Processing Fees are more than illegal — by adding them to balance due, the default letter is defective.

This is simple logic. If illegal processing fees were greedily added to the “loan accounts” falsely asserted to exist, then the amount demanded from “borrowers” was incorrect. That would make the statements sent to borrowers part of a fraudulent scheme through US Mails which would be mail fraud. And it would make the notices of delinquency and notice of default and notices of default defective and perhaps fatally defective because they were seeking to enforce an amount not due. And it would make foreclosure judgments and sales based upon such demands potentially voidable.

see https://spotonflorida.com/southeast-florida/1835819/ocwen-phh-corp-pay-125-million-settlement.html

CLICK HERE ORDER ADMINISTRATIVE STRATEGY, ANALYSIS AND NARRATIVE. This could be all you need to preserve your objections and defenses to administration, collection or enforcement of your obligation.

You know Ocwen. It’s that company that stays in business by the largess of large financial institutions that buy its stock on the open market. Investment bankers use the Company to shield themselves and their own company from potentially trillions of dollars in liability — and possibly prison. It is the company that pretends to be the “servicer” of your loan — which you readily accept because (a) someone needs to do it and (b) nobody else is saying they are “servicing” your loan.

But in reality it is not your servicer because of some technical problems – like the absence of a loan account and the absence of anyone who claims to own your loan account. Only such a company that owned your debt could give authority to a third party to administer, collect or enforce your debt or loan account. Ocwen never received that authority from anyone because in most cases (nearly all) no such creditor exists. (see previous blog articles as to how this highly counterintuitive result is created and exploited by investment banks).

And there is another sticky problem because Ocwen doesn’t actually “service” your loan payments — Black Knight does that, hidden behind the curtains that Goldman Sachs calls “layering” or laddering.” So in the musical chairs presentation of servicers, for enforcement, and Ocwen is designated by Black Knight to come forward as “servicer”, it does so as a witness once removed from the actual entity that collected payments on behalf of a loan account that doesn’t exist.

In plain language the entire process of “boarding” is a charade. The prior company that was designated as “servicer” is simply dropped from the letterhead of notices and statements generated by Black Knight, and Ocwen’s name is inserted instead. “Boarding” comprises a new login name and password to the Black Knight systems.

Ocwen/PHH (after merger) have never made a profit and never will. It is a publicly traded business entity that is waiting to be thrown under the bus. When the s–t hits the fan, and it becomes widely known and accepted that there are no loan accounts and there is nothing to administer, collect or enforce, the plan is to have Ocwen, and companies like Ocwen to take the heat, leaving the investment banks free from blame or liability for civil or criminal infractions. At least that is the plan. But if the government ever breaks free of the control by Wall Street — and clawback of money siphoned from our economy becomes a priority —then it won’t be difficult to pierce through the corporate veils of Ocwen like companies to seize assets held here and abroad.

So it should come as no surprise that such people would add on such things as “processing” or “convenience” fees when there is no processing and there is no convenience. Ocwen has now agreed to pay money because it received a slap on the wrist. But like the hundreds of preceding settlements, nobody is asking about the effect of the illegal practices on the presumed loan accounts, even if they existed.

This is simple logic. If illegal processing fees were greedily added to the “loan accounts” falsely asserted to exist, then the amount demanded from “borrowers” was incorrect. That would make the statements sent to borrowers part of a fraudulent scheme through US Mails which would be mail fraud. And it would make the notices of delinquency and notice of default and notices of default defective and perhaps fatally defective because they were seeking to enforce an amount not due. And it would make foreclosure judgments and sales based upon such demands potentially voidable.

But nobody talks about that because it is the unstated sub silentio policy to uphold the securitization infrastructure that does not exist, to wit: no loan was sold and no loan was securitized. That is impossible because for securitization to be real the loan must be sold to investors. There was never any such sale.

*Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.*

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CLICK HERE ORDER ADMINISTRATIVE STRATEGY, ANALYSIS AND NARRATIVE. This could be all you need to preserve your objections and defenses to administration, collection or enforcement of your obligation.

