New York Judge Orders Release of Hidden Documents

This is just the beginning of what I have been predicting for 10 years. When the public finds out that the government itself is addicted to the false scheme of securitization — and that this has led to abandonment of policies and rules of law that have continued to depress the U.S. economy — the “movements” of Sanders and Trump will look like garden parties.

The mortgage loan schedules, assignments, and endorsements are all pure fabrication, illusion smoke and mirrors. This is why 10 years ago the banks were denying the existence of the trusts. They created a void between the investors and their money on the one hand and the homeowners and their homes on the other. They stepped into the void acting as principals when they were in fact rogue intermediaries.

“In the discovery battle in these suits, the government’s pleas for secrecy were so extreme that it asked for, and received, “attorneys’ eyes only” status for the documents in question. This meant that not even the plaintiffs were entitled to see the raw papers. This designation is usually reserved for cases involving national security or proprietary business secrets.”

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in existence who has actually taken the time to gain some real understanding of the financial crisis that was revealed in 2008-2009. I would only add that this is like the tobacco litigation where the states became addicted to revenue from the tobacco companies in order to pay their “fines.”
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There are many reasons why the Bush and Obama administrations moved to “save” the TBTF banks at the expense of the rule of law and on the back of homeowners who were lured into unworkable debt masquerading as mortgage debt.
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And the outcome of this leadership by example is that the mortgages are treated as valid encumbrances, the mortgage bonds are treated as viable assets on the balance sheets of banks, and the one source that could save the economy — consumers — is being cutoff from any form of relief.
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This is like the Fortune 500 companies who have decided that their stock is their product, and the higher their stock price the better they are doing — even if it means that they artificially inflating their stock price by purchasing the stock at high levels with company funds. It’s like oil companies who continue to value the oil in the ground as though they were going to suck it all out and make a profit when we all know that oil is largely going to be left intact and not subject to sale or use. The bubble is here and this decision by a federal judge forces the hand of the Obama administration to lift the veil of secrecy on the pact between the TBTF banks and the U.S. government.
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THE SIMPLE TRUTH: The “Trusts” were nothing but names on paper. And the paper allegedly issued by the “Trusts” was as worthless as the Trusts themselves. The investors advanced money under the belief that it would mean their money was going through a “pass-through” entity to be managed by the Trust; but the money never went to the trusts and the trusts never acquired any assets from any source, leaving the trusts at best “inchoate” and at worst nonexistent depending upon the state.
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The mortgage loan schedules, assignments, and endorsements are all pure fabrication, illusion smoke and mirrors. This is why 10 years ago the banks were denying the existence of the trusts.
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They created a void between the investors and their money on the one hand and the homeowners and their homes on the other. They stepped into the void acting as principals when they were in fact rogue intermediaries.
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And to cover their tracks they funded loans with money they stole from investors, thus stealing the money and the debt, while at the same time defrauding the borrower and the courts with false claims of ownership leading to the pinnacle of their scheme — a forced sale of property that in fact they had no interest in, based upon a loan that they never funded or acquired. Getting to that auction is the first legal document in the whole fabricated illegal chain of documentation — and it gives them the right to use that foreclosure sale as proof that everything that went before the sale was true and valid. It wasn’t.
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About Those 1099 and Other Tax Filings from Servicers and Banks …

The problem for everyone involved is that in reality the investors made nothing and merely received a portion of their own money as though it had come from the trust. But it didn’t come from the trust because the trust didn’t even have a bank account. If the banks had disclosed the truth of the matter the investors would have known this is a Ponzi scheme. Imagine what would happen if someone claimed sub S treatment when the corporation they had formed did no business, had no bank account and never had any business activity, never had any assets or liabilities and never had any income or expenses.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER. HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT OR OTHER QUALIFIED TAX ANALYST

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Few people can say they understand the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and far fewer understand the statute that gave birth to the idea of a REMIC pass through entity (REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE INVESTMENT CONDUIT). The banks lobbied heavily for this section because it left open doors that could be exploited for the benefit of banks selling the “investment products” to the huge detriment of (1) the investors who advanced money into what turned out to be a nonexistent trust, (2) borrowers who were coaxed into signing “closing” documents as though the party named on the documents was lending them money, and (3) the US Government and the taxpayers who ultimately picked up the tab for a “bailout” of banks who had lost nothing from the actual “loans” nor the “mortgage bonds” because the banks were selling them not buying them. The bailouts from the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve in reality only added to the pornographic profits made by the banks by rewarding them with payments on losses incurred by others.

