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Abigail Field: Insider Says Promontory’s OCC Foreclosure Reviews for Wells are Frauds. Brought to You by HUD Sec. Donovan

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By Abigail Caplovitz Field, a freelance writer and attorney who blogs at Reality Check

U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan has embarrassed himself yet again. This time, though, he’s gone in for total humiliation. See, he praised the bank-run Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) foreclosure reviews as an important part of the social justice delivered by the mortgage “settlement“. But thanks to an insider working on an OCC review, we know that process is a sham. Worse, the insider’s story shows that enforcement of the settlement is likely to be similar, which is to say, meaningless. Doesn’t matter how pretty the new servicing standards are if the bankers don’t have to follow them.

Let’s start with Donovan’s sales pitch for the OCC reviews:

For families who suffered much deeper harmwho may have been improperly foreclosed on and lost their homes and could therefore be owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages — the settlement preserves their ability to get justice in two key ways.

First, it recognizes that the federal banking regulators have established a process through which these families can receive help by requesting a review of their file. [ACF: That's the OCC process] If a borrower can document that they were improperly foreclosed on, they can receive every cent of the compensation they are entitled to through that process.

Second, the agreement preserves the right of homeowners to take their servicer to court. Indeed, if banks or other financial institutions broke the law or treated the families they served unfairly, they should pay the price — and with this settlement they will. [bold throughout mine]

Now, the justice of the settlement has been debunked many times over. And David Dayen debunks Donovan’s OCC pitch here. What’s important is that Bank Housing Secretary Donovan wants you to believe the Wells Fargo OCC process is a meaningful contribution to holding bankers accountable and compensating victims.

Wells Fargo’s Fraudulent OCC ‘Independent’ Foreclosure Reviews

Right around the time our Bank Housing Secretary was pitching the OCC reviews as social justice, a person temping for Promontory Compliance Solutions LLC (an affiliate of Promontory Financial Group) on the Wells Fargo OCC “independent” review project was telling Mandelman what a complete charade it was. The insider’s description exposes the reviews as the fraud on the public that they are.

The full revelations of the temp hired, trained and supervised by Promontory Compliance Solutions, working on the Wells Fargo’s OCC independent foreclosure reviews project, are available as a Mandelman blog post and a Mandelman Podcast. But here’s a few highlights to show how rigged the process is:

“I have found errors that should be moved up through the ranks, but am told “quit digging so deep”…”put your shovel away”…Focus on the questions “in scope”… The review forms are set up so no harm could ever be found. It’s equivalent of an attorney presenting his case to a judge with just 20% of the evidence.”

and

“The foreclosed victims don’t realize if they do not provide specific dates on the intake forms… their complaints are considered “general comments” out of scope.

The kicker? The forms don’t tell people their information will be ignored if the complaints are not dated.

Mandelman reports that the insider

“also says that the questions on Promontory’s form are worded in such a way that it makes it very difficult to ever find fault. For example, by using compound questions, he is often told to answer “no,” when the first part of the question would be a “yes.””

A last, flashing neon sign announcing the reviews will protect banks and do no justice is who has been hired to do the reviews. See, here’s the insider that’s willing to talk, and it’s probably why he’s willing to talk:

I have 15 years industry experience in all facets of the mortgage & title industry, and just needed a job at the moment.

But this is who he’s working with and for:

some of the people brought in with me do not know the difference between a truth in lending statement, and a note. It’s a shame, these are your reviewers!!! The supervisors don’t want any trouble…they are mostly temps too, just trying to get a promotion to full time.

Sounds like no bailed-out bank will be held accountable and no homeowner compensated. Nice product you’re selling there “U.S.” Housing Secretary Donovan.

Indeed, Wells Fargo’s Promontory process apparently found no wrong doing in 9,996 cases out of 10,000 examined. The other four were sent to Wells Fargo for further review but came back as no problem. At least, 0 problems out of 10,000 files is what the insider’s supervisors announced to everybody. I don’t know if the supervisors were telling the truth or just trying to message everyone to not find any problems in any files. Either way it tells you the same thing: the reviewers won’t find anything wrong with the files.

Hey Secretary Donovan, want to try that ‘”settlement” with OCC reviews as justice’ pitch again?

Can’t Just Be Stumpf’s Wells Fargo

I don’t think Wells is alone in concocting an elaborate sham to check the ‘atonement’ box on the consent decree/settlement checklist.

First, all the banks subject to the decrees have all cooperated in manufacturing profits in ways that have deeply distorted our social fabric and our nation’s public policies. Second, since the OCC’s willing to let John Stumpf’s Wells Fargo do a thoroughly fraudulent process, surely it’s willing to let the rest of them do it too. I say “Bank-run OCC” quite deliberately. Third, Promontory is engaged to do three reviews; Wells, Bank of America, and PNC. Now, the insider only worked on the Wells Fargo Promontory project, so I can’t be sure the other two set ups are equally rigged. But what are the odds?