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*CLICK HERE TO ORDER PRELIMINARY DOCUMENT REVIEW (PDR) (PDR PLUS or BASIC includes 30 minute recorded CONSULT)

*FORECLOSURE DEFENSE IS NOT SIMPLE. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF A FAVORABLE RESULT. THE FORECLOSURE MILLS WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO WEAR YOU DOWN AND UNDERMINE YOUR CONFIDENCE. ALL EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT NO MEANINGFUL SETTLEMENT OCCURS UNTIL THE 11TH HOUR OF LITIGATION.

  • But challenging the “servicers” and other claimants before they seek enforcement can delay action by them for as much as 12 years or more. 
  • Yes you DO need a lawyer. 

*Please visit www.lendinglies.com for more information.

Details in New York: Devil is in the Foreclosure

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Submitted by “One Observer”

o Why would a non-performing loan be transferred into a Trust nearly 16 months AFTER the Trust’s closing date?
o How many other mortgages were not deposited in accordance to this Trust’s Pooling & Servicing Agreement?
o And if it contained non performing loans, why weren’t the investors notified and paid a higher interest rate?

In a letter to the New York State Attorney General Hon Eric Schneiderman, a consumer who is caught in the irrationality of the NY Foreclosure Courts, pleads for an investigation into yet another example of blatant securitization fraud.
• Merrill Lynch Banker ‘sells’ the ARM refinance mortgage as a cash flow enhancement product to estranged spouse. Estranged spouse decides to be sole signor on Mortgage and Note. Mortgage closes on November 1, 2004.
• Through information later obtained, this mortgage was securitized into the MERRILL LYNCH MORTGAGE INVESTORS TRUST SERIES MLCC 2004-G Pass-Through Certificates, CIK 1312848 under SEC file number 333-112231-36.
• This Trust had a closing of December 29, 2004 pursuant to its Pooling and Servicing Agreement.
• As of April 1, 2006, estranged spouse stops sending mortgage payments.
• In October 2006 an officer of the servicer PHH, Marc J Hinkle, assigns the Mortgage from MLCC (the ‘Depositor’ in the Trust) to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Trustee (Trustee of what? It didn’t say).
• This begs the questions:

o Why would a non-performing loan be transferred into a Trust nearly 16 months AFTER the Trust’s closing date?
o How many other mortgages were not deposited in accordance to this Trust’s Pooling & Servicing Agreement?
o And if it contained non performing loans, why weren’t the investors notified and paid a higher interest rate?

• Sometime in late 2006, the firm Shapiro & DiCaro filed an Order of Reference to foreclose on this mortgage. Fortunately, some NY Judges ‘get it’ and the presiding Judge dismisses the motion as Plaintiffs do not submit evidence of standing and specifically had not submitted the requested Trust Agreement. One can speculate that if the Judge saw the closing date of the Trust Agreement, the Judge too would question why the mortgage was assigned AFTER it was in default and AFTER the Trust’s closing date by which all mortgages had to be transferred.
• Plaintiffs file an Appeal in 2007
• Plaintiffs withdraw the Appeal in 2008
• Plaintiffs file another Summons and Compliant in early 2008, that’s nearly two years after the first date of default.
• Suddenly, Plaintiffs motion to dismiss their complaint and it is dismissed.
• A second mortgage assignment is filed in June 2008, that is 3.5 years after the closing date of the Trust AND essentially assigning a non performing loan into a Trust whose very Pooling & Servicing Agreement disallowed such transfers as the mortgages were pooled into 2 Senior tranches. Adherence to the PSA determines whether there was a transfer effected or not because under NY trust law (which governs most PSAs), a transfer not in compliance with a trust’s documents is void.

