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Cummings Commends FHFA Decision to Terminate Faulty Foreclosure Attorney Networks

Cummings Commends FHFA Decision to Terminate Faulty Foreclosure Attorney Networks


Washington, DC (Oct. 18, 2011) – Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, responded to an announcement by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that it has instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin “transitioning away” from their use of designated foreclosure attorney networks to a system under which “mortgage servicers select qualified law firms that meet certain minimum, uniform criteria.”

“Several of these law firms were able to engage in abusive and illegal behavior that violated the rights of borrowers, in part because of deficient oversight by FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac,” said Cummings.  “In light of the extensive problems recently documented by the FHFA Inspector General, I urged FHFA to seriously consider terminating these attorney networks, and it appears they are implementing my request.”

“I remain concerned, however, that FHFA has not provided specific details about how mortgage servicers will select and oversee law firms to ensure that abusive behavior is prevented,” added Cummings.  “I will continue my oversight efforts to ensure that specific measures are in place to require mortgage servicers to properly oversee the actions of law firms conducting foreclosure proceedings, including those involving mortgages owned or backed by the government sponsored enterprises.”

On February 25, 2011, Ranking Member Cummings launched a major investigation into abuses and illegal activities by mortgage servicing companies, including wrongful foreclosures, inflated fees, and the filing of improperly executed legal documents during the foreclosure process.  As part of that investigation, Cummings sent a letter asking the FHFA Inspector General to examine “widespread allegations of abuse by private attorneys and law firms hired to process foreclosures as part of the ‘Retained Attorney Network’ established by Fannie Mae.”

On September 23, 2011, the FHFA Inspector General issued a report concluding that Fannie Mae and its regulators, including FHFA, were alerted repeatedly to serious problems with the legal firms in Fannie Mae’s retained attorney network (RAN) beginning as early as 2003, but failed to take corrective action.  The Inspector General reported that “FHFA did not begin to act on foreclosure abuse issues involving Fannie Mae’s RAN until mid-2010,” despite “multiple indicators of foreclosure abuse risk prior to 2010 that could have led FHFA to identify and act earlier on the issue.”

On October 3, 2011, Cummings sent a letter to FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco requesting additional documents and information regarding these oversight failures.  Cummings requested that the agency “give serious consideration to terminating the existing Fannie Mae Retained Attorney Network program.”  He also requested that “FHFA take immediate and decisive action to remedy these failures and ensure that no additional borrowers suffer similar abuses.”

source: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Fannie, Freddie Said to End Lawyer “Foreclosure Mill” Networks Amid Mortgage Woes

Fannie, Freddie Said to End Lawyer “Foreclosure Mill” Networks Amid Mortgage Woes


Nothing last forever… But now the servicers get to make the call on who they want to use… Already see the drama unfolding.

Bloomberg-

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will phase out their foreclosure attorney networks in the wake of the so-called robo-signing scandal, according to two people briefed on the plan.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the mortgage companies, may make the announcement as soon as this week, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public.

Fannie Mae has required the mortgage servicers handling its loans to use its Retained Attorney Network for foreclosures and bankruptcy cases. Some lawyers were accused by lawmakers, regulators and consumer groups of mishandling paperwork for evictions and foreclosures, including falsifying signatures on court affidavits. The dispute led many mortgage servicers to suspend foreclosure activity last year.

[BLOOMBERG]

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© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

BLACK: There Was “Massive Illegality” In Mortgage Lending

BLACK: There Was “Massive Illegality” In Mortgage Lending


The Immunity Doctrine: Bank Fraudsters Go Free as a Matter of Policy


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

‘Jingle Mail': Developers Are Giving Up On Properties

‘Jingle Mail': Developers Are Giving Up On Properties


By KRIS HUDSON And A.D. PRUITT

Like homeowners walking away from mortgaged houses that plummeted in value, some of the largest commercial-property owners are defaulting on debts and surrendering buildings worth less than their loans.

