The Reporter Who Saw it Coming

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Editor’s Comment:

By Dean Starkman

Mike Hudson thought he was merely exposing injustice, but he also was unearthing the roots of a global financial meltdown.

Mike Hudson began reporting on the subprime mortgage business in the early 1990s when it was still a marginal, if ethically challenged, business. His work on the “poverty industry” (pawnshops, rent-to-own operators, check-cashing operations) led him to what were then known as “second-lien” mortgages. From his street-level perspective, he could see the abuses and asymmetries of the market in a way that the conventional business press could not. But because it ran mostly in small publications, his reporting was largely ignored. Hudson pursued the story nationally, via a muckraking book, Merchants of Misery (Common Courage Press, 1996); in a 10,000-word expose on Citigroup-as-subprime-factory, which won a Polk award in 2004 for the small alternative magazine Southern Exposure; and in a series on the subprime leader, Ameriquest, co-written as a freelancer, for the Los Angeles Times in 2005. He continued to pursue the subject as it metastasized into the trillion-dollar center of the Financial Crisis of 2008—briefly at The Wall Street Journal and now at the Center for Public Integrity. Hudson, 52, is the son of an ex-Marine and legendary local basketball coach. He started out on rural weeklies, covering championship tomatoes and large fish and such, even produced a cooking column. But as a reporter for The Roanoke Times he turned to muckraking and never looked back. CJR’s Dean Starkman interviewed Hudson in the spring of 2011.

Follow the ex-employees

The great thing about The Roanoke Times was that there was an emphasis on investigation but there was also an emphasis on storytelling and writing. And they would bring in lots of people like Roy Peter Clark and William Zinsser, the On Writing Well guy. The Providence Journal book, the How I Wrote the Story, was a bit of a Bible for me.

As I was doing a series on poverty in Roanoke, one of the local legal aid attorneys was like, “It’s not just the lack of money—it’s also what happens when they try to get out of poverty.” He said basically there are three ways out: they bought a house, so they got some equity; they bought a car so they could get some mobility; or they went back to school to get a better job. And in every case, he had example after example of folks, who because they were doing just that, had actually gotten deeper in poverty, trapped in unbelievable debt.

His clients often dealt with for-profit trade schools, truck driving schools that would close down; medical assistant’s schools that no one hired from; and again and again they’d be three, four, five, eight thousand dollars in debt, and unable to repay it, and then of course prevented from ever again going back to school because they couldn’t get another a student loan. So that got me thinking about what I came to know as the poverty industry.

I applied for an Alicia Patterson Fellowship and proposed doing stories on check-cashing outlets, pawn shops, second-mortgage lenders (they didn’t call themselves subprime in those days). This was ’91. We didn’t have access to the Internet, but I came across a wire story about something called the Boston “second-mortgage scandal,” and got somebody to send me a thick stack of clips. It was really impressive. The Boston Globe and other news organizations were taking on the lenders and the mortgage brokers, and the closing attorneys, and on and on.

I was trying to make the story not just local but national. I had some local cases involving Associates [First Capital Corp., then a unit of Ford Motor Corp.]. Basically, it turned out that Ford Motor Company, the old-line carmaker, was the biggest subprime lender in the country. The evidence was pretty clear that they were doing many of the same kinds of bait-and-switch salesmanship and, in some cases, pure fraud, that we later saw take over the mortgage market. I felt like this was a big story; this is the one! Later, investigations and Congressional hearings corroborated what I was finding in ’94, ’95, and ’96. And it seems so self-evident now, but I learned that finding ex-employees often gives you a window into what’s really going on with a company. The problem has always been finding them and getting them to talk.

I spent the better part of the ‘90s writing about the poverty industry and about predatory lending. As a reporter you don’t want to be defined by one subject. So I was actually working on a book about the history of racial integration in sports, interviewing old Negro-league baseball players. I was really trying to change a little bit of how I was moving forward career-wise. But it’s like the old mafia-movie line: every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.

Subprime goes mainstream

In the fall of 2002, the Federal Trade Commission announced a big settlement with Citigroup, which had bought Associates, and at first I saw it as a positive development, like they had nailed the big bad actor. I’m doing a 1,000-word freelance thing, but of course as I started to report I started hearing from people who were saying that this settlement is basically giving them absolution, and allowed them to move forward with what was, by Citi standards, a pretty modest settlement. And the other thing that struck me was the media was treating this as though Citigroup was cleaning up this legacy problem, when Citi itself had its own problems. There had been a big magazine story about [Citigroup Chief Sanford I.] “Sandy” Weill. It was like “Sandy’s Comeback.” I saw this and said, ‘Whoa, this is an example of the mainstreaming of subprime.’

I pitched a story about how these settlements weren’t what they seemed, and got turned down a lot of places. Eventually I went to Southern Exposure and called the editor there, Gary Ashwill, and he said, “That’s a great story, we’ll put it on the cover.” And I said, “Well how much space can we have?” and he said, “How much do we need?” That was not something you heard in journalism in those days.

I interviewed 150 people, mostly borrowers, attorneys, experts, industry people, but the stuff that really moves the story are the former employees. Many of them had just gotten fired for complaining internally. They were upset about what had gone on—to some degree about how the company treated them, but usually very upset about how the company had pressured them and their co-workers to mistreat their customers.

As a result of the Citigroup stuff, I got a call from a filmmaker [James Scurlock] who was working on what eventually became Maxed Out, about credit cards and student loans and all that kind of stuff. And he asked if I could go visit, and in some cases revisit, some of the people I had interviewed and he would follow me with a camera. So I did sessions in rural Mississippi, Brooklyn and Queens, and Pittsburg. Again and again you would hear people talk about these bad loans they got. But also about stress. I remember a guy in Brooklyn, not too far from where I live now, who paused and said something along the lines of: ‘You know I’m not proud of this, but I have to say I really considered killing myself.’ Again and again people talked about how bad they felt about having gotten into these situations. It was powerful and eye-opening. They didn’t understand, in many cases, that they’d been taken in by very skillful salesmen who manipulated them into taking out loans that were bad for them.

If one person tells you that story, you say okay, well maybe it’s true, but you don’t know. But you’ve got a woman in San Francisco saying, “I was lied to and here’s how they lied to me,” and then you’ve got a loan officer for the same company in suburban Kansas saying, “This is what we did to people.” And then you have another loan officer in Florida and another borrower in another state. You start to see the pattern.

People always want some great statistic [proving systemic fraud], but it’s really, really hard to do that. And statistics data doesn’t always tell us what happened. If you looked at some of the big numbers during the mortgage boom, it would look like everything was fine because of the fact that they refinanced people over and over again. So essentially a lot of what was happening was very Ponzi-like—pushing down the road the problems and hiding what was going on. But I was not talking to analysts. I was not talking to high-level corporate executives. I was not talking to experts. I was talking to the lowest level people in the industry— loan officers, branch managers. I was talking to borrowers. And I was doing it across the country and doing it in large numbers. And when you actually did the shoe-leather reporting, you came up with a very different picture than the PR spin you were getting at the high level.

One day Rich Lord [who had just published the muckraking book, American Nightmare: Predatory Lending and the Foreclosure of the American Dream, Common Courage Press, 2004) and I went to his house. We were sitting in his study. Rich had spent a lot of time writing about Household [International, parent of Household Finance], and I had spent a lot of time writing about Citigroup. Household had been number one in subprime, and then CitiFinancial/Citigroup was number one. This was in the fall of 2004. We asked, well, who’s next? Rich suggested Ameriquest.

I went back home to Roanoke and got on the PACER—computerized court records—system and started looking up Ameriquest cases, and found lots of borrower suits and ex-employee suits. There was one in particular, which basically said that the guy had been fired because he had complained that Ameriquest business ethics were terrible. I just found the guy in the Kansas City phone book and called him up, and he told me a really compelling story. One of the things that really stuck out is, he said to me, “Have you ever seen the movie Boiler Room [2000, about an unethical pump-and-dump brokerage firm]?”

By the time I had roughly ten former employees, most of them willing to be on the record, I thought: this is a really good story, this is important. In a sense I feel like I helped them become whistleblowers because they had no idea how to blow the whistle or what to do. And Ameriquest at that point was on its way to being the largest subprime lender. So, I started trying to pitch the story. While I had a full-time gig at the Roanoke Times, for me the most important thing was finding the right place to place it.

The Los Angeles Times liked the story and teamed me with Scott Reckard, and we worked through much of the fall of 2004 and early 2005. We had thirty or so former employees, almost all of them basically saying that they had seen improper, illegal, fraudulent practices, some of whom acknowledged that they’d done it themselves: bait-and-switch salesmanship, inflating people’s incomes on their loan applications, and inflating appraisals. Or they were cutting and pasting W2s or faking a tax return. It was called the “art department”—blatant forgery, doctoring the documents. You know, it was pretty eye-opening stuff. One of the best details was that many people said they showed Boiler Room—as a training tape! And the other important thing about the story was that Ameriquest was being held up by politicians, and even by the media, as the gold standard—the company cleaning up the industry, reversing age-old bad practices in this market. To me, theirs was partly a story of the triumph of public relations.

Leaving Roanoke

I’d been in Roanoke almost 20 years as a reporter, and so, what’s the next step? I resigned from the Roanoke Times and for most of 2005 I was freelancing fulltime. I made virtually no money that year, but by working on the Ameriquest story, it helped me move to the next thing. I interviewed with The Wall Street Journal [and was hired to cover the bond market]. Of course I came in pitching mortgage-backed securities as a great story. I could have said it with more urgency in the proposal, but I didn’t want to come off as like an advocate, or half-cocked.

