FGG EDITOR'S NOTE: ...AND YET BIG BANK AND GSE SCAM ARTISTS STEAL, THEN SELL HOMES THEY DO NOT OWN, WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF FEDERAL BANK REGULATORS, STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. WHY IS THAT?
Shela Amos, Indianapolis, Indiana, was sentenced to 34 years for defrauding victims by using the vacant home sale scheme whereby the defendant sold homes she did not own.
At first, the scam artists identify abandoned homes and create documents claiming they own the property. Then they have a notary sign the document.
The Illinois Supreme Court has issued new court rules that become effective on May 1, 2013, modifying the evidentiary requirements for obtaining foreclosure judgments, among other things. The rules are the result of the work of a special committee appointed by the court to study, address and unify the procedures used throughout the state in mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Although the foreclosure crisis in Illinois has generally hit residential properties hardest, most of these new rules are applicable to all foreclosure actions. Among the new rules are the following:
We reviewed every Appellate Division case in the first eleven months of 2012. In raw count, the lenders beat the borrowers by a rough margin of 2:1, but that number does not necessarily reflect a swing in sensitivities. The appellate division decisions in 2012 showed strict application of the laws and notable lack of sympathy for borrowers evidenced by recent years’ legislative enactments, issuing decisions that were decidedly pro-lender. One trend continuing in 2012 is that the Second Department has the lion’s share of the reported cases and is therefore the most fruitful source of stare decisis.
According to the government's evidence at trial, O'Neal and others identified District of Columbia area homes and straw buyers to obtain mortgages through false loan applications, forged documents, and fraudulent settlements. Co-conspirators acted as a mortgage broker, title, and escrow agent, and other professionals to assist O'Neal with tricking the mortgage lenders and banks into lending $2.6 million in mortgage loans on the belief that the straw buyers had the means and the willingness to pay the mortgages.
The city administration is not backing an ordinance being sought by some city councilors that would establish a mandatory mediation program for most foreclosures involving local owner-occupied homes.
Instead, City Manager Michael V. O'Brien is asking the City Council to endorse legislation filed by members of the local state delegation that would embrace on statewide basis mortgage mediation as called for in the ordinance.
Tom Roeser is on a one-man mission to save Carpentersville, Ill., from falling into the fate of so many post-industrial Midwestern towns, where neighborhoods have become littered with vacant, foreclosed homes.
Over the past several years, the 60-year-old president and co-owner of the town's largest employer, a maker of switches and communications gear called Otto Engineering, has bought 193 foreclosed homes, completely rehabilitated them and is either selling or renting them at a discount to local residents.
Buying a house is an attractive proposition in these days of low mortgage interest rates and fallen prices. But if you want to buy a new home, while renting out the old one, you could face a glitch. It might be hard to refinance a house that you're renting out.
That's because "things change when you're no longer dealing with a primary residence," warns Ben Chenault Jr., regional manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage in Birmingham, Ala.
In making the announcement that Andrew Ceresney of Debevoise & Plimpton will share the post with the Acting Director, George Canellos, White called Ceresney a “former prosecutor.” That hardly does justice to the cozy ties between Ceresney and Wall Street. (Ceresney worked for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York in a prior career but has been employed at Debevoise since 2003.)
This time last year, Ceresney was basking in the glow of a herculean accomplishment for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Ally.
After a year-long journey fighting her wrongful foreclosure, Rose McGee has won a settlement with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae to stay in her home.
“We are working on final details for a settlement resolution, and I will be staying in my home,” said Rose.
70 community members gathered to support Rose in a prayer vigil circling the Government Center water fountain Tuesday afternoon before she went into settlement court, where she finally reached a deal with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae.
Um, don't look now, but out there in the real estate trenches, they're whispering the B word again. That's B as in "bubble."
That's because agents in various parts of the country are using such terms as "overheated" and "buying craze" and "skyrocketing prices" to describe what they're seeing in their markets, according to a recent trade journal report.
The evidence at trial showed that from 2006 to 2009, John Bravata conspired with his son Antonio Bravata to defraud more than 500 investors of more than $50 million, money that largely represented the life savings of investors. In executing the scheme to defraud John and Antonio Bravata solicited money for their company BBC Equities by using false and fraudulent statements and promises. These false statements included promises of guaranteed safety of principal and high interest returns. Rather than investing the money in safe real estate transactions as promised, a large portion of the money was used by the defendants to support their lavish lifestyles.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will limit efforts to collect funds from some rural homeowners after foreclosure. Advocates say that, while this is good news for thousands of families whose mortgages were financed or guaranteed by USDA, these concessions will not provide relief to those against whom the department has already commenced collection actions. Moreover, they will not apply to borrowers USDA believes have the resources to repay losses incurred by the department.
