Happy New Year: LivingLies Offices Closed for Rosh Hoshonah

The offices of the Garfield Firm and GTC Honors (which runs the LivingLies Blog) are closed today and tomorrow. This is a scheduled post. The Neil Garfield show will air again next Thursday before sundown when Yom Kippur (day of Atonement) commences. To our Jewish readers, we wish you a Happy New Year. To our readers who pray in other houses of worship, we support you and we give thanks for your support, your insight and your good wishes.

This is the beginning of the new year on the Jewish calendar. It culminates with a day of atonement in which we recognize our weaknesses and transgressions and atone for our misdeeds. My commitment is to redouble my efforts and seek the resources to do it — to create a vehicle for collaborative action as my friend Robert Needham has been writing and talking about on TV, radio and articles published all over the media. CollaborationUSA is a great model for recapturing governance for the people who have been largely disenfranchised by errors, misdeeds and other actions designed for self-aggrandizement, maintaining power, and ignoring the needs of the people over whom they purport to retain the levers of power. We all know that those levers were “purchased.”

Our economy and our society at large is dependent upon the success of the people acting in collaboration without regard to political alliances and using the power of their combined faith. Needham is a person of deep faith and a leader in bringing back people to living a life guided by faith. Whether your Hero is Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha or any other historical figure, my hope and wish is that we all ignore our apparent differences and band together as a collaborative group that legally, and non-violently recaptures government by the people and for the people.

This starts with voting — the ultimate weapon of each individual person and people who have common interests. I hope that people will stop voting for their “party” candidate and vote instead for an acceptable alternative who is committed to governance for the citizens and who oppose with all of their resources, the oligarchy of power emanating from Wall Street.

Their are now 5 banks who claim to be “too big to fail.” This is a claim to be above the laws of our government and the morals of our society. We should all reject that claim emphatically. If we want our economy to recover and if we want to recover a society that is based on Merit rather than pure Wealth and Power, we must end the complicity of government in failing to bring bankers to justice and the government cover-up that was required in order to justify the immunity deal offered by the Bush and Obama administration. The only way to do that is to vote people out of office who are effectively owned by Wall Street — and vote people into office who seek justice and freedom, privacy for our lives and our faith, and who seek a society in which the next generation is better at caring for each other than bullying or killing one another.

I have often offered the unsolicited advice to politicians to run against the banks. There is a deep reservoir of disgust that runs through all classes of society that is expressing disappointment and anger over the failure of two presidential administrations, several Congressional terms, and thousands of courts who have entered into co-venture with the Banks who directly and indirectly fund their campaigns and even the “government” operations. Memos and emails within the Florida court system have revealed that Judges are attempting to enter Judgments of foreclosure as quickly as possible, denying due process to homeowners with legitimate defenses, in order to retain funding that they fear will quickly disappear. The system and the Judges are trying to cash in on available funding before it disappears.

If you are a candidate seeking to serve in public office and you are behind in the polls, you probably have not received much from Wall Street. Whether you are down 5 points or 25 points, the votes are there to reverse the situation. Your campaign is sputtering. I say it again: run against the banks and the money and votes will be there. Have faith and be guided by your faith and moral standards of right and wrong. You will win, astonishing the pundits and political “experts.” Use this time between now and election day to wield your power of persuasion, and employ your courage and faith. People will join you in your quest not merely to send a message, but to reclaim the power vested in them by the 9th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.[1]

JPM Could Lose Its Charter for Criminal Responsibility in Madoff PONZI Scheme

From http://www.seekingalpha.com
JPM’s Madoff entanglement could prompt review of bank charter
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has reportedly told the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that a criminal money laundering conviction of JPMorgan (JPM) for turning a blind eye to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme could trigger a review of the bank’s charter.

Editor’s Note: practically every day we hear of new gross violations of law and intentional misconduct by the large banks who squandered their brand recognition on absurd situations. I have always said that it was impossible for Madoff to have stolen $60 Billion without the knowledge and complicity of the major firms on Wall Street. The revelations of the Madoff theft of money from investors was quickly cast as the largest fraud in history. But it wasn’t. The largest fraud can be counted in the tens of trillions of dollars by all the key players on Wall Street in the PONZI scheme that is falsely called securitization of debt — the proof of which can easily be seen at ground level as investors and borrowers alike are settling claims or winning key verdicts.