Daily bond market coverage is their bread-and-butter, and it’s something that needs to be done. And I tried to do the best I could on it. But I definitely felt a little bit like a point guard playing small forward. I was doing what I could for the team but I was not playing in a position where my talents and my skills were being used to the highest.

I wanted to do a documentary. I wanted to do a book [which would become The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis, Times Books, 2010]. I felt like I had a lot of information, a lot of stuff that needed to be told, and an understanding that many other reporters didn’t have. And I could see a lot of the writing focused on deadbeat borrowers lying about their income, rather than how things were really happening.

Through my reporting I knew two things: I knew that there were a lot of predatory and fraudulent practices throughout the subprime industry. It wasn’t isolated pockets, it wasn’t rogue lenders, it wasn’t rogue employees. It was really endemic. And I also knew that Wall Street played a big role in this, and that Wall Street was driving or condoning and/or profiting from a lot of these practices. I understood that, basically, the subprime lenders, like Ameriquest and even like Countrywide, were really just creatures of Wall Street. Wall Street loaned these companies money; they then made loans; they off-loaded the loans to Wall Street; Wall Street then sold them [as securities to investors]. And it was just this magic circle of cash flowing. The one thing I didn’t understand was all the fancy financial alchemy—the derivatives, the swaps, that were added on to put them on steroids.

It’s clear that people inside a company, one or two or three people, could commit fraud and get away with it, on occasion, despite the best efforts of a company. But I don’t think it can happen in a widespread way when a company has basic compliance systems in place. The best way to connect the dots from the sleazy practices on the ground to people at high levels was to say, okay, they did have these compliance people in place; they had fraud investigators, loan underwriters, and compliance officers. Did they do their jobs? And if they did, what happened to them?

In late 2010, at the Center for Public Integrity, I got a tip about a whistleblower case involving someone who worked at a high level at Countrywide. This is Eileen Foster, who had been an executive vice president, the top fraud investigator at Countrywide. She was claiming before OSHA that she was fired for reporting widespread fraud, but also for trying to protect other whistleblowers within the company who were also reporting fraud at the branch level and at the regional level, all over the country. The interesting thing is that no one in the government had ever contacted her! [This became “Countrywide Protected Fraudsters by Silencing Whistleblowers, say Former Employees,” September 22 and 23, 2011, one of CPI’s best-read stories of the year; 60 Minutes followed with its own interview of Foster, in a segment called, “Prosecuting Wall Street,” December 14, 2011.] It was very exciting. We worked really hard to do follow-up stories. I did about eight stories afterward, many about General Electric, a big player in the subprime world. We found eight former mortgage unit employees who had tried to warn about abuses and whom management had shunted aside.

I just feel like there needs to be more investigative reporting in the mix, and especially more investigative reporting—of problems that are going on now, rather than post-mortems or tick-tocks about financial disasters or crashes or bankruptcies that have already happened.

And that’s hard to do. It takes a real commitment from a news organization, and it can be a high-wire thing because you’re working on these stories for a long time, and market players you’re writing about yell and scream and do some real pushback. But there needs to be more of the sort of early warning journalism. It’s part of the big tent, what a newspaper is.

36 Responses

  1. Speaking of Ford Motors.
    check Julie Leicht of stlouis special assistant to the Mayors office. Oh that is St,Louis has a previous address of Ford Motors ,Atlanta Georgia ‘
    She is heavily connected with family ties. I have been harrassed and hunted like an animal by these people all in the name of stealing property. Don’t feel bad for me yet. I have cousins family members whom is doing alot of the fraud against me.

  2. MERS submit a assignement in the file on behalf of Bank of america.
    The court are allowing this fraud to go on.
    Teh real problem is the use of the Deceased. Wendy A. Belanger
    She has gone on and they have resurrected this person trying to claim property under fraud.
    This name is listed on a Re-Affirmation agreement. They also sent a bogus assignment which , for a lack of better words shows CoreLogic as the servicing company. The fed -Ex packaging shows differently. Being the home of ReContrust. Ironically enough the hard core theives have enlisted family members to orchestrate the fraud as well. I have several cousins that I beleive the early part of 2009 began their property damage , stealing documents , and mobbing tactics. As I have learned Chase Bank ( Citibank ) has placed their fraudulent practices upon the community. Everyone in the neighborhood is working for this company under cover. They have debt collectors that are obtaining benefits for disabilities however, they can collect debt. They also sell drugs but, they can collect a check. They will damage your car and create insurance fraud. You will never get paid for the damages but, they will.
    Citibank was in the news for creating fraudulent documents in St.Charles , MO. This is where the fraud lives. Credit Control is also in St.Charles. These people they have spying on their neighbors , submitting fraudulent. My cousin is a loss cause in my opninion, If anyine ois s peice of dog pile it would be him. Just claims to have had a heart attach well, he is always jumping in his car trying to follow someone. They must do this. Just be careful of your insurance carrier this is where the fraud begins. Be careful of your signature as well. ‘They are not afraid to use it.

