Ally Financial | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA - Part 2

Tag Archive | "Ally Financial"

Sizing up a sweeping mortgage settlement

Sizing up a sweeping mortgage settlement


Mortgage lenders like Bank of America and Wells Fargo are fighting the fight on all fronts, with the latest being False Claims Act violations. Here’s what to look for in any settlements.

FORTUNE — The trouble for America’s largest mortgage lenders just keeps mounting. How much will it cost them to make it all go away?

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STATEMENT BY CT ATTORNEY GENERAL GEORGE JEPSEN CONCERNING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE INVESTIGATION

STATEMENT BY CT ATTORNEY GENERAL GEORGE JEPSEN CONCERNING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE INVESTIGATION


ATTORNEY GENERAL GEORGE JEPSEN
STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL GEORGE JEPSEN
CONCERNING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE INVESTIGATION

For immediate release ……………………………………..TUESDAY MAY 17, 2011

“The multistate investigation of the nation’s largest mortgage servicing companies confirms what my office has been told by thousands of Connecticut consumers, that these banks have done an incredibly poor job in dealing with the mortgage foreclosure mess they were instrumental in creating. As a result, millions of families have needlessly suffered, homeowners have lost billions of dollars in equity, and the real estate market continues to stagnate. Time is of the essence to fix this problem.

“Thus far, the national servicers have been unwilling to step up to the plate with the money necessary to address the full scope of the problems they themselves created. I believe they face substantial legal liability for their clearly illegal behavior should states be forced to sue. After being bailed out by American taxpayers, the banks owe those same taxpayers a real effort to partner with state and federal officials to clean up this mess.”

Attorney General Jepsen is a member of the National Association of Attorneys General multi-state task force seeking resolution of the mortgage foreclosure crisis

[Source: http://www.ct.gov/ag/site/default.asp]

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Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers

Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers


Boy does this have loads of Meat…

HuffPO EXCLUSIVE by Shahien Nasiripour

WASHINGTON — A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post.

The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said.

[…]

The state of Illinois has begun examining potentially-fraudulent court filings, looking at the role played by a unit of Lender Processing Services. Nevada and Arizona already launched lawsuits against Bank of America. California is keen on launching its own suits, people familiar with the matter say. Delaware sent Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., which runs an electronic registry of mortgages, a subpoena demanding answers to 75 questions. And New York’s top law enforcer, Eric Schneiderman, wants to conduct a complete investigation into all facets of mortgage banking, from fraudulent lending to defective securitization practices to faulty foreclosure documents and illegal home seizures.

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Foreclosure-Probe Chief Asked Bank Lawyers for Money

Foreclosure-Probe Chief Asked Bank Lawyers for Money


Probe? What probe?

TIME-

Now, in response to queries from TIME, Miller says he initiated fundraising calls to several national firms that represent big banks after he had announced his intention to investigate the foreclosure mess. “In September and October, I tried to reach out to people that I’d worked with and I thought had respect for me and potential support for me and tried to raise money from them,” Miller says. “And a number of them were from national firms.”


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Regulatory Actions Related to Foreclosure Activities by Large Servicers and Practical Implications for Community Banks

Regulatory Actions Related to Foreclosure Activities by Large Servicers and Practical Implications for Community Banks


This Special Foreclosure Edition describes lessons learned from an interagency review of foreclosure practices at the 14 largest residential mortgage servicers and includes examples of effective mortgage servicing practices derived from these lessons.

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Click Image Below

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Banks Rush to Improve Foreclosure Practices,

Banks Rush to Improve Foreclosure Practices,


Tic Toc, Tick Toc,

Tic Toc…

Wall Street Journal-

“We’re not happy” with the time it takes to give borrowers an answer, said Christine Larsen, head of operations for retail financial services at J.P. Morgan, who is responsible for implementing the consent orders. The bank is trying to speed response times by setting new customer-communication deadlines.

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Bank of America Accused of “Divide and Conquer” Strategy of Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Probe

Bank of America Accused of “Divide and Conquer” Strategy of Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Probe


Bloomberg-

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) was accused by a top official at the Iowa attorney general’s office of engaging in a divide-and-conquer strategy by undermining support for the settlement of a nationwide probe into foreclosure practices, a person familiar with the matter said.

The bank tried to get attorneys general to break away from those supporting the proposed accord, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Patrick Madigan said during a recent conference call, according to the person. A second person familiar with the settlement talks said the bank sought to sow dissent among the states, eight of which have publicly criticized the proposal’s terms. Both people asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Madigan declined to comment.

“We have held face to face negotiating sessions and our negotiations continue,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat who leads the 50-state effort, said in a statement. “We believe all the banks are negotiating in good faith.”


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Foreclosure Fraud Operation Uncovered At Detroit Law Firm With Ties To MI GOP

Foreclosure Fraud Operation Uncovered At Detroit Law Firm With Ties To MI GOP


MFI-MIAMI-

Several months ago, the major banks sounded the all clear signal regarding robo-signing in non-judicial foreclosure states, namely Michigan and Massachusetts.  It appears those claims of non-exist robo-signing were either greatly exaggerated or were overly optimistic.

