Friends of Angelo Investigation Goes Dark

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary CLICK HERE TO GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT

EDITOR’S NOTE: In a scheme this blatantly disregarding law and common sense and a scheme that was so large as to constitute the largest economic crime in human history, it is unlikely that the “friends of Angela are limited to what we know now. My guess is that the list grew longer and longer and touched more and more people that were given “gifts” of preferential mortgage treatment, including reductions of principal. 

That the scheme went suddenly dark is usually a sign that some of these unknown people used their power and influence to kill the investigation or, unlikely, that indictments are near.

SEE FULL ARTICLE ON HOUSINGWIRE.COM

VIP MORTGAGE PROGRAM INVESTIGATION GOES DARK

by Jon Prior

An investigation by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., into the Countrywide VIP loan program that allegedly gave connected policymakers in Washington sweetened mortgages has become increasingly hushed in recent weeks.

The “Friends of Angelo” investigation has been waged over three years now. Previous subpoenaed information from members of Congress went to ethics committees in both chambers. But Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and former Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., were cleared by the committees of knowingly taking any such loans from Countrywide. Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., denied any wrongdoing as well.

“We’re beyond ethics here,” Issa said during House oversight committee hearing September 2009 chaired by Cummings. “We are at a point where the American people at least should know who they gave money to or benefit to, how they did it, and so on.”

Frustrated with a lack of action from the committee — chaired by Towns at the time — Issa requested the panel hold hearings on the allegations rather than deferring to the ethics committee.

In February, as committee chair, Issa issued a subpoena for documents, emails and other information from Bank of America (BAC: 7.07 +1.58%), which bought Countrywide in 2008, regarding past dealings with members of Congress.

But in December, Issa went to the ethics committee with his findings and did not publicly disclose the names of the four lawmakers he found to be allegedly linked to the VIP program. Two Republicans from California, Reps. Howard McKeon and Elton Gallegly, acknowledged being two of the four Issa mentioned to the ethics committee.

No hearings have been scheduled over the findings, and Democrats claim the discovery of Republican links to the program prompted less public proceedings. But a spokesman for the committee said recent revelations have not altered the course of the investigation at all. With a Republican majority in the House, Issa as the committee’s chair can issue subpoenas and conduct interviews on his own accord, the spokesman said, changing the dynamic from when Issa needed to publicly call on members to move the investigation forward.

A spokesperson for McKeon said in a statement that McKeon was “shocked and angry to hear this” and denied ever meeting or speaking to former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo.

In a letter to Issa Tuesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., reversed his earlier stances on the matter and called for more public disclosures from the investigation, even revealing some details from the subpoena. Documents gathered from the investigation show communications between Countrywide executives Stephen Brandt and Maritza Cruz as they prepared McKeon’s documents. Both Cruz’s and McKeon’s signatures are on the documents, according to Cummings.

Cummings also revealed an internal email at Countrywide from Brandt that alleges Mozilo’s role in approving McKeon’s loan.

“Per Angelo — ‘take off 1 point, no garbage fees, approve the loan and make it a no doc,'” Brandt wrote to staff, according to Cummings’ letter.

In the letter, the Maryland representative also said evidence from the subpoenas show Mike Farrell, a former lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, directed McKeon to the Countrywide VIP program.

A spokesperson for McKeon issued the following statement in response to Cummings’ letter: “Mr. McKeon is committed to transparency on this — he believes that the actions of Countrywide should be looked into and wants to get to the bottom of what Countrywide did to his loan

Write to Jon Prior.

Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

17 Responses

  1. SECRECY HAS ALSO WON OUT IN THE EVOLVING BLACKROCK-SCWARTZMAN BANKUNITED FINANCIAL SCANDAL–SCWARTZMAN COTROLS WONT DISCLOSE BUT MANAGES LARGEST PENSION FUND INVESTMENT OPERATION.

    MR HOLDERMAN EVEN A BLIND PIG CHANCES UPON AN ACORN ONCE IN A WHILE.

    NEWT’S PEOPLE ARE PRAYING OBAMA WILL ANNOUNCE A BANK AMNESTY [PARDON-ME] AKA “GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD” AND TRANSFER OF INVESTOR [WORKERS’ PENSION FUND] MONEY TO BANKS TO ADMINISTER LOAN RELIEF AND PAYMENTS TO PREDOMINANLY TROD UPON MINORITIES–DESERVING BUT NO MORE SO THAN SIMILARLY SITUATED WORKING POOR WHITES. GOODNESS SOMETHING FOR ALMOST EVERY BODY TO HATE.

