Deutsch and other Banks Under Investigation by DOJ for Filing False Documents

see https://findsenlaw.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/department-of-justice-investigates-deutsche-bank-for-false-documents-presented-to-court-in-bankruptcy-foreclosure-case/

Beth Findsen, Esq. in Scottsdale, Az posted an article on her blog back in February revealing that after 10 years+ the Department of Justice is finally examining the validity of the papers filed by the banks in support of purported foreclosures on behalf of ghosts. Beth is a realist as well as an idealist. And her skills as an attorney are second to none.

While the DOJ is always slow, they frequently get to the bottom of things when they put their minds to it. The prosecution of individuals working for the Banks may just be around the corner. Apparently there has been a serious on-going investigation since 2014. If an indictment follows, it will shake the entire foreclosure process to its core. If there is a settlement, then it will probably stay business as usual.

This is not the first case where a US Trustee in Bankruptcy has questioned the authenticity and validity of documents supplied by the banks. But it seems to be a more serious issue now as they continue to piece together whether the claims filed by banks as Trustees, servicers or agents are real. If they are not they are committing fraud on US Bankruptcy court which is a federal crime for which plenty of people have gone to jail.

The importance in bankruptcy cannot be overstated. The size of the bankruptcy estate is affected. On the asset side you have the house and its fair market value at the time of filing or the time of appraisal. On the liability side you have a party who claims to be a creditor but isn’t a creditor. Then you have John Does whose money was used without their knowledge in connection with the origination or acquisition of the alleged loan. And finally you have a prospective liability that either is secured or is not secured. This could affect everything from motions to lift stay to adversary actions.

Interesting parts of the article include

Although the investigation involves the case of only one homeowner in Connecticut, a court document filed on Jan. 26 by the United States Trustee’s Office said it wants to elicit information about Deutsche Bank’s practices in general in foreclosure cases.

In recent months, the office has stepped up efforts around the United States to block banks and law firms from using false or fabricated documents in home foreclosure actions. The effort follows disclosures in October 2010 of large-scale “robo-signing”, the mass signing of foreclosure affidavits containing “facts” that had never been checked, and wide production of false mortgage assignments.

The Jan. 26 court motion stated that “The United States Trustee has reviewed the documents filed by Deutsche in this case and has concerns about the integrity of those documents and the process utilized by Deutsche in” filing to foreclose.”

From Reuters:

April Charney, a Florida legal aid attorney who represents homeowners in foreclosure cases and who is an expert on mortgage securitizations, said that aside from possible sanctions against Deutsche Bank in this foreclosure case, the results could have significant effect on Deutsche Bank’s practices in general, and on its ability to foreclose on large numbers of homeowners in default.

Lawyers for homeowners in foreclosure have alleged similar practices by Deutsche Bank in cases around the country.

Incredible “Hustle”: JPM Moves Exec Who Defrauded Fannie and Freddie to Defrauding Borrowers Again

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Victims can receive up to $125,000 in cash or, in some cases, get their homes back. But the review has already been marred by evidence that the banks themselves play a major role in identifying the victims of their own abuses, raising the question of whether the review is compromised by a central conflict of interest.”

Editor’s Comment and Analysis: The rules and laws are in place and the banks are flagrantly violated them — again. While the infrastructure is in place to compensate victims of wrongful foreclosure and to stop wrongful foreclosures, the programs are routinely corrupted and ignored.

JPMorgan and the other mega banks actually had a name for the game: the “Hustle.” “Rebecca Mairone, worked at Countrywide and Bank of America from 2006 until earlier this year, when she left for JPMorgan Chase, according to her LinkedIn profile.” (see article below).

Mairone stands accused of a two year “scam” of foisting bad loans onto Fannie and Freddie on behalf of Bank of America. Now she is at JPM supervising the compensation program for wrongful foreclosure victims. Do you think there might be a conflict of interest or two in that structure?

So now she is the head of the “independent Foreclosure Review” process. “The review “never seemed designed to place first the interests of those who were supposed to be helped — victimized homeowners,” said Neil Barofsky, the former federal prosecutor who served as the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the bank bailout.”

The DOJ lawsuit says “”Countrywide knowingly churned out loans with escalating levels of fraud and other serious material defects and sold them to” Fannie and Freddie.”

Countrywide had a name for its policy of abandoning underwriting standards, lying to borrowers, brokers and closing agents: “The new modus operandi was called the “High Speed Swim Lane”; its motto was “Loans Move Forward, Never Backward,” according to the suit. The company allegedly paid bonuses to its employees based on the number of loans they pushed through, not on whether the loans were sound.

AND THIS is why I am telling you that if you push the banks into a corner by denying all the essential allegations they make about your loan and then demand discovery on the money trail starting with the first dollars that went in or out of a REMIC or that went in or out of the loan you thought you were getting, you will prove your case and the bank will retreat.

The fact is that in most cases the REMIC played no part in the lending process but the investors, who were advancing money THOUGHT they were investing in a REMIC, were actually lending money to the investment bank who took control as if the loans belonged to the banks. Then they traded, insured and contracted as though they were the owners. They claimed losses on federal bailouts when they had no losses.

The lies told to investors were identical to the lies told to borrowers as to the underwriting, the appraisal values, the ability of borrowers to pay on loans where the payments would skyrocket above any known income the borrower ever had, and so many severe defects in the origination of the loans that the investors themselves have come to the conclusion that there is nothing enforceable about those loans –— not the obligation, the note (as evidence of the obligation) nor the mortgage which secured a defective note containing both the wrong payee and the wrong terms of repayment.

As I have repeatedly stated, the investors should join with borrowers in a tactical pincer action, but they don’t. And I can only conclude that the reason they don’t is that the fund managers who bought these bonds knew more than they say they knew and went ahead because of the some benefit they received by buying the bogus mortgage bonds. Things don’t happen on this scale without lots of people knowing.

Red-faced bureaucrats who take their information from banks are going to be explaining for years to come why they gave money to the banks when it was the investors and homeowners who were the ones losing money while the banks were raking in the money on the way up and on the way down the greatest bubble in history.

Exec Who Allegedly Enabled Fraud Runs Chase’s Effort to Compensate Foreclosure Victims

by Paul Kiel
ProPublica,

An executive who the Justice Department says facilitated a scheme to defraud Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is now spearheading JPMorgan Chase’s role in the government’s program to compensate victims of the big banks’ abusive foreclosure practices.

The executive, Rebecca Mairone, worked at Countrywide and Bank of America from 2006 until earlier this year, when she left for JPMorgan Chase, according to her LinkedIn profile.

In a lawsuit filed last month in federal court in New York, Justice Department attorneys allege that Countrywide, which was bought by Bank of America in 2008, perpetrated a two-year scam to foist shoddy home loans on Fannie and Freddie. Neither Mairone nor any other individuals are named as defendants in the civil suit, and no criminal charges have been filed against her or anyone else in connection with the alleged misconduct. But Mairone is one of two bank officials cited in the suit as having repeatedly ignored warnings about the “Hustle,” as the alleged scheme was called inside the company, and she prohibited employees from circulating some of those warnings outside their division.

Mairone was chief operating officer of the Countrywide lending division that allegedly carried out the “Hustle.” She took the helm of JPMorgan Chase’s involvement in the Independent Foreclosure Review this summer, according to a former Chase employee.

The review, overseen by federal banking regulators, requires the nation’s biggest banks to compensate victims for harm they inflicted on borrowers. Victims can receive up to $125,000 in cash or, in some cases, get their homes back. But the review has already been marred by evidence that the banks themselves play a major role in identifying the victims of their own abuses, raising the question of whether the review is compromised by a central conflict of interest.

Mairone’s role raises additional questions about the Independent Foreclosure Review.

The review “never seemed designed to place first the interests of those who were supposed to be helped — victimized homeowners,” said Neil Barofsky, the former federal prosecutor who served as the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the bank bailout.

“Finding out that the person running it for JPMorgan Chase is a person whose conduct in the run-up to financial crisis was allegedly so egregious that she somehow managed to be one of the only people actually named in a case brought by the Department of Justice goes beyond irony,” he continued. “It speaks volumes to the banks’ true intent and lack of concern for homeowners when addressing the harm that they caused during the foreclosure crisis.”

In response to ProPublica’s questions about Mairone’s role in the foreclosure review and the suit’s allegations, Chase issued a brief statement confirming that Mairone is a managing director who is “working on the Independent Foreclosure Review process.” The statement added, “It would not be appropriate for us to discuss another firm’s litigation.”

Chase declined to make Mairone available for comment, and she did not return a message left at her home number.

The Suit’s Allegations

Countrywide was the industry leader in subprime loans, which are typically given to borrowers with a troubled credit history. In 2007, the subprime market began to collapse as more and more of those borrowers defaulted on their loans. Countrywide grew desperate to find ways to keep profiting from issuing mortgages.

Fannie and Freddie guarantee home loans, relieving banks of the risk that borrowers will default. So in 2007, the government’s suit alleges, Countrywide began the Hustle to pass a huge number of risky loans, many with phony incomes attributed to the borrowers, on to Fannie and Freddie.

At that time, the two mortgage giants were restricting their underwriting guidelines, making it harder for lenders like Countrywide to find borrowers who qualified for Fannie and Freddie backed loans.

The suit alleges that Countrywide deliberately gutted its system for detecting unqualified borrowers, leading to a flood of flawed and outright fraudulent loans backed by Fannie and Freddie.

The new modus operandi was called the “High Speed Swim Lane”; its motto was “Loans Move Forward, Never Backward,” according to the suit. The company allegedly paid bonuses to its employees based on the number of loans they pushed through, not on whether the loans were sound. According to the suit, the new system created a torrent of loans that often featured inflated borrower incomes, accelerated by employees who had every incentive to fabricate numbers to get the loans into the “High Speed Swim Lane.”

The suit says a number of employees within Countrywide raised alarms about the Hustle before it launched, but that Mairone and the division’s president “ignored” those warnings.

Once the new system was up and running, one concerned executive had underwriters run checks on the loans. Mairone allowed the checks, but said they should be run in parallel to the loan funding process so, according to the suit, they didn’t “‘slow the swim lane down.'”

The tests found a “staggering rate of defects,” the suit says, but Mairone did not “alter or abandon the Hustle model.” Instead, the suit alleges, she “prohibited” underwriters from circulating the results outside of the lending division. “As warnings about the Hustle went unheeded,” the complaint alleges, “Countrywide knowingly churned out loans with escalating levels of fraud and other serious material defects and sold them to” Fannie and Freddie.

The Hustle continued “through 2009,” the Justice Department alleges, well after Bank of America acquired Countrywide. The scheme led to more than $1 billion in losses at Fannie and Freddie as borrowers defaulted, according to the suit.

The government took over Fannie and Freddie in 2008, and since then taxpayers have pumped in $187.5 billion to keep them afloat.

The federal suit was first brought under seal as a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act by a former Countrywide and Bank of America executive, Edward O’Donnell, who says he tried to stop the Hustle. A qui tam suit allows a private citizen to sue on behalf of the government and receive a portion of the settlement or judgment if the suit is successful. The Justice Department joined O’Donnell’s suit in October in Southern District of New York, filing its own complaint and trumpeting it in a press release.

A Bank of America spokesman disputed allegations in the suit that it had refused to repurchase the faulty “Hustle” loans from Fannie Mae after they defaulted in large numbers. “Bank of America has stepped up and acted responsibly to resolve legacy mortgage matters,” said spokesman Lawrence Grayson. “At some point, Bank of America can’t be expected to compensate every entity that claims losses that actually were caused by the economic downturn.”

A Career Spans the Crisis

Mairone’s career has spanned the entire life cycle of the foreclosure crisis.

After working for Countrywide and Bank of America’s lending divisions, Mairone moved to the bank’s servicing division in 2009. There, at the height of the crisis, she was in charge of deciding how to deal with homeowners who could not pay their mortgages and wanted to modify the terms of their loans.

It didn’t go well. The big banks all signed up for the government’s main foreclosure prevention program and agreed to provide modifications for qualified borrowers. But as we’ve reported over the years (we even interviewed Mairone herself in early 2011), the biggest banks often botched loan modifications and regularly subjected customers to errors and abuses, some resulting in mistaken foreclosures. The big banks in general did a poor job, but analyses have shown that Bank of America performed the worst of all. Homeowners had less of a chance of getting a modification from Bank of America than any other major mortgage servicer, studies show.

Such failings eventually led to government efforts to compensate homeowners for the banks’ errors and abuses. The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency launched the Independent Foreclosure Review in late 2011. About 4.4 million homeowners are eligible for the review, and those who are determined to have been harmed can receive up to $125,000 in cash compensation.

Regulators required each of the banks to hire an outside consultant to independently conduct the review, but as ProPublica has reported, there is abundant evidence that the banks themselves are playing a large role. The program has also been marked by low participation by borrowers and a lack of transparency.

Regulators have said the banks are only playing a supporting role in the review, and that the consultants are entirely responsible for deciding how borrowers are compensated.

Mairone’s current employment at Chase was first reported by The Street, an online news service that covers finance, but the story did not say Mairone was working on the bank’s Independent Foreclosure Review. She oversees hundreds of Chase employees who gather documents for the reviews, according to the former Chase employee. Chase declined to say how many employees Mairone oversees or detail her job responsibilities.

Chase’s main regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said its policy is not to comment on specific individuals or ongoing litigation. “The OCC and the Federal Reserve are monitoring the conduct of the Independent Foreclosure Review to ensure reviews are conducted fairly and thoroughly,” said spokesman Bryan Hubbard.

Jonathan Gandal, a spokesman for Deloitte, the consultant Chase hired for the review, said, “We are conducting an independent review of the files and it is our review and analysis alone that will drive our recommendations. Beyond that, we are not at liberty to discuss matters pertaining to our services.”

 

“A day of reckoning may soon be coming.” Yves Smith

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Editor’s Comment:  

Yes it is a mouthful. But it boils down to this — Barclay’s Bank in cooperation with others manipulated the actual LIBOR rates which in turn effects other rates around the world. If you take this information and apply it to any loan that supposedly was reset on the basis of interest rates, you come up with the inevitable conclusion that the resets during the period of the manipulation were probably wrong.

So if a mortgage rate went from 3% to 4% on the basis of a change in interest rates tied to the note, then the proper rate charged to the homeowner was either higher or lower than what was actually charged. If the rate changed was directly  tied to LIBOR that is the end of the argument. If the reset was based upon some other index you will find that those rates were influenced by LIBOR rates. 

In a nutshell what this means is that most notices of default and foreclosures were based upon the wrong figures. In many cases the borrower was being charged too much and the loan balance was being overstated. This effects not only the notice of default but the amount required from the borrower for redemption and the amount of the credit bid allowed (presuming that the bidder was indeed the creditor which it seems is never the case in this country). 

The bottom line is that even if all the other defects in the origination of the loan, the foreclosure of the loan, and the auction of the loan are accepted as true, the remaining defect deals with the real thing — money. Procedurally I have an issue with those who file these defensive positions in a motion to dismiss. I think a simple denial of the foreclosers allegations or implied allegations coupled with affirmative defenses is the proper thing to do, even though it puts the burden of proof as to LIBOR and other rates on the borrower. But the truth be told, the Judges are putting the burden of persuasion on the borrowers anyway. 

Yves Smith has hit on something of huge importance. 

Yes, Virginia, the Real Action in the Libor Scandal Was in the Derivatives

As the Libor scandal has given an outlet for long-simmering anger against wanker bankers in the UK, there have been some efforts in the media to puzzle out who might have won or lost from the manipulations, as well as arguments that they were as “victimless” or helped people (as in reporting an artificially low Libor during the crisis led to lower interest rate resets on adjustable rate loans pegged to Libor; what’s not to like about that?)

What we have so far is a lot of drunk under the streetlight behavior: people trying to relate the scandal to the part that is most visible and easy to understand, meaning the loan market that keys off Libor. As much as that’s a really big number ($10 trillion), it is trivial compared to the relevant derivatives. From the FSA letter to Barclays:

The Eurodollar futures contract traded on the CME in Chicago (which is the largest interest rate futures contract by volume in the world) has US dollar LIBOR as its reference rate. The value of volume of that contract traded in 2011 was over 564 trillion US dollars.

This is only one blooming exchange contract, albeit a monster of a contract. There are loads of OTC contracts in addition to that:

Interest rate derivative contracts typically contain payment terms that refer to benchmark rates. LIBOR and EURIBOR are by far the most prevalent benchmark rates used in euro, US dollar and sterling OTC interest rate derivatives contracts and exchange traded interest rate contracts.

Devil’s advocates have also argued that while Barclays submitted improper Libor rates, there’s no evidence they influenced the rates. I read the FSA document quite differently.

Recall that (so far) we have two phases of activity: one from 2005 to 2007, in which derivatives traders at Barclays would lean on the Submitters on a regular basis to place bids that would help improve the profits of positions they had on, and a later phase, during the crisis, where Barclays felt its peers were submitting lowball figures to the daily fixings and it was getting bad press for being an outlier, and it went to posting what it though were competitive, as in artificially low, data.

The earlier period looks to be far more damaging, and the regulators may have gotten only the tip of the iceberg. Readers have told me this sort of manipulation dates from at least 2001; the Economist quotes an insider saying it goes back 15 years. And with so few banks in the end influencing the rate, it isn’t hard to imagine the gaming worked. If you have 16 banks on the panel, as you did in late 2008, the top and bottom 25% of the bids are eliminated and the ones left are averaged. So it’s the average of 8 that remained that would determine the rate.

First, the FSA document suggests that it has only partial information, and it quotes e-mails and some isolated instant messages. A lot, presumably most, of the communication was verbal. But even with what the FSA presented, the traders were often and aggressively working with the submitters to influence their bids, and the FSA found in the overwhelming majority of the time the submitters cooperated. The directions were often quite specific, to hit a certain number, even to submit a figure that would be so high or so low as to get Barclays’ data point excluded from the daily calculation. The enthusiasm and frequency with which the traders were pushing the submitters, as well as the reaction in the market, suggests these efforts were having an impact:

Other individuals with no apparent vested interest in the strategy commented on the EURIBOR rates on 19 March 2007. Trader D stated in an instant message to an external trader “look at the games in EURIBOR today […] I am sure a few names made a killing”. A trader at a hedge fund communicated with Trader E, also on 19 March 2007, stating “it’s becoming dangerous to trade in 3m imms […], especially when Barclays sets the 3m very low […] it does draw attention to you guys. It doesn’t look very professional”

But how could this be? Barclays was only one of a number of banks putting in daily Libor prices.

First, the FSA account notes that Barclays was sometimes working with other banks. It would seem likely that this was more frequent than the paper trail thus far would suggest. Someone working with other banks to rig rates would probably be a bit more circumspect than in internal communications. The fact that the traders would sometimes try to have a rate put in that was intended to be knocked out of the final calculation suggests a collusive strategy.

Second, the derivative traders weren’t working just with the submitters. The report indicates that on at least on occasion, they got the cash desk to cooperate with the manipulation. And again, if the derivative traders sometimes worked with traders in other banks, they might have gotten those cash desks to play along with their scheme.

Third, their objectives for rate moving were to achieve single or a few basis points. Some examples:

Trader B explained “I really need a very very low 3m fixing on Monday – preferably we get kicked out. We have about 80 yards [billion] fixing for the desk and each 0.1 [one basis point] lower in the fix is a huge help for us.

..the Submitter responded positively on 10 November 2006, “of course we will put in a low fixing” and on 13 November indicated they would make a submission lower than the Brokers thought EURIBOR would set that day, “no problem. I had not forgotten. The brokers are going for 3.372, we will put in 36 for our contribution”

As the Economist points out:

The sums involved might have been huge. Barclays was a leading trader of these sorts of derivatives, and even relatively small moves in the final value of LIBOR could have resulted in daily profits or losses worth millions of dollars. In 2007, for instance, the loss (or gain) that Barclays stood to make from normal moves in interest rates over any given day was £20m ($40m at the time). In settlements with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in Britain and America’s Department of Justice, Barclays accepted that its traders had manipulated rates on hundreds of occasions.

And the idea that one party’s loss from the manipulation was another’s gain is irrelevant to those on the losing side:

….banks will be sued only by those who have lost, and will be unable to claim back the unjust gains made by some of their other customers. Lawyers acting for corporations or other banks say their clients are also considering whether they can walk away from contracts with banks such as long-term derivatives priced off LIBOR.

I expect the firms involved to face a locust swarm of litigation. Lawyers may accomplish what regulators and politicians refused to do: strip the banks of ill gotten gains and bring their preening CEOs and “producers” down a few notches. A day of reckoning may finally be coming.


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Arizona Supreme Court Hogan Case Holds that Note is Not required to Start Foreclosure

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the trustee owes the trustor a fiduciary duty, and may be held liable for conducting a trustee’s sale when the trustor is not in default. See Patton v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n of Phoenix, 118 Ariz. 473, 476, 578 P.2d 152, 155 (1978).” Hogan Court

Editor’s Comment: Here is another example of lawyers arguing out of a lack of understanding of the securitization process and trying to compress an elephant into a rabbit hole. They lost, unsurprisingly.

If you loaned money to someone, you want the money repaid. You DON’T want to be told that because you don’t have the note you can never enforce the loan repayment. You CAN start enforcement and you must prove why you don’t have the note in a credible way so that the court has footprints leading right up to the point that you don’t have the note. But the point is that you can start without the note. 

The Supreme Court apparently understood this very well and they didn’t address the real issue because nobody brought it up. The issue before them was whether someone without the note could initiate the foreclosure process. Nobody mentioned whether the same party could submit a credit bid at the auction which is what I have been pounding upon for months on end now.

Apparently, right or wrong, the feeling of the courts is that there is a very light burden on the right to initiate a foreclosure whether it is judicial or non-judicial. It is very close to the burden of the party moving to lift stay in a bankruptcy procedure. Practically any colorable right gives the party enough to get the stay — because the theory goes — whether it is a lift stay or starting the ball rolling on a foreclosure there is plenty the borrower can do to  oppose the enforcement procedure. I don’t agree with either standard or burden of proof in the case of securitized mortgages but it is about time we got real about what gets traction in the courtroom and what doesn’t.

In the Hogan case the Court makes a pretty big deal out of the fact that Hogan didn’t allege that WAMU and Deutsch were not entitled to enforce the note. From the court’s perspective, they were saying to the AG and the borrowers, “look, you are admitting the debt and admitting this is the creditor, what do you want from us, a free pass?”

This is why you need real people with real knowledge and real reports that back up and give credibility to deny the debt, deny the default, deny that WAMU and/or Deutsch are creditors, plead payment and force WAMU and Deutsch to come forward with pleadings and proof. Instead WAMU and Deutsch skated by AGAIN because nobody followed the money. They followed the document trail which led them down that rabbit hole I was referencing above.

In order to deny everything without be frivolous, you need to have concrete reasons why you think the debt does not exist, the debt does not exist between the borrower and these pretender lenders, the debt was paid in full, and deny that the loan was NOT secured (i.e. that the mortgage lien was NOT perfected when filed).

For anyone to do that without feeling foolish you must UNDERSTAND how the securitization model AS PRACTICED turned the entire lending model on its head. Then everything makes sense, which is why I wrote the second volume which you can get by pressing the appropriate links shown above. But it isn’t just the book that will get you there. You need to give rise to material, relevant issues of fact that are in dispute. For that you need a credible report from a credible expert with real credentials and real experience and training.

I follow the money. In fact the new book has a section called “Show Me the Money”. To “believe” is taken from an ancient  language that means “to be willing”. I want you to believe that the debt that the “enforcers” doesn’t exist and never did. I want you to believe that the declarations contained in the note, mortgage (deed of trust), substitution of trustee etc. are all lies. But you can’t believe that unless you are willing to consider the the idea it might be true. That I might be right.

At every “Securitized” closing table there were two deals taking place — one perfectly real and the other perfectly unreal, fake and totally obfuscated. The deal everyone is litigating is the second one,  starting with the documents at closing and moving up the chain of securitization. Do you really think that some court is going to declare that everyone gets a free house because some i wasn’t dotted or t crossed on the back of the wrong piece of paper when you admit the debt, the default and the amount due?

It is the first deal that is real because THAT is the one with the money exchanging hands. The declarations contained in the note, mortgage and other documents all refer to money exchanging hands between the named payee and secured party on one side and the borrower on the other. The deal in those documents never happened. The REAL DEAL was that money from investor lenders was poured down a pipe through which the loans were funded. The parties at the closing table with the borrower had nothing to do with funding; acquiring, transferring the receivable, the obligation, note or the mortgage or deed of trust.

Every time you chase them down the rabbit hole of the document trail you miss the point. The REAL DEAL had no documents and couldn’t possibly be secured. And if you read the wording from the Hogan decision below you can see how even they would have considered the matter differently if the simple allegation been made that the borrower denied that WAMU and Deutsch had any right to enforce the note either as principals or as agents. They were not the creditor. But Hogan and its ilk are not over — yet.

There is still a matter to be determined as to whether the party who initiated the foreclosure is in fact a creditor under the statute and can therefore submit a credit bid in lieu of cash. THAT is where the rubber meets the road — where the cash is supposed to exchange hands. And THAT is where nearly all the foreclosures across the country fail. The failure of consideration means the sale did not take place. If the borrower was there or someone for him was there and bid a token amount of money it could be argued in many states that the other bid being ineligible as a credit bid, the only winning bidder is the one who offered cash.

————————————————————

Hogan argues that a deed of trust, like a mortgage, “may be enforced only by, or in behalf of, a person who is entitled to enforce the obligation the mortgage secures.” Restatement (Third) of Prop.: Mortgages § 5.4(c) (1997); see Hill v. Favour, 52 Ariz. 561, 568-69, 84 P.2d 575, 578 (1938).

-6-
We agree. (e.s.) But Hogan has not alleged that WaMu and Deutsche Bank are not entitled to enforce the underlying note; rather, he alleges that they have the burden of demonstrating their rights before a non-judicial foreclosure may proceed. Nothing in the non-judicial foreclosure statutes, however, imposes such an obligation. See Mansour v. Cal-Western Reconveyance Corp., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1178, 1181 (D. Ariz. 2009) (citing A.R.S. § 33-807 and observing that “Arizona’s [non-]judicial foreclosure statutes . . . do not require presentation of the original note before commencing foreclosure proceedings”); In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 22 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2010) (stating that non-judicial foreclosures may be conducted under Arizona’s deed of trust statutes without presentation of the original note).

———————AND SPEAKING OF  DEUTSCH BANK: READ THIS AS GRIST FOR THE ABOVE ANALYSIS——-

Disavowal by-DEUTSCHE-BANK-NATIONAL-TRUST-COMPANY-AS-TRUSTEE-NOTICE-TO-CERTIFICATE-HOLDERSForeclosure-Practice-Notice-10-25[1]

Pandemic Lying Admission: Deutsch Bank Up and Down the Fake Securitization Chain

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Editor’s Comment:

One problem with securitization in practice even under the academic model is the effect on potential enforcement of the obligation, even assuming that the “lender” is properly identified in the closing documents with the buyer of the loan product and the closing papers of the buyer of the mortgage bonds (and we’ll assume that the mortgage bonds are real and valid, as well as having been issued by a fully funded REMIC in which loans were properly assigned and transferred —- an assumption, as we have seen that is not true in the real world). Take this quote from the glossary at the back of this book and which in turn was taken from established authoritative sources used by bankers, securities firms and accountants:

cross guarantees and credit default swaps, synthetic collateralized asset obligations and other exotic equity and debt instruments, each of which promises the holder an incomplete interest in the original security instrument and the revenue flow starting with the alleged borrower and ending with various parties who receive said revenue, including but not limited to parties who are obligated to make payments for shortfalls of revenues.

Real Property Lawyers spot the problem immediately.

First question is when do these cross guarantees, CDS, Insurance, and other exotic instruments arise. If they are in existence at the time of the closing with the borrower homeowner then the note and mortgage are not properly drafted as to terms of repayment nor identity of the lender/creditor. This renders the note either unenforceable or requiring the admission of parole evidence in any action to either enforce against the borrower or enforce the cross obligations of the new cross creditors who supposedly are receiving not just rights to the receivable but to the actual note and the actual mortgage.

Hence even a truthful statement that the “Trustee” beings this foreclosure on behalf of the “trust” as creditor (assuming a Trust existed by law and that the Trustee, and beneficiaries and terms were clear) would be insufficient if any of these “credit enhancements” and other synthetic or exotic vehicles were in place. The Trustee on the Deed of Sale would be required to get an accounting from each of the entities that are parties or counterparties whose interest is effected by the foreclosure and who would be entitled to part of the receivable generated either by the foreclosure itself or the payment by counterparties who “bet wrong” on the mortgage pool.

The second question is whether some or any or all of these instruments came into existence or were actualized by a required transaction AFTER the closing with the homeowner borrower. It would seem that while the original note and mortgage (or Deed of Trust) might not be affected directly by these instruments, the enforcement mechanism would still be subject to the same issues as raised above when they were fully actualized and in existence at the time of the closing with the homeowner borrower.

Deutsch Bank was a central player in most of the securitized mortgages in a variety of ways including the exotic instruments referred to above. If there was any doubt about whether there existed pandemic lying and cheating, it was removed when the U.S. Attorney Civil Frauds Unit obtained admissions and a judgment for Deutsch to pay over $200 million resulting from intentional misrepresentations contained in various documents used with numerous entities and people up and down the fictitious securitization chain. Similar claims are brought against Citi (which settled so far for $215 million in February, 2012) Flagstar Bank FSB (which settled so far for $133 million in February 2012, and Allied Home Mortgage Corp, which is still pending. Even the most casual reader can see that the entire securitization model was distorted by fraud from one end (the investor lender) to the other (the homeowner borrower) and back again (the parties and counterparties in insurance, bailouts, credit default swaps, cross guarantees that violated the terms of every promissory note etc.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Recovers $202.3 Million From Deutsche Bank And Mortgageit In Civil Fraud Case Alleging Reckless Mortgage Lending Practices And False Certifications To HUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  Thursday May 10, 2012

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Stuart F. Delery, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Helen Kanovsky, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), and David A. Montoya, Inspector General of HUD, announced today that the United States has settled a civil fraud lawsuit against DEUTSCHE BANK AG, DB STRUCTURED PRODUCTS, INC., DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES, INC. (collectively “DEUTSCHE BANK” or the “DEUTSCHE BANK defendants”) and MORTGAGEIT, INC. (“MORTGAGEIT”). The Government’s lawsuit, filed May 3, 2011, sought damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act for repeated false certifications to HUD in connection with the residential mortgage origination practices of MORTGAGEIT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DEUTSCHE BANK AG since 2007. The suit alleges approximately a decade of misconduct in connection with MORTGAGEIT’s participation in the Federal Housing Administration’s (“FHA’s”) Direct Endorsement Lender Program (“DEL program”), which delegates authority to participating private lenders to endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. Among other things, the suit accused the defendants of having submitted false certifications to HUD, including false certifications that MORTGAGEIT was originating mortgages in compliance with HUD rules when in fact it was not. In the settlement announced today, MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for certain conduct alleged in the Complaint, including that, contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations. MORTGAGEIT also admitted that it submitted certifications to HUD stating that certain loans were eligible for FHA mortgage insurance when in fact they were not; that FHA insured certain loans endorsed by MORTGAGEIT that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance; and that HUD consequently incurred losses when some of those MORTGAGEIT loans defaulted. The defendants also agreed to pay $202.3 million to the United States to resolve the Government’s claims for damages and penalties under the False Claims Act. The settlement was approved today by United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK treated FHA insurance as free Government money to backstop lending practices that did not follow the rules. Participation in the Direct Endorsement Lender program comes with requirements that are not mere technicalities to be circumvented through subterfuge as these defendants did repeatedly over the course of a decade. Their failure to meet these requirements caused substantial losses to the Government – losses that could have and should have been avoided. In addition to their admissions of responsibility, Deutsche Bank and MortgageIT have agreed to pay damages in an amount that will significantly compensate HUD for the losses it incurred as a result of the defendants’ actions.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery stated: “This is an important settlement for the United States, both in terms of obtaining substantial reimbursement for the FHA insurance fund for wrongfully incurred claims, and in obtaining the defendants’ acceptance of their role in the losses they caused to the taxpayers.”

Giving Back to the Community through a variety of venues & initatives.

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.

www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/may12/deutschebankmortgageitsettlement.html                  1/45/16/12                  USDOJ: US Attorney’s Office – Southern District of New York

HUD General Counsel Helen Kanovsky stated: “This case demonstrates that HUD has the ability to identify fraud patterns and work with our partners at the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to pursue appropriate remedies. HUD would like to commend the work of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in achieving this settlement, which is a substantial recovery for the FHA mortgage insurance fund. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with the Department of Justice and the SDNY to combat mortgage fraud. The mortgage industry should take notice that we will not sit silently by if we detect abuses in our programs.”

HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya stated: “We expect every Direct Endorsement Lender to adhere to the highest level of integrity and accountability. When the combined efforts and attention of the Department of Justice, HUD, and HUD OIG are focused upon those who fail to exercise such integrity in connection with HUD programs, the end result will be both unpleasant and costly to the offending party.”

The following allegations are based on the Complaint and Amended Complaint (the “Complaint”) filed in Manhattan federal court by the Government in this case:

Between 1999 and 2009, MORTGAGEIT was a participant in the DEL program, a federal program administered by the FHA. As a Direct Endorsement Lender, MORTGAGEIT had the authority to originate, underwrite, and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. If a Direct Endorsement Lender approves a mortgage loan for FHA insurance and the loan later defaults, the holder of the loan may submit an insurance claim to HUD for the costs associated with the defaulted loan, which HUD must then pay. Under the DEL program, neither the FHA nor HUD reviews a loan before it is endorsed for FHA insurance. Direct Endorsement Lenders are therefore required to follow program rules designed to ensure that they are properly underwriting and endorsing mortgages for FHA insurance and maintaining a quality control program that can prevent and correct any deficiencies in their underwriting. These requirements include maintaining a quality control program, pursuant to which the lender must fully review all loans that go into default within the first six payments, known as “early payment defaults.” Early payment defaults may be signs of problems in the underwriting process, and by reviewing early payment defaults, Direct Endorsement Lenders are able to monitor those problems, correct them, and report them to HUD. MORTGAGEIT failed to comply with these basic requirements.

As the Complaint further alleges, MORTGAGEIT was also required to execute certifications for every mortgage loan that it endorsed for FHA insurance. Since 1999, MORTGAGEIT has endorsed more than 39,000 mortgages for FHA insurance, and FHA paid insurance claims on more than 3,200 mortgages, totaling more than $368 million, for mortgages endorsed for FHA insurance by MORTGAGEIT, including more than $58 million resulting from loans that defaulted after DEUTSCHE BANK AG acquired MORTGAGEIT in 2007.

As alleged in the Complaint, a portion of those losses was caused by the false statements that the defendants made to HUD to obtain FHA insurance on individual loans. Although MORTGAGEIT had certified that each of these loans was eligible for FHA insurance, it repeatedly submitted certifications that were knowingly or recklessly false. MORTGAGEIT failed to perform basic due diligence and repeatedly endorsed mortgage loans that were not eligible for FHA insurance.

The Complaint also alleges that MORTGAGEIT separately certified to HUD, on an annual basis, that it was in compliance with the rules governing its eligibility in the DEL program, including that it conduct a full review of all early payment defaults, as early payment defaults are indicators of mortgage fraud. Contrary to its certifications to HUD, MORTGAGEIT failed to implement a compliant quality control program, and failed to review all early payment defaults as required. In addition, the Complaint alleges that, after DEUTSCHE BANK acquired MORTGAGEIT in January 2007, DEUTSCHE BANK managed the quality control functions of the Direct Endorsement Lender business, and had its employees sign and submit MORTGAGEIT’s Direct Endorsement Lender annual certifications to HUD. Furthermore, by the end of 2007, MORTGAGEIT was not reviewing any early payment defaults on closed FHA-insured loans. Between 1999 and 2009, the FHA paid more than $92 million in FHA insurance claims for loans that defaulted within the first six payments.

***

Pursuant to the settlement, MORTGAGEIT and the DEUTSCHE BANK defendants will pay the United States $202.3 million within 30 days of the settlement.

As part of the settlement, the defendants admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for certain misconduct. Specifically,

MORTGAGEIT admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for the following:

www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/may12/deutschebankmortgageitsettlement.html                  2/4

5/16/12                  USDOJ: US Attorney’s Office – Southern District of New York

MORTGAGEIT failed to conform fully to HUD-FHA rules requiring Direct Endorsement Lenders to maintain a compliant quality control program;

MORTGAGEIT failed to conduct a full review of all early payment defaults on loans endorsed for FHA insurance;

Contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations;

MORTGAGEIT endorsed for FHA mortgage insurance certain loans that did not meet all underwriting requirements contained in HUD’s handbooks and mortgagee letters, and therefore were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance under the DEL program; and;

MORTGAGEIT submitted to HUD-FHA certifications stating that certain loans were eligible for FHA mortgage insurance when in fact they were not; FHA insured certain loans endorsed by MORTGAGEIT that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance; and HUD consequently incurred losses when some of those MORTGAGEIT loans defaulted.

The DEUTSCHE BANK defendants admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for the fact that after MORTGAGEIT became a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of DB Structured Products, Inc and Deutsche Bank AG in January 2007:

The DEUTSCHE BANK defendants were in a position to know that the operations of MORTGAGEIT did not conform fully to all of HUD-FHA’s regulations, policies, and handbooks;

One or more of the annual certifications was signed by an individual who was also an officer of certain of the DEUTSCHE BANK defendants; and;

Contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations.

***

The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit. Mr. Bharara established the Civil Frauds Unit in March 2010 to bring renewed focus and additional resources to combating financial fraud, including mortgage fraud.

To date, the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit has brought four civil fraud lawsuits against major lenders under the False Claims Act alleging reckless residential mortgage lending.

Three of the four cases have settled, and today’s settlement represents the third, and largest, settlement. On February 15, 2012, the Government settled its civil fraud lawsuit against CITIMORTGAGE, INC. for $158.3 million. On February 24, 2012, the Government settled its civil fraud suit against FLAGSTAR BANK, F.S.B. for $132.8 million. The Government’s lawsuit against ALLIED HOME MORTGAGE CORP. and two of its officers remains pending. With today’s settlement, the Government has achieved settlements totaling $493.4 million in the last three months. In each settlement, the defendants have admitted and accepted responsibility for certain conduct alleged in the Government’s Complaint.

The Office’s Civil Frauds Unit is handling all three cases as part of its continuing investigation of reckless lending practices.

The Civil Frauds Unit works in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. Bharara serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Mr. Bharara thanked HUD and HUD-OIG for their extraordinary assistance in this case. He also expressed his appreciation for the support of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division in Washington, D.C.

www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/may12/deutschebankmortgageitsettlement.html                  3/4

5/16/12                  USDOJ: US Attorney’s Office – Southern District of New York

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara K. Eshkenazi, Pierre G. Armand, and Christopher B. Harwood are in charge of the case.

Sen. Cantwell demands DOJ investigate foreclosure fraud before a settlement

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By Matt Browner Hamlin, http://www.americablog.com

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued a blistering letter calling on the Department of Justice to investigate big banks for fraudulent foreclosure practices before agreeing to any settlement deal which would grant them immunity for these practices. In her letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Cantwell writes:

I am concerned that recently reported settlement proposals will effectively absolve these financial institutions of substantial civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes during the financial crisis. Specifically, I am concerned that the proposed settlement includes a release from liability that may be far too sweeping, does not adequately compensate victims, does not require enough of banks to reform the system that led to the crisis in the first place, and is being made before all the facts are known and without the backing of a full inquiry into the size and scope of the alleged fraud.

Without a thorough investigation, it is impossible to truly estimate just how pervasive the defects in the foreclosure and securitization process are. Continued reports of wrongful foreclosures, forged documents, and an inability of servicers and banks to prove chain of title and the legal right to foreclosure, raises the very alarming possibility that these defects were endemic to the mortgage servicing industry across the country. The sheer magnitude of the potential fallout from these defects demands that we undertake a full investigation to uncover the true scope of wrongdoing before providing blanket immunity to the perpetrators.

I am also concerned that reports of a settlement in the range of $20 billion, as recently reported, may not adequately compensate the victims of the foreclosure crisis. As a result of the pump-and-dump scheme perpetrated by the nation’s largest banks that inflated – and burst – the housing bubble, an estimated 14 million Americans are underwater, owing $700 billion more on their homes than those homes are worth. A $20 billion settlement is woefully inadequate to compensate the wrongfully evicted or homeowners struggling to stay in their homes. Much more should be required of banks to provide meaningful help underwater homeowners and compensate foreclosure fraud victims.

Boom goes the dynamite.

Washington is an important state in the context of the foreclosure crisis and the ongoing settlement talks between AGs and banks. Washington’s Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna is running for governor and has long been viewed as being a potential get for people trying to stop a bad deal. McKenna’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race is Congressman Jay Inslee. Inslee has made stopping a bad settlement a major campaign issue and is collecting signatures on a petition against the rumored deal. Inslee is trying to wedge McKenna – either by making him look like a tool of the banksters or forcing him to do the right thing and help his constituents who were defrauded of their homes by the banks. It looks like Cantwell is aiding Inslee in that squeeze play, but the politics are really secondary to the potential outcome. Simultaneously, we are seeing another major politician standing up to the banks and demanding a halt to the consideration of a bad settlement deal. This is a very good thing.

Justice Department Probing Foreclosure Processes

Justice Department Probing Foreclosure Processes

Published: Wednesday, 6 Oct 2010 | 6:33 PM ET

The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it was probing reports that the nation’s top mortgage lenders improperly evicted struggling borrowers from their homes as part of the devastating wave of foreclosures unleashed by the financial crisis.

Foreclosed Home
Repres
There has been a push by federal and state officials to suspend foreclosures after reports that banks signed large numbers of foreclosure affidavits without conducting a proper review.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would look into media reports that loan servicers improperly have used “robo-signers” to process foreclosure orders, stepping into a controversy that has forced at least three banks to halt eviction proceedings and prompted calls for an industry-wide moratorium on home repossession until the problems are fixed.

The move, coming before November’s congressional elections, takes aim at one of the most visible signs of the U.S. economic crisis, which saw hundreds of thousands of families lose their homes.

But it could risk further slowing the fragile U.S. economic recovery, leaving banks unsure about whether they will ever claw back their losses and the struggling housing market overshadowed by a mounting inventory of homes still likely to face foreclosure in future.

 

Key Points

Banks’ use of “robo-signers” under scrutiny by Justice Department.Wells Fargo agrees to offer loan modifications.North Carolina joins calls to suspend repossessionsOhio Attorney General sues GMAC, Ally Financial

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats wrote to Holder earlier this week asking the Justice Department look into the matter after receiving reports from thousands of homeowners about their foreclosure woes.

Separately on Wednesday, Wells Fargo [WFC  25.685  -0.265  (-1.02%)   ] agreed to pay eight states $24 million after allegations of deceptive marketing practices at its home loan unit. The firm said it would also alter its foreclosure prevention practices that could benefit struggling homeowners by more than $700 million.

The bank’s chief financial officer, Franklin Codel, told Reuters in an interview that Wells Fargo Home Mortgage did not cut corners to speed up the foreclosure process, and said he was “confident that the paperwork is being properly produced.”

In the aftermath of the financial crisis and ensuing recession, banks are expected to take over a record 1.2 million homes this year, up from about 1 million last year and just 100,000 as recently as 2005, according to real estate data company RealtyTrac.

There has been a push by federal and state officials to suspend foreclosures after reports that banks signed large numbers of foreclosure affidavits without conducting a proper review.

Banks and loan servicers, companies that collect monthly mortgage payments, reportedly have used “robo-signers” — middle-ranking executives who signed thousands of affidavits a month claiming they were knowledgeable of the cases.

States Take Action

The issue on improper handling of foreclosures came to the fore last month when Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC, revealed that officials had signed thousands of affidavits without having personal knowledge of the borrower’s situation.

Ally suspended evictions and post-foreclosure proceedings in 23 states last month. JPMorgan Chase [JPM  39.81  0.50  (+1.27%)   ] and Bank of America [BAC  13.169  -0.011  (-0.08%)   ] later said they were suspending some foreclosures in 23 states while they reviewed their practices.

Lenders are scrambling to defend and improve foreclosure procedures under scrutiny in state courts and from regulators.

The foreclosure issue and the battered state of the U.S. housing market have weighed on the Obama administration ahead of the November congressional elections in which the Democrats already face the possibility of big losses.

The administration has a $50 billion war chest to fight foreclosures, but disbursements have been limited because the program is narrowly tailored to help responsible borrowers.

Any broader push to resolve the crisis, such as the wholesale forgiveness of principal debt of struggling homeowners, is unlikely to find support among lawmakers because of the cost and the potential for political backlash from any move seen as rewarding reckless behavior by banks or borrowers.

The focus on bank procedures has thrown a new twist into the saga.

North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, on Wednesday became the latest state official to ask lenders to suspend home repossessions as he expanded a probe into improper foreclosure processes.

Senator Robert Menendez earlier this week raised the idea of a national foreclosure moratorium, saying it was “simply inexcusable” that proper oversight procedures were not in place for actions that deprived families of their homes.

Menendez and Senator Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, also called for congressional investigators to look into reports of misconduct in the foreclosure practices of Ally, JPMorgan and Bank of America.

Ally Financial and its GMAC Mortgage unit also were targeted by Ohio’s attorney general on Wednesday. Attorney General Richard Cordray announced a lawsuit alleging fraud and violations of Ohio’s consumer law.

Cordray also said he has sought meetings with Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo to try to ascertain whether their foreclosure processes include any of the “mass” signing of official papers that are the subject of the suit against GMAC Mortgage.


TBW Taylor Bean Chairman Arrested On Fraud Charges

“The fraud here is truly stunning in its scale and complexity,” said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice. “These charges send a strong message to corporations and corporate executives alike that financial fraud will be found, and it will be prosecuted.”

Once they determined that that approach might be difficult to conceal, they started selling mortgage pools and other assets to Colonial Bank that they knew to be worthless, officials said. Mr. Farkas and his partners relied on this technique to sell more than $1 billion of fraudulent assets over the course of several years, even covering up the fraud by recycling old fake assets for new ones, according to the complaints.

Editor’s Note: TBW has been high on my list of incompetent fraudsters. I always thought it was a stupid risk to “sell” mortgages and “sell” the servicing rights (probably to their own entity), and then take the servicing back. Stupid maybe, but they had no choice. The entire Taylor Bean operation wreaks of fraud and inconsistencies.

Bottom Line: If you have a TBW as the originating “lender” this article indicates, as we have known all along, that they were using OPM (Other People’s Money) and they were NOT the lender even though they said they were. It is highly likely that few, if any, of the loans were actually “securitized” because the loans were either nonexistent as described, never accepted by any pool (even though there might be a pool out there that claims ownership) and that none of the assignments were ever completed.

Thus your claims against TBW (including appraisal fraud, predatory loan practices, deceptive loan practices, fraud etc.) are properly directed, to wit: TBW still owns the paper, although the obligation is subject to an equitable unsecured claim from investors who funded the loan.

June 16, 2010

Executive Charged in TARP Scheme

By ERIC DASH

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday accused the former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, once one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, of masterminding a fraud scheme that cheated investors and the federal government out of billions of dollars and led to last year’s sudden failure of Colonial Bank.

The executive, Lee B. Farkas, was arrested late Tuesday in Ocala, Fla., after a federal grand jury in Virginia indicted him on 16 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against Mr. Farkas in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the fraud would be one of the biggest and most complex to come out of the housing collapse and the government’s huge bailout of the banking industry. In essence, they described an elaborate shell game that involved covering up the lender’s losses by creating fake mortgages and passing them along to private investors and government agencies.

Federal officials became suspicious after Colonial BancGroup, the main source of financing for Mr. Farkas’s company, tried to obtain $553 million in bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The TARP application, filed in early 2009, was contingent on the bank first raising $300 million from private investors.

According to the S.E.C. complaint, Mr. Farkas and his partners said they would contribute $150 million, two private equity firms would each contribute $50 million, and a “friends and family” investor group would contribute another $50 million. “In truth, neither of the $50 million investors were private equity investors and neither ever agreed to participate,” the complaint said.

Mr. Farkas pocketed at least $20 million from the fraud, which he used to finance a private jet and a lavish lifestyle that included five homes and a collection of vintage cars, prosecutors said.

But the case is likely to expand beyond Mr. Farkas. The complaints cite the involvement of an unnamed Colonial Bank executive and other co-conspirators in the suspected fraud, and prosecutors said they might hold others accountable down the road.

“The fraud here is truly stunning in its scale and complexity,” said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice. “These charges send a strong message to corporations and corporate executives alike that financial fraud will be found, and it will be prosecuted.”

Officials said the many layers of the scheme resulted in more than $1.9 billion of losses to investors; a $3 billion loss to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which guaranteed many of the loans that Mr. Farkas’s company sold; and a $3.6 billion hit to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which had to take over Colonial Bank and pay its depositors after many of the bank’s assets were found to be worthless.

The complaints also list BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank, which provided financing to Mr. Farkas’s company, as victims of the suspected fraud. Together, they lost $1.5 billion.

According to the complaints, the fraud started as early as 2002 with an effort to conceal rising operating losses at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, a mortgage lender founded by Mr. Farkas. The first stage involved an attempt to hide overdrafts on a credit line the company had with Colonial Bank. As those overdrafts grew, prosecutors contend, Mr. Farkas and his associates started selling fake mortgage assets to Colonial Bank in exchange for tens of millions of dollars.

Once they determined that that approach might be difficult to conceal, they started selling mortgage pools and other assets to Colonial Bank that they knew to be worthless, officials said. Mr. Farkas and his partners relied on this technique to sell more than $1 billion of fraudulent assets over the course of several years, even covering up the fraud by recycling old fake assets for new ones, according to the complaints.

The transactions were “designed to give the false appearance that the loans were being sold into the secondary mortgage market,” Mr. Breuer said. “In fact, they were not.”

By 2008, prosecutors contend, the scheme had entangled the federal government. Investigators in the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP took notice of the size of Colonial Bank’s bailout application and became suspicious of the accuracy of the bank’s statements.

That led investigators to alert other federal officials and draw a connection between Colonial Bank and Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, whose offices were raided by federal agents in August 2009. Both companies would soon stop operating.

“We knew it was a longstanding and close relationship between Colonial and T.B.W., and we decided that we needed to take a much closer look,” Neil M. Barofsky, the TARP special inspector general, said at a news conference on Wednesday. Investigators also discussed the situation with Treasury officials to “make sure the money would not go out the door.”

Federal officials have conducted nearly 80 criminal and civil investigations into companies that accepted TARP money, but so far they have filed charges in only one other case. In March, the head of Park Avenue Bank in Manhattan was accused of trying to defraud the government bailout program.

Rigging the Bids at Foreclosure Sales

From Dan Edstrom:

Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 16, 2010 United States Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
Contact: (916) 554-2700
Stockton Real Estate Executive Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging at Auctions of Foreclosed Properties

SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced today that Anthony B. Ghio, 43, of Stockton, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia to conspiring to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in San Joaquin County.

These charges arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of fraud and bidding irregularities in certain real estate auctions in San Joaquin County. The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Robin R. Taylor and Russell L. Carlberg, who are prosecuting the case with assistance from Barbara Nelson and Richard Cohen of the Antitrust Division, Ghio admitted in his guilty plea that he conspired with a group of real estate speculators who agreed not to bid against each other at certain public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Joaquin County. The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to suppress and restrain competition and obtain selected real estate offered at San Joaquin County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices.

Court documents show that after the conspirators’ designated bidder bought a property at a public auction, they would hold a second private auction. Each participating conspirator would submit bids in the private auction above the public auction price. The conspirator who bid the highest amount at the end of the private auction won the property. The difference between the noncompetitive price at the public auction and the winning bid at the second auction was the group’s illicit profit, and it was divided among the conspirators in payoffs. Ghio participated in the bid-rigging scheme from April 2009 until October 2009.

Ghio is charged with bid rigging, a violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-436-6660 or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm, or the FBI’s Sacramento Division at 916-481-9110, or the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of California at 916-554-2900.

Media inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Lauren Horwood at 916-554-2706. Media inquiries regarding the department’s Antitrust Division should be directed to Gina Talamona at 202-514-2007.

This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

One component of the FFETF is the national Mortgage Fraud Working Group, co-chaired by U.S. Attorney Wagner.

Dan Edstrom
dmedstrom@hotmail.com

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