A $10 billion dollar foreclosure fraud settlement with 14 banks gives the banks yet another slap-on-the-wrist with no criminal charges being filed withÂ a few scraps being tossed to the victims of the abuse. This is the standard operating procedure for the Obama Administration. Pretend to care for the victims while doing as little as possible to stop such abuses in the future. Rule of law? Oh, that’s for the little people. The big banks consistently and without fail always get off easy when Obama is involved. the $10 billion is chump change compared to what the foreclosures frauds netted them. In a country with a functioning justice system, those responsible would be going to prison.
If, say, half of the 4.4 million borrowers were subject to foreclosure abuses, they would each receive less than $2,000, on average. If 10 percent of the 4.4 million were harmed, each would get roughly $8,500.
Aequitas Compliance Solutions, a Newport Beach mortgage regulatory compliance firm, was hired by Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, to audit the files of nearly 400 foreclosed properties in his county. Their report titled “Foreclosure in California: A Crisis of Compliance”Â was just released.
Like Â 29 other states, foreclosures in California are not required by be overseen by a Â judge, so nobody has been paying much attention to what’s been happening.
Mr. Ting said his report was the first rigorous analysis of foreclosure improprieties in California and that it cast doubt on the validity of almost every foreclosure it examined. “Clearly, we need to set up a process where lenders are following every part of the law,” Mr. Ting said in the interview. “It is very apparent that the system is broken from many different vantage points.”
The recent $26 billion settlement between five large banks and 49 state attorneys general (including California’s) regarding foreclosure improprieties doesn’t cover most of the issues detailed in the report, which include potential felony charges for filing false documents.
In an interview late Tuesday, Mr. Ting said he would forward his findings and foreclosure files to the attorney general’s office and to local law enforcement officials. Kamala D. Harris, the California attorney general, announced a joint investigation into foreclosure abuses last December with the Nevada attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto. The joint investigation spans both civil and criminal matters.
Will anyone actually go to jail over this? I’m not holding my breath.
Last week a Missouri grand jury handed up an 136-count indictment accusing DocX Â of forgery. DocX, a now-closed unit of Lender Processing Services of Jacksonville, Florida, was one of the largest companies that provided home foreclosure services to lenders across the country, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank.
Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster, will prosecute this case of alleged foreclosure fraud.
“The grand jury indictment alleges that mass-produced fraudulent signatures on notarized real estate documents constitutes forgery,” Mr. Koster said in a statement. “Today’s indictment reflects our firm conviction that when you sign your name to a legal document, it matters.”
Lorraine O. Brown, the companies founder and president, was also indicted. Many of the charges are felonies and Ms Brown could face up to seven years in prison for each forgery count.
The state Supreme Judicial Court yesterday upheld a judge’s decision saying two foreclosures were invalid because the banks didn’t prove they owned the mortgages, which he said were transferred into two mortgage-backed trusts without the recipients’ being named.
Weaselly spokespersons for the various banks involved amusingly tried to spin this as minor and just a little blip, but in reality the ruling is expected to trigger many more lawsuits and force the mortgage industry to change.
Imagine, the effrontery of that judge to insist that banks actually show ownership of the properties they are foreclosing on. I think he must be socialist.
Any law – and it’s not criminal. At worst it’s a civil matter. Maybe.
And here I thought our State AGs would actually perform their jobs and prosecute.
In related news, the feds just settled with BofA for $0.01 on the dollar. One analyst says “This looks to me like a gift from Tim Geithner… there’s politics all over this.” If this happened in a Latin American country, would we not call it corruption?