Journalism in the Public Interest

The Great American Foreclosure Story: The Struggle for Justice and a Place to Call Home

The story of how one woman went from a three-bedroom home to a tent is the story of how America ended up in a foreclosure crisis that still drags down the economy.

Page 10 of 16  First Page

Ramos and her partner Dave Backus search for useful objects at the local dump and recycling center. (Paul Kiel/ProPublica)Three and a half months later, she received a notice that her case was back on. Her hearing would be in 10 days. In response, she filed a five-page "Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice" and attached about 100 pages of everything she thought was relevant: news articles and court filings about Mortgage Lenders Network, letters from Wilshire and her emails to the governor and FBI about the misstatement of her income on her loan application. No one could mistake it for a filing by a lawyer, but she thought it was enough to show something was wrong. "I thought the court system would at least question it."

Her hearing, of which there is no transcript because the Citrus County courts don't transcribe foreclosure hearings, didn't last long. Ramos arrived with her neighbor, Dave Shea, but they say a court officer wouldn't let him in. She found herself in front of Citrus County Judge Carol Falvey, who was sitting by herself at the end of a long table. Wilshire's attorney was on the speakerphone. "I instantly felt intimidated," Ramos recalls.

At one point, Ramos objected that Deutsche Bank hadn't shown it owned the loan. The voice on the phone said the company had filed papers showing it had proper standing to sue. Ramos had never received them. She remembers the judge saying the attorneys should send her those documents. The voice agreed. Nevertheless, the judge signed a judgment of foreclosure.

Ramos' home would be sold. None of the accusations she'd made in her filings had been directly addressed, either in a written response from Wilshire's lawyers or in the judge's order. "It was like I'd never filed the paper," she says. The whole hearing had lasted a few minutes.

An address and a GPS

She emerged stunned and confused. She and Shea decided to see those documents themselves. The clerk's office was just downstairs, after all. They pulled her case file, a folder of about 200 pages, roughly half of which were Ramos' own submissions. What they found in the other documents was bewildering.

In October, Wilshire's lawyers had filed what they called the "Original Assignment of Mortgage." But the document purported to transfer her mortgage from a lender called Mortgage Lender's Acceptance Corp. to the Deutsche Bank trust. Her lender had been Mortgage Lenders Network. Who was Mortgage Lender's Acceptance Corp.?

The document gave an address in nearby Ocala. They decided to go check it out.

Following the directions from a GPS device, they found themselves at an office park. There was nothing like a Mortgage Lender's Acceptance Corp. to be found. Hoping to find the building's manager, they called the number on a sign advertising space for lease. "We get the guy who's been the manager of that building for five years," Shea says. He told them no business by that name had ever been there. Convinced they'd found still more fraud, the pair decided to go immediately to the authorities.

"We walked right in the front door of the state Attorney General's office," recalls Shea. Attorneys from the office spoke to them in the lobby for about 20 minutes. "I was hoping they would stop the fraud," says Ramos, but instead they asked her to send a written complaint. She says she did so but never heard back. Theresa Edwards, a former assistant attorney general in Florida, says the office was inundated with such complaints.

The assignment is unquestionably an error. Mortgage Lender's Acceptance Corp., to start with, was not her lender and never had any connection to her actual lender, Mortgage Lenders Network. The assignment even has an error in how the wrong company's name is written; the apostrophe is misplaced, presenting the name as Lender's instead of Lenders'. A company called Mortgage Lenders' Acceptance Corp. was once active in Florida, according to an incorporation filing, but not since the late 1990s.

Two parties are responsible for the mistake. The first is Wilshire, which employed the woman who signed the document. The other is the law firm working on Wilshire's behalf, Smith, Hiatt & Diaz, a large Florida firm that handles thousands of foreclosures a year — what critics would call a foreclosure mill. Generally, the servicer's attorneys prepare the assignments and send them to the servicer to be executed. Whoever actually entered in the wrong lender, Wilshire's employee signed off on it, and Smith, Hiatt & Diaz filed it with the court. Attorneys at Smith, Hiatt & Diaz did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting comment.

That's who's responsible, narrowly defined. The real culprit, as with almost all servicing problems, is the bottom line. To save money, servicers usually do not document ownership of a mortgage until it's necessary to foreclose. Instead, servicers keep on file blanket authorizations for their employees to sign on behalf of the lenders whose loans they handle. As a result, a single servicing employee might sign hundreds of documents in a day on behalf of as many as a dozen or more different lenders. Often, that low-level employee will sign as a vice president of this or that bank.

The process has produced laughable errors, transferring the mortgage to "Bogus Assignee" or dating a document "9/9/9999." "People just aren't paying attention," says Edwards, the former Florida assistant attorney general who now defends borrowers from foreclosure. "They're running them through so quickly they make mistakes."

While working with the attorney general's office in 2010, Edwards and a colleague cataloged examples of the industry's documentation practices in a presentation for county officials titled "Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases."*

At some servicers or companies working on their behalf, employees forged the signatures of other employees. The most famous of these is "Linda Green," an actual employee of DocX, a company that specialized in document production. Her name, with a signature obviously penned by many different hands, adorns tens of thousands of documents filed across the U.S. Green and other former employees of DocX, which was shut down in 2010, told 60 Minutes that management instructed them to sign on Green's behalf. Last year, one of the servicers that had hired DocX sued the company in a Texas court, alleging that more than 30,000 documents had been improperly executed. The servicer, American Home Mortgage Servicing, claimed it had been ignorant of what DocX termed "surrogate signing," and is suing for damages. Lender Processing Services, DocX's parent company, does not dispute that its employees were forging signatures but said the company had gone back to fix the affected assignments and is contesting the suit.