Former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and other executives serving during his tenure failed to escape a pending case filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission over subprime mortgages.
In the initial complaint, the SEC alleged that Syron and former senior executives Patricia Cook and Donald Bisenius violated anti-fraud provisions of U.S. securities laws by failing to accurately represent Freddie Mac’s subprime mortgage portfolio and the GSE’s overall exposure to riskier mortgages denoted as ‘subprime’ to investors, according to court records.
Mary Schapiro, who led the Securities and Exchange Commission in the four years following the financial crisis, has landed at a Washington consulting firm.
Promontory Financial Group announced Schapiro's new role as managing director and chairman of its governance and markets practice division Tuesday. At the firm, she'll work with banking and financial services clients on governance and risk management.
Zillow’s third housing forum, “The Future of Housing: What’s Next for Housing Demand, Mortgage Finance, and Recovery,” took place last week at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
Thanks to everyone who attended and participated, particularly our keynote speakers, panelists and moderators. You can see a replay of the full conference below.
More information about our speakers and ongoing news of the event are available on our housing forum site.
U.S. home values continue to appreciate, according to a new study released today, but the rate of appreciation is slowing.
U.S. home values in March rose for the 16th consecutive month–although the rate of appreciation slowed for the second consecutive month. Home value appreciation in the first quarter was 0.5 percent, versus 2.1 percent for the quarter before.
Christian falsified the appraisals by using fake photos and descriptions of the properties, misrepresenting the condition of the properties, and used inappropriate comparable properties. The total loss for the 16 loans amounted to $2,440,804, including $814,730, to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), and $757,293 to the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).
The regulator of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac told lawmakers they need to reduce or eliminate the government's near total support for the mortgage market to open the door for private capital and lay the groundwork for a healthier market.
The two companies, which help finance about two-thirds of new U.S. home loans, have been operating under government control since the credit crisis of 2008. They were bailed out at a cost to taxpayers of $131 billion.
Q: Can Bof A foreclose on this? The initial recording field and lender was left blank, note is signed by me but not by anyone as lender, MERS was recorded as lender eventually and then "through various assigns" recorded to BOFA Servicing. I am wondering if the lack of a foreclosure is because they cannot ?
A1:It is hard to say without reviewing the actual documents. A recent case held that MERS is not a lawful beneficiary in WA (Bain v. Metropolitan Mortgage Group).
For starters, complain to your Congressman and alert your local media outlets. Congressmen are sensitive to coverage in their district. And complain to the Treasury Inspector General, which supervised the OCC and the GAO, which previously criticized the servicers’ and Rust’s outreach efforts. The more people who complain (and it sounds like there are a lot of people with grounds to complain), the higher the odds that Rust will be pressured to remedy its disgraceful performance.
To help finance her purchase of a condominium (condo) for $395,000, Mary McCulley sought a residential loan from Heritage Bank (Bank) for $300,000. American Land Title Company (ALTC) provided a commitment for title insurance. McCulley signed a promissory note and signed a deed of trust as collateral. Subsequently, ALTC changed the designated use of the condo in the deed from residential to commercial. After closing, McCulley discovered the Bank had issued her an eighteen-month, $300,000 commercial property loan rather than the thirty-year residential property loan for which she applied. When she was unable to obtain long-term refinancing on the property, McCulley signed a warranty deed transferring ownership of the condo to the Central Asia Institute and used the proceeds to pay off the loan. McCulley then sued ALTC and the Bank (collectively, Defendants) for, inter alia, negligence, breach of contract, slander of title, and fraud. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the district court's order of summary judgment in favor of the Bank on the issue of fraud, as genuine issues of material fact existed relative to McCulley's claim of fraud on the part of the Bank; and (2) otherwise affirmed.
Petitioners are defendants in 15 separate actions (the “Actions”) commenced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) as purported conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, the Government Sponsored Entities or “GSEs”), the largest participants in the mortgage loan business. These Actions involve statutory and common law securities claims arising from the GSEs’ purchase of approximately $200 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) sold in approximately 500 securitizations, and represent perhaps the largest collection of securities litigations ever filed in the United States.