MFI-Miami has uncovered evidence of forged documents drafted and signed by attorneys and employees at Orlans Associates at their corporate offices in Troy, Michigan.   These  fraudulent documents will impact tens of thousands of foreclosures done by Ally Financial, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan-Chase, Fannie Mae and others in Michigan and Massachusetts over the past five years and makes the investigation being done by Ingham County Register of Deeds, Curtis Hertel, Jr. and Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard into the robo-signing of Linda Green at the now defunct DocX look like a kindergarten production of the movie, The Firm.


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Bank of America Lawyer, Consultant Gave Foreclosure Probe Chief $15,000

Bank of America Lawyer, Consultant Gave Foreclosure Probe Chief $15,000


Welcome to the new norm, we are all in this for a price it appears. Going from handcuffs to no cuffs in matter of dollars.

via TIME

Two Miller contributors have become directly involved in defending the banks in the probe. One, Meyer Koplow of Wachtell Lipton in New York, gave Miller $5,000 and is representing Bank of America in direct negotiations with Miller, the attorney general tells TIME. Another, Elizabeth McCaul of Promontory Financial Group, gave Miller $10,000 and is consulting Bank of America in the negotiations, Miller says. Bank of America was one of the first and most prominent institutions accused in the foreclosure investigation. It gave more than $80,000 to the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, which spent more than $200,000 on Miller’s campaign, Miller says.


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TAIBBI | Best Way to Raise Campaign Money? Investigate Banks

TAIBBI | Best Way to Raise Campaign Money? Investigate Banks


ROLLING STONE POLITICS

A hilarious report has come out courtesy of the National Institute of Money in State Politics, showing that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller – who is coordinating the investigation into the banks’ improper mortgage dealings – increased his campaign contributions from the finance sector this year by a factor of 88! He has raised $261,445 from finance, insurance and real estate contributors since he announced that he was going to be coordinating the investigation into improper foreclosure practices. That is 88 times as much as they gave him not over last year, but over the previous decade.


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Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller Campaign Contributions Rise When Foreclosure Investigation Begins

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller Campaign Contributions Rise When Foreclosure Investigation Begins


FollowTheMoney.org

by Kevin McNellis, April 20, 2011

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s campaign war chest got a dramatic boost after he announced his leadership of the 50-state attorneys general investigation into foreclosure irregularities. Out-of-state law firms and donors from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector gave $261,445-which is 88 times more than they had given him over the previous decade.

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This publication was made possible by grants from:

Ford Foundation
Foundation to Promote Open Society
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Sunlight Foundation

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

Last fall, The New York Times reported that the nation’s largest banks were improperly—and potentially illegally—rushing foreclosure proceedings with faulty or incomplete paperwork, which caused the banks to temporarily declare a moratorium on pending foreclosures and prompted the state attorneys general to launch an investigation into their foreclosure practices.1 2 The first tangible evidence of that effort—led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller since last October—was leaked to the press in March.3 4

With negotiations nearing their conclusion, the final terms of the agreement will have significant implications for not only the nation’s largest banks and millions of homeowners, but the entire housing market and U.S. economy.

Given these stakes, it is not surprising that Attorney General Tom Miller—who has coordinated the national investigation and is currently at the center of the final negotiations—received large campaign donations from a variety of contributors with a vested interest in the final terms of the settlement.

Nearly half of the money Miller raised in 2010—$338,223 of $785,103—was donated after the October 13 announcement that he would be coordinating the 50-state attorneys general investigation.5

Contributions To Tom Miller

A detailed look at the campaign contributions made to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller reveals several interesting giving patterns.

First, however, these contributions have to be put into the larger context of Tom Miller’s involvement in last fall’s foreclosure moratorium, which began when Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America halted their foreclosure proceedings in dozens of states between September 20 and October 1, 2010.6 7

On September 24, Miller announced that his office was opening a civil investigation of Ally Financial’s foreclosure processes in Iowa.8 Two weeks later, on October 7, Miller’s office issued a press release stating that Miller had spoken to representatives of JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial, and Bank of America regarding their foreclosure proceedings; as well as “assigned staff to convene a separate group of bipartisan state attorneys general and state banking regulators to coordinate states’ reviews and responses to the troubling disclosures by mortgage companies.”9

Almost a week later, on October 13, Miller’s office made the official announcement that his office was coordinating a 50-state effort to examine foreclosure practices by major financial lenders.10

Miller’s major contributions from out-of-state lawyers and firms closely tracks these developments. Between September 30 and Election Day, Miller received $170,300 from lawyers outside of Iowa, which is two-thirds of all the money he raised from them during the entire two-year election cycle. (For a more detailed, day-by-day timeline of Miller’s contributions from lawyers and lobbyists, see his contributions timeline).

Although it is typical for candidates to raise large sums of money in the month immediately preceding the election, Miller’s out-of-state donations in 2010 were a significant departure from his two previous campaigns, in terms of the amount of money he raised, where it came from, and when.