As to banker-driven distortion of our national government’s priorities, you can see it clearly if you know where to look. Generally it’s in the serial banker-centric responses to the financial meltdown and the ensuing housing crisis. But a concrete example is how our federal government has handled unsustainable liabilities.

Just More Proof Our Government Represents Bankers, Not Us

The bankers got and still have troubled asset “relief.” Without that help they’d all be bankrupt today. But homeowners are still denied mortgage principal relief on their their homes, even in bankruptcy. Don’t tell me that the moral hazard of troubled asset relief is smaller or less systemically important than the moral hazard of mortgage principal relief, in bankruptcy or out. There’s absolutely no way to justify that disparate treatment on the merits.

Underwater, toxic mortgages aren’t the only Wall Street created, unsustainable liability affecting our nation. Nationwide local governments are locked into extremely expensive Wall Street products called interest rate swaps. These deals turn our tax dollars into windfall profits for the bailed-out bankers. Taxpayers are trapped in the deals by high early termination fees. Worst of all, the reason these deals are so bad for municipalities is the Fed’s free money response to the banker-caused financial meltdown. That is, our government trying to help the bankers is facilitating the profiteering from municipalities. And yet I’ve heard no one in the Obama administration suggest helping municipalities cope with the bankers’ greed. At least Team Obama talks a good game about helping on mortgages.

(Btw, are you anti-union? Well, consider who did the dynamite research documenting the swaps problem: SEIU.)

What the Fraudulent OCC Review Means for “Settlement” Enforcement

But our federal government’s willingness to help banks and not people isn’t confined to disparate treatment of unsustainable liabilities. In the face of a worsening mortgage servicing, foreclosure fraud, and rule of law crisis we get a toothless settlement between the bankers and all meaningful law enforcers. A toothless settlement is no settlement. The bankers’ recidivism on SEC injunctions makes that clear.

Why do I say the settlement is toothless? Yes, as of writing, two weeks after the deal was announced, there’s no settlement text to look at. However, the “Executive Summary” of the deal says this about compliance: “The banks will report on their compliance in the form of agreed-upon metrics and outcome measures.” (Bold mine)

How do you think the banks will do that reporting? Surely they’ll hire firms like Promontory Compliance Solutions LLC; after all, by doing Wells’s OCC reviews, Promontory’s got pole position on doing its settlement compliance too, right? And if Promontory’s rigging the review to ensure Wells Fargo doesn’t pay homeowners a dime in restitution, it’ll be even more thoroughly protective of the bank when theoretically big fines ($1-5 million/each) are at stake.

Who IS Promontory Financial Group?

If Promontory Financial is going to be allowed to conduct officially-condoned compliance theater, let’s take a look at the actors in the production. From the firm’s website’s “Our Firm” page:

“Led by our Founder and CEO, Eugene A. Ludwig, former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, our professionals have deep and varied expertise gained through decades of experience as senior leaders of regulatory bodies, financial institutions and Fortune 100 corporations.”

Ok, that makes sense: Ludwig’s a former head of the bank-run OCC, so of course his firm was lined up to do OCC reviews. And from his long form bio on the company’s site, we learn: “Before becoming Comptroller, Gene was a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling, specializing in banking law.”

Do you remember Covington & Burling, and its connection to federal law enforcement, MERS, and implicitly the Justice Deparment’s failure to prosecute the bankers that are Covington & Burling’s clients? Not really? Well check out Covington’s “Financial Institutions” practice, and its White Collar Criminal Defense page. Note Covington’s partnership includes John Dugan, who returned to the firm after his recent years as Comptroller of the Currency, Edward Yingling, recent head of the American Bankers Association, James Garland, recent Deputy Chief of Staff to AG Eric Holder and Steve Fagell, also a recent Deputy Chief of Staff to AG Eric Holder. Though their current bios don’t show it as clearly as they once did, Garland and Fagell were instrumental in structuring the Justice Department’s response to financial meltdown crimes before returning to Covington’s white collar criminal defense practice. Finally, remember that AG Holder is himself a former Covington partner, as is Lanny Breuer, his head of the Criminal Division. Presumably both will return to Covington when they’re done at Justice.

Doing a complete list of the connections between Covington, our government and the bankers the Feds regulate and “prosecutes” takes too much time, and besides, I really want to talk about Promontory. Covington’s in this post purely because Promontory has deep roots at the firm, beyond Founder and CEO Eugene Ludwig’s time as a partner there.

From Promontory’s “Firm Leadership” page, we get:

Alfred H. Moses is Promontory’s Co-Founder, Senior Partner and Chief Strategy Officer.

Alfred was a Partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling for much of his career.

Here are other Covington alumni at Promontory: Managing Director Barak Sanford, Managing Director Michael Dawson (who also worked in the Treasury Department), Managing Director Joyce Payne Yette, and Principal and Deputy General Counsel Pat Gage. Paul Tagliabue, currently Of Cousnel at Covington, serves on Promontory’s Advisory Board.

