Grand Theft Autosigning — stealing houses is illegal, isn’t it?

Scot Paltrow: “The watchdogs that didn’t bark

Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing. …

Foreclosure-related case files in just one New York federal bankruptcy court, for example, hold at least a dozen mortgage documents known as promissory notes bearing evidence of recently forged signatures and illegal alterations, according to a judge’s rulings and records reviewed by Reuters. Similarly altered notes have appeared in courts around the country.

Banks in the past two years have foreclosed on the houses of thousands of active-duty U.S. soldiers who are legally eligible to have foreclosures halted. Refusing to grant foreclosure stays is a misdemeanor under federal law.

The U.S. Treasury confirmed in November that it is conducting a civil investigation of 4,500 such foreclosures. Attorneys representing service members estimate banks have foreclosed on up to 30,000 military personnel in potential violation of the law.

In Alabama, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled last month that Wells Fargo & Co. had filed at least 630 sworn affidavits containing false “facts,” including claims that homeowners were in arrears for amounts not yet due.

Wells Fargo “took the law into its own hands” and disregarded laws banning perjury, Judge Margaret A. Mahoney declared.

And in thousands of cases, documents required to transfer ownership of mortgages have been falsified. Lacking originals needed to foreclose, mortgage servicers drew up new ones, falsely signed by their own staff as employees of the original lenders – many of which no longer exist.

Richard RJ Eskow: “Will Public Outrage Finally Force the President to Prosecute Outlaw Bankers?

Based on the overwhelming evidence we’ve seen so far, a truly fair resolution will probably involve handcuffs, orange jumpsuits, and perp walks along with a financial deal. Financial restitution will need to include, at a minimum:

  • substantial principal reductions for underwater homeowners, along with lower interest rates;
  • a breakup or restructuring of the “MERS” shell game so that it no longer enables deceit, tax evasion, and the conversion of home mortgages from a two-party contract to a commodity bankers can trade and sell without regard to property rights;
  • the right to rent a home that has become distressed; and,
  • a loan modification facility that is not administered by the banks themselves.

“Fair Settlement” is a good enough umbrella under which to place these demands, as long as it’s clear that prosecutions and real restitution are vital elements of fairness. The question now is, How strong will this movement become? Will the public back these groups in demanding justice and rejecting any more cushy bank deals? If they don’t, the country will have serious problems in the years to come.

"It's not conspiracy when there are facts as in records, witnesses, and physical evidence."

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  • I love you for the title of this post.  :D

  • This reminds me of way back in the 1940s when Saskatchewan had just returned a CCF majority government under Tommy Douglas, and they needed to do something about farm foreclosures, some of which were under relatively thin pretenses.

    What did Tommy Douglas do? He fought back like hell, and boy, did he fight back. (See this page from Tommy Douglas, by Doris French Shackleton)

    As noted here, mortgage companies even tried to threaten voters with foreclosures in an attempt to beat back an incipient CCF victory at the polls.

    Today, there are mass foreclosures on a scale far exceeding that of 1940s Saskatchewan in the USA today. What does Barack Obama do? Sweet fuck all. And boy, talk about fuck all.

  • Anonymous

    Why are you trying to pin the crimes of a few specific isolated individual corporations on the entirety of the class that runs this country?

  • First, where does Fred do that in the post?  I’m not seeing anything saying anyone other than the ones committing the crimes is in the wrong.

    Second, why should there be a “class that runs this country”?  The country is supposed to be run by the people.  That’s the whole point of these election things we keep on having.

    There isn’t supposed to be a ruling class, there’s supposed to be the people and a government that works for them, with various individuals elected by the people tasked with overseeing the government on the people’s behalf.

  • Kyouko, in the last few weeks you’ve told us that:
    – complaining about 1% of the country having all the money is purely about envy
    – illegal immigrants should be shunned
    – Fred is “smearing” all Baptists with “the racism card”
    – Fred isn’t a real Christian
    – Harry Potter sucks
    – this blog sucks
    – Fred is just biased against the upper class
    Thank you for your well-thought-out, totally unbiased opinions. Please go away.

  • Lori

    Your points are excellent, and totally wasted on Kyouko (see Deird’s post, below).

  • Anonymous

    In this thread, Kyouko writes “…the class that runs this country” and doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

    EDIT: Chris beat me to it. Guess I should refresh the comments before leaving one of my own.

  • You guys keep talking to bots. I’ve seen spambots that do a better job with Turing than this Kyouko thing.

  • Heartfout

    Fun fact: I’ve failed the Turing test. People have chatted to me and asked if I was a spambot.

  • Alicia

    Wow, that’s actually one of the saddest things I’ve read today. I’m really sorry to hear that.

    (I *hope* that they were chatting to you online and not in person when they asked you that!)

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure if it’s due to people overestimating bots or people, but humans do fail the Turing test oddly often. I think one of the earliest official Turing tests had the human fail something like 20% of the time.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been mistaken for a computer when answering the phone at work.  I can never decide how to take that.

  • Anonymous

    And for the site admin and/or Fred – you guys do know that NoScript is not happy with disqus on this site?  It thinks something is trying to clickjack posters.  This doesn’t happen on other sites that use disqus, so someone should probably look into that.

    (Since I have no idea how one would go about letting Fred/Patheos know.  If anyone does know…pass this along, please?)

  • Anonymous

    “Why are you trying to pin the crimes of a few specific isolated individual corporations on the entirety of the class that runs this country?”

    So…um…we’ve regressed into a feudal state run by an Aristocracy? That would actually explain quite a bit. I, for one, welcome our new Daimyo overlords and the glorious Era of Warring States that they’ll bring! Backward into the Future! (I wonder how I’ll look in a top-knot?)

  • We Must Dissent

    I suspect we’re much closer to late Edo than Sengokujidai. Rather than constant war and conflict in the absence of centralized power, the nominal rulers and upper class are all under the sway of merchants through the power of debt.

  • Heartfout

    Yeah, it was online. Actually kind of amusing to be honest.

  • Anonymous

    @ We Must Dissent: Okay, imperfect analogy: I haz it. Thanks for setting me straight.

  • When I point my mount at a distant zone I want to fly to, set it to auto-fly, and alt-tab out of World of Warcraft for a few minutes while in transit to check my email or Facebook, the server has a habit of disconnecting me.  

    I asked my guild if Blizzard thought that I was some kind of a bot for doing things like that.  My real-life friend there said, “To be fair, you probably are a bot.”  

    I replied, “To be fair… you are probably right.”  

  • P J Evans

    There’s a town where one bank is foreclosing on businesses that aren’t making enough money to suit it – the businesses (and in one case a church) are NOT behind on their mortgages.

  • Anonymous

    That sounds hugely illegal and utterly horrifying.

  • You’d think they’d know that foreclosing on a church is bad optics all around. O.o