Return regurally for the latest articles and featured reprints from some of the most authoratative sources in the foreclosure defense and banking industry.
Taxpayers foot the bill for bank foreclosure costs in $1 billion homeowner help plan
Updated: 5:57 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | Posted: 4:59 p.m. Sunday, May 19, 2013
By Kimberly Miller - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Banks are getting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars through Florida’s key foreclosure prevention program to pay down borrower debt, but are also using the money to pay off their own attorney’s fees and other costs associated with taking back people’s homes.
The more than $1 billion Hardest Hit program has been operating statewide for two years, awarding struggling borrowers 12 months of mortgage payments and between $18,000 and $24,000 to bring a mortgage current.
Judging De Minimis: Does the Judge in Your Foreclosure Case Own Stock in the Bank Foreclosing on You?
Posted on June 15, 2012
What would you do if you found out that the judge presiding over your foreclosure owned stock in the bank foreclosing on you?
Michael J. Fuchs has been living through a Hawaii court process that turned into a reality show nightmare. The Judge in his case owns a lot of stock in the foreclosing bank! And that’s not all…
HBO‘s former CEO and Chairman of the Board, Michael J. Fuchs, invested over $100 million (dollars) in a Big Island Hawaii development that sank like the Titanic with the economy in 2007. The Hawaii scales of justice have not been tipped in Mr. Fuchs’ favor – apparently they haven’t even been balanced.
Hawaii attorney Gary Dubin, discovered a seriously conflicted situation with more than an appearance of impropriety and asked that the Judge, Honorable Bert I. Ayabe, recuse himself from the case because of…stock investments in Bank of Hawaii, campaign donations to a U.S. senatorial candidate… a law firm first representing Fuchs and then representing the opposing parties… whose lead attorneys were law school chums of the judge, the judge’s wife may have performed legal work for the developer… and the list goes on.
The saga reads like a HBO movie and “it pains me,” said Mr. Dubin, “because we’ve been before this Court many times and this judge is fair, but this time there is certainly an appearance of impropriety and my role and my duty is to protect my client.”
When it was initially discovered that Judge Bert I. Ayabe claimed on his April 25, 2011 Supreme Court of Hawaii Certified Financial Disclosure Statement that he “owned between $25,000 and $50,000 worth of stock in the Bank of Hawaii,” which has not only been a principal party to the actions, but its officers were material witnesses to this day in both cases – Dubin wrote a letter to the judge:
Inside the foreclosure factory, they're working overtime!
By John W. Schoen | June, 2012
In a quiet office in downtown Charlotte, N.C., dozens of Wells Fargo’s foreclosure foot soldiers sit in cubicles cranking out documents the bank relies on to seize its share of the thousands of homes lost to foreclosure every week.
They stare at computer screens and prepare sworn affidavits that are used by lenders in courts across the country to seize homes. Paid $30,700 to start, these legal process specialists, the title that goes with the job, swear an oath under penalty of perjury that they're corporate vice presidents. They're peppered with e-mails from managers to meet daily quotas of at least 10 or 11 files day.
If they fall short, they face a verbal warning. Then written. Two written warnings could cost them the paycheck that supports a family. As more than one source for this story told msnbc.com, "I can't afford to lose this job."
Pressured to meet daily production quotas, they are likely making mistakes that inadvertently could toss a family out of its home and onto the street, according to these workers.
State and federal prosecutors, in a recent settlement with five banks that included Wells Fargo, agreed. The joint state and federal settlement spelled out how the document procedures at the five banks resulted in “loss of homes due to improper, unlawful or undocumented foreclosures,” according to the complaint.
"These are mistakes that could cost someone their home," a Wells Fargo document preparer told msnbc.com.
The Wells Fargo worker, who first contacted msnbc.com via email in late January, told of a wide range of concerns about the foreclosure documents she processes. Some families apparently were denied loan modifications after only cursory interviews, she said. Other borrowers applying for help sent comprehensive personal financial documents to a fax machine that she discovered had been unattended for weeks. Others landed in foreclosure after owing interest payments of as little as $1.18 a day, according to documents she said she reviewed.
The legal process specialist asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak about the internal workings of the department, where she has worked since last year. Her account was supported by company documents and by a co-worker in the same office.
Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON Published: February 15, 2012
An audit by San Francisco county officials of about 400 recent foreclosures there determined that almost all involved either legal violations or suspicious documentation, according to a report released Wednesday.
Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, found widespread violations or irregularities in files of properties subject to foreclosure sales.
Anecdotal evidence indicating foreclosure abuse has been plentiful since the mortgage boom turned to bust in 2008. But the detailed and comprehensive nature of the San Francisco findings suggest how pervasive foreclosure irregularities may be across the nation.
The improprieties range from the basic — a failure to warn borrowers that they were in default on their loans as required by law — to the arcane. For example, transfers of many loans in the foreclosure files were made by entities that had no right to assign them and institutions took back properties in auctions even though they had not proved ownership.