Again, the questions raised are:
o Why did a non performing loan get transferred into a Trust belonging to an almost bankrupt holding company, Merrill Lynch? In June 2008, Merrill Lynch’s widely publicized financial problems due to the losses from its RMBS business led to the subsequent acquisition of ML by Bank of America.
o Was this untransferred and non performing loan and its losses, and I speculate many others due to the reason in the point above, included in Merrill’s calculation of operational losses and the adequate Basel and regulatory capital reserves set aside and reported?
o This assignment is from Wells Fargo Bank, NA, as Trustee to the securitized Trust. The assignment was again done by Marc J Hinkle, an officer of PHH, not the Trustee. There was no Power of Attorney attached to the assignment. So an agent assigns the ownership interest as agent for the owner before the owner is actually established established? Cart before the horse ?
• A THIRD foreclosure complaint is filed in mid 2008. The presiding Judge agrees with Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak’s reply to one of the Defendants’ Motions which stated that the many securitization issues raised above were not relevant to the Foreclosure Court proceeding. Consumer is dumbfounded by this decision–ie Plaintiff is not a ‘Person’, therefore, the means by which Plaintiff can claim standing has to be reviewed.

Again, this is just one mortgage marred with irregularities but it begs the question of how many others may have been fraudulently transferred into this and other toxic Trusts and whose investors knew nothing about this endemic toxicity?

The consumer is in communication with the SEC, the OCC and the NY AG’s Office,

Indeed, ‘unsophisticated consumers’ in foreclosure proceedings are not the foreclosuregate principals, it is the investors who are demanding answers and visibility into the lack of transparency these transactions were performed under.

Merrill Lynch is a vertically integrated firm and has a private label agreement with PHH since about 1997. ML created the mortgages (PHH created them under the MLCC name), underwrote the securitization, sold the bonds and resold them time and time again. In 2008 AIG held several toxic MLMI bonds and was bailed out by the FRB in what was called the Maiden Lane portfolios. Interestingly enough, in the example above, one of the bonds is part of Maiden Lane II. When the FRB auctioned these non-agency RMBS in April-June 2011, guess who bought the largest chunk? It’s Merrill Lynch all over again, along with JPM Chase. Guess it’s hard to resist the bargain they themselves created.

It’s getting more challenging for firms like Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak and the rest of the Shapiro mill to cover up their and their client’s ‘unclean hands’. Investors are demanding answers and it is the recent lawsuits like to AIG vs BoA on Monday Aug 8th and the Allstate vs BoA back in March that continue to pressure regulators to uncover and publicize these fraudulent transactions.

ALLSTATE FILES SUIT LAYING OUT ALL THE ALLEGATIONS YOU NEED

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary

REQUIRED READING

2.24.2011 Chase -Allstate-Complaint

JUST LOOKING AT THE TABLE OF CONTENT WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

NATURE OF ACTION …………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
PARTIES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..7
JURISDICTION AND VENUE ……………………………………………………………………………………….16
BACKGROUND ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………17
A.    THE MECHANICS OF MORTGAGE SECURITIZATION …………………………………….17
B.    SECURITIZATION OF MORTGAGE LOANS: THE TRADITIONAL MODEL ……..19
C.    THE SYSTEMIC VIOLATION OF UNDERWRITING AND APPRAISAL STANDARDS IN THE MORTGAGE SECURITIZATION INDUSTRY …………………..21
D.    DEFENDANTS WERE AN INTEGRATED VERTICAL OPERATION CONTROLLING EVERY ASPECT OF THE SECURITIZATION PROCESS…………..24
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants……………………………………………………………………..24 (2)

WaMu Defendants ………………………………………………………………………….26 (3)

Bear Stearns Defendants ………………………………………………………………….27
E.    DEFENDANTS’ OFFERING MATERIALS…………………………………………………………..29 (1)

The JPMorgan Offerings………………………………………………………………….29 (2)

The WaMu Offerings………………………………………………………………………30 (3)

The Long-Beach Offering………………………………………………………………..32 (4)