  1. Miller raised $785,000 in 2010, more than double the $327,196 he raised for his 2006 and 2002 campaigns combined.
  1. Miller’s 2010 campaign was unprecedented in the amount of contributions received from outside of Iowa: $497,000, or 63 percent of his 2010 total, came from out-of-state donors. This is a significant break from his previous two reelection campaigns, when less than one-tenth of his campaign funds came from outside of Iowa.

TABLE 1: Miller’s Out-of-State Contributions
Election Out-of-state Contributions Percent of Total
2010 $497,357 63%
2006 $10,508 10%
2002 $19,498 9%

Even more interesting is that it was the lawyers and donors from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector from outside of Iowa who were largely responsible for this reversal. Out-of-state lawyers and lobbyists gave Miller $261,445 in 2010, which is 88 times more than they gave over the previous decade. Out-of-state donors from the FIRE sector gave Miller $56,150 in 2010, compared to $3,500 in 2006 and $1,000 in 2002.

The out-of-state lawyers who suddenly took a strong interest in Miller’s reelection last fall are among the most prominent litigators and partners from some of the largest and most famous corporate and class action firms in the country, which is not surprising given the numerous high-stakes court cases filed in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008 that could be impacted by the pending settlement.11

TABLE 2: Major Out-of-State Contributions from Lawyers
Firm Total from Firm Total from Firm’s Employees Grand Total
Boies, Schiller & Flexner 0 $63,450 $63,450
Kirby McInerney $25,000 0 $25,000
Simpson Thacher & Bartlet 0 $12,500 $12,500
Williams & Connolly 0 $10,500 $10,500
Kaplan, Fox & Kilsheimer $11,000 0 $11,000
Hanly, Conroy, Bierstein, Sheridan, Fisher & Hayes $10,000 0 $10,000
Total …………………$46,000 ………………………………………..$86,450 ………..$132,450
“Total from Firm” are donations made directly by the law firm. “Total from Firm’s Employees” are the sum of personal contributions made by employees of each firm.

Below are detailed explanations of the out-of-state lawyers and firms that gave Tom Miller significant contributions.

David Boies, Donald Flexner, and Robert Silver—all partners in the New York firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner—gave Miller $60,000, or 7.6 percent of his total, making the firm the largest contributor to Miller’s campaign.12 The firm is one of the most prominent in the country, best known for representing the U.S. government in U.S. vs. Microsoft, and Vice-President Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election recount.13

The firm also has a long record of defending corporate clients and dealing with complex financial litigation. Goldman Sachs hired the firm in June of 2010 to defend itself from a hedge fund seeking $1 billion over subprime mortgage-linked securities sold to them by Goldman, as well as several other suits brought against Goldman involving other investments backed by subprime mortgage-linked securities.14 15

Kirby McInerney—which is litigating Wachovia, Moody’s Corporation, National City, and Citigroup on behalf of state pension funds and shareholders who claim these firms misled them about their subprime mortgage investments—gave Miller $25,000.16 17 18 19

Kevin Arquit, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, gave Miller $12,500. Arquit, according to his official Simpson Thacher & Bartlett biography, is “regularly recognized as one of the world’s top antitrust attorneys.”20 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has recently been linked to several major players in the housing market. Most notably, the firm has worked with the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), as well as listing JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, and Lehman Brothers as clients.21 22

Eight partners from Williams & Connolly, another Washington, D.C. firm, combined to give Miller $10,500. The firm has experience defending high-profile clients—including representing President Clinton during his impeachment trial.23 The firm has been retained by Fannie Mae’s former CEO, Franklin Raines; its former CFO, J. Timothy Howard; and an ex-controller, Leanne Spencer, who all resigned in 2004 over allegations about Fannie Mae’s accounting practices.24 25 One of these partners, Gregory Craig, also deserves mention, as he was one of the first lawyers retained by Goldman Sachs in response to the SEC lawsuit.26

Kaplan, Fox & Kilsheimer gave Miller $11,000. The firm is suing Countrywide Financial and Fannie Mae over their use of subprime mortgage lending.27

Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes, another prominent New York-based class action firm, gave $10,000.

Milberg LLP, a prominent class action firm that is suing Citigroup over its mortgage modification practices, gave Miller $7,500.28

Meyer Koplow, a partner at the New York firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, gave Miller $5,000. Koplow is most famous for negotiating Philip Morris’ $206 billion class action settlement with state attorneys general in 1998.29

Frederick Kuykendall III, of both the Murphy Firm and Kuykendall & Associates, is currently involved in the class action suit against British Petroleum over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.30 Kuykendall gave Miller $5,000.

Robert Sherman coordinates with state attorneys general for Greenberg Traurig, a global, 1,800-lawyer corporate litigation firm.31 32 Sherman gave $1,500 to Miller, and Greenberg Traurig’s PAC contributed an additional $2,000.

Bernard Nash of the firm Dickstein Shapiro gave $2,500. Nash is a prominent corporate litigator, and advertises his own experience dealing with state attorneys general. According to the firm’s own website— “under Mr. Nash’s leadership, the State Attorneys General Practice has become the country’s largest and premier practice devoted to resolving State Attorney General disputes.”33

Stephen Houck is a prominent antitrust lawyer at Menaker & Herrmann, as well as the executive director of The Center for State Enforcement of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Laws, which supports antitrust and consumer protection enforcement across the country. Houck gave Miller’s campaign $1,000.

Notable FIRE Contributors

Miller received contributions from two notable FIRE contributors.

Elizabeth McCaul gave Miller $10,000. McCaul is the Partner-in-Charge of Promontory Financial—a large New York City-based consulting firm—and the former Superintendent of Banks for the State of New York Banking Department, the regulatory agency that oversees the banking industry in New York state, including Wall Street firms.34

Linda Killinger, the wife of Washington Mutual’s former CEO Kerry Killinger, gave Miller $10,000. Washington Mutual did not survive the credit crisis of 2008, largely because of its subprime lending, and Mr. Killinger is being sued by the FDIC over the firm’s collapse.35

Democratic Attorneys General Association

Miller also received $50,000 from the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA), a political organization that supports Democratic candidates across the country who run for attorney general. OpenSecrets.org lists DAGA’s top 2010 contributors, summarized below.

Notable contributions made to DAGA by lawyers and law firms include:

  1. $125,000 from the consumer protection firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, which is suing Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and many other financial institutions over their mortgage practices36
  2. $115,000 from Labaton Sucharow, a firm that is bringing multiple suits related to subprime mortgages37
  3. $77,500 from Kaplan, Fox & Kilsheimer, another national consumer firm with pending subprime mortgage litigation38

Also among DAGA’s top contributors were the same financial firms being sued by the above firms:

  1. Bank of America contributed $80,029
  2. JPMorgan Chase contributed $75,000
  3. Citigroup Global Markets, a subsidiary arm of Citigroup, contributed $65,000

Conclusion

An agreement between 14 major mortgage lenders and the Justice Department was reached on April 13, and the state attorneys general hope to reach a separate agreement in the next several months.39 It will be worth comparing the final terms of the agreement with the contributions listed above.

These contributions are both remarkable and altogether expected—remarkable for their size, their extreme deviation from Miller’s historical fundraising patterns, and the combined legal talent and experience accrued between the contributors themselves. Expected because the negotiation process has moved between the federal and state level.

It should not be surprising that those most concerned with the outcome gave money to the man serving as the central broker between millions of underwater homeowners and national and multinational financial institutions, with billions of dollars hanging in the balance.