Companies such as Macerich Co., Vornado Realty Trust and Simon Property Group Inc. have recently stopped making mortgage payments to put pressure on lenders to restructure debts. In many cases they have walked away, sending keys to properties whose values had fallen far below the mortgage amounts, a process known as “jingle mail.” These companies all have piles of cash to make the payments. They are simply opting to default because they believe it makes good business sense.

“We don’t do this lightly,” said Robert Taubman, chief executive of Taubman Centers Inc. The luxury-mall owner, with upscale properties such as the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, decided earlier this year to stop covering interest payments on its $135 million mortgage on the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J.

Taubman, which estimates the mall is now worth only $52 million, gave it back to its mortgage holder.

“Where it’s fairly obvious that the gap is large, as it was with the Pier Shops, individual owners are making very tough decisions,” he said.

These pragmatic decisions by companies to walk away from commercial mortgages come as a debate rages in the residential-real-estate world about “strategic defaults,” when homeowners stop making loan payments even though they can afford them. Instead, they decide to default because the house is “underwater,” meaning its value has fallen to a level less than its debt.

Banking-industry officials and others have argued that homeowners have a moral obligation to pay their debts even when it seems to make good business sense to default. Individuals who walk away from their homes also face blemishes to their credit ratings and, in some states, creditors can sue them for the losses they suffer.

But in the business world, there is less of a stigma even though lenders, including individual investors, get stuck holding a depressed property in a down market. Indeed, investors are rewarding public companies for ditching profit-draining investments. Deutsche Bank AG’s RREEF, which manages $56 billion in real-estate investments, now favors companies that jettison cash-draining properties with nonrecourse debt, loans that don’t allow banks to hold landlords personally responsible if they default. The theory is that those companies fare better by diverting money to shareholders or more lucrative projects.

“To the extent that they give back assets or are able to rework the [mortgage] terms, it just accrues to the benefit” of the real-estate investment trust, says Jerry Ehlinger, RREEF’s co-chief of real-estate securities.

Continue reading…Wall Street Journal

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Bank Owned, commercial, deutsche bank, walk awayComments (0)

Questioned Document Examination | By E’LYN BRYAN

Questioned Document Examination | By E’LYN BRYAN


posted with written permission from Author

By E’Lyn Bryan

QUESTIONED DOCUMENT EXAMINATION

An overview of the basic techniques and technology

AT NO TIME IN HISTORY was crime more rampant than it is today. White-collar crime accounts for more than $140 billion in losses annually. Nearly $20 billion worth of check fraud occurs annually. More than $2 million of worthless checks are passed daily. Telemarketing accounts for $48 billion in fraud, while according to the FBI, Internet fraud as of 2009 had topped $264 million in online losses. A crime wave of this proportion has put the services of competent investigators and certified forensic-document examiners in high demand.

This article is intended to educate and assist attorneys or investigators when they are speaking with attorneys, judges, or clients about cases that involve questioned documents. There are numerous types of cases where a document or handwriting evidence may be involved as a result of being found either at the crime scene or at the center of a civil suit.

A competent investigator is cognizant of all the clues at a crime scene. Items such as credit-card receipts, legal papers, canceled checks, personal notes, leases, and other types of documents and writing may hold the clues to the motive. The observant investigator will call attention to these documents. An investigator who does not think along those lines may miss the subtle clues that could be found on even the smallest scrap of paper, on a blank writing pad (that might reveal “invisible” indented writing), or among the personal belongings of a victim.

Crimes involving fraud, larceny, forged wills, death threats, identity theft, ransom notes, poison-pen letters, “other-hand” disguised writing, traced signatures, assisted deathbed signatures, altered medical records, fingerprint examination, ink and paper analysis, watermarks, contrived faxes, “cut-and-pasted” signatures on legal documents, anachronisms (chronological errors, such as paper or ink that did not exist simultaneously), disputed pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and auto-pen signatures are examples of the types of cases that are filed in our courts every day. An investigator should be aware of the fact that any documents or written material found at the crime scene may hold clues to solving the case, whether it is written on paper, walls, a car door, or a mirror. Questioned documents or writing can be typed, written in blood, lipstick, ink, pencil, or body fluids.