The Madoff affair actually provided cover for the Wall Street banks and helped steer the narrative to supposedly reckless and irresponsible behavior when in fact management was deceiving, stealing and profiting from a PONZI scheme that depended upon (a) the sale of mortgage bonds and (b) the sale of mortgage products. Once investors stopped buying bonds and homeowners stopped buying loan products the scheme collapsed and banks had the temerity to say they had lost vast sums of money — a claim that is clearly untrue. They received a bailout for those losses in the form of TARP and other programs from the U.S. treasury, the Federal reserve and other sources, when it was investors, insurers, borrowers, taxpayers, guarantors and other parties who were taking losses having given tens of trillions of dollars to the Wall Street banks in money and property.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. And the cries of well-known analysts that the banks are being treated unfairly is losing credibility by the hour. The banks are finally losing the narrative and the association of politicians with them is proving more costly than the benefit of taking money from the bank lobbyists to protect the banks from prosecution arising out of behavior that would land any ordinary mortal in jail for a long time.

Lawyers defending foreclosure cases should take note and use this information pointing out what the court already knows: that there was fraud at the top in the selling of worthless mortgage bonds deriving their value from defective mortgages, there was fraud in the robo-signing, LPS fabrication of documents, the intentional destruction of cash equivalent promissory notes that we now know were defective, in the words of the investors, insurers, government guarantee agencies, insurers and rating agencies.

PRACTICE NOTE: It should be noted and stated openly that any pleading, affidavit or testimony from those banks is inherently untrustworthy and should be subject to intense scrutiny. The remedy of forfeiture in Foreclosures is extreme according to the public policy of every state and should be strictly construed against the party seeking that remedy. Every legislature has put that statement in its laws. Instead, the narrative has been that deadbeat borrowers were clogging the system with bogus defenses.

It never occurred to the courts, the lawyers and even the borrowers that the courts were clogged with bogus claims of ownership, bogus accounting for receipts and disbursements, the existence of co-obligors when the note payable was converted to a bogus bond payable, and wrongful Foreclosures that the banks and the regulators know were wrongful, obtained settlements, consent orders and more promises from people whose business model is all about lying, manipulation of markets and theft.

DISCONNECT BETWEEN HIGH FINANCE, REALITY AND LAWSUITS

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF SETTLEMENTS, BUY-BACKS AND FEDERAL RESERVE BUYOUTS?

We hear these stories of settlements, purchases by the Fed, buybacks — but what they are buying and which mortgages are affected is never disclosed. Meanwhile the marketplace and the judicial system are functioning as though none of this activity was happening.
First of all it is never clear exactly what is being purchased. It does not appear as though the mortgages themselves have been purchased —  although that appears to be the claim when Fannie and Freddie are involved. If it is the mortgage bond that is being purchased or settled we don’t know whether all of the mortgage bonds issued by a particular alleged “asset pool” were purchased by the Federal Reserve or if they were the subject of a settlement with investors or regulatory authorities. We don’t know if the asset pool still exists. We don’t know how the money was applied and whether the bond receivable account was satisfied as to the asset pool or the investors.
 But we do know that each mortgage bond purports to convey an indivisible interest in the loans claimed by the asset pool, regardless of whether the loan actually made it into the pool or not. And we know that while the settlements are mostly proportional settlements in which less than 100 cents on the dollar was paid, the Federal Reserve is paying 100 cents on the dollar when the bond is sold. And to add to the complexity, we don’t know the terms of the settlement and whether the banks that are claiming to sell these worthless bonds to the Federal Reserve acquired any evidence of title to the bonds.
In the marketplace, banks are accepting payoffs on mortgages they sold. Then they are executing satisfactions of mortgages they don’t own — and never did own. And in court they are filing Foreclosures on the same mortgages and submitting credit bids on mortgages in which they lack ownership of any type of account receivable in which they fulfill the requirements of a definition of creditor who can submit a credit bid instead of cash. So the deed is issued on foreclosure without any sale having occurred because the property went to the credit bidder. And then the right to redeem  is further corrupted because nobody has bothered to require the production of documents showing the true balance of the receivable account (if there is one) after adjustments for receipt of loss mitigation payments.

