Blogosphere

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The blogosphere is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network in which everyday authors can publish their opinions. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogosphere)

The blogosphere was investigating ForeclosureGate long before the mainstream media became involved.  Homeowners, homeowner advocates and the legal community owe a debt of gratitute to the foreclosure-fighting pioneers who have taken the time to inform all of us, about the wrongdoing perpetrated upon unsuspecting homeowners.

Stories from Blogosphere

Friday, December 13th, 2013

According to documents filed in this case, Youngheim participated in a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme designed to unjustly enrich himself and his business partner Loveless (among others) to the detriment of neighboring homeowners in Gary, Indiana, and taxpayers generally. Individuals who were recruited to buy most of the houses sold in the scheme were first-time home buyers with little practical experience in the field of real estate and with limited to no familiarity with the Gary, Indiana real estate market.

http://mortgagefraudblog.com/participation-in-a-large-scale-mortgage-scam-leads-to-prison-sentences/

Friday, December 13th, 2013

But for the Justice Department to truly start fresh, and fulfill their mission of stopping corporate fraud and preventing it from occurring again, they will have to compel JPMorgan to admit full liability for deliberately selling rotten mortgage securities. And here, federal agencies have revealed themselves as more interested in extracting public relations value by getting banks to admit something resembling wrongdoing, rather than forcing them to confess more widespread transgressions which would increase their legal exposure. Though agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have announced “get-tough” procedures on extracting admissions of wrongdoings in financial fraud settlements, in practice they serve as nothing more than insincere apologies.

http://prospect.org/article/big-bank-punishments-dont-fit-their-crimes

Friday, December 13th, 2013

A dozen U.S. Senators have asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Justice Department to look into residential tax lien sale and foreclosure practices that they say are unfairly––and potentially illegally––causing seniors, veterans and the disabled to lose their homes.  In a letter to the the CFPB and the Justice Department, the senators cited a Washington Post series detailing how in Washington, D.C., third-party investors sometimes purchase tax liens at auctions then try to rake in profits by charging property owners exorbitant processing, legal and other fees that can significantly increase the amount owed by a property owner, sometimes buy multiples of 30 to 40 times. For some property owners, the fees are too much to bear and they are forced to vacate.

http://www.fa-mag.com/news/senators-probe-tax-lien-sale--foreclosure--ab...

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Lillian Marquez, 38, and Michael Keatts, 56, both of Stockton, California, were arrested in their homes for a mortgage fraud scheme.  A federal grand jury indictment charged them with conspiring to commit mortgage fraud and with nine counts of mail fraud. The indictment was unsealed upon their arrests.  According to the indictment, from February 2006 through at least August 2012, Marquez and Keatts operated Colonial Home and Business Services, Stockton, California. Both defendants were licensed real estate agents who assisted clients in purchasing and selling homes.

http://mortgagefraudblog.com/2-real-estate-agents-charged-with-short-sale-fraud/#more-18714

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The old proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” suggests that two parties who don’t particularly like each other can still unite to battle a common enemy. Apple and Microsoft teamed up against Google; Yankees and Red Socks fans bonded to boo Alex Rodriguez; and banks and credit unions recently joined to fight the Richmond, Calif., plan to use eminent domain to seize mortgages. Banks and credit unions became “frenemies” on Aug. 30, 2013, when the ABA, California Credit Union League, and several other trade associations, including the California Bankers Association, filed a joint amicus brief criticizing Richmond’s plan to use eminent domain to force the refinancing of select “underwater” mortgages.

http://www.ababj.com/component/k2/item/4129-unlikely-allies

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

It defies reason that we continue today to hear about major bank scandals, more than five years after the financial crisis. But if anything, the revelations are growing larger and more complex.  Which is why I am now making a modest proposal to force them to come clean. The way that countries enveloped in patterns of interminable abuse often deal with the aftermath is through something called a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We need one for global finance.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/04/spill_it_wall_street_liars_how_to_make_t...