Most documents are written with non-violent, white-collar criminal intent. Others are written with darker purposes in mind: murder, stalking, kidnapping, and suicide. In questioned-document investigations—as in any investigation—it is the duty of the document examiner to remove the shadow of doubt. The examiner, if possible, will determine—without prejudice—if the document is authentic or forged, original or altered. The document examiner is an advocate of the courts. Examiners do not have clients; they represent the justice system. As a result, the examiner cannot become emotionally involved or empathetic. Upon initial contact, the examiner must disclose a non-fiduciary relationship to the person who retains the examiner’s services.

A well-trained document examiner knows to examine all the physical features of a questioned document, not just the questioned signature. There are dozens of components to consider when examining a signature or a document. Characteristics to consider include the writing medium used and the surface it is written upon, the age of the paper or ink, and watermarks.

There are deletions, alterations, inclusions, and other aspects that must be considered, as well. The evaluation of letter formations, pen strokes, pen pressure, spacing, letter height, relation to the baseline, and slant are all part of the evaluation process.

When a document is typewritten, there are other problems to consider. Was a page added after the fact? Is the page a copy? Did someone possibly apply “white out” on the original, type over it, and then make a copy so that it looks like an original? Was another typewriter used to make the forgery or the added page? And what about a computer-generated document? Are the pages all from the same ream of paper? With technology such as infrared and ultraviolet light sources, these questions can be answered.

On a daily basis, document examiners are faced with a multitude of questioned-document problems. The most common cases, for example, involve forged checks, forged wills, graffiti, credit-card fraud, leases, deeds, contracts to purchase items—including homes, cars, and businesses—mortgage fraud, disguised writing, and poison-pen letters (hate letters). With the improved technology of printers and copiers, forging and counterfeiting is rampant through the use of “cut and paste” and “lifting signatures”.

It is well known that the field of digital science is constantly evolving. As new technology becomes available, the document examiner must stay on top of the latest state-of-the-art and work to anticipate the ways criminals may use new technology to their advantage. The certified forensic document examiner must utilize all the latest techniques and technology that science has to offer when examining questioned documents. When investigating digital crimes—crimes such as forged passports, driver’s licenses, computer-generated documents, and digital images inserted into other items—document examiners are referred to as digital-crime investigators.

Comparative Ink Analysis

The newest technology today is found in comparative ink analysis equipment. One very useful forensic tool in pen-formula differentiation is ink analysis that involves the determination of chemicals specific to certain types of compounds. One method used to identify a certain kind of ballpoint-pen ink is called thin-layer chromatography. The process involves using an ultraviolet-visible photodiode array detector that allows for the dye components to be rapidly separated.

A standard is a known authentic sample from which comparisons are made. The United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) jointly maintain the International Ink Library. This collection includes more than 9,500 inks, dating from the 1920s. New inks are chemically tested and added to this database on a regular basis. This reference serves as a great resource for the detection of fraudulent signatures and documents.

In the comparison of inks, chemical analysis can be useful in a number of cases, such as medical charts, tax evasion, insurance fraud, altered checks, counterfeiting, and other types of forgeries or frauds. A 2004 article from the Associated Press referenced ink-comparison evidence as one piece of evidence that assisted in the high-profile conviction of Martha Stewart. Examination of the ink on a document showed that an entry was made at a different time, possibly as an attempt to cover up insider-trading violations.