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Follow the money. Because of tacit agreements with Bush and Obama administrations the IRS has been granting repeated safe harbor extensions to the banks and servicers who have filed documents that  say that a REMIC was formed. Such filings were mostly false.  The problem is that the money and the acquisitions of “loans” MUST be through the trusts in order to get pass-through treatment. Without pass-through treatment, (like a sub S corporation) the cash received by investors is taxable income — even the portion, if any, that is attributable to principal. But the banks have been telling investors that they are getting the interest payment that they signed up for — according to the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement. What they are actually getting is their own money back from the investment they  thought they made.

[NOTE: The part attributable to principal would be taxable because the notes themselves, even if they were valid, are not the source of income to investors as far as the investors know. The source is supposedly the REMIC Trust — an entity that was created on paper but never used. In reality the source was a pool of dark money consisting entirely of investor money. But the banks and servicers are reporting to the investors that the money they are receiving is “income”from interest due from the REMIC Trust that never operated. The banks and services are obviously not reporting the cash as part of a Ponzi scheme. So the investors are paying taxes on the return of their own money. Hence the part of the payment from the “borrower” that has been designated as “principal” is reported as “interest” in reports to the investors. In reality the money from “borrowers” merely dumped into a dark pool along with all the other money received from investors.  The entire “loan closing” and subsequent foreclosures are a charade adding the judgment from a court of law that is treated as giving a stamp of approval for everything that preceded the judgment.]

The problem for everyone involved is that in reality the investors made nothing and merely received a portion of their own money as though it had come from the trust. But it didn’t come from the trust because the trust didn’t even have a bank account. If the banks had disclosed the truth of the matter the investors would have known this is a Ponzi scheme. Imagine what would happen if someone claimed sub S treatment when the corporation they had formed did no business, had no bank account and never had any business activity, never had any assets or liabilities and never had any income or expenses.

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The forms filed with the IRS are fraudulent. The 1099 issued to borrowers who avoided deficiency judgments are fraudulent because they come from entities that had no loss and never had the authority to collect or enforce. In reality if the true facts were followed there would be no taxable event for getting their own money back from their “investment.” But the way it is reported, the investors are getting “income” on which they owe taxes. The real taxes on real income should come from the banks that stole a large part of the money advanced by investors. It’s like Al Capone — in the end it was income tax that brought him down.

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Instead the investors are being taxed for interest received and are exposed to more taxes when they get money reported as “principal.” Neither the investors nor the borrowers should be paying taxes on any money or “benefit” they reportedly received (because there was no benefit). So the end result is that the banks made all the money, paid no taxes, and are taking a deduction for payments made to investors and for waivers of deficiency on loans they never owned.

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I have been telling borrowers for years to send the IRS a latter or notice in which they flatly state that the  form filed with the IRS was wrong, fraudulent and inoperative. The borrower received no benefit from the bank or servicer that filed it. Hence no tax is due. Thus far I have seen no evidence that the IRS is attempting to enforce the payment of income taxes from people who have challenged the the authenticity of the report. The IRS apparently does NOT want to be in the shoes of the banks trying to prove that the bank who filed the form owned the loan when they already know that the transaction was not actually a loan and that the “loan closing” transaction was the the result of the unauthorized and fraudulent use of investor money.

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Eventually the truth comes out. The problem for the banks is that they stole money and didn’t pay tax on their ill-gotten gains. Every time a “servicer” “recovers” “servicer advances” they are taking more money from investors because every “advance” was taken from a pool of money that consisted solely of investor cash. When they “recover” it they book it as return of capital rather than pure income which is what it really is, even if it is illegally obtained.

