Senator Cantwell to Justice Department – "Investigate Fraudulent Foreclosures before Bank Settlement "

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Senator Cantwell Press Release

December 15th, 2011

Cantwell to Justice Department: Fully Investigate Fraudulent Foreclosures before Bank Settlement. In letter to DOJ, Cantwell demands full investigation into robo-signing scandal and ‘pump and dump’ mortgage bubble scheme

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) demanded the Department of Justice fully investigate financial institutions’ fraudulent foreclosure practices, prior to a settlement that absolves them of liability for their actions. Currently, the federal government and the 50 state attorney generals are undertaking settlement negotiations with the nation’s biggest banks over alleged foreclosure abuses.

In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Cantwell wrote that homeowners in Washington state, and across the nation, deserve a better settlement on illegal foreclosures. The potential settlement reportedly releases banks from criminal and civil penalties and is worth around $20 billion.

Recently, it was announced that the Treasury Department is investigating whether ten major banks may have illegally foreclosed on about 4,500 active-duty servicemen and women. In light of this case and others like it, Cantwell called today on the Department of Justice to not let large financial institutions evade liability in the settlement proposal.

Through the first six months of 2011, Washington state had the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the country. RealtyTrac reports that the state had 4,450 new foreclosure filings in June and that overall, there were 29,398 foreclosure properties.

“Recently reported settlement proposals will effectively absolve these financial institutions of substantial civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes during the financial crisis,” Cantwell wrote in the letter to Attorney General Holder. “Continued reports of wrongful foreclosures, forged documents, and an inability of servicers and banks to prove chain of title…raises the alarming possibility that these defects were endemic to the mortgage servicing industry across the country. The sheer magnitude of the potential fallout…demands that we undertake a full investigation.”

In the letter Cantwell wrote that a $20 billion settlement is not enough for victims of foreclosure fraud or the millions of Americans who face foreclosure.

“The largest financial institutions … pump[ed] up profits and home prices, while dumping any potential losses on homeowners, taxpayers, and investors,” Cantwell wrote. “As a result of the pump-and-dump scheme … an estimated 14 million Americans are underwater, owing $700 billion more on their homes than those homes are worth. A $20 billion settlement is woefully inadequate to compensate the wrongfully evicted or homeowners struggling to stay in their homes.”

Cantwell also raised the concerns that not enough reforms are in place to effectively prevent another crisis and that victims of fraudulent mortgage schemes are not adequately compensated. Cantwell encouraged Holder to require reforms to ensure mortgage servicers don’t abuse the system again. She noted that confidence in the proper transference of notes and mortgages must be restored and clear chains of titles should be available for all mortgages. Until financial institutions can prove they have the legal authority to foreclose, Cantwell asked for the Mortgage Electronic Registration System to be shut down.

“A settlement with mortgage servicers must also require reforms to ensure such abuses do not happen again,” Cantwell wrote. “The goal of servicing mortgages must be accuracy and adherence to the law, not expediency and corner-cutting. Confidence must be restored that proper transference of notes and mortgages was followed and clear chains of titles are available for all mortgages. Until then, the burden of proof must be on financial institutions to prove that they have the legal authority to foreclose. The Mortgage Electronic Registration System should be dissolved and shut down, and the shortcut that allowed banks to avoid hundreds of millions, if not billions, in local fees to local registrars of deeds be closed off.”

The complete text of the letter sent today follows.

December 15, 2011

The Honorable Eric Holder, Jr.

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I write regarding the ongoing settlement talks between state attorneys general, federal fraud regulators, the White House, and large financial institutions over alleged illegal foreclosure and mortgage servicing practices and abuses.

I am concerned that recently reported settlement proposals will effectively absolve these financial institutions of substantial civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes during the financial crisis. Specifically, I am concerned that the proposed settlement includes a release from liability that may be far too sweeping, does not adequately compensate victims, does not require enough of banks to reform the system that led to the crisis in the first place, and is being made before all the facts are known and without the backing of a full inquiry into the size and scope of the alleged fraud.

Large financial institutions helped inflate the housing bubble through tranching and securitizing mortgages at a frenetic pace while disregarding mortgage and foreclosure laws. Collecting fees from issuing mortgages then selling to investors securities backed by these mortgages allowed the largest financial institutions to pump up profits and home prices, while dumping any potential losses on homeowners, taxpayers, and investors. When the housing bubble burst taxpayers were forced to bail out the largest financial institutions. It is estimated that the federal government disbursed over $4.7 trillion to financial institutions, and guaranteed an additional $13.87 trillion, during the financial crisis.

Without a thorough investigation, it is impossible to truly estimate just how pervasive the defects in the foreclosure and securitization process are. Continued reports of wrongful foreclosures, forged documents, and an inability of servicers and banks to prove chain of title and the legal right to foreclosure, raises the very alarming possibility that these defects were endemic to the mortgage servicing industry across the country. The sheer magnitude of the potential fallout from these defects demands that we undertake a full investigation to uncover the true scope of wrongdoing before providing blanket immunity to the perpetrators.

I am also concerned that reports of a settlement in the range of $20 billion, as recently reported, may not adequately compensate the victims of the foreclosure crisis. As a result of the pump-and-dump scheme perpetrated by the nation’s largest banks that inflated – and burst – the housing bubble, an estimated 14 million Americans are underwater, owing $700 billion more on their homes than those homes are worth. A $20 billion settlement is woefully inadequate to compensate the wrongfully evicted or homeowners struggling to stay in their homes. Much more should be required of banks to provide meaningful help underwater homeowners and compensate foreclosure fraud victims.

