large banks and financial institutions relating to losses on approximately $200 billion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac subprime bonds.

Now, let me be clear right from the start.  I am no apologist for the banks.  And historically my tendency has been to support better financial regulation and even the Democratic Party through my voting preference.

However, enough is enough.  At this point in time the Government and the FHFA have no right to sue the banking industry on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  That is a joke.



Read more:
[BUSINESS INSIDER]

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Janet Tavakoli: “Fraud As a Business Model”

Janet Tavakoli: “Fraud As a Business Model”


If William K. Black and Janet would only team up to write a book?

HuffPO-

There were many factors that contributed to our recent financial bubble: deregulation, cheap money from the Fed, failure to enforce remaining regulations, crony capitalism, hubris, speculation, leverage, and fraud among other problems. While fraud wasn’t the only issue, it was and is a significant contributor to the credit bubble. Restraining fraud is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a sound financial system. Congressional investigations in recent years have put ample evidence of fraud in the public domain.

To illustrate just one type of malicious mischief, Senator Carl Levin (D. Mich.), Chairman of a senate investigative panel, issued a memo stating that Goldman ” magnified the impact of toxic mortgages.” The Wall Street Journal reviewed data showing that a $38 million subprime-mortgage bond created in June 2006 was referenced in more than 30 debt pool causing around$280 million in losses to investors by 2008. In other words, Goldman kept repackaging, reselling or protecting (buying credit default protection on) losers. It took the wrong kind of nerve for Goldman’s CEO to say he was doing “God’s work.”

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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FHFA puts out statement clarifying lawsuits

FHFA puts out statement clarifying lawsuits


For Immediate Release Contact:

Corinne Russell (202) 414-6921
Stefanie Johnson (202) 414-6376

September 6, 2011

Federal Housing Finance Agency Statement on Recent Lawsuits Filed Upon

[ipaper docId=64098989 access_key=key-2ooexah5egqokqopzcs0 height=600 width=600 /]

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U.S. banks offered deal over lawsuits – FT

U.S. banks offered deal over lawsuits – FT


REUTERS-

Big U.S. banks in talks with state prosecutors to settle claims of improper mortgage practices have been offered a deal that is proposed to limit part of their legal liability, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The FT said state prosecutors have proposed a deal to limit part of the banks’ liability in return for a multibillion-dollar payment.

The talks aim to settle allegations that banks including Bank of America (BAC.N), JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Wells Fargo (WFC.N), Citigroup (C.N) and Ally Financial (GKM.N). seized the homes of delinquent borrowers and broke state laws by employing so-called “robosigners”, workers who signed off on foreclosure documents en masse without reviewing the paperwork.

[REUTERS]

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FHFA Complaints: Can Control Frauds Recover for Being Defrauded by other Control Frauds?

FHFA Complaints: Can Control Frauds Recover for Being Defrauded by other Control Frauds?


William K. Black-

Reading the FHFA complaints against many of the world’s largest banks is a fascinating and troubling process for anyone that understands “accounting control fraud.” The FHFA, a federal regulatory agency, sued in its capacity as conservator for Fannie and Freddie. Its complaints are primarily based on fraud. The FHFA alleges that the fraud came from the top, i.e., it alleges that many of the world’s largest banks were control frauds and that they committed hundreds of thousands of fraudulent acts. The FHFA complaints emphasize that other governmental investigations have repeatedly confirmed that the defendant banks were engaged in endemic fraud. The failure of the Department of Justice to convict any senior official of a major bank, and the almost total failure to indict any senior official of a major bank has moved from scandal to farce.

The FHFA complaints are distressing, however, in their failure to explain why the frauds occurred and how an accounting control fraud works. The FHFA complaint against Countrywide is particularly disappointing because …

[BENZINGA]

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Fannie-Freddie’s Hypocritical Suit Against Banks Making Loans that GSEs Helped Create

Fannie-Freddie’s Hypocritical Suit Against Banks Making Loans that GSEs Helped Create


Lets NOT forget both Fannie and Freddie, like most of the named banks they are suing, each are shareholders of MERS.

