Cuomo Appoints New Cop: Homeowners Hopeful That Truth Will be Revealed

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Expanding Reach, Cuomo Creates Second Cop on Financial Beat

By

ALBANY — Benjamin M. Lawsky is not the attorney general of New York State.

But one could be forgiven for being confused. Since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo installed him as superintendent of a new state agency, the Department of Financial Services, which became active in October, Mr. Lawsky has been making headlines normally associated with attorneys general.

He has forced insurers to turn over more than $100 million in unpaid death benefits to surviving family members, dispatched rafts of subpoenas to banks, and pressed lenders to curb abusive foreclosure practices.

Critics say the new financial services agency reflects Mr. Cuomo’s expansive view of his executive powers, which he has continually sought to strengthen during his 13 months in office. They also see an attempt by the governor to encroach on the turf of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, a fellow Democrat with whom Mr. Cuomo has had a precarious relationship.

Supporters say it is an auspicious time to have two cops on the financial beat — after all, the agency, which subsumed the existing Banking and Insurance Departments, came into being as the Occupy Wall Street movement was finding its footing and focusing its critique on those very industries.

Mr. Lawsky, in his first few months on the job, is using a playbook that he helped write as a top lieutenant in the attorney general’s office when Mr. Cuomo held that post, gravitating toward headline-grabbing cases while looking for negotiated solutions with industry executives.

“We set our priorities here often simply based on what the big issues are,” Mr. Lawsky, 41, said in an interview. “Does that come from the world of Andrew Cuomo? Yes, because government shouldn’t be a waste of time. Government should be about making a difference in people’s lives.”

For his part, Mr. Schneiderman has not allowed himself to be rolled over.

Last year, he helped beat back an effort by Mr. Cuomo’s office to give Mr. Lawsky and the new agency even more expansive powers that would have cut into the heart of the attorney general’s jurisdiction. The governor’s proposal, which would have allowed Mr. Lawsky to investigate violations of the Martin Act, the sweeping state securities law used by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his successors to pursue financial malfeasance, alarmed Wall Street and even academics.

Writing in The New York Law Journal, Jonathan R. Macey, a Yale Law School professor, called it “a naked and highly suspicious power grab.”

And in a recent interview, John C. Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University, put it this way: “Cuomo made his fame as attorney general, and he sort of treated that jurisdiction as portable and took it with him as governor.”

The Cuomo administration backed off, dropping the Martin Act provision. Nonetheless, the new agency, besides absorbing two major regulatory bodies, has gained a number of new powers. It has broader authority to fight fraud beyond the insurers and state-chartered banks it licenses, and its reach has extended to all manner of financial products, including student lending, credit cards and tax refund anticipation loans.

Eric R. Dinallo, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton and former state insurance superintendent, likened the new agency to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in the way it combines regulation and enforcement under one roof.

“It’s not common to have a combined regulatory and enforcement function,” he said, adding, “It’s effectively very competitive with the attorney general’s jurisdiction.”

The two agencies are publicly cordial, but behind the scenes they are much like two boxers feeling each other out in an opening round. Already, turfs are overlapping.

Mr. Schneiderman, a liberal-minded attorney general, made a national name for himself in his first year by spurning a settlement that the Obama administration and other attorneys general had been negotiating with the banking industry over foreclosure practices. Then last week, President Obama, vowing to get tougher on Wall Street, reached out to Mr. Schneiderman, naming him co-chairman of a new financial crimes unit to prosecute large-scale financial fraud.

At the same time, Mr. Cuomo, in his State of the State address this month, turned to Mr. Lawsky, not Mr. Schneiderman, on the issue, directing the Department of Financial Services to create a Foreclosure Relief Unit. And Mr. Lawsky has moved on his own to secure deals with smaller lenders on curbing abuses.

Asked whether he supported Mr. Schneiderman’s stance on the national negotiations, Mr. Lawsky was noncommittal.

“We’re not commenting at all on the ongoing negotiations because we are at least tangentially a part of them and could ultimately be called on to sign or not sign,” he said, adding, “We want to see what the final proposal is.”

Danny Kanner, a spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman, said in a statement that the two offices “will continue to work together toward our common purpose of protecting consumers, investors, and the integrity of New York’s global markets.”

“In the aftermath of the financial crisis,” the statement said, “we need more willing hands on deck, not less, to meet that critical objective.”

Mr. Lawsky said he was learning to balance the roles of regulator and enforcer. And during his years as a top aide to Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Lawsky has been known as one of the relatively few administration officials to play nicely with others.

“A lot of people like to paint me as a tough guy because I’m a former prosecutor,” he said, adding: “You are being handed a huge amount of power over people’s lives and their businesses. It’s not something you willy-nilly bang people over the head with.”

Mr. Lawsky grew up in New York and Pittsburgh, received his undergraduate and law degrees from Columbia, and worked under four United States attorneys for the Southern District of New York, prosecuting everything from insider trading to terror and mob cases. He is a runner, but last had time to train for and run a marathon — the Marine Corps Marathon — in 2009. (His time was 3:40:17.)

Perhaps his most notable early achievement has been putting pressure on health insurers to make public proposed rate increases. But his office also pointed to early relationships he has formed with both industry executives and consumer groups.

Theodore A. Mathas, chief executive of the New York Life Insurance Company, said, “Ben is approachable, he’s a good listener and he’s quickly grasped a lot of complex things we’ve thrown at him.” Michael P. Smith, president of the New York Bankers Association, said, “We are very pleased with his performance.”

On the consumer advocacy side, Charles Bell, programs director for Consumers Union, said, “We’ve been pleased that they have reached out,” adding that a group of consumer advocates was meeting with the agency monthly on a variety of topics.

Mr. Lawsky does know how to answer the tough questions. During a recent online question-and-answer session with the public, the first questioner asked: “Mr. Lawsky, are you copying the governor’s hairstyle? It seems you have a similar look.” He replied: “That never occurred to me. It’s very flattering. Thanks.”

 

35 Responses

  1. It’s so hard to believe that the truth will ever be exposed. I have it all in my case to prove all the Fraud you would ever need to see. Also all the embezzlement that was allowed by the servicers, the unethical attorneys, judges and state officials. My proof, truth & evidence is going to get into the right hands of someone that is not one of the foxes guarding the henhouse. The day is coming and my health is failing so bad that if I die the day after our story is exposed and we are paid the hundreds of thousands plus treble damages, I can rest in peace knowing my family is vindicated, justice is done and our son did not fight for our Country for no reason.

  2. Main Stream Media (MSM) at work again.
    “Critics say the new financial services agency reflects Mr. Cuomo’s expansive view of his executive powers, which he has continually sought to strengthen during his 13 months in office. ”

    Opinion
    So no mention of these critics, no statements under penalty of perjury, only someone quoting a source that is supposed to be credible such that our mind should believe what these “critic” believe or state such that we take action based on their belief or what they want us to believe.

    Anything reported in MSM is for their purposes. Anyone trying to do something for the People are attacked with some financial crisis, some sex controversy, some illegal act that all of a sudden is exposed right when we see them helping us clear out this mess.

    Secret organizations are all over the place, and they have people who are just like you and me. Those people took an oath to an ‘inanimate object — the organization by name — and to all the others who joined it with them; probably on pain of death to perform certain tasks.

    All things are being revealed. The energies of the dark are finding spaces in the shadows and don’t have the whole room like it used to.

    These are tough times for those who took oaths to protect and support the people. Used to be you mention something about Wall Street or the bankers and investigations or probes, and the market takes a nose dive. Used to be the Fed say something and the market reacts by punishing our accounts with their activity.

    Something has changed.
    Change is all around us.
    Both sides will spew the info. Which side you tune to will be of your ‘Free Will’, and choice of the future you want to continue to live in.

    I see great changes and that’s the future I bring forth. The future that the people in place now are going to do what needs to be done to reboot this corrupt system and expose those who used it to their advantage at the expense of the health and wealth of the people and this planet.

    I bring forth the change I want to see. If it by my Will, then my Will be done
    I put on the shelf all information that is contrary to what I will for me and mine, and those that have the same Will as I.

    Trespass Unwanted, corporeal, life, free and independent state, state of being, state of life, state of mind, free, in jure proprio, jure divino, one of these united states.

  3. @ kimmi in Calf

    I too have the same situation. New Century/Ocwen in Federal Court, discovery right now. Any info we can share? Thanks

  4. Hopeful? Yeah I guess I’m hopeful. Hopeful ‘THEY’ don’t “get” me again. I’m good n’ p o’d to have learned how deep this fraud goes,

    I was hopeful when I applied for HAMP paying three different times to be treated like a hapless fool fresh out of second grade.

    I was hopeful when I went to court with a competent attorney and strong case,

    Joke’s on me I guess….the investment firm that ripped me off for my late husband’s federal life insurance (led to a tax bill that was paid by financing my paid off home of 32 years) was the same crooks who brokered my homes sale; (and for whom?) Yep, the servicing company who told me to stop the payments while they LOST my HAMP paperwork seven times adding thousands.
    (really? even tho my loan was bad I would have continued to do without to keep my home,,,,,but OUR PRESIDENT was on TV promoting this joke (which was NEVER a modification, but a new loan to cover up UNFUNDED trusts!)

    I found much more (I’m a neurotic research analyst touched with OCD when being taken for life’s work), but I’m shaking already…(hint, do you think foreclosure insurance happened AFTER you lost your house?)

    Now I’m hopeful I don’t live close to the air base / PRIVATIZED PRISON when the ‘home grown terrorists’ are rounded up for speaking out. (NO IT’S NOT JUST A HOUSE, even tho that’s how I must set my mind to cope)

    I’m so glad I served my country and worked a lifetime to hand it over to a few cazillionaires

    P.S Program shmograms! It would suit me fine if they addressed this 69K tax bill I’m facing for Ocwen’s 1099 which is tax evasion and FRAUD!!! New Century Home Equity Asset Backed Securities is a tax exempt entity whose investors (the top two execs who ended up in top / only traunch of special vehicle) should have been only ones able to make credit bid AND YET it was OCWEN as purchaser per 1099. Explain then how Deutsch was in court with falsified documents created years after close of security vehicle, Backdated documents are no problem per Deutsche….l……AND THE JUDGE

    When they start talking tax evasion, fraud and JAIL maybe I’ll have hope that this type of corruption doesn’t prevail going forward…..kinda scary!

    sorry for rambling….I’m working on accepting fate and working through anger….best wishes to all who understand and keep this issue alive

  5. @ Nora,

    While we appreciate your Christian values and beliefs, I want to state for a variety of reasons: I and many of us as people are, in society a product of what we produce. Most of us do not endeavor to be judged by what we buy and hold, but what we as people accomplish, over years of hard work and dedication. That may well be lost in the day-to-day chores and challenges in life, but just as meaningful. These homes and possession we have lost or are losing have meaning in that they represent who we are in various ways. Our homes are where many of us create children, our value system, teach and pray, like you. We forgive much of the time, because it is best for our souls, rather than carry anger and venom throughout our days and lives.

    Our Creator expected failure, missteps and mistakes as part of the human experience. I am not a Christian, but baptized a Catholic and know the difference between right and wrong, but sometimes many of us find ourselves in situations that give us limited choices and we do the best we can.

    The “things” we have are part of this society and unfortunately, in many ways needed to survive this journey. I don’t think many of us have lost our moral compass and do not understand that our society demands we perform and accept certain modes of behavior and performance based on “superficial” models of success.

  6. @ Todd

    If it pleases you and feels right you can throw me an email, I will listen. I have time and am very interested in what is happening to you. newenglandblonde@yahoo.com

  7. @Todd Hess

    If you truly seek forgiveness then our Creator gives it –before it is even requested. He heals you before you tell Him you are sick. He is in You and You are in Him, You are one in the same. Nothing you do in your flesh body matters, friend. You are not a body with a soul, you are a soul experiencing a body. All you have to do to receive the love of the Christ is BELIEVE. All of your sins, even those you haven’t committed yet, are FORGIVEN.
    Our thoughts and prayers for you are sent to the Creator on your behalf, and truly–thoughts ARE prayers. God bless you. Do the work of the Lord from now on, serve him only, and experience true joy. The people here are angry about losing material things that pass away, and yet they are ready to forgive you if you were in involved in taking the roofs over their children’s heads because you’re repenting. Is there any better evidence that our Creator is at work through love? Those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life.

  8. I was liking this guy until I read the part where he was endorsed by the American Bankers Association. That killed the buzz for me.

  9. @Carie,

    You did just what I did. There is an attorney in N.C. too…

  10. […] Filed under: bubble, CDO, CORRUPTION, currency, Eviction, foreclosure, GTC | Honor, Investor, Mortgage, securities fraud Tagged: bankruptcy, borrower, countrywide, Cuomo, Department of financial Services, disclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure defense, foreclosure offense, foreclosures, fraud, Lawsky, LOAN MODIFICATION, modification, quiet title, rescission, RESPA, Schneiderman, securitization, TILA audit, trustee, WEISBAND Livinglies’s Weblog […]

  11. Todd, are you in Alabama?

  12. @Todd. You have the power. No matter what you have done you can make amends. You can’t change the past but you can start telling what you did that has you upset, that is if you are serious about your posts. In order for us to understand you have to explain what it is that you have done. If you can help others by giving information, then by all means to do.

  13. Chris ,My head hurts, my tears burn my face like fire, but your words and words from others here havent fallen on deaf ears. Im just as sad I just don’t feel so alone THANKS. Very truly yours Todd Hess

  14. Nevada AG Masto’s letter (38 questions), re.”the settlement”:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=111608176

  15. @Deb Wynn,

    Same faith here. There exist very few absolutes in life. Not killing, lying, cheating and stealing are among them. Universal principles which are respected in every human society. Do away with those and you do away with humanity and, as a result, mankind.

    I don’t think we are anywhere near there. But if we are, here, in this society, we’re done. The next advanced civilization will be elsewhere on the planet.

    I refuse to think gloom and doom. I don’t even have it in me.

  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/sec-deutsche-bank-investigation-subprime-cdo_n_1242523.html

    SEC Probes Deutsche Bank’s ‘Crap’ Subprime CDOs

    “…The Securities and Exchange Commission investigates a Wall Street behemoth over claims that it assembled and sold a package of subprime mortgage-backed securities at the behest of hedge fund king John Paulson without telling other investors that Paulson planned to short it.

    Sound familiar?

    Almost two years ago, Goldman Sachs was in the SEC’s cross hairs over such an allegedly fraudulent scenario and ended up settling charges for $550 million, but not without becoming the poster boy for Wall Street shenanigans that helped crash the economy. Now, it’s Deutsche Bank that is being probed by the SEC, Der Spiegel reports, for allegedly letting Paulson help pick “junk” mortgage-backed securities that went into a collateralized debt obligation without telling other investors that the hedge funder was shorting the CDO, called START…”

    JOHN PAULSON MAKES BILLIONS FROM FRAUD AND THE HOMEOWNERS GET KICKED TO THE CURB AND LITERALLY DIE FROM THE SAME FRAUD…he (among others) is most definitely going to a very, very hot H**L…

  17. chris,

    We have no choice. Obama and his repertoire of advisors have already decided our fate. He thinks he fooled us with the State of the Union “trick” as so mortgage fraud unit.

    As the Joker said — the jokes on you. But, we will not lie down easily. However, need support from everyone. Including you, Neil. That is, if your support is really there.

    Where is you opinion as to the AG settlement?? Nothing here yet.
    Too late. Too late.

  18. @ ANONYMOUS

    You are right, of course. No AG anywhere in the U.S.A. should be speaking for us, as citizens. Particularly in private-party suits, generated to stop the fraud being perpetrated on the public.

    The court system is a mess and controlled with favors and money to silence our Constitution and its rights. The system is anything but unbiased. Large corporations have bought goods, services, finance and legislative processes. Obamaism has deepened the problem. He seems to believe in Fascism and tyranny for our country.

    I don’t have the answers, but will not freely agree to any kind of settlement that empowers the thieves and liars to continue this treason on our country and its citizens. I’m betting the cost will be high for me too. Actually, it already is!

  19. chris

    No does not matter. But, it does matter when our legal constitutional rights are being taken away. AGs can go in and do their own action — even if private suits are pending. If any private party accepts restitution from an AG settlement, they can no longer continue their private action, and they cannot bring future litigation. But, this settlement goes beyond that. This settlement is going to encompass and trample upon our private ongoing litigation. That is, the AGs are intervening in our private litigation — and forcing us to take their settlement. It is shutting down our private litigation. SOMETHING REALLY WRONG.

    And, I see no outrage by Neil— as yet.

  20. @ Todd

    We all feel your pain. Life is filled with missteps, it is not perfect, nor is it unusual to believe in something or someone who lies to you.

    Every piece of information you can share will not only purge you, but help the rest of us in our quest for truth, which is so elusive.

    Does it really matter if Neil is one of them? No, his place of business still provides this forum, where no one else does. Stay angry, damned angry…this whole mess is crooked and vile to its core. We need you in the fight, please tell us more, your situation could be very helpful and have valuable insight for all. Hang in there!

  21. deborah wynn

    Do not count on the sun. Still cloudy here. Fight like crazy. No one on our side.

  22. toddhess- its not over till the fat lady sings- just when you think you are powerless the next morning comes and the sun rises and god is good all the time. now this comment may not be useful to many but it serves me and those who have been by my side during my trials and tribulations, no easy path. but the truth is slowly and painfully coming out. no one knows what the end game will look like all we can do, is all we can do in this moment.

  23. Todd Hess (@hesstodd),

    Get it the AGs —- Eric Holder, Schneiderman — and everyone else. Do not care if nothing is done. Get it there.

  24. I sold fraud do you want proof ?Because I have it .Seriously.

  25. Enraged,

    Please — believe me, I have been here for a long time, and I do NOT get offended. I assure you, we are still friends. I have been assaulted here, called names, called many things, and several times removed myself from here. But, in the end — I remain — fighting to the bitter end — for everyone — as best I can. I am sorry that I am not as detailed, to your liking, as I could be. There are reasons for this. But, believe me, details are not being lost.

    All I have ever cared about is the fraud that has been perpetrated upon the “people.” Know that some have even accused me of wrongly using the word “people.” But, I care about everyone. Every single victim. And, victims have been victims multiple times over. Most important, the AG settlement will allow victims to remain victims. There should be no settlement without full investigation. Information is being withheld.

    Are there some here trying to benefit from the fraud?? Yes. And, that infuriates me even more.

    Right now, we need everyone here to stand up to their attorney general. If you would like to refer them to me — please be my guest. Attorney Generals will not accept parties outside their state. You need to ask for my intervention. Would be happy to do.

  26. My tears burn my face NO LIE,they wont stop faling down.I don’t know how to make them stop.Please somebody help.

  27. Very truly yours Todd Hess. God please forgive me.

  28. @Todd,

    I’ve done many things in my life that I’m not proud of. Beating myself over the head is not going to take it away or change it: it is what it is.

    What you can do, and I’m sure you haven’t looked at it that way, is tell us how you got to that point. What do you mean by “I sold fraud”? The mere fact that you want to talk about it is enormous. We don’t judge people and what they did. We simply keep repeating that the system had to be really, really screwed up to allow for such atrocities and we want to see it corrected. As far as I know, you did not create that system anymore than the robo signers did.

    For many, the line between ethich and immorality was blurred for a very, very long time. By the time they stepped on the other side, they could no longer tell the difference. Have you seen that movie “Margin Call”? If you haven’t, rent it. It is a real eye opener on what was going through the mind of those Goldman Sachs guys.

    Tod, you are not any worse than anyone. But tell us what you mean by “I sold fraud”. because I would bet anything that you were acting on someone else’s order or under enormous pressure or threats. And unless you know that you are going to jail for whatever you did because, at the time you did it, you were absolutely cognizant that you were breaching the law, who would we be to judge? On what basis?

  29. @Anonymous,

    First of all, I hope you were able to get over my little quip of last time. It is true that a lot of what you write flies right above my head (and, I might say, at a respectable altitude too…). So, i did say “nebulous” because to me, it is. I did not, in any way, mean to imply that what you write is bogus, incorrect or anything. Simply that i don’t get it. If anything, it reflects more on my limited intellect than on the quality of the info you post. 🙂

    Well, we are in it together. The fact that people fail or refuse to tackle the fight and are willing to settle for peanuts is their prerogative but, if anyone needs our help, we’re always ready to give it. Imagine if no one here shared any info? The only reason we’ve made so much progress in our understanding (even though I’m still trailing far behind) is thanks to sites like this one and to people willing to tell everyone what works and what doesn’t.

    And I believe too that, but for the fact that we can use this site as a soundboard, many people would never have tried to fight. They would just have folded like cheap suits simply because there still exists a shame attached to defaulting on a mortgage or losing a house.

    That’s why I want to remind people that, even though it is “only” a house, the ordeal itself comes with serious damages. people have lost their life (volunterily or through illness) because of the banks. They have lost marriages, savings, retirement, credit score. The damages are horrendous. Not fighting is inconceivable!!!

  30. I sold fraud i’m not in the same boat as others are in and perhaps it is in part my fault or all my fault.Nobody Understands Me or my guilt And im sorry for that.Just know that I paid for my mistakes with my life.

  31. Enraged

    Not all in together. Many will benefit by bogus AG settlement — and lack there of investigation. But, not the homeowners. Cart before the horse.

  32. @Todd,

    You obviously have a serious beef but not one of us understands
    what it is. Why don’t you spell it out and if we can help, we’ll do what we can. Of course your life has been destroyed. Everybody’s life has been or is about to be.

    We’re all in it together, buddy. Screaming, yelling, insulting, swearing is not hurting anyone but yourself. If anything, it might even prevent a of few of us from trying to find out what the problem is.

    Think about it…

  33. Respond you coward!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Still no answer’s Neil.Just as I thought.They must have goten to you. I wish it was that simple. The truth is you are one of them ,I take that backl. You are there leader.You are of weilth and privlage.there is nothing left of my family, you wish this was true don’t you? YOU can slow me down.YOU CAN’T STOP ME.Very truly yours A TRUE AMERICAN!!!!! Todd Hess

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