Aging Papers and Inks

The age of paper and ink can provide important clues when attempting to verify and authenticate a document. A key example was the Hitler Diaries case from the 1980s—one that involved purported diaries written by Adolf Hitler. The document examiner in the case unknowingly compared forged writing to the writing of the diaries. Taking the authentication and investigation one step further, the diaries were sent to a laboratory where the paper and ink was analyzed. It was proven conclusively that the document could not have been written by Hitler, since there were chemical compounds discovered in the paper of the book’s cover that were not available when Hitler was alive. The age of paper can be determined according to the additives and chemicals or by watermarks. The Hitler Diaries, as well as many other questioned historical papers, have been debunked, while others have been authenticated.

Two new methods of determining the relative age of ballpoint inks has recently come to the forefront in forensic-document examination. Studies have shown that different inks have different drying times. The new method for analyzing the drying time of ink is done by chemical analysis. Unfortunately, this is a destructive process.

These new developments are extremely important when examining ledger or medical-record entries. It has been established that the longer ink has been on a sheet of paper, the slower it will dissolve in the various solvents used to analyze them. It is now possible to identify the age of ink to within a six-month period. This new process of dating the age of inks has had dramatic impact on the examination and detection of backdated documents. Many malpractice cases have been won due to the analysis of ink on questioned medical records.

Infrared Comparisons

Infrared-imaging equipment and infra-red photography have given the document examiner an exciting new world of technology for investigating cases. Although this is not a new concept, the technology has been refined and taken to mind-boggling new heights.

The mechanics behind infrared are quite simple. The human eye perceives the reflected portion of the light spectrum. But there is much more of the spectrum that the human eye cannot see. For instance, when we see a rainbow, we are not seeing all the colors that exist. We see only red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The colors on each side of the rainbow that we cannot see with the naked eye are the ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) areas. The instruments we need to convert UV and IR wavelengths of the light spectrum into visible images for the human eye are called video spectral comparators and forensic imaging spectrometers. This equipment is used for non-destructive analysis of questioned documents in the presence of seemingly equal but physically different features of writing. With IR and UV, we can see “through” writing that has been blacked out or obscured by “white out”, as well as scribbled-out writing.

With split-screen and overlay software, direct visual comparison can be made of several individual images. Erased elements or chemically altered characters can be easily detected with IR and UV technology. The exceptional sensitivity and broad spectral range can detect even the slightest differences in similar inks, not seen by the unaided eye. This equipment is at the highest level of authentication technology available today.

Obliterated, faded, or altered writing can also be detected with IR and UV analysis. In a recent case handled by the IRS, the IRS claimed the defendant could not prove an expense he had written off for office equipment because the receipt had faded. The paper was old and the writing was “invisible”. Under an IR filter, the “blank” receipt luminesced, showing writing that was outside the wavelength of visible light to the naked eye.

Electrostatic Detection Apparatus

Another valuable piece of equipment to the document examiner is an electrostatic detection apparatus (ESDA). With an ESDA and specialized infra-red side-lighting photographic techniques, the characteristic indentations found in writing may prove that the writing was traced. In addition, when the top page of a pad that has been written on is removed, the “blank” writing underneath can be processed with an ESDA to show the writing by the indentations on the pages below. Research performed by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City indicates that an ESDA can recover indented impressions from documents that were written up to 60 years earlier.

The technology behind the ESDA is fairly simple: To develop the indentations on paper, the indented paper is placed in a high-humidity device and transferred onto a bronze vacuum plate. The page is then carefully covered with a Mylar (transparent, non-conducting) film. The page is then electrically charged so that toner will adhere to the impressions when applied to the Mylar covering. The final step is to pour the toner on the Mylar. This process develops the page containing the various indentations.

An example of the use of an ESDA in a recent case involved a bust on a PCP drug lab. Although there was no paper evidence at the scene of the raid, the telephone book at the scene was analyzed and, in the end, it held the incriminating evidence—only visible by use of the ESDA. An astute investigator noticed a telephone book on the counter where the drugs were being processed. On the cover of the phone book were slight indentations that appeared to be writing. The indentations were restored by ESDA and the writing was compared to that of the known chief chemist of the PCP lab. The writing the ESDA retrieved was the chemical formulas, written by the chief chemist. Busted!

