The mortgage fraud settlement for $25 billion is pennies on the dollar, ignores rampant criminality that went on for years, and was pushed for hard by Obama, who never met a banksters he didn’t want to protect. There’s no need to bother with quaint concepts like rule of law when banksters need their crimes ignored. Obama is always willing to oblige them.
Remember robosigning and the whole fraudclosure scandal? In a few days you can forget it. Because in America, the cost of contractual rights was just announced, and it is $25 billion: this is the amount of money that banks will pay to settle the fact that for years mortgages were issued and re-issued without proper title and liens on the underlying paper, courtesy of Linda Green et al. Why is this happening? Because staunch hold outs for equitable justice (at least until this point), the AGs of NY and California folded like cheap lawn chairs (we can’t wait to find what corner office of Bank of America they end up in), but not before the one and only intervened.
From the WSJ: “The Obama administration made a full-court press over the past four days to secure the support of key state attorneys general, including those from Florida, California and New York.” Nothing like a little presidential persuasion to help one with overcoming one’s conscience. Because in America the push to abrogate the very foundation of contractual agreements comes from the very top.
Click through for chart in all its ginormous glory
Dan Edstrom is an expert in charting such relationships and it took him a year to find out who actually owned his home. Note the “Black Hole” on the right side near the top. Apparently some details are unknowable, even to an expert.
Such a deranged system of mortgage securitization is error-prone, obviously way too complicated, and no doubt designed this way on purpose so as to deliberately obfuscate ownership and responsibility. “This diagram shows that they are not following the borrower’s instructions in the security instrument.”
Thousands of bank execs went to prison during the S&L crisis of the 1980’s. Not a single bankster has yet during this current debacle. In fact, virtually none have even been criminally charged. This is a disgrace, a subversion of justice, and an obvious corruption of the legal system.
We need thousands of criminal prosecutions for this biggest fraud ever. Will we get them?
Ezra Klein: What’s happening here? Why are we suddenly faced with a crisis that wasn’t apparent two weeks ago?
Janet Tavakoli: This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets. And it’s not something that happened last week. It happened when these loans were originated, in some cases years ago.
EK: And how much danger are the banks themselves in?
JT: When we had the financial crisis, the first thing the banks did was run to Congress and ask for accounting relief. They asked to be able to avoid pricing this stuff at the price where people would buy them. So no one can tell you the size of the hole in these balance sheets. We’ve thrown a lot of money at it. TARP was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve given them guarantees on debts, low-cost funding from the Fed. But a lot of these mortgages just cannot be saved. Had we acknowledged this problem in 2005, we could’ve cleaned it up for a few hundred billion dollars. But we didn’t. Banks were lying and committing fraud, and our regulators were covering them and so a bad problem has become a hellacious one.
(Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, Inc. (TSF), a Chicago based consulting firm providing expert experience and knowledge about maximizing value in the face of complexity and uncertainty.)
Homes in Florida seized without Notice of Foreclosure: Suspiciously large number of “the dog ate my summons” filings
What are the odds that these “lost” notices reflect legitimate lost documents, as opposed to failure to provide proper notice at all and lying to the court after the fact? The sheer volume strongly suggests the overwhelming majority are the result of the utter disregard of the foreclosure mills for due process.
Make no mistake about it: the nature and scale of these frauds cut at the very heart of our judicial process. We didn’t call the Florida courts “kangaroo courts” lightly. A home is most people’s most important asset; shelter is a bedrock of personal security. Both the Fifth and the Fourteenth amendments enshrine the notion of due process, yet we see increasing evidence of it being violated on a routine basis in the Sunshine State.
4ClosureFraud and ForeclosureHamlet are all over the fast-developing multiple stories of fraud and deception in Florida mortgages and foreclosures. Where are the regulators? Deliberately asleep and/or compromised, I’m guessing. It would be so nice to get back to Rule of Law in this country, wouldn’t it? Instead, our obviously corrupt financial system is permitted to apparently do whatever it wants without fear of prosecution.
We finally have some concrete proof of how widespread document fabrication was.
Not only are there prices up for creating, which means fabricating, documents out of whole cloth, note the extent. The collateral file is ALL the documents the trustee (or the custodian as an agent of the trustee) needs to have pursuant to its obligations under the pooling and servicing agreement on behalf of the mortgage backed security holder. This means most importantly the note (the borrower IOU) and title insurance.
A friend of mine notes the wave of fraudulent foreclosures, foreclosures where firms simply faked the paperwork needed to prove they have standing to foreclose (that they actually own the mortgage.) There have been some moves to stem the fraud, not the least of which is by Florida’s Attorney General Bill McCollum, but those who appear to be the worst offenders are firing back, going after him and other judges who have thrown out cases.
This is a logical consequence of refusing to go after banksters for fraud. The fraud was so systemic (the majority of CDOs based on housing) that virtually every major executive was involved. The DOJ and others chose not to prosecute criminally, and as a result the message was sent that the executive class, as a group, will not be prosecuted for fraud.
So, of course, they doubled down.
During the S&L crisis, thousands of bank executives went to prison. Yet in this much worse and even more obviously criminal crisis, there have been virtually no criminal indictments. The firms get a slap on the wrist fine. None of those responsible are punished. And in this, Obama is as equally culpable as Bush. The fix, it seems, is in at a very high level indeed.
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