So Why is the Administration Trying to Look a Smidge More Aggressive About Going After Banks?

In the last few days, the Department of Justice (as well as the SEC) filed a case against Bank of America over a 2008 prime mortgage securitization that takes breaks some new ground in fraud allegations and is also saber-rattling in the form of launching a criminal investigation into JP Morgan’s sale of mortgage backed securities.

So what’s with the new-found religion? The Snowden effect? Perhaps, but given that cases take a while to gin up, this may be Holder trying to rebuild what little he has left in the way of a reputation after confirming remarks made by others in his office that some animals, um, banks, were more equal than others. From The Hill in March:

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder told lawmakers that he is concerned that some institutions have become so massive and influential that bringing criminal charges against them could imperil the financial system and the broader economy. His remarks come as a growing number of lawmakers have suggested that big banks are, effectively, “too big to jail.”

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” he said. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

This statement was widely pilloried and a petition objecting to the “too big to jail” doctrine got over 300,000 signatures. And remember, the roughing up of Holder in the Senate was well-deserved, and at least in part the result of the outrage over the failure to prosecute HSBC or any individuals over large scale, institutionalized money laundering operations. As Matt Taibbi wrote last December:

Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a “record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.

The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”

So how convincing is the DoJ’s effort to prove its manhood on the banking beat? Well, as we indicated, the suit against Bank of America makes some new types of fraud allegations, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. I hate to be on the same page as staunch bank defender Matt Levine, but it’s hard to like this case. If the legal arguments it makes really do have merit, then why did it wait until the statute of limitations had expired on the deals that helped blow up the global economy to go after…a 2008 jumbo deal? Let us turn the mike over to our house expert, MBS Guy:

This is a strange case in many ways….the DOJ seems to be going much farther in its allegations than it or the SEC have gone in any other MBS or CDO case. In fact, the complaint seems to raise issues that haven’t even been raised or been successful in private suits. As a result, I think the complaint is on fairly weak ground, precedent wise.

However, if the standards applied in the complaint were applied to earlier deals, especially Alt A and subprime deals, hundreds of cases could have been brought by the government against MBS which had similar or worse issues. So why did the DOJ and SEC decide to bring this case, and not others?

For example, the complaint says that BofA committed fraud by not disclosing that the bulk of loans were from its wholesale channel rather than its retail channel and, because performance on wholesale had deteriorated in recent months, BofA should have known that performance would have been weaker.

In addition, the complaint charges BofA with fraud for failing to perform any due diligence on the loans, which was against industry customs and internal BofA policies.

Also, the complaint alleges that BofA included performance statistics that were misleading because they represented the performance of mostly retail loans, rather than the mostly wholesale loans in the deal.

These are the key allegations, though the complaint also highlights loans that were improperly coded or which didn’t comply with underwriting guidelines – more akin to simple rep and warranty cases.

At the time this deal was issued, everyone in the market knew that wholesale loans were generally riskier than retail loans and that issuers had a responsibility to do some diligence. Most investors asked about these things prior to buying bonds in a deal, but they were rarely explicit disclosure items in an offering document. Nor were they disclosure items in this deal. Since the mix of wholesale/retail and amount of diligence weren’t mentioned in the offering document, and were almost never disclosed in MBS, how are the DoJ and SEC going to be able to prove it was fraud to include a lot of wholesale loans or not do any diligence?

Likewise, the comparative performance stats typically included extensive qualifications about past performance not being appropriate for projecting future performance and not being a perfect match for the loans in the deal. This was a much bigger issue for Alt A deals, which had almost no performance history and so relied on very rough proxies to overall portfolio performance. Had this standard been applied to other, earlier deals, almost every Alt A deal, and most subprime deals, would have been in violation of the standard.

Finally, the suit lists two unnamed senior BofA employees as being the parties primarily responsible for issuing a deal they knew was weaker than it was represented to be. Yet, these unnamed execs do not appear as defendants. The allegations make clear that many BofA employees, including a couple of traders, tried to keep bad loans out of the deal and tried to get diligence performed, but the two unnamed execs overruled them. How is it possible that these two get to remain unnamed and uncharged? In contrast, many private suits, as well as the FHFA suits, name everyone at the sued companies who signed the deal documents as defendants against fraud charges (rightly so, in my opinion).