While servicers say employees shouldn't sign another person's name, the servicers insist there's nothing wrong with their employees signing on behalf of other companies as long as proper authorization has been granted.

But in some cases, servicers have filed documents without any authorization. Internal documents obtained by ProPublica show that the nation's fifth-largest servicer, GMAC Mortgage, did just that. GMAC, a subsidiary of Ally Financial, wanted to pursue foreclosure against a New York homeowner, but the original lender had gone out of business.

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Russell Linton

April 10, 2012, 8:59 a.m.

Yeah, the banks were profit driven bozos. Many of their actions were (are) criminal IMO. However the “well everyone else is doing it why not me” herd mentality that had people jumping onboard with empty promises from the bank is equally responsible.

Was there really nobody in Florida that could mow lawns and keep the business afloat while her arm healed? Taking out loans for adult children when you can’t make ends meet yourself? Why was she letting her mortgage banker make her financial decisions instead of making them herself? Too many unanswered questions here that point to mistakes made on both sides of the fence.

“The story of how she ended up in a tent is the story of how America ended up in a foreclosure crisis…”  THATS A STRETCH

Dr. Robert Shiller is my prophet when it comes to residential housing and he just said recently that we may not see housing return to it’s 2006 peak in our lifetimes. I thought I was pessimistic. I thought it would take 10-15 years. What all of us need to know is that prices in most neighborhoods exceeds the historic trend line and they will fall regardless of what tactics the banks and government take. I have watched this many times in California which has had several boom-bust cycles. Homeowners must realize that they don’t own the property. They own an obligation, the mortgage. Since they can’t keep up with payments even with today’s unusually low mortgage rates, they need to rent. This particular story is sad, but she should never have purchased this house and using the proceeds to finance a business? Oh well, she lost there. Why should taxpayers suffer from her misfortune? All of us have made mistakes in the past. Will the government re-inflate my 401K? How about paying for my business failure?

+1 to Russell L.  Yes, the mortgage broker was wrong to falsify Ramos’ information to get her the loan, and yes it was wrong for the banks to bundle loans and sell them to investors with AAA ratings… but why was she applying for such a loan in the first place?  Did she think that by getting a larger loan, that her payments would be lower than her original loan?  She said herself she didn’t look at the details of the loans and trusted her mortgage broker.  It wasn’t until after she was foreclosed that she started looking at details and that’s a big problem in itself.  I’m not excusing the evil practices that the market and industry condoned, but we can’t toss out personal responsibility either.

Listen up, people:


The ORIGINAL CLOSING DOCUMENTS were a LIE…NOT the homeowners fault:

NO FINANCIAL STATEMENT accounting for receivables supports the subprime trusts. NONE. WHY? There were no receivables on any entities balance sheet because they were only debt collection rights — whose cash flows are reported on INCOME STATEMENTS — not balance sheets.
Securitization of receivables??? NO — Bogus. Securitization of ASSIGNMENT of default debt cash flows??? YES.

comments today from livinglies(dot)wordpress(dot)com:

ian, on April 10, 2012 at 9:26 am said:
ANONYMOUS- right on the mark, as usual. If this fraud wasn’t so horrifying and disgusting, it could even be humorous. When speaking with friends and aquaintances about the current real estate fiasco, and they ask, ” well, which bank are you with”?
me: there is no bank.
them: Well then who’s your lender?
me: my lender went under in 2008
them: is your mortgage in one of those trusts?
me: it’s supposed to be, but the SEC told me it was never put in the trust.
them: Well then where is it?
me: I’ve spent 3 years trying to find out, and quite honestly, I have no idea where it is.
them: (exasmperated by now) Well who do you send your payments to?
me: XXX
them: well do they own your mortgage?
me: no, investor P61 allegedly owns it
them: who is investor P61?
me: I was told that the information was confidential, so I went on the Investor ID site at the MERS page, and found out that P61 was ZZZ.
them: Great! So they own your mortgage?
me: Hard to tell. They went out of business in 09. They couldn’t scrape up 250k to renew their bond, so the CA Dept of Corporations shut them down.
them: So they were taken over by another company?
me: No, they owed BBB bank 30 million dollars, and had no real assets, so nobody bought them. There were no successors and assigns.
them: Can’t you track it by the loan number and find out who owns it?
me: That’s another problem. I had a purchase money mortgage and two subsequent refis, but I have 9 loan numbers, and God only knows how many instrument numbers. I hit Google Search and my computer started smoking.
them: well, how about contacting the Trust certificate holders? Maybe they can help!
me: I could only identify 2 partial certificate holders, the Fijiian Coconut Growers Co-Op, and the Ugandan Ministry of Defense. Coconut growers have fallen on hard times, and they tried to sell me their shares, so I told them I would get back to them. The Ugandans lost everything in the Madoff ponzi scheme, but feel that the market will be coming back due to the HAMP program. For awhile, the MBS investment paid out, and they used the money to buy some used Russian MIG fighters, but now they can’t get any spare parts. They put me in touch with someone named “Eddie”, in Secaucus NJ. I understand he has ties to the Garbanzo crime family.
them: so what can you do?
me: exactly.

