California and Florida: A Tale of Two Attorney Generals
Corrupt banking and lending practices are tormenting homeowners in both states at rates unmatched elsewhere, but only one state’s elected officials actually give a damn.
March 8, 2012
In recent weeks, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris began pressuring state lawmakers to pass a “Homeowner Bill of Rights.” The move is not only a strong signal of caution for banks hoping move forward with their predatory foreclosing schemes, but makes resoundingly clear Harris’s ongoing commitment to protect California’s 2.2 million underwater homeowners from further injustices.
According to the LA Times, the Homeowners Bill of Rights, which spans six pieces of legislation, would:
- Prohibit “dual-track foreclosures that allow mortgage holders to simultaneously negotiate loan modifications to lower homeowners’ interest payments while taking legal steps to foreclose on the same properties;”
- Slap banks with a “$10,000 civil penalty for ‘robo-signed’ mortgage documents containing unverified information;”
- Require banks to provide “a single point of contact for homeowners with their loan service providers;”
- Enable local governments to “force banks and property owners to maintain blighted, foreclosed homes,” give “renters more time to stay in foreclosed residences;”
- Solicit “fees from banks to pay for enhanced law enforcement actions to defend homeowners;”
- And – perhaps most importantly – form “a statewide grand jury to investigate alleged financial and real estate foreclosure crimes.”
The bills are part of a much larger strategy to correct and punish the banking industry for willfully deceptive foreclosure practices – practices that drove the country into economic turmoil and continue to be used to illegally impoverish homeowners and unjustifiably enrich predatory banksters. In this regard, Harris has proven to be a fundamental ally for homeowners in their struggles to fight the banking and lending industry’s systemic corruption.
After Forensic Investigation of Mortgage Documents
Massachusetts Official Declares Registry a “Crime-Scene”
February 15, 2012
Massachusetts Southern Essex Register of Deeds John O’Brien is calling for a full-scale criminal investigation into forged and fraudulent foreclosure and mortgage documents that he says are filling the filing cabinets of court clerks and County recorders across the country.
After declaring his registry a “crime scene” recently, O’Brien sent copies of over 30,000 allegedly fraudulent documents, which had been recorded into the Salem, Massachusetts Registry, to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and US Attorney Carmen Ortiz. He calls on the officials to organize a Grand Jury panel to look into the documents, which he believes are fraudulent and contain the forged signatures of well-known “robo-signers.”
mortgage settlement agreement
February 13, 2012
After over a year and a half of negotiations, a national mortgage settlement agreement between state officials and five of the nation’s biggest lenders appears to have been finalized.
The settlement is between officials from 49 states and Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial, and Citigroup. It addresses claims that banks routinely used fraudulent practices such as robo-signing to wrongfully foreclose on hundreds of thousands of mortgages. Accordingly, the agreement contains several provisions that entitle certain homeowners to $25 billion in relief. As Bloomberg News reports:
“The agreement will direct $17 billion to writing down debt to buffer about 1 million homeowners from foreclosure through mortgage forgiveness, forbearance or loan modification programs, according to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. About 750,000 borrowers may get direct payments of as much as $2,000 to compensate them for servicing errors.”