The Bear Stearns Offerings………………………………………………………………32
SUBSTANTIVE ALLEGATIONS …………………………………………………………………………………..34
I.    THE OFFERING MATERIALS CONTAINED UNTRUE STATEMENTS OF MATERIAL FACT AND OMISSIONS ABOUT THE MORTGAGE ORIGINATORS’ UNDERWRITING STANDARDS AND PRACTICES, AND MATERIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MORTGAGE LOAN POOLS ……………..34
A.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Standards And Practices …………………………………………………………………………………………………..34
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Standards And Practices………………………………………………35
i
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Standards and Practices……………………………………………………………………35
(3)    Long Beach Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Standards and Practices……………………………………………….36
(4)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Standards and Practices……………………………………………….39
B.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Owner-Occupancy Statistics …………40
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Owner- Occupancy Statistics ……………………………………………………………………….40
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Owner Occupancy Statistics ……………………………………………………………………….41
(3)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Owner Occupancy Statistics ……………………………………………………………………….41
C.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Loan-to-Value and Combined Loan-to-Value Ratios…………………………………………………………………………………42
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding LTV and CLTV Ratios………………………………………………………………………………….42
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding LTV and CLTV Ratios ……………………………………………………………………………………………42
(3)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding LTV and CLTV Ratios………………………………………………………………………………….43
D.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Debt-to-Income Ratios …………………44
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Debt-to- Income Ratios ………………………………………………………………………………..44
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Debt-to-Income Ratios ……………………………………………………………………………………………44
(3)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Debt-to- Income Ratios ………………………………………………………………………………..45
E.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Ratings……………………………..46
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Ratings ………………………………………………………………………………………….46
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Ratings………..47 ii
(3)    Long Beach Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Ratings ………………………………………………………………………………………….48
(4)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Ratings ………………………………………………………………………………………….48
F.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Enhancements……………………49
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Enhancements ………………………………………………………………………………..49
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Enhancements ………………………………………………………………………………..50
(3)    Long Beach Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Enhancements ………………………………………………………………………………..50
(4)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Credit Enhancements ………………………………………………………………………………..51
G.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Exceptions………………51
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Exceptions …………………………………………………………………51
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Exceptions ……………………………………………………………………………………..52
(3)    Long Beach Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Exceptions …………………………………………………………………53
(4)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Underwriting Exceptions …………………………………………………………………53
H.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Alternative Documentation Loans ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….53
(1)    JPMorgan Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Alternative Documentation Loans ……………………………………………………………………..54
(2)    WaMu Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Alternative Documentation Loans ……………………………………………………………………..54
(3)    Bear Stearns Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Alternative Documentation Loans …………………………………………………….55
I.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Full-Documentation Loans……………55
iii
J.    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Regarding Adverse Selection of Mortgage Loans ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….56
K.    Defendants’ Failure to Disclose the Negative Results of Due Diligence …………..57
II.    ALL OF DEFENDANTS’ REPRESENTATIONS WERE UNTRUE AND MISLEADING BECAUSE DEFENDANTS SYSTEMATICALLY IGNORED THEIR OWN UNDERWRITING GUIDELINES ……………………………………………………58
A.    Evidence Demonstrates Defendants’ Underwriting Abandonment: High Default Rates And Plummeting Credit Ratings ……………………………………………..59
B.    Statistical Evidence of Faulty Underwriting: Borrowers Did Not Actually Occupy The Mortgaged Properties As Represented……………………………………….62
(1)    The JPMorgan Offerings………………………………………………………………….64 (2)

The WaMu Offerings………………………………………………………………………64 (3)

The Bear Stearns Offerings………………………………………………………………65
C.    Statistical Evidence of Faulty Underwriting: The Loan-to-Value Ratios In The Offering Materials Were Inaccurate ………………………………………………………65
(1)    The JPMorgan Offerings………………………………………………………………….66 (2)    T

he WaMu Offerings………………………………………………………………………68 (3)