Q: Bank of America sold my contract to Ocwen, who has been in contact with me for several months now trying to work out a modification for my loan. The past three months they've told me they've sent the final papers for my signature, but I haven't received anything....
A1:Contact your servicer today and make as much noise as possible. If you do not get a response, contact an attorney and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau....
"The data suggests that foreclosure activity is converting into litigation at a higher rate than previously existed, and we suspect that the accumulated weight of continued publicity, governmental enforcement actions, and evolving theories of liability for mortgage servicers are all contributing to this trend," Willis wrote.
"This means that, even though mortgage delinquencies and foreclosure numbers are moving in a lower direction, the level of foreclosure- and delinquency-spawned litigation may continue to persist at its current high levels," he added.
Q: Rec'd notice of default and election to sell under deed of trust on 2 personal loans recorded in 87 p'd in 90 but not reconveyed. 22 yr's ago I paid off two personal secured loans from demand letter of servicer by getting a new loan thru mortgage broker.
A:If these loans were paid off in 1990 and you have the demands and a closing statement reflecting the pay-offs, the Title Company writing the new Lender's Policy of Title Insurance may be willing to "write around" the liens of the 1987 deeds of trust.
Now, hundreds of thousands of Florida home owners, like Luna, are entitled to bank payouts as compensation for fraudulent and sloppy foreclosure practices. But getting the money has not been easy, as some local attorneys have seen firsthand.
“At first glance, it looks like it can't be real,” said real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler. “We have people come in and say this seems too good to be true.”
Revamped terms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's taxpayer-funded bailout that went into effect this year will allow the mortgage finance firms to repay the U.S. Treasury sooner than would have otherwise been the case, a federal watchdog said on Wednesday.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were seized by the government at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 as mortgage losses threatened their solvency.
In a push to simplify mortgage modifications, federal regulators announced a streamlined process that doesn't require borrowers to prove a hardship.
"This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure," Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement announcing the modifications Wednesday.
Three weeks after checks sent to homeowners as compensation for foreclosure abuses were rejected for insufficient funds, the consulting firm at the center of the mishap erred again: a fresh round of checks was written for the wrong amounts.
In recent days, according to officials briefed on the matter, Rust Consulting issued nearly 100,000 checks for less than the homeowners were owed. The mistake potentially cheated consumers out of millions of dollars they were owed under a deal reached between the government and the nation’s biggest banks.
No amount of money will actually cure the current title corruption on record in all 50 states due to practice of allowing complete strangers to the transaction to self-anoint themselves as creditors, foreclose on property and submit a credit bid at auction when they were not owed any money and there was no credit relationship between the homeowner and the bidder.
Detroit's Masonic Temple, the largest of its kind in the world, is in foreclosure for a $152,000 tax bill and the historic property is in the hands of the Wayne County Treasurer.
The 14-story Gothic structure that takes up the entire 500 block of Temple Street has 1,037 rooms and multiple theater and entertainment venues, and was placed on the state's Historic Registry in 1964 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
While bank lobbyists and some commentators are suddenly taken with the idea that an active debate is under way about whether to limit bank size in the United States, they are wrong. The debate is over; the decision to cap the size of the largest banks has been made. All that remains is to work out the details.
But there’s no way to curtail the role of Rust Consulting, a firm that has been central in the Independent Foreclosure Reviews virtually from their onset. Rust was the firm that servicers engaged to handle the initial mailings to borrowers eligible for a review. The assumption of the authorities appears to have been that Rust was merely doing such low level stuff that it didn’t need to be checked; when I called the OCC to ask if the firm had been screened for conflicts of interest, the PR staffer who returned my call reacted as if the question was off-base (he said he’d get back to me with an answer the following day and never did).
In many areas, builders are scrambling to ramp up production but face delays because of the difficulty of finding construction workers and in obtaining permits from suddenly overwhelmed local authorities. At the same time, homeowners — many of them lifted above water for the first time in years — often remain reluctant to sell, either because they want to wait and see how much further prices will climb or because they are afraid of being displaced in the sudden buying frenzy.
New York is offering legal advisers to help homeowners navigate the complex route to fight foreclosure.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is releasing a television public service announcement that tells New Yorkers how they can get free housing counseling and legal assistance. The TV spots will air in English and Spanish statewide.
