Tag Archives: Foreclosures

LET ‘EM DROWN

Why are Republicans so clueless when it comes to anyone outside of their rich folks’ club bubble?

The Huffington Post

John Boehner: Time For Government To Stop Helping Homeowners

House Speaker John Boehner thinks it’s about time for the government to stop trying to aid people with underwater mortgages.

Responding to a plan President Barack Obama  unveiled Wednesday to help homeowners refinance, Boehner scoffed at the idea and then suggested government should get out of the way of  increasing foreclosures and falling prices.

“One more time? We’ve done this. We’ve done this at least four times where there’s a new government program to help homeowners who have trouble with their mortgages,” the Ohio Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“None of these programs have worked. I don’t know why anyone would think that this next idea is going to work,” Boehner continued. “All it does is delay the clearing of the market. As soon as the market clears and we understand where the prices really are — [that] will be the most important thing we can do in order to improve home values around the country.”

Obama’s plan would require legislation from Congress to permit the Federal Housing Administration to help certain homeowners — specifically, those who are underwater but current in their payments and whose loans are not held by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — to obtain new loans at better interest rates, saving $3,000 a year on average. A similar plan already aids people whose mortgages are held by one of those government-backed entities, but other homeowners usually cannot get a bank to refinance their loans.

While the administration’s loan modification effort so far have fallen far short of its goals — reaching fewer than 1 million homeowners when it aimed for 4 million with the last initiative — Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development, argued Wednesday that doing more is vital.

“Economists on all sides of the political spectrum have recognized that a broad-scale refinancing effort is one of the most important things that we can do, not only for families and for the housing market, but also for the economy more broadly,” Donovan said at a White House briefing.

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Filed under U.S. Politics

Occupied Washington

Mother Jones

Grotesque income inequality is just a symptom of our larger political disease.

A FEW WEEKS AFTER the Occupy Wall Street protests began, we found ourselves having a random conversation with a couple of San Franciscans at a store counter. What were these kids going on about? they asked. Time was tight, the inquiry a pleasantry, really. Best to keep it simple. “Jobs, the economy, income inequality.” Well, one offered, he knew the wife of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, and according to him, the reason companies aren’t hiring is because they are worried about the extra cost of Obama’s health care reform.

Stunned silence.

Because what can you really say to that, except…let them eat cake? Stumpf made $17.6 million in 2010—672 times what the average American takes home. And say what you will about Obamacare, but for large companies that already offer health benefits, it imposes pretty much zero costs and might even save money.

But why single out Stumpf, who actually sounds fairly cuddly for a bank CEO? (His hobby is baking bread, for Christ’s sake.) Let’s turn instead to John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who unctuously admonished Occupy protesters: “Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow.” Or how about the homeless-themed Halloween party thrown by an upstate New York foreclosure mill? Or the financier David Moore, who, having been dressed down by a panhandler for proffering only a dollar, took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to bray about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric: “The president’s incendiary message has now reached the streets. His complaints that rich people must ‘pay their fair share’ have now goaded some of our society’s most unfortunate.”

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Think you’ve read the worst about foreclosures? Read this

Seal of Miami, Florida, United States

Image via Wikipedia

McClatchy

MIAMI — All she wanted was $50,000 from the equity in her house to help pay the bills while looking for a job in nursing. What Imogene Hall got was a brutal lesson in the sometimes shady ways of the mortgage industry.

It’s a lesson learned by untold numbers of homeowners in Florida, epicenter of the foreclosure crisis gripping the nation.

“Everywhere I turn, someone else is scamming me,” said Hall, a 49-year-old Jamaican immigrant who stands to lose her Miami Gardens home the Monday after Thanksgiving. “All I do is work hard, and I get surrounded by thieves.”

A review of court records found evidence of misconduct at nearly every stage of Hall’s experience. Consider:

_ Johnson Cuffy, a former mortgage broker now serving an 11-year prison sentence for grand theft, handled Hall’s refinancing in early 2006, using a strategy a state investigator described as “outright mortgage fraud.” He faces up to 30 more years in prison if convicted of 16 other mortgage fraud charges he’s facing.

