Eileen Foster | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "Eileen Foster"

Eileen Foster, Former Countrywide Executive, Calls For Investigation Into Cover-Ups

Eileen Foster, Former Countrywide Executive, Calls For Investigation Into Cover-Ups


HuffPO-

A whistleblower who exposed systemic fraud by Countrywide mortgage lenders called on the Department of Justice on Wednesday to prosecute her former colleagues, if not with fraud, then with covering it up.

“If there is insufficient legal evidence to convict these executives of what we believe are obvious crimes, then the federal government should refocus,” Eileen Foster, a former Countrywide fraud investigations chief, told an audience at the National Press Club gathered to honor her and five others for their truth-telling.

“Overwhelming evidence of perjury, witness tampering and obstruction of justice exist in the numerous claims, court filings and trial and investigative transcripts,” Foster said. She herself was fired after reporting that falsified income documentation and faked signatures had been used to steer borrowers into bad mortgages.

[HUFFINGTON POST]

image: iWatchnews.org

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Judge keeps credit crisis-related securities fraud suit against General Electric alive

Judge keeps credit crisis-related securities fraud suit against General Electric alive


GE’s slogan couldn’t have been much truer than this.

The D & O Diary-

In a January 12, 2012 opinion that quotes from (and relies upon) former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s credit crisis memoirs, Southern District of New York Judge Richard Holwell granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss in the subprime and credit crisis related securities class action lawsuit that investors had filed against General Electric, certain of its directors and officers, and its offering underwriters. A copy of Judge Holwell’s opinion can be found here.

Background

As discussed in greater detail here, the plaintiffs first filed their action in March 2009, alleging that the company had failed to disclose information regarding the company’s health and the health of its financial subsidiary, GE Capital, at the height of the financial crisis. As Judge Holwell summarized it, the plaintiffs allege that “during a time when the financial markets were crumbling and companies across the United States were scrambling to disclose their holdings in subprime loans, GE withheld information regarding its substantial holdings in subprime and non-investment grade loans and touted GE as safe in comparison to its competitors, despite the fact that GE was also feeling the impact of the financial crisis.”

[THE D & O DIARY]

[ipaper docId=78429366 access_key=key-k85na7sard7u3ohckjv height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Fraud and folly: The untold story of General Electric’s subprime debacle – iWATCH

Fraud and folly: The untold story of General Electric’s subprime debacle – iWATCH


Michael Hudson, continues his great series into the subprime fraud mess, this time GE’s turn!

iWATCH-

For General Electric Co., hawking subprime mortgages was a long way from making light bulbs and jet engines.

That didn’t stop the industrial giant from jumping into the subprime business in 2004, lending blue-chip respectability to the market for risky home loans by paying roughly half a billion dollars to buy California-based WMC Mortgage Corp.

What GE got in the bargain, former WMC employees say, was a place where erstwhile shoe salesmen, ex-strippers and even a former porn actress could sign on as sales reps and make big money pushing home loans. WMC’s top salespeople earned a million dollars a year or more and lived fast, swigging $1,000 bottles of Cristal and wheeling around in $100,000 Ferraris and Bentleys.

[iWATCH NEWS]

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TYT: Feds Won’t Prosecute Banks Despite Evidence Of Crimes

TYT: Feds Won’t Prosecute Banks Despite Evidence Of Crimes


by on Dec 23, 2011

A devastating report by Reuters shows that the federal government is focusing on small scale swindlers while ignoring crimes by big banks despite a wealth of evidence against them. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

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Still Waiting for Cleanup in Foreclosure Mess – ProPublica

Still Waiting for Cleanup in Foreclosure Mess – ProPublica


by Marian Wang ProPublica, Dec. 27, 2011, 10:56 a.m.

This is part of our year-end series, looking at where things stand in each of our major investigations.

If last year [1] was the year in which faulty foreclosures and bank errors became a full-blown scandal, this has been the year of waiting for something to be done about it.

First, there’s the still-to-come multi-state settlement over alleged fraud on the part of the country’s five largest mortgage servicers. That’s the settlement being brokered by a coalition of state attorneys general and once touted [2] as homeowners’ best bet for redressing banks’ flaws in foreclosure and mortgage documentation. Over the past year, one story after another declared such a deal was imminent, but the details — the total price tag [3], the deal’s framework, and the expected date — have continually been changing.

Earlier this month, the Des Moines Register reported Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller — a point man for the attorneys’ general probe — as saying that the final deal should be complete before Christmas [4] and would include a measure to reduce the total debt owed by underwater homeowners. No deal has yet been announced. Miller wouldn’t disclose a dollar figure on the size of the settlement — or whether California, one of the hardest-hit states, would participate.