According to the indictment, Leadbeater and several co-conspirators recruited straw buyers to purchase several condominiums in the shore communities Wildwood and Wildwood Crest from May 2006 to August 2011. Straw buyers are people who acquire property, in this case, for someone who is unable to purchase it.
According to the indictment, Leadbeater and other conspirators created false documents to make the straw buyers appear more credit-worthy to induce the lenders to make loans.
The obscene greed-and-arrogance stories emanating from Wall Street are piling up so fast, it's getting hard to keep up. This one is from last week, but I missed it – it's about the foreclosure/robo-signing settlement that was concluded earlier this year.
The upshot of this story is that in advance of that notorious settlement, the government ordered banks to hire "independent" consultants to examine their loan files to see just exactly how corrupt they were.
Checking the queues, I keep noticing Rust harmed borrowers returning to comment on the threads for the three posts Yves did on Rust and the OCC (here, here, and here). It’s almost like they have no other place to tell their stories! Incredible though that may seem.
So I thought I would collect all their comments into a single post, most importantly to show the harmed borrowers that there was a place where they were heard, and to serve as a resource for decision makers,* and possibly to serve as the basis for further analysis at NC. I would also like to ask any Rust employees (temporary or permanent) who encounter this post to read the whole thing, and to reflect.
Herewith, the voices of the Rust harmed borrrowers, post by post. There’s a little bit of commentary at the end.
The Arizona House has given final approval to a bill requiring landlords to notify tenants when their property enters foreclosure.
House Bill 2281 amends the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to require the owner to provide written notice to tenants within 5 business days of receiving a formal notice of trustee's sale. The law previously only required notice if a provision was in the lease.
Troubled homeowners who received modified mortgages through a federal program are seeing high default rates, a troubling trend that officials inadequately understand, according to an investigator’s report released Wednesday.
The oldest permanent modifications made through the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, which launched in 2009, were redefaulting at a rate of 46.1% as of March 31, according to the report from the special inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s efforts to shore up the U.S. financial system. HAMP’s permanent modifications from 2010 have redefault rates ranging from 28.9% to 37.6%.
In the fast-paced world we live in, with an abundance of cell phones and tablets everywhere we look, what difference does a cloud-based solution make for mortgage lenders, servicers or even aggregators and real estate professionals if they cannot access these important documents while out of the office? Mobile applications have had a significant impact in the way banks do business during the past few years and are now making their way into mortgage industry. Mobile electronic loan folders are just the beginning of the future of mobile for mortgage banking—the 21st Century solution for the electronic loan folder.
Banks would be required to go through formal mediation with a homeowner before beginning a foreclosure under the terms of a bill pending in the N.C. Senate.
It’s a response to the continuing trouble borrowers have had in saving their homes, despite a massive legal settlement designed to make the process easier. “To the public, it looks very confusing,” said Sen. Clark Jenkins, a Tarboro Democrat, who introduced the bill. “You’ll find people in absolute horror stories.”
The number of California homes entering the foreclosure process plunged to a more-than-seven-year low this year thanks to rising home prices, an improving economy and new laws designed to protect homeowners, a research firm reported Tuesday.
From January to March, 18,567 default notices were recorded by lenders—down 51.4 percent from the previous three months and down 67 percent from the first quarter in 2012, DataQuick said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) raised the stakes of her quest to find out why a single Wall Street bank has not been prosecuted in the aftermath of the financial crisis Tuesday, sending a letter to the heads of three federal agencies.
Warren, a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs asked Attorney General Eric Holder, current Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke whether they had done any cost-benefit research into prosecuting a bank versus settling with one, which is equivalent to a slap on the wrist for a profitable financial institution.
“Mortgage servicers have now admitted that they broke the law by illegally foreclosing on American families and committing numerous other abuses, but regulators refuse to provide even the most basic information about the extent of the abuses that were uncovered,” Cummings said.
"Since federal regulators now plan to rely on these same banks to determine payouts and deliver settlement funds to borrowers, we need an independent monitor to bring transparency and accountability to this process.”
The housing market in the Northeast has been one of the slowest to recover. And now we have another worrisome indicator.
New York posted a nearly 130 percent year-over-year surge in foreclosure inventory in the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac's latest report. This compares with a nine percent rise in overall U.S. foreclosure inventory.