Banks and Burglary

Bank Contractors Have Broken Into Hundreds Of Private Homes Since 2008

Contractors hired by giant financial companies to manage abandoned and defaulted homes have broken into hundreds of the wrong private homes due to incorrectly identifying addresses and other basic errors, the Huffington Post reports.

When a bank or other financial company sees that a mortgage it owns has gone into default, it begins checking to see if the residents have abandoned the property. If they have, it takes responsibility for the upkeep of the property in order to protect its investment and the property values of surrounding homes. That work is often done on a contract basis by companies like Safeguard Properties, which has been sued at least 135 times over wrongful break-ins conducted in pursuit of property management contracts with banks, according to reporter Ben Hallman’s review of court filings around the country. In total, more than 250 lawsuits have been filed in 31 different states over the past five years.

via Bank Contractors Have Broken Into Hundreds Of Private Homes Since 2008.

The corporate use of contractors to escape regulations, push down wages and simply provide distance between a company and its unsavory practices continues. Here we have a particularly egregious example. Homes are being broken into without legal right, sometimes looted, sometimes vandalized. It’s enough to make you wonder if the rule of law only applies to individuals and not banking institutions and their sub-contractors.

James Pilant


Let’s get in there and put pressure on Obama to get this nomination done. The banks and the special interests have allied to block it. They are trying to kill the agency before any work can be done. Their crimes and unethical behavior will not be brought into the light without the agency.

Please go sign the petition. Elizabeth Warren will make a difference.

James Pilant

JOIN NOW! 200,000 SIGNATURE DRIVE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN RECESS APPOINTMENT GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS – CLICK HERE EDITOR’S NOTE:  A recess appointment is one in which the President appoints someone during a congressional recess. I’m no expert on the details but I know that recess appointments have been extensively used, particularly by the Bush administration to get around the requirement of getting congressional approval. If Congress is not in session, the President makes the appointment because the p … Read More

via Livinglies’s Weblog

Who will make them pay? (via Livinglies’s Weblog)

Let’s saddle up! The Wall Street Banks absorb every kind of benefit from being in this nation including taxpayer dollars. Yet, when it comes to taking any responsibility as citizens, they are notably absent. Is there a kind of vicious hypocrisy in absorbing benefits but paying none of the costs?

Let’s make these people know that we know they have failed to act in accord with basic patriotism.

James Pilant

My thanks to Livinglies’s Weblog.

Who will make them pay? You will. Yesterday, in six cities across Illinois, people stood together and demanded Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase pay their fair share to end the revenue crisis, create jobs, and stop illegal foreclosures. In New York City, thousands marched on Wall Street demanding that Millionaires and Big Banks pay their fair share. In North Carolina, community leaders made sure the shareholders of Bank of America faced up to … Read More

via Livinglies’s Weblog

MCOA rules that MERS lacks standing to foreclose by advertisement (via Great Lakes Law Blog)

I’ve been a consistent critic of MERS, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. I consider incredible that the mortgage industry could set up this monstrosity which was in violation of state laws across the nation without trying to get some legislation from somebody somewhere to at least give it some iota of legality. Instead they just adopted it with an ethical sense very similar to listing your five grey tabby cats as children on your income tax. As far as I’m concerned, MERS is a semi-sorta legal device used to evade paying state registration fees and avoiding the basic work of transferring title by paper and all this so that these mortgages could be used as chips in global speculation.

This is an excellent brief discussion of MERS and the court system in Michigan.

James Pilant

In my introduction to MERS post, I indicated that a lot of litigation revolved around whether the Michigan Electronic Registration System (MERS) has standing as a party.  On April 21, 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided that it did not in Residential Funding Co v Saurman.  The court said that MERS is not a party with an interest in the mortgage and cannot foreclose by advertisement.  MERS, as mortgagee, only holds an interest in the prope … Read More

via Great Lakes Law Blog

Fraudulent Threats – By Foreclosure Lawyers (via byebyebanksters)

Isn’t this nice!? Enclose legal appearing documents indicating that a case has been filed to encourage you to pay up.

This is disgusting.

What makes it worse is that the state bar association decided it was an “honest” mistake. I often defend lawyers while teaching my classes. I point out that without attorneys, enforceable contracts would not be possible, that the weak and helpless would have no recourse. And here to make my job easier is a bar association with the all the moral fervor of card cheat giving the strong implication that the bar is an organized band of thieves.

Just great.

James Pilant

Fraudulent Threats – By Foreclosure Lawyers The Tampa Tribune has a fascinating yet sickening story about a lawyer for BB&T who sent a Florida homeowner a demand letter requiring payment of the balance of her mortgage within 30 days.  Threatening letters like this are common; where this one is so different is that the lawyer attached it to a document that looks like an official court filing in a pending foreclosure lawsuit … only it’s not.Take a look …At first blush, this looks like a … Read More

via byebyebanksters

What’s MERS? We’ll ALL soon know their importance (via News Unwrapped)

I’ve written about MERS several times, most recently  MERS And Ownership and A Thirty Dollar Fee?

I’m astonished that any lawyer would have encouraged a mortgage bank into this kind of deal, but it was one of those free money things. Any bank using the MERS system paid no property transfer fees like everyone else. So, it was worth millions of dollars to use that system even though it had never been authorized by law in any state.

This is big news. If property cannot be transferred using the MERS system, hundreds of thousands of mortgage foreclosures were done outside the law and hundreds of thousands of pending foreclosures will not be possible.

(This web site, News Unrapped, is brand new and I would like my readers to take a good look at it and consider subscribing. jp)

James Pilant

What's MERS? We'll ALL soon know their importance BREAKING FINANCIAL NEWS >>> This is very big happenings for the entire financial system, including but not limited to banks and investment bankers , real estate owners and investors, stock owners (and all associated with that industry), as well as all of us who exist and are subject to market movement. For sure, there will be lots and lots of spin on t … Read More

via News Unwrapped

Bank of America Sued Over Countrywide Mortgage Related Investments

I’m surprised this hasn’t already happened. When you buy securities you expect that they be “secure.” These are not supposed to be the equivalent of penny stocks. Countrywide packaged securities that it knew were risky and packaged securities that it knew had serious ownership issues.

This is hard legal question. What is the first warranty guarantee that a seller gives automatically (implied)? Answer, that they own the product they are selling. That is the first thing you are supposed to do. And Countrywide sold a product that it knew it didn’t have a clear title to.

Is this going to be hard lawsuit to win? If it can be proved that Countrywide knew that its title to these properties was not secure, Bank of America which now owns Countrywide is going to be pay out more. I have heard estimates of up to 40 billion dollars in possible paybacks over these bad securities.

From CBS Money Watch

A lawsuit alleges Countrywide Financial Corp. and two of its former executives misled institutional investors who were stuck with huge losses from mortgage-related investments that they say were portrayed as low-risk.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court by investors who bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Countrywide’s mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007, before the housing market went bust. The list of a dozen plaintiffs includes New York Life Insurance Co., TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Co. and Dexia Holdings Inc.

The complaint names Countrywide, various subsidiaries that issued the securities, two former company executives including ex-CEO Anthony Mozilo, and Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008.

The big guns are out on this one. Read a little more –

The plaintiffs allege they wanted conservative investments that Countrywide portrayed as being backed by low-risk mortgages written according to strict underwriting criteria.

Materials that Countrywide subsidiaries circulated to potential investors indicated all the mortgage-backed securities had been assigned investment-grade ratings, and most had top-rung “AAA” ratings, according to the lawsuit.

But as of last month, more than 31 percent of the mortgage loans underlying those securities were over 30 days delinquent, in foreclosure, bankruptcy or repossession, the lawsuit says. The securities “are no longer marketable at or near the prices the plaintiffs paid for them,” leaving them with “significant losses,” the complaint says.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for alleged securities fraud.

These investments were marketed as conservative (solidly secure), given a triple AAA rating (higher than any paper you ever wrote could get) and are now sinking in value daily.

The American mortgage crisis just keeps rockin’ on.

James Pilant

Banks Suffer Major Setback

When foreclosing on mortgages the banks have been skipping the rule of law. They have not followed the rules for the transfer of property preferring to pretend that their electronic records are a viable substitute. I never believed the courts would go along with that and the Massachusetts court did not. Here’s the story from that excellent blog, Rortybomb.

From RortybombBig Week in Foreclosure News

The biggest news is the decision in Massachusetts’ “Ibanez case”, where the Massachusetts Supreme Court voided the seizures of two homes by Wells Fargo and US Bank based on their inability to show that they owned the mortgages at the time of foreclosure. Tracy Alloway walks you through the case, David Dayen has more including the PDF of the decision, and analysis from Yves Smith and Felix Salmon.

From the opinion: “Where, as here, mortgage loans are pooled together in a trust and converted into mortgage-backed securities, the underlying promissory notes serve as financial instruments generating a potential income stream for investors, but the mortgages securing these notes are still legal title to someone’s home or farm and must be treated as such.”

They ruled through Massachusetts law instead of New York law, so no answers on looming New York trust law. Bank stocks are down. This is likely to have major implications down the road. We’ll have more on this opinion later.

I do not believe the ruling will stand. Congress will ride to the rescue of the banks legalizing their reckless disregard for state law and afflicting the suffering homeowners with even more pain. Congress will enact it. Obama will sign it. He will then explain it as a major legislative victory. Everything he does merits a press release and a couple of morning show appearances demonstrating his successful legislative record.

I wish there was someone somewhere who was as concerned with the rights and privileges of the American middle class and less concerned with the welfare of the banks.

James Pilant

Who Owns Your Mortgage? Or Anybody’s For That Matter!

Dan Edstrom is a specialist. He performs securitization audits.

He decided to use his specialized training to discover who owned his mortgage.

The chart below is the result.

Do you know who owns your mortgage? Could you figure it out like he has?

From the article

The following flow chart reverse engineers the mortgage on the Ekstrom family residence. It took Dan over one year to take it this far and it clearly demonstrates what happens when there are too many lawyers being manufactured.

You can click on it and it gets bigger.

Do I need to point out to you that with what has been happening with mortgages over the last five years, it might be unwise to allow banks to have someone sign off that they understand the account?

James Pilant