Promontory’s also wired into Capitol Hill and the OCC beyond Ludwig. For example, Managing Director Amy Friend worked for Senator Chris Dodd and the Senate Banking Committee for years, as well as for the OCC. Konrad Alt, who is point person for Promontory on at least one of these reviews, once was counsel to the Senate Banking Committee

To sum up: the law firm most hardwired into the Justice Department under AG Holder, with deep ties to the OCC, is also thoroughly hardwired into Promontory Financial, which is helping Wells Fargo, a Covington client, “comply” with the OCC’s consent decree. And Promontory also employs veterans of our government’s bank regulating and law writing institutions who somehow managed never to work for Covington.

I’m beginning to think that “revolving door” doesn’t describe Covington & Burling’s relationship to the power, at least anything bank or law enforcement related. It’s more like Covington & Burling is the nerve center through which bailed-out bankers shape banker law enforcement and regulatory policy.

What a Real Compliance Firm Looks Like

For an article on internal investigations I wrote for Corporate Secretary Magazine, I had the pleasure of interviewing Toby Thacher. Here’s how his firm presents itself on its webpage:

Thacher Associates, LLC is one of the premier corporate intelligence, investigative and integrity risk-management firms in the United States. …

Although Thacher Associates is not a law firm, most of our senior managers are attorneys with considerable experience as prosecutors. …

Each year corporations, government and regulatory agencies, school districts, and charitable and religious institutions lose billions of dollars due to breaches of fiduciary duties, self-dealing by untrustworthy employees, and unethical actions by unscrupulous or unqualified vendors and contractors. Thacher Associates helps clients protect and enhance their reputation—and their bottom line.

For that article, Thacher told me that his firm is prepared to resign rather than look the other way:

“We were involved in one investigation where we believed there was criminal activity on the part of one of the corporate officers, which needed to be reported to the SEC and prosecutors,’ he recalls. ‘We asked for permission to tell the audit committee, but the client refused. Our only alternative was to resign from the investigation.’”

Here’s the bios of the three Thacher principals. All three prosecuted organized crime; none have practiced white-collar criminal defense. And this page shows they do the kind of work needed for both the OCC reviews and compliance assessment for the mortgage settlement. Can you imagine a Thatcher Associates-type firm implementing a Promontory-type charade? I can’t.

Now, I know about Thacher Associates only because the article I wrote. Surely there are other Thacher-type firms. You can spot them because they won’t be choc-a-bloc full of serial Covington alumni or similar folks from other big DC lobby/law firms. I include Thacher just to show what could be, what would be, if the Attorneys General signing the “settlement” or the OCC were remotely serious about ensuring the bailed-out bankers obey the law or honor their agreements.

So that’s the big tell: as so long as firms like Promontory (or Allonhill, see Michael Olenick) are allowed to do the ‘compliance’ work, the mortgage settlement and the OCC review process are meaningless. And don’t let the fervent marketing efforts of Housing Secretary Donovan convince you otherwise.

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61 comments

  1. LucyLulu

    I don’t know what the criteria being used for the reviews were. However I was helping a girlfriend with her foreclosure on her mortgage with Wells at the end of 2010. She couldn’t afford an attorney and legal aid wouldn’t help until the day of court (in NC, go before clerk, who checks for minimum requirements and homeowner can lodge objection and get court date with judge to rule, otherwise sale is set for 3 weeks.) The deed of trust had been signed over by Wells, the note had been last endorsed to Wells, and the notice of default stated that Wells owned the mortgage (was ‘owner of debt’). We independently discovered the mortgage (MERS also) was actually owned by Freddie now. We requested in writing that they clarify the competing claims on ownership (nice having sister who is attorney), their attorney notified us in writing that Wells indeed owned the mortgage. Subsequently Wells told her on the phone that Freddie did own the mortgage after all (Freddie had confirmed it owned the mortgage to us as well.) They had already filed the foreclosure suit of course, prior to delivering the NOD. Ultimately she was offered 12 months forbearance (O% interest, 5 yr forgiveness if remained in home) so it became a moot point. However, I would think this would qualify as an error on Wells part. And this was a solitary fluke? Whatever…..

  2. LucyLulu

    Given the Obama administration’s stance on whistleblowers, he is smart to keep his identity hidden.

  3. Tom Crowl

    No need to worry…

    Elaine Chou is on the Board of Wells Fargo. She’s the former Labor Secretary under Bush and with the Heritage Foundation. So clearly we’ll have the benefit of this champion of ‘the little people’ in setting things right!

    And even better, her husband is Mitch McConnell, Republican Leader of the Senate!

    So we can all rest assured that they’ll get to the bottom of all this… I’m sure these are great Americans and supporters of equal protection before the law.

    And with Warren Buffet as a good friend of the White House, all will undoubtedly be completely fixed.

    Of course…

    I could be mistaken.

    1. bigus. dikkuss

      i knew if i kept reading you infantile luggards i would find it was bush and not our lord god of vacations king puttt. thank you for confirming that i need more bullets

      1. LucyLulu

        Rather interestingly, the only assumption one can make about those who advertise the size of their appendages is that it is where most of their thinking takes place.

        It is readily apparent from reading here that fraud and thievery is not a partisan issue.