Also, importantly, the suits don’t really allege that the disclosed data and information was incorrect (except in a few limited cases). The wholesale loans were bad, but they were generally originated in accordance with wholesale standards – it was just a weaker channel. The LTVs were low and the FICOs were high (over 720), as was typically for prime deals, and the suit doesn’t say that these numbers were wrong or misleading.

Despite his careful writing style, MBS Guy is on the hanging judge end of the spectrum relative to most mortgage industry participants. So if he can’t wrap his mind around this filing, one has to wonder why the DoJ and the SEC would both file cases that look likely to go splat, particularly when they’ve proven to be very sensitive to losing cases.

Now by contrast, the news of the DoJ investigating JP Morgan criminally for MBS sounds sexy. So curb your enthusiasm. I’d hazard that this case is likely to be about Bear Stearns, particularly since Bear managed to out-do the rest of the industry in the seediness of the practices in its MBS unit. Now the DoJ may well be onto something new, but my guess would be the investigation is related to double-dipping at EMC. The big problem with that idea is that how could the statute of limitations not have expired? But the article clearly refers to subprime mortgages and the subprime market breathed its last in 2007, so they must have found a way around that problem (or have a tolling agreement in place). From the Financial Times:

Investigators from the civil division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California told JPMorgan in May that they had “preliminarily concluded that the firm violated certain federal securities laws” when it sold subprime loans packaged into securities, the bank said in the filing.

The New York Times has a smidge more detail:

It said that the civil division of the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California, which covers a stretch of land that includes Sacramento and Yosemite, has “preliminarily concluded” that JPMorgan flouted federal laws with its sale of subprime mortgage securities from 2005 to 2007. The parallel criminal inquiry, according to one person briefed on the matter, is in a more preliminary stage.

Adding to scrutiny of the bank, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are examining whether JPMorgan duped investors into buying troubled mortgage securities that later imploded, according to people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It’s inconceivable that the DoJ would indict JP Morgan at a corporate level. Not only would Holder not risk destabilizing the bank, there’s simply no way the Treasury would let him go there. If any actual criminal charges are contemplated (remember, this is just an investigation), expect a rerun of the UBS Libor strategy, where UBS paid a large fine for Libor rigging and admitted to criminal conduct…in its Japanese unit. I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, but there’s no reason to expect anything other than new and better optics from the Obama Administration at this late date.

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  1. sleeper

    OK, the Feds allege frautd in a civil case.

    But how come the charges do not include wire and mail fraud ?

    Friend of the court brief anyone ?

    After all this would be a prime opportunity for private enterprise to join forces with the Feds for a big payoff.

    Holder isn’t going to do this on his lonesome.

  2. lakewoebegoner

    “So what’s with the new-found religion? T”

    the west wing’s triangulation 3000-bot is telling the administration that (finally) his previously unquestioned support from the left and the purplish-left tech crowd is eroding.

    so the Administration is pulling a “baby you know i love you” to shore up with base… that the admin has enough support to gut SS/Medicare in 2014.

  3. Susan the other

    Fool me once…. Clearly the Obama administration’s DOJ is doing something here to help, not hurt, JPMChase. What it is probably isn’t too mysterious. They will investigate the banksters’ behavior, Bear Stearns/EMC and JPMChase, and they will say there were minor irregularities and that will be that. Remember, Obama said in his SOU two years ago that “nothing illegal happened.” The purpose of these legal actions by DOJ is nothing more than to wipe the slate clean. Allow the banks to live on and the rest of the world to die. Just another disgusting piece of fakery by our dear leader.

    1. lakewoebegoner

      bingo. no way JPM is going to be touched as Schumer wants to protect JPM’s NY flank while Illinois Democrats want to protect JPM’s Illinois flank (as JPM has a big footprint in Chicago due to its purchase of Bank One/First Chicago).

      Coincidentally, the law firm where Barack/Michelle both worked/met used to share the same office building as First Chicago/Bank One/JPM.

      1. John Cummings

        Democrats and the financial industry don’t get along as well as they used to. Clinton has moved the party more along the lines of domestic manufacturers so they may not care.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Some of these institutions become so large that … if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy.’

      Ask yourself — what is the largest entity on the planet, in terms of revenues? It’s Usgov.

      Read between the lines, folks: Holder is actually discussing his own de facto immunity, in broad daylight.

      If the rule of law still existed, a low-level racketeer like Holder would be paraded down Broadway in a tiger cage, while outraged citizens poked him through the bars with sharpened bamboo sticks.