ANONYMOUS, on April 10, 2012 at 6:19 am said:

Answer this — WHAT LENDER??? The Trust?? Trustee?? Securities investors? Not the lender — not the creditor. There is NO lender. Who are you going to call??? Ghost busters??
Why refinance? Because interest rates are going to go up — eventually, and many stuck in high adjustable rate debt. Not all are under-water.
All of the subprime were modifications of (false) collection rights. All that survives is debt collection rights. THERE IS NO LENDER — only a debt buyer.— undisclosed. .

An American nighmare I wish ProPublica had posted that mortgage broker’s face all over this story he deserves to be in jail. As for Merrill Lynch I am shocked at how far they have fallen I remember when I started working if you worked for them it was like having instant respect.  Seems Ms. Ramos and her family will come out the other side intact best of luck to them

I asked: “WHO is the REAL CREDITOR???”

answer from servicer: “We don’t have to tell you that because of privacy laws…”

Then they sold/stole my house.

“privacy laws” amounts to them covering up the fact that there IS NO LENDER.  THAT’S the reason for all the “bank’s bumbling”—-as this article says…

These banks are out of control…My mortgage was modified in January, 2011 and I’ve been current every month…I just learned yesterday that the bank, Suntrust, FORECLOSED on my second and never even notified me!!! I found out from an “alert” that my Experian credit report had negative information posted!!!  Has anyone else ever had this happen?  I don’t know what to do.  Suntrust can’t even answer the question of how a current loan with no past due balance was foreclosed on…INCOMPETENT!!!

While this story claims to be about mortgages, it primarily shows the lack of a basic safety net:  no medical insurance and no short term disability insurance.  If Ms. Ramos had had these basics, she would have never ended up in such dire straits.

This is a BS line from the article:

“The security’s investors bore the loss, not the servicer, which recouped all fees and expenses.”

THE SECURITIES INVESTORS DON’T AND NEVER DID FUND OR OWN ANY LOANS…get it right, propublica!!!  Come on—-we need you to reveal the WHOLE TRUTH!!!

I have told you over and over to contact me and I can put you in touch with someone who has actual physical proof of what I have been saying here—-but you never ask for it…don’t you want the whole truth revealed…???  Why not???

We can not change banks,mortgage industry, government. Now, with Congress a hostage in the hands of corporations, and justices like Scalia, Briar, and Kennedy, we need to encourage our young kids to enter politics with the intention not to be corrupt just like their current law makers. Only young, committed, and patriotic Americans can change this equasion.


Congratulations, ProPublica, on another excellent peice.


There is a homeless tent city near the base of the Ben Franklin bridge on the camden NJ side.It has got so big they have there own mayor in the camp and they do not just let anyone in.They do not tolerate drinking,drugs ,prostituion in the camp.It scares the hell out of me for i might be heading there soon myself for my home is going into foreclosure soon.I bought this home 8 years ago and was a major handyman projectl so we could live within our means.My wife could not even move in with me for 8 months untill i got it habitable.I broke my butt every day after work for 6 years rebuilding it both cars paid off and over 150.000 miles on both.I have two small children and this is the only home they ever knew and was my wifes first house.I find myself shaking and not sleeping at night and feel like its the end of the line.I raised my children right and have two older children who are great examples of true American pride where my son in the NAVY where Vise president joe biden 9 months ago in Naples Itatly offered to conduct my sons reinlistment ceramony but i can not even face them anymore
God help me
Gregg S

Gregg Stoerrle

April 10, 2012, 4:11 p.m.

There is a homeless tent city near the base of the Ben Franklin bridge on the camden NJ side.It has got so big they have there own mayor in the camp and they do not just let anyone in.They do not tolerate drinking,drugs ,prostituion in the camp.It scares the hell out of me for i might be heading there soon myself for my home is going into foreclosure soon.I bought this home 8 years ago and was a major handyman projectl so we could live within our means.My wife could not even move in with me for 8 months untill i got it habitable.I broke my butt every day after work for 6 years rebuilding it both cars paid off and over 150.000 miles on both.I have two small children and this is the only home they ever knew and was my wifes first house.I find myself shaking and not sleeping at night and feel like its the end of the line.I raised my children right and have two older children who are great examples of true American pride where my son in the NAVY where Vise president joe biden 9 months ago in Naples Itatly offered to conduct my sons reinlistment ceramony but i can not even face them anymore

Gregg S

I printed this informative article but th print was oo small. Is there any way to get the print larger?

George S.

Please don’t do anything drastic—-this is the supreme test of your life—-be strong and faithful…we are only on this planet for an instant and all the wealth and comfort in the world means nothing in the end…

This is not our fault.  Please read my posts…it is the truth.

Locate an Occupy Wall Street (OWS) organization near you—-see what they can do—-they are helping people stay in there homes—-we have to unite…the government doesn’t care and won’t help us because the truth is they were complicit in the biggest financial heist in world history.

George, you are not alone…God loves you—-don’t give up.  I was foreclosed on with NO PROOF of “loan ownership”—-these bastards are kicking people out with no right to—-it was a big lesson in DETACHMENT from worldly things for me and my family but we are renting a darling house now and we are fine…have faith and keep your chin up and just keep searching for the truth…I used to “shake and not sleep” too—-but that means the bastards are winning—-be strong—-the tide is turning—-the truth is coming out.


Thanks Carie,i will look up occupy.I know god is here and my son in the NAVY tells me that all the time.He is what is called an RP or basically a chaplin’s assistant that is something he chose.He’s very spiritual.

This is not a good example for the American Foreclosure crisis. This is an example of the people who made really decisions. Maybe its the way this article was written there was a lot of unneeded woes is me information. We didnt need to know every single bit of badluck she had because it doesnt all relate to her current situation. She made sooo many stupid mistakes and maybe she was a victim of predatory lending but she played a part in her bad business decisions. $90k on a lawn mover business and they had 4 customers? A lawn mower costs how much? $28k to her adult son, $140k to pay off old loan…come on!!! These are the people who wouldnt have been broke eventually even there was no recession. I usually find your articles very informative but this one this article is a bad example. I have a better story… owner of a newspaper had her home for 20 years…..then the economy tanked she lost many advertisers and then Wells Fargo said they would approve them for a loan mod of their home but the foreclosre department wasnt tallking to the loan mod dept and the next day their home was foreclosed after they were approved for a loan mod. That is a tragic story not this crazy lady filled with bad business choices and bad luck.

I have followed this story for many years, starting with the two bombshell stories Eliot Spitzer wrote for the Washington Post and for which he was busted for telling too much truth.  49 of the 50 state attorneys general just signed on to some “settlement” that is nothing but further grand larceny by the big banks and further ripoff of the average American taxpayer.

Our whole economy is about to go totally belly up and ALL of our federal and state “elected represenatives” and bureaucrats are hideous lying crooks.  I am seriously questioning if we have the only important thing we ever had - the rule of law.  I also question if America was ever really about government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Thank you Carie for sharing your true knowledge with us.  You are the main one who has helped this story move in to truth and factuality.

There is a person named Randy Kelton on and  He has a business where he helps people to stay in their homes and fight foreclosure.  He said recently he has not helped anyone get to keep their home free and clear with no more mortgage payments, but he has helped hundreds of people to remain in their homes.  The people are advised which papers to file and to which entities to file them.  If the people follow his instructions to the T, they will be likely to continue living in their home. 

I personally think possession is nine tenths of the law, so it is crucial to not vacate.  Start filing these actions and requests and forms of various kinds and no law enforcement can come and evict you.  Stay in your house.

I find the word “subprime” to be kind of a misnomer.  I looke dit up and it means that the person was given a mortgage rate HIGHER than the prime rate because their financial record was not so good.  But I have also understood that most of these people who got these loans had good credit ratings.  The predatory lenders railroaded these people with good credit ratings into too much house and the people just did not think and investigate carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Our once great nation has been deliberately taken down by the internationalist banksters and the SEC and all major federal financial regulatory agencies are a hideous crooked joke owned and operated by the banksters.  Now hows that for some truth for ya, Carrie?

@ Shell - The last sentence of your post is needlessly offensive. I doubt the former homeowner is “crazy,” a pejorative term that you equate mental illness with financial misfortune.
There’s no need to bring even the specter of mental illness into this discussion, or any. I doubt you would criticize her ethnicity, religious affiliation or medical condition, if you knew of any.
Words are powerful and they can foster stigma. Why trivialize something as “crazy” when you are in no position to know any such thing. And even if you were, that label would be inappropriate and dismissive at best. (A HIPAA violation at worst.)
Please refrain from tossing this term around. Be a small part of that change, won’t you?

The question that I have is when will the American people wake up and just stop participating in this manufactured mess? Are we nuts paying a mortgage on a home that isn’t worth the paper its printed on? An honest attorney told me the truth is the housing prices are never coming back . He also told me not to sign or agree to anything because the banks debt is unsustainable. We always here the squawk about the poor investors and that someone is owed this money. The truth is that the investors were oversold investments in a gamble in a money flow that is now non-existant. The financiers committed $1.2 quadrillion dollars in fraud in our names and their debt can never be repaid. The investors were insured with CDS insurance and already got paid by bailed out AIG. The financiers of the world never lent us any money and who is really owed this money? WE THE PEOPLE are.  The U.S. TAXPAYERS are owed hundreds of trillions of dollars by these TBTF institutions. That mortgage money is going into the pockets of the very crooks who swindled and robbed us and intentionally put us here. This manufactured serfdom was all done and is still being done under many guises to bankrupt us and weaken us mentally, physically and emotionally.  Lies like TBTF, DEADBEAT HOMEOWNERS, AMERICA IS BROKE, GLOBALIZATION, THE NATIONAL DEBT, FED MONETARY POLICY, ETC..are code words for sneaky classwarfare.  It is about time the 99% stopped participating in this fraud. We are allowing the 1% to steal our remaining wealth and our country. Time to unite and stop participating in all of the fraud and corruption that is destroying us as a free country from the inside. This economy is not going to get better until we stop participating. We are aiding and abetting our own demise by allowing these crooks to recycle their massive fraud and rob us of whatever wealth we have left.

(from livinglies(dot)wordpress(dot)com:

New Foreclosures Will Set Record in 2012
Posted on April 5, 2012 by Neil Garfield

  Editor’s Note: This is how they do it. First there is the slap in the face. Then you have the recriminations and apologies and “penalties” that amount to no more than rounding errors. People have become accustomed to the tragic numbers of people losing homes to a completely false and fraudulent scheme defrauding the local, state and federal government as well as the core of the middle class (eventually 12 million people will lose their homes).

  Now comes the real fun for the banks. The number of foreclosures being initiated by the banks will exceed any year in history this year. It all depends upon apathy produced by the conditioning that the media and the banks have allowed to seep into the narrative of this tragedy.

  There is no doubt that in 2007 if anyone was told that that by 2012 5 million people will have lost their homes and soon thereafter another 7 million people would lose their homes, the public outrage and astonishment at the gutting of our economy would have led to all the rules and enforcement that should already be put back in place (same as they were after the Great Depression caused by bank speculation). Business owners would be aghast at the demolition of their customer base and governments would brace for the worst fall in tax revenues ever experienced in American History. Most importantly, we would have done something — if we believed it.

  I was a lone voice in the wilderness back then as was Roubini, Johnson and others who saw easily that the American economy was headed for banana republic status. But the stock market was at 14,000 and nobody could imagine that this “fun” would end. It wasn’t real then and it isn’t real now. There is no recovery, regardless of what the Obama administration says, which is not to say that in this election year we are throwing our support to the republican party whose policies and ideologies were largely responsible for this mess being so bad.

  My message and the message that comes from other people with even greater knowledge than myself is that we are in for the real crash this year. The insane part of all this is that we now already know what was considered conspiracy theory back in 2007 — the mortgage debt was paid off by taxpayers and insurers, the mortgages are invalid and unenforceable, the mortgage bonds were sold fraudulently, the mortgage bonds were sold with false ratings of investment quality, the properties were financed with false appraisals of fair market value to support prices that were in some cases multiples of the actual value. We now know these things to be true and not just the deduction of some people studying the marketplace.

  We know, because the Banks admitted it, that the foreclosures were wrongful but we are still not doing anything about it, let alone stopping the new ones.

  So my question to local, state and federal governments, to businessmen who rely on consumer purchasing, to homeowners who think they are untouched by a housing crash they thought was over, is this: when will you learn? or to paraphrase Truman — how many times do you need to be hit in the head before you look up to see who is hitting you? It’s the Banks and as long as you let our government do business with these handful of banks who are essentially dictating government policy, we will be headed downward. These Banks are doing a better (more effective) job of tearing this country apart than Bin Laden ever conceived of doing.

  The larger policy questions are being completely missed. The question is not higher or lower taxes or higher or lower spending. The question is whether we take back what the banks stole from us.

It’s rampant here in my area Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice Florida and it’s about to get a lot worse.  If anyone thinks that for a moment that the bank “works” with people, then people are mistaken.  The amount of fraud upon the courts that the banks and the lawyers that represent them have committed is ASTONISHING.  It’s not the job of the courts to “investigate” this fraud.  While these banks have big firms to represent them, they WILL back down when you identify their shinanagans.

Take a look at  There’s a guy in my area that writes this blog and discusses how to represent yourself Pro-Se and beat them back.  In MOST cases the banks fraudulently tried to rip homeowners out of their homes all the while absorbing tax payer dollars.  Now, they’re going to do it again. 

Fight them back!!!




WAKE UP!!  Pres. Andrew Jackson & JFK knew the truth! Why don’t YOU???

Kudos Mr. Kiel - Spot on!

Our great leader’s “redistribution of wealth” is a tenant out of Engle’s Communist Manifesto.

Should he get 4 more years we will all be starving and freezing in the dark.

Dare to prepare.

Right on Mr. Kiel - WRITE ON!

Cordially, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

P.S. “May you live in interesting times.”  Ancient Chinese curse

The article seems to forget the tremendous legal pressure from Congress et al to give out loans like candy or be sanctioned for not being progressive and sensitive enough to poor folks that could not really afford a house.  Lenders were being constantly scrutinized and pressured to conform to the “fair housing” dictates from D.C.  Sure, some took advantage, on both sides of these deals, but the lady is one example, which may not equate to a typical example.  Thers is plenty of blame to go around on this issue so tell the whole story.

While we speculate about how the mortgage holders got into trouble and what should be done about it, the bank fraud has been proven. Theft is theft, fraud is illegal and yet none of those admitting what they did has been punished. It’s as though once the total amount of the theft exceeded a trillion dollars, it was no longer is taken seriously. We are attempting to put a bandaid on a massive wound that is bleeding profusely.

No one seems concerned that many of the causes of this crisis were the result of the deregulation policies enacted by those following the Fed’s Alan Greenspan’s theories. He was a devout follower of Ayn Rand and her faschist ideas about letting a few individuals have the freedom to do anything to promte themselves without regard for anyone else. Those theories placed individual freedoms above those of the people. The objectivists as they are called believe that no one should be responsible for anyone else or subject to government regulations. Therefore any regulation or tax is bad. As controls on the financial instutions were eliminated, profit by any means became legal. Even then greed cause fraud to occur and even those laws protecting ordinary citizens were ignored.

Now we have a Republican Party and many Democrats who believe that our economic woes were caused by the needy and not the greedy.

Every time another banker, CEO or Wall street head admits his guilt and gets away with a slap on the wrist, more homeowners will suffer. even if they pay their mortgages on time. How many have paid erroneous charges and bogus escrow fees rather than be late with their payment or question their bank.They still will find their home values have declined to a point where the former value of those homes and the payments they made in good faith have disappeared into the pockets of the 1%.

Philip Inuhoff

April 11, 2012, 2:38 p.m.

Who do you think the evil profiteering banksters are?

They are your neighbors.

Who sold you the loan?

Who “represented” you in your real estate “transaction”?

The truth is the fools who bought a $600,000 pile of sticks from the girl that was working at Dairy Queen last year and didn’t even bother to perform cursory due diligence are 100% at fault for the destruction of our economy. Greed + Ignorance = Amerika.

Trying to blame the FREE MARKET which hasn’t even existed since 1913 is laughable and disgusting propaganda.

The housing market is the most regulated racket going. It is protected organized crime and I bet you are great friends with many of it’s criminal members, even envious of them…. Poor america..

Let’s make ourselves feel better by bombing the F out of some dude on a donkey it must be his fault real estate never goes down…

David P. Summers

April 11, 2012, 8:22 p.m.

I can see anther story.  It is the story of Tom.  Tom rents, so every month he has to come up with money.  If he looses his job, he will be “evicted” from his home and the government doesn’t care.  His crime?  He didn’t jump in on the housing bubble when he had a chance and can’t demand a government bailout to “save his home”. 

In the end, Tom will end up paying for all those who did jump onto the bubble, whether it is trough higher taxes, higher banking charges, or higher costs if he ever was able to try and get a loan.  Clearly it those who jumped on the bubble that should be rewarded and those, such as Tom, who need to be punished.  After all, how else will we inflate the next bubble?

Roger Winthrop

April 11, 2012, 9:25 p.m.

Are you kidding me?  Did nobody see how much money they had to come up with every month, how much the loan would mature for at the end of 30 years.  I have a hard time feeling sorry for all these people that signed up for these loans.  The bottom line is they just could not flip the house and everyone wants someone else to be the bad guy, to pay for the loss of equity and the misfortune. Now granted there are people who got sick, lost their jobs, etc. etc.  but that is not everyone.  So out come the lawyers and class action law suits because “poor me I was confused and the banks swindled me and I did not understand what I was signing” right.  Bottom line is you did not pay your mortgage and you lose your house, be lucky the US does not have debtors prison like Dubai.  Welcome to our entitled nation and the end of thinking of our homes as an investment vs. something you live in for 30 years….

Catherine Tripp

April 12, 2012, 10:58 a.m.

In 2009 two brilliant economists made a case for principal reduction:  John D. Geanakoplos and Susan P. Koniak - here is a link to their op-ed in the New York Times.

@jay- The CRA didn’t “force” lenders to lend to unqualified borrowers. That’s political spin. The proof of that is that BOTH parties have championed homeownership when in power. The CRA only prevented redlining in select (nee minority) neighborhoods.

@CatherineTripp- Any attempt to keep homeowners who are underwater at this moment will probably fail due to the fact that many of them could not afford to stay in their homes even after this principal reduction. Recent experience with refinancing has proven that most simply default at a later date and nothing is accomplished other than damaging the lender/investor. Also, you are advocating that the bondholder/investors who lent them the money, should shoulder the loss. Why is this fair? No one paid off my bills when my small business failed. Even worse, this is a horrible moral hazard for the rest of us who pay our bills. It will not only delay the return of normalized appreciation to the residential housing market, but it will poison future investors in mortgage bonds.

Many who should never have qualified for a mortgage now find themselves swimming naked. They should have remained renters and should simply rent what they can afford now. What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with each of us taking responsibility for our own decisions including our mistakes?

Sorry HalB - the banks were under tremendous duress to do so and that is not spin, it’s a fact.  I retired from 35 years in banking two years ago. We were constantly being “examined” for compliance which meant give the loans or else.  It took greed on evberyone’s part to create this mess.
Also, I did not attribute this problem specifically to either party and you are quite correct that both are largely responsible. What dissapoints me is all homeowners are automatically characterized as victims of the greedy mega banks. People that did not read their loan docs, particularly the critical parts, and who lied about their finances, deserve no handouts. Period.

That’s absolutely not true, jay. I challenge you to find documentation showing proof of your claim that the CRA “forced” lending institutions to make loans to unqualified borrowers. My wife owned a large mortgage company and I was an executive recruiter in the financial services/subprime mortgage market during the peak of activity. I speak from deep knowledge of that industry.

J. P. Morgan devised the derivatives beginning with BISTRO that did in the World’s financial system. It was amplified by GS to maximize the profits through their risk management skills. I mean risk amplification, of course. In the 2004-6 period, many of the largest investment banks would fund any loan that a high school dropout looking for a quick bonus could forge phony statistics of qualification. In fact, as you know, with the latest iterations. No doc and stated income loans required only that someone came in to sign the papers at closing. Anyone! 

Read Jesse Eisenger’s “The $58 Trillion Elephant in the Room” at portfolio dot com. It’s a real eye opener. Don’t believe all you read in the media. There are few good investigative reporters nowadays.

I do agree completely with your statement that borrowers/homeowners are not victims and if you read my response here, I think you can see I blame the shadow banking industry including the investment banks which spawned the financial disaster. Offering free money to poor, unqualified borrowers is tantamount to offering free drugs to known addicts. Also, without the repeal of Glass Steagall and passing Graham-Leach-Bliley, the egregious behavior and the whole subprime episode could never have happened. I attribute MOST of the blame to the laissez-faire, free market crowd like Greenspan who think bankers can self regulate. He admitted he was wrong on that, but tried to walk it back later. The reason I don’t hold borrowers to such a high standard as you is that I don’t think these non-conforming loans should have ever seen the light of day. Politicians are trying to decapitate Frank-Dodd which will only set up and even bigger crash. No, I think we need to break up the 20 or so largest financial institutions in the World and reinstate Glass Steagall. Bankers have proven Jefferson was right when he correctly warned that he feared banks more than standing armies a couple of hundred years ago.