      2. Teejay

        Something someone said or wrote convinced
        you that you needed to “get more bullets”
        and your saying THEY are “infantile”?
        Really? Get a grip!

      3. farang

        “bigus. dikkuss says:
        February 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm
        i knew if i kept reading you infantile luggards i would find it was bush and not our lord god of vacations king puttt. thank you for confirming that i need more bullets”

        Yves, one of the things I really miss, now long gone from that website, was the Yahoo! comment sections “ignore” function tab, where children butting into adult conversations could be made to “disappear” from the dialogue.

        Hint…..

  4. Mike Payne

    What is the “average” American to do to demand justice? Abigail’s article leaves me more depressed than energized. From day 1, I’ve worked the front lines of Fraudclosure, working as a Sarasota real estate agent helping property owners avoid foreclosure. In my NON legal capacity, I’ve seen caring, competent attorneys such as Matt Weidner of St. Pete, FL, shake their heads in disbelief. What rule of law? What independent investigation of Wall Street fraud?

    Yesterday, today & tomorrow, property owners will lose their homes. All the while, politicians will parade in front of the cameras, spewing garbage about how THEY held banksters’ feet to the fire.

    BULLSHIT….

    It’s painful to sit at the kitchen table with parents who yesterday were a happy family, until both husband and wife lose their jobs. No jobs; no money; no faith. As I sat at one kitchen table a couple weeks ago, I never will forget the 2 children (brother and sister about my own kids’ ages, 7 and 11). The kids appeared to be watching TV to my left, though they clearly were listening to our conversation.

    Kids always know when something’s wrong at home.

    What they don’t know is who caused the wrong and why the wrong NEVER will be made right!

    Mike Payne

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      We can’t give up because reality is too depressing. Tell those in power who officially represent you that you’re not buying the BS and you want real action. Do it by phone, letter and in person (they do come in-district occasionally.) Make sure you’re registered to vote and everyone else you know is. Help recruit good candidates or be one. Take to the streets. Whatever it takes to be heard. (Non-violently of course.)

      1. kravitz

        Start by contacting reporters at your local newspapers and television stations.

        This story is getting easier to explain (reporters HATE to work) and the number of interview contacts isn’t that long a list. Yves, MO, DDayen, Abigail, Adam Levitin…

        And they all explain what is really a huge fking mess in laymen’s terms.

        The OCC Reviews are just another way for the bank to try taking your house. Obama is trying to help banks do it faster. While looking like he actually cares. Clearly, he doesn’t. (Why should he? He needs the Wall Street cash. Main Street is broke. Why bother with us?)

      2. Lambert Strether

        Or find your local Occupy and see if you’re comfortable with them. Some do foreclosure defense, though they go beyond the realm of paperwork and into the realm of the media and public shaming of the banks.

      3. Up the Ante

        “Tell those in power who officially represent you that you’re not buying the BS .. ”

        Okay, Abigail, I’ll do that.
        In 2004, the FBI warned of an epidemic of mortgage fraud to the media.
        Irregularities were found in the Virgin Islands’ CFC in 2005. The CFC was using Arthur Anderson of Enron fame. No word of those irregularities in the media until the dailycaller article.

        I’ll call the BS. The Justice Dept. is just as guilty of playing politics as either party.
        After all, someone attempted to murder Daschle with military grade anthrax. No results from the investigation. Daschle is said to be the representative that could have opposed Bush’s plans. Favors for sale.

        http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/01/bribery-compromised-officials-leave-indicted-financial-crime-suspects-free-from-prosecution-under-holders-doj/

    2. tired in nh

      Mike, You are so right…My kids are 11 and 4. I have been fighting Wells for 4 years….They just give me the same old same old story and keep setting a foreclosure date…I have an attorney but don’t believe they are as knowledgeable as i would have liked. I will keep on fighting so my KIDS can have a place called HOME……Noone should be going through this hell….It needs to stop…..We need a government that will help the people and not the BANKS…..

    3. LucyLulu

      Yesterday morning, Anita Hill was on one of the talk shows. She is advocating for the million(s) of children who have been affected by the foreclosure debacle. As she says, nobody considers the impact on the children of being uprooted from their homes. It was the first time I recalled this issue getting any attention, and honestly, one that I hadn’t given much, if any, consideration myself. Hopefully it will get more exposure.

  5. Occupado

    Energized!

    “The bankers got and still have troubled asset “relief.” Without that help they’d all be bankrupt today. But homeowners are still denied mortgage principal relief on their their homes, even in bankruptcy. Don’t tell me that the moral hazard of troubled asset relief is smaller or less systemically important than the moral hazard of mortgage principal relief, in bankruptcy or out. There’s absolutely no way to justify that disparate treatment on the merits.”

    1. kravitz

      Bloomberg also notes they get to keep home-equity loans out of the settlement as well.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-02-27/banks-win-reprieve-on-home-equity-loans-in-settlement-mortgages.html

      “The banks that service about half the nation’s mortgages on behalf of investors will be able to share losses on their junior loans with bondholders and get credit toward the cash they pledged to spend in the settlement, said an Obama administration official involved in drafting the $25 billion agreement. Second liens would typically be wiped out before senior-mortgage investors take a loss, said Laurie Goodman, managing director at Amherst Securities Group LP in New York.