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If they admitted what it was then the banks would be required to pay huge sums in taxes. But they would also be facing angry investors who, upon realizing that every cent they received was their own money and not return on capital “invested” into a trust, would press claims and in many cases DID press claims and settled with the bank that defrauded them. So the banks and servicers are attempting to avoid both jail and huge sums in back taxes that would put a significant dent in the “deficit” of the U.S. government caused by the illegal and fraudulent activity of the banks.

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Mozilo Goes free

Someone needs to go back to the Declaration of Independence. Government exists only by consent of the governed. People are withdrawing their consent on a daily basis now. Where do you think that will lead?

see http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37308-countrywides-mozilo-reportedly-off-the-hook-for-all-those-subprime-mortgages?eid=311685972&bid=1437193#.V2RJhpGUqsU.email

Revenge is not the point. But justice is important. Mozilo was, in my opinion, just a bag man for the mega banks, making Countrywide into a giant holographic image of an empty paper bag.

DOJ is continuing to follow the rules set informally by the Bush administration and later ratified by the Obama administration in which it was assumed that the foxes would help “find” the chickens and put them back in the hen house. It was absurd to all of us who were even reasonably well versed in the language and culture of finance and economics.

Here is what we missed: a DOJ prosecution would have enabled the free flow of information back to the White House where decisions could be made about (1) what went wrong (2) who did it and (3) how to claw back trillions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. Instead both Bush and Obama went to the foxes to ask where the chickens were. The foxes still had chicken blood dripping from their mouths when they said “I don’t know but we’ll help you find out.” Both the Republican President and the Democratic President were clueless about finance. They had to rely on people who at least said they understood what was going on. They went to people from Wall Street who were fat, happy and getting more jovial with each passing month.

Here is what COULD have happened: the absence of a clear definition of a real creditor could have been exposed, making all the mortgages essentially unenforceable. The notes would have been unenforceable because they named parties who did NOT give the loan nor did those parties represent anyone who did give a loan. An announcement of this sort would have toppled the derivative market which is all based upon smoke and mirrors and would  have stopped the progression of the current derivative markets being used as a free zone for theft from investors.

The DEBT would still have been enforceable in favor of the investors, instead of the unused Trusts and other conduits and “originators.” But the real debt owed by homeowners would have been the value of the home, not the imaginary price of the home. All those crazy mortgage products were a cover-up for what the Wall Street banks were stealing from investors. The investors were not just some financial institution; they were managed funds for people’s retirement and savings. In a cruel irony, Wall Street cheated the same people against whom they were foreclosing. They stole the retirement money, covered it up in impossible loans, and then foreclosed saying they were doing so on behalf of the investors — i.e., the same people who were losing their homes, their pensions, retirement and their savings. In short Wall Street banks’ schemes resulted in the middle class suing itself for foreclosure, thus losing both their retirement, pension and savings and then their home.

Wall Street Banks could have been pushed aside as investors and homeowners figured out creative ways to remove the bad mortgages from the title chain and replace them with real mortgages that were based upon principal balances that were economically realistic. Neither the investors nor the borrowers knew that the banks had created a culture of false appraisals creating the illusion of a spike in land VALUE by manipulating the PRICE of  real property. Foreclosures could have been reduced to nearly zero. And the stimulus of maintaining household wealth would have made the recession a much milder affair. Instead there was an epic transfer of wealth from the vast population of people who were sucked into investing in the scheme to provide the food, and vast population of people who were duped into accepting the illusion of mortgage loans whose value was zero.

Somehow the media has concentrated on transfer of wealth as though it means the rich must give to the poor. But anyone with a high school degree can do this arithmetic — the transfer clearly went from the populous to the fraction of the 1% who had concocted this epic fraud. Our population went from middle class to below the poverty line while Mozilo and his counterparts made hundreds of millions of dollars at a minimum. Some made tens of billions of dollars that has not yet been revealed. All of that money came from the middle class and then the theft was rewarded with more trillions of dollars from the Federal government. Until we claw that money back our economy will remain forever fragile.

