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Who’s Who in the Foreclosure Scandal: A Primer on the Players

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Photo by Flickr user nzlawyer.

The unfolding foreclosure scandal just keeps expanding. Scrutiny first fell on the “robo-signers” who rubber-stamped banks’ foreclosure paperwork, but they’re one of the many players who may have contributed to the mess.

To help sort it all out, we’ve drawn up a cast of characters. Let’s start with the basics:

Loan Originators/Mortgage Issuers – Banks make mortgage loans to homeowners, which homeowners must repay. The home serves as collateral in case the borrower defaults on the mortgage.

Mortgage Servicers – Mortgage servicers collect mortgage payments and foreclose on delinquent loans. These are usually the nation’s biggest banks, which all have mortgage servicing units.

As we’ve noted, these servicers have also been charged by the federal government with helping eligible homeowners avoid foreclosure through the government’s Making Home Affordable loan modification program.

The discovery of robo-signing (see our entry for robo-signers below) by employees at major servicers — including GMAC, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and  Wells Fargo ($) — has initiated a joint investigation by the attorneys general of all 50 states. GMAC, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Litton Loan Servicing, a mortgage servicer owned by Goldman Sachs, have all temporarily halted all or some foreclosures and are reviewing procedures. Wells Fargo, which the Financial Times has also flagged as using robo-signers, so far has not halted foreclosures.

Other contractors – Lender Processing Services, as we’ve noted,  helps servicers manage data. When loans fall into default, servicers sometimes transfer the loan information to these processing firms, effectively outsourcing management of the foreclosure process to companies like LPS.

LPS is one of the largest firms doing such work. It has been accused in court of being involved in illegal fee-splitting arrangements with law firms it hires, though an LPS spokeswoma told the Journal that the allegations are false, and that mortgage servicers decide which law firms to hire. 

A subsidiary of Lender Processing Services is currently the subject of a federal probe into how it handled foreclosure affidavits. LPS has acknowledged it once had problems, but says they were quickly addressed.

“Foreclosure Mill” Law Firms – In states that require judges to vet a foreclosure, law firms execute affidavits certifying a number of facts key to the foreclosure case.

As financial blogger Barry Ritholz has explained, these signed affidavits attest to: “Ownership of the note, who the borrower is, the property in question, the date of last mortgage payment, amount of delinquency, tax escrow owed, other payments (such as homeowners insurance).” They must also be notarized, or signed in the presence of a notary public, which allows them to be used as evidence in court. 

Some foreclosure law firms, however, often take shortcuts and have been known to foreclose first and finish the paperwork later by backdating documents. According to the Washington Post, document processing companies often rewarded law firms with additional bonuses if they met deadlines for finishing the legal paperwork. (LPS confirmed to the Post that it had paid these bonuses in the past, but said it no longer does so.)

In Florida, the state attorney general initiated an investigation into the practices of several foreclosure law firms believed to process paperwork in this fashion, but a judge halted that investigation. The Florida attorney general this week requested a rehearing.

Mother Jones tied the origins of these “foreclosure mill” law firms back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which bought up mortgage debts en masse and had thousands of foreclosures to process when loans started going bad:

In the 1990s, the market expanded into subprime territory to feed the securitization beast, and borrowers began defaulting at increasingly higher rates. Hiring lawyers on a case-by-case basis was burdensome, so Fannie and Freddie put together a stable of law firms, prime contractors prepared to litigate large bundles of foreclosures quickly and cheaply. They urged these handpicked firms to bring in-house all of the related services — inspections, eviction notices, sales of repossessed properties, and so forth — or at least to retain a suitable subcontractor to handle the tasks. Thus emerged the foreclosure supermarket.

Robo-signers – The term “robo-signers” has been defined on a New York Times blog as a “nickname for those who processed large numbers of foreclosure affidavits.” Robo-signers earned this nickname not only for the large volumes of paperwork processed, but also for processing these affidavits without fully verifying the information they were claiming to have knowledge of.

The problems with robo-signers have emerged in a series of depositions by employees of servicers, in which servicers admitting to signing thousands of documents — often without even basic knowledge about the documents they were signing. From the Times:

The depositions paint a surreal picture of foreclosure experts who didn't understand even the most elementary aspects of the mortgage or foreclosure process — even though they were entrusted as the records custodians of homeowners' loans. In one deposition taken in Houston, a foreclosure supervisor with Litton Loan couldn't define basic terms like promissory note, mortgagee, lien, receiver, jurisdiction, circuit court, plaintiff's assignor or defendant. She testified that she didn't know why a spouse might claim interest in a property, what the required conditions were for a bank to foreclose or who the holder of the mortgage note was. "I don't know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents," she said at one point.

Most of the robo-signers who’ve lately been in the news have been employees at mortgage servicers, but that’s not always the case.

Often servicers outsource some work to foreclosure document companies such as LPS. And those companies have also been accused of using robo-signers.

The Washington Post, for instance, found that one employee at LPS had for years claimed to be an executive of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and other lenders. Her signature also varied, suggesting they were forged by several different employees.