UBS settles US mortgage lawsuit
http://www.news.com.au/business/breaking-news/ubs-settles-us-mortgage-lawsuit/story-e6frfkur-1226683410294

Bank Of America Calls Foreclosure Whistleblowers Liars
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/12/bank-of-america-foreclosure-whistleblower_n_3588374.html

PRACTICE HINT: DO NOT LEAD WITH QUIET TITLE. YOU CAN’T GET THERE ANYWAY UNTIL AFTER YOU PROVE YOUR CASE THAT THE FORECLOSURE WAS WRONGFULLY BROUGHT. LEAVE THE BURDEN ON THE BANK. Attorney Argues “Produce the Note” and Makes a Bad Situation Worse for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2013-07-17_AttorneyArguesProducetheNoteandMakesaBadSituationWorseforHomeown.html

OccupyHomes Rallies Around Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17579-occupyhomes-rallies-around-citizens-facing-foreclosure

JPMorgan Chase Loses Foreclosure Case in Oregon Jury Trial
http://247wallst.com/housing/2013/07/19/jpmorgan-chase-loses-foreclosure-case-in-oregon-jury-trial/

U.S. v BofA: Countrywide Eliminated Underwriting Standards

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The complaint below is from the United States Atty. for the Southern District of New York gives us a clear picture of the processing of loans without any underwriting standards at Countrywide and other aggregators across the country. The complaint is not authority, but it is a guide for what you can allege and what you can ask about in discovery.

It is time to ask the nuclear question, to wit: in light of the revelations that are already in the public domain with dozens of whistleblowers, is it not reasonable to assume that the aggregators not only knew about fabricated, forged and inaccurate loan applications, but actually intended that result. I ask that question because of the number of attempted prosecutions of people for mortgage fraud, when mortgage fraud was exactly what Countrywide wanted.  They clearly wanted the highest possible volume of loans approved under circumstances where it can only be assumed that they wanted those loans to fail, in order to be paid by insurers, counterparties on credit default swaps, the federal government in bailouts and now the Federal Reserve which appears to be  buying $85 billion in worthless mortgage bonds from the financial industry every month.

  Thus Wall Street collected money from the investors (and took a share of that and put it in their pocket), collected money from borrowers (and took a share of that and put it in their pocket), collected money from insurers which went only into their pockets, collected money from the proceeds of credit default swaps which went only into their pockets,  collected money from the government in the bank bailouts, collected money from the government sponsored entities who guarantee the loans, and are collecting money from the Federal Reserve who are buying worthless mortgage bonds which have little or no interest in any secured loan, residential or otherwise. On top of all of that Wall Street has taken the homes of more than 5 million families and is expected to take the homes of another 5 million families —  supposedly to cover the “loss”  on mortgage bonds they never owned and mortgage loans they never owned.

And then you have the real question, to wit: why would banks create a scheme that originated loans, most of which were destined to fail in one fashion or another? And the answer is unavoidable and incontestable: they did it because that was the way they could make the most money.

And then the second real question, to wit: why would banks want foreclosures but not want the property?  And the related question is why would they want a foreclosure under circumstances where a modification would produce far greater proceeds to mitigate the loss on a loan that a foreclosure? And the related question to that is why would the largest bank in the world adopt a policy of fraud in order to guide people into foreclosure deceiving them into thinking that they were getting a modification? And the final question related to all of that is why with the modification not become permanent after the borrower has done everything correctly during the trial period?  The answer is extremely simple: the foreclosure process is the largest cover-up in history for the largest economic crime in history; it provides cover for all of the defects, multiple payments that were already received and never disclosed, and the diversion of money and property from investors and homeowners.

Here are some relevant allegations in the complaint:

HUSTLE: A PLAN TO DESTROY HOMEOWNERS AND DEFRAUD INVESTORS: The U.S. Government in its complaint filed against Bank of America details the specific ways in which Countrywide was operating when loans were originated.

“Countrywide rolled out a new streamlined loan origination model is called the “hustle.”