      It’s “a gift to the banks, at investors’ expense,” said Goodman, a member of the Fixed Income Analysts Society’s Hall of Fame. “A proportionate write-down of the first and second represents a reversal of normal lien priority.”

      1. CogWheeler

        And Republicans keep running GM bondholders up the flagpole, as being screwed when they were taken out above the market value of GM’s crap bonds.

        Second mortgages are SECOND in line. Instead of being wiped out, pension plans and retired mortgage bond investors (the 1sts) get taken to the cleaners.

        Worst of all is the fiction of “25 billion”. Only if every dollar were principal, would this tiny amount, realtive to 6 trillion in lost US housing wealth, begin to matter.

    2. farang

      ‘Occupado says:
      February 27, 2012 at 9:56 am
      Energized!
      “The bankers got and still have troubled asset “relief.” Without that help they’d all be bankrupt today.’

      The TARP didn’t get rid of ONE “troubled asset”, in fact before the money reached the banks it had already been amended and agreed upon that they weren’t going to use any of the funds on said assets…so exactly what was your point, again?

      You’re either drinking the Fox Business News/WSJ/Bloomberg kool-aid, or incredibly gullible…or something…..

  6. Cunnington Dugan

    BB –

    “Well, first, when you deregulate or never regulate, mortgage bankers were never regulated, you effectively have decriminalized that industry, because only the regulators can serve as the sherpas, that the FBI and the prosecutors need to be able to understand and prosecute these kind of complex frauds.”

  7. PENDINGLAWSUIT

    Barry Fagan v Wells Fargo Bank Re REQUEST for JUDICIAL NOTICE of a RELATED CASE/REPORT Office of the Assessor-Recorder San Francisco Report as Sponsored by Phil Ting Assessor-Recorder for San Francisco Entitled Foreclosure in California a CRISIS OF COMPLIANCE FEBRUARY 2012

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/82105072/Barry-Fagan-v-Wells-Fargo-Bank-Re-REQUEST-for-JUDICIAL-NOTICE-of-a-RELATED-CASE-REPORT-Office-of-the-Assessor-Recorder-San-Francisco-Report-as-Sponsor

    Comes now Plaintiff Barry S. Fagan herewith serves upon Defendants and their Attorneys of record his Request for Judicial Notice of a related case/report issued from the Office of the Assessor-Recorder San Francisco Report as sponsored by Phil Ting Assessor-Recorder for San Francisco entitled FORECLOSURE IN CALIFORNIA A CRISIS OF COMPLIANCE SAN FRANCISCO | FEBRUARY 2012 as prepared by Aequitas Compliance Solutions, Inc.

    This is an official act of the Office of the Assessor-Recorder San Francisco Report as sponsored by Phil Ting Assessor-Recorder for San Francisco and Plaintiff hereby requests that the Court take Judicial Notice of the following AEQUITAS REPORT dated February 2012 and attached in its entirety as Exhibit A with this Request For Judicial Notice. That report specifically concludes that an audit by San Francisco county officials of about 400 recent foreclosures there determined that almost all involved either legal violations or suspicious documentation and that in a significant number of cases that 45 percent of the foreclosures, properties were sold at auction to entities improperly claiming to be the beneficiary of the deeds of trust. In other words, the report said, “a ‘stranger’ to the deed of trust,” gained ownership of the property; as a result, the sale may be invalid, it said. In 6 percent of cases, the same deed of trust to a property was assigned to two or more different entities, raising questions about which of them actually had the right to foreclose. Many of the foreclosures that were scrutinized showed gaps in the chain of title, the report said, indicating that written transfers from the original owner to the entity currently claiming to own the deed of trust have disappeared.

    The issues and findings are intimately related to the case at bar and is authorized under California Evidence Code § 452.

  8. PENDINGLAWSUIT

    Posted on February 13, 2012 by Neil Garfield

    Barry Fagan v Wells Fargo Bank re: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Complaint

    Information about the company
    Wells Fargo Bank NA
    United States

    Wells Fargo Bank has fraudulently altered Barry Fagan’s Deed of Trust and the attached expert opinion dated 1/12/2012 from Forensic Document Examiner Dr. Laurie Hoeltzel specifically explains that the handwritten page 4 has been altered on two separate versions of that original Deed of Trust. Barry Fagan has recorded all 3 versions of the same deed of trust with the Los Angeles Registrar Recorders Office on November 29, 2011 as instrument no. 2011-1608398.

    The recorded Notice of Pendency of Action showing three different versions of that same July 9, 2007 Deed of Trust as originally recorded under instrument no. 2007-1622100. Judge Tarle, of The Superior Court of California, West District has taken Judicial Notice of that Recorded Document. Barry Fagan has submitted credible evidence from a forensic document examiner with over 20 years of experience that multiple fraudulent alterations have occurred on the “Handwritten Number page 4” which is located on page 3/4 of the Deed of Trust. All of the Deeds of Trust now reflect an entirely different handwritten NUMBER 4, and one of the exhibits also has a snake like line drawn on it, which is not present on the other two exhibits.