Foreclosure law firms have also been accused of using “robo-signer” practices and signing documents on behalf of lenders. From The Palm Beach Post:

Banks that have not pulled back on foreclosure sales and evictions, such as lender CitiMortgage, gave firms power of attorney to sign documents on their behalf. In turn, some firms created assembly-line signing systems to keep up with bank deadlines on foreclosure cases.

The operations manager for the Plantation-based David J. Stern law firm said in a deposition last year that she signed foreclosure papers for two hours a day on behalf of financial institutions without reading the documents.

And, when the manager wasn't available, employees would forge her signature, according to a sworn statement taken last month by state investigators of a former Stern paralegal. Stern's attorney has refuted the employee's allegation.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – Fannie and Freddie are government-controlled mortgage giants that buy up qualifying mortgage loans and guarantee them to investors. They were essentially independent companies until they exploded spectacularly during the financial crisis, and were bailed out by the feds to the tune of $148 billion so far.

As the Wall Street Journal explained, Fannie and Freddie also help manage the foreclosure process by providing lists of approved vendors to handle “everything from issuing foreclosure filings to selling homes."

Some of those vendors have included alleged “foreclosure mills.” Fannie and Freddie recently suspended referrals to one vendor, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, a Florida “foreclosure mill” law firm caught up in a probe by the Florida attorney general, but the firm appears to still be on Fannie’s list of retained attorneys (PDF).

Like many of the players in the foreclosure system, Fannie Mae had an interest in speeding the process along. The Post reported that to get bad loans off its books, Fannie imposed fees and penalties on contractors for failing to move quickly:

Fannie declined to comment on these fees. But in a memo to loan servicers dated Aug. 31, Gwen Muse-Evans, Fannie Mae's chief risk officer, warned mortgage servicers that fees may be imposed based on "the length of the delay and any costs that are directly attributable to the delay."

MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) – MERS is a confidential electronic registry that banks created in 1997 to more efficiently “track” mortgage paperwork. It saved banks time and money by cutting down the paper shuffle and helping banks avoid paying recording fees to government recorders, who traditionally kept track of mortgage sales. The increased convenience for the banks helped enable securitization of mortgages.

“It’s like a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, only bigger. It doesn’t have images of documents, it doesn’t have signatures in it. It doesn’t have copies of original documents,” explained Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah who has written several research papers on MERS.

“Members of the MERS system can put info on database if it feels like it,” Peterson said. “MERS uses the word ‘track,’ they say they track servicing rights or ownership rights, but that’s not really what they do. They’re more of a passive information receptacle.”

In addition to its function as a record-keeper, MERS has also been used as an agent to enforce foreclosures on behalf of servicers in order to further streamline the foreclosure process. Critics contend that impedes transparency and makes it harder for homeowners fighting foreclosure to know who they're dealing with.

The company continues to assert that it has the right to foreclose, and says that “courts have ruled in favor of MERS in many lawsuits.” (On its website, the company has a legal primer touting such cases.) However, that assertion is increasingly facing challenge.

The supreme courts of Arkansas, Kansas and Maine have all ruled that MERS doesn’t have the standing to foreclose on homeowners, according to The Washington Post. The company currently faces class-action lawsuits in California, Arizona and Nevada.

A MERS spokeswoman told the Post that lawyers have increasingly alleged wrongdoing on the part of MERS in order “to stall or prevent foreclosures.”

MERS itself is a small firm (according to The New York Times, in 2009 it had 44 employees) but has a process by which employees of other companies — mortgage servicers or firms working for mortgage servicers — can sign off on behalf of MERS and transfer the mortgage back to the servicer trying to initiate foreclosure.

Investors – Pension funds, hedge funds, and mutual funds (even those complex investments known as CDOs) are possible investors in securities backed by mortgages.

They’re quite removed from the front-end players — the mortgage originators, the servicers, the law firms and the robo-signers therein — but confusion over the true ownership of the underlying mortgages in a security could cast doubts on investors’ true ownership of the security. Some investors may use the situation to try to recoup their losses on mortgage-backed securities by suing the banks that issued them. From The Washington Post:

Now, some of the pension systems, hedge funds and other investors that took big losses on the loans are seeking to use this flaw to force banks to compensate them or even invalidate the mortgage trades themselves.

… The Association of Mortgage Investors is pressuring trustees to investigate the transfer of loans in the securitization process. The trade organization has said big lenders should be liable for losses due to their negligence.

Excellent piece Pro Publica!

Louis Paul Hebert

Oct. 18, 2010, 4:43 p.m.

An important point should be added. None of the mortgages/promissory notes are assigned by the trustee or by MERS (I am not sure which) to any individual investor until after the borrower defaults. This apparently blocks any foreclosure, as the mortgage/promissory note must be assigned to the plaintiff, i.e. the investor, before they can begin the foreclosure process.


Another question comes to mind. If the banks involved in this fiasco are found guilty of racketeering under the RICO laws, will the employees who received such generous bonuses have to return the money ?

Dominick Mastroserio

Oct. 18, 2010, 5:13 p.m.

Its obvious that this administration doesn’t want to do its job.