In order to increase the speed at which it originated and sold loans to the GSES,  countrywide eliminated every significant checkpoint on loan quality and compensated its employees solely based on the volume of loans originated, leading to rampant instances of fraud and other serious lung defects all while countrywide was informing the GSES that it had tightened its underwriting guidelines.”

Countrywide eliminated underwriter review even from many high risk loans. In lieu of underwriter review, countrywide assigned critical underwriting tasks to loan processors who were previously considered unqualified even to answer borrower questions. At the same time, countrywide or eliminated previously mandatory checklists that provided instructions on how to perform these underwriting tasks. Under the Hustle, such instructions on proper underwriting were considered nothing more than unnecessary forms that would slow the swim lane down.

Countrywide also eliminated the position of compliance specialist, an individual previously responsible for conducting a final, independent check on alone to ensure that all conditions on the loans approval were satisfied prior to funding.

The Hustle began in full force in approximately August 2007.

Countrywide also concealed the quality control reports on Hustle loans demonstrating that instances of fraud and other material defects (i.e. defects making the loans in eligible for investors sell) were legion. Countrywide’s own quality control reports identified material defect rate of nearly 40% in certain months, rates that were nearly 10 times the industry-standard defect rate of approximately 4%.

U.S. v. BOA False Claims Act complaint, SDNY 10-25-2012

ENCORE BANK v. BOA, NA (2013) Effective as of July 1, 2008, the parent company of BofA, Bank of America Corporation, acquired the parent corporation of Countrywide, Countrywide Financial Corporatio

 

Banks Traded on Inside Information on Mortgages

Despite the pronouncements by Eric Holder, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, and the obvious reticence of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the vast majority of securities attorneys believe that the banks were (a) trading on inside information and (b) committing securities fraud when they funded and then traded on mortgages that were too toxic to ever succeed.

The first, trading on inside information, is regularly prosecuted by the justice department and the SEC. It is why Martha Stewart went to jail in rather flimsy evidence. The catch, justice and the SEC say is that this only applies to securities and the 1998 act signed into law by Clinton makes mortgage bonds and hedges on mortgage bonds NOT securities. It also makes the insurance paid on the mortgage bonds NOT insurance. This is despite the fact that the instruments meet every definition of securities and both the insurance contracts and credit default swaps appear to meet every definition of insurance. But the law passed by Congress in 1998 says otherwise, so how can we prosecute?

The second, securities fraud meets the same obstacle they say because they can’t accuse anyone of committing fraud in the issuance or trading of securities when the law says there were no securities.

So goes the spin coming from Wall Street and as long as law enforcement in each state and the DOJ keeps listening to Wall Street and their lawyers, they will keep arriving at the same mistaken conclusion.

If Wall Street had in fact followed the plan of securitization set forth in their prospectuses and pooling and servicing agreements, assignment and assumption agreements and various other instruments that were created to build the infrastructure of securitization of debt — including but not limited to mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans etc. — then Wall Street would be right and the justice department and the SEC might be stuck in the mud created by the 1998 law. But that isn’t what happened and therefore the premise behind the apparent immunity of Wall Street Banks and bankers is actually an illusion.

Starting with the issuance of the mortgage bonds, most of them were issued before any mortgage was originated or acquired by anyone. In fact, the list attached to the prospectus for the mortgage bonds said so — stating that the spreadsheet or list attached was by example only, that these mortgages do not exist but would be soon be replaced with real mortgages acquired pursuant to the enabling documents for the creation of the REMIC “trust.” But that is not what happened either.

In no way did the Banks follow the terms of the prospectus, PSA, assignment and assumption agreements or anything else. Instead what they really did was create the illusion of a securitization scheme that covered up the reality of a PONZI scheme, the hallmark of which is that it collapses when investors stop buying the bogus securities and more investors want their money out than those wishing to put money into the scheme. There was no reason for the entire system to collapse other than the fact that Wall Street planned and bet on the collapse, thus making money coming and going and draining the lifeblood of capital worldwide out of economies and marketplaces that depended upon the continued flow of capital.

