National Honesty Day? America’s Book of Lies

Today is National Honesty Day. While it should be a celebration of how honest we have been the other 364 days of the year, it is rather a day of reflection on how dishonest we have been. Perhaps today could be a day in which we say we will at least be honest today about everything we say or do. But that isn’t likely. Today I focus on the economy and the housing crisis. Yes despite the corruption of financial journalism in which we are told of improvements, our economy — led by the housing markets — is still sputtering. It will continue to do so until we confront the truth about housing, and in particular foreclosures. Tennessee, Virginia and other states continue to lead the way in a downward spiral leading to the lowest rate of home ownership since the 1990’s with no bottom in sight.

Here are a few of the many articles pointing out the reality of our situation contrasted with the absence of articles in financial journalism directed at outright corruption on Wall Street where the players continue to pursue illicit, fraudulent and harmful schemes against our society performing acts that can and do get jail time for anyone else who plays that game.

It isn’t just that they escaping jail time. The jailing of bankers would take a couple of thousand people off the street that would otherwise be doing harm to us.

The main point is that we know they are doing the wrong thing in foreclosing on property they don’t own using “balances” the borrower doesn’t owe; we know they effectively stole the money from the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds, we know they effectively stole the title protection and documents that should have been executed in favor of the real source of funds, we know they received multiple payments from third parties and we know they are getting twin benefits from foreclosures that (a) should not be legally allowed and (b) only compound the damages to investors and homeowners.

The bottom line: Until we address wrongful foreclosures, the housing market, which has always led the economy, will continue to sputter, flatline or crash again. Transferring wealth from the middle class to the banks is a recipe for disaster whether it is legal or illegal. In this case it plainly illegal in most cases.

And despite the planted articles paid for by the banks, we still have over 700,000 foreclosures to go in the next year and over 9,000,000 homeowners who are so deep underwater that their situation is a clear and present danger of “strategic default” on claims that are both untrue and unfair.

Here is a sampling of corroborative evidence for my conclusions:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Candid Take on the Foreclosure Crisis

There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the government’s most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.”

Lynn Symoniak is Thwarted by Government as She Pursues Other Banks for the Same Thing She Proved Before

Government prosecutors who relied on a Florida whistleblower’s evidence to win foreclosure fraud settlements with major banks two years ago are declining to help her pursue identical claims against a second set of large financial institutions.

Lynn Szymoniak first found proof that millions of American foreclosures were based on faulty and falsified documents while fighting her own foreclosure. Her three-year legal fight helped uncover the fact that banks were “robosigning” documents — hiring people to forge signatures and backdate legal paperwork the firms needed in order to foreclose on people’s homes — as a routine practice. Court papers that were unsealed last summer show that the fraudulent practices Szymoniak discovered affect trillions of dollars worth of mortgages.

More than 700,000 Foreclosures Expected Over Next Year

How Bank Watchdogs Killed Our Last Chance At Justice For Foreclosure Victims

The results are in. The award for the sorriest chapter of the great American foreclosure crisis goes to the Independent Foreclosure Review, a billion-dollar sinkhole that produced nothing but heartache for aggrieved homeowners, and a big black eye for regulators.

The foreclosure review was supposed to uncover abuses in how the mortgage industry coped with the epic wave of foreclosures that swept the U.S. in the aftermath of the housing crash. In a deal with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, more than a dozen companies, including major banks, agreed to hire independent auditors to comb through loan files, identify errors and award just compensation to people who’d been abused in the foreclosure process.

But in January 2013, amid mounting evidence that the entire process was compromised by bank interference and government mismanagement, regulators abruptly shut the program down. They replaced it with a nearly $10 billion legal settlement that satisfied almost no one. Borrowers received paltry payouts, with sums determined by the very banks they accused of making their lives hell.

Investigation Stalled and Diverted as to Bank Fraud Against Investors and Homeowners

The Government Accountability Office released the results of its study of the Independent Foreclosure Review, conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve in 2011 and 2012, and the results show that the foreclosure process is lacking in oversight and transparency.

According to the GAO review, which can be read in full here, the OCC and Fed signed consent orders with 16 mortgage servicers in 2011 and 2012 that required the servicers to hire consultants to review foreclosure files for efforts and remediate harm to borrowers.

In 2013, regulators amended the consent orders for all but one servicer, ending the file reviews and requiring servicers to provide $3.9 billion in cash payments to about 4.4 million borrowers and $6 billion in foreclosure prevention actions, such as loan modifications. The list of impacted mortgage servicers can be found here, as well as any updates. It should be noted that the entire process faced controversy before, as critics called the IFR cumbersome and costly.

Banks Profit from Suicides of Their Officers and Employees

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Government Cover-Up to Protect the Banks and Screw Homeowners and Investors

A new government report suggests that errors made by banks and their agents during foreclosures might have been significantly higher than was previously believed when regulators halted a national review of the banks’ mortgage servicing operations.

When banking regulators decided to end the independent foreclosure review last year, most banks had not completed the examinations of their mortgage modification and foreclosure practices.

At the time, the regulators — the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve — found that lengthy reviews by bank-hired consultants were delaying compensation getting to borrowers who had suffered through improper modifications and other problems.

But the decision to cut short the review left regulators with limited information about actual harm to borrowers when they negotiated a $10 billion settlement as part of agreements with 15 banks, according to a draft of a report by the Government Accountability Office reviewed by The New York Times.