  • 1. Streitfeld, David. “From a Maine House, a National Foreclosure Freeze,” The New York Times, October 14, 2010, available from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/business/15maine.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 2. Fontevecchia, Agustino, “Legal Heat On Robo-Signing Stokes Foreclosure Fiasco,” Forbes, October 13, 2010, available athttp://www.forbes.com/2010/10/13/foreclosure-investigation-freeze-housing-markets-mortgage.html, accessed April 13, 2010.
  • 3. “Attorney General Tom Miller Leads 50 State Mortgage Foreclosure Group,” October 13, 2010, Iowa Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General Tom Miller, available from http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/oct_2010/robo_signing.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 4. The actual document can be accessed here: Salmon, Felix, “The attorney generals’ proposed bank settlement,” Reuters, March 7, 2011, available from http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/03/07/the-attorney-generals-proposed-bank-settlement/, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 5. Attorney General Tom Miller Leads 50 State Mortgage Foreclosure Group,” October 13, 2010, Iowa Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General Tom Miller, available from http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/oct_2010/robo_signing.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 6. Zibel, Alan and Choi, Candice, “Questions and Answers About the Foreclosure Freeze,” Associated Press, October 19, 2010, available from http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/oct/19/questions-and-answers-about-the-foreclosure-freeze/, accessed April 15, 2010.
  • 7. Fontevecchia, Agustino, “Legal Heat on Robo-Signing Stokes Foreclosure Fiasco,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/13/foreclosure-investigation-freeze-housing-markets-mortgage.
  • 8. “Miller Launches Ally/GMAC Foreclosure Probe,” Iowa Department of Justice, September 24, 2010, Office of Attorney General Tom Miller, available from http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/sept_2010/Ally.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 9. “Miller Requests Mortgage Companies to Halt Iowa Foreclosures,” October 7, 2010, Iowa Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General Tom Miller, available from http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/oct_2010/halt_foreclosures.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 10. Attorney General Tom Miller Leads 50 State Mortgage Foreclosure Group,” October 13, 2010, Iowa Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General Tom Miller, available from http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/oct_2010/robo_signing.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 11. For a full list of cases as of March 29, 2011, see: LaCroix, Kevin, “The List: Subprime Lawsuit Dismissals and Denials,” The D & O Diary, available from http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/06/articles/subprime-litigation/the-list-subprime-lawsuit-dismissals-and-denials/index.html, accessed March 29, 2011.
  • 12. Six other Boies, Schiller, and Flexner lawyers gave Miller an additional $3,450 in 2010.
  • 13. Kaplan, David A., “David Boies: Corporate America’s No. 1 Hired Gun,” CNN Money, October 20, 2010, available from http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/19/news/companies/david_boies_profile_full.fortune/index.htm, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 14. Most notably, Jonathan Schiller, the firm’s co-founder, represented Barclay’s Capital in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the event that precipitated the financial collapse. Goldstein, Matthew and Eder, Steve, “Goldman’s CDO Woes Mean Dollar Signs for Lawyers,” Reuters, June 11, 2010, available fromhttp://in.reuters.com/article/2010/06/11/goldman-lawyers-idINN1113631020100611?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11709, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 15. Mortgage-linked securities are financial instruments created from mortgages. The collapse in housing prices beginning in 2007 was itself a major economic problem, made much worse by the fact that many subprime mortgages were also the basis for various mortgage-linked securities sold to investors all over the world. Since their value depends on the value of the underlying mortgages, many of these mortgage-linked securities built from subprime mortgages became known as “toxic assets” in the fall of 2008. For more information, see: “The Wall Street Money Machine,” ProPublica, available from http://www.propublica.org/series/the-wall-street-money-machine, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 16. “Wachovia,” Kirby McInernery LLP, available from http://www.kmslaw.com/news.asp?type=cases&id=107, accessed April 19, 2011.
  • 17. “Moody’s Corporation,” Kirby McInernery LLP, available from http://www.kmslaw.com/news.asp?type=cases&id=106, accessed April 19, 2011.
  • 18. “National City,” Kirby McInernery LLP, available from http://www.kmslaw.com/news.asp?type=cases&id=91, accessed April 19, 2011.
  • 19. “Citigroup Inc.,” Kirby McInernery LLP, available from http://www.kmslaw.com/news.asp?type=cases&id=108, accessed April 19, 2011.
  • 20. “Lawyer Profile,” Simpson Thacher, available from http://www.stblaw.com/bios/KArquit.htm, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 21. “Financial Times Recognizes Simpson Thacher for Innovation in its Inaugural US Report,” Simpson Thacher, December 2, 2010, available from http://www.stblaw.com/siteContent.cfm?contentID=3&itemID=75&focusID=2515, accessed April 14, 2011.
  • 22. “Banking and Credit,” Simpson Thacher, available from http://www.stblaw.com/practice_banking.htm, accessed April 14, 2011.
  • 23. “Firm Overview,” Williams & Connolly, available from http://www.wc.com/about.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 24. Baxter, Brian, “Congressional Spotlight Falls on Fannie and Freddie Legal Fees,” The American Lawyer Daily, February 1, 2011, available from http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/02/fees.html, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 25. It was recently revealed that these former executives were using taxpayer money to cover the tens of millions of dollars in legal fees. Morgenson, Gretchen, “Mortgage Giants Leave Legal Bills to the Taxpayers,” The New York Times, January 24, 2011, available from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/business/24fees.html?_r=1, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 26. “Goldman’s CDO Woes Mean Dollar Signs for Lawyers,” Reuters, June 11, 2010, available from http://in.reuters.com/article/2010/06/11/goldman-lawyers-idINN1113631020100611?pageNumber=2, accessed April 14, 2011.
  • 27. “Current Cases,” Kaplan Fox, available from http://www.kaplanfox.com/cases/currentcases.html, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 28. “CitiMortgage Loan Modification Class Action,” Milberg LLP, available from http://cases.milberg.com/citimortgage/, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 29. “Why is This Guy Smiling?,”American Lawyer, January/Feburary 2011, available from http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&itemId=7702, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 30. Sentementes, Gus G., “Lawyer with Baltimore Firm Taps Gulf Coast Roots in BP Oil Leak,” Baltimore Sun, July 2, 2010, available from http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-07-02/business/bs-bz-interview-frederick-kuykendall-20100625_1_oil-leak-bp-oil-rig, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 31. “Robert A. Sherman,” Greenberg Traurig, available from http://www.gtlaw.com/People/RobertASherman, accessed on April 14, 2011.
  • 32. “Greenberg Traurig, LLP,” Chambers and Partners, available from http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Firms/3579-36457, accessed April 14, 2011.
  • 33. “Bernard Nash,” Dickstein Shapiro, available from http://www.dicksteinshapiro.com/people/detail.aspx?attorney=75ca9c84-a083-4f5d-aae0-94a18b810bd7, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 34. “An Institutional History of Banks Operating in New York State,” State of New York Banking Department, available from http://www.banking.state.ny.us/auhistory.htm, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 35. Pearson, Sophia, “Ex-Washington Mutual Officials Killinger, Rotella Sued by FDIC Over Losses,” Bloomberg, March 17, 2011, available from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-17/fdic-sues-former-washington-mutual-ceo-kerry-killinger-for-negligence.html, accessed April 15, 2011.
  • 36. “Current Cases,” Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, available from http://www.blbglaw.com/cases/index, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 37. “Credit Crisis Related Cases,” Labaton Sucharow, available from http://www.labaton.com/en/cases/Credit-Crisis-Related-Cases.cfm, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 38. “Featured Cases,” Kaplan Fox, available from http://www.kaplanfox.com/cases/featuredcases.html, accessed April 13, 2011.
  • 39. Woellert, Lorraine, “Banks to Pay Victims of Botched Foreclosures in Settlement with Regulators,” Bloomberg, April 13, 2011, available from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-13/banks-to-pay-victims-of-botched-foreclosures-in-settlement-with-regulators.html, accessed April 19, 2011.