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sifting through a massive study of low-income children and their families, Lynch School of Education Professor Rebekah Levine Coley and colleagues have gleaned new insights into the harmful effects of substandard housing on families and children.  Coley, whose research into the housing choices of low-income families is supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, says her new report shows the distinct emotional and educational prices children pay when their families live in run-down apartments and homes.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022132145.htm

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Our housing markets are now heading directly into the perfect storm and those in the real estate and mortgage industries would be well advised to get prepared for the downturn now.  I dislike being an alarmist, but I am officially sounding the alarm.  This past September signified the fourth straight month of a decline in existing home sales, while mortgage interest rates hit two-year highs.  The Mortgage Bankers Association index of mortgage activity is now at its lowest point since November of 2008, which was probably the nadir of the financial crisis and resulting Great Recession.

http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2013/11/realtors-mortgage-brokers-toughe...

Monday, December 9th, 2013

While the media is all agog over the prospect of the “biggest settlement evah” with a single company, concentration has risen greatly in a lot of industries, particularly banking, so bigger companies and even mild inflation means settlements should get larger over time. So size is not a metric of accomplishment. The question is what was the actual liability and is the settlement an adequate remedy? We have the same problem here as with the mortgage settlement: save for a couple of types of bad conduct, it looks as if not enough discovery was done to know the extent of the conduct and hence what an appropriate remedy would be.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/so-how-big-a-deal-is-the-pending-...

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

The first thing you need to know about JPMorgan Chase’s long-awaited $13 billion deal with the Justice Department — to settle a number of civil lawsuits related to the fraudulent sale of mortgage-backed securities — is that it’s not a $13 billion deal. $4 billion of this figure, over 30 percent, was announced almost a month ago as the conclusion of a lawsuit between JPMorgan and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Attorney General Eric Holder, wanting to stand at a podium and give out a really big settlement number, simply folded the FHFA settlement into the Justice Department’s.

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/20/jpmorgan%E2%80%99s_bait_and_switch_the_b...

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Kaye-Eddie and the now-defunct Loan Tech processed and submitted applications for FHA-insured mortgage loans that included false statements, including fraudulent rental agreements falsely stating, unbeknownst to the borrowers, that the borrowers were receiving rental income when they were not. Without the falsely documented rental income, the borrowers would not have qualified for FHA-insured loans. The homes were in the Eastern District of California in Sacramento, West Sacramento, and Williams, California. All but one of the loans have been delinquent at some point, and two of the homes have gone into foreclosure.

http://mortgagefraudblog.com/loan-processor-agrees-to-civil-settlement-for-fha-mortgage-fraud/

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Massachusetts Attorney Glenn Russell, that’s him in the center of the picture above… sorry about the quality, I took it myself with my iPhone, when we were both attending Max Gardner’s special weekend symposium on the UCC as it applies to foreclosure defense, which was held a couple years back at New York University Law School.  Judge Arthur Schack was on Max’s panel that weekend, and many of the better known bloggers and journalists were in attendance as well, including Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism, Abigail Field, and yours truly… lol.  If you look behind Glenn to his left, you’ll see attorney Tom Cox of Portland Maine, who also came down to the Big Apple to rub elbows with the hoi polloi of the foreclosure crisis.

http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2013/11/ibanez-back-attorney-glenn-russe...

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Financial reformers seeking new rules beyond the range of the Dodd-Frank law haven’t had much to cheer about this year. The chances of Congress passing new regulations—OK, passing anything—look bleak, and the Obama Administration wants to simply finish implementing the last set of reforms. But reformers are playing a longer game, biding their time until the conditions are ripe for a dam burst. That could happen sooner than you think. High-profile champions for reform are gradually bending regulators to their will, and a pile-up of big bank abuses have eroded Wall Street’s reputation in Washington.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115698/elizabeth-warren-and-gao-will-...