Over the course of the year, some state attorneys general seemed to lose faith in the coordinated effort, voicing concerns that the eventual settlement would be too easy on the banks.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris signaled her hesitation too [5], as did the attorneys general of New York [6], Delaware, Nevada, Massachusetts [7], Kentucky [8] and Minnesota [9]. These state attorneys general — many of whom have filed their own suits against major servicers [10], foreclosure processing firms [11], and other players [12] — questioned whether the settlement would limit their ability to take more aggressive action against foreclosure abuses in their states and either expressed doubts about whether they’d sign on to the final settlement or pulled out of the talks altogether.

Banks, meanwhile, have pushed for the settlement to include broader releases from legal liability over mortgage-related abuses. According to a recent Wall Street Journal piece, they’ve tried to make their participation in the settlement contingent on being shielded [13] from the possibility of lawsuits brought by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Also still to be determined? An official to monitor the banks and servicers [14] and ensure they comply with whatever agreement is eventually reached.

Meanwhile, federal banking regulators have also begun to act. In April, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Reserve accused eight mortgage servicers and two third-party mortgage processing firms of 201Cunsafe and unsound [15]” foreclosure practices and ordered them to come up with a plan to prevent the same errors going forward. (Read the orders [16] they received.) But the revamp plans drawn up by the banks are kept confidential [17]. And no financial penalties [18] have been issued, though regulators have said that they’re still to come.

Regulators also launched an interagency foreclosure review program [19] [PDF] this year to identify and compensate homeowners who were wronged in the foreclosure process. The plan is to review sample loan files pulled from the files from 14 largest mortgage servicers, as well as files from homeowners who submit a request for a review.

The regulators in charge of the program have so far declined to disclose information on key aspects of the review, such as what kinds of compensation are available to homeowners, how compensation would be calculated, and for what specific offenses. (Homeowners with questions can see our FAQ on the reviews [20] to see whether they’re eligible for review and how to apply.)

The reviews themselves are being conducted by outside consulting firms [21] that will be supervised by the regulators but paid by the banks. As we’ve reported [22], some lawmakers have raised concerns about the experience of the reviewers and whether they will truly be able to operate independently of the banks.

Finally, it bears mentioning that despite the efforts on both the federal and state level to address the systemic failures of banks and mortgage servicers, errors are continuing [23] — and they’re still causing wrongful foreclosures.

The only subset of homeowners who seem to have gotten a break — or redress for botched foreclosures — is military families. Earlier this year, the Justice Department settled lawsuits [24] against subsidiaries of Bank of America and Morgan Stanley over allegations that they wrongfully foreclosed on active duty service members, in violation of a law that specifically offers them greater protection from foreclosure. As part of that settlement, the two companies apologized [25] and paid a combined penalty of $22 million, plus compensation to certain service members who suffered wrongful foreclosures.

 

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Details of Mortgage Servicing Settlement Between Banks and AGs Begin to Emerge – TIME

Details of Mortgage Servicing Settlement Between Banks and AGs Begin to Emerge – TIME


Well, not really because what ever “negotiations” there is, we always know you’re out to help the banks and the not people.

Time-

The never-ending negotiations between the 50 state attorneys general (minus a few big ones) and five major banks over penalties and standards for past, present and future mortgage servicing are finally ending, and some details are beginning to emerge from sources familiar with the deal. The big number is the $25 billion that the banks will commit to three categories of the settlement: $5 billion in cash payments, mostly to the states, $3 billion in refinancing for underwater mortgages, and $17 billion in principal reduction. Here’s the breakdown:

Of the $5 billion, $1.5 billion will go to people who have been foreclosed on and were abused in some way during the process. The claims are nearly instantaneous–”we don’t read anything, it’s check the box,” says one state AG negotiator. But the payments are also small: $1,500 to $2,000. Now, the vast majority of people who lost their homes over the last several years probably would not have been able to make their payments even if the banks had been behaving well. For them a no-questions-asked $2,000 check from the bank for the poor treatment they received in the process may be fair. On the other hand, those who were unfairly evicted may be insulted by the small amount. But no one taking the payment would be giving up any rights to bring cases against the banks for wrongful eviction or other claims they may have. The federal regulator with oversight of the issue, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has sent out 4.5 million forms to potentially wrongfully evicted families; processing those claims will be paid for by the banks.

[TIME]

 

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Foreclosure Relief? Don’t Hold Your Breath – Gretchen Morgenson

Foreclosure Relief? Don’t Hold Your Breath – Gretchen Morgenson


No matter how much corruption is exposed from the government, they simply don’t care.