Commissioned by Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, the report examined files of properties subject to foreclosure sales in the county from January 2009 to November 2011. About 84 percent of the files contained what appear to be clear violations of law, it said, and fully two-thirds had at least four violations or irregularities.
Foreclosure Relief? Don’t Hold Your Breath
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON | December 24, 2011
THROUGHOUT the foreclosure crisis, Washington has done little to help people hang on to their homes. All those programs that were supposed to help — HAMP, HARP, Hope for Homeowners — have mostly failed.
So many were skeptical when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced yet another program in April. This one was intended to provide reparations to homeowners who’d been hurt financially by foreclosure abuses at banks.
As the details trickle out, the program looks like more of the disappointing same. “This is just the next program that’s getting people’s hopes up,” said Alys Cohen, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Washington. “Not only will it not help people, it could easily harm them.”
New Questions about Banks' Force-Placed Insurance Deals
The first time Luis Juarez heard of force-placed insurance was when he receiveda $25,000 bill for it in the mail.
A Florida doctor and homeowner, Juarez had been dropped by his previous insurerover a roofing issue. Though that lapse violated his obligation under themortgage to maintain coverage on the property, he was current on his loan payments and heard nothing from the servicer Wells Fargo & Co. for more than a year.
Then on May 10, 2010, Juarez got a note from QBE Specialty Insurance, a partner of Wells. It said that QBE was retroactively charging him $25,000 for a policy that had expired two months earlier, according to court filings.
By Abigail Caplovitz Field | December 2, 2011
At Naked Capitalism Michael Olenick detailed how easy it is to spot the industrialization of document creation and execution–really, evidence manufacture–by looking at where people signing the documents are. Based on his analysis of Palm Beach County records, there’s factory floors in:
“35 different states, and 101 different counties…
“…California overall notarized 815 Florida assignments, 32.6% of the total. Florida, which you’d expect, came next with 610 assignments, or 24.4% of the total, followed by Minnesota (9.3%), Texas (7.3%), Ohio (4.8%), Georgia (4.5%), Louisiana (2.8%), and Nebraska (2.6%). All other states had less than 2%.
Banks and their vendors like LPS run these knock-off document factories, producing documents that are just like those cheap purses with fake luxury labels sold in Chinatown. That is, the documents look right but couldn’t be more false.
New Jersey foreclosures wait in the wings as court deliberates key case
Hundreds of New Jersey foreclosure cases are waiting in the wings for the state’s Supreme Court to issue what will be a landmark decision in the Garden State.
Legal scholars suggest lenders are waiting to see what the court will do with the U.S. Bank National Association v. Guillaume case before moving forward with thousands of pending foreclosures.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES MORE COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST THREE NOTARIES IN ROBO-SIGNING CASE
Jennifer M. Lopez | Monday, December 05, 2011 12:30 PM
Las Vegas, NV – The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced today that complaints have been filed against three more notaries in the State’s ongoing massive robo-signing investigation. Meghan Shaw, Jennifer Lowe and Joseph Noel have all been charged with notarization of the signature of a person not in their presence.
BRYLLAW LITIGATION: First Quiet-Title Order in Virginia Voiding Deed of Trust (by default)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2011
On November 21, 2011, a Northern Virginia Circuit Court entered an order granting plaintiff homeowner a default judgment in a quiet title action, voiding the deed of trust.
Mass. AG sues five major banks over foreclosures
By Patrick Rizzo
Massachusetts' top law enforcement official has sued five top U.S. banks, charging they foreclosed illegally on homes in the state and used deceptive loan servicing practices, including robo-signing.
Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit against Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and GMAC.
“The single most important thing we can do to return to a healthy economy is to address this foreclosure crisis,” Coakley said in a statement. “Our suit alleges that the banks have charted a destructive path by cutting corners and rushing to foreclose on homeowners without following the rule of law. Our action today seeks real accountability for the banks illegal behavior and real relief for homeowners.”
Coakley's 59-page complaint alleges that the five banks violated Massachusetts law by using fraudulent documentation, including "robo-signing," foreclosing without holding the actual mortgage and failing to uphold loan modification promises to homeowners in the state.
California attorney general's office subpoenas Fannie, Freddie
By Alejandro Lazo and Jim Puzzanghera, L.A. Times | November 16, 2011, 6:27 p.m.
Investigators with the California attorney general's office have subpoenaed information from mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into lending and foreclosure practices in the state.
The subpoenas ask the government-controlled finance companies to answer a series of questions about their activities in California, including their roles as landlords who own thousands of foreclosed properties. The attorney general's office is also seeking details of Fannie and Freddie's mortgage-servicing and home-repossession practices, according to a person familiar with the matter.
In addition, investigators want to learn more about the companies' purchases and sponsorship of securities holding "toxic mortgages" in the Golden State, said the person, who was not authorized to speak on the matter and requested anonymity.