    C.P.A. Shawn P. Adamo stated: “It is my professional opinion that the altered deed of trust is concealing an irrevocable assignment, and explains why Wells Fargo is unable to produce loan level accounting concerning Mr. Fagan’s loan. Wells Fargo claims that any level of detail relating to Mr. Fagan’s mortgage is non- existent. As a result, CPA Shawn Adamo provided two expert opinions, (one an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury dated January 24, 2012 and the other is a Feb. 6, 2012 complaint letter sent to various regulatory agencies) from C.P.A Shawn Adamo explaining that Wells Fargo Bank has failed to provide a loan level balance sheet accounting and is concealing the fact that they do not own Barry Fagan’s loan.

    Additionally, forensic document Expert Dr. Laurie Hoeltzel has declared under penalty of perjury on January 2, 2012 that Wells Fargo Bank is robo-signing Discovery Responses by using multiple authors of the name Rhonda Bernard Thomas.(see attached declaration from Dr. Laurie Hoeltzel) I have also attached an affidavit from from forensic loan analyst/expert Javiar Taboas dated July 14, 2011 who is specifically stating that Wells Fargo securitized/sold Barry Fagan’s note and is fraudulently claiming continued ownership without any proof whatsoever.(See attached affidavit of Expert Javiar Taboas) Also attached is an illegally prepared Declaration of Default which is not actually signed by a natural person, but is signed by Wells Fargo Bank NA. This is a blatant California Civil Code Section 2923.5 and 2924 violation in that this illegally prepared document set in motion the entire illegal Non-Judicial Foreclosure.

    Also attached is a letter from Wells Fargo Bank dated December 5, 2011 and states that Wells Fargo Bank is reviewing Barry Fagan’s file and will respond on December 15, 2016 (THAT’S 5 YEARS FROM NOW!). Barry Fagan claims that this was a form of retaliatory contact. Wells Fargo is a criminal enterprise that is attempting to illegally foreclose on my primary residence by way of fraudulently altered documents, robo-signed discovery responses, invalid Declaration of Default, no loan level accounting and Barry Fagan’s loan file needs to be investigated at the highest level within your organization to see that a crime has actually occurred! The law offices of Kutak Rock LLP located in Irvine, California needs to have Barry Fagan’s NOTE and Deed of Trust subpoenaed so that your own CFPB organization can inspect those documents to see that they have indeed been fraudulently altered and photo-shopped. Please also visit http://www.fedup99.com/following-barry-fagan/ to see that even Barry Fagan’s loan application was fraudulently prepared by Wells Fargo private banker Dalia Warren.

    Complaint history

    A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau specialist is reviewing your complaint and may contact you and Wells Fargo Bank NA to collect additional information. This could be a lengthy process, so we ask for your patience.

    Thank you,

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    http://www.consumerfinance.gov
    (855) 411-CFPB (2372)

    1. LucyLulu

      Unbelievable. The review being completed by 2016 was positively priceless. Unfortunately, few homeowners have the money to hire attorneys, get loan audits, and hire document specialists to fight their foreclosures as Fagan is. The lenders know the odds are stacked in their favor. Worst case scenario is a ruling in favor of the homeowner with cancellation of the debt. No big deal when 99% of homeowners don’t contest.

  9. Cynthia Kouril

    There are many more firms like Thatcher Associates. Many of the them, including mine (Robert L. Folks & Associates, LLP) belong to the International Association of Independent Privite Sector Inspectors General [IAIPSIG]. Most are staffed by former prosecutors or former IGs.

    They are not hard to find is anyone actually wanted to find them.

    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      Thatcher etal sounds nice but WTF? They found evidence of criminal actions and they did not report it? Cowards is all I will say. It is hard, and Lord knows how I would react but resigning is still half ass.

  10. ItsAllaSham

    The principal write downs and refinances will only be for those who have owned their homes for a while and for which loans were not Fannie or Freddie. In other words, not the sucker loans that most of us have. The purpose is to help those that really don’t need it, but have had the equity in their homes devalued. It is simply a means to help them reaquire value that was lost. They are the “special” ones not like most of us who “might” get a whopping $2,000 for their home instead of a write down and refi that will equate to many many thousands of dollars. It is just more of the same; no surprises.

  11. Susan the other

    Its cannibal capitalism. There are mountains of ignored info out there about what caused the Great Bubble. It was all that “capital” (loot mostly from war or taxes or fraudulent accounting or stolen pension funds, looney insurance products, corporate raiding, all sorts of derivatives – you name it) that flew beneath the radar. It always parked itself offshore for safekeeping in between “investments” and it went jet setting around the world seeking return. The image is of an enormous pile of “money” making a huge windfall of interest off of tiny little economies. Somewhere Bertold Brecht is smiling; Marriner Eccles is heartbroken. And Eric Holder is looking at the camera and blinking way too fast.