This report was posted on April 20, 2011 by Kevin McNellis.
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Obama Administration Pushing For Banks To Modify Millions Of Mortgages To Settle Foreclosure Claims

Obama Administration Pushing For Banks To Modify Millions Of Mortgages To Settle Foreclosure Claims


Shahien Nasiripour
HuffPost Reporting shahien@huffingtonpost.com

NEW YORK — The Obama administration is seeking to force the nation’s five largest mortgage firms to reduce monthly payments for as many as three million distressed homeowners in as little as six months as part of an agreement to settle accusations of improper foreclosures and violations of consumer protection laws, six people familiar with the matter said.

Described as a “shock and awe” approach, the deal would accomplish the four goals set out by state and federal policy makers and regulators as part of their multi-agency investigations into abusive mortgage practices by the nation’s largest financial firms: punish banks for violations of state law and federal regulations; provide much-needed assistance to distressed borrowers; stabilize a deteriorating housing market; and dissuade firms from abusing homeowners in the future.

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HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.

HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.


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HSBC North America Holdings, the nation’s ninth-largest bank by assets, warned investors Monday of impending fines after receiving notice from federal bank regulators admonishing the lender for improper foreclosure practices.

The bank is the latest in a string of large financial companies that have used recent securities filings to prep investors for fines and a significant increase in costs associated with processing mortgages and repossessing homes, after being cited by regulators for deficient and sometimes illegal operations. On Friday, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo & Co., and SunTrust Banks — three of the nation’s 10 largest handlers of home mortgages — said in regulatory documents that they expect to be sanctioned by the U.S. government for their foreclosure practices.

The penalties follow months-long criminal and civil probes by federal and state regulators into lenders’ mortgage practices. Officials said they found significant shortcomings and violations of various state laws. A “small number” of foreclosures should not have occurred, John Walsh, the interim head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal regulator of national banks, told a Senate committee earlier this month after his agency surveyed less than 3,000 out of millions of loan files.

Continue reading… HuffingtonPost

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NEW JERSEY NOTICE TO THE BAR

NEW JERSEY NOTICE TO THE BAR


RE: Emergent Amendments to Rules 1:5-6, 4:64-1 and 4:64-2

In light of irregularities in the residential foreclosure practice as reported in sworn deposition testimony in New Jersey and other states, the Court has adopted, on an emergent basis, amendments to Rules 1:5-6, 4:64-1 and 4:64-2. These amendments are effective December 20, 2010. The new rule and the amendments, along with the Order adopting them, appear with this notice. The Court’s Order also contains directions for counsel in pending uncontested residential foreclosure cases.

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Mortgage Fraud…Ally Financial (GMAC), Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan, OneWest, Wells Fargo: By Lynn Szymoniak, Esq.

Mortgage Fraud…Ally Financial (GMAC), Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan, OneWest, Wells Fargo: By Lynn Szymoniak, Esq.


Mortgage Fraud

Ally Financial/GMAC
Bank of America

Citibank

JP Morgan Chase

OneWest Bank

Wells Fargo Bank

Action Date: December 20, 2010
Location: Mercer County, NJ

New Jersey State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner entered an order To Show Cause “In The Matter of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Pleadings and Document Irregularities” in Civil Action No. F-059553-10, Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part, Mercer County on December 20, 2010. Six mortgage servicing companies and their bank-owners were ordered to show cause why the Court should not suspend their rights to foreclose.

First on the list was Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC. Ally/GMAC is the employer of Jeffrey Stephan who was exposed as one of many “robo-signers” – a phrase indicating that an employee signed thousands of documents used in foreclosure cases with no idea of the truth of the matters asserted in the documents, and more often than not, without even having read what was signed.

Stephan signed thousands of Affidavits, but he signed tens of thousands of Mortgage Assignments – the documents used by mortgage-backed trusts to show that the trusts acquired the mortgages at issue and have the right to foreclose.

Stephan signed these Mortgage Assignments for many different mortgage-backed trusts. Over 50 RALI (Residential Accredit Loans, Inc.) Trusts relied almost exclusively on Mortgage Assignments signed by Stephan. Over 44 RAMP (Residential Asset Mortgage Products) Trusts also used Assignments churned out by Stephan. At least 20 RASC (Residential Asset Securities Corp.) Trusts used Stephan assignments almost exclusively in foreclosures. At least 40 other mortgage-backed trusts, including certain Aames Mortgage Investment Trusts, certain Bear Stearns Trusts and certain Harborview Trusts all relied on Ally/GMAC’s Stephan for proof of their right to foreclose.

These trusts needed the Stephan-made assignments because the trusts’ depositors, sponsors, trustees and document custodians failed to obtain the critical documents, including notes and assignments, at the inception of the trust – despite promises to investors and regulators that these documents had been obtained and were being safeguarded.

In Florida, Stephan’s name appears on thousands of Mortgage Assignments, most often on documents prepared by the Law Offices of David Stern, who is under investigation by the Florida Attorney General. In almost every case, Stephans signed as a Vice President of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

According to the Stephan documents, the trusts almost always acquired these mortgages AFTER they were already in default, and often AFTER foreclosure proceedings had been initiated.

