Concealment | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

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Bain v. MERS (Wash. Supreme Court) Amicus of Atty Shawn Newman on behalf of Organization United for Reform (OUR) – Washington

Bain v. MERS (Wash. Supreme Court) Amicus of Atty Shawn Newman on behalf of Organization United for Reform (OUR) – Washington


Bain v. Metropolitan is set for hearing on March 15. This is an amicus from attorney Shawn Timothy Newman for Organization United for Reform (OUR) – Washington.

[ipaper docId=81423312 access_key=key-1mn29xvrh9m4blp1cj9v height=600 width=600 /]

 

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



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

Bain v. METROPOLITAN MORTGAGE GROUP INC., Dist. Court, WD Washington, Seattle: LISTEN UP!

Bain v. METROPOLITAN MORTGAGE GROUP INC., Dist. Court, WD Washington, Seattle: LISTEN UP!


What a disaster! This ruling is absolutely hideous!

  • Ask these “VP’s” where MERS is located?
  • Who do they answer to?
  • Who is their superior in MERS?
  • How many meetings do they attend?
  • Are they paid employees?
  • What MERS branch do they work out of?

COMPLETE AND UTTER BULL SHIT!

Under the contract with MERS, they were appointed…

“CORRECTION “SELF” APPOINTED”

The instant motion for summary judgment concerns only one Defendant: Lender Processing Services (“LPS”). LPS “process[es] the necessary paperwork to pursue non-judicial foreclosure on behalf of its servicer and lender clients.” (Allen Decl. (Dkt. No. 74 at 1).) LPS had contracts with Defendants IndyMac Bank (now IndyMac Federal Bank) and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”). Under the contract with MERS, LPS[3] employees were “appointed as assistant secretaries and vice presidents of [MERS] and, as such, are authorized to . . . execute any and all documents necessary to foreclose upon the property securing any mortgage loan registered on the MERS system

[ipaper docId=30483227 access_key=key-1wvrddmbshf3b79tlcrz height=600 width=600 /]

How about Christina’s many signatures and positions in 1-5 banks below? So not only does she sign for MERS????

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tL8mNL4bYw]

Hypothetically…even *if* they had authority…they are FORGING these documents!!!

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



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, dinsfla, foreclosure fraud, indymac, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, MERS, robo signer, robo signersComments (3)

Small Foreclosure Firm’s Big Bucks: Back Office Grossed $260M in 2009: ABAJOURNAL

Small Foreclosure Firm’s Big Bucks: Back Office Grossed $260M in 2009: ABAJOURNAL


Posted Apr 20, 2010 11:59 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

The Law Offices of David J. Stern has only about 15 attorneys, according to legal directories.

However, it’s the biggest filer of mortgage foreclosure suits in Florida, reports the Tampa Tribune. Aided by a back office that dwarfs the law firm, with a staff of nearly 1,000, the Miami area firm files some 5,800 foreclosure actions monthly.

The back-office operation, DJSP Enterprises, is publicly traded and hence must file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It netted almost $45 million in 2009 on a little over $260 million in gross revenue that year. The mortgage meltdown of recent years apparently has been good to the company: In 2006, it earned a profit of $8.6 million on $40.4 million in revenue.

Stern, who is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment, the newspaper says.

His law firm has been in the news lately, after one Florida judge dismissed a foreclosure case due to what he described as a “fraudulently backdated” mortgage document, and another said, in a hearing earlier this month concerning another of the Stern firm’s foreclosure cases, “I don’t have any confidence that any of the documents the court’s receiving on these mass foreclosures are valid.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Dismisses Mortgage Foreclosure Over ‘Fraudulently Backdated’ Doc”

Posted in Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A.Comments (1)

Close watch on the US…UK regulator begins Goldman Sachs probe

Close watch on the US…UK regulator begins Goldman Sachs probe


I think it is donzo for GS. They might try to get away with it here but UK…is another story. There is no White House.

Source: Associated Press

People enter Goldman Sachs headquarters, Monday, April 19, 2010, in New York. Stocks are falling on concerns about the fallout over Goldman Sachs being charged with civil fraud tied to its dealings in bonds backed by sub-prime mortgages. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Jane Wardell, AP Business Writer, On Tuesday April 20, 2010, 6:40 am EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s financial regulator launched a full-blown investigation into Goldman Sachs International on Tuesday after U.S. authorities filed civil fraud charges against its parent bank.

The announcement from the Financial Services Authority follows pressure for the probe from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who expressed shock over the weekend at Goldman’s “moral bankruptcy.”

The British regulator said it would liaise closely with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that the bank sold risky mortgage-based investments without telling buyers that the securities were crafted in part by a billionaire hedge fund manager who was betting on them to fail.

The London-headquartered Goldman Sachs International, a principal subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said that “the SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact.” It said it looks “forward to cooperating with the FSA.”

British interest in the case is likely to focus on the Royal Bank of Scotland, which paid $841 million to Goldman Sachs in 2007 to unwind its position in a fund acquired in the takeover of Dutch Bank ABN Amro, according to the complaint filed in the United States.

The possibility that RBS might be able to recoup some money from Goldman Sachs helped boost the government-controlled bank’s shares, which were up 2.8 percent at midday.

