NY Times: Is the New Schneiderman Investigation Real?


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Obama’s Credibility is on the Line


Editor’s Note: Despite protests across the nation — in the streets, parks, courts and other venues, despite the well-published reports and proof published as to forged, fabricated, fraudulent and invalid documents, The Obama administration has been soft-pedaling both the rhetoric and the action from his administration to obtain justice for the perpetrators of crimes and restitution to the victims.

While we might cut him some slack for all that was on his plate, the time has long past where he should have been using independent judgment without deferring to “experts” from the industry, indeed the law firms and the financial firms that created the current mess with rippling and dangerous effects across the globe.

I don’t call on Obama or any Judge to read  and accept at face value the tens of thousands of pages on this blog alone containing copies of actual proof of crimes,  forgery, fabrication and invalid mortgage liens. But when public officials and presidents of title companies are saying the same thing, then you should at least consider that the charges in this blog and others like it might be true. That takes independent thinking.

If you don’t know how to cross examine your experts and advisers, Mr. Obama, then get some people who do know how to do that. Those experts will fold like a house of cards on the smallest amount of pressure exerted by questions that run to the reality of what happened instead of the spin.

To put it more bluntly: President Obama, you were  given a gift of high intellect and lofty rhetoric. It’s time to start using that intellect to analyze the data, not just remember what you were told about it. It is time to act on the fierce urgency of now, remember that? Neither the economy nor your political prospects will improve until you catch up to what most people already know — the Banks are the problem and we expect you to fix it.

A Mortgage Investigation

In the State of the Union address, President Obama promised a fresh investigation into mortgage abuses that led to the financial meltdown. The goal, he said, is to “hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.”

Could this be it, finally? An investigation that results in clarity, big fines and maybe even jail time?

There is good reason to be skeptical. To date, federal civil suits over mortgage wrongdoing have been narrowly focused and, at best, ended with settlements and fines that are a fraction of the profits made during the bubble. There have been no criminal prosecutions against major players. Justice Department officials say that it reflects the difficulty of proving fraud — and not a lack of prosecutorial zeal. That is hard to swallow, given the scale of the crisis and the evidence of wrongdoing from private litigation, academic research and other sources.

This new investigation could be the real thing. Eric Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general, will be a co-chairman of the group, and he has refused to support a settlement being worked out between big banks most responsible for foreclosure abuses and federal agencies and some state attorneys general.

He rightly objected to the fact that in exchange for providing some $20 billion worth of mortgage relief — mainly by reducing the principal on homeowners’ loans — the banks wanted release from legal claims that have never been fully investigated, including those related to potential tax, trust and securities violations in mortgage loans.

In the past year, the Obama administration has pushed back against Mr. Schneiderman, even as other attorneys general also left the settlement talks. By choosing him now to help run the investigation, the president appears to be embracing the call for a much broader inquiry that, properly executed, could result in a far bigger settlement.

For now, the administration is saying that the new investigation and the settlement talks will both proceed. It would be better to settle with the banks only after officials have a full picture of any and all violations.

There are reasons to be wary. Some of the federal officials who will also be involved with the investigation — including Eric Holder Jr., the United States attorney general, and Lanny Breuer, the leader of the Justice Department’s criminal division, who will be a co-chairman — have not distinguished themselves in the pursuit of mortgage fraud.

To win and retain public trust, both the administration and all the group’s co-chairmen — there are also four other officials from the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service — must agree on several steps immediately.

The administration must ensure that the group has ample resources. The co-chairmen must hire a tough-as-nails prosecutor with a successful track record in financial fraud to drive the investigation forward. And the group must move quickly and vigorously, issuing subpoenas and filing cases. It is not starting from scratch; various agencies have all had separate investigations under way.

President Obama’s credibility is on the line. To restore public faith in the financial system, nothing less than a full investigation and full accountability will do.


20 Responses

  1. ” high profile anti-bankster ” re schneiderman——hes just running for senate or governor early——–setting himself up for a fat payoff by GS et al———–lets not be so gullible

  2. The misalignment of minds on the panel is not by accident…Eric Schneiderman is the high profile anti-bankster that gives this farce the appearance of a legitimate effort on OBama’s part to DO SOMETHING, while the other co-chairs who are completely at odds with him will continue to support the “bankers take all” agenda and frustrate any meaningful attempts to serve justice on the accountable.

    Timing? Clearly a re-election ploy, and nothing more. He misses our love, but doesn’t want to have to earn it.

    OBama bots are checking the pulse online, he is pretty savvy at tapping the cyber sentiment. The machine says, “If you don’t at least make it look like you care about all those families living in cars, you aren’t going to be re elected,” so the illusion is created by setting up a straw panel with juxtaposed minds.

    Who cares what Dimon says, really. How much credibility does someone who is involved in government bribes, drug running, money laundering and collaboratively crashing the world’s economy have? I keep wishing that one of those people who threatened to kill him would make good on it, I just can’t help myself. It takes some real big bawls to make the kind of statements (lies) he makes, knowing the truth about the operation of the shadow banking system as an insider.

  3. Throughout Mr. Garfield’s editorials is the “hope” that Mr. Obama wants to do the right thing and act in the interest of the citizenry. Look at it like a lawyer: Do you see any evidence that he is pursuing reform? What do you know about his background? Have you seen him speak when he loses his teleprompter? Do we have Habeas Corpus anymore? Can American citizens be locked up indefinitely without charges by order of this man?

    There’s no great intellect here and he is owned as much as the Senate is. I will grant that he campaigns well.

  4. westcoastliberal –

    You are right. Bill Black would take care of it. Obama knows that. By not hiring Bill Black shows that Obama is for the big banks and not homeowners.

  5. BANK OF AMERICA 1, NORTH CAROLINA 0 – Rep. Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat who’s been banging the subprime lending drum since he came to Congress nearly a decade ago, and who beat up his home-state bank over their $5 debit fee (which they have since retracted), announced this morning that he won’t be running for reelection. When the North Carolina GOP redrew the congressional lines, it was to nobody’s surprise that BofA’s foe wound up without a seat. He was crammed in with David Price, a New Dem who’s a college professor, so Democratic voters just assume he’s liberal. Up against that — Price backed deregulation all through the ’90s — Miller withdrew, leaving the seat to his mentor. (Isn’t the old mentor supposed to step aside in cases like this? Price really needs two more years of backbenching in his 70s?) DailyKos is peeved and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which had been slow to raise him money, is now drafting him to run for governor. [HuffPost]

  6. Hire Bill Black as the prosecutor. He knows what to do.

  7. @Joann,

    Was he refering to his bonus that could be derailed…? I can’t stomach that arrogant little… whatever.

  8. No help ever-that was essence of the commentary by Bernanke and the speach by the Fed governor——described a legal system which relied exclusively on civil enforcement by individuals—–no govt interference –except via courts—that is the philosophy clearly announced by Obama–and will be solidified when they do a settlement–which may as well happen–dont make people wait and have dashed hopes—gotta go search for cheap apts or cardboard boxes and good location underpasses now–beat the crowd–good thing so many are in florida–warm in those boxes under the overpasses

  9. It’s all completely choreographed…every single bit of it…all having to with the elections…OF COURSE. We won’t get any real help in the trenches for a LONG time…if ever.
    It’s all about games and smoke and mirrors with the big boys…
    Makes me sick…again.

  10. Neil, those big title insurance companies are part of MERS. You can not expect anything from them. ALTA is a supporter of MERS. Even if you have insurance policy with them, they will not protect you. Their goals are how not to pay the claims and defend themselves by spending money on lawyers.

  11. […] See the article here: NY Times: Is the New Schneiderman Investigation Real? […]

  12. @ J
    “”Very often the government makes these programs so complex that no one can get the money,” he said, referring to earlier refinancing programs”.”

    I think he meant what he said–when he refers to nobody it means HE cant get the money–from refi–from sales–etc

  13. “derailing the foreclosure settlement talks” he says – they just want to get the presidential seal of approval on the “get out of jail” card . He is afraid that his a$$ will end up in jail which is right where it belongs. What is offered is not a settlement but rather an insult to believe anyone would fall for that garbage.

  14. What if someone within the government was bold enough to disclose that the real problem – the leader of our country, Mr. Soetoro – is just a paid actor?

  15. “CEO Jamie Dimon said President Obama’s plan to set up a new financial crimes unit that will widen the investigation into banks’ fraudulent mortgage practices has a “pretty good chance” of derailing the foreclosure settlement talks.”

    “I think it will be better for America if the settlement took place,” Dimon told CNBC. “If this derails that, so be it.”

    “Very often the government makes these programs so complex that no one can get the money,” he said, referring to earlier refinancing programs”.

  16. @ ENRAGED
    “Where the …has common sense gone?”

    Reminds me of the book–“Gone with the Wind” —“gone is the way of life of the Old South…” ——–so goes the life you knew Enraged, swept away by events….

  17. If he does not step up to the plate, he will not get the votes from the younger voters nor will he get the votes from the large groups that were his support last go around. He could very well end up a 1 term guy and given his competition, would be pathetic. If he does not do something to rein in and prosecute these law breakers and do more then the usual doublespeak, he is finished. You can’t with one hand demand civil and lawful obedience from the citizens while with the other hand gives the green light to big corporations who have broken and continue to break laws left, right and sideways without prosecution. No more bailouts and they are not too big to fail. The country will go on without them.

  18. This is a crock–Schneierman already announced hes ONLY LOOKING AT OLD TIME SECURITIZATION—nothing about current predatory mortgage collection activity. Hopefully the arent granting the collection agencies pardons for current and future crimes in exchange for agreement to say they were going to look back at 2004-2008. Just resorting investment losses a little.

  19. Is it just me, or am I the only one that thinks the timing of this is rather smelly?

    We’ve had access to all the evidence for prosecuting all these guys for years…if you think it is a coincidence that a pending election is coming up and miracle upon miracles, he finally decides to (maybe…as if…) do something?

    Yeah, I’m not buying it…

    On, and “settlement talks?” Still working on the “buy your way out of jail cards”? From further comment I digress.

  20. “President Obama’s credibility is on the line. To restore public faith in the financial system, nothing less than a full investigation and full accountability will do.”

    And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Breuer was the chariman of the white-collar crime DEFENSE division of covington and Burling. I find that pretty damaging, as choices go… I’ve never seen a winning team composed of people with diametrically opposed loyalties and agenda. Common sense. So, why try that now, for a situation so dire and when time is of the essence? At best, it’s conducive of a complete stand still. At worst, one member of the team takes the lead and everything folds after having unravelled.

    Where the F*#% has common sense gone?

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