The financial elite who Obama kow-towed to saying that the American people were ‘grudgingly admiring’ of them after they were handed over trillions of dollars of our money now laugh in everybody’s face and rob us as they please…

They don’t acknowledge our largesse, Obama.

We know they couldn’t care less, do you? - Obama.

We begged you to come over to our side - the people’s side, Obama…

But you must’ve sworn your fealty to them, the money elite, Obama - Long, long ago… 

Your silence on these things is telling, Obama.

We didn’t know it then but we elected you so you could turn your back on us to kneel with our money in hand when you gave it all to them with no strings attached, Obama - not a stinking skinny string attached, Obama.

Flushed with confidence from that criminal victory you’re letting them take our homes instead of jailing them for fraud, Obama.

They rob us with eager indifference confident with the expectation of privileged impunity, Obama.

When and how will this all end, can you tell us, Obama?

A STABLE ECONOMY IS POSSIBLE…WHEN COMPOUND INTEREST IS CRIMINALIZED..AND CREDIT CARDS ARE ONLY ISSUED WITH SIMPLE INTEREST..UNTIL THEN THE ECONOMY WILL BE IN FLUX..BECAUSE USURY IS BUILT IN INFLATION..PLUS TWO RELIGIONS HAVE RAILED AGAINST IT..

I have a somewhat stupid question : i would like to know what’s going to happen to those poor people who were wrongly pushed into foreclosure ?
Do they have any chance to recover their house, by the end ?

On the news here in New Orleans, Louisiana they are moving forward with the foreclosure process.  They are not waiting for the courts or anything else.

Were are the attorneys that will represent the people.  I cannot find one atty. here in New orleans with balls enough to want to take the case.

Nice article; however, what is the default homeowner suppose to do right now-join a class action lawsuit, see if they can find who actually has their contract, stop paying the mortgage and stay in the home until?????

Barbara Ann Jackson

Oct. 18, 2010, 6 p.m.

LIKE AMERICA NEED JOBS, FORECLOSURE MILLS NEED INVESTIGATION!

It is imperative to investigate foreclosure mill firms who clearly intentionally fabricated foreclosure documents; and some are SELF-DEALING FORECLOSURES.  Underhanded and fraudulent illegalities surrounding foreclosures has caused thousands of people to be UNLAWFULLY evicted and homeless –while unscrupulous lawyers became CRIMINALLY ENRICHED.

LONGSTANDING foreclosure frauds incorporate falsified CIVIL as well as BANKRUPTCY court pleadings; repetitive and illegal property flipping (thus blighted neighborhoods); “simulated auctions” and “straw buyers”; FALSE “lift stay” motions and FALSE “proof of claims;” and “fee-splitting.” Certain lawyers achieve extra benefits from litigating against foreclosure defense lawsuits, as they MISREPRESENT to their mortgage-clients property owners are delaying foreclosures, but actually its continual deceptive foreclosure lawyers’ activities while billing $$$$ to mortgage clients and actually committing MALPRACTICE + fraud upon the courts + fraud & illegal exploitation of homeowners!

Because fraudulent foreclosures include many facets, culmination can take years while arranging cash cow “PAWNS” needed for big pay-offs. [Super Future Equities Inc. v. Wells Fargo, et al., @ http://www.bankruptcy-lawnetwork.com/2007/05/11/what-are-those-mortgage-servicers-doing/. To repeat, LIKE AMERICA NEED JOBS, FORECLOSURE MILLS NEED INVESTIGATION.  State Attorneys General everywhere need to recognize the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM –which has been for a long time, hiding in plain sight: foreclosure mill fraud!

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA on Foreclosure Crisis (concerning WELLS FARGO)
http://www.pr-inside.com/open-letter-to-president-obama-on-foreclosure-crisis-r1505916.html

lawgrace: part 1 of 3 CASE IN POINT: FORECLOSURE MILLS, JUDICIAL FRAUD, CONSUMER EXPLOITATION, GOVERNMENT SHAMS (an abstract)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lawgrace/weekly-audit-foreclosure_b_677068_57349461.html

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT FORECLOSURE AND MORTGAGE FRAUD
http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/

@Lise2cc

What happens to the house depends a lot on what state and if the house sold at auction or went back to the bank.

In California, if you buy a house on the steps of the county seat, you are pretty much guaranteed to keep the house. The other home owner (you are now one of two home owners) more or less is allowed to sue for treble damages. If a bank paid credit for the house, the sale can probably be reversed. This is also dependent on if the homeowner sued before or after the sale, and if the lawsuit was noticed before the sale.

So basically, Some people may get their homes back, most wont, and more people will get money than their homes back.

This economic mess story is one that just keeps on giving, and giving, and giving!
Another good job ProP at continuing the explanations for they we continue to sink into economic oblivion!

William R Neil

Oct. 19, 2010, 11:03 a.m.

Thank you very much for this overview.  Other recent commentators have called attention to the importance of the actual physical documents behind foreclosures, especially the summary note, and the actual files themselves, which would contain even more information.  So who actually holds them in this extensive chain that Ms. Wang has sketched out for us? 

