Eliz Warren Joins with State Attorney Generals vs. Banks Seeking “Meaningful” Modification

Not surprisingly, the prospect of an alliance between Ms. Warren’s new bureau and a handful of activist attorneys general gives the banking industry the heebie-jeebies. At a panel at the Chamber of Commerce this week, Andrew Pincus, a lawyer with Mayer Brown, articulated their voluminous concerns.

Today, that same coalition of state prosecutors is the one driving the investigation into the mortgage foreclosure scandal. The key members of the coalition include Iowa — Mr. Miller headed up both the Household and Ameriquest investigations, just as he is heading up this one — as well as Washington State, Arizona, Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts. Because they know and trust one another, the coalition members can move quickly — as indeed they have. One advantage they have this time is that foreclosure is a state matter, not a federal one. The O.C.C. couldn’t intervene even if it wanted to.

they hope to use their investigation as a cudgel to force the big banks and servicers to do something they’ve long resisted: institute widespread, systematic loan modifications. “Instead of paying a huge fine,” Mr. Miller posited to me the other day, on his way to an election rally, “maybe have the servicers adequately fund a serious modification process.” Getting the banks and servicers to take loan modification seriously is another in a series of areas where the Obama Treasury Department has failed miserably.


October 29, 2010

The States Take on Foreclosures

By JOE NOCERA

Have you noticed that the lead dogs investigating the mortgage foreclosure mess are not any federal prosecutors or national bank regulators, but rather the state attorneys general? I sure have. I can’t think of a more encouraging development.

Yeah, yeah, a handful of federal investigations have also been announced, but we all know that they’re not going to amount to a hill of beans. Ever since the financial crisis began two years ago, the federal overseers of the banking industry have been consistently unwilling to take the rod to the institutions they regulate. The robo-signing scandal — and it is, unquestionably, a scandal — hasn’t changed that attitude one iota.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have made it clear that they are more concerned about keeping the foreclosure mill going full speed than they are about determining whether the banks broke the law. Somehow throwing people out of their homes quickly is supposed to help the economy. Or so they keep telling us.

Ah, but the states. They’re a different story. Soon after tales of robo-signing began making headlines, the state attorneys general, led by Tom Miller of Iowa, mobilized their forces. Practically overnight, all 50 of them agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the bank practices that led to the scandal.

Unlike the feds’ tepid efforts, this will be a serious investigation, led by a handful of assistant attorneys general who’ve worked together for years, and who see this as their chance to finally do something for beleaguered homeowners. They’ve got resources, subpoena power and a justifiable suspicion that the robo-signing shenanigans are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg.

And best of all, they have a very clear idea of what they are trying to accomplish. They don’t want to merely reform the foreclosure system (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it?). Nor do they particularly want a big financial settlement, which would be meaningless for a giant like Bank of America.

Rather, they hope to use their investigation as a cudgel to force the big banks and servicers to do something they’ve long resisted: institute widespread, systematic loan modifications. “Instead of paying a huge fine,” Mr. Miller posited to me the other day, on his way to an election rally, “maybe have the servicers adequately fund a serious modification process.” Getting the banks and servicers to take loan modification seriously is another in a series of areas where the Obama Treasury Department has failed miserably.

There’s one more reason to cheer the involvement of the states. During the bubble, it was the state attorneys general who first saw the problems in subprime lending. But whenever they tried to do something to halt the predatory lending and outright fraud, they were stopped cold by the federal bank regulators, who consistently sided with the banks in court. It is not too much to say that if the states had succeeded, the subprime crisis might never have occurred.

Now, with the mortgage foreclosure mess, they’re back — and the feds can’t stop them. It’s about time.

It should be obvious why state attorneys general were more attuned than the feds were to the problems with subprime lending: they weren’t cocooned in Washington. “The A.G.’s are much closer to these problems,” said Prentiss Cox, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. “They live in these communities. They know what the reality is on the ground.”

During the subprime bubble, homeowners who felt victimized by a mortgage originator or a bank could walk in the door of the attorney general’s office. Often, that’s exactly what they did. Employees in the A.G. offices looked at homeowners’ documents and interviewed them face-to-face — giving them a first-hand understanding of how bad things were. By contrast, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency set up an 800 number in Houston for aggrieved consumers.