Mozilo earned nothing. He merely followed the instructions of people who had his complete attention. A civil or criminal prosecution would have led to the specific people whose orders he was following and an unraveling of a scheme that even Alan Greenspan admitted he didn’t understand. In short we would have known the truth and we would have had much greater trust in our Government institutions and our judiciary, who blindly accepted the nutty premise that the party suing for foreclosure wouldn’t be in court if there was no liability owed to them. Between the outlandishly cruel and biased criminal justice system and the tidal wave of foreclosures that never needed to happen, people have an historically low opinion of government and the Courts; and it seems that ordinary people have a greater understanding of what happened to the country at the hands of Wall Street banks than the officials who serve in the positions where such banks and such behavior is supposed to be regulated and stopped.

Bottom Line: As long as the Federal government fails to reign in illegal derivative activity (masking PONZI schemes and other illicit behavior) Judges will not reject the erroneous premise that homeowners got greedy and are deadbeats for failing to pay their debts. And as long as THAT continues, our economy cannot recover and our society will continue splitting apart. Someone needs to go back to the Declaration of Independence. Government exists only by consent of the governed. People are withdrawing their consent on a daily basis now. Where do you think that will lead?

Personality not Plans

What we know is that nothing constructive is happening now, the usual ideological gridlock is preventing progress, and that the curiosity about a brilliant new face might just get the right people to the right table at the right time.  

Bernanke is completely right that the ONLY way out of this mess is not throwing more money at it, further damaging the credibility and value of the dollar. The real answer, the one that that actually reverses the crisis is admitting the simple fact that a $250,000 house was sold for $400,000. 

And the solution lies not in legislation but in executive leadership. The key component of the solution is a reduction of the principal balance of the mortgage loans out there — and that includes virtually all loans that were initiated over the last 5 years. All homes were affected by the appearance of rising prices that turned out to be false.

The only way this is going to happen is with persuasive executive leadership. Teddy Roosevelt said speak softly and carry a big stick. That is pretty much what need to happen here but somehow you need to get all the players into the room and sitting at the same table. 

McCain won’t do it out of stubborn ideology. Clinton can’t do it because of resistance just to her name let alone credibility in her policies. That leaves Obama — an untested but brilliant strategist who not only survived but prospered in highly contentious environments consisting of diverse antagonists and rivals.  His credentials are necessarily sparse but still solid in this respect. If Obama can’t get everyone to the table, nobody will. And if they don’t come, the economy will sink like a stone. 

Bernanke could be the one but he isn’t. Paulson could be the one but he isn’t. And of course Bush is in the right position, but is so out of touch with the reality of the situation that he is worse than useless.  

Consensus that offers olive branches and incentives to everyone CAN solve these issues. Lower the mortgage balance but give the lenders a chance to participate in the comeback on a contingent basis. State the reduction as a contingency so the capital requirements of banks can be met without begging for money around the world. This will also minimize the write-downs of investment banking houses and restore investment value to balance sheets.

Avoid criminal and civil prosecutions and even offer immunity of there is cooperation. Strengthen regulation and abandon the new round of loosening regulations in Basel II in favor of tighter standards with oversight on risk assessment. Strengthen disclosure requirements and enforcement of violations by the SEC using the methods employed in the CDO fraud as the template.

These are the a few of the important things that need to be done. In order for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, businessmen, Wall Street executives, Bankers, borrowers and investors to play nice together though, it will take executive leadership of a type we haven’t seen since Jack Kennedy talked down steel prices. 

There is no guarantee that anyone including Obama will be successful at staunching the bleeding. What we know is that nothing constructive is happening now, the usual ideological gridlock is preventing progress, and that the curiosity about a brilliant new face might just get the right people to the right table at the right time. 

Obama, like any president, will need advice and counsel dealing with the complexities of currency, derivative securities, arcane, conflicting mortgage laws and provisions in notes that defy explanation. 

He has an advantage in perception, however, His campaign is clearly not owned by one large interest group over another. And there is no perception that runs to the contrary. Enmity between ankle biting bankers and investment bankers won’t be mixed with suspicion that they are being led into a trap. 

It will be 10 months before Obama can use his powers of the Presidency to start this process. But there IS something he can do now. Start acting like a President and fill the void. His backing includes people of enormous political power who can help invite the decision-makers to secret meetings now. Win or lose, he should do that now without regard to whether it is politically expedient. 

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