A settlement with mortgage servicers must also require reforms to ensure such abuses do not happen again. The goal of servicing mortgages must be accuracy and adherence to the law, not expediency and corner-cutting. Confidence must be restored that proper transference of notes and mortgages was followed and clear chains of titles are available for all mortgages. Until then, the burden of proof must be on financial institutions to prove that they have the legal authority to foreclose. The Mortgage Electronic Registration System should be dissolved and shut down, and the shortcut that allowed banks to avoid hundreds of millions, if not billions, in local fees to local registrars of deeds be closed off. It is critical that large banks not be allowed to shirk their tax obligations to local governments. A settlement in this case must compensate state and local governments for taxes and fees which were owed but not collected.

The crisis in our housing and financial markets has shaken the confidence of the American people in our financial system and in government. Holding banks accountable for abusive and fraudulent practices, while compensating damaged homeowners, wrongfully evicted, local governments, and defrauded investors is vital to restoring that confidence. I urge you to ensure that any settlement with mortgage servicers over alleged foreclosure abuses does not absolve liability for crimes and wrongdoing that has yet to be fully investigated, and ensures just compensation for victims.

I appreciate your attention to this matter.

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Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

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Senator Cantwell Blog

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Letter To: Piggybankblog Board Member Greg Lemke

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Dear Gregory,

I hope that you’re getting the chance to relax and enjoy this holiday season. I wanted to send you a quick note to tell you how much I appreciate all your hard work and support this past year.

Thanks to you, we’re in a strong position as we prepare to take on the special interests and keep fighting for middle class families in Washington, and around the country.

I know I can count on your commitment to this fight no matter how tough it gets. Please know, I couldn’t do it without you.

My very best wishes to you and your family this holiday season.

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Maria

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Email to Piggybankblog

Board Member

Gregory Lemke

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Dear Mr. Lemke,
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Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material . I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
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On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.
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On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade” (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stopping foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.
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Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a “Cease and Desist” order. The “Cease and Desist” order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question. This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.
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The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nation’s face. The United State has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.
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Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
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Sincerely, Maria Cantwell United States Senator
For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

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76 Comments

  1. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the continued housing challenges we face. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    Nothing is more frightening than the prospect of losing your job and being unable to afford a decent place to call home. The economic recovery is slow to take hold and until we see a stable housing market and robust job growth many families will continue to struggle. Too many families are still at risk of foreclosure or are struggling with their mortgage payments. In addition, those unable to be homeowners are finding that rental housing now is becoming scarcer and more expensive. High rents and stagnant incomes across the state have forced families and individuals who rent to make tough choices between necessities like food and medicine, and keeping a roof overhead. If we are going to come out of these difficult economic times, we must aggressively address our nation’s housing problems.

    The enactment of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (P.L. 110-289) was an important first step in addressing the current housing dilemma. This law, which passed the Senate with my support by a vote of 72 to 13 on July 30, 2008, put in place a voluntary program to help certain at-risk homeowners refinance their current mortgages into mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. In addition, the law also strengthens regulatory oversight of government-sponsored enterprises and creates a federal registry and minimum standards for mortgage brokers.

    Two years later the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203). The Dodd-Frank Act includes foreclosure prevention-related provisions and changes to mortgage origination standards and practices. These new provisions will provide needed help for struggling home owners and help alleviate the severity of the housing crisis.

    I also believe it is especially important that Congress prioritize those measures that will foster long-term economic growth. We must reinvest in our education system, in our workers, in our nation’s infrastructure and in the development of clean energy technologies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. By making these important investments today and helping revitalize our economy, we can leave our children with prosperity not debt.

    As a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee I will continue to work with President Obama and with my colleagues to draft legislation that strikes the right balance in how we collect and spend federal tax dollars. I understand that this issue is especially important to you; be assured that I will keep your views in mind as we craft legislation.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/index.html

  2. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the continued housing challenges we face. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    Nothing is more frightening than the prospect of losing your job and being unable to afford a decent place to call home. The economic recovery is slow to take hold and until we see a stable housing market and robust job growth many families will continue to struggle. Too many families are still at risk of foreclosure or are struggling with their mortgage payments. In addition, those unable to be homeowners are finding that rental housing now is becoming scarcer and more expensive. High rents and stagnant incomes across the state have forced families and individuals who rent to make tough choices between necessities like food and medicine, and keeping a roof overhead. If we are going to come out of these difficult economic times, we must aggressively address our nation’s housing problems.

    The enactment of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (P.L. 110-289) was an important first step in addressing the current housing dilemma. This law, which passed the Senate with my support by a vote of 72 to 13 on July 30, 2008, put in place a voluntary program to help certain at-risk homeowners refinance their current mortgages into mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. In addition, the law also strengthens regulatory oversight of government-sponsored enterprises and creates a federal registry and minimum standards for mortgage brokers.

    Two years later the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203). The Dodd-Frank Act includes foreclosure prevention-related provisions and changes to mortgage origination standards and practices. These new provisions will provide needed help for struggling home owners and help alleviate the severity of the housing crisis.

    I also believe it is especially important that Congress prioritize those measures that will foster long-term economic growth. We must reinvest in our education system, in our workers, in our nation’s infrastructure and in the development of clean energy technologies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. By making these important investments today and helping revitalize our economy, we can leave our children with prosperity not debt.