Not that the O.C.C. ever really worried about the exploitation of consumers. On the contrary, the O.C.C. and the Office of Thrift Supervision, the two primary federal regulators of the banking industry, viewed their role, incredibly, as protecting banks from consumers rather than the other way around.

They consistently went to court to block efforts by states to put a stop to predatory lending. Their primary weapon was the doctrine of pre-emption, which said, in effect, that because the national banks were governed by federal rules, they were immune from state consumer protection laws. The success of both agencies in asserting pre-emption — which they also used as a marketing tool to make their charters more attractive to potential bank “clients” — actually forced some states to roll back their antipredatory lending laws.

“The federal regulators should have been listening to us instead of trying to shut us down,” said Mr. Cox, who at the time was an assistant attorney general in Minnesota in charge of consumer enforcement. “They weren’t interested in our perspective. They viewed our concerns as trivial.”

Though unable to touch national subprime lenders like Washington Mutual and Wachovia, the state A.G.’s weren’t completely neutered. Some of the worst subprime offenders, like Household Finance and Ameriquest, operated outside the national bank system — and the states were able to start significant investigations against them.

In 2002, for instance, a coalition of attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission settled a predatory lending suit against a subprime lender called First Alliance; it called for the company to pay up to $60 million to reimburse homeowners it had victimized. That same year, the A.G.’s reached a settlement with Household Finance for $484 million.

And in January 2006, the same coalition of A.G.’s reached a settlement with the worst bottom-feeder of them all, Ameriquest, which agreed to pay $325 million and reform its lending practices. So dependent was Ameriquest on fraudulent lending practices that it couldn’t survive once it had to stop using them. It shut down in the fall of 2008.

As impressive as these victories were, however, they had little impact beyond the individual institutions that had been brought to heel. Although the coalition of A.G.’s that went after Household Finance and Ameriquest absolutely understood how widespread predatory lending was, there was nothing they could do about that larger problem. All the mortgage institutions that came under the regulatory purview of the O.C.C. and the O.T.S. could keep on making the same kinds of predatory subprime loans even after Household and Ameriquest had been forced to stop. Their regulators were their enablers.

Today, that same coalition of state prosecutors is the one driving the investigation into the mortgage foreclosure scandal. The key members of the coalition include Iowa — Mr. Miller headed up both the Household and Ameriquest investigations, just as he is heading up this one — as well as Washington State, Arizona, Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts. Because they know and trust one another, the coalition members can move quickly — as indeed they have. One advantage they have this time is that foreclosure is a state matter, not a federal one. The O.C.C. couldn’t intervene even if it wanted to.

Of course they have another advantage this time around: times have changed. No federal regulator would have the nerve, post-financial crisis, to try to block the states from investigating the mortgage foreclosure scandal.

The law has changed too. As a result of the Dodd-Frank law, it will be much harder for a federal regulator to use pre-emption to shut down a state investigation into a financial institution. Under the new law, states can enforce their own state consumer laws against nationally chartered banks — even when those laws are stronger than any parallel federal law. And state attorneys general have been given the explicit right under the new law to enforce the rules and regulations that will soon emerge from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They might even get some federal money from the agency to help them do it.

Although the bureau won’t be up and running until next July, its current leader, Elizabeth Warren, has already signaled that she plans to encourage the states to take full advantage of their new powers. Mr. Miller has been in contact with her, as has Roy Cooper, the attorney general of North Carolina, who currently heads the National Association of Attorneys General.

“We have a very good relationship with them,” Mr. Miller said, referring to Ms. Warren and the other officials involved in setting up the new bureau. “We’re going to do great things for the American consumer,” he added enthusiastically.

Even though her bureau is not yet functional, Ms. Warren has already offered public support to the A.G.’s as they pursue the banks over the foreclosure mess. In other words, the state attorneys general finally have something in Washington they haven’t had in decades: an ally.

Not surprisingly, the prospect of an alliance between Ms. Warren’s new bureau and a handful of activist attorneys general gives the banking industry the heebie-jeebies. At a panel at the Chamber of Commerce this week, Andrew Pincus, a lawyer with Mayer Brown, articulated their voluminous concerns.

Would the new “federal cop,” as he called the consumer bureau, and the state A.G.’s go after institutions far smaller than the likes of Wells Fargo and Bank of America? Would their efforts hurt entrepreneurship and damp the availability of credit? Would an overly ambitious attorney general stretch the new rules to go after fraud when none truly existed? Wouldn’t there likely be a lot of duplication of effort?