Just how important they are was broached in public way back in the spring of 2009, by William K. Black, writing on Huffington Post in his article “The Two Documents Everyone Should Read to Better Understand the Crisis,” (Feb. 25, 2009). 

Here’s how I put it in context in my own posting, “A ‘Fireside Chat’ on ‘The Cusp of History,’” from March 29, 2009:

•  “Confused as to where to start, Chairman Frank? (That’s Barney Frank)  William K. Black, who teaches law and who has a background as a “white-collar criminologist and former financial regulator,” has some suggestions in his article “The Two Documents Everyone Should Read to Better Understand the Crisis,” which appeared on the Huffingtonpost.com on Feb. 25th, 2009.  He starts off by stating that the “FBI has been warning of an ‘epidemic’ of mortgage fraud since September of 2004.”  Yes, that’s right, 2004.  The agencies named by Mr. Frank above might want to check with the FBI on that.  Just trying to be helpful, here.  The first document to look at ought to be the Email which a senior manager of S&P, the ratings firm, sends to one of his credit raters who apparently has had the temerity to ask to examine the actual mortgage loan files behind the derivatives he is supposed to grade.  Manager to curious rater: “‘Any request for loan level tapes is TOTALLY UNREASONABLE!!! Most investors don’t have it and can’t provide it…’”  Second document: the Fitch rating service conducted a close examination “of a small sample of subprime loan files” after the disaster was apparent. Black quotes from Fitch’s findings: “‘The result of the analysis was disconcerting at best, as there was the appearance of fraud or misrepresentation in almost every file.’” Should we mention, as a “passing by this way” comment, that Black points out that the major banks still don’t have the actual loan files and that therefore the upcoming “stress test” so talked about will not be an accurate reading of how their mortgage-backed-securities will behave – a crucial factor in determining their solvency, we might add? And what are the implications for Sec. Geithner’s new plan, which is going to put these shaky things back on the market (he hopes)? “

Commentators today, I’m thinking especially of some at Naked Capitalism, have stated that this - the appearance of a high level of fraud or misrepresentation - is the reality that is most feared by the major parties in the mortgage/foreclosure “system”...now whether Fitch’s sample holds up across the board is another question…but the broader notion that our nation under a Democratic President is about to preside over some 10 million people losing their homes over what Mr. Black has suggested here…is astounding and very troubling.  It’s certainly no New Deal for the American people.

“As we’ve noted [3], these servicers have also been charged by the federal government with helping eligible homeowners avoid foreclosure through the government’s Making Home Affordable loan modification program.”

The real purpose of this HAMP scam is to cure defects in the liens the banks claim by having the home-owners re-sign all the documentation that went missing.  The number of loans actually modified is negligible.

Junious Ricardo Stanton

Oct. 19, 2010, 2:06 p.m.

The criminality in this scandal is systemic and deep rooted. We mustn’t forget the government agencies like the SEC and Department of Justice whose job is to protect the public who turned a blind eye to the massive fraud on Wall Street. They looked the other way as the large investment houses, mortgage companies, bond rating agencies, mortgage brokers, banks, the media, real estate agents and as we are seeing now the land title insurance companies colluded to rip us off. Just like with 9-11, the government was alerted years ago to sytemic fraud in the mortgatge industry but the higher ups ordered a stand down and Wall Street and the corporate media made ex-NY Govenor Elliot Spitzer an example to prevent future whistle blowers or prosecution. Now its all coming out in the wash.

Tony Cisneros

Oct. 19, 2010, 4:32 p.m.

Marian Wang: The EVIL Bankster-Gangsters Tried To Pin All The Blame For The Foreclosure Crisis On Former HUD (Housing & Urban Development) Secretary, Henry Cisneros, Since Before This Last 2008 Presidential Election.

When That Failed They’ve Been Looking For Other Scape-goats & “Judas”-goats—But Haven’t Been Able To Find Any “Credible” Ones.

The Chickens Are Coming Home To Rooste; Including Here In Chicago: As Mayor Daley Has Decided NOT To Seek A New Term In His OVER 20 YEARS Service (Read: NWO CONTROL) As Mayor Of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. !

Expect The Evil Bankster-Gangsters To Lay It All Now On “President Obama”—As He Has Chopped Off The Heads Of MANY NWO Bankster-Gangsters From His Very Own Administration.

Can This Mean ANOTHER Modern Political-Presidential ASSASSINATION Of The U.S.A.‘s Chief Executive Since President JFK ?

ONLY TIME WILL TELL !

Tony Cisneros

Oct. 19, 2010, 6:08 p.m.

Oh, By The Way, In Case You’ve Been Duped By The Major Media & Press; Rahm Emanuel WAS Fired By “President Obama” As Was His Political Guru David Axelrod !

And Guess Who’s Running For Mayor Of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. ?

None Other Than Former INVESTMENT BANKER:

RAHM “RAHMBO” EMANUEL !

These EVIL “Investment” Bankster-Gangsters Will Stop At NOTHING To Continue To Politically, Economically & Domestically RAPE The U.S. Constitutional Loving Citizens Of The United States Of America !