    As a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee I will continue to work with President Obama and with my colleagues to draft legislation that strikes the right balance in how we collect and spend federal tax dollars. I understand that this issue is especially important to you; be assured that I will keep your views in mind as we craft legislation.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/index.html

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    Senator Cantwell Calls on Federal Agencies to Release Records on Banks’ Foreclosure Practices
    by Moe Bedard on July 21, 2011 in Latest Financial News
    (Source: Senator Cantwell) – With nearly 30,000 Washington state properties in foreclosure, Cantwell calls on federal agencies to improve transparency in effort to root out ‘robo-signing’

    Wednesday, July 20,2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and eight other senators in urging for increased transparency among mortgage servicers’ practices to prevent illegal foreclosures. In a letter sent today to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the senators urged the agencies to release information regarding each mortgage servicer’s performance to the public to prevent illegal foreclosure practices. The letter arrives in the wake of recent reports that illegal foreclosure “robo-signing” by banks is still rampant.

    Rooting out illegal foreclosure practices would help ensure that Washington state homeowners are not being unfairly forced to leave their homes. Through the first six months of 2011, Washington state had the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the country. RealtyTrac reports that the state had 4,450 new foreclosure filings in June and that overall, there were 29,398 foreclosure properties.

    “We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results,” said Cantwell and other Senators in the letter sent today. “This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers.”

    Enforcement actions were initiated by federal regulators because of the “robo-signing” scandal from last year that revealed many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Robo-signing is when banks falsely swear that they have reviewed property documents that are necessary to foreclose on a homeowner’s house. Recently both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases.

    The request for disclosures is also based upon concern over the fact the consultants performing foreclosure reviews have conflicts of interest since they are chosen by the mortgage servicers they are hired to investigate and have done past or future business with those same mortgage servicers. The Senators are requesting public release of Engagement Letters, Action Plans, Foreclosure Reviews, and other plans, policies, or processes submitted by mortgage servicers or third-party servicers to ensure that abuses in foreclosure practices are not being ignored by the review process.

    The letter sent today was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All three regulators to whom the letter is addressed will appear before the Senate Banking Committee for a hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    Mr. John Walsh The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Chairman

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Independence Square

    250 E Street SW 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

    Washington, DC 20219-0001 Washington, D.C. 20551

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    Mr. Martin Gruenberg

    Acting Chairman

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    Washington, D.C. 20429

    Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh, Chairman Bernanke, and Acting Chairman Gruenberg:

    We write today to urge you to make public critical information related to enforcement actions taken against mortgage servicers regarding their improper foreclosure practices. This is especially important given this week’s allegations that mortgage servicers continue to engage in widespread “robo-signing” despite your assurances that these illegal actions would not continue. Specifically, we request that you make public the following items related to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders issued by your offices:

    • All “Engagement Letters” governing the mortgage servicers’ contracts with the consultants hired by the servicer to review that servicer’s foreclosure actions;

    • All “Action Plans” that mortgage servicers and third-party service providers are required to provide to regulators and that will outline the financial resources, organizational changes, measurement systems, governance controls, and timelines that will be adopted to correct improper foreclosure practices;

    • All “Foreclosure Reviews” completed by consultants for each bank, which will outline the results of their investigations into whether ownership of promissory notes or mortgages were properly documented, whether foreclosures were undertaken in accordance with state and federal law, whether calculations under the Home Affordable Modification Program and proprietary loan modification programs were done correctly, whether borrowers were charged excessive or improper fees and penalties related to delinquency, and whether any errors identified caused financial injury to borrowers, among other items;

    • Any other plans, policies, or processes submitted to your offices by mortgage servicers or third-party service providers pursuant to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders whose disclosure is important to instill public confidence in the process and results of the foreclosure reviews.

    We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results. This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers. The information we are requesting is therefore necessary for the public to determine the independence of the consultants being engaged to perform the foreclosure reviews, the accuracy of the foreclosure reviews, the adequacy of the “Action Plans” in responding to your findings, whether servicer performance meets the goals they have established, and whether those homeowners who experienced harm (such as being improperly foreclosed upon or denied mortgage modifications when they should have been granted under existing criteria) are given appropriate remedies. Based on a legal analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, we also believe that it is well within your regulatory discretion under existing laws to disclose this information in the public interest. This is consistent with your previous determination in April that release of the Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices, which was essentially an examination report of foreclosure practices, was also in the public interest. We understand concerns about not revealing mortgage servicers’ proprietary information, but also believe that some disclosure can be done on a bank by bank basis without compromising proprietary information.

    Furthermore, we believe that the full disclosure of these documents to the public is necessary given the recent reports by both the Associated Press and Reuters of the continued widespread practice of “robo-signing” among mortgage servicers. Both have alleged that servicers continue to file thousands of property documents that appear to be fabricated. Reuters also quoted a top representative from the mortgage servicing industry saying that the Consent Orders have “not put a stop to questionable practices.” David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, tellingly said that some loan servicers “continue to cut corners” and “the real question is whether the servicer complied with all legal requirements.”

    We respectfully request that all documents be made public and sent to Congress within one week of your office receiving them from mortgage servicers or third-party service providers. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Amanda Fischer at (202) 225-2201 or Michael Passante at (202) 224-4744. We appreciate your swift attention to this important matter.

    SOURCE: Senator Cantwell

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    Senator Cantwell Calls on Federal Agencies to Release Records on Banks’ Foreclosure Practices
    by Moe Bedard on July 21, 2011 in Latest Financial News
    (Source: Senator Cantwell) – With nearly 30,000 Washington state properties in foreclosure, Cantwell calls on federal agencies to improve transparency in effort to root out ‘robo-signing’

    Wednesday, July 20,2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and eight other senators in urging for increased transparency among mortgage servicers’ practices to prevent illegal foreclosures. In a letter sent today to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the senators urged the agencies to release information regarding each mortgage servicer’s performance to the public to prevent illegal foreclosure practices. The letter arrives in the wake of recent reports that illegal foreclosure “robo-signing” by banks is still rampant.