The creation of the REMIC “trust” was a sham. It was never formalized, never funded and never acquired any mortgages. hence any “exempt” securities issued by it were not the kind intended by the Act signed into law in 1998. It was not a mortgage-backed security, or credit backed security, it was an illusion designed to defraud anyone who invested in them. The purpose of issuing the mortgage bonds was not to fund and acquire mortgages but rather to steal as much money out of the flow as possible while covering their tracks with some of the money ending up on the closing table for newly originated or previously originated bundles of mortgages that were to be acquired. That isn’t what happened either.

Wall Street bankers put the money from investors into their own private piggy bank and then funded and acquired mortgages with only part of the money while they made false “proprietary trades” in the “mortgage bonds” that made it look like they were trading geniuses making money hand over fist while the rest of the world saw their wealth decline by as much as 60%-70%. The funding for debt came not from the unfunded REMIC “trusts” but from the investment banker who was merely an intermediary depository institution which unlawfully was playing with investor money. The actual instruments upon which Wall Street relies to justify its actions is the prospectus, the PSA, and the Master Servicing agreement — each of which was used to sell the investors on letting go of their money in exchange for the promises and conditions contained in the exotic agreements containing numerous conflicting clauses.

Thus the conclusion is that since the mortgage bonds were issued by an unfunded and probably nonexistent entity, the investors had “bought” an interest in an incoherent series of agreements that together constituted a security or, in the alternative, that there was no security and the investors were simply duped into parting with their money which is fraud, pure and simple.

I would say that investors acquired certain passive rights to the instruments used, with the exception of the bogus mortgage bonds that were usually worthless pieces of paper or entries on a log. In my opinion the issuance of the prospectus was the issuance of a security. The issuance of the PSA was the issuance of a security, And the issuance of the other agreements in the illusory securitization chain may also have been the issuance of a security. If cows can be securities, then written instruments that were used to secure passive investments are certainly securities. The exemption for mortgage bonds doesn’t apply because neither the mortgage bond nor the REMIC “trust” were ever funded or used — except in furtherance of their fraud when they claimed losses due to mortgage defaults and obtained federal bailouts, insurance and proceeds of credit default swaps.

The loan closings, like the funding of the “investments” was similarly diverted away from the investor and toward the intermediaries so that they could trade on the appearance of ownership of the loans in the form of selling bundles of loans that were not even close to being properly described in the paperwork — although the paperwork often looked as though it was all proper.

The trading, hedging and insuring of investments that were not only destined by actually planned to fail was trading on inside information. The Banks knew very well that the triple A rating of the mortgage bonds was a sham because the mortgage bonds were worthless. What they were really trading in was the ownership of the loans which they knew were falsely represented on the note and mortgage. They thus converted the issuance of the promissory note signed by the borrower into a security under flase pretenses because the payee on the note and the secured party on the mortgage never completed the transaction, to wit: they never funded the loan and they made sure that the terms of repayment on the promissory note did not match up with the terms of repayment set forth in the prospectus, which was the real security.

Knowing from the start that they had the power (through the powers conferred on the Master Servicer) to pull the rug out from under the “investments” they traded with a vengeance hedging and selling as many times as they could based upon the same alleged loans that were in fact funded directly by and therefor owned by the investors directly (because the REMIC was ignored and so was the source of funding at the alleged loan closing).

Being the sole source of the real information on the legality, quality and quantity of these nonexistent investments in mortgage bonds, the Wall Street banks, their management, and their affiliates were committing both violation of the insider trading rule and the securities fraud rule ( as well as various other common law and statutory prohibitions and crimes relating to deceptive practices in the sale of securities). By definition and applying the facts rather than the spin, the Banks a have committed numerous crimes and the bankers should be held accountable. Let’s not forget that by this time in the S&L scandal more than 800 people were sent to jail despite various attempts to mitigate the severity of their trespass and trampling on the rights of investors and depositors.

Failure to prosecute, while the statute of limitations is running out, is taking the rule of law and turning it on its head. The Obama administration has an obligation to hold these people accountable not only because violations of law should be prosecuted but to provide some deterrence from a recurrence or even escalation of the illegal practices foisted upon institutions, taxpayers and consumers around the world. Ample evidence exists that the Banks, emboldened by the lack of prosecutions, have re-started their engines and are indeed in the process of doing it again.

Think about it, where would a company get the money to have a multimedia advertising campaign blanketing areas of the the Country when the return on investment, according to them is only 2.5%? Between marketing, advertising, processing, and administrative costs, pus a reserve for defaults, they are either running a going out of business strategy or there is something else at work.

And if the transactions were legitimate why do the numbers of foreclosures drop like stones in those states that require proof of payment, proof of loss, and proof of ownership? why have we not seen a single canceled check or wire transfer receipt that corroborates the spin from Wall Street? Where is the real money in this scheme?

James Surowiecki: Why Is Insider Trading on the Rise?
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2013/06/10/130610ta_talk_surowiecki

FROM OTHER MEDIA SOURCES —-

Foreclosure Victims Protesting Wall Street Impunity Outside DOJ Arrested, Tasered
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16527-victims-of-foreclosure-arrested-tasered-protesting-wall-street-impunity-outside-doj

Watch out. The mortgage securities market is at it again.
http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/23/news/economy/mortgage-backed-securities.pr.fortune/

Wall Street Lobbyists Literally Writing Bills In Congress
http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/05/27/wall-street-lobbyists-literally-writing-bills-in-congress/

Time to Put the Heat on the Fed and FDIC to Fix Lousy Governance at TBTF Banks
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/so-if-shareholders-wont-rein-in-jamie-dimon-time-to-put-the-heat-on-the-fed-and-fdic.html

West Sacramento homeowner uses new state law to stop foreclosure
http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/23/5441875/west-sacramento-homeowner-uses.html

The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act: A.G. Schneiderman Commends Assembly for Passing Foreclosure Relief Bills
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/23/the-foreclosure-fraud-prevention-act-a-g-schneiderman-commends-assembly-for-passing-foreclosure-relief-bills/

Where did the California foreclosures go? Level of foreclosures sales dramatically down. Foreclosure legislation and bank processing. Subsidizing investor purchases via HAFA.
http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/california-foreclosure-process-hafa-program-subsidize-investor-purchases/

Wasted wealth – The ongoing foreclosure crisis that never had to happen – The Hill’s Congress Blog
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/301415-wasted-wealth–the-ongoing-foreclosure-crisis-that-never-had-to-happen

Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program gets tuneup
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/05/oregon_foreclosure_avoidance_p.html

Kickbacks at Fannie, Freddie Explain a Lot

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

SEE ALSO: http://WWW.LIVINGLIES-STORE.COM

The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

EDITOR’S COMMENT AND ANALYSIS:  The criminality of the Wall Street banks for the last 15 years has been so widespread and pervasive that it is difficult to imagine a scenario under which such behavior could have gone undetected.  The questions are unending. One particular answer to those questions stands out far above all the other possible answers, to wit: the actions of Wall Street did not go undetected.

The banks and Wall Street in general practically invented the process of due diligence, which is an examination of a proposed deal to determine whether the representations of each side are true, exaggerated or just plain false.

The government-sponsored entities of Fannie and Freddie clearly had the resources to perform extensive due diligence before they put their stamp of approval and guarantee on loans and investments that were clearly not originated or issued in accordance with government guidelines or industry standards.

The same thing may be said for the rating agencies that “got it wrong” or the insurers who presumably evaluated the risk that they were undertaking, and of course the counterparties to the hedge products including but not limited to credit default swaps.

The Wall Street Journal published a number of articles about the close relationship and economic pressure existing between the banks that were underwriting the bogus mortgage bonds and the rating agencies, insurance companies, and counterparties to credit default swaps.  these articles in the Wall Street Journal and other periodicals in mainstream media started back in 2007.

Similar articles appeared in the blogosphere  before that time warning of the coming catastrophe. Anyone with a background similar to mine on Wall Street could easily see that the underwriting of loans to consumers (especially mortgage loans) did not and could not conform to any known standards for risk assessment.

Why would a bank loan money in the knowledge (and indeed the hope) that the money would never be repaid? Why did government-sponsored entities, insurance companies, rating agencies, securities regulators, and counterparties to exotic hedge instruments turn their heads the other way, with full knowledge of the impending disaster? The answer is as old and simple as the history of commerce —  kickbacks, payoffs, bribes and promises of lucrative employment.

The Wall Street Journal told the stories where individuals working for rating agencies and insurance companies were taken on fishing trips and other junkets following which they received threats from the Wall Street banks that if the rating and insurance contracts were not to the liking of the Wall Street banks, the banks would go elsewhere.

Considering the creation of such entities as mortgage electronic registration systems (MERS)  and the financial strength of the banks, it was easy to see that if the banks didn’t get what they want from existing rating agencies and insurance companies they would create their own. Thus in addition to direct payoffs to individuals the management of old established institutions was put under pressure to play ball with Wall Street or go out of business.

The same playbook was used with appraisers who were promised higher fees if they continue to raise the stated value of the real property as they were instructed to do. In 2005 8000 appraisers warned Congress that this would happen. They were ignored. All the information that was needed for due diligence was easily accessible to the institutions that ignored red flags and eventually became part of the largest case of criminal fraud in human history.

If you look at the history of organized crime in this country you will see substantial similarities between the crime syndicates and the behavior of Wall Street. Payoffs and kickbacks to law enforcement, agencies, government officials, and legislators in the governing body of states and Congress became the ultimate protection and immunity from prosecution regardless of the severity of the crime or the damage caused to society.

While it is true that most such syndicates and eventually fail we cannot wait for time to run its course. That is why the demonstrations by occupy Wall Street and others are so important to bring pressure on those who are protecting multinational banks and the people who run them. It is not going to be easy because the amount of money is staggering. Trillions of dollars have been siphoned out of our own economy and the economy of dozens of other countries. With that kind of money you can pay off a lot of people with more money than they ever dreamed of having.

So it should come as no surprise that a “foreclosure specialist” at Fannie Mae was caught picking up $11,200 in cash in a sting operation. The problem here is that we are catching the smallest fish in the pond instead of removing those who control the action. It is interesting that the case reported below involved steering foreclosure listings to particular brokers. By focusing attention on activities far from the core of evil emanating from Wall Street many of us are distracted from looking at the real cause and the real problem not only still exists, but is being renewed as we speak in new schemes not very different from the old schemes.

The arrogance of Wall Street is either well-founded or stupid. At the present time it appears to be well founded. It remains to be seen whether we the people force our representatives, regulators and law enforcement to reject the carrot and stick from Wall Street and return to a nation of laws.

Kickbacks as ‘a natural part of business’ at Fannie Mae alleged
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fannie-mae-kickbacks-20130525,0,6280041.story

Student Loans, Housing and Poverty in the U.S.

“Bottom Line: Foreclosures need to stop, student loans need to be modified and return to pre-2005 rules for dischargeability, wages need to rise and the number of people earning wages needs to rise. If you don’t have those ingredients, the economic “recovery” will forever be fragile and will forever be in danger of a much deeper collapse than we saw in 2008 because underlying conditions are worse. That’s why American companies are holding trillions in cash and assets overseas. They don’t trust us anymore.” — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure and student loans, please call 954-495-9867 (East Coast) 520-405-1688 (West Coast), customer service, who will guide you to our information resources and upon request put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Analysis: According to the official figures there are around 50 million people living below the poverty line. Surveys show that the number of people who can’t buy essentials for their family actually total close to 150 million people, which is half the country. The unemployment rate, if one were to add the number of people who are underemployed or who have given up looking for work, is probably over 20% — 60 million people!

The chasm referred to as income and wealth inequality is growing daily. $1 trillion in debt burdens students who could be far more productive. Until 2005, this debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy. But the banks managed to get changes made in the bankruptcy code equating student debt with alimony and child support and further requiring means testing in chapter 7 thus inhibiting the discharge of debts on credit cards charging 20% or more per year in interest and medical costs, which if you read Brill’s article in Time Magazine last week, are marked up 3000%.

Some $13 trillion in mortgage loans were faked and the banks continue to lie to the President, the Congress, the state legislatures, governors and Attorneys general.

If you add it all up, it isn’t hard to see why economists refer to the “recovery” as fragile. If you ask me it is unjust, wrong and impractical to continue on the same path we are on in the hopes that down the road somehow we will grow out of the problem we have — an economy that benefits a few people while the number of people falling behind, with lower and lower wages and decreased accessibility to credit increasing every month. Billions are added each month in student loan debt which is fast becoming a cancer on our society simply because of the new bankruptcy provisions.