The Bear Stearns Offerings………………………………………………………………71
D.    Other Statistical Evidence Demonstrates That The Problems In Defendants’ Loans Were Tied To Underwriting Guideline Abandonment………..72
E.    Evidence Demonstrates That Credit Ratings Were A Garbage-In, Garbage-Out Process …………………………………………………………………………………75
F.    Evidence From Defendants’ Own Documents And Former Employees Demonstrates That The Representations In Defendants’ Offering Materials Were False ……………………………………………………………………………………………….76
(1)    The JPMorgan Offerings………………………………………………………………….76 (2)

The WaMu Offerings………………………………………………………………………80 (3)

The Long Beach Offerings……………………………………………………………….87 (4)

The Bear Stearns Offerings………………………………………………………………92
iv
G.    Evidence From Defendants’ Third-Party Due Diligence Firm Demonstrates That Defendants Were Originating Defective Loans………………….94
H.    Evidence Of Other Investigations Demonstrates The Falsity Of Defendants’ Representations ………………………………………………………………………97
(1)    The WaMu and Long Beach Offerings………………………………………………97
(2)    The Bear Stearns Offerings………………………………………………………………99
III.    DEFENDANTS’ REPRESENTATIONS CONCERNING UNAFFILIATED ORIGINATORS’ UNDERWRITING GUIDELINES WERE ALSO FALSE ……………102
A.    Countrywide ……………………………………………………………………………………………104
(1)    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Concerning Countrywide’s Underwriting Practices…………………………………………………………………..104
(2)    These Representations Were Untrue And Misleading………………………..105 B.

GreenPoint ……………………………………………………………………………………………..109
(1)    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Concerning GreenPoint’s Underwriting Practices…………………………………………………………………..109
(2)    These Representations Were Untrue And Misleading………………………..111 C.    PHH……………………………………………………………………………………………………….115
(1)    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Concerning PHH’s Underwriting Practices ………………………………………………………………………………………115
(2)    These Representations Were Untrue And Misleading………………………..116 D.

Option One……………………………………………………………………………………………..118
(1)    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Concerning Option One’s Underwriting Practices…………………………………………………………………..118
(2)    These Representations Were Untrue and Misleading:………………………..120 E.    Fremont ………………………………………………………………………………………………….122
(1)    Defendants’ Misrepresentations Concerning Fremont’s Underwriting Practices…………………………………………………………………..122
(2)    These Representations Were Untrue and Misleading…………………………124 IV.

THE DEFENDANTS KNEW THEIR REPRESENTATIONS WERE FALSE ………….126
v
A.    The Statistical Evidence Is Itself Persuasive Evidence Defendants Knew Or Recklessly Disregarded The Falsity Of Their Representations………………….126
B.    Evidence From Third Party Due Diligence Firms Demonstrates That Defendants Knew Defective Loans Were Being Securitized …………………………127
C.    Evidence Of Defendants’ Influence Over The Appraisal Process Demonstrates That Defendants Knew The Appraisals Were Falsely Inflated …………………………………………………………………………………………………..130
D.    Evidence Of Internal Documents And Former Employee Testimony Demonstrates That Defendants Knew Their Representations Were False ……….131
(1) (2) (3) (4)
JPMorgan Defendants Knew Their Representations Were False…………131 WaMu Defendants Knew Their Representations Were False ……………..133 Long Beach Defendants Knew Their Representations Were False………138 Bear Stearns Defendants Knew Their Representations Were False ……..140
V.    ALLSTATE’S DETRIMENTAL RELIANCE AND DAMAGES ……………………………144

VI.    TOLLING OF THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 CLAIMS …………………………………..146

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION …………………………………………………………………………………………149

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION …………………………………………………………………………………….150

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION………………………………………………………………………………………..152

FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION …………………………………………………………………………………….155

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION …………………………………………………………………………………………157

PRAYER FOR RELIEF ………………………………………………………………………………………………..157

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED………………………………………………………………………………………….158

Foreclosure Suicide — Casualties Mount From Massive Fraud

In all probability this person was foreclosed by a party who didn’t have any right to do so.  By the way, PHH advertises itself as private labeling outsource mortgage solutions which means in simple terms, they sell the loans.

From Huffington Post:

A few days before Congress passed its Housing Bill, Carlene Balderrama of Taunton MA found her own solution to the housing crisis. Just a little over two hours in advance of the time her mortgage company, PHH Mortgage Corporation — may its name live in infamy — was to auction off her home, Balderrama killed herself with her husband’s rifle.

This is not the kind of response to hard times that James Grant had in mind when he wrote his July 19 Wall Street Journal essay entitled “Why No Outrage?” “One might infer from the lack of popular anger,” the famed Wall Street contrarian wrote, “that the credit crisis was God’s fault rather than the doing of the bankers and the rating agencies and the government’s snoozing watchdogs.” For contrast, he cites the spirited response to the depression of the 1890s, when lawyer/agitator Mary Lease stirred crowds with the message that “We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out…. We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary…”

Grant could have found even more bracing examples of resistance in the 1930s, when farmers and tenants used mob power — and sometimes firearms — to fight foreclosures and evictions. For more on that, I consulted Frances Fox Piven, co-author of the classic text Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail, who told me that in the early 30s, a number of cities were so shaken by the resistance that they declared moratoriums on further evictions. A 1931 riot by Chicago tenants who had fallen behind on their rent, for example, had left three dead and three police officers injured.

According to Piven, these actions were often spontaneous. A group of unemployed men would get word of a scheduled eviction and march through the streets, gathering crowds as they went. Arriving at the site of the eviction, they would move the furniture back into the apartment and stay around to protect the threatened tenants. In one instance in Detroit, it took 100 cops to evict a single family. Also in Detroit, Piven said, “two families protected their apartments by shooting their landlord and were acquitted by a sympathetic jury.”

What a difference 80 years makes. When the police and the auctioneers arrived at Balderrama’s house, the family gun had already been used — on the victim of foreclosure herself. I don’t know how “worthy” a debtor she was — the family had been through bankruptcies before, though probably not as a result of Caribbean vacations and closets full of designer clothes. It was an Adjustable Rate Mortgage that did them in, and Balderrama, who managed the family’s finances, had apparently been unwilling to tell her husband that their ever-rising monthly mortgage payments were eating up his earnings as a plumber.

Suicide is becoming an increasingly popular response to debt. James Scurlock’s brilliant documentary, Maxed Out, features the families of two college students who killed themselves after being overwhelmed by credit card debt. “All the people we talked to had considered suicide at least once,” Scurlock told a gathering of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys in 2007. According to the Los Angeles Times, lawyers in the audience backed him up, “describing clients who showed up at their offices with cyanide, or threatened, ‘If you don’t help me, I’ve got a gun in my car.'”

India may be the trend-setter here, with an estimated 150,000 debt-ridden farmers succumbing to suicide since 1997. With guns in short supply in rural India, the desperate farmers have taken to drinking the pesticides meant for their crops.

Dry your eyes, already: Death is an effective remedy for debt, along with anything else that may be bothering you too. And try to think of it too from a lofty, corner-office, perspective: If you can’t pay your debts or afford to play your role as a consumer, and if, in addition — like an ever-rising number of Americans — you’re no longer needed at the workplace, then there’s no further point to your existence. I’m not saying that the creditors, the bankers and the mortgage companies actually want you dead, but in a culture where one’s credit rating is routinely held up as a three-digit measure of personal self-worth, the correct response to insoluble debt is in fact, “Just shoot me!”

The alternative is to value yourself more than any amount of money and turn the guns, metaphorically speaking, in the other direction. It wasn’t God, or some abstract economic climate change, that caused the credit crisis. Actual humans — often masked as financial institutions — did that, (and you can find a convenient list of names in Nomi Prins’s article in the current issue of Mother Jones.) Most of them, except for a tiny few facing trials, are still high rollers, fattening themselves on the blood and tears of ordinary debtors. I know it’s so 1930s, but may I suggest a march on Wall Street?

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