As Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Falters, Foreclosure Defense Movement Gains

By: Tuesday June 12, 2012 3:30 pm

Ben Hallman has an informative piece on who is starting to get relief from the foreclosure fraud settlement. The short answer, despite incentives to write down loans in the first year of the program, is not that many people. But direct confrontation efforts are having some success.


Federal Regulators Cherry-Pick Small Fry for Prosecutions

By: Sunday June 3, 2012 12:57 pm

Charlie Engle today. Engle is a marathoner who participated in a liar loan during the housing bubble. The IRS – really one vindictive agent of the IRS – tracked him down, searched through his garbage, sent an undercover agent with a wire to get him to admit guilt, and coming up empty on any tax violations, prosecuted him for the liar loans. It turned out that the mortgage broker inflated his income on the loan document after the fact. But Charlie Engle, not the broker, was prosecuted, and sent to jail. He gets out this week, still burdened with a felony record and five years of probation.

Nocera makes a very provocative but accurate point about how the Justice Department has conducted itself during the aftermath of the financial crisis. It’s not just about avoiding any prosecutions for the top Wall Street executives whose fraud led to the crisis; it’s about making up for that through prosecutions of the bit players.

Securitization Fraud Task Force Continues to “Prove” Worth With Metrics

By: Friday May 25, 2012 10:24 am

Persistent criticism of the sluggish securitization fraud task force formed early this year to investigate Wall Street has led to more PR. Now one of the co-chairs of the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) working group, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has decided to act like he needs more help, after months of official statements that the investigation was proceeding at an acceptable pace.

Bank of America Begins “Pay Settlement With Other People’s Money” Scheme

By: Tuesday May 8, 2012 8:15 am

Bank of America says it began mailing notices to their borrowers about principal reduction opportunities under the foreclosure fraud settlement. Recall that BofA inked a side deal on the settlement that would allow them to extinguish an additional $850 million of the cash penalties by reducing loan balances more deeply than called for in the settlement. At the time it was announced, the thinking was that BofA could avoid that $850 million by reducing balances on loans it didn’t actually own, and now that seems likely to happen.

Schneiderman Re-Intervenes in Bank of America/Mellon Bank of NY Settlement

By: Wednesday April 11, 2012 7:45 am

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman renewed his work on behalf of investors in the $8.5 billion Bank of America mortgage backed securities settlement yesterday. He filed papers with the New York state Supreme Court (a trial level court in New York), seeking to intervene in the case. His intervention begins to show the limiting effects of the broader mortgage fraud settlement.

Pension Funds Win Major Victory in BofA/Bank of NY Mortgage Backed Securities Lawsuit

By: Wednesday April 4, 2012 8:50 am

In the Bank of America/Bank of New York Mellon settlement with investors on mortgage-backed securities deficiencies, it appeared the banks were getting the upper hand with a friendly state judge, and some of the objections to the settlement from outside investors were struck down. But that all ended yesterday, when a US District Court judge allowed one lawsuit against Mellon to go forward in federal court, opening a new path.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (IV): Association of Mortgage Investors Planning to Challenge in Court

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 6:30 pm

One of the things I looked at in an earlier installment of the foreclosure fraud settlement documents is how banks can satisfy their obligations by modifying mortgages they don’t own. HUD again tried to push back on this with a blog post about “myths v. facts” in the mortgage settlement. But it seems they’ve confused the issue, and investors who could be hurt by paying for the banks settlement credits don’t agree either.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (II): Giving Homes to Charity as a Penalty

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 9:15 am

Part II in this series discusses credits the banks get towards meeting their multi-billion dollar settlement obligations. The federal government and state AGs want you to assume that means a set amount of principal reductions that the banks will grant. But in reality, the banks can employ a variety of non-modification strategies to receive credit toward the settlement, including a number of routine actions they would probably undertake whether or not there was a settlement in place.

BofA Gets Side Deal in Settlement, Reducing Penalty By Modifying Loans They Don’t Own

By: Friday March 9, 2012 7:32 am

I mentioned yesterday, when reporting on the whistleblower allegations of Bank of America defrauding HAMP, that the bank made some sort of side deal in the foreclosure fraud settlement that would deliver deeper relief to a certain subset of borrowers. What was not reported was that this will get BofA off the hook for $850 million of their obligation.

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