    Rooting out illegal foreclosure practices would help ensure that Washington state homeowners are not being unfairly forced to leave their homes. Through the first six months of 2011, Washington state had the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the country. RealtyTrac reports that the state had 4,450 new foreclosure filings in June and that overall, there were 29,398 foreclosure properties.

    “We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results,” said Cantwell and other Senators in the letter sent today. “This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers.”

    Enforcement actions were initiated by federal regulators because of the “robo-signing” scandal from last year that revealed many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Robo-signing is when banks falsely swear that they have reviewed property documents that are necessary to foreclose on a homeowner’s house. Recently both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases.

    The request for disclosures is also based upon concern over the fact the consultants performing foreclosure reviews have conflicts of interest since they are chosen by the mortgage servicers they are hired to investigate and have done past or future business with those same mortgage servicers. The Senators are requesting public release of Engagement Letters, Action Plans, Foreclosure Reviews, and other plans, policies, or processes submitted by mortgage servicers or third-party servicers to ensure that abuses in foreclosure practices are not being ignored by the review process.

    The letter sent today was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All three regulators to whom the letter is addressed will appear before the Senate Banking Committee for a hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    Mr. John Walsh The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Chairman

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Independence Square

    250 E Street SW 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

    Washington, DC 20219-0001 Washington, D.C. 20551

    Your ads will be inserted here by

    Easy AdSense Pro.

    Please go to the plugin admin page to paste your ad code.
    Mr. Martin Gruenberg

    Acting Chairman

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    Washington, D.C. 20429

    Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh, Chairman Bernanke, and Acting Chairman Gruenberg:

    We write today to urge you to make public critical information related to enforcement actions taken against mortgage servicers regarding their improper foreclosure practices. This is especially important given this week’s allegations that mortgage servicers continue to engage in widespread “robo-signing” despite your assurances that these illegal actions would not continue. Specifically, we request that you make public the following items related to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders issued by your offices:

    • All “Engagement Letters” governing the mortgage servicers’ contracts with the consultants hired by the servicer to review that servicer’s foreclosure actions;

    • All “Action Plans” that mortgage servicers and third-party service providers are required to provide to regulators and that will outline the financial resources, organizational changes, measurement systems, governance controls, and timelines that will be adopted to correct improper foreclosure practices;

    • All “Foreclosure Reviews” completed by consultants for each bank, which will outline the results of their investigations into whether ownership of promissory notes or mortgages were properly documented, whether foreclosures were undertaken in accordance with state and federal law, whether calculations under the Home Affordable Modification Program and proprietary loan modification programs were done correctly, whether borrowers were charged excessive or improper fees and penalties related to delinquency, and whether any errors identified caused financial injury to borrowers, among other items;

    • Any other plans, policies, or processes submitted to your offices by mortgage servicers or third-party service providers pursuant to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders whose disclosure is important to instill public confidence in the process and results of the foreclosure reviews.

    We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results. This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers. The information we are requesting is therefore necessary for the public to determine the independence of the consultants being engaged to perform the foreclosure reviews, the accuracy of the foreclosure reviews, the adequacy of the “Action Plans” in responding to your findings, whether servicer performance meets the goals they have established, and whether those homeowners who experienced harm (such as being improperly foreclosed upon or denied mortgage modifications when they should have been granted under existing criteria) are given appropriate remedies. Based on a legal analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, we also believe that it is well within your regulatory discretion under existing laws to disclose this information in the public interest. This is consistent with your previous determination in April that release of the Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices, which was essentially an examination report of foreclosure practices, was also in the public interest. We understand concerns about not revealing mortgage servicers’ proprietary information, but also believe that some disclosure can be done on a bank by bank basis without compromising proprietary information.

    Furthermore, we believe that the full disclosure of these documents to the public is necessary given the recent reports by both the Associated Press and Reuters of the continued widespread practice of “robo-signing” among mortgage servicers. Both have alleged that servicers continue to file thousands of property documents that appear to be fabricated. Reuters also quoted a top representative from the mortgage servicing industry saying that the Consent Orders have “not put a stop to questionable practices.” David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, tellingly said that some loan servicers “continue to cut corners” and “the real question is whether the servicer complied with all legal requirements.”

    We respectfully request that all documents be made public and sent to Congress within one week of your office receiving them from mortgage servicers or third-party service providers. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Amanda Fischer at (202) 225-2201 or Michael Passante at (202) 224-4744. We appreciate your swift attention to this important matter.

    SOURCE: Senator Cantwell

  5. Press Release of Senator Cantwell
    Cantwell, McCain Seek to Restore Glass-Steagall Safeguards by Separating Commercial and Investment Banking
    Amendment would limit bank size and systemic threats to the whole economy

    Thursday, May 06,2010

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bipartisan amendment to separate commercial and investment banking. The proposed change in the banking and financial reform legislation being debated in the Senate is also cosponsored by Senators Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Russell Feingold (D-WI). The amendment restores safeguards modeled after the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that protect bank deposits from being used in Wall Street’s risky speculation. The amendment is based on the Cantwell-McCain Banking Integrity Act introduced in December 2009.

