OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
Economic Crimes Division
UNFAIR, DECEPTIVE AND UNCONSCIONABLE ACTS IN FORECLOSURE CASES
By: June M. Clarkson, Theresa B. Edwards
and Rene D. Harrod
Continue below to the excellent presentation…
Posted on 04 January 2011.
By: June M. Clarkson, Theresa B. Edwards
and Rene D. Harrod
Continue below to the excellent presentation…
Posted on 12 December 2010.
This is a crucial video with actual courtroom footage showing how mortgages and notes are lost as U.S. Citizens face foreclosure, as noted by journalists like Matt Taibbi. Fight back with KingCast courtroom video. I’ve been shooting courtroom video since I tried Civil Rights cases in the mid 1990’s.
KingCast — Reel News for Real People.
Ingress v. Wells Fargo
Posted on 18 November 2010.
As an additional quality control measure, Citi is currently reviewing approximately 10,000 affidavits that were executed in pending judicial foreclosures initiated prior to February 2010 to assure that these affidavits are substantively correct and properly executed. Citi expects that affidavits executed prior to the fall of 2009 will need to be re-filed.
Separately, Citi is also reviewing approximately 4,000 pending foreclosure affidavits in judicial states that were executed at our Dallas processing center and may not have been signed in the presence of a notary, to assure that these affidavits are substantively correct and properly executed. Citi expects that it will re-file these affidavits.
Lastly, as previously announced, Citi stopped referring new matters to the Florida law firm David Stern in September of 2010 and has since withdrawn all pending matters from that firm. As an added precaution and quality-control measure, Citi is transferring approximately 8,500 pending foreclosure files from the Stern law firm to new counsel. New affidavits for these cases will be prepared and re-filed by new counsel under Citi’s current procedures.
[ipaper docId=43133403 access_key=key-1dw6rv14xg9w76xg6k83 height=600 width=600 /]© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.
Posted on 21 October 2010.
There’s been plenty of recent media attention to the prospect of investor lawsuits over fraudulent mortgages and mortgage securities. But investor lawsuits against mortgage servicers could be even more damaging than these other lines of legal inquiry. The four largest banks hold nearly half a trillion dollars worth of second-lien mortgages on their books—loans that could be decimated if investors successfully target improper mortgage servicing operations. The result would be major trouble for the financial system. The result would be major trouble for too-big-to-fail behemoths.
Mortgage servicers are the banking industry’s debt collectors. They accept payments and forward them along to investors who own mortgage securities– servicers themselves don’t actually own the mortgages they handle. This is a recipe for trouble for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest problems is the fact that the nation’s four largest banks also operate the four largest mortgage servicers. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup service about half of all mortgages in the United States. They also have multi-trillion-dollar businesses whose interests often conflict with those of mortgage security investors.
Posted on 13 October 2010.
Today the Florida Attorney General issued Subpoenas Duces Tecum’s to both Lender Processing Services Inc. and to a subsidiary DOCX. This involves employees past or present, the four foreclosure firms currently being investigated.
Both Assistant AG’s “McCollum’s Angels” June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards are doing an outstanding job!
[click image for ]
STATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
INVESTIGATIVE SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM
“You,” “Your” or “DOC X” as used herein means DOCX, L.L.c. and any ofthe respondents, their agents and employees or any “affiliate” of the aforementioned entities, as that term is herein defined. Your agents include but are not limited to your officers, directors, attorneys, accountants, CPA’s, advertising consultants, or advertising account representatives. Any document in the possession ofyou, your affiliates, your agents or your employees is deemed to be within your possession or control. You have the affirmative duty to contact your agents, affiliates and employees and to obtain documentation from them, if such documentation is responsive to this subpoena.
B. Unless otherwise indicated, documents to be produced pursuant to this subpoena should include all original documents prepared, sent, dated, received, in effect, or which otherwise came into existence at any time. If your “original” is a photocopy, then the photocopy would be and should be produced as the original.
C. This subpoena duces tecum calls for the production of all responsive documents in your possession, custody or control without regard to the physical location ofsaid documents.
D. “And” and “or” are used as terms of inclusion, not exclusion.
E. The documents to be produced pursuant to each request should be segregated and specifically identified to indicate clearly the particular numbered request to which they are responsIve.
F. In the event that you seek to withhold any document on the basis that is properly entitled to some privilege or limitation, please provide the following information:
1. A list identifying each document for which you believe a limitation exists;
2. The name of each author, writer, sender or initiator of such document or thing, if any;
3. The name of each recipient, addressee or party for whom such document or thing was intended, ifany;
4. The date of such document, if any, or an estimate thereof so indicated if no date appears on the document;
5. The general subject matter as described in such document, or, if no such description appears, then such other description sufficient to identify said document; and
6. The claimed grounds for withholding the document, including, but not limited to, the nature of any claimed privilege and grounds in support thereof.
G. For each request, or part thereof, which is not fully responded to pursuant to a privilege, the nature of the privilege and grounds in support thereof should be fully stated.
H. If you possess, control or have custody of no documents responsive to any of the numbered requests set forth below, state this fact in your response to said request.
1. For purposes of responding to this subpoena, the term “document” shall mean all writings or stored data or information ofany kind, in any form, including the originals and all nonidentical copies, whether different from the originals by reason of any notation(s) made on such copies or otherwise, including, without limitation: correspondence, notes, letters, telegrams, minutes, certificates, diplomas, contracts, franchise agreements and other agreements, brochures, pamphlets, forms, scripts, reports, studies, statistics, inter-office and intra-office communications, training materials, analyses, memoranda, statements, summaries, graphs, charts, tests, plans, arrangements, tabulations, bulletins, newsletters, advertisements, computer printouts, teletype, telefax, microfilm, e-mail, electronically stored data, price books and lists, invoices, receipts, inventories, regularly kept summaries or compilations of business records, notations of any type of conversations, meetings, telephone or other communications, audio and videotapes; electronic, mechanical or electrical records or representations of any kind (including without limitation tapes, cassettes, discs, magnetic tapes, hard drives and recordings to include each document translated, if necessary, through detection devices into reasonably usable form).
1. For purposes of responding to this subpoena, the term “affiliate” shall mean: a corporation, partnership, business trust, joint venture or other artificial entity which effectively controls, or is effectively controlled by you, or which is related to you as a parent or subsidiary or sibling entity. “Affiliate” shall also mean any entity in which there is a mutual identity of any officer or director. “Effectively controls” shall mean having the status of owner, investor (if 5% or more of voting stock), partner, member, officer, director, shareholder, manager, settlor, trustee, beneficiary or ultimate equitable owner as defined in Section 607.0505(11)(e), Florida Statutes.
K. The term “Florida affiliates” shall mean those of your affiliates which do business in Florida or which are licensed to do business in Florida.
L. If production of documents or other items required by this subpoena would be, in whole or in part, unduly burdensome, or if the response to an individual request for production may be aided by clarification of the request, contact the Assistant Attorney General who issued this subpoena to discuss possible amendments or modifications of the subpoena, within five (5) days of receipt ofsame.
M. Documents maintained in electronic form must be produced in their native electronic form with all metadata intact. Data must be produced in the data format in which it is typically used and maintained. Moreover, to the extent that a responsive Document has been electronically scanned (for any purpose), that Document must be produced in an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) format and an opportunity provided to review the original Document. In addition, documents that have been electronically scanned must be in black and white and should be produced in a Group IV TIFF Format (TIF image format), with a Summation format load file (dii extension). DII Coded data should be received in a (Comma-Separated Values) CSV format with a pipe (I) used for multivalue fields. Images should be single page TIFFs, meaning one TIFF file for each page of the Document, not one .tifffor each Document. Ifthere is no text for a text file, the following should be inserted in that text file: “Page Intentionally Left Blank.”
Moreover, this Subpoena requires all objective coding for the production, to the extent it exists. For electronic mail systems using Microsoft Outlook or LotusNotes, provide all responsive emails and, if applicable, email attachments and any related Documents, in their native file format (i.e., .pst for Outlook personal folder, .nsf for LotusNotes). For all other email systems, provide all responsive emails and, if applicable, email attachments and any related Documents in OCR and TIFF formats as described above.
P. The relevant time period for the present request shall be from January 1, 2006 to present unless otherwise specifically stated. YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to produce at said time and place all documents, as defined above, relating to the following subjects:
1. Copies ofall “Network Agreements” between DOCX and any law firm with offices located in the State of Florida.
2. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Linda Green to sign documents in the following capacities:
a. Vice President of Loan Documentation, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. successor by merger to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.; ;
b. Vice President, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for American Home Mortgage Acceptance, Inc.;
c. Vice President, American Home Mortgage Servicing as successor-in-interest to Option One Mortgage Corporation;
d. Vice President, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for American Brokers Conduit;
e. Vice President & Asst. Secretary, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., as servicer for Ameriquest Mortgage Corporation;
f. Vice President, Option One Mortgage Corporation;
g. Vice President, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for HLB Mortgage;
h. Vice President, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc.;
1. Vice President, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for Family Lending Services, Inc.;
J. Vice President, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. as Successor -ininterest to Option One Mortgage Corporation;
k. Vice President, Argent Mortgage Company, LLC by Citi Residential Lending, Inc., attorney-in-fact;
1. . Vice President, Sand Canyon Corporation f/kJal Option One Mortgage Corporation;
m. Vice President, Amtrust Funsing (sic) Services, Inc., by American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., as Attorney-in -fact;
n. Vice President, Seattle Mortgage Company.
3. Copies of every document signed in any capacity by Linda Green.
4. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Korell Harp to sign documents in any capacity for any lender and/or servicing company.
5. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Jessica Ohde to sign documents in any capacity for any lender and/or servicing company.
6. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Pat Kingston to sign documents in any capacity for any lender and/or servicing company.
7. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Christina Huang to sign documents in any capacity for any lender and/or servicing company.
8. Copies of any and all underlying documentation that allows for your employee or ex-employee, Tywanna Thomas to sign documents in any capacity for any lender and/or servicing company.
9. All policy and procedure manuals and/or training materials regarding the methods and timing that DOCX uses, including without limitation relating to the drafting and/or execution of foreclosure and mortgage related documents, including but not limited to Assignments of Mortgage, Satisfactions ofMortgage and Affidavits ofany and all kind.
10. A list ofall employees, dates ofhire and termination, and their duties, including whether or not they provide any notary services for DOCX.
11. All documents in your possession regarding any contracts with Florida Default Law Group, P.L., The Law Offices of David J. Stem, P.A., Shapiro & Fishman, L.L.P. and The Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, P.A., including contracts regarding payments to or from any of those entities.
12. Documents relating to the relationship between DOCX and NewTrac and/or NewInvoice, including but not limited to, documents relating to the types ofdocuments that are or can be generated or are requested to be generated.
13. Any price lists published in any manner to prospective customers, whether by printed or electronic means.
14. All communications between DOCX and Florida Default Law Group, P.L., The Law Offices of David J. Stem, P.A., Shapiro & Fishman, L.L.P. or The Law Offices ofMarshall C. Watson, P.A. relating to procedures, policies, instructions or performance ofthe creation, backdating, modification, amendment, or other alteration ofany real property-related transactional document or records, including assignments, satisfactions ofmortgage, affidavits, notes, allonges, or other documents filed in any court.
15. Ledgers ofall financial transactions between DOCX and Florida Default Law Group, P.L., The Law Offices of David J. Stem, P.A., Shapiro & Fishman, L.L.P. or The Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, P .A.
16. Ledgers ofall financial transactions between DOCX and any title company, recording service, process server, or any other entity that provides payments to DOCX in connection with any services rendered in connection with any residential foreclosure.
17. Ledgers ofall financial transactions between DOCX and any title company, recording service, process server, or any other entity to whom DOCX provides payment(s) in connection with any services rendered in connection with any residential foreclosure.
WITNESS the FLORIDA OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this 13th day of October, 2010.
June M. Clarkson
Assistant Attorney General
Florida Bar Number: 785709
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL 110 S.E. 6th Street, 10th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Theresa B. Edwards
Assistant Attorney General
Florida Bar Number: 252794
NOTE: In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, persons needing a special accommodation to participate in this proceeding should contact George Rudd, Assistant Attorney General at (954) 712-4600 no later than seven days prior to the proceedings. Ifhearing impaired, contact the Florida Relay Service 1-800-955-8771 (TDD); or 1-800-955-8770 (Voice), for assistance.
Florida Statute 501.206
501.206 Investigative powers of enforcing authority.(
1) If, by his own inquiry or as a result ofcomplaints, the enforcing authority has reason to believe that a person has engaged in, or is engaging in, an act or practice that violates this part, he may administer oaths and affinnations, subpoena witnesses or matter, and collect evidence. Within 5 days excluding weekends and legal holidays, after the service ofa subpoena or at any time before the return date specified therein, whichever is longer, the party served may file in the circuit court in the county in which he resides or in which he transacts business and serve upon the enforcing authority a petition for an order modifying or setting aside the subpoena. The petitioner may raise any objection or privilege which would be available under this chapter or upon service of such subpoena in a civil action. The subpoena shall infonn the party served of his rights under this subsection.
(2) If matter that the enforcing authority seeks to obtain by subpoena is located outside the state, the person subpoenaed may make it available to the enforcing authority or his representative to examine the matter at the place where it is located. The enforcing authority may designate representatives, including officials ofthe state in which the matter is located, to inspect the matter on his behalf, and he may respond to similar requests from officials ofother states.
(3) Upon failure ofa person without lawful excuse to obey a subpoena and upon reasonable notice to all persons affected, the enforcing authority may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling compliance.
(4) The enforcing authority may request that the individual who refuses to comply with a subpoena on the ground that testimony or matter may incriminate him be ordered by the court to provide the testimony or matter. Except in a prosecution for perjury, an individual who complies with a court order to provide testimony or matter after asserting a privilege against selfincrimination to which he is entitled by law shall not have the testimony or matter so provided, or evidence derived there from, received against him in any criminal investigation proceeding.
(5) Any person upon whom a subpoena is served pursuant to this section shall comply with the tenns thereof unless otherwise provided by order of the court. Any person who fails to appear with the intent to avoid, evade, or prevent compliance in whole or in part with any investigation under this part or who removes, destroys, or by any other means falsifies any documentary material in the possession, custody, or control of any person subject to any such subpoena, or knowingly conceals any relevant infonnation with the intent to avoid, evade, or prevent compliance shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs.
Affidavit of Service Attached
Posted in assignment of mortgage, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, deed of trust, DOCX, FDLG, florida default law group, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, investigation, jeff carbiener, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Notary, notary fraud, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.comComments (1)
Posted on 13 September 2010.
“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists
– to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.”
– BARACK OBAMA, speech, Aug. 28, 2006
Economics Editor, AlterNet; Fellow, Campaign for America’s Future
The Washington Post has published a very silly op-ed by Chrystia Freeland accusing President Barack Obama of unfairly “demonizing” Wall Street. Freeland wants to see Obama tone down his rhetoric and play nice with executives in pursuit of a harmonious economic recovery. The trouble is, Obama hasn’t actually deployed harsh words against Wall Street. What’s more, in order to avoid being characterized as “anti-business,” the Obama administration has refused to mete out serious punishment for outright financial fraud. Complaining about nouns and adjectives is a little ridiculous when handcuffs and prison sentences are in order.
Freeland is a long-time business editor at Reuters and the Financial Times, and the story she spins about the financial crisis comes across as very reasonable. It’s also completely inaccurate. Here’s the key line:
“Stricter regulation of financial services is necessary not because American bankers were bad, but because the rules governing them were.”
Bank regulations were lousy, of course. But Wall Street spent decades lobbying hard for those rules, and screamed bloody murder when Obama had the audacity to tweak them. More importantly, the financial crisis was not only the result of bad rules. It was the result of bad rules and rampant, straightforward fraud, something a seasoned business editor like Freeland ought to know. Seeking economic harmony with criminals seems like a pretty poor foundation for an economic recovery.
The FBI was warning about an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud as early as 2004. Mortgage fraud is typically perpetrated by lenders, not borrowers — 80 percent of the time, according to the FBI. Banks made a lot of quick bucks over the past decade by illegally conning borrowers. Then bankers who knew these loans were fraudulent still packaged them into securities and sold them to investors without disclosing that fraud. They lied to their own shareholders about how many bad loans were on their books, and lied to them about the bonuses that were derived from the entire scheme. When you do these things, you are stealing lots of money from innocent people, and you are, in fact, behaving badly (to put it mildly).
The fraud allegations that have emerged over the past year are not restricted to a few bad apples at shady companies– they involve some of the largest players in global finance. Washington Mutual executives knew their company was issuing fraudulent loans, and securitized them anyway without stopping the influx of fraud in the lending pipeline. Wachovia is settling charges that it illegally laundered $380 billion in drug money in order to maintain access to liquidity. Barclays is accused of illegally laundering money from Iran, Sudan and other nations, jumping through elaborate technical hoops to conceal the source of their funds. Goldman Sachs set up its own clients to fail and bragged about their “shitty deals.” Citibank executives deceived their shareholders about the extent of their subprime mortgage holdings. Bank of America executives concealed heavy losses from the Merrill Lynch merger, and then lied to their shareholders about the massive bonuses they were paying out. IndyMac Bank and at least five other banks cooked their books by backdating capital injections.
Continue reading…..The Huffington Post
Posted in Bank Owned, citi, conspiracy, Economy, FED FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, goldman sachs, hamp, indymac, investigation, jobless, lehman brothers, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., OCC, racketeering, RICO, rmbs, Wall Street, wamu, washington mutual, wells fargoComments (0)
Posted on 30 July 2010.
By David Ellis, staff writer July 29, 2010: 3:57 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Citigroup said Thursday it would pay $73 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the bank, as well as two of its executives, misled investors about the company’s exposure to the subprime mortgage market.
Wall Street’s top regulator said Citigroup repeatedly made misleading statements in investor presentations and in public filings about the actual size of assets it controlled that were backed by subprime mortgages.
Between July and mid-October 2007, the company maintained its holdings of what have now been dubbed “toxic assets”, stood at $13 billion, when in fact the number was closer to $50 billion, according to the SEC.
“The rules of financial disclosure are simple — if you choose to speak, speak in full and not in half-truths,” Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said in a statement.
Continue reading….CNN© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.
Posted on 25 June 2010.
First Published Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:21 pm
Copyright © 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
(Updates with comments from Treasury official.)
By Darrell A. Hughes
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Mortgage servicers on Thursday told U.S. House lawmakers that consecutive changes to the U.S. Treasury Department’s foreclosure prevention program have made it increasingly difficult to keep distressed borrowers in their homes.
Real-estate financial services consultant Edward Pinto described the Home Affordable Modification Program in two words: “numbing complexity.”
“At last count, HAMP had 800 requirements and servicers are expected to certify compliance,” he said. “With ever changing regulations, a constant need to re-evaluate past decisions in light of new regulations, and multiple appeals, it is no wonder that the HAMP pipeline became clogged through no substantial fault of servicers.”
HAMP was created to help financially strained borrowers avoid foreclosure, but the program’s lackluster performance has been mired in controversy, as some lawmakers are questioning whether the program should remain ongoing.
On Thursday, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held the second of two hearings to assess HAMP’s progress. This latest hearing primarily focused on what servicers are doing to ensure borrowers receive adequate relief.
Pinto, who served as Fannie Mae’s chief credit officer from 1987-1989, testified before the committee, along with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) head of home lending, David Lowman, and CitiMortgage Chief Executive Sanjiv Das. CitiMortgage is a unit of Citigroup Inc. (C). Bank of America (BAC) executive Barbara Desoer and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) executive Michael Heid were among others who testified.
According to Treasury’s most recent data, nearly one out of four homeowners offered help under the program have fallen out of HAMP. About 1.2 million trial modifications had been started under the plan and about 281,000 homeowners had been dropped by the end of April.
Many borrowers were expecting a mortgage modification when they ultimately didn’t qualify, Wells Fargo’s Heid said, adding that a lack of income documentation and failure to make all of the trial modification payments were the primary reasons some borrowers failed to receive a permanent modification.
Heid echoed the frustration expressed by Pinto and provided lawmakers with a “partial list” of more than 20 changes to the program since its inception in February 2009. “This has contributed to a level of complexity that has been difficult for customers to understand and for services to communicate and execute,” he said.
At the first hearing in March, Herbert Allison, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability, acknowledged the program has had issues, including problems at some mortgage servicers, the difficulty for some borrowers to provide needed documentation, and “a process that has proven more complex administratively than originally conceived.”
Allison, responding to criticism from servicers, said Treasury took “swift and unprecedented action” in creating HAMP, which called for servicers to be recruited, policies and guidance to be developed; and that’s in addition to “mounting a massive effort to reach homeowners.”
Allison defended the administration’s actions, saying “there was little precedent on how to design a modification program of the scale required and limited data on which to base estimates of potential performance.” He added, “There was no existing infrastructure in the mortgage finance market or the government to carry out a national modification program at a loan level.”
Assessing HAMP’s impact on the industry, Allison said the program has changed the fundamentals of servicer duties from “collecting payments and processing foreclosures, to one that provides payment assistance to qualified homeowners.”
Servicers who testifed before lawmakers made several positive remarks about the program providing relief to many Americans. Still, they remain concerned that HAMP fails to address the financial circumstances and hardships of all borrowers.
The mortgage servicers told lawmakers that HAMP isn’t the only option, and each of them outlined their respective plans to assist borrowers with in-house initiatives that could be tailored to the needs of specific borrowers.
Pinto projected that the overall success of HAMP is likely to negatively impacted by high re-default rates. Pinto’s permanent mortgage re-default rate forecast is ten percentage points below the 50% that’s been projected by other mortgage sector observers.
Pinto based his projection on two statistics: most HAMP permanent modifications being made on loans with mortgage balances in excess of current home values and borrowers that received a permanent modification through May 2010 having a median total debt-to-income ratio of 64%.
“This leaves little money for food, clothing, taxes and other expenses,” Pinto said. “As a result, these borrowers are a worn-out furnace or roof replacement away from re-default.”
-By Darrell A. Hughes, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6684; email@example.com
(Michael R. Crittenden and James R. Hagerty contributed to this story.)© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.
Posted on 25 June 2010.
(Updates with Treasury official Herb Allison’s comments)
WASHINGTON June 24 (Reuters) – The four largest mortgage lenders in the United States were grilled on Capitol Hill on Thursday about the limited number of home loans they have modified for homeowners facing foreclosure.
“I just wonder how hard you are really trying?” Rep. Dennis Kucinich asked David Lowman, chief executive of home lending at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N).
Lowman said JP Morgan had been understaffed to handle the demand from struggling homeowners seeking to restructure payments, though they have added staff in recent months.
“Why are you denying loan modifications to my constituents?” Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, asked Lowman, calling JP Morgan Chase uncooperative with borrowers.
Ohio has been one of the hardest-hit states in the U.S. home foreclosure crisis.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also summoned chief executives of the home lending units of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) to answer questions about their loan modification practices.
Also at the witness table was American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc, which collects loan payments but does not make or hold loans. AHMSI is known in the industry as a monoline servicer, while the other four firms both make and service loans.
In 2009, the Obama administration announced the $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP, which provides incentives to loan servicers to modify loans for troubled borrowers. HAMP has been widely criticized as ineffective. Less than $200 million has been spent to date.
The Treasury Department said on Monday more people had been kicked out of trial loan modifications than had received permanent modifications.
About 150,000 borrowers who could not prove their income or keep up with the new payments had their modifications canceled in May, bringing the total number of cancellations to about 430,000, or more than one-third of the 1.24 million trial modifications started since the program’s inception.
HAMP NOT THE ONLY SOLUTION
The number of borrowers who have received a permanent loan modification rose to 340,459 in May — about 11 percent of 3.2 million HAMP eligible loans.
“This is not just about HAMP,” the panel’s chairman, Edolphus Towns, said, referring to the modification program.
“I think the mortgage banking industry has got to recognize that HAMP cannot be the only solution to the mortgage foreclosure crisis,” the New York Democrat told the financial executives.
Herb Allison, assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, noted that there was little precedent on how to design a large national program and the administration has now begun to put pressure on servicers to increase modifications by publicly releasing data on their performance.
“The HAMP program fundamentally changed the servicer industry from one based on collecting payments and processing foreclosures, to one that provides payment assistance to qualified homeowners,” Allison said in a prepared statement released after the hearing.
All of the executives said they have made more loan modifications than just HAMP modifications.
JP Morgan Chase said it has completed about 173,000 permanent modifications, including roughly 47,500 HAMP loans, since the beginning of 2009.
Bank of America said it has completed more than 630,000 loan modifications since January 2008, including roughly 70,000 HAMP loans.
Rep. Steve Driehaus, an Ohio Democrat, urged the executives to stop foreclosure proceedings while they negotiated new loan terms with borrowers.
“We are sending a very mixed message when we are proceeding with foreclosure while negotiating” a loan modification, Driehaus said.
Citi and Wells Fargo said they do stop foreclosure proceedings as soon as loan repayment talks begin. Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and AHMSI said they continue to pursue foreclosures on a dual track strategy, though foreclosure remains an option of last resort. (Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Jan Paschal and Jeffrey Benkoe)© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.
Posted on 20 March 2010.
By Craig Torres
March 20 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve Board removed an exemption it had given to six banks at the start of the crisis in 2007 aimed at boosting liquidity in financing markets for securities backed by mortgage- and asset-backed securities.
The so-called 23-A exemptions, named after a section of the Federal Reserve Act that limits such trades to protect bank depositors, were granted days after the Fed cut the discount rate by half a percentage point on Aug. 17, 2007. Their removal, announced yesterday in Washington, is part of a broad wind-down of emergency liquidity backstops by the Fed as markets normalize.
The decision in 2007 underscores how Fed officials defined the mortgage-market disruptions that year as partly driven by liquidity constraints. In hindsight, some analysts say that diagnosis turned out to be wrong.
“It was a way to prevent further deleveraging of the financial system, but that happened anyway,” said Dino Kos, managing director at Portales Partners LLC and former head of the New York Fed’s open market operations. “The underlying problem was solvency. The Fed was slow to recognize that.”
The Fed ended the exemptions in nearly identical letters to the Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, and Barclays Bank Plc posted on its Web site.
The Fed’s intent in 2007 was to provide backstop liquidity for financial markets through the discount window. In a chain of credit, investors would obtain collateralized loans from dealers, dealers would obtain collateralized loans from banks, and then banks could pledge collateral to the Fed’s discount window for 30-day credit. In Citigroup’s case, the exemption allowed such lending to its securities unit up to $25 billion.
“The goal was to stop the hemorrhaging of risk capital,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. “Investors were being forced out of the securities market because they couldn’t fund their positions, even in higher-quality assets in some cases.”
Using mortgage bonds without government-backed guarantees as collateral for private-market financing began to get more difficult in August 2007 following the collapse of two Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds.
As terms for loans secured by mortgage bonds got “massively” tighter, haircuts, or the excess in collateral above the amount borrowed, on AAA home-loan securities rose that month from as little as 3 percent to as much as 10 percent, according to a UBS AG report.
By February 2008, haircuts climbed to 20 percent, investor Luminent Mortgage Capital Inc. said at the time. After Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in September 2008, the loans almost disappeared.
“These activities were intended to allow the bank to extend credit to market participants in need of short-term liquidity to finance” holdings of mortgage loans and asset- backed securities, said the Fed board’s letter dated yesterday to Kathleen Juhase, associate general counsel of JPMorgan. “In light of this normalization of the term for discount window loans, the Board has terminated the temporary section 23-A exemption.”
The “normalization” refers to the Fed’s reduction in the term of discount window loans to overnight credit starting two days ago from a month previously.
The Fed eventually loaned directly to securities firms and opened the discount window to primary dealers in March 2008. Borrowings under the Primary Dealer Credit Facility soared to $146.5 billion on Oct. 1, 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers two weeks earlier. Borrowings fell to zero in May 2009. The Fed closed the facility last month, along with three other emergency liquidity backstops.
The Fed also raised the discount rate a quarter point in February to 0.75 percent, moving it closer to its normal spread over the federal funds rate of 1 percentage point.
The one interest rate the Fed hasn’t changed since the depths of the crisis is the benchmark lending rate. Officials kept the target for overnight loans among banks in a range of zero to 0.25 percent on March 16, where it has stood since December 2008, while retaining a pledge to keep rates low “for an extended period.”
Removing the 23-A exemptions shows the Fed wants to get “back to normal,” said Laurence Meyer, a former Fed governor and vice chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in Washington. “Everything has gone back to normal except monetary policy.”
Last Updated: March 20, 2010 00:00 EDT
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Posted on 17 March 2010.
This in combination with A.K. Barnett-Hart’s Thesis make’s one hell of a Discovery.
Discussion Paper No. 612
Harvard Law School Cambridge, MA 02138
This paper explores the economic and legal causes and consequences of recent difficulties in the subprime mortgage market. We provide basic descriptive statistics and institutional details on the mortgage origination process, mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). We examine a number of aspects of these markets, including the identity of MBS and CDO sponsors, CDO trustees, CDO liquidations, MBS insured and registered amounts, the evolution of MBS tranche structure over time, mortgage originations, underwriting quality of mortgage originations, and write-downs of investment banks. In light of this discussion, the paper then addresses questions as to how these difficulties might have not been foreseen, and some of the main legal issues that will play an important role in the extensive subprime litigation (summarized in the paper) that is underway, including the Rule 10b-5 class actions that have already been filed against the investment banks, pending ERISA litigation, the causes-of-action available to MBS and CDO purchasers, and litigation against the rating agencies. In the course of this discussion, the paper highlights three distinctions that will likely prove central in the resolution of this litigation: The distinction between reasonable ex ante expectations and the occurrence of ex post losses; the distinction between the transparency of the quality of the underlying assets being securitized and the transparency as to which market participants are exposed to subprime losses; and, finally, the distinction between what investors and market participants knew versus what individual entities in the structured finance process knew, particularly as to macroeconomic issues such as the state of the national housing market. ex ante expectations and the occurrence of ex post losses; the distinction between the transparency of the quality of the underlying assets being securitized and the transparency as to which market participants are exposed to subprime losses; and, finally, the distinction between what investors and market participants knew versus what individual entities in the structured finance process knew, particularly as to macroeconomic issues such as the state of the national housing market.
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Posted on 16 March 2010.
March 15, 2010, 4:59 PM ET
Deal Journal has yet to read “The Big Short,” Michael Lewis’s yarn on the financial crisis that hit stores today. We did, however, read his acknowledgments, where Lewis praises “A.K. Barnett-Hart, a Harvard undergraduate who had just written a thesis about the market for subprime mortgage-backed CDOs that remains more interesting than any single piece of Wall Street research on the subject.”
While unsure if we can stomach yet another book on the crisis, a killer thesis on the topic? Now that piqued our curiosity. We tracked down Barnett-Hart, a 24-year-old financial analyst at a large New York investment bank. She met us for coffee last week to discuss her thesis, “The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis.” Handed in a year ago this week at the depths of the market collapse, the paper was awarded summa cum laude and won virtually every thesis honor, including the Harvard Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work.
Last October, Barnett-Hart, already pulling all-nighters at the bank (we agreed to not name her employer), received a call from Lewis, who had heard about her thesis from a Harvard doctoral student. Lewis was blown away.
“It was a classic example of the innocent going to Wall Street and asking the right questions,” said Mr. Lewis, who in his 20s wrote “Liar’s Poker,” considered a defining book on Wall Street culture. “Her thesis shows there were ways to discover things that everyone should have wanted to know. That it took a 22-year-old Harvard student to find them out is just outrageous.”
Barnett-Hart says she wasn’t the most obvious candidate to produce such scholarship. She grew up in Boulder, Colo., the daughter of a physics professor and full-time homemaker. A gifted violinist, Barnett-Hart deferred admission at Harvard to attend Juilliard, where she was accepted into a program studying the violin under Itzhak Perlman. After a year, she headed to Cambridge, Mass., for a broader education. There, with vague designs on being pre-Med, she randomly took “Ec 10,” the legendary introductory economics course taught by Martin Feldstein.
“I thought maybe this would help me, like, learn to manage my money or something,” said Barnett-Hart, digging into a granola parfait at Le Pain Quotidien. She enjoyed how the subject mixed current events with history, got an A (natch) and declared economics her concentration.
Barnett-Hart’s interest in CDOs stemmed from a summer job at an investment bank in the summer of 2008 between junior and senior years. During a rotation on the mortgage securitization desk, she noticed everyone was in a complete panic. “These CDOs had contaminated everything,” she said. “The stock market was collapsing and these securities were affecting the broader economy. At that moment I became obsessed and decided I wanted to write about the financial crisis.”
Back at Harvard, against the backdrop of the financial system’s near-total collapse, Barnett-Hart approached professors with an idea of writing a thesis about CDOs and their role in the crisis. “Everyone discouraged me because they said I’d never be able to find the data,” she said. “I was urged to do something more narrow, more focused, more knowable. That made me more determined.”
She emailed scores of Harvard alumni. One pointed her toward LehmanLive, a comprehensive database on CDOs. She received scores of other data leads. She began putting together charts and visuals, holding off on analysis until she began to see patterns–how Merrill Lynch and Citigroup were the top originators, how collateral became heavily concentrated in subprime mortgages and other CDOs, how the credit ratings procedures were flawed, etc.
“If you just randomly start regressing everything, you can end up doing an unlimited amount of regressions,” she said, rolling her eyes. She says nearly all the work was in the research; once completed, she jammed out the paper in a couple of weeks.
“It’s an incredibly impressive piece of work,” said Jeremy Stein, a Harvard economics professor who included the thesis on a reading list for a course he’s teaching this semester on the financial crisis. “She pulled together an enormous amount of information in a way that’s both intelligent and accessible.”
Barnett-Hart’s thesis is highly critical of Wall Street and “their irresponsible underwriting practices.” So how is it that she can work for the very institutions that helped create the notorious CDOs she wrote about?
“After writing my thesis, it became clear to me that the culture at these investment banks needed to change and that incentives needed to be realigned to reward more than just short-term profit seeking,” she wrote in an email. “And how would Wall Street ever change, I thought, if the people that work there do not change? What these banks needed is for outsiders to come in with a fresh perspective, question the way business was done, and bring a new appreciation for the true purpose of an investment bank – providing necessary financial services, not creating unnecessary products to bolster their own profits.”
Ah, the innocence of youth.
Here is a copy of the thesis: 2009-CDOmeltdown
Posted on 16 March 2010.
March 11, 2010, 6:15 PM ET
Doubtless, historians will be going over the mammoth 2,200 page report from the Lehman bankruptcy examiner for years to come.
But we bloggers are writing the first draft now. And there’s plenty of good fodder on Lehman’s final days, including fresh details on its effort to get support from billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Now, it’s well known that Lehman reached out to Buffett in its final months. The Journal’s Scott Patterson wrote about the Oracle’s decision to pass on Lehman in a story back in December.
But the level of detail provided by this report is pretty astounding. It offers a pretty amazing snapshot of Buffett’s conversation with Lehman CEO Dick Fuld as well as a remarkable window on how the Oracle negotiates during times of crisis.
The report really reads like a novel, so we’ll just give you the sections here:
Fuld and Buffett spoke on Friday, March 28, 2008. They discussed Buffett investing at least $2 billion in Lehman. Two items immediately concerned Buffet during his conversation with Fuld. First, Buffett wanted Lehman executives to buy under the same terms as Buffett. Fuld explained to the Examiner that he was reluctant to require a significant buy?in from Lehman executives, because they already received much of their compensation in stock. However, Buffett took it as a negative that Fuld suggested that Lehman executives were not willing to participate in a significant way. Second, Buffett did not like that Fuld complained about short sellers. Buffett thought that blaming short sellers was indicative of a failure to admit one’s own problems.