“The bureau doesn’t even have the power to tell a state that it can’t take an enforcement action because it is misinterpreting the rule,” Mr. Pincus complained to me the day after the panel.

Well, maybe. But to my mind, we’re a long way from worrying about the potential abuses by state prosecutors. It’s the abuses by the banks we should be worried about. There’s nothing “potential” about them. They’re as real as they come.

And if the mortgage foreclosure scandal is finally the event that causes the banks to account for their sins, it will be because of the efforts of the state A.G.’s

You know what I say to that prospect? Hip-hip hooray.

39 Responses

  1. Good job on the HR 3808 massachusetts, NOW let’s bring down that thing called MERS! Then maybe this state will start to return to life.

  2. The AG’s are being stonewalled. “Meaningful Modifications” at this point are a JOKE.

    Far too many of us HAVE a permanent mod that was breached by the offender-pretender-lender. The mod was simply a setup for foreclosure.

    Someone needs to order new dentures for those who have not actively sold us out already. They need to get some teeth and some *****.

  3. I am disapointed in the news that I am hearing Martha. Please do not sell us out again. Make a stand for Mass. Vito the HR 3808 tomorrow. We will for sure have riots in the streets if this continues.

  4. Well Martha, you got the seat again how about some stand in Massachusetts against these crooks and not just a slap on the wrist with big fines payable to the State. Homeowners are counting on you, you cannot turn your head this time. I see other States here getting very pro-active.Be a hero.

  5. I have been paranoid for quite some time, and I rarely comment on weblogs like this one for that very reason…but I posted a comment this morning about my experience with the Cobb County Police in Georgia, and a strange thing happened not 30 minutes after I posted my comment: I went to sign in to my AOL email account, and a message popped up saying my email account had been “compromised” and that I needed to change my password immediately. Is it possible that someone in law enforcement saw my post and somehow was able to find out who made the disparaging remark? I recall that on foreclosure hamlet they said to make sure we changed our name and any other personally identifiable information so we could not be tracked down. Maybe it is just a coincidence, but my paranoia has increased dramatically today. Please…any comments would be appreciated.

  6. GO LISA!!

    Lisa did a fabulous job for us in her TV interview. Seen by millions.

    Thanks Lisa.

  7. After hitting “send”, I had second thoughts…perhaps my indictment of the Cobb County Police Department was hasty and uncalled for…perhaps it was just one uninformed officer, although he did during our conversation leave and “ask his supervisor”, so perhaps it was just TWO uninformed officers. What happened was not too surprising considering all I have read since my own house was taken in June of this year, it’s just that when it happens to YOU, it’s a little different. I had read the story of the elderly couple who called the police when they found men exiting their house with their personal property in tow…only to be told by the police that this was a “civil matter”…but when they tell YOU, it is somehow different…it’s Monday now…three days later…and my hands are literally shaking as I type this post….does anyone have any advice or a comment…or am I all alone?

  8. I discovered this past Friday that in Marietta, GA (Cobb County), that the police departments have obviously been paid off and are instruments of the banks. All I needed was a simple police report so my homeowners insurance would reimburse me for my personal property stolen prior to the foreclosure. The officer told me that this was a “civil matter” and that he would not take my report. He went on to “educate me” of the fact that, once the bank sent me a notice of default and intent to foreclose, that the bank not only owned my house and the land it sat on, but everything inside the house! He said they had a right to “do anything they wanted” and that I was wasting my time as well as his.

  9. Just look at this link> http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/29/news/economy/australians_real_estate/index.htm

    Soon enough at this rate the US of A will become the United States of Every Other Country in the World. We face the same ZOG threat as the Palestinians of life on planet Earth without any land to live on. AFTER THEY HAVE TAKEN OUR HOMELANDS WHERE WILL WE LIVE, WHERE WILL ZOG LET US LIVE ANTARCTICA, OR DOES ZOG THINK THAT THEY OWN THAT TOO?

  10. PJ said: “blame WS all you will and they are complicate do not get me wrong, but your elected officials and regulatory agencies”

    Right on the Money,
    I have said this before, yes the so-called ‘banks’ are engaging in criminal activity. But who’s more criminal, those perpetrating the fraud against us or the group of selected ‘officials’ who allow it to happen and help cover it up, and all the while purport to be acting in the capacity of our Government Branches that were created to protect us from these very same crimes and punish the criminals who did it?