It’s up to the few AG’s like CA, DE, MA, NY, NV to bring the fraud (CEO’s & not the low level employees) to jails.

Gretchen Morgenson-

THROUGHOUT the foreclosure crisis, Washington has done little to help people hang on to their homes. All those programs that were supposed to help — HAMP, HARP, Hope for Homeowners — have mostly failed.

So many were skeptical when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced yet another program in April. This one was intended to provide reparations to homeowners who’d been hurt financially by foreclosure abuses at banks.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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Reuters Special Report: The watchdogs that didn’t bark

Reuters Special Report: The watchdogs that didn’t bark


This is an absolute must read.

“I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history,” said Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written articles analyzing the role of courts in the financial crisis. “I can’t think of one where you have literally tens of thousands of fraudulent documents filed in tens of thousands of cases.”

Reuters-

Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing.

The federal government, as has been widely noted, has pressed few criminal cases against major lenders or senior executives for the events that led to the meltdown of 2007. Finding hard evidence has proved difficult, the Justice Department has said.

The government also hasn’t brought any prosecutions for dubious foreclosure practices deployed since 2007 by big banks and other mortgage-servicing companies.

But this part of the financial system, a Reuters examination shows, is filled with potential leads.

[REUTERS]

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Schneiderman Teams Up With FHFA IG on Foreclosure Fraud Investigation

Schneiderman Teams Up With FHFA IG on Foreclosure Fraud Investigation


For all those AG’s who ARE doing their job to protect the people (tiny handful only), we thank you very much.

This is BIG NEWS!

FDL-

As other Attorneys General took the lead in efforts to fight foreclosure fraud, with lawsuits from Delaware’s Beau Biden, Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, we hadn’t heard as much from New York’s Eric Schneiderman lately. But he’s back in the news, teaming with a federal Inspector General on an investigation:

The federal watchdog overseeing US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is joining forces with New York’s attorney-general to investigate banks’ mortgage securitisation practices, a partnership that could make it easier for authorities to bring fraud charges against Wall Street companies.

Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney-general, and Steve Linick, the inspector general supervising Fannie and Freddie and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the unit responsible for the taxpayer-owned home loan financiers, signed a co-operation agreement in recent weeks that allows the two investigators to share documents, findings and to pool their resources, according to people familiar with the matter.

The collaboration escalates Mr Schneiderman’s probe into roughly a dozen banks and mortgage insurers as part of a broad investigation into whether banks properly bundled hundreds of billions of dollars worth of home loans into now-soured securities sold to investors.

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Dear Attorneys General: If You Want to Be Re-elected, Sue the Banks.

Dear Attorneys General: If You Want to Be Re-elected, Sue the Banks.


By Abigail Caplovitz Field |

Dear Attorneys General:

If you want to be reelected–in those 41 states where voters get to have their say on how well you’re doing your job–you’d better get busy and indict some document fraudsters, or at least sue the big banks for their deceptive and deeply damaging practices. That’s because voters are catching on to just how above the law bankers believe they are. And if you don’t make a real effort to hold the banks accountable–NO, the “50 state” settlement Santa’s supposedly giving to the banks doesn’t count, as I’ll get to–if you don’t make a real effort to hold the banks to account, you’ll get voted out for any candidate that credibly promises accountability.

See, the gig is up.

[…]

[REALITY CHECK]

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VIDEO: Beau Biden talks Alex Wagner about Foreclosure Fraud & Accountability

VIDEO: Beau Biden talks Alex Wagner about Foreclosure Fraud & Accountability


“Average Americans lost 16 Trillion dollars flushed down the toilet, No accountability”

“Man-made Disaster”

“Losing your home is like losing your child”

 

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Prosecuting Wall Street, pt. 2 – 60 Minutes – CBS News

Prosecuting Wall Street, pt. 2 – 60 Minutes – CBS News


Two high-ranking financial whistleblowers say they tried to warn their superiors about defective and even fraudulent mortgages. So why haven’t the companies or their executives been prosecuted? Steve Kroft reports.

Read Story: Prosecuting Wall Street

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Prosecuting Wall Street, pt. 1 – 60 Minutes – CBS News

Prosecuting Wall Street, pt. 1 – 60 Minutes – CBS News


Two high-ranking financial whistleblowers say they tried to warn their superiors about defective and even fraudulent mortgages. So why haven’t the companies or their executives been prosecuted? Steve Kroft reports.