    “Behemoth banks are putting their money into risky, get-rich-quick Wall Street schemes instead of investing in Main Street,” Senator Maria Cantwell said. “So much U.S. taxpayer-backed money is going into speculation in dark markets that it has diverted lending capital from our community banks and small businesses that depend on loans to expand and create jobs. This is stifling America and it is why there is bipartisan support for restoring the important safeguards that protected Americans for decades after the Great Depression. It’s time to go back to separating commercial banking from Wall Street investment banking.”

    “I want to ensure that we never stick the American taxpayer with another $700 billion – or even larger – tab to bail out the financial industry,” said Senator John McCain. “If big Wall Street institutions want to take part in risky transactions – fine. But we should not allow them to do so with federally insured deposits. It is time to put a stop to the taxpayer financed excesses of Wall Street. No single financial institution should be so big that its failure would bring ruin to our economy and destroy millions of American jobs. This country would be better served if we limit the activities of these financial institutions.”

    “It’s no coincidence that our financial sector got completely out of line once the Glass-Steagall prohibitions were overturned in 1999. By consolidating commercial banking, investment banking and insurance into single financial companies, institutions grew so large and became so interconnected that they were ‘too big to fail,’” said Senator Tom Harkin. “It is clear to me that going back to the Glass-Steagall era regulations will help end the problem of ‘too big to fail’ and will restore order to our financial sector.”

    The amendment filed today would prohibit commercial banks from affiliating in any manner with investment banks and vice versa; prevent officers, directors, and employees of a commercial bank from serving as an officer, director, or employee of an investment bank and vice versa; prohibit commercial banks from engaging in all insurance activities; and establish one year from date of enactment as the deadline for financial houses to transition and separate their commercial and investment banking operations.

    Beginning in 1933, Glass-Steagall established a wall between commercial and investment banking to protect depositor money from being put at risk by Wall Street speculation. For nearly 60 years, this firewall maintained the integrity of the banking system; prevented self-dealing and other financial abuses; and limited stock market speculation. But since its repeal, banks have blended banking and brokerage, using loopholes in the Act and other statutes to market financial products like stocks, mutual funds and underwriting stocks to their consumers at the same time. When these megabanks default under the current system, taxpayers pay for the losses twice over.

    The biggest banks keep getting bigger in the bailouts and the acquisitions. While there are 7,000 commercial banks in the United States, just five of them hold over 50 percent of our nation’s bank-owned assets. Those same five entities hold over 95 percent of banks’ risk in the derivatives markets.

    Under the amendment, major financial firms currently operating both commercial banks and investment houses will have to make a decision on whether to focus on commercial banking or investment banking. In most of these institutions, the investment banks and the commercial banks will both be very valuable independently and profitable for their stockholders. By separating the commercial banks from the investment banks, the amendment ends speculation with depositor money and returns investments to Main Street.

    View a press release from December 16, 2009 when the Cantwell-McCain Banking Integrity Act of 2009 was first introduced.

    For more on Senator Cantwell’sefforts to strengthen financial regulations, prevent market manipulation and forestall a recurrence of the financial collapse, click here.

    ###

    Home | Meet Maria | News | Issues & Legislation | Constituent Services | Contact Maria

  6. Press Release of Senator Cantwell
    Cantwell, McCain Seek to Restore Glass-Steagall Safeguards by Separating Commercial and Investment Banking
    Amendment would limit bank size and systemic threats to the whole economy

    Thursday, May 06,2010

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bipartisan amendment to separate commercial and investment banking. The proposed change in the banking and financial reform legislation being debated in the Senate is also cosponsored by Senators Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Russell Feingold (D-WI). The amendment restores safeguards modeled after the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that protect bank deposits from being used in Wall Street’s risky speculation. The amendment is based on the Cantwell-McCain Banking Integrity Act introduced in December 2009.

    “Behemoth banks are putting their money into risky, get-rich-quick Wall Street schemes instead of investing in Main Street,” Senator Maria Cantwell said. “So much U.S. taxpayer-backed money is going into speculation in dark markets that it has diverted lending capital from our community banks and small businesses that depend on loans to expand and create jobs. This is stifling America and it is why there is bipartisan support for restoring the important safeguards that protected Americans for decades after the Great Depression. It’s time to go back to separating commercial banking from Wall Street investment banking.”

    “I want to ensure that we never stick the American taxpayer with another $700 billion – or even larger – tab to bail out the financial industry,” said Senator John McCain. “If big Wall Street institutions want to take part in risky transactions – fine. But we should not allow them to do so with federally insured deposits. It is time to put a stop to the taxpayer financed excesses of Wall Street. No single financial institution should be so big that its failure would bring ruin to our economy and destroy millions of American jobs. This country would be better served if we limit the activities of these financial institutions.”

    “It’s no coincidence that our financial sector got completely out of line once the Glass-Steagall prohibitions were overturned in 1999. By consolidating commercial banking, investment banking and insurance into single financial companies, institutions grew so large and became so interconnected that they were ‘too big to fail,’” said Senator Tom Harkin. “It is clear to me that going back to the Glass-Steagall era regulations will help end the problem of ‘too big to fail’ and will restore order to our financial sector.”

    The amendment filed today would prohibit commercial banks from affiliating in any manner with investment banks and vice versa; prevent officers, directors, and employees of a commercial bank from serving as an officer, director, or employee of an investment bank and vice versa; prohibit commercial banks from engaging in all insurance activities; and establish one year from date of enactment as the deadline for financial houses to transition and separate their commercial and investment banking operations.