    In all technicalities the people who are in unlawful and illegal occupation of OUR political institutions of government are unquestionably gulity of treason for seeking to unlawfully and illegally dispossess American land from Americans and illegally convey it to foreign interests effectively making it NO LONGER AMERICAN SOIL. And all the while trying to make it all legal unconstitutionally. LOOK UP>
    H.R.4539 – Real Estate Revitalization Act of 2010

  11. Got an excellent talk’s to today from a former top executive at the now defunct EAB here in NY… who reminded me that in the late 80’s federal regulators came to the bank consistantly and reviewed loan documents… as he said at that point in time there were 4 loan products that were available to the public, by the time EAB was absorbed by American Home Mortgage there were over a 1000 loan products available… and as they say… there you go, and here we are 30 years later paying for the agenda.

    His account of the constant “government hounding” and snooping with threats of loosing their state charter under CRA to provide loans to unqualified borrowers was astounding… blame WS all you will and they are complicate do not get me wrong, but your elected officials and regulatory agencies are the ones that gave keys to that candy shop away to the people that keep them in office….

  12. PJ,

    Agree with what you state – –“Your “pretender lender” is no more then an arms lenght away from your elected official!”

    Cover-up – by all.

  13. Stupidness Man – Deafened to Logic – Fool to Translation,
    Where was I wrong? You basically validated most of what I said, that she’s a Homeowner/Consumer Advocate (A “Good Guy”) which was a compliment and you said: “Clearly she has been a leader in raising the public awareness” which is what would make her a prime target for infiltration from the Banks/Media/Government. You should read that post again, I said nothing negative about her and in fact complained that she should have been permitted to speak her own mind. Maybe your fine with being used like a Sesame Street Muppet to spit out someone elses words, but it certainly looked to me like she was uncomfortable doing it. And I think she is a GREAT person (never thought otherwise), but I do see her as someone that “they” will think they can manipulate and I don’t want that to happen. So if you are as close as you say, do us all a favor and look out for her and make sure that doesn’t happen. All I was pointing out was that MSNBC had shown a ‘sudden interest’ in “support” of what she had to say on the issue, but then was already prepared to provide the content of what she would say. Doesn’t it seem strange (or obvious) that they would invite someone to appaer on their show and have a serious “discussion” on the issue by getting the opinion of whom they invited, but then be the author of that opinion? And if you’ve ever cared to notice MSNBC, does that with everyone who they have come on I think.

  14. I think Epstein did great for her first national appearance. She will get even better as she does more of those.

  15. @ Dying Truth:

    I don’t mean to begin a flame war here but…. You couldn’t be more wrong about Lisa Epstein of Foreclosure Hamlet.

    As a pro se litigant she has been responsible for “waking up” the Florida defensive bar, has done untold hours of research in courthouse file rooms, has authored comments adopted by the Florida Supreme Court, was instrumental in defeating the bill to convert Florida from a judicial foreclosure state to a non-judicial foreclosure state, has connected untold numbers of people together through her website…. Her list of efforts could go on for some time. Clearly she has been a leader in raising the public awareness of the consistently fraudulent behavior of the “banks.”

    I have know her personally for some time and in addition to appreciating her relentless efforts on behalf of all victims of this fraud consider her to be a dear friend.

    One thing she is not is a professional pundit and she is completely unaccustomed to presenting herself on national TV to an audience of millions. Rather unnerving I expect. That she availed herself of an opportunity to compile notes to refer to during her interview should come as no surprise.

  16. Mass needs some much better consumer law other than 90 day and non-judicial. We need our courts to hear these home owners out with MERS being a non-entity for any rights or ownership. It continues to happen here that MERS is being allowed to assign and forclose. Let’s get real. I have never seen this state in such a disarray. No one will be living here to pay the tax base soon.And there are NO MEANINGFUL JOBS. We were once a sought out state for our pay scale and positions.Give our homes back so this state can come alive again.There is no MEANINGFUL modifacations. We have all had our 401k’s and savings drained from these fraudster’s. No more pocket deals with the Big Banks, they should be allowed to fail. Someone will pick up belive me.