Many different banks, in their capacity as Trustees for mortgage-backed trusts, used Stephan Assignments, but Stephan documents were most often used by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Bank of NY Mellon and U.S. Bank.

Assuming that each trust has mortgage loans with a face value of one billion dollars – and that over 200 trusts are involved, the amount in controversy is staggering.

Also disturbing is the number of Assignments on Stephan/Stern documents where the assignee trust is unidentified. The Stephan/Stern team repeatedly prepared and filed Assignments where only the Trustees – and not the trusts themselves – were identified as the new owners of the mortgages. “U.S. Bank as Trustee” and “Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as Trustee” are the new owners of thousands of mortgages.

Stephan often wrongly stated his own job title, the date the assignment to the trusts took place, and the identity of the trusts. Stephan’s conduct – and the documents he produced – will not stand up to the most superficial examination. Chief Justice Rabner seems determined to dig much deeper.

The other five companies named by Chief Justice Rabner have the very same problems, having produced hundreds of thousands of flawed loan documents for mortgage-backed trusts, signed by individuals with very limited knowledge or authority. Their role was to sign their names without questioning or understanding what they signed.

According to Chief Justice Rabner, the next step may be the Appointment of a Special Master “to inquire into and report to the court on the extent of irregularities concerning affidavits, certifications, assignments and other documents from time to time filed with the court in residential mortgage foreclosure actions…” Past and present business practices would be examined and the Master could also consider whether sanctions should be imposed…and a suggested formula to determine an appropriate sanction.”

By his Order, Chief Justice Rabner gave hope to hundreds of thousands of victims of fraud by securities companies, banks, mortgage companies and mortgage servicing companies.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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READ JUDGE ORDER: New Jersey Court May Order Foreclosure Freeze

READ JUDGE ORDER: New Jersey Court May Order Foreclosure Freeze


EXCERPT:

The nature of the problem calls for a balancing of the court’s supervisory and adjudicatory roles and responsibilities. The court has therefore established the procedure in this Order to address the pressing needs of the Office of Foreclosure while providing due process to affected parties. The court will direct that the six Foreclosure Plaintiff’s named on this order show cause at a hearing scheduled for January 19, 2011, why the court should not suspend the processing of all foreclosures matters involving the six Foreclosure Plaintiffs and appoint Special Masters to review their past and proposed foreclosure practices.

Continue below…


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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Banks, Servicers Subpoenaed by Texas Attorney General Abbott

Banks, Servicers Subpoenaed by Texas Attorney General Abbott


October 25, 2010, 8:54 PM EDT

By Margaret Cronin Fisk

(Updates with spokesman’s comment in second paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent subpoenas to JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and seven other banks or loan servicers seeking information about foreclosure practices, a spokesman said.

“The state is subpoenaing information and documents,” Jerry Strickland, the spokesman, said in an interview. He didn’t elaborate. The state also subpoenaed Ally Financial Inc., CitiMortgage Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Abbott began investigating foreclosure practices in Texas following the disclosure of a December deposition in which an employee of Ally’s GMAC Mortgage unit testified that his team signed about 10,000 documents a month without verifying their accuracy. On Oct. 13, all 50 state attorneys general announced a joint investigation of foreclosures.

The Texas subpoenas followed letters sent by Abbott’s office to 30 loan servicers on Oct. 4, asking them to halt foreclosures in the state pending a review of their practices.

Abbott asked banks then to identify employees who filed faulty affidavits or other documents in the state and identify foreclosures that used such documents. He also asked lenders and servicers to halt all sales of properties previously foreclosed upon and stop all evictions.

Twenty-six of those companies responded to the letters, according to a spreadsheet of answers sent today by Strickland.

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Florida Foreclosures Still on Hold as Banks Say They’ve Resumed

Florida Foreclosures Still on Hold as Banks Say They’ve Resumed


October 25, 2010, 2:59 PM EDT

By David McLaughlin

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) — Banks continue to cancel foreclosure hearings and sales in Florida, the U.S. state with the highest foreclosure rate behind Nevada and Arizona, after Bank of America Corp. said it was resuming efforts to seize homes.

Banks had called off about a third of their foreclosure- judgment hearings and more than half of their auctions at two Florida courthouses as of this morning, according to court records and personnel. Court administrators said rules mandating that homeowners be notified mean that foreclosures won’t resume in earnest for at least a month.

Bank of America and Detroit-based Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit said they were moving to complete pending foreclosures following complaints that home seizures nationwide were based on faulty documentation. Attorneys general in all 50 states, as well as federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, are investigating.

GMAC said it is reviewing foreclosure cases that potentially have defective affidavits in the 23 states that use judicial proceedings for foreclosures, including Florida. If there are problems, they will be fixed and the cases then allowed to proceed, said Gina Proia, a spokeswoman for GMAC. Any case going to foreclosure sale in non-judicial states will also be reviewed, she said in an interview.