    Beginning in 1933, Glass-Steagall established a wall between commercial and investment banking to protect depositor money from being put at risk by Wall Street speculation. For nearly 60 years, this firewall maintained the integrity of the banking system; prevented self-dealing and other financial abuses; and limited stock market speculation. But since its repeal, banks have blended banking and brokerage, using loopholes in the Act and other statutes to market financial products like stocks, mutual funds and underwriting stocks to their consumers at the same time. When these megabanks default under the current system, taxpayers pay for the losses twice over.

    The biggest banks keep getting bigger in the bailouts and the acquisitions. While there are 7,000 commercial banks in the United States, just five of them hold over 50 percent of our nation’s bank-owned assets. Those same five entities hold over 95 percent of banks’ risk in the derivatives markets.

    Under the amendment, major financial firms currently operating both commercial banks and investment houses will have to make a decision on whether to focus on commercial banking or investment banking. In most of these institutions, the investment banks and the commercial banks will both be very valuable independently and profitable for their stockholders. By separating the commercial banks from the investment banks, the amendment ends speculation with depositor money and returns investments to Main Street.

    View a press release from December 16, 2009 when the Cantwell-McCain Banking Integrity Act of 2009 was first introduced.

    For more on Senator Cantwell’sefforts to strengthen financial regulations, prevent market manipulation and forestall a recurrence of the financial collapse, click here.

    ###

    Home | Meet Maria | News | Issues & Legislation | Constituent Services | Contact Maria

  7. Click on or copy and paste the below link to a browser for the 26-page White Paper entitled “The U.S. Housing Market: Current Conditions and Policy Considerations” from the Federal Reserve to Congress. http://federalreserve.gov/publications/other-reports/files/housing-white-paper-20120104.pdf

  8. Click on or copy and paste the below link to a browser for the 26-page White Paper entitled “The U.S. Housing Market: Current Conditions and Policy Considerations” from the Federal Reserve to Congress. http://federalreserve.gov/publications/other-reports/files/housing-white-paper-20120104.pdf

  9. MISSION STATEMENT

    Fraud Digest seeks to deter fraud by increasing public awareness of fraud schemes, assisting those individuals in the public and private sectors who investigate and prosecute fraud, and recognizing the achievements of accountants, analysts, attorneys, detectives, FBI agents, investigators, journalists and judges involved in the anti-fraud effort.

    http://frauddigest.com/fraud.php?ident=4738

  10. MISSION STATEMENT

    Fraud Digest seeks to deter fraud by increasing public awareness of fraud schemes, assisting those individuals in the public and private sectors who investigate and prosecute fraud, and recognizing the achievements of accountants, analysts, attorneys, detectives, FBI agents, investigators, journalists and judges involved in the anti-fraud effort.

    http://frauddigest.com/fraud.php?ident=4738

  11. This documentary shows how it is going to take the people, along with the recording offices, to bring about change and get the attention of our public officials to start taking action.

    Crimes have been committed and they are being brought to light.

    http://www.ncunitedpower.org/

    Link to the video

    http://vimeo.com/33914426

  12. This documentary shows how it is going to take the people, along with the recording offices, to bring about change and get the attention of our public officials to start taking action.

    Crimes have been committed and they are being brought to light.

    http://www.ncunitedpower.org/

    Link to the video

    http://vimeo.com/33914426

  13. Republicans have been waging a sabotage campaign against the lawful functions of government. With these recess appointments you’ve shown that you’ll use your presidential authority to stop them. Unfortunately, your Treasury and Justice Departments are still running interference for the big banks.

    Your officials are pushing a foreclosure settlement that thwarts justice and potentially leaves criminals in positions of wealth and power. If this settlement is finalized it would undo all your recent efforts, leaving the distinct impression that your Administration works for bankers and not the public.

    It’s time to call off these officials and instruct your Administration to pursue wrongdoing wherever it may be found.

    Republican Fifth Column Sabotages America

    Obstructionist Republicans have been blocking the appointment of anyone to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for nearly a year, preventing it from assuming its full regulatory powers under law. They’ve also been refusing to confirm anyone to seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has paralyzed that agency.

    That’s not an accident. Republicans on Capitol Hill have had a long-term strategy of paralyzing the government from within in exactly this manner: by refusing to approve nominees to carry functions that were passed into law by Congress itself.

    The CFPB is a case in point. Once it was created by Dodd/Frank (with two Republican senators voting “aye”), forty-four Republican senators signed a letter say they would refuse to confirm any Director until the bureau was made considerably weaker. Two senators who had the bill watered down in return for their votes, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, then turned around and signed the letter.

    Burning Down the House (and Senate)

    See what they did there? The law was passed according to due legislative process,and these Republicans immediately announced their intention to paralyze the bureau with a technical trick. That’s sabotage, and the saboteurs included two senators who won concessions in return for their votes and then worked to undermine the very deal they’d accepted.

    As for the NLRB, Dave Johnson recently observed that Republicans paralyzed it by using the same tactic — refusing to confirm anyone for seats on its board. As a result, American employees were left without government-sponsored workplace protections.

    Republicans also set about to deliberately obstruct and hinder the functioning of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a bipartisan panel created by Congress to investigate the causes of the financial crisis that has harmed tens of millions of people. As internal emails and other evidence soon made clear, several Republican appointees made it their business to obstruct the Commission’s actions. Then they fought to discredit the Commission’s final report. (See here and here.)

    That’s sabotage, pure and simple.

    The Turnaround

    Faced with such brutal obstructionism, it’s been remarkable at best that this president has used his recess appointment power much less than his predecessors. That has seemed like a remarkably passive response to a concerted Republican campaign designed to paralyze the lawful functions of government.