As an investigator, you need to think outside the parameters of visible evidence. Evidence to solve your case may be right in front of you and may easily go unnoticed. In this case of the PCP lab, the real incriminating evidence was truly invisible. If not for the trained eye of the investigator, the case may have been dismissed for lack of solid evidence that could link the suspect with the actual manufacturer of the drugs.

As an advocate of the court, the document examiner is relied upon to dispel any doubts about a questioned document. Sometimes, the examiner simply will not be able to render an opinion on certain documents. In those instances, the document examiner’s letter of opinion will state an explicit explanation.

From murder scenes where notes are left behind, to kidnappings, to white-collar crimes such as forged checks, document examiners, investigators, and the technology they utilize prove to be a formidable team.

Questioned documents are a global issue. As investigators, you must be cognizant of the technologically advanced level of the criminals we face today. We must use all of the intelligence, the technology, and the resources available to educate ourselves on the topic of continually evolving criminal minds.

About the Author

E’lyn Bryan is a court-qualified and certified document examiner through the National Questioned Document Association. She offers presentations and training sessions for businesses and law-enforcement agencies on questioned-document examination. She is the current president of the South Florida Investigators Association and a member of the World Association of Detectives. She can be reached by phone at: 561-361-0007 or by e-mail at: bocaforensic@aol.com

Litigation Support
Forensic Document Examiners Inc.
div. of Forensic Bureau of Investigations Inc.

www.FloridaDocumentExaminer.com
President of South Florida Investigators Association
Instructor of Forensic Document Examination to Law Enforcement
National Association of Document Examiners
World Association of Detectives
Gold Coast Forensics Association
Florida Association of Private Investigators
Member of South County Bar Association
Forensic Expert Witness Association

561.361.0007


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bogus, CONTROL FRAUD, forensic document examiner, forgery, investigation, notary fraud, robo signers, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

FORECLOSURE ATTORNEYS | TRUSTEE NETWORK

FORECLOSURE ATTORNEYS | TRUSTEE NETWORK


Attorney / Trustee Network/ FORECLOSURE MILLS

NetDirector provides a centralized data exchange for a growing network of attorneys and trustees as they realize the value of this unique solution. The current network represents participants in 49 states with both judicial and non-judicial law practices. As critical mass builds, attorneys and trustees have more leverage over banks, service providers, and other trading partners to move toward standards and provide product/service enhancements. The following attorneys/trustees currently subscribe to the NetDirector Data Exchange:

Albertelli Law, P.L. (AL, GA & FL)
Baer, Timberlake, Coulson & Cates, P.C. (OK)
Barrett, Daffin, & Frappier, L.L.P. (GA)
Barrett, Daffin, Frappier, Treder & Weiss, L.L.P. (CA)
Barrett, Daffin, Frappier, Turner & Engel, L.L.P. (TX)
Bendett & McHugh, P.C. (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI & VT)
Ben-Ezra & Katz, P.A. (FL)
Buonassissi, Henning & Lash P.C. (DC, MD & VA)
Cal-Western Reconveyance (AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, TX, UT & WA)
Camner, Lipsitz & Poller (FL)
Castle, Meinhold & Stawiarski, L.L.C. (CO, NM, NV, UT & WY)
Clay Chapman Iwamura Pulice & Nervell (HI)
Codilis & Associates, P.C. (IL)
Codilis & Stawiarski, P.C. (TX)
Codilis, Stawiarski & Moody, P.C. (MO)
Cohn, Goldberg & Deutsch, L.L.C. (DC & MD)
Dale & Decker, L.L.C. (CO)
Davidson Fink, L.L.P. (NY)
Dean Morris, L.L.P. (LA)
Doyle Legal Corporation, P.C. (IN)
Dunakey & Klatt, P.C. (IA)
Fein, Such, & Crane, P.C. (NY)
Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C. (NJ)
Feiwell & Hannoy, P.C. (IN)
Finkel Law Offices, L.L.C. (SC)
Fisher & Shapiro, L.L.P. (IL)
Florida Default Law Group, P.L. (FL)
Freedman, Anselmo, Lindberg & Rappe, L.L.C. (IL)
Friedman & MacFadyen, P.A. (DC, MD, & VA)
Gilbert McGrotty Group, P.A. (FL)
Goldbeck, McCafferty & McKeever (NJ & PA)
Gray & Associates, L.L.P. (WI)
Greenspoon Marder, P.A. (FL)
Harmon Law Offices, P.C. (MA, RI, & NH)
Hellerstein & Shore, L.L.C. (CO)
Hudnall, Cohn, Fyvolent & Shaver, P.C. (GA)
Johnson & Freedman, L.L.C. (GA)
Kass, Shuler, Solomon, Spector, Foyle & Singer, P.A. (FL)
Kivell, Rayment & Francis, P.C. (OK)
Korn Law Firm, P.A. (SC)
Law Office of Patrick D. Hendershott, L.L.C. (OH)
Law Office of Ira T. Nevel, L.L.C. (IL)
Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra (FL)
Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, P.C. (FL)
LOGS Network (AR, DC, FL, GA, IN, IL, KY, MD, MN, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN & VA)
Lundberg & Associates (UT)
Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm (MT, ND & SD)
Martin & Brunavs (GA)
McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, P.C. (CT, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA & VA)
McCalla, Raymer, L.L.C. (AL, GA, TN & TX)
Morris & Associates (MS)
National Default Exchange, L.P. (CA, GA, IN, MI, MN & TX)
Nectar Projects, Inc. (VA)
Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. (CA, OR, WA, HI, ID, & MT)
O’Kelley & Sorohan, L.L.C. (GA)
Partridge Snow & Hahn, L.L.P. (MA, RI)
Pendergast & Jones, P.C. (GA)
Pierce & Associates, P.C. (IL)
Pite Duncan, L.L.P. (AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, TX, UT & WA)
Potestivo & Associates, P.C. (MI)
Powers Kirn, L.L.C. (NJ)
Powers, Kirn & Javardian, L.L.C. (PA)
Prommis Solutions, L.L.C. (All)
Regional Trustee Service Corporation (AK, AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR & WA)
Reimer, Arnovitz, Chernek & Jeffrey, Co. L.P.A. (OH)
Richard M. Squire & Associates, L.L.C. (PA)
Robert J. Hopp & Associates, L.L.C. (CO)
Rogers Townsend & Thomas, P.C. (NC)
Routh Crabtree Olsen, P.S. (CA, OR, WA, HI, ID, & MT)
Routh Cooper Castle Olsen, L.L.C. (AZ)
Routh Crabtree, A.P.C. (AK)
Rutherford Mulhall, P.A. (FL)
Samuel I. White, P.C. (DC, MD, VA & WV)
Scott Law Firm, P.A. (SC)
Shapiro & Burson, L.P.P. (DC, MD & VA))
Shapiro & DeNardo, L.L.C. (PA)
Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, L.P.P. (NY)
Shapiro & Fishman, L.P.P. (FL)
Shapiro & Kirsch, L.P.P. (AR & TN)
Shapiro & Sutherland, L.L.C. (OR)
Shapiro & Swertfeger, L.P.P. (GA)
Shapiro, Van Ess, Phillips & Barragate, L.P.P. (IN, KY & OH)
Shapiro & Zielke, L.P.P. (MN)
Shechtman Halperin Savage, L.L.P. (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI & VT)
Sirote & Permutt, P.C. (AL)
Smith, Hiatt & Diaz, P.A. (FL)
South & Associates, P.C. (MO, KS & NE)
Spear & Hoffman, P.A. (FL)
Stein, Weiner & Roth, L.L.P. (NY)
The Cooper Castle Firm, L.L.P. (NV)
The Law Offices of Hutchens, Senter & Britton, P.A. (NC)
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A. (AZ)
Trott & Trott, P.C. (MI)
Weiss Spicer Cash, P.L.L.C. (TN)
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis CO. L.P.A. (IL, IN, KY, MI, NJ, OH & PA)
Wilford & Geske, P.A. (MN)
Wilson & Associates P.L.L.C. (AR & TN)