    BUT WHAT DOES HISTORY REMEMBER –EASY—CHECK OUT GERALD FORD, THE SOMETHING NUMBERED SORT OF PRESIDENT –THE REMEMBERED AS PARDONING NIXON.
    THIS COULD BE OBAMA’S LEGACY–NO MATTER WHO WINS PRESIDENCY–UNRAVEL LIKE NIXON?

    TIE THIS IN WITH INFO SENSITIVE SCHWARTZMAN—WHO INVESTS THE PENSIONERS’ MONEY AND IT SORT OF FITS NICELY–ALONG WITH CLOSING THE BOOKS ON THE FRIENDS OF THE MORTGAGE BROKERS ASSICIATION [ ONLY A FEW ARE NOW NOTORIOUS CW’ TONY’S PALS]

    Schwarzman Said to Avert Financial Disclosure in Stock Reshuffle
    By Devin Banerjee and Cristina Alesci
    January 20, 2012 http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-20/schwarzman-said-to-avert-financial-disclosure-in-stock-reshuffle

    Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. He has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since its founding in 1985. http://www.blackstone.com/cps/rde/xchg/bxcom/hs/firm_ourpeople_stephen_schwarzman.htm

    “In a presentation scheduled for 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 7 at the Labor and Employment Relations Association meetings at the Palmer House in Chicago, Professor Gerald Davis of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business documents the extensive reach of BlackRock. Aided by the growth of defined contribution pension plans and abetted by the weakness of other financial services firms, notably Barclay’s, during the financial crisis…With $3.5 trillion in assets under management that they invest on behalf of their clients, the company has become the world’s largest investor. BlackRock manages assets for institutions such as pension funds and mutual funds,… http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/01/06

  2. @ALL
    They ALL seem to have been very busy during that couple holiday weeks—eg I got notice on 12/22 of a special EMERGENCY hearing 12/29 to SEAL [ie maintain in secret] nearly my entire case-file from public eyes——they seemed to want to get in all the abuse they could before they get the Obama PARDON–which we all hear is to be announced tonite. Only the spin will be its for the benefit of the elderly and the poor, rather than a PARDON for sevicers [collection agencies]–maybe they are just torturing the old man—so they can relent and claim sainthood along with the pardon. The events had to preceed the efective date of the pardon, which appears to be January 1, 2012.

    It is ironic–all these guys act like they are playing monopoly–piling up cash and cards to no particular purpose–just a competition to see who can make the biggest pile. Then Obama comes along with a little help from REPUBLICAN Attorneys General –and tops off the stack of monopoly cards and play-money———-with a “GET OUT OF JAIL FREE” card. Maybe Romney would be better–how could he be worse–re-open debtors’ prisons?

  3. “After HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced last Wednesday that the state attorneys general settlement with the nation’s largest servicers is just weeks away – with a spokesperson for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office corroborating the claim – news today is a settlement draft is now in the hands of the state attorneys general for review.” http://www.dsnews.com/articles/state-ags-reviewing-settlement-draft-2012-01-23

    I am not altogether sure what the full extent of “SIN” might be. However the “settlement” without investigation of a multi-trilliondollar persistent state of fraud must be close to the term. Add to that the fact that some of the most risk-based —–Steve Shwartzman of Blackstone ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to disclose to the FEDS his shades of grey dealings. He is part of Wilbur L. Ross’ syndicate of offshore hedge funds that swooped in with help of FDIC to buy predator and bankrupt Bankunited. This is over the top –one step removed [maybe–but well never know w/o disclosure] from bernie madoff telling the feds to get off his porch when they went to bust him–and then they break down in tears and slink off. IS THIS WHAT OUR FEDRAL GOVT HAS BECOME? PAPER TIGER.

  4. chris- my thoughts exactly. But the ‘boom’ will never return, because the money which fueled the last boom was stolen from investors, retirees, etc. around the world by the trillions, leveraged 40:1, 50:1 or more, thus sending the “losses” up to who knows where.

  5. Speaking personally, I have an issue with Countrywide too.

    Originators have no authority, period! All the blah, blah, blah, from various entities are full of poop and I’m being polite.

    This where the scam started with lack of funding, no trust transfers, REMIC compliance, breach of contract with servicers and payments to investors, etc…the list is very long. In my humble opinion, anyone of these issues is “under the law” punishable and exactly the reasons the judes should look at using their respective power to enforce/impose sanctions on these folks to administer modifications, reductions in principle or any reasonable compromise to aid the real estate markets and/or homeowners. Even if the judges do lnot like the idea of giving anyone a “free house”, the entire U.S.A. is affected and the bests interest of society should be considered.

