BANKS DEFRAUDING TAXPAYERS FACE FATE OF AL CAPONE

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  Somehow this particular article escaped me when it was published by Huffington Post. Like all the other allegations against the participants in the mortgage securitization hoax, the underlying theme is that the major banks simply lied about the ownership, value and nature of the mortgage assets. In this case the government paid them based upon their naked representation that the mortgage liens had been perfected and properly transferred.

 So far the banks have been successful, for the most part, in convincing the public and the courts that the mortgage liens have been perfected and properly transferred in all cases where claims of “ownership” were based upon securitization of debt. But in every case where professionals have been employed and have taken the time to carefully examine both the money trail and the document trail they have reached the conclusion that the documents and the handling of the money has been at best fatally defective and at worst fraudulent, forged,  and fabricated.

 The victims of this hoax include every taxpayer, consumer, homeowner and business in the entire country. As the lawsuits multiply and as the attorney general of each state comes to realize the political risk of siding with the banks, it will become obvious that we are all affected regardless of whether we are directly involved in the foreclosure process or merely suffering the results of collateral damage.

 The debates regarding the debt ceiling, spending and the tax code are mere distractions from the enforcement of existing tax liability of the participants in the massive securitization hoax. As taxpayers we have given the banks considerable resources to kick the can down the road. But the ultimate result cannot be disputed. Trillions of dollars are owed to the federal government, state governments and local governments on transactions that were either not reported at all or were reported with the intent to deceive those governments and deprive them of revenue.

The missing revenue together with the fraudulent receipt of payments from taxpayers for nonexistent or fraudulently represented mortgages and mortgage assets constitute all of the “deficit” that has been reported for all the governmental  entities that supposedly are in distress, bankrupt were subject to downgrade in their credit ratings.

 Simply stated, the deficit money is sitting on Wall Street or offshore under the control of those who control the Wall Street entities that perpetrated the grand securitization hoax. The same is true for individual consumers and homeowners. The scope of the securitization hoax included but was not limited to home loans, credit cards, student loans, auto loans and virtually every other kind of debt imaginable. Lately we have been receiving reports that the securitization hoax is expanding its scope to include life insurance. By inducing those who would otherwise not purchased life insurance (perhaps because they could not afford it) or who would purchase a contract from a life insurance carrier that was not involved in securitization, Wall Street is creating a vehicle which for the first time institutionalizes the motivation to deprive people of their lives.

 There are many permutations of the securitization hoax. The bottom line is that the vendor of the financial products sold to the consumer is not taking any risk, but is being paid, like an actor. In this way Wall Street is essentially the primary actor in the sale of financial products, like all mortgages or insurance, without being regulated or licensed by the appropriate federal or state agency.

The actors (pretender lenders) are either lending their licenses contrary to law or pretending to be licensed and getting away with it because of the apparent complexity of securitization. There is no need for complex analysis. Either they are a lender or they are not. Either they are a mortgage broker or they are not. Either they are an insurance broker or they are not. And if they acted as a lender when in fact their function was as a mortgage broker they have violated the law. And if they acted as a mortgage originator when in fact their function was a mortgage broker, they have violated the law. The administrative agencies regulating the various professions involved in real estate transactions have lots of work to do, lots of discipline to mete out, lots of fines to collect and lots of restitution to order.

 There are hundreds of millions of transactions in which worthless paper was involved which contained claims to obligations, notes and mortgages (which are interest in real property). The fact that these were fraudulent transactions does not take away from the fact that a profit was made, that documents should have been recorded, and that taxes and fees were due. The only question left is whether there are enough people left in government who are willing to use the tools available to them to correct the mess created by the securitization hoax.

Al Capone, the famed mobster, got away with almost everything including murder — until  he was taken down for tax fraud. It doesn’t matter how his reign of terror was ended. What matters is that it did end. And if government had followed through there would not have been anything to replace him. That is the challenge facing today’s government. And more importantly, it is the challenge to our Republic, where inch by inch, personal liberties have been taken away that are still guaranteed by our most basic law — the American Constitution.

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The audits conclude that the banks effectively cheated taxpayers by presenting the Federal Housing Administration with false claims: They filed for federal reimbursement on foreclosed homes that sold for less than the outstanding loan balance using defective and faulty documents.”

Those violations are likely only a small fraction of the number committed by home loan companies, experts say, citing the small sample examined by regulators.”

Shahien Nasiripour

Shahien Nasiripour shahien@huffingtonpost.com

Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers [EXCLUSIVE]

Foreclosure Fraud

WASHINGTON — A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post.

The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said.

The audits accuse the five major lenders of violating the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government. The audits were completed between February and March, the sources said. The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges.

The federal audits mark the latest fallout from the national foreclosure crisis that followed the end of a long-running housing bubble. Amid reports last year that many large lenders improperly accelerated foreclosure proceedings by failing to amass required paperwork, the federal agencies launched their own probes.

The resulting reports read like veritable indictments of major lenders, the sources said. State officials are now wielding the documents as leverage in their ongoing talks with mortgage companies aimed at forcing the firms to agree to pay fines to resolve allegations of routine violations in their handling of foreclosures.

The audits conclude that the banks effectively cheated taxpayers by presenting the Federal Housing Administration with false claims: They filed for federal reimbursement on foreclosed homes that sold for less than the outstanding loan balance using defective and faulty documents.

Two of the firms, including Bank of America, refused to cooperate with the investigations, according to the sources. The audit on Bank of America finds that the company — the nation’s largest handler of home loans — failed to correct faulty foreclosure practices even after imposing a moratorium that lifted last October. Back then, the bank said it was resuming foreclosures, having satisfied itself that prior problems had been solved.

According to the sources, the Wells Fargo investigation concludes that senior managers at the firm, the fourth-largest American bank by assets, broke civil laws. HUD’s inspector general interviewed a pair of South Carolina public notaries who improperly signed off on foreclosure filings for Wells, the sources said.

The investigations dovetail with separate probes by state and federal agencies, who also have examined foreclosure filings and flawed mortgage practices amid widespread reports that major mortgage firms improperly initiated foreclosure proceedings on an unknown number of American homeowners.

The FHA, whose defaulted loans the inspector general probed, last May began scrutinizing whether mortgage firms properly treated troubled borrowers who fell behind on payments or whose homes were seized on loans insured by the agency.

A unit of the Justice Department is examining faulty court filings in bankruptcy proceedings. Several states, including Illinois, are combing through foreclosure filings to gauge the extent of so-called “robo-signing” and other defective practices, including illegal home repossessions.

Representatives of HUD and its inspector general declined to comment.

The internal audits have armed state officials with a powerful new weapon as they seek to extract what they describe as punitive fines from lawbreaking mortgage companies.

A coalition of attorneys general from all 50 states and state bank supervisors have joined HUD, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission in talks with the five largest mortgage servicers to settle allegations of illegal foreclosures and other shoddy practices.

Such processes “have potentially infected millions of foreclosures,” Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair told a Senate panel on Thursday.

The five giant mortgage servicers, which collectively handle about three of every five home loans, offered during a contentious round of negotiations last Tuesday to pay $5 billion to set up a fund to help distressed borrowers and settle the allegations.

That offer — also floated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in February — was deemed much too low by state and federal officials. Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli, who has been leading the talks, last week threatened to show the banks the confidential audits so the firms knew the government side was not “playing around,” one official involved in the negotiations said. He ultimately did not follow through, persuaded that the reports ought to remain confidential, sources said. Through a spokeswoman, Perrelli declined to comment.

Most of the targeted banks have not seen the audits, a federal official said, though they are generally aware of the findings.

Some agencies involved in the talks are calling for the five banks to shell out as much as $30 billion, with even more costs to be incurred for improving their internal operations and modifying troubled borrowers’ home loans.

But even that number would fall short of legitimate compensation for the bank’s harmful practices, reckons the nascent federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. By taking shortcuts in processing troubled borrowers’ home loans, the nation’s five largest mortgage firms have directly saved themselves more than $20 billion since the housing crisis began in 2007, according to a confidential presentation prepared for state attorneys general by the agency and obtained by The Huffington Post in March. Those pushing for a larger package of fines argue that the foreclosure crisis has spawned broader — and more costly — social ills, from the dislocation of American families to the continued plunge in home prices, effectively wiping out household savings.

The Justice Department is now contemplating whether to use the HUD audits as a basis for civil and criminal enforcement actions, the sources said. The False Claims Act allows the government to recover damages worth three times the actual harm plus additional penalties.

Justice officials will soon meet with the largest servicers and walk them through the allegations and potential liability each of them face, the sources said.

Earlier this month, Justice cited findings from HUD investigations in a lawsuit it filed against Deutsche Bank AG, one of the world’s 10 biggest banks by assets, for at least $1 billion for defrauding taxpayers by “repeatedly” lying to FHA in securing taxpayer-backed insurance for thousands of shoddy mortgages.

In March, HUD’s inspector general found that more than 49 percent of loans underwritten by FHA-approved lenders in a sample did not conform to the agency’s requirements.

Last October, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said his investigators found that numerous mortgage firms broke the agency’s rules when dealing with delinquent borrowers. He declined to be specific.

The agency’s review later expanded to flawed foreclosure practices. FHA, a unit of HUD, could still take administrative action against those firms for breaking FHA rules based on its own probe.

The confidential findings appear to bolster state and federal officials in their talks with the targeted banks. The knowledge that they may face False Claims Act suits, in addition to state actions based on a multitude of claims like fraud on local courts and consumer violations, will likely compel the banks to offer the government more money to resolve everything.

But even that may not be enough.

Attorneys general in numerous states, armed with what they portray as incontrovertible evidence of mass robo-signings from preliminary investigations, are probing mortgage practices more closely.

The state of Illinois has begun examining potentially-fraudulent court filings, looking at the role played by a unit of Lender Processing Services. Nevada and Arizona already launched lawsuits against Bank of America. California is keen on launching its own suits, people familiar with the matter say. Delaware sent Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., which runs an electronic registry of mortgages, a subpoena demanding answers to 75 questions. And New York’s top law enforcer, Eric Schneiderman, wants to conduct a complete investigation into all facets of mortgage banking, from fraudulent lending to defective securitization practices to faulty foreclosure documents and illegal home seizures.

A review of about 2,800 loans that experienced foreclosure last year serviced by the nation’s 14 largest mortgage firms found that at least two of them illegally foreclosed on the homes of “almost 50” active-duty military service members, a violation of federal law, according to a report this month from the Government Accountability Office.

Those violations are likely only a small fraction of the number committed by home loan companies, experts say, citing the small sample examined by regulators.

In an April report on flawed mortgage servicing practices, federal bank supervisors said they “could not provide a reliable estimate of the number of foreclosures that should not have proceeded.”

The review of just 2,800 home loans in foreclosure compares with nearly 2.9 million homes that received a foreclosure filing last year, according to RealtyTrac, a California-based data provider.

“The extent of the loss cannot be determined until there is a comprehensive review of the loan files and documentation of the process dealing with problem loans,” Bair said last week, warning of damages that could take “years to materialize.”

Home prices have fallen over the past year, reversing gains made early in the economic recovery, according to data providers Zillow.com and CoreLogic. Sales of new homes remain depressed, according to the Commerce Department. More than a quarter of homeowners with a mortgage owe more on that debt than their home is worth, according to Zillow.com. And more than 2 million homes are in foreclosure, according to Lender Processing Services.

Rather than punishing banks for misdeeds, the administration is now focused on helping troubled borrowers in the hope that it will stanch the flood of foreclosures and increase consumer confidence, officials involved in the negotiations said.

Levying penalties can’t accomplish that goal, an official involved in the foreclosure probe talks argued last week.

For their part, however, state officials want to levy fines, according to a confidential term sheet reviewed last week by HuffPost. Each state would then use the money as it desires, be it for facilitating short sales, reducing mortgage principal, or using the funds to help defaulted borrowers move from their homes into rentals.

In a report last week, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service predicted that while the losses incurred by the banks will be “sizable,” the credit rating agency does “not expect them to meaningfully impact capital.”

*************************Shahien Nasiripour is a senior business reporter for The Huffington Post. You can send him an e-mail; bookmark his page; subscribe to his RSS feed; follow him on Twitter; friend him on Facebook; become a fan; and/or get e-mail alerts when he reports the latest news. He can be reached at 917-267-2335.

19 Responses

  1. I hope the AGs etc follow through in collecting and imposing these penalities and distribute it among the defrauded homeowners. A major consideration is to help these people stay in their homes! This distribution of funds will certainly stimulate the economy and the rippling effect, for the good, will be felt by everybody…finally a possible reversal of fortune

  2. This is what happens when you turn over control by allowing your elected representatives to sell you out to bank lobbyists who pad their pockets so well that they forget who they work for. Time for new rules!

    It’s time to sweep our government clean, unseat all the crooks and end the Fed. We need to cut government down to the constitutional size and close down all the elitest agencies like the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Affairs, International Monetary Fund and revoke the charters of all central banks worldwide.

    We aren’t going to get anything better than what we’ve got if we don’t act. We need legitimate lawful government, and the Department of Justice to actually bring criminal charges, not just slap the wrists of these unbelievably arrogant, evil and calloused criminals who are devoid of conscience. If there are no consequences, what will stop them from just sending hit men to our homes? They’ve already sent thugs to steal our belongings! We can’t even press criminal tresspass charges, or make a police report!!

    It takes tremendous political pressure to get anything done, and that’s just wrong. These government agencies need to do their jobs and take down these thieves, liars and scoundrels. Write your AG’s and bury them in hate mail. WE DON’T WANT NO STINKIN’ FINES !!! WE WANT THEM TO DO SOME TIME!! Get off your butts and write those letters, faxes and emails. Demand justice, and transparency.

  3. I’m having a REAL problem with this one….

    “Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli, who has been leading the talks, last week threatened to show the banks the confidential audits so the firms knew the government side was not “playing around,” one official involved in the negotiations said. He ultimately did not follow through, persuaded that the reports ought to remain confidential, sources said. Through a spokeswoman, Perrelli declined to comment.”

    WHY should the reports “remain confidential”?? I’m pretty sure they probably contain info that would help me in my battle against Wells Fargo. They’re going to be made public sooner or later, right? Why not now to help current homeowners in the trenches NOW battling the beast?

  4. AMEN Shelley!!!!

  5. Louise,

    100% of subprime “loans” were refinances (if you want to call them a refinance — not actually one) —- they were not new home purchases.

    This is not to say new home buyers were not also defrauded — they were.

  6. Yeah, Louise—he should be saying: “borrowers didn’t buy too much house—they signed on too much fraud…and America was destroyed because of it.”

    …that’s the TRUTH.

  7. Beware everybody. It is starting to sound very fascist out there. They just come in and take your house anyway. I wonder how long Obama is going to be saying that borrowers “bought too much house” to get himself elected. It could backfire. Read the Declaration of Independence. It is very enlightening as to how to deal with bad government.

  8. usedcarguy – why is the comment taken off you made regarding the money laundering and all the money laundering comments?
    banks innocent gun held to head? Are you serious?

    No infrastructure in place paid for by the owners of the companies c/o Office of Comptroller of Company via approvals that enabled NASCOR, and Financial Holding COmpanies, and Non-Deposit Trust Company’s Non-Members to take ‘cash’ out of a ‘TRUST’ custody and attached to a mortgage loan one loan at a time laundered cash that passed thorugh to ‘depositor’ depositer defined for each loan REMIC as a REGISTRANT over SEC. NASCOR the major originator ‘seller’ Depositor of the cash of the Cashiers Checks payable to individual bank closing agents c/o integrated network infrastructure4 paid for and invested in by 11 Bank Credit Facility – taking Lawyers TItle Corp Portal and mergers NaSCOR, MERS, eLynx, TD Services, LandAmerica, Norwest Corp ownoing Alt-A Land Title, NASCOR, Chase owning ‘Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. when I say owning I’m speaking of $ flowing over Federal Reserve System

    Escalation of money laundering attaching cash to mortgage servicers affiliates transactions 2003 escalated under OCC 2002 visitorial powers

  9. Don’t get to excited about this. The BANKS always win. In the 50 state AG investigation into robo signing, and document fraud A/K/A ” The Bank Fraud Concealment And Forgiveness Commission ” they gathered no evidence, of the crimes, and when New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman said he was ” shocked ” to learn this, I said that he reminded me of the Head Cop in the movie “Casablanca” when he shouted ” I AM SHOCKED!, SHOCKED TO LEARN THAT GAMBLING HAS BEEN GOING ON AT THIS ESTABLISHMENT! ” Now the NY AG has always had the power to subpoena the players operating on Wall Street and the TBTF Banks, set a Grand Jury, and obtain indictments for the arrest, trial, conviction and imprisonment of the people guilty of felony fraud, committed within NY State, and it’s a massive number of politicly connected players. BUT HE’S DONE NOTHING HIMSELF.Now Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s amended complaint in a lawsuit against Bank of America she exposes BOAs disregard and violation of a earlier agreement that sounds a lot like the 50 State AG settlement,” in her filing, Ms. Masto contends that Bank of America raised interest rates on troubled borrowers when modifying their loans even though the bank had promised in the settlement to lower them. The bank also failed to provide loan modifications to qualified homeowners as required under the deal, improperly proceeded with foreclosures even as borrowers’ modification requests were pending and failed to meet the settlement’s 60-day requirement on granting new loan terms, instead allowing months and in some cases more than a year to go by with no resolution, the filing says […]So she is doing something, but not going for criminal charges that she should.The other 48 State AGs are walking in lockstep, and imagine their embarrassment when they are in the process of getting their clients “the Banks” off with a small fine “a taste of the loot” and no jail time for anybody, ” it has to be everybody, or the patsy’s will squeal ” and they get caught and exposed AGAIN! on 07/18/2011 Associated Press reported.(AP) Mortgage industry employees are still signing documents they haven’t read and using fake signatures more than eight months after big banks and mortgage companies promised to stop the illegal practices that led to a nationwide halt of home foreclosures.County officials in at least three states say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since last fall, suggesting that the practices, known collectively as “robo-signing,” remain widespread in the industry.The documents have come from several companies that process mortgage paperwork, and have been filed on behalf of several major banks. One name, “Linda Green,” was signed almost two dozen different ways.Lenders say they are working with regulators to fix the problem but cannot explain why it has persisted.”Now what are the 50 State AGs going to do? They can’t turn their backs on the campaign contributions ” that we know they get ” nor the cash, ” that we don’t know how much they get ” because they can not get reelected without money for 30 second negative TV attack messages about their opponents and billboards listing positive’s about themselves.I guess they will just have to say they have discussed it with the Banks and they have promised to this time REALLY MEAN IT, when they say no more cheating and fraud! Meanwhile the bank stocks drop, and the banks just loves it. They buy it back cheap, real cheap, then in a short period, after the banks have enjoyed their short position on there own stock, the TBTF, NWO group turns the money faucet on again, and in a short time the investors see the banks, who now make more money off the stock market than loans, strong position, and their stock rising, and the cycle continues.
    THE BANKS OWN/CONTROL BOTH THE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE US. THEIR MAIN GOAL IS TO KEEP US EVENLY DIVIDED AND DISTRACTED FROM THE TRUTH.

    The US Government does not control the Banks, the Banks control the US Government.

  10. […] Livinglies’s Weblog Filed Under: Foreclosure Law News, Foreclosure News Tagged With: crisis, foreclosure, […]

  11. The bankster PR machine is churning it out on every channel:

    “it’s dangerous to be persecuting these struggling banks for making loans they were forced to provide by the very government that’s suing them….”

    yes, my friends, the banks are victims of lying, predatory borrowers.

    …and all those representations and warranties are coming back to bite them.

    Keep it coming…..

  12. Shelley,

    You betcha —

    But, not with debt buyers — continuing to claim victims. And, defraud in courts across the US.

  13. How about using the funds to keep defrauded homeowners in their homes. Not help them into rentals. What a bunch of crap!They did not default on nullified mortgage/mortgage fraud. The mortgages are void by law!!! They are victims of economic crimes for Gods sake! Homeowners have been defrauded. By law they have their home and restitution coming for these crimes, not rentals.

  14. Taxpayers?? Thought the government made money on TARP – for bank bailout.

    Security investors?? — paid out by swaps (although they want more — they want what they think they should have continued to earn on fraudulent securities paying higher interests by fraudulent usury rates to home borrowers). Those darn homeowners — security investors think — stopped paying those high rates. So security investors have to go after the banks for securities fraud. Of course, IF security investors were also getting damages by foreclosure — they would be collecting duplicate damages. Thus, of course, security investors — are NOT foreclosing — they never could — they were never the creditor. Swap contracts??? — different story — but swaps are not securities. Debt buyers?? buying collection rights — dirt cheap.

    Consumer?? getting foreclosed homes at bargain price and rate.

    The fact remains that the ONLY party that has not received assistance — is the homeowner victim targets — now subject to fraudulent foreclosures.

    There should have been bailout for homeowner victims FIRST — why weren’t they?? Because Paulson, Geither, Bernanke decided otherwise — US Treasury and Federal Reserve.

  15. Why can’t citizens in every state use class certified petitions for writs of mandamus and prohibition to force the government officials responsible, to go after MERS for the fees, and to force the state AG’s to PROSECUTE the known criminal activity (forged docs) and to do their job and investigate for further illegal acts; and writs of prohibition to prevent the AG’s from striking deals instead of levying legal actions.

  16. Let the games begin.

  17. Good thing Al Capone was not an affiliate of a national bank.

    Neil when you say Wall Street – is that the political correct version of Federal Reserve?

    Please don’t spin that the government can fix mess surrounding greatest money laundering scheme of the 21st Century and Ponzi Schemes c/o Federal Reserve under US Code OCC governs adjudication ‘rubber stamps’ all information proprietary.

    The employees who work for the government are not allowed to fix the mess. Over and Over and Over is what each agency FHMA, FHA, HUD, SEC, Federal Reserve, OCC, OTS, FTC, FCC, FBI, authority c/o House Of Representatives etc.

  18. And sure enough when you show up with cameras, they scurry like cock-a-roaches….

    http://mortgagemovies.blogspot.com/2011/09/kingcast-to-shoot-nationstar-mortgage.html

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011

    Nationstar Mortgage Attorneys avoid a KingCast/Mortgage Movies Courthouse Canon shot; they have defied a Court Order to produce original docs yet still foreclosed on Marie Miller.

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