The government holds an 84 percent stake in the bank, which nearly collapsed in large part because of its leadership of the consortium which took over the Dutch bank.

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs executive named in the SEC lawsuit filed on Friday was moved to the bank’s London office at the end of 2008.

Analysts warn that damage from the case could hit other big banks as well, as the Goldman lawsuit puts the spotlight on the sector’s activities in the wake of the financial crisis.

Brown’s anger was fueled by reports over the weekend that Goldman Sachs still intended to pay out 3.5 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in bonuses.

The British leader, who is facing a tough general election on May 6, said that the activities of banks “are still an issue.”

“They are a risk to the economy,” he said. “We have got to make sure they behave in a proper way.”

The opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, meanwhile, called on Brown to suspend Goldman from government work until the investigations are completed.

AP reporter Robert Barr in London contributed to this statement.

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachsComments (0)

Goldman Sachs taps ex-W.H. counsel: SCAM THICKENS!

Goldman Sachs taps ex-W.H. counsel: SCAM THICKENS!


By EAMON JAVERS & MIKE ALLEN | 4/19/10 8:14 PM EDT
Updated: 4/19/10 10:03 PM by POLITICO

Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

The beleaguered Wall Street bank hired Craig — now in private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — in recent weeks to help in navigate the halls of power in Washington, a source familiar with the firm told POLITICO.

“He is clearly an attorney of eminence and has a deep understanding of the legal process and the world of Washington,” the source said. “And those are important worlds for everybody in finance right now.”

They’re particularly important for Goldman.

On Friday, the SEC charged the firm with securities fraud in a convoluted subprime mortgage deal that took place before the collapse of the housing market. Next week, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will face questions from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into the causes of the housing meltdown, the source said.

In Craig, Goldman Sachs will have help from a lawyer with deep connections in Democratic circles.

Craig served as White House counsel during the first year of Obama’s presidency, but is seen as having been pushed out for his role in advocating a strict timeline for the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. His departure frustrated many liberal Obama supporters who saw Craig as a strong advocate for undoing some of what they saw as the worst excesses of the Bush era.

But the source familiar with Goldman’s operations said Craig wasn’t hired just because he’s well-connected.

“It’s about advice and process,” the source said. “People will always leap to the conclusion that it’s about somebody’s Rolodex.”

Skadden declined to comment on Craig’s role with Goldman.

“A former White House employee cannot appear before any unit of the Executive Office of the President on behalf of any client for 2 years—one year under federal law and another year under the pledge pursuant to the January 2009 ethics E0,” said a White House official.

The official also said that the White House had no contact with the SEC on the Goldman Sachs case. “The SEC by law is an independent agency that does not coordinate with the White House any part of their enforcement actions.”

Whatever the reason for his hiring, Craig will presumably be a key player in the intricate counterattack Goldman Sachs officials in Washington and Manhattan improvised during the weekend — a plan that took clearer shape Monday as Britain and Germany announced that they might conduct their own investigations of the firm.

For three weeks, Goldman had planned to hold a conference call Tuesday to unveil its first-quarter earnings for shareholders. Shifting into campaign mode after the SEC’s surprise fraud filing, Goldman has moved the call up from 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. to try to get ahead of the day’s buzz. In an unusual addition, the firm’s chief counsel will be on the line to answer questions about the case, and Goldman is inviting policymakers and clients to listen to the earnings call themselves rather than rely on news reports.

Industry officials said the conference call — which will include, as originally planned, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar — will amount to a public unveiling of Goldman’s crisis strategy.

But the linchpin of that plan is already clear: An attempt to discredit the Securities and Exchange Commission by painting the case as tainted by politics because it was announced just as President Barack Obama was ramping up his push for financial regulatory reform, including a planned trip to New York on Thursday.

“The charges were brought in a manner calculated to achieve maximum impact at point of penetration,” a Goldman executive said.

Among the points Greg Palm, co-general counsel, plans to emphasize on the call is “how out of the ordinary the process was with the SEC,” the executive said. The SEC usually gives firms a chance to settle such charges before they are made public. Goldman executives say they had no such chance,and learned about the filing while watching CNBC.

With a monstrous problem and mammoth resources, the iconic firm is paying for advice from a huge array of outside consultants, including such top Washington advisers as Ken Duberstein and Jack Martin, founder of Public Strategies.

The basic plan: Make a tough, factual case without coming off as arrogant or combative and without souring the firm’s image even further.

Partly because of the firm’s belief that it has become an easy target, no Goldman officials have appeared on television since the SEC announced its case.

The firm thinks it can be more effective if others make its case. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, who gets special attention from Goldman spinners, raised questions about the substance of the SEC’s case. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said he is “a little interested in the timing” of the case.

Reflecting a high-stakes balance for the unpopular investment bank, Goldman plans to stop short of a frontal attack. Instead, it is raising questions and feeding ammunition to allies.

“We don’t want to come across as being arrogant and above it all,” said a Goldman executive who insisted on anonymity. “The SEC is the major regulator of several of our businesses. Being at war with them is not the goal.”

Therefore, an official said, a key Goldman message in the days ahead will be, “We’re not against regulation. We’re for regulation. We partner with regulators.”

