Lots of Links on the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis

Like you were going to get any work done today.

Chris Hayes has really been on the foreclosure crisis over at MSNBC. Here he is, substituting for Lawrence O’Donnell, interviews noted foreclosure defense attorney Bubba Grimsley about servicer abuse. I can’t embed the video, but the link is here (also here). Here he is on Rachel Maddow also interviewing Matt Taibbi on the recent foreclosure fraud from the Florida “Rocket Docket.”

I’m realizing I didn’t link to Matt Taibbi’s fantastic piece on the Rocket Docket, but you should definitely read it if you haven’t. Ed from ginandtacos gives an excellent follow-up.

LPS is being sued by stockholders, and David Dayen has the goods. This is a lawsuit I’ve been waiting to see, as Lender Processing Services are the people long considered to be the go-to people for getting fraudulent documents for servicers. Can’t wait to see the depositions on that one!

Yves Smith has a reaction to the current response from the regulators that things are moving in the right direction. I’ll have more on this, but to the first approximation I hope the regulators (a) have people qualified to do what needs to be done (Andy Kroll, Mother Jones: “An OTS spokesman could name only one formal action the agency has taken against a servicer—Ocwen, in 2004. An OCC spokesman said his agency has never taken action against servicers.” These are the people doing the checking now!) and that the selection of records they are examining are random enough to hit best practices. I hate to see the regulators get played.

Foreclosure 411

We recently ran a New Deal 2.0 series on the foreclosure fraud crisis, Foreclosure 411. All the pieces are great, but I want to draw your attention to two in particular. The first is from Tom Cox, who deposed the robosigner that kicked off this coverage, writing a piece about someone foreclosed on during these holidays, Two Cords of Wood. It helps show the insanity and human costs of this crisis.

The second is from ace blogger Matt Stoller, A Debtcropper Society. The piece gets at the heart of the political problem we face after a credit bubble:

A lot of people forget that having debt you can’t pay back really sucks. Debt is not just a credit instrument, it is an instrument of political and economic control.

It’s actually baked into our culture. The phrase ‘the man’, as in ‘fight the man’, referred originally to creditors. ‘The man’ in the 19th century stood for ‘furnishing man’, the merchant that sold 19th century sharecroppers and Southern farmers their supplies for the year, usually on credit…

Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. All of these are hard to pay back, often bringing with them impenetrable contracts and illegal fees…

Unclogging our constipated economy is not a complex problem — we must simply wipe out the bad debt that cannot be paid back. The complexity of the problem lies in the politics. Debtcroppers have no power, except to stop paying their debts. The constituents I worked with on a fraudulent foreclosure eventually did just that. She and her husband, unshackled by panic, began rebuilding their lives, throwing away their indentured servitude to the bank that abused them. They found their dignity, and used the court system to claim their rights as citizens. They fought the man, successfully, and wiped out their debt. And that is a very scary threat to the creditor class, perhaps the only thing they are really scared of.

Great stuff. I recommend you read it all while you look to kill time on this day before a holiday break.

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6 Responses to Lots of Links on the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis

  1. Pingback: The Homeowner As Victim, Not Deadbeat « Chasing Fat Tails

  2. southwerk says:

    Great Stuff! I’m a big fan of Matt Taibbi too. jp

  3. Pingback: Lots of Links on the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis (via Rortybomb) « Pilant's Business Ethics Blog

  4. kravitz says:

    Bloomberg posted this after 8PM ET this evening.

    Bank of America, GMAC Suspend Foreclosures in Maine Amid State’s Inquiry

    “Bank of America Corp. agreed it won’t complete foreclosures in Maine and Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage unit said it will halt sales of foreclosed homes in the state, Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills said.
    Bank of America will not “proceed to judgment on any pending matters” in Maine until it has finished an internal review of its foreclosure procedures and reported the findings to Mills, the state attorney general said today in a statement on her website.”


    “Attorney General Mills has also expressed frustration with the (GMAC’s) Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”). Bank of America acknowledged that there were delays due to backlogs.”

  5. Barbara Ann Jackson says:

    Request for Congressional Foreclosure Panel to Examine Foreclosure Lawyers

    “Although increasing numbers of courts are continuing to reject improper and fraudulent foreclosures, the Congressional Foreclosure Panel examination of mortgage services and foreclosure practices did not include foreclosure lawyers.

    Lawyers are officers of the court; knowledge of applicable laws and civil procedure is not required from mortgage lenders. In states that require judicial foreclosures, lawyers are the ones who file lawsuits to seize and sell property; and lawyers are responsible for filing and recording foreclosure property deeds.

    An investigation could prove helpful to sorting out whether improper and illegal foreclosure proceedings are linked to any self-dealing conduct disadvantaging lenders, investors, homeowners, and city governments. . .”

  6. Pingback: Debtors’ Prisons: Hyperbole? | Jim´s Research Notes

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