  3. Ok… so the end result is this with the Re-Affirmation Agreement , they have sent several Fed-Ex packages to Re-Af department. Only to find after searching the address listed is Re-Contrust . This is simply a pool of lies , forgery and fabricated documents. The Courts are well aware of this mess. The St.Louis City Recorders office should sue Bank of America for the fabricated documents and Millsap and Singer should be disbarred from doing any foreclosures in the State of Missourri. These are documents that are not required to go threw the courts however, the court decides if you able to afford the payments after the Bankrupcy. This is a web of wellsfargo fraud trying to take property that clearly is a defunct , closed trust. It;s all fraud !

  4. Attention : Dean Starkman

    You should come to St.Louis and do a story regarding Foreclosures , abusive practices by the attorneys and the courts. I would like to share my story with you.
    – In 2008, MetLife Servicers held payments to induce a foreclosure.
    ” Employer was the culprite of locating unsecured homeloans for First Horizon home loans. Well, these would be considered defiecent loans.
    -2009 a fabricated affidavit placed into the St.Louis County assessors office reflecting a death certificate of Eugene Leicht . Brother listed as Henry Leicht.
    -Fabricated assignments which appears to be a copy cat version of signatures belonging to Crstal Moore , Mike Fisher, Jerry Wade Lollar and Brian Bly,
    -The notary commission dates refelcting on these documents sho Jerry Wade lollar not commisioned on the date listed,
    -The signatures vary a great deal according to public record.
    -I have located by the Cencus Bureau , family ties of Fred Leicht , Julie Leicht . Julie Leicht is the County Treasures office , Fred Leicht is an attorney ( Practice f unemployment law ) in Illinios.
    -Many homes are either sold to this family by taxes or assumptions.
    – I found after paying the ransom maney to remove my home from foreclosure over 7,000.00 nto Millsap and Singer my home was sold by Edina Realty to a THF investor which I was accustom to seeing in the building I worked in Illinios,
    -My home was broken into several times. Paperwork stolen , listening devices placed in the home. Phone lines tapped.
    -I began getting followed by ex police and fellow employees.
    -After the Attorney Generals settlement here is what happened next
    _ I apply for a Modification,
    – Modification process last for over a year,
    – finally they send out a package to sign documents within 5 days
    – The documents show a loan amount whcih is much greater than what is owed , the payments made over a year are unaccounted for and not reflecting anywhere on the documents.
    – i request the payments to refect on the paperwork , showing the corrected balance , request to view the appraisal report , how they arrived to the amount , where is the write down of the loan Per Hamp PROVISIONS.
    – I am told the payments will be submitted on the back end of the loan.
    -I remind my point of contact , the documents states clearly nothing which reflects this information and state clearly they are not responsible for any verbal agreements. I’ll request this to be placed on the documents.
    -Refusal to submit a corrected contract.
    – My car is violsted at work,
    – it is apparent that my car now has a tracking device placed on it.
    – i start looking up the number listed on Millsap and Singers assignments created I locate a number which is very different than any other number that is part of a bar code CJ – number. This number turns out to be a DNA Code
    – I look up the number and find this is a number which clearly identifies DNA cells , defective cell strains.
    -this turns out to be a problem with the liver and vitamin k defiency from what I could learn. The smptoms show and reflect , bruising , obdominal pain , bowel issues , inflated veins , browing of the eyes.
    I has all of these symptoms.
    – I refused to sign the final paperwork with leading MetLife aka MERS to beleive they were to receive the documents signed.
    – I sent on a Final QWR- to cure letter
    – They receivred the document on Tues
    -. I was terminated that tues without reason or explaination.
    – I wasw then forced into bankrupcy and found that all the attorneys try to make certain you do not speak with any other attorneys and if you do they want to know the name of the attorneys.
    ***** Bankrucoy court ***********
    I motion the court to view the Note and deed of Trust.
    Failure of Millsap and Singer to produce only stating they had the documents.
    -The Judge sided with millsao and Singer stating she beleive them to be the party of interest.
    – I filed for an injunction however, was told I must first appeal the judges verdict.
    – I do this
    – The Judge , dismiss
    -I now appeal to the BAPS for an emergency injunction this is dismissed.
    – I appeal for a hearing.
    -This is apparent they are all working together,
    – Here after appealing and trying to have the decision reversed , I am told I must go the Civil Courts,
    – I am told by the Judge ( Jameison ) he can not act if the Federal Judge has made her decision
    -ok I understand , I take my paperwork and leave.
    _ I receive a letter in th mail two days ago stating the Judge has decided to consider the injunction, Ok but foreclosure is on the same day of the court date he has listed and I have not served the attorney’s . Oh , The Judge did this already,