    3. RepubAnon

      Call me cynical, but possibly the idea is to file suits likely to lose, and use that to claim that you just can’t prevail in these types of cases.

      1. John

        That is cynical. And probably true.

        My head spins every day at the range and depth of criminalty in this country by the crimial elites.

        They are masters at being criminals.

  4. Tommy Lesko

    Brookings effect, you know, hedging your bets after the bombs were dropped and they got away with it.

  5. allcoppedout

    Most of us are probably resigned to business-as-usual. We already classic have a classic empirical example. Japan has not recovered since 1990 and until then was vaunted as a wonder-economy.
    Financial services look increasingly like the new diseased tulip bulb to me. We have had 5 years in the UK with nationalised banks and no real sign of a utility-productive-investment alternative. The current best rumour is that fracking will save us and adverts from Nationwide Building Society that they are an alternative to banksters.

    I favour a summary justice solution from the mob on bankers, perhaps as the threat they will be thrown to kangaroo courts of the people unless they fess up. Too Big To Fail is a continuation of our lack of concern about what big corporate has done around the world for two centuries – longer if one thinks back to East India companies and piracy generally. Frankly, we are complicit with the crimes, many people justifying our lack of democratic options with ‘dirty hands’ morality, believing we benefit from the trickle-down and proudly wearing cheap-retail tat or selling customers PPI.

    The real crime is the distribution of wealth, starting with massive tax thefts, the use of criminal money as surely as any Mafia-front and the mega-con that financial services are in any way legitimate (if they were competition would have produced cheaper utility-investment-pensions services, and got into usury as competition not provider).

    TBTF is the modern equivalent of the demon beyond the city gates that must be fed, paid tribute and given virgin daughters. We can’t do people bribing Saudis (I’ve seen examples and fancy 40% of any bribe kicks-back to providers before you start looking at ‘cost plus’ contracts that take another 40%) because they won’t buy our arms (etc.) – but we have all kinds of so-called laws that turn out to be useless once a chosen judge rationalises with ‘national security’.

    Another set of people who rarely end up prosecuted, cops, have complaints systems stacked again the public – and that’s before we think about lawyers, judges, politicians, doctors – indeed the sad list of professionals who shoulder ranks against investigation.

    Making yourself TBTF should be a crime – banks could easily modularise (even BoE has suggested an eco-system model) so that the module could be taken down. The rest really applies to the whole professional system and what Sutherland (1940) called white collar crime long ago.

    We are, as I think Yves is suggesting, being offered non-starters and patsies – our SFO even has to ask for finance to start new investigations – but the TBTF claims also suggest there is a massive hulk of criminality and incompetence that needs pulling down – if not what difference could a few bankers in jail make? Some estimates have it that we only need a third of financial services – I err towards 10% as most financial investments should be available to all, not just a few (along the lines of each lottery ticket having the same chance per penny rather than being able to buy 100s at discount).
    No government or political party is offering a careful pull it down Plan B with provision to ensure we don’t have to suffer such as starvation, homelessness or whatever really matters – from which we would pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

  6. Strangely Enough

    Shortage of sensational murder trials, newborn royalty, or missing white women requires cranking up the distraction, e.g. Obama’s newfound concern for House Democrats.

  7. Jeff Martin

    Their reasons for proceeding against BoA on such an unpromising basis are simple: to reap the benefits of positive PR, for having gone after the banksters, however belatedly, and to establish a justification for not going after the banksters in the future, when this legal argument fails at trial. They’re going to have their cake and eat it too: they’ll persuade some of the lumpenproletariat that they’re finally going after the banksters, and when that fails, they’ll be able to tell the nation that it’s impossible to bring the banksters to justice, because what the banksters did was too complicated, and probably legal anyway.

    1. LifelongLib

      “Probably legal anyway”

      Yes. I’ve long thought that the illegality angle is a red herring. What’s frightening about our system is how many of the things that are bad for ordinary people are perfectly legal.

  8. Sagebrush

    Meaningless, grandstanding, theatrical B.S. to keep the Sheeple general population in suspended animation. The regulators and the D.O.J. are as corrupt and criminal as Wall Street. Even if by chance they’re found guilty the result will be, more fines that are a tiny percentage of the income secured by outright fraud. No admissions of guilt, no jail time and back to huge bonuses once the heat cools off. They might have to sacrifice a mid level suit or two but that’s a small price to pay for the Greater Greed.

  9. KYrocky

    It’s about 2014. Numerous democratic candidates are starting to get traction running against Obama: Chained CPI, shielding Wall Street criminals, failed HAMP and thousands of illegal foreclosures, domestic spying, etc. In economic terms Obama has been very good to the rich and not good for the rest. (yes, the other guy would be worse) In justice terms Obama has been very, very good to the rich and left everyone else to get screwed and foreclosed on at worst, and get pennies on the dollar at best from a fake mortagage fraud settlement. Obama remains a tool of the rich, and increasing democratic candidates have no choice but to draw distinctions between has been them and Obama.

    1. Cujo359

      I was going to make a “bold prediction” that this would end up as “record” fines that would amount to a few days’ profits for the firms involved, and nothing else. Looks like Taibi beat me to saying the obvious.

      Sometimes that happens when things are really obvious…

      1. Cujo359

        This was actually a reply to the comment thread below this one (by rich), but somehow my aim was off.

        And yes, I am so not a spammer.

    2. down2long

      KY From your lips to God’s ears, as the lawyers say to the judges.

      Going against the banks has been a slam dunk for any politician for the last six years, but in fact has not materialized. (With the exception of Saint Elizabeth Warren and Sharrod Brown.) One can only conclude the bank gravy train is so loaded, and the sheeple so overwhelmed by daily travails as to not even bother to vote (as Noam Chomsky asserts) that the banks win. As they say, follow the money. And yes, there is a very deep trail of money to Dear Leader Dimon White House Major Domo Ombomba/Obeyme’s service door at the White House.

      Here is Cali we have Dianne Feinstein (who I had to live under when she was mayor after Saint Mayor Moscone was gunned down.) That was gruesome. She cut General Aid (welfare) to $96. a month. She lost a lawsuit and the city had to raise it to $216 a month and pay back pay to the G.A. people trying to squeeze by in SF on less than a $100 a month And the senator from Israel, Barbara Boxer. Oy vey.

  10. rich

    New Bank Investigations: Real Action, or More of the Same?

    By Matt Taibbi
    POSTED: August 8, 11:30 AM ET

    The government may very well decide to go after Chase in what it considers a big way. It may do the same for Bank of America, and then it may keep going on down the line to other banks, until it has collected a billion dollars or so from all the usual suspects, who were virtually all engaged in the same kinds of schemes, gathering and selling to customers radioactive mortgage bonds they knew were likely to explode, or were ridden with fraud and faulty underwriting.

    But to me, these investigations will be meaningless unless one of two things happens, once they reach the inevitable stage of concluding painstakingly-crafted settlements with the inevitable teams of high-priced lawyers for the offending firms:

    1) Someone goes to jail.

    2) The company is ordered to break itself up into smaller pieces.

    As to point one, here’s the thing. If criminal laws were violated, then the government certainly has discretion to exercise mercy and seek non-criminal sanctions against the individuals responsible. But they can really only do that and not be total hypocrites if they also simultaneously implement leniency programs for ordinary street criminals at the same time.

    Read more:

  11. barrisj

    Bill Black – yet again – unpacks those phony DOJ “prosecutions” of fraudulent financial institutions that leave senior executives off the perp-walk hook – it’s a masterpiece of dissection of what passes for “enforcement” by those who should be rounding up and indicting on criminal charges the real villains of the piece:

    Is B of A the Most Embarrassing Department of Justice Suit Ever?
    The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) latest civil suit against Bank of America (B of A) is an embarrassment of tragic proportions on multiple dimensions. In this version I explore “only” seven of its epic fails.

    The two most obvious fails (except to the most of the media, which failed to mention either) are that the DOJ has once again refused to prosecute either the elite bankers or bank that committed what the DOJ describes as massive frauds and that the DOJ has refused to bring even a civil suit against the senior officers of the banks despite filing a complaint that alleges facts showing that those officers committed multiple felonies that made them wealthy by causing massive harm to others. Those two fails should have been the lead in every article about the civil suit.

    The next most obvious DOJ fail, also ignored, was that the DOJ compounded the first two fails by congratulating itself for holding the frauds “accountable” for their crimes. One can only imagine the hilarity with which B of A senior officers in their mansions they bought with the proceeds of their frauds must have greeted the DOJ’s latest pratfall. If DOJ’s leadership cannot find the intestinal fortitude to renounce their infamous “too big to prosecute” doctrine they can at least have the dece”ncy to stop praising themselves for violating their oath of office and their duty to the Nation.
    [more…lots more!]

