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Special News Alert from Register of Deeds John L. O’Brien: O’Brien requests DOR file legal action against “Fannie Mae” and “Freddy Mac”

Special News Alert from Register of Deeds John L. O’Brien: O’Brien requests DOR file legal action against “Fannie Mae” and “Freddy Mac”


 

 

 

Special News Alert from Register of Deeds John L. O’Brien

 

Southern Essex District Register John O’Brien requests the Department of Revenue file

  legal action against “Fannie Mae” and “Freddy Mac”

 

Contact: Kevin Harvey 1st Assistant Register

 978-542-1724

 kevin.harvey@sec.state.ma.us

Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien today is asking the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to file legal action against mortgage giants Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddy Mac”) for their failure to pay deeds excise tax, on property transfers in Register O’Brien’s District. According to O’Brien his district alone is owed approximately $4.2 Million.  O’Brien was notified late Friday that a United States District Judge in Michigan concluded that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were not entitled to an exemption from excise taxes in Michigan.  The Michigan Court cited numerous cases; two of significant interests were a 2011 Nevada case involving Countrywide Home Loans and 1988 United States Supreme Court case involving Wells Fargo Bank. In Nevada, the Court concluded that Fannie Mae was essentially a privately owned mortgage banker and not a federal instrumentality for tax purposes. In the Wells Fargo Case, the United States Supreme Court concluded that a transfer tax is a form of excise tax and are not direct taxes.  The Supreme Court decided that direct taxes were exempt, however transfer taxes were not.

According to O’Brien, since 1991 Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have been involved in property transfers with total sales values of over $920 Million Dollars in his district.  These transactions would have generated close to $4.2 Million Dollars in tax revenue to the Commonwealth for his district alone had Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae paid the excise tax rather then claiming exemptions. If a private citizen or corporation sells a piece of Massachusetts real estate, they are required to pay a deeds excise tax of $4.56 per thousand dollars of the purchase price, however Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac pay nothing.   Certain tax exemptions are given to governmental entities, however O’Brien points out that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac although originally created as government entities are now publicly traded companies owned by investors.  O’Brien notes that these private corporate entities that have shareholders and are paying their top executives millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses are wrongfully claiming the excise tax exemptions. “This lost revenue goes a long way in providing key services for the people of Massachusetts.  The message in our Commonwealth to all those that think that they can circumvent the system should be loud and clear; pay like everyone else, or deal with the consequences.”

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



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John O’Brien, Essex official wants to sue over mortgage mess

John O’Brien, Essex official wants to sue over mortgage mess


Common Wealth Magazine-

John O’Brien is a national folk hero to anti-foreclosure activists. The Southern Essex Register of Deeds has garnered national attention by accusing big banks of acting like a “criminal enterprise.” After an audit revealed widespread flaws in banks’ handling of mortgage paperwork, O’Brien likened his Salem registry to a crime scene.

So when a New York law firm began soliciting local registries to join a class action lawsuit against an embattled mortgage clearinghouse, O’Brien should’ve been the first to sign on. He wasn’t. O’Brien was told he didn’t have the authority to join the effort. Deed registries in Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth counties are now pushing ahead with the case, while O’Brien is left standing on the sidelines.

O’Brien’s inability to sue over mortgage paperwork filed in his own registry highlights a quirk in Massachusetts state government. The state eliminated most of its county governments more than a decade ago, even as it retained some of the trappings of county government. District attorneys and sheriffs are still elected at the county level, for example, but they’re funded by the state. The consolidation of county governments also left the state’s 21 registries of deeds intact.

[COMMON WEALTH MAGAZINE]

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



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O’Brien calls for criminal action against the Big Banks Says they acted like “criminal enterprise”

O’Brien calls for criminal action against the Big Banks Says they acted like “criminal enterprise”


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
Shetland Park
45 Congress Street
Suite 4100
Salem, Massachusetts 01970

JOHN L. O’BRIEN, JR.
Register of Deeds
Phone: 978-542-1704
Fax: 978-542-1706
website: www.salemdeeds.com

 

NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Salem, MA

January 18th, 2012

Contact: Kevin Harvey 1st Assistant Register

978-542-1724

kevin.harvey@sec.state.ma.us

O’Brien calls for criminal action against the Big Banks

Says they acted like “criminal enterprise”

Saying that the time has come for a full scale criminal investigation, Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien, today has sent some 31,897 of what he says are fraudulent documents that have been recorded in the Salem Registry to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. O’Brien said that he is asking these officials to impanel a Grand Jury to look into the evidence that he has presented. “I am confident that these documents will show a pattern of fraud, uttering and forgery. These documents are signed by known robo or surrogate signers, whose signatures were supposedly witnessed by notary publics.  In addition, these documents may contain fraudulent information in the body of the documents. I believe that a criminal investigation is the next step to hold the perpetrators responsible.” O’Brien praised Attorney General Coakley for her aggressive pursuit of wrongdoing in her civil action but noted that other states such as California, Nevada, Illinois and Michigan have launched criminal investigations, and O’Brien is hopeful that Massachusetts will do the same.  O’Brien strongly  suggests that the Grand Jury should subpoena both the past and present Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the Mortgage Electronic Recording Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo,  Countrywide, Washington Mutual among others.  In addition, he is asking that the top officials of DOCX, Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. and LPS also be subpoenaed. “These companies have been retained by MERS and its member-banks to produce the documents that I am alleging contain fraudulent information. It is one thing to go after these institutions with a civil action, but the only way to let them know that you are serious is to call them before a Grand Jury.” O’Brien said, “There is no question in my mind that the officers of these banks and loan processing servicers made a conscious decision to commit fraud and participate in a scheme to deprive the public from knowing the true holder of their mortgage while at the same time avoiding paying billions of dollars in recording fees.  It is my opinion that they acted as a criminal enterprise, crossing state lines to commit their crimes and in most cases using the U.S. Postal Service to send these documents to registries of deeds, thereby committing mail fraud.  We need to know what they knew and when they knew it.  Until the CEOs who allowed these fraudulent activities to happen under their watch are sent to jail for what they did, these types of illegal behaviors will continue.”   Just last week, O’Brien’s Registry received 3 documents from Bank of America, all signed by a known robo-signer, Linda Burton.  O’Brien said, “If they are sending them to me, of all people, it is safe to assume that they are sending them to registries across the country.”  O’Brien refuses to record any documents signed by a robo-signer on his list unless those documents are accompanied by an affidavit attesting to the signature.  So far, he has not received one affidavit. “That clearly shows me that those documents were in fact fraudulent.”  O’Brien said that if he or anyone else went into one of these major banks and forged a signature on a loan document they would be arrested and sent into jail.  So it begs the question, why haven’t these CEO’S been held accountable? O’Brien cited the case of the individual who walked into a Walmart and tried to make a purchase using a fraudulent One Million Dollar bill.  He was arrested and charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretence and uttering a forged instrument.  O’Brien said, “As far as I am concerned, this is what these banks have been doing for years.  Make no mistake, MERS and its member-banks are taking people’s homes using fraudulent documents and that is something we do not do in America.” In addition, O’Brien is zeroing in on the major foreclosure law firms that he believes have acted as a co-conspirator in flooding the registries of deeds with these fraudulent instruments.  “These attorneys should know better. They have acted as co-conspirators in perpetrating this fraud.  I am sending a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers asking that they conduct an independent investigation into the activities of these firms. Unlike our Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, I understand that there are other Attorneys General and other public officials across the country who would like nothing better than to sweep this matter under the rug and grant these lenders, loan servicing companies and their foreclosure-mill attorneys immunity for the damage that they have caused, not only to our economy but to people’s property rights.  They would be willing to accept pennies on the dollar, a slap on the wrist, and a promise to never do it again.  If that should happen, it would be the biggest sellout of the American People that I have ever seen.  It would send the wrong message that the big boys can get away with anything.  As I have been saying all along, they may think they are too big to fail, but as far as I am concerned, they are not to big to go to jail. The top officials at MERS, its member-banks, servicers and foreclosure-mill attorneys must be prosecuted and held accountable for their fraudulent schemes that brought profits to their institutions by cutting corners, circumventing land recordation systems through fraud, uttering and forgery.”

[ipaper docId=78713999 access_key=key-1cvqw4lb1tic32sow6f7 height=600 width=600 /]

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



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In Shift, Prosecuters Are Lenient as Companies BREAK the LAW

In Shift, Prosecuters Are Lenient as Companies BREAK the LAW


“Traditionally, a bank would tell the Department of Justice when an employee engaged in crimes, but what do you do when the bank itself is run by a criminal enterprise?” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, former chief of a Justice Department financial institutions fraud unit.

NYT-

As the financial storm brewed in the summer of 2008 and institutions feared for their survival, a bit of good news bubbled through large banks and the law firms that defend them.

Federal prosecutors officially adopted new guidelines about charging corporations with crimes — a softer approach that, longtime white-collar lawyers and former federal prosecutors say, helps explain the dearth of criminal cases despite a raft of inquiries into the financial crisis.

Continue reading [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

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



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