This woman is actually better off….cleaner air, cleaner water, better lifestyle, free of commitments, mortgages, and bills…she had a guardian angel all along this story, her partner, to help her along….she is also in a safe region of the country and surely there is more peace in her heart after all this, and to be able to look out at that beautiful view and make a new life for herself.  I just wonder is Florida a state where you have to show the loss on your taxes, or is she all done?  Just ruined credit, that’s it…doesn’t owe anyone anything on the remainder of that loan?  Amazing.  Anyone checking in on these comments would do good to read Mary Summer Rain’s books especially the first several on her time with the visionary, No Eyes.  Read Spirit Song and Phoenix Rising….you will quickly see as far back as 1985 these times were prophesized and it is sad but true, housing prices will never recover…there are many more changes coming and it is time for people to become aware so they can prepare and protect themselves, those they love, and their communities, too.

Johnathan Galt

April 13, 2012, 3:18 a.m.

All loans are FRAUD! Just read the federal reserves report on fractional reserve banking and they tell you right there that you the supposed barrower are the individual that creates real money with your signature.

In return the bank gives you BANK CREDIT, which is not money. Which has been dealt with in previous federal and supreme court cases. That is where the Fraud is in you believing that you received real money when what you got was bank credit.

So what the banks did was stole the real money you created then turned around and issued you bank credit and then began charging you interest for it. Which is FRAUD!

Funny thing about fraud its a tort liable offense that means that an individual has recourse in the LAW. They can sue the bank in a JURY trial and if they can show the JURY just how the bank committed FRAUD they can win. An when the bank goes to appeal if a person has done their home work they can quickly file for dismissal and show where the bank has no leg to stand on due to previous SCOTUS rulings.

Up to 10 times the amount of the contract can be awarded against those that commit FRAUD not to mention if you win the DA could turn around and hit them with the criminal side of things and then they could get 10 years in jail.

Wake Up America and fight the FRAUD.

Zellie is right, I have been blessed. I made my stupid mistakes ! I lost it all and started with just a suitcase. I paid my price for all the bad decisions I made to keep my family a float . I took my lost! My dad always said if your in a boxing ring it must be fair, or it is disqualified . If any sport has found a member cheating , their win is thrown out. In our legal system it is different, it has been proven that the banks and lawyers are frauding the court. Yet we all let it go and put the blame on the deadbeat home owner. Well, let me say this I lost that fight , this story is not about me wanting anything , to pity no court judge to reverse the foreclosure. What this story is about wake up people . We can survive with out all the pretty’s,and white sheet rock walls. I love my new life and my mother now 91 wants to spend her last days here. My grand kids have learned what hard work will improve your life. They have learned how to do without. Saying all this I would not go back to the mainstream. But Fraud is Fraud when a servicer and law firm use a company that had gone out of business in the 1990’s and get away with it . We should all question should they not be stopped. There are people worst off then I , kids in cars and under bridges. So before you write your comments ask yourself, could I start again from just a suitcase with 3 kids and a 90 year old mother. I am no dead beat I am a survivor of the crisis..

@Sheila-Welcome to Hawaii. I live about an hour down the road from you in Waikoloa. I know you have been through quite alot and I commend you for the grace you display. Hope the air quality has not affected you too much, as many do not realize the amount of vog, especially in your particular area of the Big Island. YES, you are a survivor and I applaud your efforts as such. I’m relieved to know you have at least some resemblance of peace and I pray for you and your family’s continued health, welfare and happiness. God bless.


“...But Fraud is Fraud when a servicer and law firm use a company that had gone out of business in the 1990’s and get away with it . We should all question should they not be stopped…”


All you jerks out there blaming homeowners are totally off base as to what started this whole FRAUD.  The homeowners/borrowers didn’t START the FRAUD.  It started BEFORE they signed on the dotted line of paperwork that was a LIE FROM START TO FINISH. 



If we finally get the fact that we are our Brother’s keeper… and our neighbors, and friends and ... more. Then we can heal our world.

What happens to the least of us, effects all of us. There is not one person who has not made some poor choices. It is important to serve the grace that we need when we make a poor choice.

Sheila Ramos has shown mercy and kindness to her family. She cared for her neighbors and they obviously cared for her.

I am so happy to know that Sheila Ramos has found a place on this earth that she belongs, again.

Ms. Mel

A “Poor choice” is only clear in hindsight. It actually makes sense at the time!


@carie- DoJ has already assessed the fraud that many companies engaged in like robo-signing and has fined the companies involved. This plea bargain certainly does not make borrowers whole, but I would imagine that prosecutors could not proceed due to deregulation insofar as the common misrepresentation that was made between loan officers and borrowers, for instance. That will never happen. Most of the people who were involved in luring unsuspecting buyers into the subprime loan are gone. They’ve moved on to other occupations. That doesn’t make it any more palatable, but it’s reality for most.

If you find yourself upside down in your house, sell it. If you can’t come up with enough cash to sell it, try negotiating a short sale or walk away. All you have in this case is an obligation. Owning a mortgage is NOT owning a house as I’m sure many are painfully aware now.

Tishman Speyer walked away from a multi-billion dollar housing project in New York they bought at the top of the frenzy. They took a strategic default. Many borrowers are doing the same when their personal finances have been damaged and staying in their houses makes no sense. This includes many relatively wealthy people who can pay their mortgage. I would guess that you could rebuild your credit much faster than you will see residential real estate prices return to their peak. In fact, many years faster. I

@johnathan- It serves absolutely no useful purpose to simply express anger. The credit crisis has damaged all of us. While you may be correct that fraud was committed, you’d have a very hard time finding a lawyer who would take the case. Oh, they’ll take the case if you pay for them to, burt I mean take it to win it. Banksters have “plausible deniability”. We all heard a lot of “I didn’t think the real estate market would ever crash” a few years ago. This translates into not guilty of fraud unless you can prove what was going on behind his eyeballs at the time of your transaction and can still find that party and he has enough resources to pay for your loss.

If you feel so strongly that all loans are fraudulent, don’t ever take one out again. That’s really not hard. Rent until you can pay cash. Move to a community that allows you to buy for cash.

I will never take out another loan as long as I live and as for my fico score I don’t care what it is. I got off the hamster wheel and it feels good. If I can’t afford it then I will save for it but not in a bank,a (little credit union).‘We have learned that brand new is not our life style now. People waste so much that second hand items are almost new. I have learned to build, butcher , plant and farming is a lot of fun. Up with the chickens,collecting eggs, feeding the wild pigs and coffee by six every morning…....this is a good life. I am Blessed! If everyone got of the hamster wheel and look at life humbly . We would all be better Americans.

I use to worked at Smith Hiatt and Diaz and I can tell you there was and still is alot of things going on inside of that firm

Well I couldn’t continue reading the story!

I have heard it so many times before - and it’s all the banks fault!

Well maybe they made it far too easy - but this story is about greed - the borrowers greed - now neatly wrapped up with the sympathy story - car accident, can’t work, business declines….

And the sudden realization that the income information on the refi was - well - exaggerated - wow!

Believe me - she knew what was happening - she knew that the broker was ‘bumping up’ her income, and representing that she was working…..

They told her that they were doing this - and she didn’t care - she just wanted the money - because by now, she realized her little gardening business wasn’t making money, it was hot, dirty, hard work that illegals did far more cheaply - and she wanted out!

Her car accident was the perfect excuse!

Then she got into that terrible cycle of financing her free and clear home, then paying the mortgage with the proceeds of the financing, then when that run out - refinancing and so on and so forth.

Did the banks make it easy - oh sure!

They would finance a ham sandwich!

She is typical NINJA - No Job, No Income - but had equity.

At least she got her money out that she originally bought the home!

I couldn’t continue reading - I guess she is still in a make shift home?

Yes the mortgage broker did make both a front end fee and a back end YSP - they still do!

That’s how the mortgage broker business works!

The authorization to review her taxes are standard - 4506T form.

The fact that she didn’t know the loan had been re-sold, is irrelevant - the issue is she couldn’t make the payment.

Normally after 3 months delinquency (of which part payments can be seen as delinquent) the servicer will stop taking payments.

When a Notice of Default is recorded the home owner has about 110 days before a sale date.

If the home is sold to a buyer, then they can start eviction process - normally they offer a cash payment to help them move.

The banks - if they do not sell the property - does the same thing.

The exception was the time the banks were caught forging signatures and the courts were allowing the foreclosure.

The ‘robo signing’ bankers and lawyers were aided by the ‘rubber stamping’ judges who just went along with the conspiracy.

The conspiracy - insurance fraud.

Why would banks go through a fraudulent process to own a house worth less than is owed?

Because it was insured by AIG or Fannie or Freddie!

Bank fraud. Judicial Fraud. Wire fraud. Interstate wire fraud. Insurance fraud.

They wanted their money from the insurer.

That’s why AIG and the GSE’s went bust - they had a run on their policies!

And who bailed them out - we did!

Even president Obama was complicit - he and Geithner told borrowers they didn’t need professional representation - they could do it themselves.

Why would anyone deal with a criminal organization without representation?

Some states (like California) made it illegal for law firms to take clients with a retainer - even if they were doing the whole representation for a mere $3,000!

As ProPublica states - 70% of all loan modifications were denied !

I wonder how many of the 30% that were approved were because the borrower had representation?

Any idea’s?

So - lets be real here - most borrowers lied about their income on stated income loans.

They knew.

Now they lie that they didn’t know.

The foreclosure rate is going to increase now the AG’s have agreed on the $28Billion deal - of which $17Billion is to compensate foreclosure victims with - an average of less than $2,000.00!

And so the game begins!

What we will need - to get buyers in the market again - who have credit that has been damaged - is…..SUB PRIME LOANS!


She got away with 15 months of non payment of her loan repayment, the property taxes and home owners insurance.

She obviously paid her utilities.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Foreclosure Crisis

Foreclosure Crisis: Banks and Government Fail Homeowners

Banks and the government have fallen short in helping homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

The Story So Far

Systemic failures at the country’s banks and mortgage servicers have exacerbated the most severe foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, and government efforts to limit the damage have fallen short. ProPublica created an unrivaled database of homeowners who have faced foreclosure, opened a Facebook page to encourage homeowners to share their stories, wrote profiles of some of them, and incorporated their experiences into our reporting. We also provided a comprehensive rundown of the numbers behind the crisis.

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