I Say Bring These “Foreign” & Domestic U.S.A. DEVILS Justice:

Before They All Send US To The POOR HOUSE

And/Or

HOME & HOUSE FORECLOSURE ! ! ! ! !

Tony Cisneros

Oct. 19, 2010, 6:34 p.m.

To Whom It May Concern (Especially Junious Ricardo Stanton):

Long Before “Removing” Eliot Spitzer From The Governor’s Seat In New York, These Bankster-Gangster DEVILS “Removed” NY Governor Mario Cuomo Because He Challenged & Gave A “Black Eye” To These FINANCIAL “FAUSTS” !

Albeit, Long Before This Present Foreclosure Fiasco, There Was The Devil’s Spend-Thrift & Print-Thrift SPAWN Named THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK (SYSTEM, GOVERNORS & ETC.) Who Are The REAL Profiteers Of This Housing-Halabaloo:

1913—When “FED” Founded, An Average House Cost By The End Of That Decade (& Every 40 Years Or Generation Since):

1920: $ 1,000.00
1960: $ 10,000.00
2000: $ 100,000.00
2040: $ 1,000,000.00
2080: $ 10,000,000.00 ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

You See Folks, The “FEDERAL RESERVE” BANKSTER-GANGSTER “FIX” WAS IN SINCE 1913 AD ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

END THE “FED”:

BEFORE THEY END US & WE’RE ALL HOME

&-OR

DOMESTICALLY DEAD ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Add the residential property appraiser to the list of participants. A recent appraisal report on my home was so riddled with incorrect and inaccurate data and the appraiser would not respond to my written inquiries so I had to file a formal complaint with the local licensing board. The appraisal report can produce ANY number that’s wanted.  Educate yourself; learn how how to read the report!

acmodspecialists

Oct. 20, 2010, 1:49 a.m.

Property rights are being violated in this country by these Banksters, Property rights are the core of the American capitalism and the core of American freedom, Now more than ever property rights appear to be in question thanks to these Bankters, their business practices and their fraudclosures !

125000 + Fraudclosures just for the mont of September a record high.that means that another 125000+ families without a home in the USA These Banksters are getting worse and the worse part is, this is only the tip of the iceberg

The issue is denial…

The foreclosures occurring are illegal.

The reasons there millions of Fraudulent Assignments, False Affidavits, Forged Docs, Forged Notaries, missing docs, is ALL because the LENDERS failed to comply with State Real Property Laws.

These NOTES had to be Transferred to the TRUSTS no later than the CLOSING DATE of those TRUSTS.  In most of the foreclosure cases today that DATE was 2 to 5 Yrs ago. 

The lenders did it Deliberately - KNOWING the consequences because they were AVOIDING the TAXES & FEES. They would have gotten away with it but the bottom fell out of the market and triggered more defaults than they could keep up with…

The LENDERS clearly cannot foreclose because their illegal acts WAIVED their rights to the collateral.

That is what they are attempting to cover up. This is HUGELY SERIOUS because NO COLLATERAL - NO FORECLOSURE - NO SECURITY - NO SECURITIZED ceePOOL - NO INVESTMENT.

These jackasses took all the rope - tied the knot - stood on the chair to set up the borrowers - then figured out the damn NOOSE was around their necks…

That is why they have paid these FORECLOSURE MILLS tons of backroom money to GET THE DAMN HOUSES BACK - NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES…

Looks like “racketeering” will have to join “torture” as word for things American institutions simply do not do. Because the whole MERS and securitization scams to hide who owns what is the very definition of organized crime.

What will happen to the people whose homes were foreclosed on? Will the banks be forced to return money to homeowners?  No one is talking about that-no attorney will take the case- where do we send our documents to show what was done to us? The person who =bought my home at auction paid $322,000. cash- -I paid out over $220,000 including my $78,000 down payment-together, that is $60,000. over the original note- a profit was made-

Here’s an idea. Get the @%#& out of the house if you can’t pay your morgage. Get a better job or a smaller house. Don’t blame the banks because you lost your job after voting for Bush twice.

george harter

Oct. 21, 2010, 8:50 p.m.

The worst part of this mess is not that many foreclosures are illegal by the letter of the law.  It is simply that the banksters and their allies have broken the capitalist and American system of property rights.

You got a car? Where’s your title?  A big boat, same question.  A home???????  The scum at the top don;‘t believe in property rights, the concept of title is now meaningless:  if they want what you’ve got—THEY STEAL IT!!!  And,  OBAMA applauds no less.

I used to snicker at all the corruption in S. America-now we have two antagonistic sets of crooks in charge who are simply fighting over our carcasses.  As The Great Buffet was quoted “I am on the rich team, the winning team!” and he milks the country in ways that would astound a typical American.

GOD SAVE US!

Ron Jakimchuk

Oct. 21, 2010, 9:22 p.m.

The system is obscenely sick.If the perpetrators ie people who knew better are not found and prosecuted,America is in more trouble than most people realize,and a great country will be brought down.

In the old days we the usa , we had mobsters that controled money and lots of illegal acts, the government , put in place the fbi and special agency’s to fight them, today we have the banking mobsters, and our government backs the banking mobsters , the old days mobsters would give out money at a rate, and if you did not pay they would break your legs, today the banks have ahigh rate and if you dont pay they take your house and car and make you pay still even after the resell it for more money,

these banks are to blame for this country’s downfall, they gave ever young person enough credit to buy houses without the jobs or job back ground stable enough to pay the payments, millions of young people , they dont work at a job more then a year or so , they dont go to work , they yet had great credit by the banks and credit reporting agency’s, it was a show and tell story like in grade school days, oh look at what i have, and now you see it all day long , and the rest of us fell into the falling housing and job market of today, the middle class is gone , because of the richest people in the country dont like to see more rich coming their way up the ladder, so we had a melt down of the country brought on by the rich and powerful, the only way to get passed this land of falling wave of horrific out come of this country is to , stop the rich bulling the poor , if the rich keep everyone at a level of just needing you long enough to make them money and keep you on just making the bills a little bit, we will fall deeper into the hole and cause a very bad out come for this country, we as the usa took pride in ourselves, and that has gone out the window with all of the hype of the best of the best , competing against one anouther and black balling everyone else to get up the ladder instead of helping each other and all of us getting up the ladder, its a cut throat world and it has to stop or we all will cut our own throats for good,

Barbara Ann Jackson

Oct. 23, 2010, 1 a.m.

It is NOT always “the banks” who wait “years” or a long time before completing foreclosures. In many instances, the reasons for foreclosure delays lie with FORECLOSURE MILL LAWYERS.

Some lawyers deliberately prolong foreclosure while concealing MALPRACTICE against their lender-clients, and while committing UNFAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES and fraud against homeowners. Sometimes lenders (who are NOT required to know laws / statutes), are oblivious that foreclosure lawyers’ mistakes, errors, frauds on the court and upon opposing parties actually provided reasons, defenses, and opportunities for opposing sides to have grounds for debating key facts and issues in courtrooms—hoping to reach negotiation, as to avoid homelessness. Meanwhile, the mill lawyers rack up billable hours and fees for litigation those lawyers manufactured –sometimes erroneously, sometimes intentionally.

Illustrations: A property owner who seeks reorganizing his / her debts through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is not to be blamed for contesting a FALSE “proof of claim” or a FALSE “Motion to Lift Automatic Stay” filed into the record by lenders’ lawyer. (Besides, problems arise with multiple ‘proof of claims’ by different lenders.) Or, when mortgage lender’s lawyer commits injurious frauds, fails to “effect service” or fails at any SUBSTANTIVE Civil Procedure requirement, the blame is on the lender’s lawyer –NOT the homeowner who REFUSES TO COOPERATE WITH UNLAWFUL EVICTION FROM THE SHELTER OVER HIS OR HER FAMILY’S HEAD.

SPECIFICALLY, countless foreclosure lawyers owe $$$$$$$$$$$ to their mortgage clients for fatally botching foreclosure proceedings –and countless foreclosure attorneys have been derelict about informing lender-clients, WHAT SAITH the APPLICABLE LAWS.

**Important Facts About Foreclosure and Mortgage Fraud
http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/

The halting of an investigation into wrong doing by attorneys in florida by a judge shows how even the most basic protections the people have are not being protected by the courts.  Harry Reid is known on the street to continually tell federal law enforcement to stand down in many of white collar crimes in Nevada.  These people don’t have to be accountable.  Congress won’t investigate them and neither will federal judges.  You Have to be really stupid to join the military and defend this corrupt nation. The only other reason would be because you are desperate for a job which is a direct result of people like Harry Reid not being put in jail.

We should blame the banking and lending organization for the Ozone depletion also. Nothing is beyond their reach. Those greedy bastard.

Anita Mitchell

Oct. 27, 2010, 8:18 a.m.

Could the “lack of confidence” that the banks showed in each other, that stifled lending to one another, have been founded and grounded in the knowledge that the MERS system of electonically transferring paperwork to a database would not stand up in courts?  Everything else a sequelae of the “smartest men in the room…” being the dumbest asses in the Universe? First, damn fiduciary duty, don’t qualify your loan applicants.  Second, “securitize” these bundled loans (of unqualified buyers) and pay the rating agencies to bestow AAA ratings on garbage.  Sell known garbage with AAA ratings to pension funds and investors.  When the housing market collapses, send ransom note to Congress thru Paulson that the markets are frozen and without taxpayer dollars the sky will fall. Then, thru banking alumni in government, suggest we buy all these unqualified, garbage subprime loans from the banks to “get them off the banks’ books and allow them to lend again.”  Buy this merde at 100 cents on the dollar when they wouldn’t bring $.16 on the open market that banking capitalisms claim is so essential to Democracy.  Privatize profits; make gambling losses the U.S. taxpayers’.  Why didn’t someone just tell the taxpayer to bend down and grab their ankles…..again?  Fraud, plain and simple and the Congress and government (both parties) involved.  Time for a third party.  If nuthin’ else, let someone else steal for a while.

Hi Anita - it could not be said any better than that… 

Now the question for the people is…  When do we connect the 2nd Amendment to that little section of the Declaration of Independence - about the “after a long train of abuses…”  it’s coming and the more they keep trying to hide it the worse their punishment…

Keep the Powder Dry

Mortgage-Mod-Monster.com

Oct. 29, 2010, 12:34 p.m.

I’m trying to publicize that the REST Report calculates an unbiased Net Present value for mortgage modification or short sale. With that the courts will hold mortgage servicers accountable for good faith negotiations. It will halt foreclosure fraud. Click for Information on the Do it Yourself Mortgage Modification

acmodspecialists

Oct. 31, 2010, 3:48 p.m.

After reading this article an many others on pro-publica I got to only one conclusion, Banksters need to be a essentially and substantially more REGULATED.  i believe what this country needs to do with these Banksters, so this mess does not happens ever again is to REGULATE THEM, REGULATE THEM , REGULATE THEM !
Yes REGULATE every single transaction, Foreclosure,  DCO’s,  Derivable s, Credit Cards, Bail out ‘s etc REGULATION is the key, if these Banksters are REGULATED they can not extract and suck the money and the wealth from this country, the middle class and they will not be able to be trowing whole families in the street with their FRAUDCLOSURES as they have been doing it for so long REGULATION ! REGULATION ! INTENSE REGULATION ! AND MORE REGULATION, REGULATE THEM TO THE TEETH
And finally,  BREAK the Banksters yes that is right Break them in to pieces so none of them are worth more that a few Billions and this way you will create more competition and they will never ever be TO BIG TO FAIL ever again
REGULATE THEM AND BREAK THEM !!

The question that remains, what are we, the remaining homeowners and those already defrauded going to do to tackle this problem.The media is doing it’s best to avoid the discussion. It seems to me that we must organize, form a homeowners alliance. We must craft a message to the banking community. We must remind them that we are the power, we pay the taxes and the payments. They must not be allowed to own the country. They have shown themselves to be too immature, arrogant and childish to hold such power.

I usually detest lawyers in general, but where are the lawyers looking to file class action lawsuits against these banks who committed FRAUD?!?  Nobody is sticking up for the homeowner who’s caught in this bureaucratic mess, and in the meantime, most of these people losing their homes, even though they did everything they were asked to do.  Just shamefuul.  Please get involved—put pressure on your elected officials on the state and federal level.  Find your elected officials at: http://www.vote-smart.org  SPEAK UP or continue to be abused.  Our elected officials need to make this a priority to create emergency legislation that will remedy this horrible nightmare!

Foreclosure Fraud Assault - A Cry For Help
http://newsblaze.com/story/20101116120222nnnn.nb/topstory.html

A foreclosure that entails savagery, fraud, corruption, greed, intrusion, peril, trauma, desolation, shocking deviation from established law and court rules and procedures, and reprisals for whistleblowing and for not relinquishing one’s home to sham foreclosure is a riveting story worth being told.
 
The victim’s painful story comes with a plea for humanity to rise to a duty of raising awareness, and not merely for the sake of aiding this one victim. It is for the sake of calling attention - and hopefully “making a difference” by requiring lawmakers to make changes in what appears to be third-world judicial systems of shocking perversion and inequality, harmful to the entire economy.

Encapsulated in the story “Foreclosure Gang Rape,. . .,” the victim’s graphic details of years of harm from lawyers, judges, and banks summed up as ‘gang rape’ is commensurate with defilement, exploitation, humiliation, bigotry, betrayal, invasion, revilement, assault, depredation, torture, despoliation, stigmatization, maltreatment, denigration, ruin, pillage, ransack, intrusion, and racism.

Wells Fargo turned over the modified loan debt to a foreclosure mill debt collection lawyer who used a defunct lender’s identity to foreclose, as well as demand unfair fees. At some point after foreclosure had been filed, the victim discovered that the modification consisted of a contract between the homeowner and a fictitious lender. . .

Most or those foreclosures were part of the ponzi fraud fraudlently priced and bought with fraudlent mortages . If the bank can’t produce the original signed promisary note then they may not be the actual owner of the note . If you have a mortage in foreclosure or not it would be in your best interest to know that you are paying the rightful owner of the note, or in foreclosure the people foreclosing are the holders of the promisary note. Many of those notes were bundled into securities and sold to millions of investors so some banks claiiming to be the owners of the notes may be part of another fraud.

Thanks for another great info that educates the consumer!  These banks are mostly greedy crooks.  They chose to lend money to those who never should have gotten a loan to begin with.  Whatever happened to “traditional lending requirements” like 20% down?!?  Everybody wants a nice house (not a starter) and they put no money or little down and we wonder why we’re in this mess!  I say let the banks eat it.  Too many decent people who have been harmed by the bank’s poor lending decisions are being harmed.  The people who were irresponsible or didn’t plan accordingly are just walking away from the properties because they don’t have enough of their OWN money invested in the property, so what’s to lose other than their credit, which probably stinks to begin with, thus hardly any money to put down.  We need to get back to basics—rent, pay down your debts, save, and THEN buy a house!  My husband and I did this for nine years and bought a very nice house with $40k down and $50k in reserves for emergencies and remodeling.  Nobody plans for a rainy day anymore and now it’s a catastrophe that keeps dragging the economy down!  The liberals aren’t helping this either.  Anybody who voted for a Democrat, especially Mr. Hope and Change deserves what they get.  Obama is a clown with no business sense whatsoever.