Goldman said its most important audience is its client base, from CEOs all over the world to pension-fund managers to entrepreneurs who use the firm’s private wealth-management services. The firm sent its staff two pages of talking points giving basic facts — and the official line — about the SEC case: “Goldman Sachs Lost Money on the Transaction … Objective Disclosure Was Provided.”

The less official message, according to one executive: “Don’t believe everything you read in the complaint. Don’t believe everything you read in the press.”

The official said clients have been sympathetic.

Other audiences include the news media and governments around the world, with Goldman reaching out Tuesday to politicians in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and everywhere in between.

Goldman pays extraordinary attention to its alumni network because so many of its former officials are in visible, powerful positions. An official said the firm tries “to empower them with information,” so that when they’re put on the spot about the Goldman case, they can say, “I’m not there, but let me tell you a few things I’ve been told.”

Posted in foreclosure fraudComments (0)

Open Letter to Honorable Judges in Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Proceedings

Open Letter to Honorable Judges in Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Proceedings


LYNN E. SZYMONIAK, ESQ.

The Metropolitan, PH2-05 403

South Sapodilla Avenue

West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

April 19, 2010

Dear Honorable Judges in Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Proceedings:
This letter concerns how a Jacksonville, Florida publicly-traded company, Lender Processing Services, Inc. solves Deutsche Bank National Trust Company missing documents in foreclosure cases. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“DBNTC”) is the plaintiff in the majority of foreclosure actions filed in thousands of counties in America since 2007. Deutsche Bank is sometimes referred to as “America Foreclosure King.” There is currently a Department of Justice investigation of LPS and its influence over law firms in foreclosure actions, according to an article in the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review on April 16, 2010.

In these foreclosure actions, DBNTC is usually acting as the trustee for a mortgagebacked securitized trust. This means that a securities company made a commodity out of approximately 5,000 mortgages that were bundled together. The notes in the trust have a face value of approximately $1.5 billion in each trust. Investors buy shares of these trusts. Deutsche Bank is the most common name in the business of being a Trustee for Mortgage-Backed trusts. Other banks very active in this role of Trustee include Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citibank, Bank of New York, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC.

When each of these trusts was made, the securities company responsible for the securitization (often Financial Assets Securities Corporation in Greenwich, Connecticut) was supposed to have obtained mortgage assignments showing that the trust had acquired each mortgage and note from the previous owner, which was most often the original lender. The trust documents specify that the mortgages, notes and assignments in recordable from will have been obtained by the trust. Most mortgage-backed trusts included the following or equivalent language regarding Assignments:

Assignments of the Mortgage Loans to the Trustee (or its nominee) will not be recorded in any jurisdiction, but will be delivered to the Trustee in recordable form, so that they can be recorded in the event recordation is necessary in connection with the servicing of a Mortgage Loan.

Trustees take very few actions relating to the individual properties in the trust. Typically, the bank acting as a trustee for a mortgage-backed trust hires a mortgage servicing company to deal with issues involving the individual mortgages in the trust. The mortgage servicing companies in turn hire a “default management company” to foreclose when a homeowner defaults on payments on a loan that is part of the trust. Lender Processing Services in Jacksonville, Florida, is the largest mortgage default management company. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company uses several mortgage servicing companies, but most often uses American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. in Irving, Texas as its mortgage servicing company.

In tens of thousands of foreclosure cases filed by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee for a mortgage-backed trust, Deutsche Bank has not produced the mortgage, note or Assignment and instead has filed pleadings claiming that the original mortgage and note were inexplicably lost. In these cases, Deutsche Bank uses specially prepared Mortgage Assignments to show that they have the right to foreclose. These documents were often prepared by clerical employees of Docx, LLC, a subsidiary company of Lender Processing Services, the default management company. Hundreds of thousands of other Mortgage Assignments came from the LPS office in Dakota County, Minnesota. More recently, these documents were produced from the LPS offices in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. In thousands of other cases, LPS directs the law firms it hires to use the employees of the law firms to sign as officers of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to create the documents necessary for foreclosure

a) Mortgage Electronic Registration Services (MERS) is identified as the grantor and American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. is identified as the grantee; within days (or minutes), a second Assignment is filed, identifying American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. as the grantor and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee for the trust as the grantee;

b) a mortgage company no longer in existence is identified as the grantor and American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. is identified as the grantee; within days (or minutes), a second Assignment is filed, identifying American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. as the grantor and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee for the trust as the grantee;

c) a mortgage company no longer in existence is identified as the grantor and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee is identified as the grantee;

d) American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., purporting to be the “successor-in-interest” to Option One Mortgage Company, is identified as the grantor and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee is identified as the grantee;

e) Sand Canyon Corporation, formerly known as Option One Mortgage Company, is identified as the grantor and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee is identified as the grantee, with no further explanation of how both American Home Mortgage Servicing and Sand Canyon have authority to act for Option One Mortgage.

On several hundred thousand Assignments, the individuals signing as officers of the grantor were actually clerical employees of Lender Processing Services, the mortgage default management company hired by American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., working for the grantee – Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. On several hundred thousand Assignments, the very same individuals signed as officers of both the grantor and grantee.