    So the Great Bubble gathered momentum for decades and was a runaway freight train by 2006. When the Fed derailled it by raising interest rates. Curiously just the year before, 2005, Congress passed a law that prevented homeowners from declaring bankruptcy to protect their homes in a foreclosure. Clearly, better legislation would have given homeowners ironclad protection against these sphinxters.

    1. Lambert Strether

      This to me is the “playbook” issue again. Weren’t there also separate laws passed, more or less at the same time, on credit card debt and bankruptcy? [Hi, Joe Biden! [waves]]. It’s rather like closing the trap after luring the animal prey inside, isn’t it?

      1. Susan the other

        That is the feeling I’ve got. But they just created such an sloppy mess they got their foot caught. Also thank you for bowdlerizing me.

  12. chunga

    I’d like to know where the community of foreclosure defense attorneys are on this. I think most agree this settlement is another “shitty deal”.

    I embarked on an endeavor to find 50 attorneys, one in each state, to file a motion of objection based on Equal Protection under the Constitution.

    400 emails later and calls to attorneys in every state and guess how many have shown even a mild interest.

    A whopping total of 13. The work by Abigail, Yves, Martin, etc. is wonderful. What have the attorneys done beyond clicking “Like” on Facebook and uploading empassioned videos to Youtube?

    Harmon Law Continues Jihad on Justice and the Conjured Corporate “Resolution”

    http://www.foreclosurehamlet.org/profiles/blogs/harmon-law-continues-jihad-on-justice-and-the-conjured-corporate-

    1. Walter Wit Man

      There is no real community of foreclosure defense attorneys. There probably weren’t many (if any) lawyers that “specialized” in this (at least exclusively) before the housing bubble, and there probably aren’t too many now (and the ones that do are hounded by the government/bar). There’s just not much money in foreclosure defense.

      Bankruptcy attorneys have traditionally done this work and if it were me facing these issues I would first contact a bankruptcy lawyer.

      The attorneys that specialized in foreclosure defense after the bubble burst were often associated with non-attorneys and many of these were “mill” type operations. The bars of many states, like California, viewed these groups as being shady and have done stings on them. I have to admit I have a prejudice against these foreclosure defense mills, but I suspect much of that has been because of the government focus on them. Also, because of the government/bar focus on these lawyers, many good lawyers won’t do the work. It’s considered dishonorable and shady.

      So that is part of the problem with your search. I would search by bankruptcy attorney first, and you are likely to find a lot better advice. I would especially be leery of non attorney foreclosure defense mills.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Maybe filing a “friend of the court” brief, or a similar motion as a party of interest, in the court where the agreement is going to be filed?

      If one as going to file something in state court I imagine it would be something like a writ of mandamus ordering the AG of one’s particular state not to settle . . . .

      Or one could instigate a state bar complaint against the state attorneys general in one’s state for agreeing to a settlement before any investigation had been conducted and when the principals seem to have conflict of interest (see Holder’s old firm’s ties to the perps).

      My first impression without looking it up is that filing an objection or motion in the court where the settlement will be filed is the most likely to succeed.

      1. chunga

        The “committee” of 13 that I’ve managed to put together seems to be waiting for someone to write one and go first.

        The banker men sure have a community of lawyers who are willing to do almost anything (see Harmon Law’s flipped out Corporate Resolution…lol)

        There IS one that will go first and he doesn’t play nice. I suspect it might be along the lines of a Rule 24 Intervention but I don’t know for sure.

        What I do know is; it will be legally unimpeachable and written as sharply as this settlement is absurd.

        It will not be secret. You can count on that.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I will be very interested to see whatever action is taken and to read the motion.

          Here’s Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 re intervention: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_24

          At the very least one could hope to get some attention for filing it. Of course I’m sure the perps will choose a venue that is favorable to them . . . Do you know which court they plan on submitting the settlement agreement to? Is there an existing case?

        2. LucyLulu

          Go get ‘em, Chunga!!! I’m impressed with your efforts. My sister is an attorney. I asked her why nobody wanted to take foreclosure cases. She said because people who are going through foreclosure have no money to pay attorneys. The wins in court that pay legal fees are insufficient to cover the cases lost (only two wins I have found in my state thus far……. good chance there may be more, but you get the point, they are the rare exception). Attorneys need to make a living, too. OTOH, lenders have lots of money, other people’s money, to pay attorneys.

          I’m not in the legal field but am very knowledgeable as far as laypeople go. If there is some way that I can help, I’m volunteering. I’m frustrated too that my letters and phone calls are falling on deaf ears. As I am sure Chunga knows, whoever files the case gets to choose the venue or district (will be federal, I presume), at least initially. I have a hunch I know where it will be filed. ;)

  13. skinla

    Just like the cockroaches from Goldman Sachs are in most of the meaningful finance positions in the U.S. government, so are crooks from Covington & Burling in charge of all the important legal /justice positions in our government.

