GUILTY! Taylor Bean & Whitaker Chairman

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EDITOR’S NOTE: So now the question is what about the real big boys at BOA, Chase, Citi et al? Anyone with a TB&W originated mortgage probably has their defense to foreclosure already set out for them.

Leader of Big Mortgage Lender Guilty of $2.9 Billion Fraud

By BEN PROTESS

The founder of what was once one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders was convicted of fraud on Tuesday for masterminding a scheme that cheated investors and the government out of billions of dollars. It is one of the few successful prosecutions to come out of the financial crisis.

After more than a day of deliberations, a federal jury in Virginia found Lee B. Farkas, the former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, guilty on 14 counts of securities, bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Mr. Farkas, 58, faces decades in prison for his role in the $2.9 billion plot, which prosecutors say was one of the largest and longest bank fraud schemes in American history and led to the 2009 collapse of Colonial Bank.

“There’s no question that it is very momentous and a very significant case,” said Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the criminal division of the Justice Department.

The 10-day trial was a rare win for federal prosecutors in the aftermath of the financial mess. The Justice Department has yet to bring charges against an executive who ran a major Wall Street firm leading up to the disaster. An earlier case against hedge fund managers at Bear Stearns ended in acquittal. Prosecutors dropped their investigation into Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief of Countrywide Financial, which nearly collapsed under the weight of souring subprime home loans.

Six other Taylor, Bean & Whitaker executives — including its former chief executive and former treasurer — have already pleaded guilty. Some agreed to testify against Mr. Farkas at his trial.

Mr. Farkas took the stand during the trial to defend his actions and deny any wrongdoing. A lawyer for Mr. Farkas did not respond to a request for comment.

The scheme began in 2002, prosecutors say, when Taylor, Bean & Whitaker executives moved to hide the firm’s losses, secretly overdrawing its Colonial Bank accounts, at times by more than $100 million. To cover up the actions, prosecutors said that the lender sold Colonial about $1.5 billion in “worthless” and “fake” mortgages, some of which had already been bought by other institutional investors. The government, in turn, guaranteed those fraudulent home loans.

In a related plot, Mr. Farkas and other executives created a separate mortgage lending operation, called Ocala Funding. The subsidiary sold commercial paper to big financial firms, including Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas. When Taylor, Bean & Whitaker collapsed, the banks were unable to get all of their money back.

During the course of the fraud, prosecutors said, Mr. Farkas pocketed some $20 million, which he used to buy a private jet, several homes and a collection of vintage cars.  “His shockingly brazen scheme poured fuel on the fire of the financial crisis,” Mr. Breuer said.

With the credit crisis in full swing, Mr. Farkas and other Taylor, Bean & Whitaker executives persuaded Colonial to apply for $570 million in federal bailout funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

The Treasury Department approved the rescue funds, on the condition that Colonial was able to raise $300 million in private money. The Taylor, Bean & Whitaker executives falsely led the bank into thinking it had investors lined up. Ultimately, the government did not give any money to Colonial.

Shortly thereafter, in August 2009, Colonial filed for bankruptcy, the same time that Taylor, Bean & Whitaker failed.

“Today’s verdict ensures that Farkas will pay for his crime — an unprecedented scheme to defraud regulators during the height of the financial crisis and to steal over $550 million from the American taxpayers through TARP,” Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the TARP program, said in a statement.

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.

Whitley Case 607 F Supp 2d 885 Denial of Motion to Dismiss

Whitley 3rd amended Complaint

Whitley order on mtd Taylor Bean

Thanks everyone for sending me the full text OF THE OPINION.  VERY IMPORTANT CASE. Appraisal fraud, negligence, fiduciary duty, traced up to Taylor Bean. The reasoning in the opinion is at treatise-level. This Illinois Case and the cases it cites opens the door for traveling upstream in the securitization chain to recover all undsiclosed, hidden profits. It also contains some cautionary findings about alleging fraud against a group of defendants, about tolling, and other pertinent topics.

WHITLEY v. TAYLOR BEAN & WHITACKER MORTGAGE CORP. (N.D.Ill. 4-20-2009)
No. 08 C 3114.
April 20, 2009

Ida Mae Whitley (“Mrs. Whitley”), Clyde Whitley (“Mr. Whitley”), and their adult daughter Kenna Whitley (“Kenna”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) bring this action against Taylor, Bean & Whitacker Mortgage Corp. (“TB & W”), Advance Lending Group, Corp. (“Advance Lending”), Blue Horizon Real Estate Corp. (“Blue Horizon”), Oswald Ochoa (“Ochoa”), John Frey Ospina (“Ospina”), Anita Logan (“Logan”) and Favian Cardenas (“Cardenas”) (collectively “Defendants”) alleging violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1679b (“CROA”), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq (“RESPA”), the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3605 (“FHA”), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691 (“ECOA”), and the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, along with various state law violations. (R. 19, Am. Compl.) Currently before the Court are four motions to dismiss filed by Logan (R. 35), TB & W (R. 38), Advance Lending, Ochoa, and Ospina (“Advance Lending Defendants”) (R. 42), and Blue Horizon and Cardenas (R. 46). For the reasons stated below, the motions to dismiss are denied in part and granted in part.

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