In all of these hundreds of thousands of cases, no Assignment actually took place on the date stated and no consideration was paid by the grantee to the grantor despite the representations in the Assignments. Most significantly, no disclosure was ever made to the Court in the foreclosure or bankruptcy case or to the homeowners in default that the original Assignments to the Trust were never made – or were lost – or were defective and that the recently-filed Assignments were specially made to facilitate foreclosures years after the property was transferred to the trust.

An examination of the signatures on these Assignments shows that many are forgeries, with several different people signing the names Linda Green, Tywanna Thomas, Korell Harp, Jennifer Ohde, Linda Thoresen and many of the other names used on several million mortgage assignments, as I have reported in my article “Compare These Signatures.” Many of these same individuals use at least a dozen different job titles as I have reported in my article, “An Officer of Too Many Banks.” These articles are available at www.frauddigest.com.

A summary of my credentials can be found at www.szymoniakfirm.com.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional information.

Yours truly,

Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq.

This article could also have been titled:

HOW LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, INC. SOLVES U.S. BANK’S MISSING PAPERWORK PROBLEM IN FORECLOSURES
-or-
HOW LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, INC. SOLVES WELLS FARGO MISSING PAPERWORK PROBLEM IN FORECLOSURES
-or-
HOW LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, INC. SOLVES BANK OF NEW YORK MISSING PAPERWORK PROBLEM IN FORECLOSURES
-or-
HOW LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, INC. SOLVES CITIBANK’S MISSING PAPERWORK PROBLEM IN FORECLOSURES
-or-
HOW LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, INC. SOLVES HSBC’S MISSING PAPERWORK PROBLEM IN FORECLOSURES

For a copy of the Exhibits referenced below, please contact szymoniak@mac.com.

Copies of Assignments from MERS to American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. are attached hereto as Exhibit 1.

Copies of Assignments from American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. to Deutsche Bank as Trustee are attached as Exhibit 2.

Copies of Assignments from American Brokers Conduit, a mortgage company no longer in existence at the time the Assignments were made, to Deutsche Bank as trustee are attached as Exhibit 3.

Copies of other Assignments to Deutsche Bank as Trustee signed by employees of Lender Processing Services, working for the grantee Deutsche Bank, but signing on behalf of the grantor mortgage companies or banks, or MERS as nominee for the grantor mortgage companies or banks, are attached as Exhibit 4.

Copies of Assignments from American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. as the successorin-interest to Option One Mortgage as grantor and Deutsche Bank as Trustee as the grantee are attached as Exhibit 5.

Copies of Assignments from Sand Canyon, formerly known as Option One Mortgage as grantor and Deutsche Bank as Trustee as the grantee are attached as Exhibit 6.

Copies of Assignments signed by employees of law firms working for Lender Processing Services on behalf of American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. and ultimately for grantee Deutsche Bank, where such employees signed as officers of MERS as grantor are attached as Exhibit 7.

Copies of Assignments signed by employees of Lender Processing Services on behalf of grantors and notarized in Duval County, Florida for grantee Deutsche Bank, filed by law firms working for Deutsche Bank are attached as Exhibit 8.

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



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, DOCX, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic mortgage investigation audit, fraud digest, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERSComments (1)

For those of you who like "irony": LPS meets Goldman

For those of you who like "irony": LPS meets Goldman


Anytime you have the word “FRAUD” involved in an on-going investigation, It makes you wonder when corps go at it together even more…click the links below to see what I mean.

Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS) climbed 1.16% to $37.42 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company’s share from Neutral to Buy with an one year price target of $48.

Posted in foreclosure fraudComments (2)

Dylan Ratigan does a great job explaining the con: GOLDMAN SACHS

Dylan Ratigan does a great job explaining the con: GOLDMAN SACHS


The SEC’s complaint charges Goldman Sachs and Tourre with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. The Commission seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, prejudgment interest, and financial penalties.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4_v2kREE-o]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=copoiSMihL8]

 

Many recall this post below:

Move over GOLDMAN SACHS…WE have a New Player to this Housing “Betting” Crisis…NASDAQ Presenting the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. (“DJS”)

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, geithner, goldman sachs, hank paulson, john paulson, S.E.C., scamComments (0)

National foreclosure auctions go online via LPS: "CAVEAT EMPTOR"

National foreclosure auctions go online via LPS: "CAVEAT EMPTOR"


Submitted by Kevin Turner on April 16, 2010 – 4:56pm Market Value

The Duval County Clerk’s Office has offered online bidding for foreclosed properties for some time, and now Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services is bringing bank-foreclosures all over the U.S. online.

Through its LPSAuctions.com Web site, LPS is to open bidding on single-family homes, condominiums and town homes from Coral Springs to Tacoma, Wash. The bid deadline for the homes listed in the “Spring Clearance” auction on the site is May 10.

So now it’s official they have they’re hands in all Real Estate! My question is how…why would any state permit them to sell anything if they are under the scope of the FEDS?? Take a look below.

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LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES (LPS) Hits Local NEWS!

After ongoing INVESTIGATIONS: Lender Processing Services (LPS) closed the offices of its subsidiary, Docx, LLC, in Alpharetta, Georgia

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All about the misconduct of Lender Processing Services f/k/a FIDELITY a/k/a LPS

U.S. Probing LPS Unit Docx LLC: Report REUTERS

U.S. Probes Foreclosure-Data Provider:Lender Processing Services Unit Draws Inquiry Over the Steps That Led to Faulty Bank Paperwork (LPS VIDEOS)

Feds Investigating LPS Subsidiary DOCX: Jacksonville Business Journal

Fidelity’s LPS Secret Deals With Mortgage Companies and Law Firms

TOPAKO LOVE; LAURA HESCOTT; CHRISTINA ALLEN; ERIC TATE …Officers of way, way too many banks Part Deux “The Twilight Zone”

Stopping A Defective Title Wave With A Coupla Outstretched Helping Hands

BOGUS ASSIGNMENTS 2…I’m LOVING this!! LPS DOCx ADMISSIONS SEC 10K ROOFTOP SHOUT OUT!

 

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, DOCX, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic mortgage investigation audit, fraud digest, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERS, Mortgage Foreclosure FraudComments (1)

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud: THE NEW YORK TIMES

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud: THE NEW YORK TIMES


U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud

Brendan McDermid/Reuters The new Goldman Sachs global headquarters in Manhattan.
By LOUISE STORY and GRETCHEN MORGENSON “GOTTA LOVE THESE TWO FOR THEIR EXCELLENT WORK”
Published: April 16, 2010

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers.

The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment.

The instrument in the S.E.C. case, called Abacus 2007-AC1, was one of 25 deals that Goldman created so the bank and select clients could bet against the housing market. Those deals, which were the subject of an article in The New York Times in December, initially protected Goldman from losses when the mortgage market disintegrated and later yielded profits for the bank.

As the Abacus deals plunged in value, Goldman and certain hedge funds made money on their negative bets, while the Goldman clients who bought the $10.9 billion in investments lost billions of dollars.

According to the complaint, Goldman created Abacus 2007-AC1 in February 2007, at the request of John A. Paulson, a prominent hedge fund manager who earned an estimated $3.7 billion in 2007 by correctly wagering that the housing bubble would burst.

Goldman let Mr. Paulson select mortgage bonds that he wanted to bet against — the ones he believed were most likely to lose value — and packaged those bonds into Abacus 2007-AC1, according to the S.E.C. complaint. Goldman then sold the Abacus deal to investors like foreign banks, pension funds, insurance companies and other hedge funds.

But the deck was stacked against the Abacus investors, the complaint contends, because the investment was filled with bonds chosen by Mr. Paulson as likely to default. Goldman told investors in Abacus marketing materials reviewed by The Times that the bonds would be chosen by an independent manager.

“The product was new and complex, but the deception and conflicts are old and simple,” Robert Khuzami, the director of the S.E.C.’s division of enforcement, said in a statement. “Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party.”

Mr. Paulson is not being named in the lawsuit. In the half-hour after the suit was announced, Goldman Sachs’s stock fell by more than 10 percent.

In recent months, Goldman has repeatedly defended its actions in the mortgage market, including its own bets against it. In a letter published last week in Goldman’s annual report, the bank rebutted criticism that it had created, and sold to its clients, mortgage-linked securities that it had little confidence in.

“We certainly did not know the future of the residential housing market in the first half of 2007 anymore than we can predict the future of markets today,” Goldman wrote. “We also did not know whether the value of the instruments we sold would increase or decrease.”

The letter continued: “Although Goldman Sachs held various positions in residential mortgage-related products in 2007, our short positions were not a ‘bet against our clients.’ ” Instead, the trades were used to hedge other trading positions, the bank said.

In a statement provided in December to The Times as it prepared the article on the Abacus deals, Goldman said that it had sold the instruments to sophisticated investors and that these securities “were popular with many investors prior to the financial crisis because they gave investors the ability to work with banks to design tailored securities which met their particular criteria, whether it be ratings, leverage or other aspects of the transaction.”

Goldman was one of many Wall Street firms that created complex mortgage securities — known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations — as the housing wave was cresting. At the time, traders like Mr. Paulson, as well as those within Goldman, were looking for ways to short the overheated market.

Such investments consisted of insurance-like policies written on mortgage bonds. If the mortgage market held up and those bonds did well, investors who bought Abacus notes would have made money from the insurance premiums paid by investors like Mr. Paulson, who were negative on housing and had bought insurance on mortgage bonds. Instead, defaults spread and the bonds plunged, generating billion of dollars in losses for Abacus investors and billions in profits for Mr. Paulson.

For months, S.E.C. officials have been examining mortgage bundles like Abacus that were created across Wall Street. The commission has been interviewing people who structured Goldman mortgage deals about Abacus and other, similar instruments. The S.E.C. advised Goldman that it was likely to face a civil suit in the matter, sending the bank what is known as a Wells notice.

Mr. Tourre was one of Goldman’s top workers running the Abacus deal, peddling the investment to investors across Europe. Raised in France, Mr. Tourre moved to the United States in 2000 to earn his master’s in operations at Stanford. The next year, he began working at Goldman, according to his profile in LinkedIn.

He rose to prominence working on the Abacus deals under a trader named Jonathan M. Egol. Now a managing director at Goldman, Mr. Egol is not being named in the S.E.C. suit.

Goldman structured the Abacus deals with a sharp eye on the credit ratings assigned to the mortgage bonds associated with the instrument, the S.E.C. said. In the Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint, Mr. Paulson pinpointed those mortgage bonds that he believed carried higher ratings than the underlying loans deserved. Goldman placed insurance on those bonds — called credit-default swaps — inside Abacus, allowing Mr. Paulson to short them while clients on the other side of the trade wagered that they would not fail.