The 7 year experiment in making student loans non-dischargeable is a miserable failure. It is a major contributor to the impending decline in the credit rating of the what was once the strongest nation on earth in every way. Because we allowed the banks to get the TARP funds and all the other forms of bank bailouts, and because we ignored the real victims — the investors and the homeowners who were tricked into deals that could not possibly work, the foundation of the country has been so undermined that we now rank #10 behind France and Spain in upward economic mobility. That means that the chances are better in those countries to climb the ladder of success than they are here.

This is not a piece suggesting we convert to socialism as our economic path. It is rather a call-out to our government that it cannot continue to bow to the will of the banks and expect the country to hold together. With half the country gasping for air, we must jettison our ideology and go for the practical solutions — most of which already exist or existed until a short while ago.

The problem is not that capitalism isn’t working. The problem is that capitalism is being used as a cover for the creation of illusions of prosperity and the reality of a near fascist state. That is what happens when someone corners the market on oranges and that is what happens when the someone is allowed to corner the market on money. And THAT is why we need government regulators and legislators who are NOT permitted to go through the revolving door from government to business and back again. If you take the referees off the field, don’t be surprised with what happens next.

For better or worse our economy is still 70% dependent upon consumer spending. Yet we pursue policies that diminish the ability of consumers to spend and diminish the number of consumers. The fact that there is still some muscle in the our system is testament to our inner strengths and prospects if we make the necessary changes to our democratic institutions and reign in those who are admittedly too large to govern or regulate.

Despite the obvious fundamental defects in the loan originations and transfers of loans that were the products of imagination and illusion, we treat them as real and even sacred. The playing field has been tilted so that all the benefits roll into one corner while the rest of us scramble to  make ends meet. The risk factors in any loan or program have been pushed entirely over into the public sector when the government should be able to stop the foreclosures, cure the student defaults and renew the progress of wage growth.

The keys to end this nightmare here and abroad is housing, student loans and employment. Students who have unpayable student loans are refused employment because many employers do credit checks. The same holds true for the millions of Americans who have been victims of fake foreclosures by strangers who never put up a dime to fund or purchase the loan and then submitted a credit bid at the “auction.” The private student loans arose because somebody thought it was a good idea to raise the cost of student loans by inserting profit seeking banks as intermediaries. Now that is corrected as to future loans, but it does nothing to correct the problems of past mistakes by government.

This isn’t just theory. Trillions of dollars are being held off shore by companies who legitimately are not convinced that the U.S. will actually pull out of this spiral anytime soon. So they are investing in capital and labor elsewhere. No effort has been made to claw back the trillions of dollars that disappeared in the maelstrom of the mortgage meltdown. Those funds are hidden off shore too.

And even more importantly, no company wants to invest in a marketplace where the laws are not enforced with consistency. If you speak with many CEO’s in private they will tell you that jail time for bankers would be a stimulus to confidence in the U.S. marketplace. What we have is a marketplace without boundaries as to the the fraud and other criminal behavior that was never before tolerated in our system.

Large and medium sized organizations holding trillions of dollars in liquid assets and other investments overseas see this very clearly. They have no more reason to commit to the U.S. economy than they do to any other banana  republic.

Why Student Debt Will Make U.S. Insolvent
http://www.business2community.com/finance/why-student-debt-will-make-u-s-insolvent-0430373

Wall Street turns profit in student loan debt
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/11/loan-m11.html

Student Debt Crushes Borrowers And Threatens The U.S. Economy
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/09/student-debt-crushes-borrowers-and-threatens-the-u-s-economy/

http://blog.credit.com/2013/03/do-we-need-to-change-bankruptcy-rules-for-student-loans/

Don’t Panic: Wall Street Is Going Crazy For Student Loans — But It’s Not a Bubble http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/dont-panic-wall-street-is-going-crazy-for-student-loans-but-its-not-a-bubble/273682/

You Know What Sucks? Your Student Debt. You Know What’s Great? The Solution.
http://beingliberal.upworthy.com/you-know-what-sucks-your-student-debt-you-know-whats-great-the-solution-2

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