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

Wrongful Foreclosure Rate at least 24%: Wrongful or Fraudulent?

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

http://www.marketpulse.com/20140430/u-s-housing-recovery-struggles/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0429/Home-buying-loses-allure-ownership-rate-lowest-since-1995

http://www.opednews.com/articles/It-s-Good–no–Great-to-by-William-K-Black–Bank-Failure_Bank-Failures_Bankers_Banking-140430-322.html

[DISHONEST EUPHEMISMS: The context of this WSJ story is the broader series of betrayals of homeowners by the regulators and prosecutors led initially by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his infamous “foam the runways” comment in which he admitted and urged that programs “sold” as benefitting distressed homeowners be used instead to aid the banks (more precisely, the bank CEOs) whose frauds caused the crisis.  The WSJ article deals with one of the several settlements with the banks that “service” home mortgages and foreclose on them.  Private attorneys first obtained the evidence that the servicers were engaged in massive foreclosure fraud involving knowingly filing hundreds of thousands of false affidavits under (non) penalty of perjury.  As a senior former AUSA said publicly at the INET conference a few weeks ago about these cases — they were slam dunk prosecutions.  But you know what happened; no senior banker or bank was prosecuted.  No banker was sued civilly by the government.  No banker had to pay back his bonus that he “earned” through fraud.

 

 

10 Responses

  1. Neil , this was one of your best articles because of all the good quality links that you provided to back up the points you are trying to make in your article. Keep up the good fight !

  2. Christine, from what my sources say ….
    sooner than you think may refer to a date in July.

  3. This says it all…

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/criminal-charges-against-banks-risk-050007675.html

    This also explains why Al Capone and Leona Helmsley went to jail.

  4. @ all – What put Al Capone in Jail? What put Leona Helmsley in jail?
    The answer explains how everything works, including mortgages, securities – economies, growth, stagnation, etc… everything.

    The answer to those questions sets everyone free!

    TSMIMITW

  5. Deja Vu All Over Again: Fannie, Freddie Would Need Another $190 Billion Bailout When Things Go South

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-30/deja-vu-all-over-again-fannie-freddie-would-need-another-190-billion-bailout-when-th

    ***SHAZAM***

  6. Carefully note the lead-up to Hitler and the Third Reich, and you will see similarities.

  7. TO THE “MR.POTTER” BANKERS AND POLITICIANS WHO TREAT PEOPLE LIKE CATTLE:

    “Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so.”

    “People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle.”

    When the so called “rabble” are treated like cattle, bad things happen. Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville or worse.

    I have come to see this not just as an economic problem, or of families made homeless, but one of insane greed, dishonesty, and the VIEW OF THE AVERAGE FAMILY by bankers and their cronies in the government, as CATTLE.

    The Nazi’s viewed masses of people as cattle. It is at its heart an evil perspective with an evil outcome for the innocent.

  8. And so is this…

    http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2014/4/30_Some_Shocking_Events_Taking_Place_Around_The_World.html

    Below is what Stephen Leeb (Leeb Capital Management) had to say.

    Leeb: “Yesterday the news came out of Europe that the European Union joined the United States in widening sanctions against Russia over actions in Ukraine. I keep listening to the news, Eric, and I have no idea what it means to sanction individual people. What does that mean?….

    “Does that mean they are not allowed to travel to Baltimore? I don’t think anyone really understands exactly what that means, other than to say it means very little. The individuals being sanctioned have not lost any power. They still run their companies or remain in the same positions of power they had before the sanctions.

    I think what this has revealed about the situation in Ukraine is that the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of power to do a lot of things. Russia is an integral part of the world. It’s a critical link. As I have said to you before, Eric, Russia controls half of the rails that allow for shipping between Germany and China. So if Germany is going to grow, they are going to grow using the Russian rail lines to transport their goods, and ditto for China. Russia also has a massive trade agreement with China that will soon total over $1 trillion in trade.

    The key point right now is that people need to realize that the United States is losing its hold on the world’s economy…”

  9. Very much a-propos…

    US Economy Is A House Of Cards — Paul Craig Roberts
    April 30, 2014

    “…The America in which I grew up was self-sufficient. Foreign trade was a small part of the economy. When I was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the US still had a trade surplus except for oil. Offshoring of America’s jobs had not begun, and US earnings on its foreign investments exceeded foreign earnings on US investments. Therefore, America’s earnings abroad covered its energy deficit in its balance of trade.

    The economic stability achieved during the Reagan administration was shattered by Wall Street greed. Wall Street threatened corporations with takeovers if the corporations did not produce higher profits by relocating their production of goods and services for American markets abroad. The lower labor costs boosted earnings and stock prices and satisfied Wall Street’s cravings for ever more earnings, but brought an end to the rise in US living standards except for the mega-rich. Financial deregulation loaded the economy with the risks of asset bubbles.

    Americans are an amazingly insouciant people. By now any other people would have burnt Wall Street to the ground.

    Washington has unique subjects. Americans will take endless abuse and blame some outside government for their predicament–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, China, Russia. Such an insouciant and passive people are ideal targets for looting, and their economy, hollowed-out by looting, is a house of cards.”

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/04/30/us-economy-house-cards-paul-craig-roberts/

  10. When it gets serious, you have to lie….

    Things are very serious.

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