  17. “Two years ago, it wasn’t about me,” Obama said. “It was about you and this country. … You cannot stop now.”

    You are so right Mr. President! We cannot stop the foreclosure mills. We cannot stop the deaf-eared judiciary! We cannot stop the fraudulent affidavits! We especially cannot stop those in your administration, from HUD, to the FDIC, to the fed, and especially the treasury, who see fit to ignore this HUGE elephant in the room that’s threatening to squat and defile state’s rights and the constitution, all in one fell swoop!

    We’re simply deadbeats, who cannot stop much of anything anymore.

  18. “Coming to a rally isn’t the hard part,” Obama told the crowd at Temple University today. “I need 20,000 doors knocked on.”

    Uh….sorry Mr. President. There’s no one left in those homes behind the 20,000 doors. However, there’s a whole lot of people camping out in that tent city under the bridge. Would you like us to go over there and unzip their rainflys for you?

  19. DONT BE FOOLED AGAIN!!!! The current “administration” is demanding under a pre determined agenda that the American people accept that TWO WRONGS will make a right…. through false promises and agenda’s made long ago… they and their bennifactor will reap the rewards , while leaving you and everyone else in the dust….

    Your “pretender lender” is no more then an arms lenght away from your elected official!

  20. Karl Denninger’s got a great post today, as he always does…..defining and refining this mess….

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=170774

  21. HEY EVERYONE WATCH THIS VIDEO, for a fresh reminder that the “news” we’re constantly being fed through all major and minor media outlets as well as a good portion of the various websites reporting on these issues in articles is almost complete pre-printed propaganda script with an agenda.
    FORECLOSURE HAMLET – BILL BLACK – MSNBC
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39836703#39836703

    Okay, Foreclosure Hamlet is a Homeowner/Consumer Activist/Advocate Blogger of sorts somewhat similar to this site located on the east coast in Florida.
    !!SO WHY THE HELL WAS SHE READING A SCRIPT OFF THE TELEPROMPTER SOMEONE ELSE WROTE AND NOT PERMITTED TO GIVE HER OWN OPINION?!!

    This is something I’d concern myself with based upon instincts a long time ago and is actually a common strategy of those seeking absolute power. Offer an alliance (either falsey in support of or outright proposing betrayal) with key individuals who are well respected and instrumental in making any opposition effective. Then use those person(s) and their influence on the larger majority of the opposition to attempt to either gain their trust through deception, shift their opinion (misdirection) causing them to lose focus of their objectives or both. In any event, in my opinion I say we should all rely on our insticts when making any judgment calls about the “news” that’s all of the sudden being catered to us and what could be the agenda of the persons serving it.

  22. This case was dismissed with Prejudice – Who is the Robot Signor in your case ?

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/37949771/Motion-for-Sanction-of-Dismissal-With-Prejudice

    34 ODIS – ORDER OF DISMISSAL Book 024150 – Page 00206
    Filing Date: 18-OCT-2010
    Filing Party:
    Disposition Amount:
    Docket Text: (FINAL) WITH PREJUDICE AND DIRECTING THE CLERK TO RELEAS DOCUMENT OF PLF 10/18/10
    AS – REDISPOSED 34
    Filing Date: 18-OCT-2010
    Filing Party:
    Disposition Amount:
    Docket Text: none.
    35 ADCO – ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED OUT
    Filing Date: 21-OCT-2010
    Filing Party:
    Disposition Amount:
    Docket Text: DISMISSED BEFORE HEARING (SETTLED) DTD OCTOBER 18, 2010 JUDGE GARRISON
    DBO – DISPOSED BEFORE OTHER 35
    Filing Date: 21-OCT-2010
    Filing Party:
    Disposition Amount:
    Docket Text: none.
    36 STOR – STIPULATION AND ORDER
    Filing Date: 27-OCT-2010
    Filing Party:
    Disposition Amount:
    Docket Text: JOINT AND FINAL – OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE – HEREBY DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. DTD OCTOBER 19, 2010 JUDGE GARRISON

    Loading…

  23. I was furious when I watched the video and President Obama called us deadbeats!
    Is he so blind that he can’t see the injustice, does he not get updated on what is going during his watch?
    Will Foreclosuregate be his legacy to history?
    Is this what he wants to be remembered as, the president who twiddled his thumbs while the nation collapsed when he could have saved us?
    Is this proof that he favors big banks over working people?
    Does he realize that he too, has been a victim of mortgage fraud on his own two mortgages?
    Or does it not matter since he now lives in the Whitehouse?
    Disillusioned and disgusted!