    – I call the judges receiptionist back and say … This paperwork states conference , this sholdbe an open trail for the public . She leaved the phone and return th say Yes. this will be a Jury
    trail.
    -I get to the court to find this is exactly what is stated CONFERENCE
    – The attorney gets in the conference ( Pre- arranged ) stating he was not informed , he has charged for his services , and the plaintiff has been dismissed out of federal court and we see this as a consistant harrassment, The plaintiff states in her own writting she identifies MetLife to be the proper authority … here she signed this in federal court , that would be a federal offense.
    -My reply was simply , If the true owner is hidding behind the name of Metlife , this is deception and is not my problem and this would be a federal offense on behalf of the true parties that purchased this loan.
    – The Judge states he cannot reverse the decision fo the Federal courts.
    -Why did the judge then put this in the courts knowing that I walked away with my paperwork with that understanding? He set this up now the attorney for Millsap and Suinger states this is cause for estoppel. I would think he is correct in that he would want to. I pull out the original deed of trust a watch his face drop.
    _ apparent he is troubled.
    -I state to the Judge this is a loan that was purchased as a defecient loan by a third party other than Metlife. At any event the loan was defective from inception of the loanwhich clearly , shows the loan never made it into the trust.
    – The attorneys and Judges are working together here along with the un-employment office , and the online work search. They are tracking everything you do. They will try to set youj up for failure.
    My Ex employer works with the Bankrupcy attorneys.
    The supervisors and employees have so much property and debt they have invested in and are all well to do since 2008.
    -Irronically check the unemplyment division is North Oaks , stlouis , Mo
    RUN AND OPERATED BY WELLSFARGO EX EMPLOYEES
    REAL ESTATE AGENTS. GO CHECK FOR YOURSELF.
    TAK A CLOSE LOOK AT STLOUIS, MO AND FORECLOSURES THE PEOPLE ARE KEPT QUIET AND PLACED INTO POVERTY.

  5. Rebecca check out the statutes of limitations on your promissory note and mortgage. Once the fraud occurs the contract is breached the statutes for promissory notes and mortgages starts at breach. Perhaps your mortgage is uncollectable due to the statutes of limitations. The law/statutes are for a reason. They exhist.

  6. Where are you Rebecca and what is your status re:foreclosure?

  7. Email: rebwie@hotmail.com
    I wanted to write you about my home loan situation…I was on Good Morning America DEC. 2010 ,hoping my story would receive help….as it was good enough to get on there ,but nothing happened ..too many problems and no one knows where to start…. i have about every single fraudulent situation on my loan that you could imagine…ex. inflated appraisal forged signatures .the gfe says i have a 30 yr. loan ,but i only have a 15 yr. balloon …the home loan application says my name is Brenda ,but i am Rebecca ,it shows we had cars that we never owned…the mort. broker and tile agency worked together and defrauded me out of money listing money going to services that never existed …I have found 4 “different” copies of closing sheet …added title insurance 10 years after loan was made and a new servicer took over …the mortg. broker just got out of jail for 2 mill check fraud,robo signers too much to list….i have worked on this 8 years and uncovered HUGE fraud in every area….even showing i had 1000 more sq. footage on my home then i do……it was a refi and it cost me 10k just to add my husband to the loan…..3 months after loan ,i tried to get a different bank to get out of this fraudulent loan ,just to hear i had no equity left ,so there for i was FORCED to stay in this loan …………no one understands ,no attorney ,no one not even attorney gens office ,it too complicated its what i hear or the banks are too big to do anything ….this is the only place i can see that knows what i am dealing with thank you Rebecca W

  8. Carie, you are correct. And I will try to find an article or case that states just this if I can. Neil may know of an article he may have put together, I dont remember who it was for sure, that asked for exchange of the note for house and all it made. You cant have the house and the note to. Something like that. It is vague in my memory. I will try to find it.

  9. @carie
    Who says that Trust still exists? By searching the SEC filings for that Trust you can determine if it has been closed. There will be a 15D form filed showing that reporting and distribution for it was suspended. You should also check to see if your loan was closed during the time window that Trust existed, and if your loan was also pledged to more than one Trust; Fannie and Freddie know that some of the loans they were sold by various banks, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, WaMu, CountryWide, Taylor Bean & Whitaker and others were in multiple Trusts, some having been pledged as many as six times. See that article on Bloomberg;
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-30/fannie-mae-silence-on-taylor-bean-mortgages-opened-way-to-3-billion-fraud.html

  10. If a servicer says to me in writing “Your loan is in (such and such) trust—and we service it…” but a “loan” NEVER went “into a trust”…doesn’t that mean all the money they took from me I should get back? How does one frame a lawsuit for that? How to prove? Anybody know?
    Seems to me we should all be doing that…

  11. The most fascinating aspect of the system the banking cartel devised was the creation of checkbook money from thin air. More and more people are beginning to learn that this slight of hand is why there is 300 times more money in existence than there are underlying assets or transactions of value. The banks derive profit from this money creation by lending it out at interest under The Mandrake Mechanism. Fractional Reserve Lending creates even more money using the original loan made, and through this banker magic of principle and interest payments, they may create as much as three million dollars in profit from a single one hundred thousand dollar loan. Multiply this by the twelve million mortgage loans and you have a sum of money in total that boggles the mind with it’s imensity. Then add in the extra gravy fees, insurance payouts and all those other profit sources listed in my lower post, and you have one helluva lot of money that bankers have squirreled away in the Caymans.
    The Note you sign at closing is converted to checkbook money by the originating bank through sale at the Federal Reserve Window. That’s why you see an endorsement on many Notes “without recourse,” but lacking a payee. They “cash” your Note to create the money to fund your loan. Therefore, you are the true source of funds for your loan, and without your Note, there would be no “loan”. The bank essentially gets the equity in your house for free because you sign a Security Deed giving them the right to take it if you default. This is also why the bank never signs your mortgage contract. They have no financial interest in the game and they don’t want you to know about their fraud, because once you find out the jig is up and no one will “borrow” for a home loan, ever again. This is what needs to happen. The mountain of debt and the ensuing stress, fear, anxiety and anger over being kicked out of our homes is further an insult to injury, since no consideration of value occurred in the first place. The bank robbed us twice when they foreclosed.

  12. The Federal Reserve System was carefully planned to accomplish 5 main goals; 1. To stop the growth of small rival banks and maintain control of the nations financial resources by those present at the meeting, 2. Make the money supply more elastic in order to reverse a trend of private capital formation and capture the industrial loan market, 3. Pool the reserves of the nation’s banks into one to promote the adherence to a single monetary policy which would prevent currency drains and bank runs, 4 a means to shift the losses from the owners of the banking cartel to the taxpayers, and 5. the ultimate goal was to control the world through the applied power and force of the central banking system. The only way to achieve these goals was to convice congress that the scheme was meant to protect the public. The resulting depressions were divised to create public panics so that the cartel could step in and “solve” the problems they had created. The government and the banks have a reciprocal arragement in that the government needs the money they borrow to run the country, so that if the banks fail, the government itself will seemingly fail, however congress needs to do some homework over the summer and revisit history. The power to issue money resulted in unprecedented periods of prosperity when Congress and the Treasury issued our currency. Because the Federal Reserve banking cartel expands the money supply by creating debt, the economy can only grow if debt grows, and that is an ultimately unsustainable model. Now congress needs to undo the coupling and set the Federal Reserve free, relieving the taxpayers from the ridiculous, malicious, egregious pile of debt that has accumulated while they neglected their history lessons. Bankers are one third of the problem; the other two thirds of the financial mess are directly attributable to Wall Street speculators and our own bad government populated largely by lawyers, many of whom are corrupt.

  13. This was a plan of the Rothchilds the Warburgs, J P Morgan family, and several other banker families, which most of our presidents are blood relatives to. Obama is a fifth cousin to the Bushes. Most of our presidents are blood related to these families, if not all of them.

  14. http://www.ehow.com/info_8241161_debt-collectors-vs-creditors.html
    This is my understanding of of debt collectors and creditors. They can not claim to be both the creditor and the debt collector. They are two different entities. The creditor has to prove they lent the money. A debt collector has to prove the were issued authority to collect a debt and they have the burden to prove the debt. If they purchased the debt then they get what ever they can colect unless you can prove the statutes of limitations causes the debt to be uncollectable. In Washington state once a debt is charged off and sold to a debt collector for pennies on the dollar the debt is no longer owed by law and is uncollectable debt.
    Debt collectors are governed by the FDCPA laws.

  15. It is not that they are not overly bright or stupid, they are greedy and bought and very sophisticated and criminally intelligent. A lot of criminally intelligent people wind up in jail. That is a fact. Which then makes them pretty stupid in the end. So at the end of the day you are so right!

  16. According to G. Edward Griffin who wrote The Creature From Jekyll Island, the plan for the Federal Reserve System was hatched at a secret meeting on the estate of J.P. Morgan on Jekyll Island in 1910.
    The plan was to establish a cartel of all the Wall Street banks and the largest banking houses of Europe which would dominate not only all the financial markets but gain control of the legislative processes in every large sovereign country. The primary goal was to implement a system in which the taxpayers would bail out the banks repeatedly and suffer the consequences for their malice and manipulation of not only the financial markets, but the value and volume of the money supply.

    In the bankers plan, they would profit from both borrower default and performance. You can see evidence of this fact if you study the way the banks are profiting from the foreclosure crisis: They have set it up so that they profit, regardless of the debt scenario or the parties involved; here are their potential profit centers: FDIC Shared Loss Agreements, Private Mortgage Insurance, Default Servicing Fees, Pool Insurance, Broker Yield Spread Premiums, Tarp Funds, Deficiency Judgements, Flat Fee Payments from Fannie, Freddie, etc., Ancillary Fees (late fees, balance checks, phone payments), Borrowers Junk Fees, Trustee Payouts, Float Income from Escrows, Float Income from payments collected on the 1st of the month and held until the payout to investors on the 25th of the month, and then there are the Forced Placed Insurance premiums purchased through an affiliate and marked up to the borrower. Any situation involving a party they can rob, is utilized to increase their profits.

  17. “But the final blow came in 1913, on Christmas Eve, when the Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, which officially took the power to create the money to run United States away from the Congress, and gave it over to private Bankers, who called themselves the Federal Reserve Corporation. But note: they are private Bankers.”

    I thought we currently had the stupidest Congress this country ever had. i guess I was wrong… In 1913, they weren’t overly bright either.

  18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amicus_curiae This can be anyone including Pro Se’s(propria personas)

  19. An Amicus Curiea is a party not part of the law suit, that supports the law suit and sends in their support. Like these! This is the law suit: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/washington/wawdce/2:2009cv00149/157204/ This is attorney Shawn Newmans amicus curiea supporting the Bains case. http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2012/02/13/bain-v-mers-wash-supreme-court-amicus-of-atty-shawn-newman-on-behalf-of-organization-united-for-reform-our-washington/ and then AG Rob McKenna supported the Bains case with this http://www.scribd.com/doc/82101780/Amicus-Brief-WA-State-AG-Robert-McKenna The more support from someone not directly involved with the case the better chance for the case.

  20. When the notes were not transferred per PSA law within 90 days, the notes were void per PSA law. PSA law states defaulted notes are not to be transferred and when the note is not transferred timely by PSA law, it is to be discharged. It becomes a charged off item. Void and non collectable by law. Con artist debt collectors are then put into place to con the homeower, alleged debtor to believe they owe the alleged debt, and only receive funds from homeowners that are unaware of the con game and deciet/pretense. Or if a judge ajudicates by unconstitutional law, and does not force the con artist debt collector to prove the debt is owed to them.

  21. Exactly, MERS never recieved any authority or permission from lawmakers to make their own laws. They are to follow the rule of the law. “The note and mortgage are inseparable; the former as essential, and the latter as an incident. An assignment of the note carries the mortgage with it, while an assignment of the latter alone is a nullity.”
    Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 271, 274, 21 L. Ed 313 (1872) (SCOTUS). (Access Carpenter here: CARPENTER V. LONGAN, 83 U. S. 271 (1872) — US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez
    Carpenter recently cited in – Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, Kansas S.Ct., No. 98,489, (August 2009)). Access Landmark here: [Landmark Decision]

  22. @Shelly,

    Please define what you mean by Amicus Curieas and why you think it is applicable here? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  23. Now following the Pino case. Thanks for the info. In MN MERS has been blessed by both statute and Supreme Court so it’s not going anywhere. Foreclosure mill attorneys routinely sign as MERS vice presidents in assigning mortgages to the banks for which they work.They assign on behalf of MERS and entities which no longer exist. It’s the same incestuous practice which took out Stern’s office in part. Yet, it all depends on the jurisdiction. Needless to say, Minnesota sucks!

  24. @Hman,

    “So in my case after origination the note ownership passed through the hands of only MERS members and there was no need to record anything else until either there was a default or it was transferred to a non MERS member. These are MERS rules.”

    Hold on here! Recordation is not subject to MERS’ rules but to… states’ rules! Whether MERS said “You don’t need to pay and record ‘cuz you’re one of ours” makes no difference: Kentucky believes so. Mass. believes so. Ohio believes so. Texas believes so. Check the number of counties in different states that have sued MERS (and Corelogic, in the same throw… I wonder why…) for loss of income resulting from MERS’ failure to record. If I recall, in Kansas, MERS is worth about as much as a rat’s ass and in Ohio, well… “MERS not being the payee on the note, it may not transfer it.”

    I think you need to do a little more digging. You may very well come out with a big surprise!

  25. This could be good for Florida homeowners and very bad for the banksters. What is unique is the banksters tried to dismiss the case without discovery, and take no chances of case law judged agaisnt them. Then the court refused to allow this and kept it in the court to make this decision. Could be a good thing for Florida and other states
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/foreclosures/florida-supreme-court-to-review-dismissed-foreclosure-lawsuit-2345517.html?viewAsSinglePage=true

    Of course, the banks claim it will be devasting to the housing industry. They mean their industry of corruption and stealing. This will help the housing industry. This will stop the devasted neighborhoods, DEVASTED FAMILIES and rebuild Florida. The banks selfish claims make me sick to my guts. Hopefully this year will be the beginning of the end of these vultures. and their false claims of doing good for society. WOW what NERVE!

  26. hman, look up MERS being in the state of Calif or WA or where ever you are from. Secretary of state of __________ corporations. See if MERS is registered to be doing business in the state and see if the forecloser if not MERS is registered to be doing business in the state. The look at the Washington state V RECONTRUST, filed by AG Rob McKenna and comparie your state laws to the WA laws. MERS is suppose to be registered to be doing business unless it is not a financial institute or a creditor or not a debt collector, nor a beneficiary, not attempting to collect a debt nor collect a debt in its name. See State of Nebraska V MERS. MERS lost until they convenced the judge in their motions to reconsider, stating they were just the nominee holder, not a creditor, nor lender, nor debt collector, but they sure use all the above when needed in what ever case they need to be otherwise. see the first ruling and the second ruling revesing the Nebraska case and what the difference was MERS used. Then pull up the OCC letter January 14, 2005; national bank law does not preempt state law. MERS dances around what ever they need to dance around for the moment and changes like snake skin to fit what is necessary to steal or get out of trouble.

  27. AMEN! To Jordana, and look at this! The notices are from debt collectors attempting to collect a debt. They fall under the FDCPA debt collecting practice. They do not claim to be creditors , they can not be both! lawphttp://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2012/05/08/bob-lawless-affidavits-are-not-a-substitute-for-evidence-of-debt-ownership/

  28. It really warms my heart to see all of the separate activities and battles being waged around the country. We should keep coming at them even if we are just flies now buzzing irritatingly around them, one day well be feasting on their carcasses.

  29. Dear Mr Hudson and Neil:

    It is great that you are exposing the fraudsters. I would be willing to let you use all my information in my battle with the corrupt judges here in CA. I have placed a lien on the Unlawful Detainer (Judge avoided factual evidence and used what he called Presumptive evidence of the testimony to the false ROBO signed documents) win of DBNTC 4-1-2007 pooling Trust and I also forwarded all information to the IRS, FBI, Sheriff, DA, Dept of Corp CA, Attorney General of CA and FTC all with out any progress since Jan 08. I will be opening up a new case soon.

  30. Enraged thanks for the info! I think are gonna start changing the later part of this year. Maybe I’m just optimistic.

    Anyway, the biggest trap I think many of us fall into is how to beat MERS. It’s the entity that seems to be able to “legally” get away with fraud. Some counties, cities, etc…have caught onto the fact that a judgment against MERS would help balance the budget.

    I’ve been hitting my head against a brick wall thinking how to beat MERS. I signed a DOT a acknowledging MERS as the nominee of the “lender”. Even though the agency relation should have been terminated when the principal was defunct the majority of case law I have read has found that the common agency theory seems to hold up. (I know this is BS but this is what the judges are saying). I know there are cases that says MERS is a sham beneficiary, strawman, etc…but again these seem to be the minority.

    So in my case after origination the note ownership passed through the hands of only MERS members and there was no need to record anything else until either there was a default or it was transferred to a non MERS member. These are MERS rules.

    So I started thinking about the certificate holders. Bear with me a second. The certificate investors were sold a pro-rata share of a pool of loans. The securitization trustee was holding all the shares on “behalf of the certificate holders” but even if the investors only owned .01% of the loans according to MERS rules it would have had to assign the DOT out of MERS loans.

    Here is some lines from my pooling and servicing agreement. “Each certificate (other than the Grantor Trust Certificates) will represent a partial ownership interest in the trust.””The trustee will not be in possession of or be assignee of record of any underlying assets for a mortgage security” “Each certificate (other than the Grantor Trust Certificates) will represent a partial ownership interest in the trust.””Certificates will represent the entire beneficial interest in the grantor trust.”

    I know that loans didn’t make it to the trust argument and the refinancing of defaulted debt, and that the investors didn’t fund the loan.

    However, I couldn’t claim any of these things because I didn’t know how to research it. Anyway, so when the certificates purchased shares MERS should have transfered out of MERS name because a non MERS member had an ownership in the loan. (Even though it was only a small %)

    If you know your trust I think this is a much easier to prove. Any thoughts on this?

  31. Would it help if a group of lawyers and or citizens added amicus curieas to support this motion to Reconsider? Would Neil be one to be able to do this?

  32. Wall Street has created a climate of fear to prevent whistleblowers from stepping forward and spilling the beans on the widespread corruption, greed and abuse that have been and continue to be deeply rooted, systemic financial crimes, but…the banks are laying off people in droves now and the threat of being out of work in an economy where there are few if any jobs is no longer a threat, it’s a reality. The higher up on the executive ladder these layoffs go, the better our chances that some or many take emails and other hard evidence of fraud with them and turn whistleblower.

  33. Please vote for The99Declaration delegate in your state. The general assembly is scheduled for 7/4/2012. The agenda is spelled out on the following site.

    http://www.the99declaration.org/?utm_campaign=time_has_come&recruiter_id=2804&utm_medium=email&utm_source=the99declaration

  34. A very brave American filed a motion to reconsider that atrocious, crime-condoning, 49-AG settlement. According to Matt Weidner, it is doubtful that it will be acted upon but this is secondary: what matters is that more and more people take action and denounce publicly the abject destruction of this wonderful country. This action may not yield any result but it opens the door for more actions until this mess is fixed and the injustice redressed.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/92418187/Amicus-Brief-Motion-to-Reconsider-Jay-Fenello-Homeowner-Litigant-OccupyTheCourts-org

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