Following his conversation with Buffett, Fuld asked Paulson to call Buffett, which Paulson reluctantly did. Buffett told the Examiner that during that call, Paulson signaled that he would like Buffett to invest in Lehman, but Paulson “did not load the dice.” Buffett spent the rest of Friday, March 28, 2008, reviewing Lehman’s 10?K and noting problems with some of Lehman’s assets. Buffett’s concerns centered around Lehman’s real estate and high yield investments, lending?related commitments derivatives and their related credit?market risk, Level III assets and Lehman’s securitization activity. On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Buffett learned of a $100 million problem in Japan that Fuld had not mentioned during their discussions, and Buffett was concerned that Fuld had not been forthcoming about the issue. The problems Buffett saw in the 10?K along with Fuld’s failure to alert Buffett to the issue in Japan cemented Buffett’s decision not to invest in Lehman.
At some point in their conversations, Fuld and Buffett also discovered that there had been a miscommunication about the conversion price. Buffett was interested only in convertible preferred shares. Buffett told Fuld that he was willing to agree to a $40 conversion price per share, while Fuld thought Buffett was offering to buy in at “up? 40,” or 40% above the current market price, which would have been about $56 per share. On Friday, March 28, 2008, Lehman’s stock closed at $37.87. Fuld spoke to Lehman’s Executive Committee and several Board members about his conversations with Buffett. Lehman recognized that an investment by Buffett would provide a “stamp of approval.” However, Lehman already had better offers for its April capital raise, and Lehman did not think it could give a better deal to Buffett at the same time it gave a less attractive deal to others. On Monday, March 31, 2008, before Buffett could tell Fuld that he was not interested, Fuld called Buffett to say that Lehman could not accept his terms.
Last?Ditch Effort with Buffett
[Hugh “Skip” E. McGee, III, the head of Lehman’s Investment Banking Division] contacted [President David L. Sokol, president of Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy] again in late August or early September 2008 and outlined Lehman’s “Gameplan” for survival, specifically SpinCo. During a subsequent telephone call with Sokol, McGee explained the “good bank/bad bank” scenario and stated that Lehman would need an investor. Sokol believed the e?mail and call were intended to induce Sokol to pass that information on to Buffett, so Sokol briefed Buffett on SpinCo. Buffett thought the idea would not solve Lehman’s problems.
Sometime during the week prior to Lehman’s bankruptcy, McGee again reached out to Sokol with what both Sokol and McGee described to the Examiner as a “Hail Mary” pass. McGee asked, “Do you have any ideas to save us?” Sokol, who was bear hunting in Alaska at the time, told McGee that he did not.
Judging by the inclusion of the largely irrelevant bear hunting detail at the end, we can tell that this report was written by a frustrated novelist. (And they did an amazing job.) But what we find most remarkable is the insight these sections offer on how Buffett assesses companies.
It’s simple–but not easy–as he combines 10-K analysis with probing questions to management.
Are they willing to put their own money at risk? Are they being upfront? Are they giving investors the full story?
Clearly Buffett didn’t think so.
Posted in bernanke, citi, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, Dick Fuld, FED FRAUD, geithner, hank paulson, jpmorgan chase, lehman brothers, naked short selling, warren buffet, warren buffettComments (1)
Posted on 13 March 2010.
Quite a few observers, including this blogger, have been stunned and frustrated at the refusal to investigate what was almost certain accounting fraud at Lehman. Despite the bankruptcy administrator’s effort to blame the gaping hole in Lehman’s balance sheet on its disorderly collapse, the idea that the firm, which was by its own accounts solvent, would suddenly spring a roughly $130+ billion hole in its $660 balance sheet, is simply implausible on its face. Indeed, it was such common knowledge in the Lehman flailing about period that Lehman’s accounts were sus that Hank Paulson’s recent book mentions repeatedly that Lehman’s valuations were phony as if it were no big deal.
Well, it is folks, as a newly-released examiner’s report by Anton Valukas in connection with the Lehman bankruptcy makes clear. The unraveling isn’t merely implicating Fuld and his recent succession of CFOs, or its accounting firm, Ernst & Young, as might be expected. It also emerges that the NY Fed, and thus Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations.
We need to demand an immediate release of the e-mails, phone records, and meeting notes from the NY Fed and key Lehman principals regarding the NY Fed’s review of Lehman’s solvency. If, as things appear now, Lehman was allowed by the Fed’s inaction to remain in business, when the Fed should have insisted on a wind-down (and the failed Barclay’s said this was not infeasible: even an orderly bankruptcy would have been preferrable, as Harvey Miller, who handled the Lehman BK filing has made clear; a good bank/bad bank structure, with a Fed backstop of the bad bank, would have been an option if the Fed’s justification for inaction was systemic risk), the NY Fed at a minimum helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties.
Posted on 13 March 2010.
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Posted in bank of america, bear stearns, chase, citi, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, FED FRAUD, geithner, indymac, jpmorgan chase, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, onewest, wachovia, washington mutual, wells fargoComments (0)