_ The title agent who signed the crucial deed transfers that Hall’s fraud claim rests on operated an unlicensed title company that stole more than $1.5 million from South Florida home buyers during closing proceedings between 2005 and 2007, according to Florida Supreme Court records.

_ A man who listed his employer as a nonexistent Blockbuster Video store in New York somehow used Hall’s home as collateral to secure a $230,000 loan from subprime lender Argent Mortgage.

_ Hall’s foreclosure was processed by the Florida Default Law Group, one of four Florida law firms being investigated by the state attorney general for using flawed documents to repossess homes from thousands of owners.

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Filed under Financial Crisis, Foreclosure Fraud, Home Foreclosures, Home Mortgage Crisis, Mortgage Fraud

‘Foreclosure Mill’ Employees Got Gifts For Altering Documents, Witness Says

This story should require Congressional and Senate investigations when congress convenes after the midterms.  However, it appears all the Republicans want to do, if they gain the majority is investigate housing loans to poor people and impeach Obama.

Huffington Post

At a large Florida “foreclosure mill,” a manager signed up to 1,000 documents a day without reading them and employees were given gifts to speed up foreclosure paperwork, according to depositions released today by the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

The news, also reported by Tampa Online, comes as Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank by assets, announcement that it would resume more than 100,000 foreclosures in 23 states after an internal investigation of its practices.

Florida authorities are investigating the law offices of David J. Stern over how it handled foreclosure paperwork. As the AP notes, Cheryl Salmons, an office manager at the law offices of David Stern, “would sign 500 files in the morning and another 500 files in the afternoon without reviewing them and with no witnesses,” according to Kelly Scott, a former assistant at the firm.

The perks for good performance were considerable, according to Scott’s statement. Tampa Online notes office employees were lavished with gifts:

“As a perk of Samons’ [sic.] job, Stern’s office would routinely pay her personal mortgage, a car payment, her electric bills and her cell phone bill, according to Scott, who told investigators Stern also bought Samons [sic.] a new BMW sport utility vehicle every year and gave her and other employees jewelry. Additionally, Stern purchased employee David Vargas a house, a car and a cell phone, Scott claims in her statement.”

According to Kelly Scott’s statement, Cheryl Ramos’s marathon document signing sessions took place in an office conference room and would leave her wearied. From Scott’s deposition:

They would [be] stacked amongst each other, side by side, and Cheryl would come twice a day, in the morning and mid-afternoon, around two or three o’clock and she would sign all of them, every single one of them…
Cheryl would give certain paralegals rights to sign her name, because most of the time she was very tired exhausted from signing her name numerous times per day. You had to understand it was more than five hundred files that she’s signing morning and afternoon.

David Stern had an especially close relationship with the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Scott said in her statement. The lenders were “considered his babies,” Scott said and employees would change codes to hide files when their representatives visited the office.

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Filed under Foreclosures

40 States Join to Halt Foreclosures

Wallstreet Journal

Attorneys General Hope Lenders Will Re-Write Loans With Troubled Documents

A coalition of as many as 40 state attorneys general is expected Wednesday to announce an investigation into the mortgage-servicing industry, an effort some of them hope will pressure financial institutions to rewrite large numbers of troubled loans.

The move comes amid recent allegations that mortgage-servicers, which include units of major banks such as Bank of America Corp., submitted fraudulent documents in thousands of foreclosure proceedings nationwide.

The banks say the document problems are technical—largely the result of papers approved by so-called robo-signers with little review—and don’t reflect substantive problems with foreclosures. Still, they have drawn criticism from consumer advocates and state and federal lawmakers.

“I think the mortgage-servicing firms need to understand that they face real exposure now, and they would be well advised to take this very seriously, to clean this up by doing loan workouts to keep people in their homes, which up till now they’ve just paid lip-service to,” said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.      Continue reading…

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Filed under Economy, Foreclosure, Housing Foreclosures