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The fact that half of the fine would deal with WaMu’s liability in that FHFA lawsuit confirms that this is the model.  If so, the way in which this is being presented by Justice and the New York AG is remarkable in its deceitfulness. This is supposed to be a “global settlement” on all of JPM’s mortgage-backed securities exposure. In reality, they’re settling the FHFA lawsuit, the one that would be really damaging as a precedent and lead to all sorts of private litigation, and Justice and Schneiderman are piggy-backing their lawsuits on top, for pennies, to attach themselves like barnacles to a big settlement number.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/david-dayen-justices-deceit-on-th...

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Morris LeGrande believes that, sooner or later, the bank's going to come for his house. The 57-year-old jazz musician lives in the largely African-American Park Plaza neighborhood of Richmond, Calif., and owes more than $400,000 on his mortgage. According to a recent assessment, his house is only worth about $130,000. LeGrande is current on his payments, but in 22 years he will have to make a single lump-sum payment of $194,000.  "At the end of the day, we will lose this home," LeGrande says. "There's no doubt about it."  LeGrande has become a de facto spokesman for underwater homeowners in a city where more than 40 percent of all mortgages are underwater, according to Zillow.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/can-eminent-domain-be-used-to-ave...

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Absent sitting on the Supreme Court, it is difficult for a single judge to effect much change. Yet Jed Rakoff, in sending the SEC back to the woodshed in two separate cases over its failure to get factual admissions, meaning admissions of misconduct, on civil settlements of SEC cases, singlehandedly embarrassed the SEC and the Department of Justice into seeking these statements (for instance, numerous media reports indicate that the Administration wants that sort of confession as part of its pending settlement with JP Morgan).  Rakoff threw down another gauntlet in a New York Bar Association speech on Tuesday. I’m taking the liberty of quoting it at length because his rebuke is a breath of fresh air and roused the Department of Justice to issue a “we really are doing our job” response.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/judge-rakoff-blasts-breuer-prosec...

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Starved for scoops, many don’t bother to check the veracity of revenue and profitability numbers for non-public and pre-IPO entities before printing them.  This has been going on for a while. Even though I know most print publications still employ fact-checking, I’m seeing more and more major news media and magazine writers plug in numbers, sometimes unattributed, that no one checks.  ....As a CPA and former internal auditor I’m used to backing up my analytical conclusions or statements of “facts” with sufficient evidence. I was glad to see Forbes would not allow me to make a mistake.

http://retheauditors.com/2013/09/29/be-skeptical-%E2%80%94-reporters-cau...

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

No honest home lender, of course, would inflate an appraisal. Appraisal fraud, like fraudulent liar’s loans, became epidemic. A national survey of appraisers conducted in early 2004 found that 75% had been the targets of coercion during the last 12 months. In 2005, Demos released a report that described appraisal fraud as “epidemic.” Then N.Y. Attorney General Cuomo’s 2007 investigation confirmed that Washington Mutual (WaMu) had blacklisted honest appraisers and stated that WaMu’s conduct was the norm among nonprime lenders. A follow-up survey of appraisers in 2007 demonstrated the response of the fraudulent lenders to these warnings. The percentage of appraisers who had been coerced in the last 12 months rose to 90 percent.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/bill-black-why-do-conservatives-o...

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The implication is that the pet dream of Republicans, to kill the GSEs, isn’t realistic unless they want to kill the housing market as it goes through a brutal transition period to more on-balance sheet bank lending. The reason is not simply securitization allowed for mortgages to be issued much more cheaply due to eliminating the cost bank equity and FDIC insurance. A bigger reason is that the 30 year fixed interest rate mortgage with an unrestricted borrower right of prepayment would never exist absent government support.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/why-the-us-mortgage-market-will-r...

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A new scam has hit the streets in California, and it hits hard at tenants who occupy property taken over through foreclosure. Here scam artists keep an eye out for rental homes, condos that are income property, rentals. They watch for auction dates, and when the bids are accepted, paid, and paperwork underway, these crooks arrive at the property with boilerplate copies to serve the tenants with preliminary notices to vacate. The papers look official, and they are, but there is more than meets the eye: The schemata is pure fabrication.

 http://www.thebrennerbrief.com/2013/09/27/as-if-foreclosure-wasnt-bad-enough/