    Just my $.02

  6. JOHNGAULTS POSTING ABOUT WITNESS REQUIREMENTS DOES NOT MATCH MY SEARCH FINDINGS.
    BEWARE OF TAKING THESE POSTINGS AS FACT WITHOUT DOUBLE CHECKING.
    DUE DILIGENCE EVERYONE !

  7. Found this online. News to me:

    “The following witness requirements must be followed for any document being recorded in the following states…the witness requirements must be followed for any documents being recorded (Deed of Trust, Mortgage, Quit Claim Deed, Grant Deed, Warranty Deed, etc.) These requirements are in addition to the notarization requirements. A witness is an additional person who is not a party to the transaction and is present to witness the signing of the specific document. If the notary can be one of the witnesses, the notary must
    sign in both places, as the witness and as the notary public.

    Connecticut: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the notary)

    Florida: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the notary)

    Georgia: One witness required (can’t be the notary)

    Louisiana: Two witnesses required (neither can be the notary)

    South Carolina: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the

    notary) “

  8. Get on your phone, call, e-mail, do what it takes. I have NEVER seen a country treating its elderly the way this country does.

    Mandelman latest crusade. One case at a time, we’ll get through it.

    DOER ALERT: Dear Bank of America…
    8

    “Dear Bank of America, and by Bank of America I mean CEO Brian Moynihan…

    Brian, I’m running out the door at the moment. I have to make a flight to Arizona so I can attend a meeting in the morning at the state capitol. A state senator called me last week asking for my help promoting a bill related to the foreclosure situation there. Were it not for my schedule, I’d be ripping you and your bank to pieces in this column, and then asking all of my DOERS to inundate you with emails and letters in support of yet another homeowner who’s life you have irrevocably, unconscionably and inconceivably harmed.

    I’ll be back at my desk tomorrow, and I was just going to wait until then to deal with you, but you see… this story brought tears to my eyes asa I sat here checking in for my flight… I guess I’m just emotional (although I think “human” is the more appropriate word) about such things, while you perhaps are not. Anyway, I decided that even though I didn’t have time to write the story in detail… I’d let you know what’s coming soon to a theater near you.

    My thinking is, if you want to avoid me having to spend the eight or so hours it takes me to write all of the details into a piece that will be read and remembered by tens of thousands of people all over the country, you’ll address this situation before I get home tomorrow afternoon. I hope you don’t view this as some sort of threat… I don’t mean it that way… I hate people that threaten, you know what I mean? Either do it or shut up, has always been my motto.

    I’m just giving you a heads up, if you will, of what tomorrow afternoon is absolutely certain to bring if you don’t do something about… hey, do you remember the Perry Mason television show from days gone by…

    The Case of the Grieving Grandpa and the Lying Lender
    Starring…

    Mr. Dale Wright of Cloverdale, California

    Loan Number 149664284

    Brian, this one’s going to make a great story too, so if you can’t make time to handle it before I’m home tomorrow afternoon, you’re going to wish you had. Here are a few highlights… think of it as the show’s preview or a movie trailer…

    Mr. Dale Wright of Cloverdale, California turned to Bank of America for help in 2009 after being told by the President of the United States that Bank of America would help him, if at all possible. Mr. Wright is an 82 year-old veteran who’s been a pillar of his community since before you were born, Brian.

    He was approved for his trial modification under the Making Home Affordable program on March 23, 2010. I’m told by several people involved in his case that he made all of his payments on time and as agreed and I have reason to believe they are correct. He was denied for a permanent loan modification because of Bank of America claimed not to have received a new 4506T… even though you had received said 4506T, 30 days earlier and I’m told those things are good for 90 or 120 days.

    No matter… he was told he was being reconsidered as of December 6, 2011. In fact, he was told he was under consideration as of December 23rd. You SOLD his house on January 3rd, Brian. He’s 82 years old, Brian. December 25th is Christmas, Brian. January 3rd is two days after New Years, Brian. God damnit… Bank of America doesn’t need to do sh#t that week, Brian. (I’m sorry, for my language, but I can’t take much more of this without swearing, Brian.)

    Of course, your bank didn’t tell him it was sold on January 3rd. He found out when the investor knocked on his door on January 3rd and told him that it would be understood if he needed more than three days to move out! The investor told Dale he was buying the property to “flip it.”

    (SIDEBAR: You might want to mention to whoever that was that said that to him, that he’s damn lucky that it wasn’t me that answered the door that day because I don’t have any prior criminal record and I’d be willing to pick up a first offense charge for beating the crap out of someone for doing that to my grandfather. But, I don’t suppose he would have said it to me, now would he? No, he only says things like that to 82 year olds, I’m fairly sure.)

