Could Foreclosure Fraud Cause Another Banking Meltdown?
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
This weekend, Bank of America became the latest lender to delay all foreclosures in 23 states because of possible problems with the necessary documents needed to repossess a home. GMAC Mortgage and JP Morgan Chase have had similar problems recently with documents that prove the bank has the right to foreclose. ADINews.com posted a statement from B of A, “We have been assessing our existing processes. To be certain affidavits have followed the correct procedures, Bank of America will delay the process in order to amend all affidavits in foreclosure cases that have not yet gone to judgment in the 23 states where courts have jurisdiction over foreclosures,” BofA spokesman Dan Frahm said in a statement.” (Click here for the entire ADINews.com story.)
Florida Congressman Alan Grayson says the foreclosure document “problem” is really fraud on a massive scale. He calls what is happening now a “foreclosure fraud crisis” that could affect 60 million properties in the U.S. It is all because the banks have lost track of promissory notes signed by the homeowners. I was the first mainstream media reporter to do a story on this problem in 2008. (Click here for the 2008 “Produce the Note” story from CNN.) Back then, some big banks could not “produce the note” that proved it had the right to take back a home. The problem has gotten much bigger as more homeowners discover the banks do not have the original documents.
After physical paperwork was filled out and signed by the borrower, the banks electronically filed the paperwork into a computerized system called the “Mortgage Electronic Registry System” (MERS). According to Congressman Grayson, 60%, or 60 million, mortgages are in MERS. The banks lost track of the original paperwork, the note, signed by the borrower. That is what actually proves the bank owns the property. Grayson says, “It appears that on a widespread and probably pervasive basis they (the banks) did not take the steps necessary to own the note . . . which means that in 45 out of the 50 states they lack the legal right to foreclose. . . . So they have simply created a system where servicers hire foreclosure mill law firms whose business is to forge documents showing or purporting to show they have a legal right to foreclose.” (Click here for the entire Congressman Grayson video statement from 9/30/10.)
Please take a moment and grasp the enormity of this problem for the banks. There are 60 million homes which banks loaned money on, and now they might not be able to legally get the property back if the homeowner defaults! Another colossal problem for the banks is the trillions of dollars in mortgages bundled into securities. Remember, the banks were giving anyone who could fog a mirror a mortgage which allowed them to create and sell lucrative mortgage backed securities. So, there are trillions of dollars in mortgage backed securities that now could have NO backing! Would you like to be the pension fund manager who bought that security? Do you think this just might cause an accounting problem for the banks? Do you think this could push some of the big banks into bankruptcy? Will there be another financial meltdown and government rescue?
Now, more scrutiny about the foreclosure process is hitting the banks from state Attorneys General. California AG, Jerry Brown, is demanding JP Morgan Chase show foreclosures in his state are following the law. (California is not one of the 23 states where the banks have stopped the foreclosures.) Illinois AG, Lisa Madigan, has demanded to set a meeting with JP Morgan Chase and Ally Financial to look into foreclosure practices in her state. The Connecticut AG, Richard Blumenthal, is demanding a 60-day foreclosure moratorium for all mortgage servicers. The foreclosure fraud debacle is also getting the attention of Washington, D.C. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords called for an immediate 90 day moratorium on foreclosures in her state. Now, there is talk of federal investigations into the alleged foreclosure fraud fiasco.
Zerohedge.com boldly made this prediction and assessment last week, “We predict that within a week, all banks will halt every foreclosure currently in process. Within a month, all foreclosures executed within the past 2-3 years will be retried, and millions of existing home sales will be put in jeopardy. And like that, mortgage fraud goes global.” (Click here to go to zerohedge.com)
I predict that the deeper federal and state authorities dig into foreclosure fraud, the worse the big banks will look. So, could foreclosure fraud cause another banking meltdown? We are going to find out–and soon.
Instead of recognizing Jaime Dimon’s cynicism the MSM is praising his humanitarian for suspending foreclosures. This action has been forced on the banks because of their lack of humanity and plethora of arrogance and indolence. This is a double edged sword as it is likely that those in default will never repay but continue to possess these properties while those not in default will continue to repay.
Greg, If BOA / JPM Chase and others create documents, sign them under penalty of perjury and they are fraudulent; why are the signatories not in jail? I thought perjury is a big deal. I am not saying that people should get free houses but I think that there should be some penalties for the banks.
As always, thanks for the great article….Although I will say that when I clicked the video and realize it that “Grayson”…I don’t see him as credible. He’s a loon but then I guess the law of averages says even a blind hog finds an acorn on occasion. And if anyone is thinking that I am inferring that Grayson is a blind hog; very insightful.
There is another problem, the “banksters” have forclosed properties here in Milwaukee,WI and are doing nothing to maintain those properties. So they sit empty for months. As they sit empty guess what happens, vandalism and neglect.
My wife is a member of Common Ground and around the third week of October there will be a meeting with officials of Bank America, Deutsche bank, and others to deal with getting those properties back on the market and maintained. Republicans and Democrats are just ignoring the problem. I’ll be glad to share what happens in those meetings.
Thanks Greg for reporting on this.
Who wants to take the bet take foreclosure will resume after the election.
I will take that bet. This is a much larger problem than folks realize. We have the Community Revitalization Act to thank for this. I don’t believe there was predatory lending in the sense that most understand it. No one can be forced to take out a mortgage. The packaging and reselling of these government forced loans (banks coerced to adopt stupid lending practices) are now bankrupting the nation.
I fully expect the progressives responsible for this situation, democrat and republican, to be re elected and the disaster that Greg has predicted to occur.
Ignoring reality and human nature always results in tears.
Let me see if I get this right. The lawyers who make a fortune as transaction intermediaries in realestate settlements— those parasites who skim off thousands while forcing you to sign dozens of documents that are written with arcane terms that only they can understand—- are now lining up on the mother of all paydays because of a glitch in the document process. Beem me up Scottie!
I am sceptical of anything that Grayson and Giffords say or do. Their track-record is not the best.
A friend bought a house where the paperwork was in limbo as described above. They straighened out the mess, but I hope they have a clear title.
Great job, Greg! If the above information doesn’t make one’s blood boil, this short video definitely will! It explains why the banks have absolutely no incentive to do loan modifications or help home borrowers:
It’s time to stick it to the banksters and gangsters!
Simple answer… yes!!! It can and would cause another economic collapse… mostly likely the worst one in history. But will it? Proabbly not! Why? Because they will do everything they can to cover the truth about what really happened and is happening. I have known about all of this for 10 months now and others have known about it far longer. Why is it just making it into the mainstream news which is downplaying the seriouness of this situation! Document review? How about fraud, forgery, theft by deception, etc.
The ramifications are potentially mind boggling! For instance, should those who have bought a foreclosed home continue making payments? Should home insurers honor claims? Who owes the property taxes? Are there enough lawyers on the planet to get this mess straightened out!? How can I profit off it?
So what becomes of us honest folks (the few of us) who want to buy a home but got priced out because of the masses overbidding on real estate (and of course, the banks enabling it)? Now these people get to live in these house for free for even longer?? And my wife & I who tried to act responsibly have to continue renting, instead of picking up a nice foreclosure, which should be in abundance. Nice system. By the way, where’s the proof that the homeowner owns the house? If the banks can’t prove it, the homeowners should have to.
Which way to a sane country?
A case in Kansas several months ago was the canary in this toxic mineshaft. The court held and the state Supreme Court upheld the requirement to physically produce the promissory note in court. Since the mortgage was part of a CDO and had to remain in the securitized bundle under securities law, the note could not make its way to the courtroom. The judge ruled ‘no note, no foreclosure.’ In a related story just last week, a buyer via short sale of a property mortgaged by B of A et al learned that his free-and-clear property was STILL being foreclosed by B of A! The foreclosure was vacated only to be reinstated by B of A lawyers the very next day! It’s time to revamp our laws to provide for mandatory incarceration of the fraudsters/banksters in these cases. No wonder the banksters believe and contribute to politicians who push Reagan’s absurdity that government is always the problem.
Since they bundled the mortgage in a CDO to profit from it further not considering the ramifications, they deserve the results. They were only thinking about themselves and the mortgage as a tradeable asset, not that it reflected a “home” for a family. It’s shameful behavior.
As for the free and clear property controversy, it’s either a clear title or it’s not. If the buyer paid for a title search and found the property to be clear only to have BofA attempt foreclosure, they should be able to go back to the title company on this issue.
Good article, Greg.
I love ZeroHedge, but they can be a bit over the top. Your concern adds credibility to their (and Karl Denninger’s et al.) concern.
It should be an ‘interesting’ fall and winter.
The congress people take money from corporations pass laws to benefit those corporations. 3000 people murder on 911 and the people who investigated 911 don’t believe they had a full and fair investigation in to the facts of what happen on that day. Without civil law you will end up with civil war. We are living in a lawless land a third world were the leaders change the rule of law as they would change there underwear. I like Greyson he a little nuts but says what he thinks. What ever happen to that two trillion dollars missing from the pentagon.It was being investigated before 911. PEACE
I am very upset at this whole debacle. In 2008, I was injured and could not work for several months. We ran out of money and couldn’t pay any bills. After several months I was able to work again. During my illness the bank filed to foreclose. Since I live in California the bank (Chase) was required to offer a loan modification plan before filing a notice which they did. My wife and I have lived in our home for 23 years and raised our family here so we were very much interested in a loan modification. To make a long story short, the bank was not really interested in giving us a mod. They only gave lip service to the process so they could foreclose. I came to this conclusion due to the fact we were never given a direct human (email, phone, etc.) contact for the process and we would be contacted every few months by some new Chase/Wamu rep telling us that our documents (paycheck stubs, etc) were stale and we needed to resubmit new ones. This went on for almost one year. We finally gave up and went the short sale route. We were successful but Chase tried to pull a fast one by slipping a letter in the escrow documents that would have made us responsible for the difference between the selling price and the original loan amount. I demanded and got a letter letting us off the hook. The story didn’t end here though. A representative from Chase/Wamu contacted me several months after the short sale closed and demanded the difference money anyway. I faxed here my copy of the Chase letter since she said she could not find it herself. A month went by and she called again and acted as if she never received the fax and needed another copy. We did this three times until she finally said she got the fax and the problem was “off her desk”. Done? No! What she meant was that she had sent it to a collection agency which DOUBLED the original amount. I sent them my copy of the letter and so far have heard nothing back… As a side note, the Chase/Wamu rep was very surprised that I had this letter. She indicated that 99 times out of 100 nobody had this type of letter. In other words, Chase/Wamu was screwing every short sale out of the difference amount.
Wamu was the originator of the loan and they were a piece of work as well. When we first got the loan it was supposed to be a fully amortized, 30 year fixed rate loan with no extra fees. Something weird happened when we got our payment coupons: the payment amount was about $10 more than the generic online amortization tables indicated. Parenthetically this is $3600 over the life of the loan but unnoticeable on a monthly scale. Interestingly, when we got our first monthly statement there was no money put towards principle. This went on for six months. I kept contacting the bank and the loan officer and they all played dumb. It turned out that the six months of principle was, hey coincidence, $3600. Basically they stole money from the loan. Note there was no loan fee of any kind and they ever explained this.
Now I am a renter and my wife is broken hearted.
Enjoy your blog Greg. Keep up the great work. The media is so corruptrd today, your work is a beacon!! Rick
“Could Foreclosure Fraud Cause Another Banking Meltdown?”
No. Why? Simply because the original banking meltdown never ended.
It was only plastered over with close to a trillion Federal Reserve notes.
This appears to be just another step in the Fall of the American Empire.
There are many more steps down this slippery slope of fraud and deceit.
Just wait for the CON-gress to voice its indignation at this.
The nerve of THOSE lawyers out-frauding US lawyers !
Many thanks to Greg for the article and to Barbara Ann
and Leslie for your incredible contributions. I am in awe.
This is the exact point where a grown up needs to come into the room and send everyone home because of blatant buggery and in general just being plain nasty. What’s it going to take to prosecute fraud in the US? Do we even have a US justice department anymore? Once unheard of corkscrewing, back stabbing and dirty dealing is now the norm, is this what civilization has become
What?? Actual criminal practices going on behind the bank/lender/mortgage/hedge fund/securities/lawyer scene??? no way. The day i believe that is the day i see the lehman bros go bankr…oh wait…..okay, the day i see the taxpayers bail out the banking indust….oh wait…..okay, This is like saying there are senate seats up for sale or that obamacare will actually INCREASE health costs…….OOHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Greg Hunter is the only reporter i dont just laugh uncontrollably at. One of the last few combat correspondants for the people!!!
This is the last straw for me. I am no longer paying mortgage. If others are getting off the hook, I might as well too. There is nothing to lose by acting disobedient in his system anymore. In fact, bad behavior is rewarded! I saw this loophole last year but have decided now is the time to stress-test the system. If everyone joins in the movement to get free homes, there will be too much work for the thugs to deal with. Everyone’s doing it! Jump on the bandwagon and get our country back from these evil souls who stole it.
The mortgage foreclosure moratorium which was announced the last week in September 2010, by a number of banks, reinforces FASB 157 and current stock market real estate values, PSR, by continuing the bank’s FASB 157 entitlement, to mark real estate at the manager’s best estimate rather than mark to market; and continues the surreal and overstated value of the real estate market on the for sale market place, and continues the entitlement to millions to live payment free in the mortgaged property. I believe that this imbroglio, this mortgage morass, will continue until the Banks, KBE, and until the Excess Reserves residing at the Federal Reserve, are both significantly market place decreased in value. Then once the banks go hurting for cash flow, a Financial Regulator, a Credit Seignior, will announce, that is decree, that the banks lease their REOs and delinquent properties to all non paying occupants. Given the mortgage foreclosure moratorium, and specifically questions about ability to deliver documented title, and the application of FASB 157, real estate sales, is now and will forever be, moribund.
Jim Sinclair writes more more exlamatically than I, “Racketeering suits (RICO), now as civil class action suits in two states, have hit the nail on the head. The civil suit says the banks do not have proper title to the homes on which they are foreclosing. This by direct inference questions if securitized debt on mortgages have real collateral behind them. Simply stated a long time ago by Marie McDonnell and myself, THEY DO NOT. That means legacy assets are cooked, dead, and worthless, yet are now marked up in value to cost and above. This is all thanks to FASB’s capitulation that now represents a large amount of capital for the Western world’s financial entities. The you know what hit the fan today for those that understand. October 4th 2010, the essence of securitized debt on mortgages died!”
Well, like I say … even more dramtically, I believe the mortgage foreclosure moratorium reinforces FASB 157.
How about Jp Mrgan Chase closing on a new home and me being locked out for 9 months and expecting me to pay the mortgage help ALlan 561-912-8173
This will put the last nail in the coffin for the banks, but the feds will create a shipload of monopoly money to paper over that crisis as well (YAY! I HAVE LOTS OF GOLD!).
As for the homeowners, they may have a loophole to keep a roof over their heads without making mortgage payments, but at some time in the future, they will want to sell the home, or borrow against it and that is when they will no longer be laughing.
Why bank have to foreclose the homes, which cannot be sold in current market condition ?
Let the owner stay in their home peacefully and collect what they can afford for now.
BANKS foreclose the homes and bring into their asset list.
WHICHEVER BANK FIRST FORECLOSE THE HOME BECOME OWNER OF THAT PROPERTY.
ONLY TO MARKUP ITS ASSET VALUE AND REDUCE THEIR RESERVE CASH.
To Quote Jim Sinclair: RICO, OCT,4,2010,The essence of securitized debt on mortgages DIED! Jim hit the nail on the head,these banksters,lawyers,progressive politicians whos deal with the devil(the Rothschild’s & their agents)has come back to bite them but will most likely get off scott free as millions of Americans suffer due to the actions of the fed & its agents. I feel sad for these home owners who have been duped out of their homes,now i have found that my own mortgage company has been adding a extra charge each month for the last 3 months & they will not tell me what the fee is for. It’s time for me to put the fighting gloves on.!
Just to Greg to cover this topic: If the states default on their debt, who owns it? The foreigners. Are the states being nailed to the wall to sell out our country? This is a huge issue.
Illinois Pays More Than Mexico as Cash-Strapped States Sell Bonds Overseas
By William Selway – Oct 5, 2010 12:01 AM ET
Illinois capital-markets director John Sinsheimer and Citigroup Inc. bankers took a globe-girdling trip from the U.K. to China in June to persuade investors that the state’s $900 million of Build America Bonds were a bargain.
The seven-country visit worked. The state sold one-fifth of the federally subsidized securities abroad the next month, tapping investors who are the fastest-growing source of borrowed cash for U.S. municipalities. Illinois, with the lowest credit rating of any state from Moody’s Investors Service, dangled yields higher than Mexico, which defaulted on debt in 1982, and Portugal, which costs more to insure against missed payments.
“U.S. states are among the cheapest sovereign credits in the world,” said Patrick Brett, a Citigroup banker who marketed the Illinois securities overseas. “You’re actually picking up a good amount of spread for arguably better credits relative to equivalently rated corporates and sovereigns.”
International ownership of U.S. municipal bonds jumped 37 percent in the first half of the year from the end of 2009 to $83 billion, a Sept. 17 Federal Reserve report shows. Spurring the growth are Build America Bonds, created by President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program to finance public-works projects. More than $140 billion of the debt has been sold in the 17-month-old market. About a quarter may have been bought overseas through June, saidMatt Fabian, an analyst with Concord, Massachusetts-based Municipal Market Advisors Inc.
“The more types of investors you have, the better the overall market,” said Fabian, based in Westport, Connecticut.
Those of us who are attorneys helping borrowers have known about this story for months. First it was the Chase robosigners admitting 18,000/month. Then it was GMAC and Stephan. BofA then ‘fessed up to the same problem. Now we have learned of a robosigner at Wells. With just these four we have admitted perjured affidavits in the neighborhood of 35,000 per month.
What is important is that these are just for 23 states that utilize a specific type of foreclosure. California is not one of the affected states. However, the general lender disregard for the truth is starting to haunt lenders even in non-judicial foreclosure states like CA. Judges are finally starting to overcome their bank bias (“The bank said it; so it must be right.). And I predict they will be furious when they realize how badly they have been had by the lying lenders.
Last week my 4,000 word article on why lenders are not doing loan mods was published. Along with the variety of bad faith reasons I cited, these new revelations show how truly the lenders believe they are above the law. They push through foreclosures on incomplete, inaccurate, and now even perjured documents, knowing that in 90% of the cases they will just bulldoze the homeowner, who will not resist.
But on a positive note, I just met with a client today who battled Chase and got a permanent modification. But it took 27 months!
Even most attorneys do not realize that in California, as of June 2009, many borrowers must be given mods by law, if they qualify. (Not true in 2008.) But our Atty General is too busy running for governor to bother taking the violating lenders to court. He’d rather hold press conferences talking about all his actions (like the C’wide settlement) that have been of no practical effect for borrowers. Ironically, he held another press conference in light of Chase’s admission, calling on Chase to suspend foreclosures in CA, apparently not realizing that the perjured affidavits were not used in CA foreclosures. Our AG should really read the law!
So the lenders, who first victimized borrowers with fraudulent marketing and deceptive loans, are victimizing them again with illegal foreclosures. And legislative solutions have been ill thought-out and poorly-enforced, if at all. This will not end well.
Anyone needing some investigative information regarding the following lenders, brokers, servicers, foreclosure mills, Title Companies, officers and notaries:
Litton Loan Servicing
LPS Title Company
The Wolf Firm, A Law Corp
Daniella Marie Garrett
Go to the link below:
I paid my NON-SUBPRIME mortgage for 7 years prior to marriage. When a foreclosure mill lawyer fraudulently foreclosed via a defunct lender’s identity, the courts castigated me for not cooperating with frauds being perpetrated upon me, as that lawyer used the defunct lender’s identity, and filed Bankruptcy “lift stay” motions and “proof of claim” documents under Wells Fargo’s name.
Years later, using the non-existent lender’s identity, a ‘simulated’ auction (in my absence) took place and an inside bid was made –even with a federal court Affidavit from a “SUCCESSOR” mortgage company. Still, the foreclosure lawyer had the property deed recorded into the name of the non-existent lender. Months later, the newspaper showed Freddie Mac as paying the non-existent lender over 86,000. Then, Wells Fargo filed a false IRS form 1099-A. I didn’t know Wells Fargo had gotten in on the act until I received an IRS tax bill.
It’s not simply loss of my home that ‘eats my lunch’, it’s such things as horrible, horrible YEARS of judicial abuses, privacy invasions, danger for my safety, blackballed from LAW employment, and other reprisals to which I am yet subjected due to APPALLING LAND GRAB racketeering (AKA) foreclosure. It is similar appalling injustices of which I know have happened to other people, merely because they also lawfully sought their rights to DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Simply put, I WANT MY LIFE BACK. *http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/
The ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (hiding in plain sight)
Because for more than 5 years, I have been sounding the alarm about FORECLOSURE DEBT COLLECTION abuses, I’m glad the fantastic occasion to expose the NUTS & BOLTS of the most ominous element of foreclosure fraud has finally come! I call it “the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM! I hope the Florida’s Attorney General prevails in investigating foreclosure mill firms who CLEARLY fabricate foreclosure documents!!
It is imperative that MILLS are investigated for INTENTIONALLY FABRICATING court documents because certain lawyers are engaged in SELF-DEALING FORECLOSURES. Most definitely, it is NOT A WASTE OF TAX PAYER MONEY to probe awful, underhanded illegalities surrounding foreclosures which have caused thousands of people to be UNLAWFULLY evicted and homeless –while unscrupulous lawyers became CRIMINALLY ENRICHED.
LONGSTANDING foreclosure frauds incorporate false 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 foreclosure defense lawsuits, and MISREPRESENT to their mortgage-clients that homeowners are delaying foreclosures, but actually its continual deceptive lawyers’ activities –while billing $$$$ to 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/.
LIKE AMERICA NEED JOBS, FORECLOSURE MILLS NEED INVESTIGATION. State Attorneys General everywhere now need to recognize the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM –which has been for a long time, hiding in plain sight: foreclosure mill fraud! *http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT FORECLOSURE AND MORTGAGE FRAUD
Foreclosures via deceptive and fraudulent proceedings enables repetitive, and illegal property flipping; it enables lenders to falsify IRS form 1099-A’’s; it enables unscrupulous foreclosure
mill lawyers (especially because of judges who purposefully abet deceit) to deceptively hold auctions and make insider bids to acquire those properties; and blighted neighborhoods. Fraudulent foreclosures ensure the success of FABRICATED BANKRUPTCY COURT ‘Lift Stay motions’ and false ‘Proof of Claims’.
Foreclosure via fraud is the reason for illegitimate homelessness and underhanded evictions, unjustified IRS tax bills due to false 1099-A’s, and unfair “Deficiency Judgments.” Ironically, some people who express their anger at “deadbeats” appear to be more acceptable about the manifest fraud and criminal activity being carried out by people with credentials to practice law. Equally ironic is the reality that some people pretending to be annoyed about deadbeats”are the actual people who are participating in real estate racketeering –fully sanctioned by the majority of courts, especially Bankruptcy Courts! @ http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/