But when Goldman sold shares in Abacus to investors, the bank and Mr. Tourre only disclosed the ratings of those bonds and did not disclose that Mr. Paulson was on other side, betting those ratings were wrong.

Mr. Tourre at one point complained to an investor who was buying shares in Abacus that he was having trouble persuading Moody’s to give the deal the rating he desired, according to the investor’s notes, which were provided to The Times by a colleague who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to release them.

In seven of Goldman’s Abacus deals, the bank went to the American International Group for insurance on the bonds. Those deals have led to billions of dollars in losses at A.I.G., which was the subject of an $180 billion taxpayer rescue. The Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint was not one of them.

That deal was managed by ACA Management, a part of ACA Capital Holdings, which changed its name in 2008 to Manifold Capital Holdings.

Goldman at first intended for the deal to contain $2 billion of mortgage exposure, according to the deal’s marketing documents, which were given to The Times by an Abacus investor.

On the cover of that flip-book, it says that the mortgage bond portfolio would be “selected by ACA Management.”

In that flip-book, it says that Goldman may have long or short positions in the bonds. It does not mention Mr. Paulson or say that Goldman was in fact short.

The Abacus deals deteriorated rapidly when the housing market hit trouble. For instance, in the Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint, 84 percent of the mortgage bonds underlying it were downgraded by rating agencies just five months later, according to a UBS report.

It takes time for such mortgage investments to pay out for investors who short them, like Mr. Paulson. Each deal is structured differently, but generally, the bonds underlying the investment must deteriorate to a certain point before short-sellers get paid. By the end of 2007, Mr. Paulson’s credit hedge fund was up 590 percent.

Mr. Paulson’s firm, Paulson & Company, is paid a management fee and 20 percent of the annual profits that its funds generate, according to a Paulson investor document from late 2008 titled “Navigating Through the Crisis.”

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, john paulsonComments (2)

GATH' AROUND…Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges

GATH' AROUND…Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges


Lets not act surprised…GS is going to turn into Butta’ all the wealth created is/was all an illusion…I bet “oil” is next…watch!

This might be the key that opens up Pandora’s Little Big Box! “John Paulson”

APRIL 16, 2010, 11:26 A.M. ET

Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges

By Michael J. Casey Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Stocks fell and Treasurys rose as news of Securities and Exchange Commission charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) sparked a flight out of risky assets.

The SEC said Goldman Sachs failed to disclose to investors vital information about a synthetic collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, based on subprime mortgage-backed securities–in particular the role played by a major hedge fund that had bet against the CDO. Subprime CDOs were at the heart of the recent financial crisis.

In response, investors moved into safe haven assets and out of riskier securities, buying Treasurys and the dollar, while selling stocks and commodities.

“The revival of risk aversion has benefited traditional safe-haven assets, like the dollar and the Japanese yen,” said Omer Esiner, senior market analyst at Travelex Global Business Payments in Washington.

Noting that the complaint is focused on a specific incident, he said the broad flight out of risk appeared to be a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Golmdan stock was down 12.45% to $161.33 on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 86 points at 11057, while the 10-year Treasury note was up 17/32 to yield 3.778%. Gold futures, which have tended to rise with commodities and other risk assets over the past year, were down 1.4%, according the most active June contract.

The euro plummeted to $1.3486 from $1.3577 late Thursday, according to EBS via CQG, while the dollar fell to Y92.11 from Y93.04.

“That word ‘fraud’ is the key. When you throw that word fraud in there, all bets are off then,” said Jay Suskind, senior vice president of Duncan-Williams.

-By Michael Casey; Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2209; michael.j.casey@dowjones.com

 (Bradley Davis and Kristina Peterson contributed to this report.)

Posted in goldman sachs, john paulsonComments (0)

Too BIG to Fail, Too BIG for Jail? Bid-Rigging Conspiracy

Too BIG to Fail, Too BIG for Jail? Bid-Rigging Conspiracy


March 26 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and UBS AG were among more than a dozen Wall Street firms involved in a conspiracy to pay below-market interest rates to U.S. state and local governments on investments, according to documents filed in a U.S. Justice Department criminal antitrust case.

A government list of previously unidentified “co- conspirators” contains more than two dozen bankers at firms also including Bank of America Corp., Bear Stearns Cos., Societe Generale, two of General Electric Co.’s financial businesses and Salomon Smith Barney, the former unit of Citigroup Inc., according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24.

The papers were filed by attorneys for a former employee of CDR Financial Products Inc., an advisory firm indicted in October. The attorneys, as part of their legal filing, identified the roster as being provided by the government. The document is labeled “list of co-conspirators.”

None of the firms or individuals named on the list has been charged with wrongdoing. The court records mark the first time these companies have been identified as co-conspirators. They provide the broadest look yet at alleged collusion in the $2.8 trillion municipal securities market that the government says delivered profits to Wall Street at taxpayers’ expense.

‘Sufficient Evidence’

“If the government is saying they are co-conspirators, the government believes they have sufficient evidence that they can show they were part of the conspiracy,” said Richard Donovan, a partner at New York-based law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and co-chair of its antitrust practice. Donovan isn’t involved in the case.

The government’s case centers on investments known as guaranteed investment contracts that cities, states and school districts buy with the money they receive through municipal bond sales. Some $400 billion of municipal bonds are issued each year, and localities use the contracts to earn a return on some of the money until they need it for construction or other projects.

The Internal Revenue Service sometimes collects earnings on those investments and requires that they be awarded by competitive bidding to ensure that governments receive a fair return. The government charges that CDR ran sham auctions that allowed the banks to pay below-market interest rates to local governments.

CDR Fights Case

CDR, a Los Angeles-based local-government adviser, was indicted in October along with David Rubin, Zevi Wolmark and Evan Zarefsky, three current or former executives. The company and the three men have denied wrongdoing. Since last month, three former CDR employees who weren’t charged in the initial indictment have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department.

More than a dozen financial firms are also facing civil suits filed by municipalities over the alleged conspiracy. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan refused to toss out a lawsuit brought by Mississippi and other bond issuers.

Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for JPMorgan in New York; Doug Morris, a spokesman for UBS in New York; and Danielle Romero- Apsilos, a spokeswoman for Citigroup in New York, all declined to comment. A Societe Generale spokesman, Jim Galvin; Lehman spokeswoman Kimberly MacLeod, and GE Capital spokesman Ned Reynolds in Stamford, Connecticut, also declined to comment. Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton in San Francisco declined to comment. Bear Stearns was bought by JPMorgan in 2008, the same year Lehman Brothers collapsed.

‘Absolute Disaster’

Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington, declined to comment.

Banks may choose to cooperate with prosecutors because in light of the government bailout funds they’ve received “a guilty plea would just be an absolute disaster for some of these companies,” said Nathan Muyskens, a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Washington and former trial attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition.

“There have been antitrust investigations where there have been companies involved that were just never indicted,” he said in a phone interview.

At the same time, the government will probably focus on seeking to convict individual bankers, he said.

“When someone goes to jail for five years, that resonates,” he said. “When a company pays $200 million, it’s simply a balance sheet issue. Jail time is what captures corporate America’s attention.”

Lawyers’ Filing

In a court filing yesterday, defense lawyers said they “inadvertently” included the names of individual and company co-conspirators in a motion asking the court to compel the government to provide more specific evidence of the alleged misconduct. They asked the court to strike the entire exhibit in which the list appears. Judge Marrero granted the request.

The government’s probe became public in 2006 when federal investigators raided CDR and two competitors and issued subpoenas to more than a dozen firms. The “co-conspirators” on the list released in court this week also included Wachovia Corp., which was purchased by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. in 2008. Elise Wilkinson, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman in Charlotte, North Carolina, didn’t return a call today seeking comment.

October Indictments

The indictments released in October didn’t identify any of the sellers of the investment contracts involved in the alleged conspiracy. They were identified only as Provider A and Provider B. They paid kickbacks to CDR after winning investment deals brokered by the firm, according to the indictments.

The firms did this by paying sham fees tied to financial transactions entered into with other companies, prosecutors said. Kickbacks were paid from 2001 to 2005, ranging from $4,500 to $475,000 each, according to the Justice Department.

According to the list contained in the court filing this week, the investment contracts involved were created by units of GE and divisions of Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd., a bond insurer formerly part of Brussels-based lender Dexia SA.

The kickbacks were paid out of fees generated by transactions entered into with two financial institutions that weren’t identified in the October court filing. The March 24 list filed by the defense named the two firms as UBS and Royal Bank of Canada.

Dexia Sale

Dexia completed the sale of FSA’s bond-insurance business in July to Assured Guaranty Ltd. of Hamilton, Bermuda, while retaining its outstanding investment contracts.

Thierry Martiny, a spokesman for Dexia in Brussels, declined to comment. FSA, based in New York, was the biggest insurer of U.S. municipal bonds in 2007 and 2008.

“We have no comment,” said Betsy Castenir, a spokeswoman for Assured Guaranty in New York, in an e-mail response. “Dexia has responsibility for the liabilities of the Financial Products business.”

Royal Bank of Canada “has been fully cooperating with the government,” Kevin Foster, a spokesman for the bank in New York, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have no knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing by any of our employees.”

The case is U.S. v. Rubin/Chambers, Dunhill Insurance Services Inc., 09-CR-01058, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: William Selway in San Francisco at wselway@bloomberg.net; Martin Z. Braun in New York at mbraun6@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: March 26, 2010 13:09 EDT

Posted in bank of america, bloomberg, chase, citi, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, jpmorgan chase, wachoviaComments (0)

Fed Ends Bank Exemption Aimed at Boosting Mortgage Liquidity: Bloomberg

Fed Ends Bank Exemption Aimed at Boosting Mortgage Liquidity: Bloomberg


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.

Backstop Liquidity

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.

Lehman Collapse

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.

Discount Rate

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.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Torres in Washington at ctorres3@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: March 20, 2010 00:00 EDT

Posted in bank of america, bear stearns, bernanke, bloomberg, chase, citi, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, Dick Fuld, fdic, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, FOIA, forensic mortgage investigation audit, freedom of information act, G. Edward Griffin, geithner, jpmorgan chase, lehman brothers, note, RON PAUL, scam, washington mutual, wells fargoComments (0)

HARVARD LAW AND ECONOMIC ISSUES IN SUBPRIME LITIGATION 2008

HARVARD LAW AND ECONOMIC ISSUES IN SUBPRIME LITIGATION 2008


This in combination with A.K. Barnett-Hart’s Thesis make’s one hell of a Discovery.

 
LEGAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES IN
SUBPRIME LITIGATION
Jennifer E. Bethel*
Allen Ferrell**
Gang Hu***
 

Discussion Paper No. 612

03/2008

Harvard Law School Cambridge, MA 02138

 

 ABSTRACT

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. 

 continue reading the paper harvard-paper-diagrams

 
 

 

Posted in bank of america, bear stearns, bernanke, chase, citi, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, credit score, Dick Fuld, FED FRAUD, G. Edward Griffin, geithner, indymac, jpmorgan chase, lehman brothers, mozillo, naked short selling, nina, note, scam, siva, tila, wachovia, washington mutual, wells fargoComments (1)

State Supreme Court seeks to relieve foreclosure pressure valve

State Supreme Court seeks to relieve foreclosure pressure valve


Friday, March 12, 2010
State Supreme Court seeks to relieve foreclosure pressure valve

Tampa Bay Business Journal – by Jane Meinhardt Staff Writer

The Florida Supreme Court has amended procedures for filing foreclosure complaints involving residential property, requiring lenders and lawyers to verify ownership of the note and providing sanctions for false allegations in foreclosure complaints.

The amendment grew out of a task force’s recommendations designed to help Florida courts handle the huge volume of foreclosure cases and to prevent problems caused when foreclosure plaintiffs are not entitled to enforce notes in complaints.

The verification requirement means lenders and lawyers filing foreclosure complaints have to take steps to prove ownership of mortgages or face the possibility of a perjury charge and fine.

 

Verifying mortgage ownership adds another expense to foreclosure and can be time-consuming for banks and other lenders and lawyers because during the residential real estate boom, mortgages were bundled and sold and resold, often numerous times.

Bankers don’t like it

The Florida Bankers Association urged the court to reject the task force’s verification recommendation.

Virtually all paper documents related to a note and mortgage are converted to electronic files almost immediately after the loan is closed, and physical documents are eliminated to avoid confusion, said Alex Sanchez, CEO and president of the association.

He and the banking organization contend courts already have the authority to sanction lawyers and others who assert improper foreclosure claims.

Ownership of a note or lost note claims are issues in most of the residential foreclosure complaints Michael Wasylik handles.

“In the vast majority of my cases, the note is no longer owned by the original lender,” said Wasylik, a Dade City foreclosure defense lawyer and president of the Florida Foreclosure Defense Bar Association. “Many of the original lenders were essentially brokering loans for others and quickly flipped them to larger investors. Often the plaintiff foreclosing is not the lender but a successor at best.”

Lost note claims in foreclosure complaints are common, he said, which is an issue the Supreme Court noted in amending procedures late last month as a way to prevent lost note arguments that waste the courts’ time.

“Only the owner of the loan and note has the legal right to foreclose and has to prove they bought the note,” Wasylik said. “Banks don’t always have that evidence because ownership changes were not physically transferred. These notes are like checks. The physical possession of them is an important issue.”

The burden falls on foreclosure plaintiffs’ lawyers who contend in their complaints that their clients have the right to enforce notes, he said.

“If they care about their licenses, they make sure the plaintiffs have all the documentation required for verification of ownership,” Wasylik said. “What the Supreme Court has done is established a procedural step to make certain that happens.”

Foreclosure mills

What the defense bar calls foreclosure mills are involved in many cases and mass produce foreclosure complaints in an assembly line fashion without tracking note ownership, causing judges to take notice.

Plaintiff lawyers generally are paid a wide range of flat fees that can be $1,200 or more for uncontested complaints and hourly fees for contested cases. In the past, most complaints were decided on summary judgments for plaintiffs, Wasylik said.

“We’ve started noticing a change in complaints,” he said. “There are fewer lost note claims. They are definitely decreasing.”

Scott Lilly, a real estate litigator and shareholder at GrayRobinson in Tampa, said the sheer volume of foreclosures is forcing the courts into “a balancing act” and has resulted in the adoption of rules everyone has to follow.

“That had to happen,” said Lilly, who has represented clients on both sides of foreclosure. “I’ve watched judges express incredible frustration at mass hearings. We do need to be concerned if the plaintiff in a lawsuit is the appropriate party to enforce a note. We learned early on in law school that a fundamental rule of litigation is be prepared.”

Senior Staff Writer Margie Manning contributed to this story.

 

jmeinhardt@bizjournals.com | 727.224.2299

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure mills, Mortgage Foreclosure FraudComments (2)

Michael Lewis’s ‘The Big Short’? Read the Harvard Thesis Instead! “The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis.”

Michael Lewis’s ‘The Big Short’? Read the Harvard Thesis Instead! “The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis.”


March 15, 2010, 4:59 PM ET

Michael Lewis’s ‘The Big Short’? Read the Harvard Thesis Instead!

By Peter Lattman

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.”

A.K. Barnett-Hart

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 in foreclosure fraudComments (1)


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