    So, Mr. Wright called and Bank of America was like…

    “Wo, wo, wo… we don’t know how this happened… we were trying to postpone the sale, but Wells Fargo wouldn’t do it and they’re the investor that owns the loan. It wasn’t our fault… blah, blah, blah.”

    Your bank sold the home of an 82 year-old veteran right after New Years so some investor could flip it, and couldn’t even be bothered to make a call to let him know? No… instead you blamed it on Wells Fargo, saying they were the investor and they wouldn’t agree to delay the sale or modify the loan. Hmmm… think that’s true, Brian? I wonder…

    But luckily, I didn’t have to wonder for very long… here’s the email from Wells Fargo from just a few days ago:

    From: catherine.h.martin@wellsfargo.com

    To: kristiesheets@hotmail.com

    Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 14:01:19 -0600

    Subject: Dale Wright

    Dear Ms. Sheets,

    Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. received and reviewed your recent correspondence regarding your concerns as it relates to your Grandfather’s mortgage.

    After researching this matter, we have verified that Wells Fargo Bank is not the Investor/Owner and does not have a direct role in servicing the loan. That being said, I am forwarding your letter to the servicer, Bank of America, instructing that they subsequently respond in a timely manner to your concerns giving Mr. Wright every consideration allowed.

    I urge that you continue addressing Bank of America with concerns pertaining to this matter. You may contact Ms. Nora Jones at 817-864-2293 at Bank of America to request that she escalate this matter within Bank of America.

    Wells Fargo Bank makes every effort to facilitate and inform servicers of such issues so they may properly respond.

    Respectfully,

    Cathy Martin

    Client Service Consultant

    Wells Fargo Bank

    9062 Old Annapolis Road

    Columbia, MD 21045

    410-884-2161 FAX 866-493-7814

    Ooopsie! I guess your system was wrong… or your bank’s wires got crossed. Or maybe they were just feeding Mr. Wright “Lie Number 32,863,” from the Bank of America Handbook?

    The man’s wife passed away in 2006. They were married for 53 years. Your bank explained that a request for postponement went in on the 23rd of December 2011 on a loan which Bank of America agreed to review for HAMP on December 1, 2011 and then you sold the home on January 3, 2012… Brian, are you trying to punish this man?

    Fix this, Brian. Fix it so that it doesn’t happen to even one more elderly person. Because if you’ve heard of karma, your later years are likely going to be a real bear if you don’t.

    COME ON DOERS… DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS…
    I CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ELSE WITHOUT BREAKING MY KEYBOARD AND MISSING MY FLIGHT, AND BESIDES I CAN’T SEE AGAIN, THIS IS JUST TOO UPSETTING… I FEEL LIKE IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY…

    BRIAN… Kristie Sheets is his granddaughter… HER NUMBER IS: 707-632-6101. You can call her and ask how to make this right, if you have a mind to do so. I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll check with her before I do anything else. This, as I mentioned, was just a preview of coming attractions. (Insert Perry Mason Music here.)

    Mandelman out.

    DOERS YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!
    Brian Moynihan, President, CEO & Chairman
    Bank of America
    Email: brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com
    Matthew Task, Executive Relations, 
Office of the CEO (At BofA)

    Phone: 813-805-4873″

  9. If you get the trust loan schedule for a predatory originator –whoever the bank trustee—the terms also used are “private loans” supposedly to company employees and family etc etc–pals etc

  10. “In the letter, the Maryland representative also said evidence from the subpoenas show Mike Farrell, a former lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, directed McKeon to the Countrywide VIP program”

    It would be highly unusual for a natl trade assn exec to peform this sort of influence peddling using only one member. There would be pressure from other members to “get in on” the benefots derived from peddling. Usually the generosity would flow from the closest constituent–but committee chairmen have national constituencies when it comes to pay to play.

    Consequently, one should look to California Congressmen/women to get the sweetheart deals from originators working that market with extra points if the influence buyer is also headquatered there.

    Thus if a California member of congress and/or STATE legislator dangled a for sale sign outside his/her office and pointed to it when the trade association guy was in for a visit–or at a fundraiser bfast etc—then that association go would give a jingle to an association member with a California interest. Conversely, if a Florida Congressman wanted the bene—the association guy would connect up to a Fla originator. Look at the markets and the congressmen–look at their voting records and look up their mortgages–folks this is not rocket science.

    Take a look at some of the worst originators’ supposed trusts–look for [mostly] blank lines on the spreadsheets–thats where such loans would have been–the missing loans can be reconstructed –matched by “missing” loan numbers which are sequential—and targeted discovery. see when/who originated the loan to YOUR congressman—then get the entity’s trust securitized for that period–they may still be on the list–or traced–any subprime type can hide the loans along with air loans etc–bad bookkeeping covers up a multitude of sins

  11. Thanks NC Readers! Tom Miller Says No Mortgage Deal Imminent

    Readers no doubt saw both on this site and elsewhere that the Obama Administration was cranking the heat up on the mortgage settlements talks, and was apparently planning to go ahead with the Federal regulators inking a pact, on the assumption they’d get enough state attorneys general to provide at least a modest fig leaf. The assumption also seemed to be that the Administration could enlist Congressmen to pressure some of the current and rumored dissident Democrat AGs to fold and join the Obama camp.

    That effort appears to have gotten such a large repudiation today, when the settlement terms were presented in Chicago to Democratic AGs and discussed over the phone with the Republican AGs that Tom Miller who is leading the attorney general negotiations has done a major climbdown:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 23, 2012

    STATEMENT FROM ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM MILLER

    (CHICAGO, Illinois) State Attorneys General from both parties, along with our federal partners, are today discussing the details of the progress we have made so far in settlement negotiations, including the terms we must still resolve. We have not yet reached an agreement with the nation’s five largest servicers, and we won’t reach a settlement any time this week.

    What is intriguing here is the Miller camp claim (effectively) that there never had been a deal on the table. That contradicts the story in the Financial Times last week and a report I had gotten from an investor with good contacts on the Republican side. Since Miller has repeatedly played fast and loose with the truth, I’m not sure I believe the message implied here, that they are still moving forward on a deal, just more slowly than they had messaged, as opposed to a deal on the table came unglued and they need to regroup in a more serious way.

    We will hopefully get more intelligence (or maybe just better attempts at disinformation) but I read this as an indication the deal agreed between the Federal regulators and the biggest servicers somehow came unglued. Possibilities include: someone exposed a definitional/drafting flaw (the Feds thought it meant one thing and the banks thought it meant another); someone (one of the banks?) retraded the deal; the Administration has assumed it could rely on a certain minimum number of AGs to fall in line and they regarded that minimum number as essential, and the pow wow today exposed that they are below that level.

    Regardless, this is positive news, since it vindicates the courageous attorneys general who are pressing forward with investigations and prosecutions rather than trying to cover up pervasive fraud by servicers. Thanks so much to NC readers for your calls to attorneys general. You helped play a role in telling the Administration that the public will not support coverups when enforcement and reform are what is really needed.

  12. @ Enraged

    Those that I’m addressing do not constitute “people” in my book. It’s all symantics 🙂 I’ve been nice for a year. As Elton John’s song goes, the bitch is back.

  13. Chris Dodd = corrupt
    Bawney Fwank = corrupt

  14. Now, now, Katheryn, you need to be nice. That’s NOT a way to address people.

  15. @ ALL
    Just received this in my mailbox.

    Progressive Change Campaign Committee
    Activism works!
    Congressional vote count on SOPA/PIPA — Wed vs. Thurs:
    Chart – Activism changes Senate votes

    (Source: ProPublica)

    Nabdulla,

    If you ever doubt whether activism works, remember last week.

    On Tuesday, we sponsored a grassroots briefing about the bill that would hurt Internet freedom. 200 congressional staffers crunched into a 100-person room while thousands of folks watched online and asked questions.

    On Wednesday, Craigslist, reddit, BoingBoing, Scribd, and over 240 other sites used our online activist tools, and together we made over 40,000 calls to Congress. Millions of others joined in online, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow featured our activism that night.

    On Thursday, it was reported that 18 new senators, and many House members, came out against the anti-Internet bill.

    On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made huge news by announcing, “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote” on this bad bill. The House also postponed their bill indefinitely. (Hooray!)

    Our activism together is effective!

    The Internet is fighting back to save the Internet! Thanks for taking action.

    — Jason Rosenbaum, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, and the PCCC team

  16. Here is a good question. Did they securitize the VIP loans or did they keep them in house? Has everyone read Issa’ report from 2009? Here is the Link. http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Reports/20090319FriendsofAngelo.pdf Read this if you haven’t already. There is even a Cal. Judge on the list.

  17. McKeon, McKeon, McKeon, do you really expect people to believe that. Throwing Countrywide under the bus won’t save you from ultimate exposure. Damn things are so great until you get caught.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: