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Wall Street Journal Runs Inaccurate Piece on Antiforclosure Lawyers

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It take a fair degree of skill to pen a journalistic story that hews to the appearance of objectivity yet is out to sell a point of view.

The lead article in the Journal tonight, “Niche Lawyers Spawned Housing Fracas” telegraphs its bias in its headline: the foreclosure crisis is merely the creation of two bit lawyers who by implication don’t know what they are doing, and are pumping trivial issues up for their own enrichment, with the housing market as collateral damage.

Funny that anyone can think this spin is remotely true. The fact that solo practitioner lawyers could have such an impact on the system is not proof that they are miscreants, as the Journal implies. It is that the foundation of mortgage securitzations is rotten as a result of widespread abuses, first on the origination end, later in the foreclosure process. These small firm players are using the legal equivalent of toothpicks; the fact that their efforts have destablized the foundation of the residential mortgage backed securities market is tangible proof that they were imperiled to begin with.

Let’s parse some sections of the article, starting from the top:

The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer’s gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.

Not bad in the drive-by shooting category. The foreclosure crisis, which is the result of what increasingly appears to be a widespread failure to convey borrower promissory notes and related liens properly to the the securitization entity is reduced to a mere “paperwork mess”. So the idea that the shortcomings are serious is dismissed. Similarly, the efforts of various attorneys who have been chipping away as aspects of this problem are incorrectly lumped together, as if there was really only a single, simpleminded strategy, a mere “lawyer’s gambit” which by implication, was copied by other low life attorneys. And this effort was to keep a deadbeat borrower illegitimately housed.

Funny, this James Kowalski, the attorney behind this dastardly act, did what members of the bar normally do (at least if they are competent): they look for weaknesses in fact and law in the case presented by the other side. And part of the process involves, stunningly enough, depositions! Kowalski’s evil deed was that he was early, perhaps first, to find a robo signer, back in 2006.

But robo signers are an abuse of court process. You can’t have it one way, and say you believe in law and order and the sanctity of contract, and then say it’s just fine to abuse legal procedures if you are pretty sure you are right. Well you can’t unless you are the Journal, skilled in the art of defending plutocrats, no matter how much in the way of mental gymnastics that might require.

But this implicit focus on robo signers (which admittedly did bring the bigger issue of foreclosure abuses into the limelight) again is a convenient diversion, since the robo signer is far from the most serious problem now affecting the foreclosure process.

Back to the Journal’s account:

It was a first step in the growth of a legal sub-specialty called foreclosure defense that has sown confusion and turmoil in the housing market. Lawyers in the field now commonly use a technique more identified with corporate litigation: probing depositions, designed to uncover any lapses in judgment, flaws in a process or wrongdoing. In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner’s legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn’t.

Huh? With all due respect, this is the first time I’ve heard of this “foreclosure defense” sub specialty. Please. These are consumer lawyers, and some of them have gotten good enough at fighting foreclosures that they do it full time. But “sub-speciality” implies a degree of fomalization and coordination of effort that isn’t there. Oh, and the Journal deems it to be bad form for mere consumer lawyers to use the techniques of decent trial lawyers (only corporations are supposed to have access to competent litigators, it seems).

But it gets even better. The Journal couldn’t be bothered letting facts get in the way of a tidy narrative. Kowalski weighed in in the comment section of the article:

Despite my best efforts to answer all of Mr. Whelan’s questions, the article contains a number of misstatements. First, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson did not face a foreclosure hearing after simply stopping payment – they paid the entire amount due per a statement sent to them by GMAC, and paid by certified check. GMAC mistakenly refused the check, alleging it was an NSF payment (not possible with certified funds), then placed the couple in foreclosure. I was simply trying to track the facts of the payment by deposing a witness who had sworn in court documents that she had reviewed the entire file and was familiar with the payment history, when, as it turned out, she was not only not familiar with the payment history, but the substance of her entire affidavit was false, including the allegation that the affidavit was sworn to in front of a notary. These were substantive questions I needed answers to – not an excuse for a delay. Further, the judge did not “throw out the case” – it is still pending, with GMAC still suing the Jacksons, years later.

I, and most of my fellow consumer attorneys who are members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, do not raise these issues for delay – we raise them because we all have cases (this is the bulk of my foreclosure defense practice) where all or part of the foreclosure is purely the fault of the servicer or mill law firm – from homeowners whose payments were misrouted by the servicer, to servicers who simply changed the address of the property and then force-placed flood insurance, to servicers who ignore insurance plans the borrowers paid for (all examples from my cases) to servicers who refuse to even accept HAMP-type loan modification documents – all are substantive, real problems that were not the fault of the borrowers. The deposition was, in the Jackson case, merely an effort to get at the truth of the reversed payment – instead, GMAC admitted to wholesale manufacture of court documents, then promised to fix the practice, then continued that practice unabated for 4 more years.

Most of what we have uncovered are criminal violations – false testimony under oath, notary fraud, etc. These problems will continue until the attorneys general who have formed a task force recognize and confront the significant criminal violations, and will continue unless we have real reform of the servicing practices that emphasize speed over the truth.

Not a single one of my clients wants (or deserves) a free house. What they want (and deserve) is for their voices to be heard, and, for better or worse, consumer lawyers are the only ones capable of achieving this at the moment.

Oh, and it would have been nice if Mr. Whelan had taken the time to spell my name correctly throughout the article.

Yves here. Servicer abuses that result in foreclosures are simply not getting the media attention they deserve. The prevailing perception, and the party line from the banks, is that the borrowers are all deadbeats and therefore any efforts to aid them are simply an abuse of court processes.

But servicers are modern judges, juries, and to the extent they can railroad foreclosures through, executioners. When a payment arrives after the due date (and servicers have been found to hold checks to render payments late), under RESPA and the bank’s agreement with the borrower, the bank is supposed to apply payments to principal and interest first, then any late fees. But if you incur a late fee, they instead apply the payment to that first, which makes your regular monthly payment come up short. So then you get an insufficiency fee.

Servicers don’t send detailed monthly statements like credit card companies, telling you how your payments were applied. This process of misapplication of payment and failure to notify borrowers when fees have been incurred guarantees that the charges will balloon. It isn’t until months have passed and the extra balance become large, say $2000 or more, that the homeowner realizes they are under water according to their servicer, even though they have made all their regular payments. Many lack the extra money to clear out all these largely bogus fees; other have tried fighting, only to find the servicer won’t budge, and they rack up more charges, which forces them either to capitulate or lose their home.

Nevertheless, the Journal runs the party line that nothing is wrong with the foreclosure machinery, when the intense pushback suggests otherwise, and brandishes the usual financial services industry threat: hurt us, and it will hurt you even more:

“There is a movement afoot by [state attorneys general] and private lawyers to use technical problems to avoid foreclosures where the borrower is in default and the foreclosure is in all respects substantively appropriate. These are lawyers where the best job they can do for their clients is to keep them in their houses without paying the mortgage,” said Andrew L. Sandler, a Washington securities lawyer who represents banks and firms that service mortgages.

Mr. Sandler added: “The class-action lawyers are swarming around this issue right now, because they perceive that it can result in significant fees for them. But they’re not well-founded cases, and the banks will vigorously contest any class action around these issues.”

The big risk to banks and the housing market, indeed, is that more homeowners and lawyers come to see such cases as attractive to fight.

It’s certainly fair to say some legal actions are based on weak theories; we dissed the widely touted investor suit against Countrywide on mortgage putbacks yesterday, and have selectively argued against other legal theories. But some of these cases are based on careful study of real abuses and are attacking improper, potentially fraudulent actions. This is one of the few checks we have left on misuse of power, but the powers that be want the public to see these legal challenges as a threat to their financial security and accept compromises, just as we have been forced to accept diminished civil liberties and ever more intrusive surveillance in the name of personal security.

One encouraging sign: I didn’t take a careful tally, but despite the Journal’s heavy spin on this story, its comment section seemed to be running at only a 50% acceptance of its position. The more the banks try to press the merits of their case on dubious evidence, the more the public is coming to realize they are not to be believed.

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97 comments

  1. attempter

    The parallel between finance terrorism and state terrorism vis the “global war on terror” is good. In both cases it’s the domestic elites who are the terrorists and predators. In both cases domestic elites are the people’s enemies, assaulting our freedoms, economic future, and physical safety. In both cases our freedom, security, and prosperity depend upon doing the opposite of what they say.

    If we want economic freedom and stability, we have to eradicate this finance sector completely. (And it’s an established fact that only the “war on terror” itself continues to generate foreign jihadist hatred of the US, and only the “war on terror” itself, along with the predatory bank-driven globalization it seeks to enforce, is compromising our domestic security.)

    In both cases, if we want freedom, security, and prosperity, the road to all three is the same: Smash the banks.

    One thing we should have learned a long time ago (and ironically a favorite citation of the criminals themselves): Appeasement doesn’t work.

    The government and the MSM do nothing but call for appeasement of the banksters. Why would anyone who’s not paid to think that could work ever think it could work?

    (I too liked the piece’s implication that only corporate lawyers should be entitled to use ruthless, probing interrogation. It’s redolent of how when the rich strategically default, the practice is justifed on rationalistic grounds, and only a philistine would try to inject morality into it. But if a non-rich person facing economic uncertainty (a redundant phrasing, but it seems a lot of people always need reminding that it’s conceptually impossible for a non-rich person to “strategically default”) or worse walks away, he’s considered fair game for every kind of moralizing. And of course the same contract option which nobody questioned in the rich defaulter’s case is suddenly considered not to exist.)

    1. JohnC

      The parallel between finance terrorism and state terrorism vis the “global war on terror” is good.

      Better than you can possibly know, attempter!

      The late Robin Cook revealed the genesis of “al quaeda” as “the database”. That’s literally what it means – the database of Mujahideen who were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan on behalf of the West. The database was capitalised – al Quaeda – and became the bogeyman terrorist organisation.

      Similarly, MERS began life as the database of mortgages. But then it somehow morphed and became the party with standing to bring foreclosure.

      Frankly, the parallel is perfect.

      1. attempter

        Thanks, that’s an interesting detail. It reminds me of my (much older) idea that all databases are inherently totalitarian, and have an aggressive inertia in that direction.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      The Propaganda Model (PM) was developed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in their classic book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Parthenon, 1988). They note that:

      “The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news “filters,” fall under the following headings: (1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and “experts” funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) “flak” as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) “anticommunism” as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.” [1]

      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Propaganda_Model

    3. Jim

      Attempter,

      Let me try to simplify.

      There is an American Empire sitting on top of the domestic economy comprised primarily of the Wall Street-Industrial-Military-Energy sectors that is senior to elected government.

      I have no idea how to fight it domestically and am too old to try.

      Good luck,
      Jim

  2. F. Beard

    Not a single one of my clients wants (or deserves) a free house. James Kowalski

    There is one historical case where a guy did get his house for free when the bank manager admitted the money for the mortgage was created from nothing. I forget the details.
    However, the general principle is that the banks screw us with counterfeit money.

    As for “deserves”, one must wonder why only 43%(?) of American homes are owned free and clear after so many years of the US being the number 1 economy in the world?

    “Deadbeat”, that’s a laugh. If anything is dead, it is the economy and as usual the bankers have killed it.

    1. liberal

      “As for “deserves”, one must wonder why only 43%(?) of American homes are owned free and clear after so many years of the US being the number 1 economy in the world?”

      Because in more urbanized places, most of the value of a house is in the land under the house, and land is in fixed supply. So as the economy grows, the value of the land grows.

      1. F. Beard

        So as the economy grows, the value of the land grows. liberal

        My question isn’t about growing land values but why the wealth disparity is so great in the US that the majority do not even own their homes in the richest country in the world.

  3. jbmoore

    Well, if the government changes in this midterm due to anonymous plutocrats’ campaign contributions, Congress will be able to pass any legislation the plutocrats want. Obama will be powerless to stop them and he’s acting more Republican than Democrat any way, so his bank friendly policies won’t even be questioned and he’ll have better cover laying the blame on the GOP. Meanwhile, as you’ve pointed out, newly elected judges and attorney generals bought by our banks and other plutocrats will look the other way when fraudulent court documents surface that embarrass their patrons and “make the law look like an ass” as Professor Black puts it. The WSJ trash pieces will just serve to confuse and inflame voters this election cycle to blame the so-called “deadbeats” rather than the crooks that caused this whole mess of fraud and corruption in the first place. This is how a Republic dies, and an Empire arises. Unfortunately, between the death of the former and the birth of the latter, civil war generally ensues.

  4. Richard Kline

    We are certainly getting the “Move along, nothing to see,” push from all the hierlings of the oligarchy this week: the media, the Feds, and the perps. It’s the few in Congress and attorneys general diverse who have their teeth in the facts by contrast, as well as Yves here and other discerning eyes.

    The argument of the perps boils down to this: “They borrowed money, and they have to pay one way or the other.” But that statement is only half of what it should be; the _real_ statement is ‘We and they have a contract, and if each party meets their obligations under that contract they owe us money and have to pay.’ And that’s where the argument of the securitization trusts and the dissembling enablers who compacted them failed. The trusts in the great majority of cases _failed to keep their contracts_ by not following the legally mandated process: it is the trusts who broke the contracts, first. Accordingly, they are not entitled to anyone’s money, or home. This isn’t even a get-out-of-obligation-free card, and whether it comes to that doesn’t really matter. The only way that the trusts have any entitlement or recourse regarding ‘payment’ is if they, the trusts, kept and keep the respective contracts and follow the law. They didn’t do so, and they’re entitled to nothing. Don’t pay them. Period.

    1. DownSouth

      “…the media, the Feds, and the perps”?

      The Feds and the media, at least the Wall Street Journal, are the perps!

    2. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Per your comment about two parties needing to honor a contract in order for it to be viable, this kind of underscores it:

      In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner’s legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn’t.

      Interesting that the WSJ goes so far out of its way to avoid using the word ‘perjury’.

      A normal person would call ‘submitting false documents’ a kind of lie.
      Therefore, a form of perjury.

      But not the WSJ.
      Yeowsa.

    3. JoeMamma

      In fact, if anyone is safe in this game, it’s the
      trusts. Unlike the banks, they have iron clad
      contracts. The banks thought they would have them
      beat because they believed it would not go as wrong
      as it did. They figured only the lower tranches would
      get wiped out, but — ha, ha wrong! Now we are all
      screwed, mind you, so just relax, fix yourself a
      drink (or spark one up), and watch them now set upon
      one other. Mighty good show…

    4. Nathanael

      The question the banksters are trying to avoid asking is, “they borrowed money and they are supposed to pay WHO?”

      Apart from the fact that the servicers have routinely been defrauding people by refusing to register their payments correctly (thus generating fake defaults), it’s not at all clear who the payments were supposed to be going to. But definitely *not* the entities which are usually “foreclosing”, who are stealing from *SOMEONE*.

  5. MolemanUV

    “Lawyers in the field now commonly use a technique more identified with corporate litigation: probing depositions, designed to uncover any lapses in judgment, flaws in a process or wrongdoing.” WSJ

    What an absolutely ridiculous statement. The last time I looked at Rule 30 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on depositions by oral examination it stated, “A party may, by oral questions, depose any person, including a party, without leave of court…”

    In other words, depositions are hardly the exclusive province of corporate practitioners. They are instead common practice in all but the most minor civil actions. In fact, even pro se litigants who choose (unwisely) to represent themselves may conduct a properly noticed deposition so long as they can scrape together the money to pay a court reporter.

    What hogwash….

  6. Patricia Parker

    I know Jim Kowalski personally. Not only he is a very good and careful attorney, he gives back to the community via speaking, the training lawyers and pro bono work. One thing you always take away from Jim’s trainings is the importance of case evaluation. The servicing abuses and false documentation he and others are uncovering are epidemic in foreclosure cases. The WSJ’s failure to acknowledge these rampant problems across the country clearly diminishes its credibility.

  7. amateur Socialist

    Clearly Murdoch’s investment is paying off. The WSJ used to be a decent paper as long as you avoided the useless editorial page.

    Thanks Rupert!

    1. Leviathan

      When I saw this piece this morning (after my head exploded and I pieced it back together) I knew Yves and the finblogs would go nuts. Thanks Yves!!

      On Rupert, not only has he destroyed the paper from an ideological perspective. His team has also rendered the thing unreadable. The weekend revamp has given us the excruciatingly ADD “Off Duty” section which physically repels anyone glancing at it. Who did the layout for this? A coked up squirrel?

      When my subscription is up, in a couple of months it will not be renewed. The FT and local rag (for sports and local politics) will remain. The press isn’t being killed by an indifferent public, it is committing suicide. Suicide by owner.

      1. Nathanael

        I dumped my local Gannett paper.

        The free community weekly gives better coverage of local events. :-P

    2. Justicia

      The proposed “solution” from the WSJ — hold on to your hats — is for the banksters to give their word of honor that the mortgage documents are all in order. Just like their certifications under Sarbanes-Oxley. (Ask the Lehman Bankruptcy Trustee how effective Sarb-Ox was in preventing all those off-balance sheet Repo transactions.)

      You gotta wonder what these people are smoking.

      WSJ
      http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/10/20/a-proposal-to-ease-the-foreclosure-mess/

      A Proposal to Ease the Foreclosure Mess
      By Nick Timiraos

      A former White House economic adviser is calling on senior bank officers to personally vouch for the quality of their mortgage-documentation operations as part of an effort to rehabilitate their stalled foreclosure machinery.

      The proposal is modeled after the revamped disclosures that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act required in order to restore credibility to financial statements after the Enron and WorldCom scandals, says Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University who until August served as a top adviser on housing-finance issues in the White House.

      1. freepressmyass

        Like BP investigating their crimes in the Gulf. Like Salazar investigating himself after getting the DOJ to overturn a court ruling to uphold environmental laws that prevented BP from drilling the Macando well. Or investigating MMS.
        Or Blackwater investigating mass murder. TIt goes on and on.

        Until it’s us. They treat us all like suspects. If you ask the “wrong” traffic cop a reasonable question, suddenly you got a dozen cops pummeling and tasing you to the ground till your dead. Everyone’s cool with it that, though.

    3. curlydan

      don’t forget the WSJ’s other propaganda tool…the color picture in the middle which always seems to have a hidden message and not even a story attached. A couple days ago it was Ahmenijad (sp?) and Hugo Chavez embracing, and other days there are not so subtle messages.

      A far cry from when the only front page “picture” was the little pencil sketches.

      Oh well, the FT was better than WSJ before Murdoch, and now it’s a whole lot better.

  8. NYT

    Its unfortunately true that the WSJ has really declined in its business news coverage. It increasingly looks like a Wall Street PR sheet instead of a newspaper.

    Just compare the coverage of the Judge Painter CTFC story in the Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/19/AR2010101907216.html

    with the only piece on this in the WSJ
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304011604575564610646663830.html?KEYWORDS=%22bruce+levine%22

    1. Nathanael

      And the WaPo is no prize these days, it’s pretty bad itself.

      I have to read blogs and foreign papers to get the news. St. Petersburg Times does OK sometimes, NYT is occasionally decent, but it’s the FT and the Guardian for reliable news. And the BBC.

  9. AR

    Yves: Thanks for making the point about how the servicers purposely force people into foreclosure. I hope you’ll also point out that, as someone recently wrote, a $300,000 mortgage is worth $9M to the banksters if it defaults. Whether that’s due to being sold multiple times I don’t know, but the point is that the servicers are doing the banks’ bidding to see to it that the borrowers can be forced to fall behind. And they use street thug level tactics.

    Note, also, that the unaccounted-for demands made of the borrowers, under threat of foreclosure, serve to strip the equity of any family members or friends in a position to try to help out, until finally the borrowers’ entire circle is tapped out, and the foreclosure proceeds.

    This is why the banks are paying their PR firms to catapult the ‘deadbeat borrower’ propaganda so hard. [Is ‘deadbeat borrower’ the new ‘welfare queen’?] They know that the ‘deadbeat borrower’ is the key to their profits off of this scam. If everyone could afford to pay their mortgage, in a just society, with real jobs, the bankers wouldn’t be able to exploit and steal their way to the most unequal distribution of wealth the world has ever known.

    Richard Kline: Aren’t the investors in the trusts victims too? They didn’t know that they were buying ‘empty boxes.’ They didn’t know their role was to provide cover for the securitization scam, and to have their equity stripped, along with the mortgagors. The banksters are out to take everyone’s money.

    1. DownSouth

      “…the point is that the servicers are doing the banks’ bidding to see to it that the borrowers can be forced to fall behind. And they use street thug level tactics.”

      Sometimes it helps to put a human face on the tactics being used, which this video clip from a local Houston TV station does.

      1. DownSouth

        And sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. That is surely true with this graphic, which shows what a dismally small percentage of mods ever make the transition from trial to permanent.

        1. DownSouth

          The most disturbing part is that the “government thugs” are working hand in glove with the “corporate thugs,” to use attempter’s terminology, and $75 billion of federal taxpayer dollars have been allocated for the purpose of promoting these “street thug level tactics.” If one follows the “Eye on Loan Mods” link, one finds numerous articles documenting the phenomenon. The cumulative effect of these stories, along with those by reporters like Emily Akin in the link above and by Gonzalo Lira, is to demonstrate a disturbing pattern of how HAMP is being used to lure people in, deceiving them, giving them false hope in the form of a trial mod, only later to break it off in them by denying a permanent mod. If one wanted to devise a scheme to intentionally force people into foreclosure, a more surefire method could not be found.

          1. DownSouth

            Link to Gonzalo Lira post:

            http://gonzalolira.blogspot.com
            /2010/10/coming-middle-class-anarchy.html#comments

            Sorry for the series of comments, but I’m having a heck of a time getting these comments to post, so am breaking what should be one comment down into smaller comments trying to get them to post. I even had to break the direction to Lira’s post down on two separate lines to get it to post.

          2. freepressmyass

            Having trouble getting posted, sorry for all the interjections.
            But, you know they are using the same tactic with people behind on property taxes or water bills. This got to me more than foreclosure, because they have foreclosed on people who owned their homes out right with their mortage paid in full.
            Yet these sociopaths stole the home for a $380 water bill that ballooned into thousands of dollars which they knew would be impossible for the homeowner to pay.
            It’s just astounding that nobody in Congress gives a shit.

            Forget the WH. He’s been covering corporate asses from day one. Obama handed the Gulf Region over to BP, and watched their back the entire time. Now he’s helping Wall St crush the American people and destroy the nation.
            Talk about NERO!
            Obama should be impeached for treason.

          3. Nathanael

            & Bush’s entire administration should be arrested for setting this up in the first place. As should some of the Clinton administration people who allowed the deregulation which started it all. And Phil Gramm, the key man who started the entire system of government letting banks get away with lese majeste, needs to be executed.

  10. amateur Socialist

    Here’s Andrea Mitchell (aka Mrs. Alan Greenspan) on NPR yesterday:

    “It certainly doesn’t translate from their houses and that’s the other big hazard out there for Democrats, the foreclosure issue. That’s why they’re have a big crisis meeting at the White House (giggle) … as though they could do anything about it in this short term.”

    Okay then. Nothing to see here folks, move along!

    And the beat goes on…

  11. Allen C

    I canceled my subscription to the WSJ some time ago. Imagine paying for spin. If the oligarchs can get rid of that pesky free speech problem, then maybe they can effect some further changes that we can believe in.

    Time to reallocate my subscription dollars to news sources that I can trust.

  12. AR

    Foreclosure Defense Nationwide has apparently acquired software and computer terminals that can track mortgage history and securitizations, and has uncovered the mechanism by which foreclosed mortgages multiply the profits gained via insurance on their default multiple times. Here’s the servicers’ motive:

    If a loan is assigned to different tranches and/or different trusts, with each tranche or trust having its own series of credit enhancements and insurances, this means the possibility of multiple levels of insurance for the same loan, which goes to prove what we have been arguing for years: that upon securitization, the mortgage loans were insured with multiple layers of insurance so that when the loan went into default, those in the placement chain could reap untold profits by having the same risk paid over and over and over again through multiple claims or reserves. Anyone who read through the SEC v. Goldman Sachs lawsuit knows this.

    http://foreclosuredefensenationwide.com/?p=299

    Thanks to Karl Denninger for the link!
    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=169722

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      I’m relatively new at all this so lemme get this straight: defaults are being deliberately triggered so as to collect on the insurance?

      1. Siggy

        Indeed they are because the trade is a CDS against the MBS. That’s the vehicle that accomplishes a short against the house price bubble.

        Crap mortgage loans are pooled to create a high failure rate pool that can then be insured. It’s a lot like arson but only with paper.

      2. Nathanael

        Yeah, but there seems to be a lot of evidence that defaults are ALSO being triggered in order to collect more FEES. The servicers collect more fees if they force a default and force a foreclosure.

        The fact that the “true investor” loses money and would do better with a modification doesn’t matter to the servicer.

    2. Eric

      This seems wildly improbable. That insurers would ever pay out – even in aggregate from mulitple payers to multiple parties – more than the arrears on the loan makes no sense. Homeowner A is $50,000 behind and servicer starts foreclosure and the MBS holders file claims for $300,000? It is 83% cheaper just to bring A current. Maybe CDO issuers are stupid, or their staff is in cahoots with the MBS holders.

    3. Nathanael

      Please note that this is documenting the case where the same note was “sold” to multiple different investors (which is of course securities fraud, and appears to have happened in at least a couple of documented cases, so probably in quite a lot), and so was “insured” in duplicate or triplicate (which is of course insurance fraud).

  13. Noash

    Thanks God for bloggers and the internet. They haven’t been bought up and bought off like the media has been. Nor are they buying the “company line” that all these foreclosures are because some deadbeat refused to pay.

    While the WSJ continues to present the “Nothing to see here folks, move along!” point of view, others are taking notice and writing about the fraud committed on people around the country. And, if enough people take a stand it will be more difficult for the banks, the White House and Congress to sweep this under the rug. Sorry Rupert, but you don’t control free speech (yet).

  14. Mary Barrett

    I couldn’t agree more and have great respect for your writing and research. However, why do I see ads for the Wall Street Journal, major banks and brokerage companies on our your blog site?

  15. Lee

    Great post Yves. We knew it would eventually happen – Murdoch sinking his filthy teeth into his new toy, the Journal.

    What I find sickening about the whole foreclosuregate narrative is the banks’ insistence on labeling these things as “technicalities” and blaming the “deadbeat” debtors.

    Those of us not lucky enough to be part of the plutocratic class have always been aware that the rule of law does not really apply to the rich. But until now the rich have always insisted that the law applies equally. They at least gave lip service to it. Now they don’t even make any pretenses: these were “technical” violations, the debtors don’t deserve to stay in the houses, so the law doesn’t matter. Appalling. If this same exact problem occured in a CRE context does anyone think the large corporate debtors would be doing anything different (legally) than the poor deadbeats? No.

  16. Steve Bradley

    Yves, THANKS for the excellent article. I have watched this mess from the inception, and though I’m no attorney, I’m a knowledgeable real estate broker in California. It’s always seemed to me that if you have an invalid transfer, or other defects, the transferor has to answer for that. Here in CA it’s much simpler to foreclose, but I’ve personally found a number of “chain of title” issues in foreclosures deliberately ginned up by the foreclosure trustees or the lenders, and I think the point is that if I did it, I would be guilty of a criminal offense.
    Why not them?
    Steve Bradley

  17. Justicia

    The bankster spin is pervasive. From Gretchen Morgenson’s article in today’s NYT:

    Joseph R. Mason, a finance professor who holds the Louisiana Bankers Association chair at Louisiana State University, said that concerns about proper foreclosure documentation were overblown. At the end of the day, he said, even if the banks botched the paperwork, homeowners who didn’t make their mortgage payments still needed to be held accountable.

    “You borrowed money,” he said. “You are obligated to repay it.”

    The question isn’t whether borrowers must pay but whether the banks are secured creditors. If the bank can prove it made the loan (which it may be able to do even if it can’t find the mortgage note) it can collect on the debt — just get in line with all the other unsecured creditors.

    1. f247

      I thought it was sort of interesting to see that quote from Mason, and I was wondering more about that context than anything. I read some of his papers on servicing a while back and spoke to him once. He was actually quite critical of bank/servicer practices, reporting, and the lack of oversight.

    2. F. Beard

      “You borrowed money,” he said. “You are obligated to repay it.” Justicia

      I would retort: “What money? The banks create temporary money (credit) as they loan it. They cheat savers of honest interest rates and cheat borrowers by driving up debt during the boom that cannot be repaid during the bust. Is debt to a counterfeiter morally valid?”

  18. ben there done that

    Disintermediation is the root of the problem. Disintermediation is variously defined but basically refers to the “no skin in the game” but “I’ll take a fee for that” aspect of modern finance and the legal and contractual parsing of responsibility, duty and obligation.

    Folks, this IS systemic risk.

    The borrower has no control over their servicing which is ultimately the borrowers only touch point. A mortgage is obtained based on a relationship. That “relationship” is then sold via securitization. We talk about MBS securities as being sliced and diced into many tranches. We need to talk about the life cycle of a mortgage being sliced and diced to the point that no single entity or institution has obligations other than the borrower. (I am of course only presenting a small piece of the puzzle. There are many intervening steps and players, and that is my point).

    This is not an apologia for non-payment or two wrongs make a right.

    Rather, this is my cross post today to integrate this story with the “Critical Assessment of Dodd-Frank” piece to say new regulations must deal with the systemic risk of the mortgage business, top to bottom.

    The commoditization of servicing has truly resulted in the bad driving out the good. The banksters rightly deserve much credit for this sorry state. The lack of regulation, which is simply an outgrowth of the banksters power, will always allow the bad guys to drive out the good. It is always profitable to do something on the cheap and by pushing/exceeding legal boundaries if there are no consequences. Remember how AT&T was driven out of business by Worldcom? Well, Worldcom lied. They lied to the analysts, the analysts believed them and the analysts dinged AT&T until AT&T was taken over for a (cheap) song. Eventually Worldcom’s fraud was uncovered – but not until the damage was done.

    So, the real challenge is to remake the mortgage industry and to avoid the strong desire to simply apply old and worn out band-aids and to resist the ploys by the fox to guard the hens. A very, very, difficult job for sure. Fundamental changes to the mortgage industry will fundamentally change our society. This is a good thing.

  19. jim

    I closely follow health related issues in the news and have since realized this is a common occurance.

    The Chicago tribune launched a smear campaign on a vitamin supplement(very effective one) that works for autism. It was soon pulled by the FDA.

    Here is the article. http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-he-autism-chemical1-2010feb01,0,4473765.story

    the average person can’t usually tell by reading these stories, and there are not enough samrt people that can make a difference by speaking out. So the beat goes on….

    1. LeeAnne

      There’s a propaganda effort afoot to discredit the FDA and its labeling authority; one of the finest reforms of the FDR error.

      …and thalidomide worked: called “one of the biggest medical tragedies of modern times.” It is not known exactly how many worldwide victims of the drug there have been, although estimates range from 10,000 to 20,000. worked to relieve pregnant women of some minor symptoms. the drug was legal in Europe.
      Wikipedia

      The victims of this folly could be seen with missing arms and legs quite often in Manhattan in the 50s and 60s.

      unauthorized claims for supplements are rightfully strictly regulated.

        1. LeeAnne

          and furthermore, the FDA labeling method where consumers are permitted to purchase but manufacturers forced to label warnings and not allowed to promote health benefits is the method used for greatly reducing cigarette use, rather than the folly of prohibition as in the phony drug wars producing the greatest worldwide lawless bonanza for wars and bankers, police and prisons the world has ever seen.

          Which, BTW, is the basis for the organization of police tactics you see duplicated all over the western world at banker gatherings like the IMF and G20, Toronto, etc. against peaceful protesters.

          Furthermore, cigarette smoking was tackled in this consumer respectful way under the Clinton administration. Democrats are different from Republicans. Democrats accomplish a few good things while they’re picking your pockets; while Republicans just pick your pockets.

    2. liberal

      The Chicago tribune launched a smear campaign on a vitamin supplement(very effective one) that works for autism.

      LOL. Sure. Another miracle cure for autism. And anyone who questions the snailoil salesmen are guilty of “smearing”.

  20. monday1929

    “..foreclosure defense which has sown confusion and turmoil”

    Classic tactic- blame the victim.
    The word “Evil” has been noticeable by its absence.

  21. i on the ball patriot

    So … the Wall Street Urinal is ‘testilying’ in the ‘court of public opinion’ and blames the foreclosure crisis on niche lawyers …

    Well — no shit Sherlock!

    The real story here is not the foreclosure mess. The real story is the intentional destruction and poisoning of the ONLY real fair court left to the masses — the court of public opinion — the masses themselves.

    The reality is that the wealthy elite have been very successful at this and have in fact, in the past forty plus years, through the use of the now very formidable ‘Mr. Global Propaganda’, significantly changed the global public psyche. Instead of buying a couple of jurors in a trial, as in the old Profit Driven Vanilla Greed days, Control Driven Pernicious Greed now buys the entire jury pool — the entire court of public opinion jury pool — by culturally shaping that pool into a receptive and obeisant block of dumbed down morons.

    Murdoch is a brilliant tactician for the rich. He knows the public masses well (the court of public opinion jury pool) and he knows very well how to shape and mold them. His redesign and redeployment of the Wall Street Urinal, in all media, is spot on for the audience he is shaping. And he conspires with like minded rich individuals who are better able to organize themselves in ideology and plan and delivery than the masses could ever dream of. Cancel your subscription to FT also!

    Root cause …this has all been accomplished by destroying the Free Speech of citizens by usurping the rule of law and confiscating and controlling all media channels. The public no longer has equal access to all other citizens nor do they have equal power of voice. The internet is being hijacked as we speak. The rich man’s Mr. Global Propaganda rules.

    Where will you turn when the court of public opinion is all wearing Lady Gaga meat suits and watching Oafra and cop shows that paint those who dissent as terrorists that should be tortured?

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  22. Jay

    I have been in my house for 24 years and I refinanced into a shorter 15 year loan partway through, meaning I am only 2 to 3 years from paying it off. Given the breakdown in the rule of law, will I ever own my home free and clear in the eyes of this mess of banks, servicers and bond holders? Will I ever get clear title? Due to the uncertainty of ownership should this baby boomer just sell out and rent? I don’t think home ownership will ever be the same, not due to price, but due to the breakdown of law.

    1. Nathanael

      If you want clear title, you’re going to have to file quiet title actions. Get started now.

      It’s not even clear that will work, but there’s a lot of evidence that getting into court ahead of the banks is the way to avoid being steamrollered.

  23. JTM

    The Wash Post has a pretty good piece on this today. They do refer to “boutique” law firms, but overall they put a positive light on the anti-foreclosure-fraud effort.

  24. GeorgeNYC

    Thanks for a great piece!!!

    These banks thrive off the “technicalities” in their loan documents when it comes to fees, etc. However, when the shoe is on the other foot they act like it is all just a bunch of silly rules that they do not have to follow.

    But where are the rioting masses? Look at France. They at least know how to protest. Are we just so downtrodden that we do not bother, or are we just so cynical that no one cares?

  25. F. Beard

    But where are the rioting masses? GeorgeNYC

    Wait till the Republicans get in and impose “austerity”. The Democrat base will then (hopefully) throw out their incumbents and elect genuine populists.

  26. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty - Foe of Tyranny

    From the Journal account:

    “In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner’s legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn’t.”

    Yep. Funny thing those pesky rules of civil procedure.

    The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at 56(g), have this to say:

    “(g) Affidavits Submitted in Bad Faith.

    If satisfied that an affidavit under this rule is submitted in bad faith or solely for delay, the court must order the submitting party to pay the other party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, it incurred as a result. An offending party or attorney may also be held in contempt.”

    Full text of Federal Rule 56 is found at:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule56.htm

    Note that the court MUST ORDER the offender to pay reasonable expenses, and attorney’s fees. Must order.

    I can see why these offending banks would prefer the rules not be applied to them. This could get kinda expensive for them in these fees alone.

  27. lambert strether

    Since the WSJ has a paid subscription model, it’s doubtful we’re looking at trolling here in the comments section. An excellent indicator that pain continues to move up the economic ladder.

  28. wtlf555

    Kind of interesting to follw the process and see who gets clipped in the end

    First financial engineers at IBs devise securitized packages and make billions

    Second loan originators push out crap and make millions

    Third servicers make millions putting together a system to account for everything

    Fourth when the originated loans are crap and when the securitiezed packages aren’t as advertised and when the technology can’t handle the volume small law firms and paper trail reconstructing outfits come in and are picking up pennies in front of a train trying to bail out the IBs and servicers.

    It will be ironic if the last bunch ends up in jail. Not that they don’t belong there but what about 1, 2 and 3?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks, fixed it. Typos are my specialty, and with headlines, the software doesn’t mark them.

  29. MinnItMan

    One example of an incorrect affidavit, arguably made in good faith:

    For example, simply stating that an attached Exhibit “A” mortgage is a true and correct copy of the original – when you have personally printed it out at or through the county – probably needs the additional qualification “as it appears in the public records of ….” With this added qualification, I think the statement is accurate, despite the fact that you are not looking at the “original” in making the “true and correct copy” statement. Omission of the “as it appears in the public records” qualification is a “technical mistake” made in good faith I could see courts over-looking.

    This kind of “excusable” technical error is not what the current robo-signer debacle is about. The robo-affiants (the more correct term here) have no idea where the documents that they are attesting to came from, and have demonstrated that it was not their job to even care about that. For the robo-affiant to state that they are attaching “true and correct” copies of original notes is likewise entirely false, when it is likely the case that they have never even seen a single original note in their offices.

    The most interesting take I’ve seen on this so far is this statement by a lawyer named John Davidson:

    “my recollection of research from many many years ago, when I learned the law of notes and foreclosures, is that production of the original note to the Court at the moment of entry of judgment is required, so that the note can be canceled. I have even witnessed this practice, albeit not recently, as all the judges are former prosecuting attorneys with little or no insight into the real practice of law and what they should be requiring.”

    All this said, ordinary people – if I can generalize – hate what appear to them to be legal technicalities. What made Dirty Harry and Death Wish so popular?

    Until, it happens to them.

    The Journal’s position on this is pretty bad, especially because of fair number of their reporters have legal education.

    Here’s a hint to what the legal fight is going to be really soon: Rule 60(b)(3) (more accurately, its state equivalents), and whether claims for relief will be barred a year after entry of judgment? Ordinary frauds have a one year limit. Is robo-perjury extraordinary enough to re-open case-by-case? En masse?

    Thank you Mr. Kowalski.

  30. Diogenes

    This Bloomberg story about a fellow named Joseph Lents in Boca Raton, Florida provides some fascinating insight into just how long the various “clerical errors” associated with mortgage securitizations have been going on:

    “In 2002, an accountant in Boca Raton, Florida, named Joseph Lents… stopped making payments on his $1.5 million mortgage.

    The loan servicer, Washington Mutual Inc., tried to foreclose on his home in 2003 but was never able to produce Lents’ promissory note, so the state circuit court for Palm Beach County dismissed the case. Next, the buyer of the loan, DLJ Mortgage Capital, stepped in with another foreclosure proceeding. DLJ claimed to have lost the promissory note in interoffice mail. Lents was dubious…

    DLJ claimed that its word was as good as paper. But at least in Palm Beach County, paper still rules. If his mortgage holder couldn’t prove it held his mortgage, it couldn’t foreclose.

    Eight years after defaulting, Lents still hasn’t made a payment or been forced out of his house…”

    Source: http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a5QeIgTx0uaE

  31. Rick Halsen

    I have to say I’m frankly amazed, regardless of all the “Americans are fat, dumb, and lazy’ ubiquitous comments that more people haven’t completely lost it and gone “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” flat-out beserk.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take, or how much more the serf masses will endure, but all I know is that when they finally say “ENOUGH!” it usually ends up bad for the abusers.

    Just some historical and perhaps prescient observations.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        That’s like watching a horrible wreck in slow motion. The featured ignoramuses are surely cherry-picked, but it’s still scary. I couldn’t get through it.

        KS Kim of SmartKnowledgeU has a related post at ZeroHedge: “The Astounding Failure of the US Educational System” in which he features another, “The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Docile”, by John Taylor Gatto, (‘ NYC “Teacher of the Year” three times [who] became highly disillusioned with the formal education system due to its failures to stimulate critical thinking in children.’) Kim writes, “If there is a provable relationship between formal education and intelligence, it is probably an inverse one. The more letters you have behind your name (MBA, PhD, JD, MFA, CPA) the greater level of stupidity one likely possesses, as the attainment of a higher level of education means that one has been exposed for a far longer time period than the average citizen to the indoctrination process…we discover, in fact, that the US educational system accomplishes exactly what it was designed to do –- to dumb down people and suppress the natural inquisitiveness and critical thought processes of children.”

        http://www.zerohedge.com/article/astounding-failure-us-educational-system

          1. Rick Halsen

            Well it appears it’s unanimous. Everbody’s still pretty damn fat, dumb, and lazy across all social strata. Rich or poor, doesn’t matter.

            But lo, the rich are different than you and me. They have more monet. While the rest of us are indeed baroque.

          2. Skippy

            The need to assume the tribe trapping of ones social strata always astounds me, so much energy wasted, thank goodness for eccentrics.

          3. Skippy

            Oh Rupert what wont you do, what level is underneath ye.

            Skippy…transdimensional actor methinks.

  32. Doug Terpstra

    The only angle I see missing from Murdoch’s clever plot of “deadbeat squatters and money-grubbing shysters” is a sprinkling of divisive propaganda on “freeloading illegal aliens”. Then the tea party can weigh in for the banksters.

  33. f247

    I don’t think I saw it mentioned in the comments, but the article about FCs on C2 of today’s WSJ was also pretty revealing.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304011604575564601286084726.html?mod=ITP_moneyandinvesting_1#printMode

    Basically talks about how JPM/BAC/etc. are sending lawyers/execs down to meet with FL AG McCollum. His comments are particularly interesting (see below). Doesn’t seem like he wants to dig too hard if it’s going to slow down foreclosures. Maybe why his office focuses on pointing the finger at the FC-related law firms, since they seem fairly expendable (i.e., place blame on a few while servicers/LPS/etc just switch to using others).

    McCollum comments from WSJ article:

    “They’re training a lot of new people, and apparently now they are comfortable with the legality of their foreclosure process,” Mr. McCollum said in an interview. “The primary purpose of these meetings is talking about not having this stuff held back. It’s very important for us to not have a backlog of foreclosures. We already have a backlog. We don’t want it to get worse.”

    Mr. McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, said most errors in the foreclosure process have been “procedural,” adding that his top priority is to resolve the mess in a way that allows foreclosures to resume quickly.

    The talks also centered on how to quickly get the foreclosure process moving again, according to the Florida attorney general’s office. Mr. McCollum described the meeting as more cooperative than combative.

  34. Just a thought

    “But some of these cases are based on careful study of real abuses and are attacking improper, potentially fraudulent actions.”

    I apologize if my cut and paste corrupted the intent of your statement but did you actually imply, if front of the frothing masses, that not “all” foreclosures are improper and fraudulent actions?

    Anyone care to estimate the percentage of foreclosures actions initiated as a direct result of servicer or bank mistakes? Screwed up documentation, robo signers and/or “failure to convey borrower promissory notes and related liens properly to the the securitization entity” do not count. Those are clerical errors with significant legal ramifications with respect to the execution of the foreclosure and not a direct cause of the foreclosure. I am talking about misapplied payments, fraudulent late charges, etc… anything where the borrower upheld their end of the contractual considerations, i.e. made their payments in full and on time.

    I don’t have the answer but I would certainly like to know.

    1. DownSouth

      Bank “mistakes”?

      We’re not talking “mistakes” here. We’re talking deliberate intent to deceive and defraud.

      Read Bill Black.

      The intent to deceive and defraud began with loan origination and underwriting and continued right up to and including the foreclosures. The intent to deceive and defraud was the driving force behind every step of the way.

      No, no “mistakes” here. You are drunk on the Kool Aid, falling-down, commode-hung drunk.

      The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right names
      –Confucius

    2. F. Beard

      I am talking about misapplied payments, fraudulent late charges, etc… anything where the borrower upheld their end of the contractual considerations, i.e. made their payments in full and on time. Just a thought

      I guess the fact that the banks created the boom that drove up property prices and the bust that causes people to lose their jobs is irrelevant? Only if the borrowers have been absolutely perfectly in paying the mortgage on time are they entitled to any consideration?

      You don’t understanding the general evil of our current banking and money system to ask such a question, imo.

      1. Just a thought

        Really? Very lazy.

        Before making assumptions about my ‘understanding’ you should take a step back for a moment of self-reflection. My suspicion is the extent of your ‘knowledge’ is derived from reinforcing your preconceived notions from a selection of like-minded web sites where other sycophants like yourself grouse about the great bank conspiracy to separate innocent Americans from their financial security. Valuable proactive behavior.

        BTW, my understanding is informed by 15 years of regulatory, financial and risk management consulting experience for regional and community bank clients. None of which have failed.

        So, what informs your understanding other than the opinions of others?

    3. Nathanael

      I’d estimate upwards of 90% of foreclosures today are caused by deliberate fraud at one stage or another.

      1. Just a thought

        Thanks for answering what I thought was a fairly direct question though my experience would suggest your estimate is high. There might be an argument for between 50-75% if one adds in weakening credit standards that allowed for over-extension but I am generally suspect of any arguments where letting someone over-extend themselves is an example of fraud. I think borrower/bank collusion, or delusion, is a better description.

        Actively leading someone to over-extend or mismanage their financial security is absolutely fraud but not all borrowers were targeted by banks. Some borrowers actually called around and did their ‘research’ before choosing a lender, simply because they saw what others had and wanted a piece of the action.

        Thanks for actually throwing out a number and not just personal attacks, though I suspect you’ll disagree with me.

  35. Pagar

    @11:49AM “Democrats accomplish a few good things while they’re picking your pockets; ”

    I’ve been around Democrats for a whole lot of years, I don’t remember anything good they have accomplish.

  36. Chris

    Great post again Ives.
    I am sure that the banks steamrolling people out of their homes in the early stages of the housing decline made it worse for people who held on as long as the could because it crushed housing prices. Anyone who thought they were going to survive a few years and then see a rebound may have spent all of their savings on house payments after a job loss. There are so many people that had faith in the banks and the fed when the all floated the bad bank theory.

    But if the banks would have set up a system that could have dealt with an up tic in foreclosures immediately by knowing who owned the mortgage, this downturn may have been much less dramatic. It isn’t the homeowner who let things run on under the “sub prime” label. It was the bankers who knew 3 years ago they were in a world of hurt if housing prices tanked. They stared down the congress and HK and they all started shaking in their boots. They were b-slapped like never before and they still are being ruled by the slap happy banks.

    The collusion between the government and the banking system has caused the meltdown.

    I am so sick of the press and talking heads saying that no one is getting foreclosed who didn’t bring it on themselves. The reality is they brought it on everyone with the system they created for MBS,CDS,etc….There are people that are good, hard working people that had nothing but their home equity to use for retirement. Many of them are back to work now or will never get to retire and these idiots have the stones to say the crisis was caused by deadbeat homeowners. ….Couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  37. Frank Ruffing

    Yves, similar burial of the CFTC administrative judge scandal this week as WSJ smothered the story with details of a guardianship suit related to the Judge who disclosed it. What a crime Murdoch is perpetrating on Journalism…

  38. Nathanael

    The Wall Street Journal turned into a propaganda rag around the time Murdoch bought it. (Of course the editorial page had been blatantly lying about facts since about 1979, but the news pages were trashed by Murdoch.)

    Nobody in finance should have a subscription, as it doesn’t give accurate information. There’s a reason the FT is taking over the US market — people in finance can’t afford to waste their time and money on blatantly dishonest propaganda. The FT isn’t perfect but it tries.

  39. Barbara Ann Jackson

    What Joseph Mason, a “finance professor at Louisiana State University” said is not factual. As a lifetime resident of Louisiana, I know that foreclosure fraud is alive and well! Fraud documents filed in courts it IS NOT “overblown”!

    Mayors throughout Louisiana, especially New Orleans, would do well to look into real estate conveyances to non-existent lenders; bankruptcy “Lift Stay” motions under entities which blatantly “lacked standing,”and names on “proof of claims” different from the ‘lift stay’ “Movers”; and check those illegal property deeds!!!, which means those people have not legally lost home ownership.

    Further, people who chide defaulted homeowners as “deadbeats,” seem too narrow-minded to grasp that not everyone got ill-affordable mortgages; and seem to selectively regard facts: Some people defaulted due to marriage failure, overwhelming medical bills, jobs ‘outsourced’ to overseas caused unemployment. And should ‘deadbeats’ with student loans have known how long it would take to get jobs? Also, unless someone has been living on Mars, it’s impossible to not have heard about elderly people being tricked into “home repair” refinancing that plunged them in debt. Even something as recent as the Gulf Oil spill exemplifies how unexpected circumstances can affect people’s ability to pay their bills –why they worry about being forced into foreclosure and repossession.

    For decades LAWYERS have been colluding with JUDGES in federal, state, and bankruptcy courtrooms to illegally, fraudulently confiscate commercial and residential Louisiana real estate! (It’s a waste of time to discuss FREDDIE MAC since authorities know & abet it!) *thanks, Senator David Vitter!

    Ignorance about foreclosure corruption and extortion is NOT harmless, and Louisianians NEED to become better informed! *Important FACTS about FORECLOSURE and MORTGAGE FRAUD @ http://www.lawgrace.org/2010/09/30/important-facts-about-foreclosure-and-mortgage-fraud/

  40. Barbara Ann Jackson

    LSU finance professor, Joseph Mason travels the country, inter alia, masking foreclosure corruption and racketeering activities connected to judicial frauds, Wells Fargo, and Freddie Mac here in Louisiana. (*Thank you Senator David Vitter!!!*) But his statements make light of harm from lawyers’ fraudulent foreclosure activities, and misinforms about the filing of fraudulent court documents as being “overblown.” If the focus is on “quelling” fraudulent foreclosure filings and deliberate frauds instead of looking at critical facts and issues, concealment is a preferred route.

    But, glossing over things is not appropriate for people who have been tortiously harmed by extortion and fraud –here in Louisiana or any place else! Refusal to even consider what those actions are, and who are the actors, exacerbates rather than extinguishes casualty. Even worse, the culprits who are most responsible for damages continue wreaking havoc.

    Also, injurious acts by foreclosure lawyers, render them as well as their clients liable for damages. The half has not been told of outrageous, unfair collections, and privacy invasion associated with foreclosure! Lawyers know what they’ve done; they seek to have victims go away to avert exposure. Mortgage default causes foreclosure, but default doesn’t justify fraud and victimizing. . .*SEE entire article: “Fraudulent Foreclosures, Victims, and Accountability” @
    http://lawgraceorg.newsvine.com/_news/2010/10/26/5355803-fraudulent-foreclosures-victims-and-accountability

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