    “Accounting Control Fraud” is Black’s shorthand term for illegal and illicit conduct by officers of financial institutions covering a multitude of sins, all of them prosecutable under criminal statutes, but which rarely if ever rise to that occasion in the eyes of DOJ. Important if sad reading – and one can also lump Kerry Dillinger Killinger in with Ken Lewis as another bankster who should be writing his memoirs in a low-security Fed lockup somewhere. The WaMu fiasco is a crime screaming for retribution, but none was/is forthcoming. We have indeed moved on.

  12. Don Lowell

    When the Prez said, the banks had done nothing wrong I wrote my senator and told her I felt like I got kicked in the stomach.

    Since then, just like in Mission Impossibe I have disavowed any connection with the prez. This does not mean I have become a rotten republican.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you going to vote for your Senator in the future? These people will only care when people stop voting for them. Your note to the Senator about feeling bad means nothing.

  13. DeadlyClear

    These lawsuits have no Viagra and they’ll end up being just a paper rape. The issue that would benefit the government – the people, is the fact that the assignments were never timely made to the trusts. The Senate COP report spelled it out for them in 2010. The REMIC trusts are empty. Instead of allowing the FDIC to cover up the fraud the DOJ should be exposing it.

    It appears there are documents that completely layout the scheme. Unassigned loan documents can still be used to generate additional capital…and it is likely the banks, the insurance companies and the investors’ fund managers knew it. Given the COP report there is a chance that the statute of limitations is still alive on the empty trust issue. God knows there are millions of unassigned mortgage documents that have not yet defaulted and millions more that were written years after the REMIC trusts closed.

    Sue on account of the empty trusts which was a violent rape of our lands, clear titles, equity, along with pension funds, and ban the bankster thieves and securities rapists from the banking and Wall Street industry. Clawback every asset they own…because we do not have enough room in prison to house them all.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It was reported in the FT that Jamie screamed at Bernanke (and later at Mark Carney when he was head of the Bank of Canada, and Carney issued a coded whackage of Dimon the next day) and I was told of a separate incident where he bullied senior folk at the NY Fed. So maybe there really is concern that Jamie and JPM generally are out of control and this is a shot across the bow.

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    It’s nice to have a good white-wash now and again to keep the cracks in the walls from looking too ominous and the whole place from reeking too much corruption. The DOJ is the man with the brush who isn’t afraid to slosh it on!

  15. The Rage

    Obama is already moving for 2014:
    1.A number of Republican voters are dead from 2010
    2.Republican alienation of hispanic voters still is being felt
    3.Obama commenting on the Martin/Zimmerman stuff was purely political to get blacks to come out in 2014 unlike 2010
    4.His “toughness” on the banks is directed at white voters who may skip 2014

    I doubt this is the end of it in terms of throwing crumbs. Obama needs the House so they can repeal the Sequester and that will boost the economy Obama’s last 2 years in office.

    1. PaulArt

      Obama needs his book contract, speaking engagements and funds for the Obama library more than the %@@!!! House. Obama became a soulless clod a long time back, a very long time back.

  16. Conscience of a Conservative

    I looked at the docs too, perhaps not as carefully as MBS guy, but I did see they described the lending programs and the state doc nature of the loans(borrowers did not have to verify income, just be willing to have that verifiedand says nothing about the anyone compelled to do so). The one interesting thing I saw was that on the loan tapes every loan was flagged full doc, but that’s typical of many tapes.

    I also had my head scratching on this one. It’s almost as if time had run out on the 2007 and earlier vintage deals where the worst abuses occured and the DOJ just picked a deal and ran with it. Maybe there’s more like inflated appraisals or loans that upon further inspection didn’t match the docs, but so far it doesn’t look like that.

  17. Conscience of a Conservative

    Wondering if the JP Morgan suit is about EPD behavior. It’s the worst kept secret and I believe may have been discussed at the Levin hearing. It could also be the dual track civl/criminal could be nothing more than a tactic to pressure JP Morgan to settle.

  18. barrisj

    L’empio crede con tal frode
    Di nasconder l’empieta

    The villain believes that with fraud
    He can hide his wickedness

    Don Giovanni

    – Mozart

  19. Veri

    Hmmm… why such a weak case?

    If the government settles, BofA gets protection from other lawsuits from consumers. And pays an Obama Fine – wrist slap and a few weeks of profits.

    If the government loses and the court publishes, precedent is set and BofA is protected.

    If the government wins, another Obama Fine and Obama gets to claim he is tough on banks – in other words, propaganda. See ‘settlement’ above.

  20. steelhead23

    Yves, It is my opinion that this is an attempt to appear to be tough on the banksters. I suspect that the DLC has done some polling and focus group work and recognize that the Democratic Party brand is being hurt by Obama’s bankster coddling. Look for them to trumpet their deep, deep concern, to strut about in indignance, and do nothing – a big fanfare, but no fireworks. Also, look for these very indignant Dems to bash the banksters in public while happily taking their checks in private. This ain’t justice, just politics.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t think its as simple as polling. Polling showed this ages ago. I think this is a sign of a panic. Obama couldn’t pass simple and minimalist background checks in the wake of Sandy Hook and numerous other mass shootings despite 90% support for increased background checks and high support for other measures.

      Obama didn’t deliver votes down ticket in 2010 which was one of the biggest landslides in history. The 1994 and 2006 wins involved periods of retirement and demographic changes. The 2010 GOP win went against demographics. Even Obama has to realize this.

      Obama wants to be relevant first and foremost and will do what it takes to remain relevant. My guess is “immigration reform” and whining about Boehner isn’t producing the results Democratic elites had hoped among people who couldn’t afford healthcare five years ago. Obama is throwing stuff at the wall trying to figure out how to remain relevant without risking the rats turning on each other.

      A majority of Democrats symboliically opposed the President and leader of their own party on an issue of “national security” two weeks ago despite an almost universal belief among the punditry and Washington leadership that Ed Snowden is history’s greatest monster or loser while the NSA single-handedly won World War II and VII. This is a big deal even if the votes were counted. Democrats felt it was important to officially align themselves against NSA spying*.

      *Until they oppose defense spending, the patriot act, and a myriad of other crimes, there is no reason to trust them, but it does show that the electorate isn’t the trusting electorate it was a few years ago.

  21. RBHoughton

    Snowden may be part of it but there are several other unwanted developments worrying Washington.

    Some countries are making trade agreements bilaterally which takes their trade out of our international money control – no fees to our banks or insurers and less business instead of growth.

    RTBH has floated a rumour of a gold-backed or partially gold-backed RMB on the horizon. That will prick back ears in the Anglosphere.

    And there seems to be a growing perception that we do what we do for the money and nothing else; that U S hegemony will be based on power rather than law.

  22. jambo

    Don’t forget that pre-Obama, Holder’s white-shoe lawyerly specialty was defending bank criminality in court.

  23. Victor Perez

    The settlement will provide $125 million in compensation to approximately 34,000 qualified wholesale borrowers who either charged higher prices or steered to subprime loans based on their race or national origin. Borrowers will be compensated for the direct costs and other harm that they experienced. We know that prime-qualified borrowers who were steered to subprime loans generally experienced greater harm and their average compensation, which we expect to be about $15,000, will be higher than the compensation for pricing victims.

  24. indio007

    AFAIK The statute of limitations on real estate/title fraud is 20 years or more in every state. Basically it’s 15- 30 years (varying by State) to make a title claim on real estate. It’s called adverse possession. The fraud is ongoing as long as there is an adverse possession as a result of that fraud. The fraud never expires but you have no legal capacity to State a claim after the time limits.

    It’s my opinion all of these notes are non-negotiable or are being enforced beyond what face of the note says. A non-negotiable note is a simple contract as opposed to the defenses on negotiable instrument (very few defenses) for non-payment.

    Succeed in getting “the deal” adjudicated as a simple contract, aka nonnegotiable instrument first.
    Second claim breach of contract= Failure to provide marketable title = failure of consideration.

    Third go after the mortgagee/trustee for failure to perform a known duty = failure to protect the value of the security interest =nonfeasance = Someone’s in deep shit.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The Feds are never going to use title fraud as a cause of action. They regard that as potentially destablilizing the entire mortgage securitization market and hence the banks. The theories they could use that would allow them to go beyond 5 years for securities fraud (which is far and away the best theory, failure to make material disclosures is a violation, not just making inaccurate statements) that they might use are stuff like wire and mail fraud (10 year SOL).

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