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[VIDEO] Shaun Donovan on the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement & Wish Wash

[VIDEO] Shaun Donovan on the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement & Wish Wash


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YVES SMITH: The Legal Lie at the Heart of the $8.5 Billion Bank of America and Federal/State Mortgage Settlements

YVES SMITH: The Legal Lie at the Heart of the $8.5 Billion Bank of America and Federal/State Mortgage Settlements


H/T Abigail – If you had any doubts about whether ‘your’ federal gov’t works for you or BofA, read Yves Smith’s latest:

One in a while, you can discern a linchpin lie on which other important lies hinge. We can point to quite a few in America: the notion of a permanent war on terror, which somehow justifies vitiating not just the Constitution, but even the Magna Carta, or the idea of an imperial executive branch.

Now the apparently-to-be-filed-in-court-today Federal/state attorneys general mortgage settlement is less consequential than matters of life and limb. But it still show the lengths to which the officialdom is willing to go to vitiate the law in order to get its way.

HUD Secretary Donovan, the propagandist in chief for the Federal/state mortgage pact, has claimed he has investor approval to do the mortgage modifications that are a significant portion of the value of the settlement. We’ll eventually see what is actually in the settlement, but the early PR was that “no less than $10 billion” of the $25 billion headline total was to come from principal reductions. Modifications of mortgages not owned by banks, meaning in securitized trusts, are counted only 50% and before Donovan realized he was committing a faux pas, he said he expected 85% of the mods to be from securitizations, so that means $17 billion.

[NAKED CAPITALISM]

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Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general


Lets not act surprised in this as we always knew there was something cooking behind the scenes and not everyone agreed and probably disappointed with the approach Tom Miller from Iowa was heading.

WaPO-

As state attorneys general continue their months-long settlement negotiations with the nation’s largest banks over widespread problems in foreclosure practices, they have yet to resolve differences within their own group on key issues.

Even within the 14-member “executive committee” of attorneys general who are leading the 50-state coalition, some have very different visions of what exactly a settlement should look like.

[…]

A handful of crucial states, including California, Illinois and New York, have undertaken their own investigations into mortgage industry practices, subpoenaing information about business practices and seeking meetings with executives about such things as securitization to faulty court affidavits. Other officials, such as in Oklahoma, have threatened to pursue their own settlements with mortgage servicers.


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Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion

Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion


HuffPO-

The nation’s largest mortgage companies are operating on the assumption that they will have to pay as much as $20 billion to resolve claims of widespread foreclosure abuse, an amount four times what they had originally proposed, the top federal official overseeing the discussions told state officials Monday, according to people who participated in the conversation.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli told a bipartisan group of state attorneys general during a conference call that he believes the banks have accepted the realization that a wide-ranging settlement to the months-long probes will cost them much more than the $5 billion offer they floated last month, according to officials with direct knowledge of the call. Perrelli said he’s basing his belief on his recent conversations with representatives of the five targeted firms: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.


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HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”

HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”


LA Times

A settlement between a coalition of federal and state agencies and banks over foreclosure practices will come in a “matter of weeks,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told the Los Angeles Times.

Donovan’s agency is involved in the negotiations with the banks, along with attorneys general from all 50 states and officials from the Justice Department and other federal agencies.

continue  reading… LA TIMES

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Let’s Set the Record Straight on Bank of America, Part 2: Eliminating Foreclosure Fraud

Let’s Set the Record Straight on Bank of America, Part 2: Eliminating Foreclosure Fraud


William K. Black and L. Randall Wray

Posted: November 5, 2010 01:23 PM

This is the second installment of a two-part series. Read the first here.

We have explained in prior posts and interviews that there are two foreclosure-related crises. Our first twopart post called on the U.S. to begin “foreclosing on the foreclosure fraudsters.” We concentrated on how the underlying epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders inevitably produced endemic foreclosure fraud. We wrote to urge government policymakers to get Bank of America and other lenders and servicers to clean up the massive fraud. We obviously cannot on rely solely on Bank of America assessing its own culpability.

Note also that while we have supported a moratorium on foreclosures, this is only to stop the foreclosure frauds — the illegal seizure of homes by fraudulent means. We do not suppose that financial institutions can afford to maintain toxic assets on their books. The experience of the thrift crisis of the 1980s demonstrates the inherent problems created by forbearance in the case of institutions that are run as control frauds. All of the incentives of a control fraud bank are worsened with forbearance. Our posts on the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law (which mandates that the regulators place insolvent banks in receivership) have focused on the banks’ failure to foreclose as a deliberate strategy to avoid recognizing their massive losses in order to escape receivership and to allow their managers to further loot the banks through huge bonuses based on fictional income (which ignores real losses). We have previously noted the massive rise in the “shadow inventory” of loans that have received no payments for years, yet have not led to foreclosure:

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Foreclose on the Foreclosure Fraudsters, Part 1: Put Bank of America in Receivership

Foreclose on the Foreclosure Fraudsters, Part 1: Put Bank of America in Receivership


Posted: October 22, 2010 02:08 PM
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After a quick review of its procedures, Bank of America this week announced that it will resume its foreclosures in 23 lucky states next Monday. While the evidence is overwhelming that the entire foreclosure process is riddled with fraud, President Obama refuses to support a national moratorium. Indeed, his spokesmen on the issue told reporters three key things. As the Los Angeles Times reported:

A government review of botched foreclosure paperwork so far has found that the problems do not pose a “systemic” threat to the financial system, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday.

Yes, that’s right. HUD reviewed the “paperwork” problem to see whether it threatened the banks — not the homeowners who were the victims of foreclosure fraud. But it got worse, for the second point was how the government would respond to the epidemic of foreclosure fraud.

The Justice Department is leading an investigation of possible crimes involving mortgage fraud.

That language was carefully chosen to sound reassuring. But the fact is that despite our pleas the FBI has continued its “partnership” with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBA is the trade association of the “perps.” It created a ridiculous on its face definition of “mortgage fraud.” Under that definition the lenders — who led the mortgage frauds — are the victims. The FBI still parrots this long discredited “definition.” That is one of the primary reasons why — in complete contrast to prior financial crises — the Justice Department has not convicted a single senior officer of the large nonprime lenders who directed, committed, and profited enormously from the frauds.

Note that the Justice Department is not investigating foreclosure fraud. HUD Secretary Donovan’s statement shows why:

“We will not tolerate business as usual in the mortgage market,” he said. “Where there have been mistakes made or errors, we will hold those entities, those institutions, accountable to stop those processes, review them and fix them as quickly as possible.”

Note the language: “mistakes”, “errors”, “processes” (following the initial use of “paperwork”). No mention of “fraud”, “felony”, “criminal investigations”, or “prosecutions” for the tens of thousands of felonies that representatives of the entities foreclosing on homes have admitted that they committed. Note that Donovan does not even demand that the felons remedy the harm caused by their past fraudulent foreclosures. Donovan wants them to “fix” “processes” — not repair the harm their frauds caused to their victims.

The fraudulent CEOs looted with impunity, were left in power, and were granted their fondest wish when Congress, at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Bernanke, and the bankers’ trade associations, successfully extorted the professional Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to turn the accounting rules into a farce. The FASB’s new rules allowed the banks (and the Fed, which has taken over a trillion dollars in toxic mortgages as wholly inadequate collateral) to refuse to recognize hundreds of billions of dollars of losses. This accounting scam produces enormous fictional “income” and “capital” at the banks. The fictional income produces real bonuses to the CEOs that make them even wealthier. The fictional bank capital allows the regulators to evade their statutory duties under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law to close the insolvent and failing banks.

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Breaking News: U.S. investigating possible criminal violations in foreclosure crisis

Breaking News: U.S. investigating possible criminal violations in foreclosure crisis


Task force probing whether banks broke federal laws during home seizures

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 3:10 PM

Federal law enforcement officials are investigating possible criminal violations in connection with the national foreclosure crisis, examining whether financial firms broke federal laws when they filed fraudulent court documents to seize people’s homes, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Obama administration’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is in the early stages of an investigation into whether banks and other companies that submitted flawed paperwork in state foreclosure proceedings may also have misled federal housing agencies, which now own or insure a majority of home loans, according to these sources.

The task force, which includes investigators from the Justice Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies, is also looking into whether the submission of flawed paperwork during the foreclosure process violated mail or wire fraud laws. Financial fraud cases often involve these statutes.

Continue reading …WASHINGTON POST

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Struggling housing markets to receive $1B in federal dollars: The HILL

Struggling housing markets to receive $1B in federal dollars: The HILL


Umm…look at where the funds are going…BACK TO THE BANKS!

Follow the money trail…

By Vicki Needham – 05/18/10 02:34 PM ET

Areas hardest hit by the nation’s housing crisis could get a share of up to $1 billion in reallocated federal funds.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said during a breakfast with reporters Tuesday that his department intends to create a new formula for allocating dollars from an existing program launched by the George W. Bush administration.

Funding in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program will be shifted to communities hit hardest by foreclosures, vacancy rates, falling home values and unemployment during the recession, Donovan said.

The Bush administration spread funding more broadly, with each state government receiving a base allocation of $19.6 million, Donovan said.

The reallocation could offer big benefits to states such as Nevada, California and Arizona that are among the hardest hit by the housing crisis. Donovan said the reallocation could help Las Vegas more than any other single place.

The reallocated funding will be shifted from communities that haven’t committed to projects.

The idea behind the program is to avoid blight. Much of the funding will be used to demolish or revamp vacant properties. Those properties would then be sold to new buyers.

Funds would also be used to create “land banks” to assemble, temporarily manage and dispose of foreclosed homes, Donovan said.

Funds could also be used to help some homeowners avoid foreclosure, and to help prospective low- to middle-income homebuyers with a down payment or closing costs.

“We want this to produce a quality product that will create demand,” Donovan said.

Under the program, 17,000 homes so far have been renovated. HUD estimates that more than 63,000 homes will be demolished or fixed up.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program has received $6 billion in funding — $4 billion to improve housing and $2 billion in targeted stimulus funding, which was awarded in December, Donovan said.

Donovan said he intends to work with Congress to procure more funding for the housing program and new foreclosure counseling efforts. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provided $150 million for counseling to provide options for struggling homeowners.

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