  14. Bravo

    When will the public see the systemic issue we have with regard to how regulatory institutions like the OCC are funded? With their captive passivity, the regulators were complicit in bringing us to the edge of the cliff, and now have as much vested in sweeping it all under the rug as the bankers do. Big banks/government/regulators/”independent foreclosure audit firms”, all one big happy family.

  15. Conscience of a conservative

    This has long since stopped being funny. The OCC is no different than the Bear Stearns in its use Clayton. Where is Carl Levin on this?

  16. Conscience of a conservative

    Susan, has anyone verified this account? It strikes me as a possibility that this guy was a plant. It’s a serious accusation and while I would not be shocked, I also would not want to jump to conclusions.

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      Hi

      I quizzed Mandelman on what he did to verify the story, and am satisfied it’s real. expecting to speak directly with the insider in the relatively near future. When I quizzed Mandelman, I told him it wasn’t that I doubted him (Mandelman) but that the Dan Rather episode and others show sometimes plants can happen. It’s certainly a fair question to be asking.

      Abigail

  17. Rehabber

    The Alabama civil court of appeals has been active overturning actions for ejectment (the AL version of eviction for foreclosed homeowners) based on bad foreclosure actions.

    BAC foreclosed but failed to acquire an assignment from MERS
    http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20ALCO%2020111216006.xml&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR

    GMAC foreclosed but did not have a valid assignment
    http://www.maynardcooper.com/system/review/Patterson.pdf

    Fannie Mae improperly negotiated a note to a servicer, while the servicer foreclosed
    http://alabamaappellatewatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2100235.pdf

    A couple just filed a wrongful foreclosure suit against Wells for double tracking (negotiating a mod while proceeding with a foreclosure sale). Facts as stated in the complaint are devastating.

    http://www.alabamaconsumerprotection.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/McCarty-v.-Wells-Fargo-Stamped-Filed-Federal-Complaint-1-9-12.pdf

  18. J Shannon

    Fraught with Fraud – Top to Bottom – Front to Back – Left to Right – Through and Through and anyone with half a brain now clearly knows that to be fact of our current reality.
    No matter how much Lipstick our government puts on these PIGS they still wallow in the excrement of their criminality. Sad truth is when government is corrupt the people always suffer.
    BUYER BEWARE – that’s the law of the land.
    HUGE PROBLEM – FRAUD VISCIATES EVERYTHING and our government is hell bent to cover up the FRAUD it helped perpetrate.
    IN 2003 I was an unsuspecting fool when I bought a home. 9 years later its worth 75% of what I paid for it. The bank took my 20% cash Down Payment and used it to not only steal from me but everyone else. I’ve paid them $TENS of thousands in interest and more $TENS of thousands to Real Estate Taxes. They win – we loose! Except FRAUD Vesciates Everything.
    I’m looking for Counsel to start a Class Action Law Suit on behalf of all buyers who put their “CASH” in a fractional banking system fraught with fraud and designed to steal consumer money. Us fools must now deal with their excrement! Trying to find an Attorney to take on the STOLEN “$TRILLIONS now in the hands of these social criminals has not been easy!
    Money talks and BS walks!

      1. jayjay

        Because when your home is illegally taken in foreclosure by the bank that set you up for the foreclosure before you knew what was happening, then all your deposits, your hours and $$$ that went into the home and the taxes, all of it was for nothing and the bank took everything away from lots of people. Most times they do not even have ownership of the loans, having sold them to trusts, and then they still foreclose in their fraud or them being the “secured lenders” which is a lie, and they steal everything from everyone…..Guess you have to be there to get the understanding of how thier plot has worked for the last 15 years this was planned. The thing I don’t get, is why out politicians are letting them get away with it, when they all know. I hope they cannot sleep at night, and have the same hospitalizations that are the people in foreclosure have. That’s the least they deserve for abadoning the American public to fraud.

  19. Scott Osborne

    For amusement, read the action plan responses from various financial institutions posted by the FED today:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/enforcement/20120227a.htm

    The engagement letter with Deloitte that is part of the J.P. Morgan submission should be required to be sent to every shareholder with a letter from management explaining that this is how the Board has decided to spend the company’s resources in lieu of actual supervision.

    How about an action plan that says “The company will terminate and refer to prosecution any employee that commits fraud or perjury in connection with the foreclosure of any mortgage and will immediately terminate that employee’s immediate supervisor. The company will refer to the appropriate bar association for disciplinary action any law firm that knowingly submits false certifications as part of any foreclosure proceeding and will terminate the attorney in the company law department that was responsible for supervising the activity of that law firm.”

    A little personal responsibility might focus compliance efforts.

  20. Bravo

    If you were carrying the errors and omissions liability coverage for the “independent” foreclosure audit firms, wouldn’t you be more than a little concerned about exposure to potential claims by attorneys for homeowners relating to faulty foreclosure review audit work performed by your insured? One more way for the banks to get help paying for a potential settlement with the homeowner?

  21. NOPE

    “Wells Fargo’s Promontory process apparently found no wrong doing in 9,996 cases out of 10,000 examined.”

    Pulling shit out of your ass certainly doesn’t help one’s argument.

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