Read Story: Prosecuting Wall Street

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Behind the financial crisis: Tom Borgers A Fraud Investigator Talks – 60 Minutes Overtime

Behind the financial crisis: Tom Borgers A Fraud Investigator Talks – 60 Minutes Overtime


CBS 60 MINUTES-

“It’s been three years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy,” Steve Kroft begins his 60 Minutes piece this week. “[Yet] there has not been a single prosecution of a high ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm.”

60 Minutes producer James Jacoby wanted to find out why, and one of the first people he spoke with was Tom Borgers, a man who literally helped write the book on the financial meltdown.

Borgers was a senior fraud investigator for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a bipartisan panel set up by the Obama administration to examine the causes of the crisis. In the end, the FCIC issued a 500-page report on its findings, required reading for James and associate producer Maria Gavrilovic.

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iWATCH | Whistleblowers ignored, punished by lenders, dozens of former employees say

iWATCH | Whistleblowers ignored, punished by lenders, dozens of former employees say


Another home run from Michael Hudson this time deep inside several lenders

iWATCH-

Darcy Parmer ran into trouble soon after she started her job as a fraud analyst at Wells Fargo Bank. Her bosses, she later claimed, were upset that she was, well, finding fraud.

Company officials, she alleged in a lawsuit, berated her for reporting that sales staffers were pushing through mortgage deals based on made-up borrower incomes and other distortions, telling her that she didn’t “see the big picture” and that “it is not your job to fix Wells Fargo.” Management, she claimed, ordered her to stop contacting the company’s ethics hotline.

In the end, she said, Wells Fargo forced her out of her job.

[iWATCH NEWS]

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California refuses to accept Obama’s banking sellout, or just holding out

California refuses to accept Obama’s banking sellout, or just holding out


I have mixed emotions on this one because I am seeing California teeter totter, not sure of the outcome. As Matt Stoller wrote about AG Kamala Harris Network:

she shares them with President Obama, who endorsed her late in 2010 for the AG office. Her brother-in-law, Tony West, was key fundraiser for Obama in California, having helped raise $65 million for Obama in the state, and he is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. He now works at the DOJ and has expanded the Civil Rights department to take on some elements of mortgage fraud. The DOJ has an internal directive to make mortgage fraud a top priority, but what mortgage fraud means to the DOJ are mortgage modification scams and penny ante borrowers ripping off fly-by-night lenders. West, while not the direct actor in the DOJ’s settlement talks, is in all likelihood involved in pressure on state AGs to sign on to a settlement. And it’s simply inconceivable he hasn’t dealt with his sister-in-law and political ally on the matter. Harris and West are part of a coherent political network, and much of the strength of that network has to do with reinforcing the traditional bank-friendly policies of the Democratic elite and then using that to create political support.

The first indication that as California AG Harris was more sympathetic to the Obama side of the ledger on banking is that one of her first decisions as AG was to let off Angelo Mozilo without admitting to wrong-doing or personally paying a fine (the small money that went to restitution came from Bank of America shareholders). I suspect the issue is actually more personal to her than legal, not because she particularly cares about finance or foreclosures, but because her friends and allies are very concerned about ensuring that the banks get a release. In their view, this will cause the housing market to clear, the economy to recover, and then help reelection chances.

The political problem for Harris is that she was elected by liberal votes, and she’s getting enormous public pressure to resist signing on to a settlement that is perceived as favorable to the banks. While she backed out of an immediate settlement a few weeks ago, she refused to join the joint investigation by Eric Schneiderman and Beau Biden of the foreclosure fraud crisis. She has sat on the sidelines, trying to figure out what to do.

Appeal-Democrat has a different view-

There is no three-strikes law for crooked bankers, not even a law for a fifth strike, as The New York Times reported in the case of Citigroup, cited last month in a $1 billion fraud case. Unlike the California third-striker I once wrote about whom a district attorney wanted banished forever to state prison for stealing a piece of pizza from the plate of a person dining outdoors, Citigroup executives get off with a fine and by offering a promise not to do it again, and again and again.

As the Times reported when Citigroup agreed to settle SEC charges last month: “Citigroup’s main brokerage subsidiary, its predecessors or its parent company agreed to not violate the very same antifraud statue in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far back as March 2005 and April 2000.”

.
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Letting the Banks Off Easy

Letting the Banks Off Easy


The banks want California, and the Obama administration hopes they can get it.

NYT-

In September, the attorney general of California, Kamala Harris, withdrew from settlement talks between the banks and federal and state officials over mortgage abuses. Ms. Harris said California was being asked to excuse bank conduct that has not been adequately investigated and to grant the banks an unacceptably broad release from legal liability for the mortgage mess.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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Kamala Harris, California Attorney General, To Fannie And Freddie Head: ‘Step Aside’ Over Mortgage Crisis

Kamala Harris, California Attorney General, To Fannie And Freddie Head: ‘Step Aside’ Over Mortgage Crisis


I clearly see this as one thing, FHFA’s Ed DeMarco is keeping CA AG Harris from moving forward on the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement. Hmm this is getting interesting.