Interesting how prominent JP Morgan/Chase is in this mix of shyster banks. I’m thinking of the thousands of homeowners who’ve already lost their homes to crooked banks who’ve found in foreclosure a means of making more money than if property owners had been able to make the payments. I’m just waiting for some ballsy lawyer to start a class action suit that will restore those cheated to financial health ... and will strip bankers of their lucrative bonuses.

Thanks for doing a good job of keeping track of all of the foreclosure issues.

Very good article and some excellent comments.
NOW-ProPublica has to dig into the courts that have been the Bankster’s partners right from the very start. As I’ve said in prior posts, big business and politician made a documented and very concerceted effort over the past 40 years to stack the state courts with judges of thier own careful choosings. Only a small percentage of the judges now sitting are honest and fair as Mr Taibbi’s story in Rollingstone recently pointed out.

Mr. Obama sold out to Banksters with Mr. Emanual’s and Mr. Sommer’s help and here we are and its going to get worse. Mr. Bush and friends made this mess worse BUT Mr. Obama knew of the impending mess and turned his back.

MERS on behalf of the Banksters ripped off our state and local governments for filing fees in the billion YET no one is speaking up BUT, the politicians are are crying for more taxpayer dollars from working people to cover this criminal activity.

And the media is glorifying the Bankster and the politicians that let them run wild.

Where are you Joe Di Maggio.

Check out American LoanStar and then they changed their name to American Loan in Texas they have been working with Bank of America doing the same crooked stuff for the last 2 years that I know about. MERS and all. They started with New Century! That should give you a place from where the come from! Bernie Madoff Land!

This is the greatest Ponzi scam ever—and all
involved will do anything to protect themselves
and their co-partners—so don’t really expect
any single person to do anything honesst and
let the truth begin to be known.  It’ll take a strong
outside entity to show this to be a Ponzi scam.
Some of the smaller, honest-seeking entities
trying to do the right thing will continually be
squashed by all the money-making crooks.
Don’t look for the Pres., Rep’s. Dem’s to do
anything to help the average American who’s
gotten the royal screwing in all of history.

Deborah Lee Gaffey

Dec. 18, 2010, 8:43 a.m.

I live in Juneau Alaska.  Bank of America is foreclosing on my house after accepting me into the “making homes affordable” plan.  I’ve been in this plan for a year last October. Now they are giving me 15 days to come up with $33,000 or they’ll start foreclosure proceedings.  I’m getting harassing phone calls and threatening letters. 
My loan was last with Countrywide but then they went into BOA.

Hi Deborah:

I wish I could give you some helpful advice, but the answer is something that I have to say looks very much in the future and will be too late for many hard-working people who got the worse deal our government could do to them. 

I honestly don’t know how those people in government,  the politicians, the financial cheats,
and anyone else remotely involved in this mortgage/bank/housing scam can sleep at nights, knowing (but they aren’t concerned) with all the families who’ve lost their homes, jobs, savings, and had they entire life ruined.

Before the leave for Christmas, they’re talking about tax cuts, gays and the military, a deal with the Russians about a treaty, and thousands of “pork barrel” benefits for their constituents, and
a ton of other things on their agenda.

I see these “leaders” being driven by their egos and greed, wreaking havoc on the American Dream. I’d like to call them to give their views on “the human factor” in helping to keep American’s destiny something we can be proud of.

No, what I see is our USA being directed by rampant ambition, avarice, betrayal, cowardice, arrogance, untruth and so many other forms of vile behavior.
These people have no concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that Americans have fought to protect since the founding of our country.  Today’s “leaders” are anything but…they’ve sold out to the worse things that mankind can become.

I wish you my best, and I’ll keep you in my
prayers—ultimately everything is in God’s hands

This is the Wikileaks of the Foreclosure scandals

GMAC is the one who put me in Hole.

Bank of America is as far as I’m concerned “The Mafia without a Gun”!
Becareful what you wish for you might get the loan modification! Trust me when you read it you won’t want it! Unless you are getting principal reduction you are taking care of their property until it goes UP!!!!!
BOA is scary and should only someday see what it feels like to need help and not get it! I don’t even trust them today with my savings account. I have a list a mile long of what they did to me regarding the house!

A year ago I hated when someone said this to me !
But I have arrived at the point where it is time to move on!!!!  You know what makes you get their when you take down your lighting fixtures and you start to pack the house is no longer a home!!!!!!!!

Deborah,

Thank You for your kind words! I thought for sure that the Obama Days would be like the Clinton days. I never thought I would lose my house with President Obama boy was I blind. I guess it is a lesson for us all. It was amazing how the banks halted all foreclosures right while we were voting and then the foreclosures started up again immediately after we voted. ODD!!!!!!! I just need to find a place to live we have health issues which the bank could care less about and we are in are early and very late 60’s not easy. Not easy at this age!!!!

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