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work 
in this message is distributed under fair use without profit
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© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure mills, foreclosuresComments (3)

Banks Getting Worried About Rising Challenges to Foreclosures?

Banks Getting Worried About Rising Challenges to Foreclosures?


As many have seen SFF was the first to expose this Bogus Assignment scandal via a YouTubeVideo.

Via: NakedCapitalism by Yves Smith

I’m not quite certain how to calibrate journalism American Banker style, but I found this article, “Challenges to Foreclosure Docs Reach a Fever Pitch,” (sadly, subscription only, e-mailed by Chris Whalen), to be both interesting and more than a tad disingenuous.

The spin starts with the headline, it’s a doozy. The “challenge to foreclosure documents” message persists throughout the article, and it’s perilously close to a misrepresentation:

Because the notes were often sold and resold during the boom years, many financial companies lost track of the documents. Now, legal officials are accusing companies of forging the documents needed to reclaim the properties.

On Monday, the Florida Attorney General’s Office said it was investigating the use of “bogus assignment” documents by Lender Processing Services Inc. and its former parent, Fidelity National Financial Inc. And last week a federal judge in Florida ordered a hearing to determine whether M&T Bank Corp. should be charged with fraud after it changed the assignment of a mortgage note for one borrower three separate times…

In many cases, [plaintiff attorney] Kowalski said, it has become impossible to establish when a mortgage was sold, and to whom, so the servicers are trying to recreate the paperwork, right down to the stamps that financial companies use to verify when a note has changed hands…

In a notice on its website, the Florida attorney general said it is examining whether Docx, an Alpharetta, Ga., unit of Lender Processing Services, forged documents so foreclosures could be processed more quickly.

“These documents are used in court cases as ‘real’ documents of assignment and presented to the court as so, when it actually appears that they are fabricated in order to meet the demands of the institution that does not, in fact, have the necessary documentation to foreclose according to law,” the notice said..

Yves here. Let’s parse the two messages:

1. Note how the problem is presented as one of “documentation”, implying it is not substantive.

2. Because everyone knows mortgages were sold a lot, (which is clearly mentioned in the piece) the idea that some somehow went missing (or as the piece suggests, the “documentation” is missing even though the parties are presented as if they know who really owns the mortgage) is presented as something routine and not very alarming.

OK, let’s dig a little deeper. Even though the media refers to “mortgages”, under the law there are two pieces: the note, which is the indebtedness, and the mortgage (in some states, a “deed of trust”), which is the lien against the property. In 45 of 50 states, the mortgage follows the note (it is an “accessory”) and has no independent existence (as in you can’t enforce the mortgage if you don’t hold the note. You need to have both the note and the mortgage. This is a bit approximate, but will do for this discussion).

Now, the note is a bearer instrument if it is endorsed in blank (as in signed by current owner but not specifically made payable to the next owner, which was common for notes that were sold). It isn’t some damned “documentation”. Remember the days of bonds, when you had the real security, or stock certificates? This is paper with a hard monetary value, the face amount of the note (as long as it’s current, anyhow).

So now go back and look at that little extract. This “oh business was so busy we mislaid a lot of paper” isn’t some mere filing error. It’s like saying you left an envelopes full of cash in the subway on a regular basis. In the late 1960s back office crisis on Wall Street, when the volume of stock trading overwhelmed delivery and settlement infrastructure, a LOT of firms went out of business, in the midst of a bull market.