 

HuffPO-

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has called on the head of the agency that houses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “step aside” if he continues to refuse to reduce mortgage loans for underwater homeowners.

“It has become clear to me that the only way to keep distressed California homeowners in their homes is through meaningful principal reduction,” Harris said in a statement Thursday.

The lack of meaningful principal reduction is what drove Harris in late September to exit the multistate settlement talks with major banks that are led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller with the support of the Obama administration. The attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York, Kentucky, Minnesota, Delaware and Nevada have also bridled at the settlement efforts, finding the banks’ expected $25 billion write-down to be inadequate to protect their states’ homeowners from losing their property.

[HUFFINGTONPOST]

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Dylan Ratigan Interviews Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto “Follow Foreclosure Fraud Law or you go to prison for 10 yrs.”

Dylan Ratigan Interviews Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto “Follow Foreclosure Fraud Law or you go to prison for 10 yrs.”


“There is a Cloud of Title Issue” – AG Catherine C. Masto

Pay close attention, as soon as the Nevada Foreclosure Fraud Bill took effect on October 1, 2011… FORECLOSURES STOPPED.

Imagine if ever state participated in setting new laws? C’est la vie to fraudulent documents!

Still shocking that there are settlement talks when an investigation NEVER took place. I’m also surprised that the AG’s going after the banks, are getting absolutely no respect from the other AG’s to follow…

Yes, you all know who you are.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Adam Levitin | The Multistate Settlement Lottery: Bupkis

Adam Levitin | The Multistate Settlement Lottery: Bupkis


Remember that it’s not just a bunch of AGs at the table here. It’s also the Obama Administration. And therein lies the problem…

Credit Slips-

The NY Times had some details today about the multi-state attorney general mortgage servicing settlement in the works. It looks every bit as awful as one might have feared. Here’s the criticial take-away:  this is bupkis. It gives meaningless relief to a meaningless number of randomly or adversely selected homeowners.  It doesn’t do justice, even by halves.

First, though, there’s a detail reported in Gretchen Morgenson’s otherwise insightful piece that I have on good source is incorrect.  The piece states that the banks would be doing principal write-downs on loans they own or service.  That’s gotta be incorrect.  The banks can do principal write-downs only on loans that they own.  They have no legal authority to pledge write-downs on loans that they service on behalf of investors.  (Remember the Greenwich Financial suit against Countrywide for doing just that?)

There’s a critical implication here, then about the scope of the multi-state settlement:  at best 20% of the population of underwater mortgagees will be helped by this settlement, say 2.2 million homeowners.  The other 8.8 million (and probably 10 million by my reckoning) are SOL.  How do you think they’re going to feel about their AGs?  About their President?  Too many times have American homeowners been promised help without receiving any.  It’s getting old.

[…]

[CREDIT SLIPS]

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Adam Levitin | Make The Banks Pay

Adam Levitin | Make The Banks Pay


Obama and the AGs still balk at the only solution to the housing-driven recession

Salon-

There is $700 billion in negative equity in the U.S. housing market. That means Americans owe $700 billion more than their homes are worth. Any plan for the housing sector or the U.S. economy, that doesn’t take a serious bite out of negative equity isn’t serious.

Yet un-serious is what we continue to get from elected officials. This week the Obama Administration announced a new plan to help underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages to lower rates.  The plan, really an expansion of an existing program, is the latest in a series of programs designed to deal with the moribund housing market. Each has proven a more dismal disappointment than the next.

So too with the latest version of the proposed settlement between the state Attorneys General, led by Iowa’s Tom Miller, and the mortgage servicing industry. Yes, the deal has been sweetened by the addition of some interest rate reductions for underwater homeowners who are current on their payments. But that’s small potatoes.

[SALON]

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Foreclosure Fraud Settlement: A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting – Gretchen Morgenson

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement: A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting – Gretchen Morgenson


By now, I hope you fully understand, if your AG has yet to join The State AG’s that are holding the bankers feet to the fire, than they’re working hand by hand with the bankers against you.

AG’s are there to serve the peoples interest not those that commit fraud on a massive level.

NYTimes-

Cutting to the chase: if you thought this was the deal that would hold banks accountable for filing phony documents in courts, foreclosing without showing they had the legal right to do so and generally running roughshod over anyone who opposed them, you are likely to be disappointed.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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