‘Ongoing Process’

“It’s an ongoing process and we expect the majority will be completed by the end of the year,” Proia said. In Palm Beach County, banks had canceled 139 out of 213 foreclosure auctions scheduled for today, according to court records. Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America were among those listed as canceling the sales.

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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CHICAGO SHERIFF SAYS NO TO FORECLOSURE EVICTIONS DUE TO FORECLOSURE FRAUD

CHICAGO SHERIFF SAYS NO TO FORECLOSURE EVICTIONS DUE TO FORECLOSURE FRAUD


Thank you Thomas J. Dart, Sheriff of Cook County, Chicago!

This is not the LOTTO…this isn’t something where we’re rolling the dice and saying…you know what? Possibly this was done illegally…

Image source: Huffington Post

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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The “MAINE HOUSE” That Halted Foreclosures Nationwide

The “MAINE HOUSE” That Halted Foreclosures Nationwide


From a Maine House, a National Foreclosure Freeze

By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: October 14, 2010

DENMARK, Me. — The house that set off the national furor over faulty foreclosures is blue-gray and weathered. The porch is piled with furniture and knickknacks awaiting the next yard sale. In the driveway is a busted pickup truck. No one who lives there is going anywhere anytime soon.

Nicolle Bradbury bought this house seven years ago for $75,000, a major step up from the trailer she had been living in with her family. But she lost her job and the $474 monthly mortgage payment became difficult, then impossible.

It should have been a routine foreclosure, with Mrs. Bradbury joining the anonymous millions quietly dispossessed since the recession began. But she was savvy enough to contact a nonprofit group, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where for once in her 38 years, she caught a break.

Her file was pulled, more or less at random, by Thomas A. Cox, a retired lawyer who volunteers at Pine Tree. He happened to know something about foreclosures because when he worked for a bank he did them all the time. Twenty years later, he had switched sides and, he says, was trying to make amends.

Suddenly, there is a frenzy over foreclosures. Every attorney general in the country is participating in an investigation into the flawed paperwork and questionable methods behind many of them. A Senate hearing is scheduled, and federal inquiries have begun. The housing market, which runs on foreclosure sales, is in turmoil. Bank stocks fell on Thursday as analysts tried to gauge the impact on lenders’ bottom lines.

All of this is largely because Mr. Cox realized almost immediately that Mrs. Bradbury’s foreclosure file did not look right. The documents from the lender, GMAC Mortgage, were approved by an employee whose title was “limited signing officer,” an indication to the lawyer that his knowledge of the case was effectively nonexistent.

Mr. Cox eventually won the right to depose the employee, who casually acknowledged that he had prepared 400 foreclosures a day for GMAC and that contrary to his sworn statements, they had not been reviewed by him or anyone else.

Continue reading…NYTIMES

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, GMAC, jeffrey stephanComments (1)

VIDEO: OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL CORDRAY SUSPECTS ‘THOUSANDS’ OF CASES OF FORECLOSURE FRAUD

VIDEO: OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL CORDRAY SUSPECTS ‘THOUSANDS’ OF CASES OF FORECLOSURE FRAUD


Ohio’s Cordray Interview About Lawsuit Against Ally

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray talks about the state’s lawsuit against Ally Financial Inc. Ohio’s suit alleges that Ally’s GMAC mortgage unit violated state consumer law and committed fraud by filing false affidavits in foreclosure proceedings. He talks with Carol Massar and Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg) LINK: BLOOMBERG

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in CONTROL FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, GMAC, richard cordrayComments (1)

Lord Have ‘MERScy’, Lenders Brace Yourselves

Lord Have ‘MERScy’, Lenders Brace Yourselves


JPMorgan, Bank of America Face `Hydra’ of State Foreclosure Investigations

By Margaret Cronin Fisk – Oct 6, 2010 12:01 AM ET

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Ally Financial Inc., defending allegations of fraudulent home foreclosures from customers and Congress, may face the most financial peril from investigations by state attorneys general.

Authorities in at least seven states are probing whether lenders used false documents and signatures to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures, and the number of these inquiries will grow, according to state officials and legal experts.

“You’re going to see a tremendous amount of activity with all the AGs in the U.S.,” Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said in an interview. “We have a high degree of skepticism that the corners that were cut are truly legal.”

JPMorgan, Bank of America and Ally have curtailed foreclosures or evictions in 23 states where courts have jurisdiction over home seizures.

While homeowners in those states and elsewhere must usually show damages to win a lawsuit, “attorneys general can just sue over deceptive sales practices and get penalties,” said Christopher Peterson, a University of Utah law professor who specializes in commercial and contract law.

In Ohio, penalties include fines up to $25,000 per violation, with each false affidavit or document considered a violation, according to state law enforcement officials. In Iowa, fines rise to a maximum of $40,000 for each violation.

Foreclosure Freeze

This penalty would apply to “every instance of an affidavit that was filed improperly or every time facts were attested to that weren’t true,” said Cordray. His counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has called for a freeze on foreclosures and said the submissions are a “possible fraud on the court.”

Officials in Ohio and Connecticut, along with Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Iowa and Illinois, said they are investigating mortgage foreclosure practices.

Continue reading …BLOOMBERG

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