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Bank Closes Accounts of Critics
Wells Fargo’s story has been as bad or worse than many of the stories that have been published about banks committing crimes (forgery), misrepresentations is court, and fraudulent foreclosures. But Wells escaped a lot of media attention even with mammoth fines and penalties imposed by enraged Judges. We shouldn’t be too surprised by all this bullying and intimidation — after all, it is even a huge problems in schools which makes one wonder what is happening in the homes.
Their strategy seems to be to say anything that gets the job done (foreclosure) regardless of the facts or the law. It starts off with them having their attorney represent them in court, proffering “facts” that are not in evidence and turn out to be completely untrue. More specifically, they tell the court and the borrower that they are the creditor and then later, when it turns out the representation was completely untrue, and it is time for the homeowners to get attorneys fees and costs, they tell the Judge that they made a mistake and that they are not really the creditor, just the servicer, through America’s Servicing Company, which is not even a legal entity but simply a department within the Bank.
Now they are striking back through their commercial banking operation finding excuses to close or freeze accounts of those organizations that are critical of Wells Fargo behavior. We can expect more of this bullying and intimidation, rather than less. I expect that the other big banks will start doing the same thing. We have already seen how our own effort here at LivingLies have been hampered in getting simple title reports, because the sources of this on-line data, while open to the public, often mislead any inquirer into “plans” that won’t give them the right data.
Matt Weidner has cataloged some of the events in the article below. Hat tip to him for the effort. The media problem will heat up against the banks when the investigative reporters finally get the point: the mortgages are invalid, there was no financial transaction between the parties recited on the “closing” documents, and the terms of repayment shown to the lender (pension funds etc., who advanced the money for the loans) were different from the terms shown to the borrower.
And when the media realizes that the money never followed the document trail from beginning to end the fun will really start. The transaction was between the homeowner and the pension funds through an undifferentiated commingled escrow account where there were no decisions on “bundling” (which never actually took place). It was just money in an account that was used to fund mortgages without getting a signature from the homeowner borrower on the actual transaction and without the investor lender knowing the true nature of the underwriting and funding process.
In order for these proceedings to start leaning toward the borrower, the borrower and their attorney must educate themselves enough to deny the debt, deny the default, deny the note, deny the mortgage and everything else that is being presumed by the would-be forecloser. It is the borrower’s job to to argue passionately and persuasively that there are material facts in issue on which the borrower is entitled to a fair hearing on the merits. Instead borrowers and attorneys are reading the pablum fed to them by the banks’ publicists and they are failing to object to misrepresentations in court without facts in evidence, failing to object to lack of foundation, competency of witness and hearsay.
By the time the case gets argued by the homeowner, it is already established in the Judge’s mind that you took a loan, it was from these people who are foreclosing or one of their affiliates, you failed to pay it and you defaulted on the terms of repayment. Now you want that same judge, with those thoughts in his/her head, to start ruling for you because some of the documents were improperly prepared. The biggest mistake homeowners make is trying to win the entire case in the first hearing or in their first pleading. Any good trial lawyer knows that is impossible. The pleading and argument of the homeowner should focus on denial of any facts that would support any lawsuit, foreclosure or sale. You have had lots of loans, but none of them were with these people or their predecessors. Thus the note was procured by trick (fraud in the execution) based upon false pretenses (Fraud in the inducement) and predatory lending practices (violations of TILA).
It was all a living lie. And instead of taking their just deserved punishment, Wells Fargo is leading the way to punish those who tell the truth. Brad Keiser who co-presented in our first national tour liked to quote George Orwell who said something along the lines of “In a world of lies, the most courageous act is to tell the truth.”
WOW- Writing Against The Banks Can Get You Punished…
By Matt Weidner
Scary stuff from Zombeck:
A wrap-up of stories and posts you might have missed or overlooked — the ones below the fold.
For quite some time Wells Fargo managed to stay below the media’s radar and let the other guys like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, for example, bear the brunt of consumer and activist outrage. Lately, it seems, they’ve had to prove that they’re equally nasty and contemptible as the others. Foreclosing on priests and temples; closing bank accounts without apparent reason; promoting and profiting from private prisons; and ripping off towns, states and counties with bid rigging that skimmed money slated for schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Wells Fargo can’t seem to get enough bad press these days. While working with the “any press is good press” theory may work for loud mouths like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, it’s not a strategy normally employed by most consumer based businesses.
In a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago I speculated that Wells Fargo had closed the bank accounts of ML-Implode’s Aaron Krowne out of retribution for Martin Andelman’s articles about Wells Fargo’s egregious and reprehensible track record in respect to homeowners and foreclosures. It’s important to note that Andelman blogs independently, is not paid by ML-Implode, and ML-Implode does not dictate or control what he writes. His blog, however, is hosted on ML-Implode. In essence, it would be like closing Arianna Huffington’s bank account because of something I wrote on Huffington Post.
Wells Fargo took particular offense, asserting that the headline was factually incorrect, but claimed that for privacy reasons they cannot disclose publicly the specifics behind the decision to close accounts. They asked that the title of the article be changed to not use the word “retaliation” and that somehow the original headline, “Wells Fargo Freezes Account in Retaliation,” was inaccurate since one of the articles mentioned, “Husband’s Suicide Yesterday, Wells Fargo to Evict Wife Tomorrow Anyway,” by Martin Andelman was written after they had made the decision to close the account. Andelman’s article was written on May 14 and Wells Fargo made the decision to close Krowne’s account on May 11.
Filed under: bubble, CDO, CORRUPTION, currency, Eviction, foreclosure, GTC | Honor, Investor, Mortgage, securities fraud Tagged: | Aaron Krowne, AMERICA'S SERVICING COMPANY, bullying, fraud in the execution, fraud in the inducement, Martin Andelman, Matt Weidner, predatory lending practices, retaliation, violations of TILA, Wells Fargo, Zombeck