Again, who gave the green light to eliminate the need for assignments and to realize the greatest savings, lenders should close loans using standard security instruments containing “MOM” language back in April 26, 1999?

This was approved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which named MERS as Original Mortgagee (MOM)!

Open Market-

“U.S. is set to sue dozen big banks over mortgages,” reads the front-page headline in today’s New York Times. The “deck” below the headline explains that that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is “seen as arguing that lenders lacked due diligence” in the loans they made.

A more apt description would probably be that Fannie and Freddie are suing the banks for selling them the very loans the GSEs helped designed and that government mandates encourage — and are still encouraging them to make. These conflicted actions are just one more of the government’s contributions to the uncertainty that is helping to keep unemployment at 9 percent.

Strangely the author of the Times piece, Nelson Schwartz, ignores the findings of a recent blockbuster

[OPEN MARKET]

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FULL COMPLAINTS | FHFA Sues 17 Firms to Recover Losses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

FULL COMPLAINTS | FHFA Sues 17 Firms to Recover Losses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac


UPDATE :

FHFA suit stops short of going nuclear, ignores the biggest flaw in securitization/REMICs – failure to properly convey the notes….instead, FHFA sez loans were xferred properly to trust, to prevent 100% taxation 4 failure 2 comply w/ IRC’s REMIC requirements. Cute…I worry that this is an attempt to fix / limit total bank exposure by getting uncontested ruling that REMIC provisions were followed…

via @Thad Bartholow

What? Why is “WELLS FARGO” not listed? Let me know when they get to “W”.

FHFA Sues 17 Firms to Recover Losses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Washington, DC — The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), today filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions, certain of their officers and various unaffiliated lead underwriters. The suits allege violations of federal securities laws and common law in the sale of residential private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) to the Enterprises.

Complaints have been filed against the following lead defendants, in alphabetical order:

FHFA Filings in PLS Cases, September 2, 2011:

  1. Ally Financial Inc. f/k/a GMAC, LLC
  2. Bank of America Corporation
  3. Barclays Bank PLC
  4. Citigroup, Inc.
  5. Countrywide Financial Corporation
  6. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc.
  7. Deutsche Bank AG
  8. First Horizon National Corporation
  9. General Electric Company
  10. Goldman Sachs & Co.
  11. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.
  12. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  13. Merrill Lynch & Co. / First Franklin Financial Corp.
  14. Morgan Stanley
  15. Nomura Holding America Inc.
  16. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC
  17. Société Générale

The cases are Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), 11-CV-6195; FHFA v. Barclays Bank Plc., 11-CV- 6190; FHFA v. Citigroup, 11-CV-6196; FHFA v. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA) Inc., 11-CV-6200; FHFA v. Deutsche Bank AG, 11- CV-6192; FHFA v. First Horizon National Corp., 11-CV-6193; FHFA v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 11-CV-6198; FHFA v. HSBC North America Holdings Inc., 11-CV-6189; FHFA v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., 11-CV- 6188; FHFA v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 11-CV-6202; FHFA v. Nomura Holding America Inc., 11-CV-6201; FHFA v. SG Americas Inc., 11- CV-6203, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

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Robo-Signing Redux: Servicers Still Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Robo-Signing Redux: Servicers Still Fabricating Foreclosure Documents


American Banker did an outstanding, superb job with this article. Please read.

American Banker-

Some of the largest mortgage servicers are still fabricating documents that should have been signed years ago and submitting them as evidence to foreclose on homeowners.

The practice continues nearly a year after the companies were caught cutting corners in the robo-signing scandal and about six months after the industry began negotiating a settlement with state attorneys general investigating loan-servicing abuses.

Several dozen documents reviewed by American Banker show that as recently as August some of the largest U.S. banks, including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., Ally Financial Inc., and OneWest Financial Inc., were essentially backdating paperwork necessary to support their right to foreclose.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Federal Bank Regulators Scrutinizing Mortgage Lawsuits Against Banks, Opening New Worry For Investors, Bankers

Federal Bank Regulators Scrutinizing Mortgage Lawsuits Against Banks, Opening New Worry For Investors, Bankers


HuffPO-

WASHINGTON — Federal bank regulators are scrutinizing more than 150 home loan-related lawsuits directed at lenders and mortgage companies, a top official at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation plans to say Thursday, underscoring the threat the largest U.S. banks face from faulty and improper mortgage and foreclosure practices.

The revelation will likely add to large banks’ woes, as the five biggest servicers — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial — currently face up to $30 billion in penalties from state attorneys general and federal agencies for wrongful foreclosures and other mortgage-related misdeeds.

Continue reading [HUFFINGTONPOST]

[ipaper docId=59494826 access_key=key-1lt0129qogynaedlq4lt height=600 width=600 /]

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Ally Financial Faces Charge for Mortgage Losses, Receives Subpoens from DOJ & SEC

Ally Financial Faces Charge for Mortgage Losses, Receives Subpoens from DOJ & SEC


WSJ-

Ally Financial Inc. said it expects to incur a $100 million second-quarter charge to cover mortgage losses posted by securitization trusts, and that it received subpoenas from regulators related to “certain mortgage activities,” according to a regulatory filing early Wednesday.

In an updated prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ally said it made payments to such trusts of $152 million in the second quarter to cover losses related to …

Continue reading [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general


Lets not act surprised in this as we always knew there was something cooking behind the scenes and not everyone agreed and probably disappointed with the approach Tom Miller from Iowa was heading.

WaPO-

As state attorneys general continue their months-long settlement negotiations with the nation’s largest banks over widespread problems in foreclosure practices, they have yet to resolve differences within their own group on key issues.

Even within the 14-member “executive committee” of attorneys general who are leading the 50-state coalition, some have very different visions of what exactly a settlement should look like.

[…]

A handful of crucial states, including California, Illinois and New York, have undertaken their own investigations into mortgage industry practices, subpoenaing information about business practices and seeking meetings with executives about such things as securitization to faulty court affidavits. Other officials, such as in Oklahoma, have threatened to pursue their own settlements with mortgage servicers.


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Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion

Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion


HuffPO-

The nation’s largest mortgage companies are operating on the assumption that they will have to pay as much as $20 billion to resolve claims of widespread foreclosure abuse, an amount four times what they had originally proposed, the top federal official overseeing the discussions told state officials Monday, according to people who participated in the conversation.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli told a bipartisan group of state attorneys general during a conference call that he believes the banks have accepted the realization that a wide-ranging settlement to the months-long probes will cost them much more than the $5 billion offer they floated last month, according to officials with direct knowledge of the call. Perrelli said he’s basing his belief on his recent conversations with representatives of the five targeted firms: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.


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HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”

HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”


LA Times-

A settlement between a coalition of federal and state agencies and banks over foreclosure practices will come in a “matter of weeks,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told the Los Angeles Times.

Donovan’s agency is involved in the negotiations with the banks, along with attorneys general from all 50 states and officials from the Justice Department and other federal agencies.

continue  reading… LA TIMES

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Feds to Ally Bank: Shore up foreclosure practices

Feds to Ally Bank: Shore up foreclosure practices


The Salt Lake Tribune-

Federal regulators have ordered Midvale-based Ally Bank to fix significant deficiencies in its foreclosure practices covering a two-year period in which among other things it submitted bogus legal documents for bankruptcies and other court actions.

The order from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alleges employees of Ally, two sister companies and their parent company, Allied Financial, signed foreclosure documents without reading them ­— a possibly illegal practice known as “robo-signing.”


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OPTION ARM | Foreclosure Deal May Let Banks Pick Payment Options

OPTION ARM | Foreclosure Deal May Let Banks Pick Payment Options


So much for the RegiSTARS, who requested to be included in discussions…and being ignored.

BLOOMBERG-

U.S. banks and state attorneys general, seeking to avoid $17 billion in court claims over faulty foreclosures, are discussing a settlement framework that may let firms choose from a menu of options for helping borrowers, two people briefed on the talks said.

Under the proposal, Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Citigroup Inc. (C) and Ally Financial Inc. would pay penalties and pledge billions of dollars in relief to home buyers, one of the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. Firms may fulfill obligations to borrowers over time, choosing among options such as reducing loan principal, cutting fees or paying moving costs, the people said.


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