OK, now the second item with the article finesses is the sale of mortgages versus the role of the servicer. For the overwhelming majority of first mortgages, and I believe about 50% of second mortgages and HELOCs, the servicer is working for a trust that holds the notes pursuant to a securitization.

The standard documentation for a RMBS calls for the trust to gave a certification at closing that it has all the notes and it has to recertify that it has all the assets at two additional future dates, usually 90 days out and a full year after closing.

So this “notes were flyin’ around, yeah we lost track” is presumably impossible if we are discussing securitizations. Or put it another way: it means the fraud here is much more extensive than servicers making up documents ex post facto. It means the fraud extended back into how the securitization took place (as in what investors were told v. what actually happened).

And before you say these reports are exaggerated, my limited sample and my discussions with mortgage professional (not merely plaitiff’s attorneys but mortgage industry lifers) suggests the reverse.

But what about the second claim in the headline, that this activity has reached a “fever pitch”? Wellie, that’s a distortion too, perhaps to energize those who would be enraged by visions of deadbeat borrowers staying in houses due to fancy legal footwork. Trust me, there are FAR more overextended borrowers living in “free” housing due to banks slowing up the foreclosure process than due to legal battles.

First, the story is ONLY about Florida, despite the hyperventilating tone. And Florida is way ahead of other jurisdictions. There is a group of lawyers that are sharing G2 on these cases, and there are also a fair number of sympathetic judges. Note some states (Minnesota in particular) have both extremely pro bank laws and a business friendly bar. So it’s misleading to make sweeping generalizations; you need to get a bit more granular, which this article fails to do.

Second, the “fever pitch” headline also conveys the impression that this is an epidemic, ergo, these cases are widespread. While it is hard to be certain (this activity is by nature fragmented), at this point, that looks to be quite an exaggeration. The vast majority of borrowers, when the foreclosure process moves forward, don’t fight. They lack the energy and the resources. And when the borrower prevails, the case is typically dismissed “without prejudice”, meaning if the servicer and trustee get their act together, they can come back to court and try again.

Most of the battles against foreclosure appear to fall into one of two categories:

1. The borrower can afford the mortgage, but has fallen behind due to what he thinks is a servicing snafu. I can give you the long form, but the way servicers charge extra fees is in violation of Federal law and is designed to put the borrower on a treadmill of escalating fees. And they do not typically inform the borrower that fees have compounded until 6 or more months into the mess, and by that time, the arrearage can be $2000 or more. The borrower is unable to fix the servicing error, the fees continue to escalate, and the house goes into foreclosure.

2. The borrower has filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the trustee is fighting the bankruptcy stay and trying to seize the house.

So why this alarmist American Banker article? Even if the numbers of successfully contested foreclosures are not (yet) large, the precedents being set are very detrimental to the foreclosure mills, the servicers, and the trustees. Moreover, the costs of fighting these cases can quickly exceed the value of the mortgage. So it would not take much of an increase in this trend to wreak havoc with servicer economics, and ultimately, the losses on the trust, particularly on prime mortgages, where the loss cushions were considerably smaller than on subprime.

I suspect the real reason for alarm isn’t the “fever pitch,” meaning the current level of activity. It’s that a state attorney general is throwing his weight against the servicers, and what he is uncovering is every bit as bad as what the critics have been saying for some time. That may indeed kick up anti-foreclosure efforts in states with open-minded judges to a completely new level.

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Posted in Bank Owned, bogus, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, insider, investigation, Real Estate, securitizationComments (0)

Glenn Beck on The Goldman Sachs Connection

Glenn Beck on The Goldman Sachs Connection


So what does this ‘FRAUD” mean and the AIG bailout they received?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERBmoV_WQU8]

 

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, goldman sachs, hank paulson, john paulson, naked short sellingComments (0)


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