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Bizarre Department of Justice Disclaimer for Mortgage Settlement Website

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Dave Dayen pointed out how peculiar that the mortgage settlement propaganda website, www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com, is a .com and not a .gov. And it turns out the Department of Justice disavows its content (hat tip April Charney):

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25 comments

  1. McClearance

    This is standard Gubbmint procedure, indemnify, eg accuse the contracted drones of errors, omissions, mistakes, criminal intent, terrorism, et al.

  2. citizendave

    A WHOIS query shows the domain record was created on: 2012-02-01 19:09:44.0

    The identity of the registrant appears to be hidden behind a privacy wall (which anyone can do, typically to avoid spam):

    Domain Name: NATIONALMORTGAGESETTLEMENT.COM
    Registrar: MONIKER

    Registrant [3777793]:
    Moniker Privacy Services NATIONALMORTGAGESETTLEMENT.COM@monikerprivacy.net
    Moniker Privacy Services
    20 SW 27th Ave.
    Suite 201
    Pompano Beach
    FL
    33069
    US

      1. aletheia33

        there is something SO creepy about this whole setup. DOJ disclaimer–huh? if they think it’s not kosher, why don’t DOJ just tell whoever put it up to take it down? has DOJ lost control of their own fix? (or really never had it, probably more like it.)

        i’d like to take advantage of this live link and send nationalmortgagesettlement.com an email telling them what i think of them, but i don’t have the guts. i somehow have the feeling there’s some really, really bad dude(s) on the other end of it. the kind you don’t mess with. you don’t send emails to those kind of guys.

        1. Jim A

          That sort of notice is standard any time a government web-page has a link to a non-government web-page. Precisely so that people don’t confuse this with official government information. Presumably, this site done by the banks. So we can anticipate this is going to have an agenda. While the first amendment raises a high bar for what it would take-down a web site, so that isn’t in the cards. But of course if the DoJ had any significant disagreement with what was presented there, they’d take out their link to it. So I think we can assume that while this site doesn’t constitute official policy, the DoJ is in broad agreement with what is said there.

  3. chris m.

    I just received an email from the PA Attorney Genral promoting this mortgagesettlement.com website. Consumer Protection wote me back in response to my opposition to this deal, and provided the link to this propaganda site.
    Here is that email string:

    PS Linda, in addition to learning who owns the .com domain that is promoting this settlement, please advise where I may find a copy of the actual settlement agreement, the actual terms, not someone’s promise of what it might be. As I understand it, these have not yet been reduced to writing.

    The website you sent me to just says the settlement is “coming soon”. We’ve been told this for well over a year. Candidly, this looks like a thinly-veiled effort at election year propaganda, no offense intended.

    Please advise, and thanks again for your time and attention.

    Sincerely,

    —–Original Message—–
    From: xxxx
    Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 7:49 PM
    To: ‘Williams, Linda J.’
    Subject: RE: Consumer Topics : Mortgages

    Thanks for your email, Linda. It’s not exactly what I would have hoped for, but I do appreciate you getting back to me.

    Please tell me who owns the domain name: nationalmortgagesettlement.com?

    I stand by my opposition to this boondoggle for the banks. The idea of permitting them to make investors in MBS pay for their wrongdoing is just plain wrong. Once again the culpable individuals within these huge banks go unscathed, while pension funds and other institutional investors will bear the brunt of this stealth bailout to the large banks you mention.

    How is it justice for one class of victim to pay restitution to another?

    By permitting these banks to satisfy their penalty under this settlement by virtue of principal write downs of third party (Investment Trusts) owned mortgages, this is precisely what you are doing: obtaining restitution from one class of victim to pay to another.

    Please let me know when you disgorge any of the profits enjoyed by the ones who masterminded this enormous fraud. As far as I am concerned it is an ongoing criminal conspiracy which the government, through this settlement, is simply aiding and abetting.

    These same banks have violated the terms of every consent order they’ve been a party to over the last decade. Why settle with them at all? They should be put into receivership, broken up, and the profits stolen by their directors and other principal stakeholders disgorged, at a minimum, with individuals appropriately fined and/or imprisoned after a careful scrutiny of their fraudulent criminal conduct. As it is, this is just the latest example of the deterioration in the rule of law in our nation.

    It’s sad that the nation’s ranking lawyers must side with those operating within this established framework of criminal fraud and ensuing government whitewash. I am deeply saddened by this turn of events, and I fully expect this settlement to enflame the passions that we have seen on display in the streets all across the country for the last 6 months or so. I am a 53 year old father of two small boys, and I plan on participating in these protests myself. I expect this movement will grow throughout the coming year, and I plan on supporting it, our existing institutions of government having thus far failed us all.

    God Bless America, and thanks again for taking the time to write to me.

    xxxxxxxx
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Williams, Linda J. [mailto:lwilliams@attorneygeneral.gov]
    Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 2:05 PM
    To: xxxxxxxx
    Subject: FW: Consumer Topics : Mortgages

    Dear Mr. xxxxxxx,

    Your communication to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has been forwarded to the Bureau of Consumer Protection (“Bureau”). The Bureau, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, other States’ Attorneys General, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, have worked together to address aberrations in the foreclosure processes used by major banks. The recently announced National Mortgage Settlement (“Settlement”) includes 49 States and several Federal agencies and addresses those issues. It covers the following banks: Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. If you are interested in more information about the Settlement, it can be found at the following link: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

    I understand your concerns about how any Settlement can appropriately redress the results of the servicing practices at issue. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your perspective on these important issues with us. –Linda Williams

    Linda J. Williams
    Chief Deputy Attorney General
    Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection
    Strawberry Square, 15th Floor
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
    lwilliams@attorneygeneral.gov
    Telephone: 717.787.9707
    Facsimile: 717.705.3795

    —–Original Message—–
    From: info@attorneygeneral.gov [mailto:info@attorneygeneral.gov]
    Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 12:25 PM
    To: ContactUS PPD All Topics
    Subject: Consumer Topics : Mortgages

    From: xxxxxxx
    Email: xxxxxxx
    Consumer Topics : Mortgages

    Dear Attorney General Kelly:

    I rarely write to public officials, but I am taking the time to do so today, to encourage you to oppose the multi state settlement of foreclosure abuse issues now under consideration with the major mortgage servicers. From what I have read the terms are not favorable to consumers and will essentially be a whitewash of these concerns on behalf of the biggest banks. No proper investigation has been done, to properly gauge the scope of the problems purportedly being addressed. The terms of the settlement will not prevent further abuses in the future because the punishment imposed for the egregious acts of the major servicers is puny by comparison to both the harm perpetrated on concumers and the profit realized by the banks in perpetrating the fraud and other abuses they have inflicted.

    Please stand up for the middle class, stand up for homeowners, and stand up for the rule of law in our society. The lawlessness of these huge banks has got to end. Your decision will have a far reaching impact on the type of society my children will live in. Please don’t let them down. Thank you for your consideration.

    Respectfully,

    1. Judy C.

      Kudos to you Chris! Writing and complaining to ANY official in PA state govmt is an exercise in futility. Corbett and Grover’s minions. Nothing to see here…….

  4. Harvey Murray Christmas

    Exit disclaimers are standard on government websites. See http://www.justice.gov/legalpolicies.htm. They probably used a .com to be “neutral” since there are different state/fed agencies involved. All in all, this seems to be a bit tendentious, conspiracy-wise. However, the aesthetics of the settlement website are pretty terrible, in an “untrustworthy consumer finance company website” sort of way.

    1. aletheia33

      @ harvey, regarding your term “conspiracy-wise”, someone suggested here recently we should acquaint ourselves with the definition of “conspire.” i for one feel sure that wh, doj, hud, quite a few AGs, and other parties have conspired to get this fix in.

      your term “untrustworthy consumer finance company” means criminal, doesn’t it? as in, scam or fraud? considering it’s supposed to be announcing and explaining a federal government “program” that is supposed to be under the purview of “justice”, “creepy” will stand as my take on it.

      should we just call this “pretty terrible aesthetics”? there’s a lot i could say, and i’m sure others have said before me, about why someone might refer to propaganda as just a matter of bad taste.

      regarding your term “tendentious,” which does mean “biased,” i admit to a bias in favor of the truth. i would love to see something coming out of this settlement that even has the look and feel of truth, let alone justice.

      for example, notice how history is rewritten on the website’s “news” page.

  5. deeringothamnus

    Previously, beheading was an honor reserved only for aristocrats, while poor people were usually drawn and quartered. With the invention of the gulliotine, everyone could enjoy that luxury equally. Egalite!

    1. icanhasbailout

      That’s just the domain registrar, because the owner has PAID to keep his registration information private.

      That is an aspect to this that raises more questions than it answers.

      The exit disclaimer is standard but the reason it exists is to legally break the organizational responsibility of the source website for acts committed by the second.

      In other words, if whoever runs nationalmortgagesettlement.com is ripping you off, that disclaimer limits DoJ liability for having directed you to it.

      So yes it is standard but that does not mean it is not meaningful! What it means is that this mortgage settlement is not a government program at all but in fact a private, extra-legal arrangement.

      What is going on here with this program is similar to the program put in place to deal with the BP disaster: the government acting not to protect the people, but to protect companies that caused some man-made disaster through limitation of liability.

  6. Judson Witham

    It Seems that The Settlement Announcement is itself a FRAUD …. it Must Be In Hiding eeeerrr wait Who actually has it again … where is this TOP SECRET SETTLEMENT hmmmm Is This like That WMD Crap that Nobody ever Found ??? FOIA Demands are being IGNORED …… Maybe The Settlement is Locked up With Barry soentoros Birth Records hmmmmm Dear Eric Holder …. The Gang of 49 AGs Barry Soentoro hey Joe Biden … Where is this Settlement ????? http://www.facebook.com/groups/342722552426562/

  7. Judson Witham

    I spoke on the Phone with the US Attorney’s Office In NY Yesterday Morning …. I was Emailed and in Conversation advised THERE ARE NO PUBLIC FILES that the PUBLIC can obtain per FOIA regarding the Alleged Settlement. The Timeline and Details and Chronology of the CLAIMED Settlement is Off limits to the American People. it Seems that there are Many Many Many Many PUBLIC Officials and Law Firms owned by INSIDERS going back DECADES that are Intimately and Directly involved in the Looting of Americans Pension Funds, Bank Accounts, Credit Unions, Their Stock Markets and Commodity Exchanges as Their PUBLIC TREASURY. America Has Been Looted BY THE INSIDERS and all this Mortgage Fraud and Illegal Foreclosures … Same Sad Story. From Barney Frank and NEWT and Mittens to the Clintons and the Bushs … Your Government are the CROOKS.

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