  24. Perfect solution:

    Have each state open accounts that would receive the payments from borrowers. To obtain the payments from these escrow accounts, each of the pretender-lenders would need to supply the original note and original Deed of Trust AND the complete correct assignment chain. That would be submitted and the borrower would be given 60 days to dispute the documentation. All credits based on any type of ‘insurance’ would have to be disclosed and properly credited to each loan. If servicer/lender and borrower agree, then the payments in the escrow would go the the servicer/lender and future payments would go directly to same. If any defect was found, the state would continue to control the esrow for all payments on the loan.

    For borrowers already in a dispute or in arrears, the pretender-lender would have to supply the same information as listed above and the borrowers would have that same 60 day period to dispute the information. If the documentation reveals any problem, any foreclosure action would immediately cease.

    If the documentation supplied reveals clouded titles for either group of borrowers, stream-lined Quiet Title actions would be demanded by the state Department of Justice.

    For cases where there was no clouded title but some monetary dispute exists, there would be an offer of arbitration or mediation. If that failed, the state would need to fine any lender that refused to correct any problem. A fine of some significant percent of the mortgage value would need to be set. (Make it more costly to refuse to negotiate.) No payments would be due and no interest would accrue under a loan that was in this ‘standoff’ situation.

    The only foreclosures that would go forward would be cases where no title or documentation problems existed and the borrowers could not make payments that represented an amortized loan set to 80% of current market value with an interest rate of 2%

    This may have some legal sticking points, but it would be fairer than the current MESS by FAR!

    Smoke that Obama!

  25. I love Elizabeth Warren, but we don’t need modifications, we need justice and restitution!

    Here are the reasons we all need to start suing the lenders and all their cronies.
    They are bold, coldhearted criminals, that make Al Capone look like purse snatcher.
    We need to focus on the crimes committed because even President Obama believes that this is merely a bad case of deadbeat borrowers and if enough people can get a modification everything will be just peachy.

    SUE THE BASTARDS!
    THEY HAVE COMMITTED:

    Embezzlement

    To embezzle means to take another’s money and property through abuse of an official job or position of trust. Embezzlement can take many forms. An accountant might use sophisticated methods to falsify records and skim profits. A bank teller might walk home with an extra $20 from his or her drawer. Both of these actions constitute embezzlement.
    False Statements

    The crime of making false statements is not specific to white collar criminals, but this crime is broad enough to encompass activities that might not be unlawful if not for associated false statements. To convict someone of false statements requires proof of a statement made willfully and knowingly that contains a false material fact or conceals a material fact.
    Fraud

    Fraud is intentionally lying in order to induce someone into relying upon the lie to part with something of value. Like embezzlement, fraud can be either complex or simple. The federal government has three general anti-fraud statutes for mail fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. Mail fraud has two elements: (1) a scheme devised or intending to defraud or for obtaining property or money by fraudulent means, and (2) using the mails in furtherance of that fraudulent scheme. The “scheme to defraud” element of mail fraud is deliberately broad. It encompasses a wide variety of criminal activity, including credit card fraud, securities fraud, medical drug fraud, and frauds based on political malfeasance. Because the mail fraud statute uses such broad language and because it is relatively easy to prove, mail fraud is one of the most common charges brought by federal prosecutors. Charges of mail fraud frequently are made even in cases in which more specific crimes have been charged.

    The federal wire fraud statute is similar to the mail fraud statute, but requires an interstate or foreign transmittal of a communication by wire, radio, or television. The federal bank fraud statute criminalizes the conduct of any party who “knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”
    Obstruction of Justice

    Obstruction of justice is interference in one of the three branches of government. Obstruction of justice can take many forms, including assaulting a process server, improperly influencing a juror, stealing or altering a record of process, and obstructing a criminal investigation by officers of a financial institution. Picketing, parading, or using sound amplification devices in front of a courthouse, building or residence occupied by a judge, juror, witness, or court officer may be prosecuted as obstruction of justice.
    Perjury

    Federal perjury laws penalize anyone who willfully or knowingly makes false statements under oath. The sworn statements may be written or oral and need not be made in court; a person may perjure himself or herself in deposition or written testimony. A related law against subornation of perjury makes it illegal for anyone to procure another person to commit perjury.
    Tax Crimes

    Often, a person charged with other white collar crimes is accused of committing a tax crime also. Failing to file a tax return or filing a false tax return is a crime, as is interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws. Specific laws prohibit obstruction, extortion, or bribery with regard to a tax official.
    Defenses and Punishment

    In some criminal trials, the prosecutor proves all the elements of a crime but the person accused is not punished because he or she has a valid defense.

    Self-defense sometimes is used as a defense. The general rule for self-defense is that a person may use any amount of force except deadly force that he or she reasonably believes is necessary to prevent immediate unlawful harm to a person. Using deadly force is permissible only when it reasonably appears to be necessary to avoid immediate death or serious injury to a person, or to prevent the commission of a felony in the actor’s dwelling. If a person claims that he or she acted in self-defense, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense was not the reason for the crime.

    By itself, intoxication is not a defense to a crime. In rare cases, intoxication works like a defense, if there is proof that the person accused of the crime was unable to form the necessary intent to commit a crime. Someone who is intoxicated may not be found guilty of a crime that requires he or she acted intentionally, but the intoxicated person may be guilty of another crime that does not require intentional actions.

    In the area of white collar crime, the same defenses are available to defendants as those available in crimes generally. Some people accused of white collar crimes also claim entrapment by the government; they argue they were induced to act, and would not have acted unlawfully otherwise. Another common defense by businesses is that a particular businessperson was acting alone, without the authority of the company behind him or her. Businesses further argue that once it was discovered that an officer or employee was acting unlawfully, the business acted immediately to resolve the situation. Sometimes a business avoids criminal liability altogether if it shows that it took proper action to correct a situation as soon as managers were made aware of a problem.

    Felonies and white collar crimes carry the strictest punishments, such as lengthy imprisonment, heavy fines, or death. Federal sentencing guidelines contain a method for calculating fines to be paid by organizations that commit crimes. Businesses that are found guilty of operating for a primarily criminal purpose incur fines equal to their total assets.

    Texas law also allows courts to forfeit property, dissolve a corporation, cancel or suspend a license or permit, remove a person from office, or impose a citation or civil penalty. For example, a person convicted of a crime involving controlled substances must forfeit the controlled substances as well as any property used to further the crime.

  26. Obama is the dead beat !

  27. Zoe I agree with you and hopefully the Attorney Generals will see that they do not have a choice and that the cheapest route is for the pretender lenders stop making claims to our properties.

    Because they already allegedly sold the loans a few times. Commited perjury forgery lying to the courts etc….

    But the Attorney Generals and in my opinion the local District attornys got to get involved.

  28. How about convincing people that are making their payment to demand their money back.

    They can continue to make payments to a trust fund or escrow account.

    Write and demand a QWR.

    There goes the deadbeat issue once and for all.

    This can only be done with we the people. So let the people do what they need to do.

  29. It stuns me that so many “investigators” keep referring to the servicer doing a loan mod, meaningful or not. If no one can verify exactly which lender has legal standing, how can the servicer legally change a loan?
    To my understanding, banks don’t have legal standing to do the loan mod any more than they do the foreclosure. Am I right, or did I miss something?

    It seems to me, the other issue is loan mods are not permanent, and the payment shortage continues accruing. The borrowers would be in worse financial condition at the end of the modification, so more defaults are sure to follow. Not to mention, the shortages and fees continue while waiting for the loan mod process. Yet by meeting the demands of the “meaningful loan modifications,” the banks would have given their pound of flesh for the fraud.

    We need to organize all the homeowners who “get it!” Not for marches in the street, but to secure group appointments with states AGs, sheriffs, and other elected officials to discuss the truth of the chain of title and our land records. Pack their offices with irate but orderly homeowners, including those who are not in or near default.

    When I talk to family and friends, I am shocked that all they know about this comes from the sound bites about deadbeats, a term even Obama used yesterday. When I tell others the truth, they are shocked that this affects 60+ million homes, both in default and not in default. They are angered when I explain that they might be paying payments to the wrong bank and may never get a clear title to their property.

  30. “they hope to use their investigation as a cudgel to force the big banks and servicers to do something they’ve long resisted: institute widespread, systematic loan modifications.”

    How do you modify something that you do not own in the first place to modify?

    We are on our own as they are not going to do anything about the fraud.

  31. I am cynical and do think that AG will do more that levy fines and promises of banks trying harder.

    Unless Title issues are settled once & for all in every state with massive principal correction if banks can prove ownership of loan, with proper assignments .

    Then this is just another kick the can pr move.

  32. IF the Attorney Generals are really serious, then they will simply write a public open letter urgently requesting each governor, to simply do an executive order to shut down all bank securitized foreclosures, until ALL of these illegalities are worked out of each and every single loan.

    Anything less is another cruel diversionary tactic like HAMP; while you all are being outed out of your homes, one by one for Thanksgiving & the Holidays.

    Know them by their fruits, not words.

    Give this one week – then do a checklist of states.

  33. “Meaningful modification” from an entity that can’t prove its right to the property? I don’t think so. In most of these cases the deed and note have been separated, and that’s the real problem. Who really owns the property and is the note secured or unsecured?
    If 60 million homes are in this iffy title situation, what is the real value of real estate?

  34. Agree wholeheartedly concerned. I have a CW mod in which they failed to live up to their side, botching all attempts at an accounting, then adding in late fees on top of late fees, when I was never late.

    Nothing short of restitution in whole and prosecution of these idiots will suffice.

  35. What happened to our federal government? How did it get so corrupt? Our government is so obviously corrupt that the rest of the world is laughing or wants to sue the US. I do not see how this can continue, because the rest of the world knows about the scandal. We no longer operate in a bubble; we have to interact and do business with the rest of the world. Some countries have said that they do not want to do banking business with the US until we restructure the entire banking system. Mostly for myself, I had to sue AHMSI in order to even be considered by a living entity for a loan mod. I hope our attorneys general can make a difference in this mess. http://www.challengingforeclosure.com Sirak@challengingforeclosure.com

  36. BTW, ‘a MEANINGFUL Modification’, in my instance, would have to deal with the fact that I HAVE a BREACHED-by-BofA/Litton PERMANENT MOD. On top of that, I have the documents that show fraudulent activity during the foreclosure. The mod I have was one that was offered as part of the CA AG settlement over CoountryWide’s sub-prime loans – those mods were to be offered to some of us to make up for fraud present in the loans and the advertising of the loans.

    Debra Lyman of Litton needs to be dis-barred in Texas.

    Given all the time and trouble and costs of defending title, I would have to have MORE than just an adjustment of the principle to current market value. I have been substantially harmed by the frauds committed and defense of title has taken time from my business – time that would have brought in more money.

    I foolishly allowed an inept attorney to fight for the existing modification, at considerable expense. I am still fighting, over a year later, after making those modified payments for nearly a year, to no avail. Litton wanted me to start over, pre-qualifying for an MHA when I already had a signed mod that was supposed t o be permanent! (Existing mod is a CA AG mod per the CountryWide/BofA settlement).

    Ms. Warren, for people like myself, any modification program would have to have an up-front offer, not the malarkey that has been the trademark of the Obama administration or even the inept result from the CA AG’s modifications with CountryWide.

  37. ~~”Andrew Pincus, a lawyer with Mayer Brown, articulated their voluminous concerns….would their efforts hurt entrepreneurship and damp the availability of credit?”~~

    Exactly what credit would you be referring to?

  38. Have the AG’s established any combined listing of the offender-pretender-lenders and sham-servicing companies? (I say sham-servicers because some of them are actually no more than debt collectors masquerading as servicers.)

    I believe this could actually be beneficial when dealing with a state-(of-Texas)-regulated entity such as Litton Loan Servicing. Litton has a fair number of loans that they are involved with for either BoNY-Mellon or Bank of America (or both in collusion).

    I’m in a different state than Texas. Litton has attempted to use MERS to sign documents on the part of business entities that no longer exist and have not for 2 years on the date of signing and notarizing assignment documents.

    Also, Litton employees have signed documents where the notary’s signature is most likely robo-signed – the signatures differ EXTREMELY. Even the Litton employees that sign as the MERS assistant VP has varied signatures also in evidence on a search of the web.

    Perhaps we can get the term ‘offender-pretender-lender’ usage picked up by the national media so that it can drown out the ‘dead-beat-borrower’ theme.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: