U.S. Sues UBS for Fraudulent Sales of RMBS But Still Manages to Get It Wrong

The bottom line is that the loans themselves were fatally defective in terms of the loan documents. The money was delivered but not by the named “lender” nor anyone in privity with the named lender. At all times nearly all of the loans were in actuality involuntary direct loans from investors who had no knowledge their money was being used to originate loans without any semblance of due diligence.

All the other parties were conduits and brokers for conduits. None of them were brokers for a plan of investment to which investors agreed. and all of them were based upon fraudulent inflated appraisals.

In equity, as I have repeatedly said, the debt, regardless of to whom it is owed, should be reduced by the excess appraisal amount, a fact that ought to be presumed when anyone attempts to bring an action in collection or foreclosure.

This is because the source of the loan, regardless of who it might be in actuality, assumed the risk of loss associated with affordability and most importantly the risk from a false inflated appraisal. Licensed appraisers warned congress as early as 2005 when 8,000 of them petitioned Congress to do something about them being forced to either bring in false appraisals or not get any work at all.

Contrary to popular myth there is no such responsibility for borrowers to figure out if they really can afford the loan or if the appraisal is accurate. That is the state of the law under the Truth in Lending Act. The “conventional wisdom” that home buyers and borrowers don’t need a lawyer or a financial adviser on the largest investment of their lives leaves a vacuum where consumers are entirely at the mercy of predatory and fraudulent operators like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, Chase, US Bank, Deutsch, and others.

“Don’t bother getting a lawyer. Save your money. They can’t change anything anyway.” That is the catch phrase used to make certain that the fraud being perpetrated on consumers will not be revealed until it is too late and the courts presume that the fraud never occurred (or that if it did occur, it’s somehow too late to complain about it).

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

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Hat tip to Dan Edstrom

see United States vs UBS

see https://dtc-systems.com/us-sues-ubs-to-recover-penalties-for-fraud-in-the-sale-of-rmbs-securities/

So once again the Federal government sues a major bank for fraud and corruption causing “catastrophic” damages to investors and fails to mention any losses to homeowners. Piling the entire loss on the backs of homeowners is the third rail. Nobody touches that because of the erroneous perception that the rule of law is contrary to public policy. That may come as something as surprise to those of you who thought we were a nation of laws and not public policy decided behind closed doors.
The successful myth perpetrated by the banks is that since borrowers stopped paying the wrong people on their loan, that they should nevertheless  be held liable and lose their home to the wrong people because otherwise (a) borrowers would get a free house and (b) applying the rule of law would undermine the financial system. Both the premise and result are contrary to good sense and our existing laws. The courts generally twist themselves into pretzels to avoid the law and arrive at the public policy result rather than the legal one.
Everyone is willing to accept that the entire securitization process was a gigantic process to perpetrate fraud and, as some lawyers who resigned rather than draft securitization documents, part of a “criminal enterprise.” But somehow the victims are only investors who are still called “beneficiaries” even though it is well established that the trusts named in foreclosure lawsuits never participated in a single business transaction and were neither organized nor existing under the law of any jurisdiction, much less the owner of loans..
Once again the suit fails to state that the loans were at best problematic in the sense that transactions utilizing undisclosed third party money compromised the efficacy of the loan closing documents.

And once again it doesn’t say that the securitization plan itself was fraudulent in that the entities represented as owning the loans did not exist and/or did not own the loans. It also doesn’t say that the use of fraudulent inflated appraisals (a) hurt homeowner and and that therefore (b) UBS lured investors into an investment plan fraught with liabilities.

Nor does the new lawsuit say that investors were promised that their interests would be remote enough to avoid liability for lending violations and bankruptcies of the originators but in fact the money from investors was directly used in the loans and did not go through the alleged “Trusts” that were supposedly purchasing loan portfolios from aggregators who in fact had no interest in the loans and were merely conduits for a paper chain bearing no relationship to the money trail.
But it does hint at what the banks were doing. The review of the loans by UBS was simply a sampling and that sampling, was in fact a method of picking low hanging fruit to serve as benchmarks. From that false process of sampling, UBS hoped to avoid liability for mischaracterizing the real defects in the securitization process. In other words they were using their cherry-picked samples to describe the entire “loan portfolio” which in fact was neither owned nor conveyed to the special purpose vehicle (REMIC Trust) that was created (on paper only).
You may remember that in my seminar in Malibu in 2008, I described this process as covering a pile of dogshit with gold plating. In the end it is still almost entirely dogshit.
Thus we have revealed the unwillingness of Federal law enforcement to get to the real issue, which would in fact protect both investors and homeowners — the fraudulent nature of the loans themselves, the fraudulent nature of the so-called loan portfolios, and the fraudulent enforcement of documents that fraudulently named the wrong party as the lender and are fraudulently brought to courts on a mass basis for fraudulent enforcement that keeps adding to the pain  and anger of Americans who continue to suffer from the discard of the rule of law in favor of “public policy.”

New York Times: Prosecution of Financial Crisis Fraud Ends With a Whimper


In 2011, Robert Khuzami of the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against top executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Credit Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

One source of great frustration from the financial crisis has been the dearth of cases against individuals over subprime lending practices and the related securitization of bad loans that caused so much financial havoc. To heighten the frustration, I offer Aug. 22, 2016, as the day on which efforts to pursue cases related to subprime mortgages were put to rest with no individuals — save perhaps the unfortunate former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre — held accountable.

On that date, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled its last remaining case against a former Fannie Mae chief executive for securities fraud related to the disclosure of the company’s subprime mortgage exposure. The agency accepted a mere token payment that will not even come out of the individual’s own pocket.

On the same day, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider its May ruling that Bank of America’s Countrywide mortgage unit and one of its former executives did not commit fraud by failing to disclose to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that the subprime loans it was selling to them did not come close to the contractual requirements for such transactions.

In December 2011, the S.E.C. publicized its civil securities fraud charges against top executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for understating their exposure to subprime mortgages, which resulted in the government taking them over. Robert Khuzami, then the head of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, said that “all individuals, regardless of their rank or position, will be held accountable for perpetuating half-truths or misrepresentations about matters materially important to the interest of our country’s investors.”

That is not how it turned out, however. Five of the executives settled in 2015 by arranging for modest payments to be made on their behalf by the companies and their insurers, amounts that were never even described as penalties in the settlements.

Each also agreed not to hold a position in a public company that would require signing a filing on its behalf for up to two years. That is far short of the director and officer bar the S.E.C. usually seeks in such cases, but at least it had the sound of something punitive regardless of whether there was any real impact.

The settlement with the sixth defendant, Daniel H. Mudd, the former chief executive of Fannie Mae, disclosed in a judicial filing on Aug. 22, did not even reach that modest level of accountability. Fannie will make a $100,000 donation on his behalf to the Treasury Department — which is like shifting money from one pocket to another because the government already controls the company. Nor is there any ban on Mr. Mudd holding an executive position at another public company, something that at least resulted from the cases against the other executives.

What the S.E.C. accomplished in settling the cases against Mr. Mudd and the other executives hardly sends a message to other executives to be careful about how they act in the future. No money came out of the pockets of any of the defendants, and the prohibitions on future activity were token requirements. It was, after all, unlikely that any of the defendants would have been put in a leadership position at a public company within the applicable time. It is difficult not to come away with the impression that the settlements were little more than a slap on the wrist, and perhaps less than that for Mr. Mudd.

The case involving Countrywide may be more disheartening because it calls into question the scope of a federal statute from the savings and loan crisis, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, or Firrea, that the Justice Department used to extract large settlements from banks. That law authorizes the Justice Department to seek civil penalties for conduct that violates the mail and wire fraud statutes if it affects a bank.

The government won the jury trial in 2013. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said that “in a rush to feed at the trough of easy mortgage money on the eve of the financial crisis, Bank of America purchased Countrywide, thinking it had gobbled up a cash cow. That profit, however, was built on fraud.” The trial court hit Bank of America with a $1.267 billion penalty and ordered a former Countrywide executive, the only individual named as a defendant in the case, to pay a separate $1 million fine.

But the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan overturned the verdict last year by ruling that the government had not shown fraud because there was no false statement made when Countrywide sold loans that did not meet certain contractual obligations it had with Fannie and Freddie. The opinion found that “willful but silent noncompliance” with a contract was not fraudulent without some later misstatement.

The government’s aggressive approach to the case may explain why the Justice Department asked the full appeals court to review the decision even though such a request is rarely granted.

The appeals court judges issued a terse order on Aug. 22 denying the government’s request without further comment, which means the only option for challenging the ruling will be to try to take the case to the Supreme Court. The last time the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review a case from Mr. Bharara’s office was in United States v. Newman, an insider trading decision. The justices rejected that request before granting review in a similar case from California.

The likelihood that the Supreme Court will take up the appeals court’s decision appears to be low. The issue about what constitutes fraud in a contractual relationship is narrow, raising arcane questions about how a court should construe an agreement between sophisticated parties and when full disclosure is required. This is the type of claim that is usually pursued in a private lawsuit rather than through a federal enforcement action, so the justices may not want to be dragged into a dispute that will have little precedential impact on the application of federal law.

The lack of cases identifying individuals for any misconduct related to the financial crisis has become an all-too common complaint. What will be additionally disheartening to many is that even those few cases that were brought have now ended up largely as defeats for the government.

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