    Now it looks as if the president is beginning to fight back. CFPB Director Richard Corday is promising aggressive action and the NLRB can go back to work protecting Americans who work for a living. This action caps a two-month period in which the president has begun using the populist rhetoric of Teddy Roosevelt and Occupy Wall Street, and has promised at long last to stop dancing with an obstructionist Congress and take bold action to address our ongoing economic crisis.

    He’s being rewarded for it in his poll numbers, too. He’s still in big trouble compared to his predecessors — even Jimmy Carter was doing much better at this point in his presidency — but his approval ratings have jumped since he began following some of the advice he’s been getting from the much-decried “institutional left.”

    That shouldn’t be a surprise: Poll after poll has shown that the vast majority of voters (often including a majority of Republicans) wants to see higher taxes for millionaires, safeguards for Social Security and Medicare, and an end to the cushy treatment of Wall Street wrongdoers. Appointing Cordray will help him address that last issue.

    If he keeps this up the president could paint a 2012 narrative that’s straight out of a Sam Peckinpah movie: He was reasonable — maybe too reasonable, some folks said.

    I can see the poster now. But everybody has their limit …

    The artlessness of the deal

    But any good will the president may have earned could be evaporated in an instant if a cushy foreclosure fraud settlement is reached with the big banks. There is a mountain of evidence suggesting that bankers deliberately committed widespread fraud against homeowners by filing false court documents (perjury), avoiding local and state filing fees (tax evasion), and deceiving investors about the quality of mortgage-backed securities (fraud; securities fraud).

    The public has watched with frustration and fury as the SEC negotiates deal after deal with big banks to settle their criminal activity with fines that are paid by others (often the same investors who were defrauded by bank executives) while the Justice Department does nothing to investigate or indict bankers. A few courageous state Attorneys General have been investigations that could uncover the extent and nature of the banks’ criminal fraud and put some malefactors behind bars.

    Nevertheless, officials in the Obama Administration are still aggressively pushing for a deal that would allow the banks to pay a relatively small sum, given the scope of their crimes. It would shut down those state investigations, too. That would prevent the public from every learning the extent and nature of bank crimes, and would protect possible criminals from the consequences of their actions.

    There’s still time

    Imagine what will happen if a settlement deal is announced in the next few weeks or months, and that deal allows bankers to walk away scott-free while homeowners suffer. The president’s poll numbers will plunge. Occupy demonstrators are likely to target banks, the Justice Department, the White House, and every Democratic precinct headquarters in the country.

    And that’s not the tragedy here. The consequences for American homeowners would be the real tragedy: No justice for people who were deceived into borrowing money on homes that the banks knew would drop in value. No justice for people whose homes were over-valued by bank-friendly appraisers. No justice for states who were defrauded out of their bank fees, or for investors who were deceived into losing money.

    Even people who were foreclosed upon illegally wouldn’t be guaranteed justice, since the administrator of the restitution fund would be hired and supervised by the banks. (There would be oversight by government regulators, but how has that worked out so far?)

    Don’t do it, Mr. President. Don’t let your Administration be the architect of a lousy deal like this. There’s still time to do the right thing. There’s still time to use your Administration’s resources to help the states uncover crimes, wherever they occur.

    Most of all, there’s still time to issue a directive to the Treasury Department and Justice Department: No cushy deal for bankers.

    _________________________________

    Related Posts:

    That $335 Million Bank of America Settlement: The Good, the Bad, the (Very) Ugly

    Wall Street: Guilty as Charged Mr. President, Stop Protecting Bankers …

    Pictures Of MERS, Part 1: Corporate Documents Illustrate The Mortgage Shell Game

    Fix Foreclosure Fraud With A Borrowers’ Bill Of Rights

    Getting Medieval On Your Assets: Four Reasons Foreclosure Fraud Really, Really Matters

  14. Republicans have been waging a sabotage campaign against the lawful functions of government. With these recess appointments you’ve shown that you’ll use your presidential authority to stop them. Unfortunately, your Treasury and Justice Departments are still running interference for the big banks.

    Your officials are pushing a foreclosure settlement that thwarts justice and potentially leaves criminals in positions of wealth and power. If this settlement is finalized it would undo all your recent efforts, leaving the distinct impression that your Administration works for bankers and not the public.

    It’s time to call off these officials and instruct your Administration to pursue wrongdoing wherever it may be found.

    Republican Fifth Column Sabotages America

    Obstructionist Republicans have been blocking the appointment of anyone to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for nearly a year, preventing it from assuming its full regulatory powers under law. They’ve also been refusing to confirm anyone to seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has paralyzed that agency.

    That’s not an accident. Republicans on Capitol Hill have had a long-term strategy of paralyzing the government from within in exactly this manner: by refusing to approve nominees to carry functions that were passed into law by Congress itself.

    The CFPB is a case in point. Once it was created by Dodd/Frank (with two Republican senators voting “aye”), forty-four Republican senators signed a letter say they would refuse to confirm any Director until the bureau was made considerably weaker. Two senators who had the bill watered down in return for their votes, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, then turned around and signed the letter.

    Burning Down the House (and Senate)

    See what they did there? The law was passed according to due legislative process,and these Republicans immediately announced their intention to paralyze the bureau with a technical trick. That’s sabotage, and the saboteurs included two senators who won concessions in return for their votes and then worked to undermine the very deal they’d accepted.

    As for the NLRB, Dave Johnson recently observed that Republicans paralyzed it by using the same tactic — refusing to confirm anyone for seats on its board. As a result, American employees were left without government-sponsored workplace protections.

    Republicans also set about to deliberately obstruct and hinder the functioning of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a bipartisan panel created by Congress to investigate the causes of the financial crisis that has harmed tens of millions of people. As internal emails and other evidence soon made clear, several Republican appointees made it their business to obstruct the Commission’s actions. Then they fought to discredit the Commission’s final report. (See here and here.)

    That’s sabotage, pure and simple.

    The Turnaround

    Faced with such brutal obstructionism, it’s been remarkable at best that this president has used his recess appointment power much less than his predecessors. That has seemed like a remarkably passive response to a concerted Republican campaign designed to paralyze the lawful functions of government.

    Now it looks as if the president is beginning to fight back. CFPB Director Richard Corday is promising aggressive action and the NLRB can go back to work protecting Americans who work for a living. This action caps a two-month period in which the president has begun using the populist rhetoric of Teddy Roosevelt and Occupy Wall Street, and has promised at long last to stop dancing with an obstructionist Congress and take bold action to address our ongoing economic crisis.

    He’s being rewarded for it in his poll numbers, too. He’s still in big trouble compared to his predecessors — even Jimmy Carter was doing much better at this point in his presidency — but his approval ratings have jumped since he began following some of the advice he’s been getting from the much-decried “institutional left.”

    That shouldn’t be a surprise: Poll after poll has shown that the vast majority of voters (often including a majority of Republicans) wants to see higher taxes for millionaires, safeguards for Social Security and Medicare, and an end to the cushy treatment of Wall Street wrongdoers. Appointing Cordray will help him address that last issue.

    If he keeps this up the president could paint a 2012 narrative that’s straight out of a Sam Peckinpah movie: He was reasonable — maybe too reasonable, some folks said.

    I can see the poster now. But everybody has their limit …

    The artlessness of the deal

    But any good will the president may have earned could be evaporated in an instant if a cushy foreclosure fraud settlement is reached with the big banks. There is a mountain of evidence suggesting that bankers deliberately committed widespread fraud against homeowners by filing false court documents (perjury), avoiding local and state filing fees (tax evasion), and deceiving investors about the quality of mortgage-backed securities (fraud; securities fraud).

    The public has watched with frustration and fury as the SEC negotiates deal after deal with big banks to settle their criminal activity with fines that are paid by others (often the same investors who were defrauded by bank executives) while the Justice Department does nothing to investigate or indict bankers. A few courageous state Attorneys General have been investigations that could uncover the extent and nature of the banks’ criminal fraud and put some malefactors behind bars.

    Nevertheless, officials in the Obama Administration are still aggressively pushing for a deal that would allow the banks to pay a relatively small sum, given the scope of their crimes. It would shut down those state investigations, too. That would prevent the public from every learning the extent and nature of bank crimes, and would protect possible criminals from the consequences of their actions.

    There’s still time

    Imagine what will happen if a settlement deal is announced in the next few weeks or months, and that deal allows bankers to walk away scott-free while homeowners suffer. The president’s poll numbers will plunge. Occupy demonstrators are likely to target banks, the Justice Department, the White House, and every Democratic precinct headquarters in the country.

    And that’s not the tragedy here. The consequences for American homeowners would be the real tragedy: No justice for people who were deceived into borrowing money on homes that the banks knew would drop in value. No justice for people whose homes were over-valued by bank-friendly appraisers. No justice for states who were defrauded out of their bank fees, or for investors who were deceived into losing money.

    Even people who were foreclosed upon illegally wouldn’t be guaranteed justice, since the administrator of the restitution fund would be hired and supervised by the banks. (There would be oversight by government regulators, but how has that worked out so far?)

    Don’t do it, Mr. President. Don’t let your Administration be the architect of a lousy deal like this. There’s still time to do the right thing. There’s still time to use your Administration’s resources to help the states uncover crimes, wherever they occur.

    Most of all, there’s still time to issue a directive to the Treasury Department and Justice Department: No cushy deal for bankers.

    _________________________________

    Related Posts:

    That $335 Million Bank of America Settlement: The Good, the Bad, the (Very) Ugly

    Wall Street: Guilty as Charged Mr. President, Stop Protecting Bankers …

    Pictures Of MERS, Part 1: Corporate Documents Illustrate The Mortgage Shell Game

    Fix Foreclosure Fraud With A Borrowers’ Bill Of Rights

    Getting Medieval On Your Assets: Four Reasons Foreclosure Fraud Really, Really Matters

  15. Update !
    Press Release of Senator Cantwell
    Cantwell Calls on Federal Agencies to Release Records on Banks’ Foreclosure Practices
    With nearly 30,000 Washington state properties in foreclosure, Cantwell calls on federal agencies to improve transparency in effort to root out ‘robo-signing’

    Wednesday, July 20,2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and eight other senators in urging for increased transparency among mortgage servicers’ practices to prevent illegal foreclosures. In a letter sent today to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the senators urged the agencies to release information regarding each mortgage servicer’s performance to the public to prevent illegal foreclosure practices. The letter arrives in the wake of recent reports that illegal foreclosure “robo-signing” by banks is still rampant.

    Rooting out illegal foreclosure practices would help ensure that Washington state homeowners are not being unfairly forced to leave their homes. Through the first six months of 2011, Washington state had the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the country. RealtyTrac reports that the state had 4,450 new foreclosure filings in June and that overall, there were 29,398 foreclosure properties.

    “We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results,” said Cantwell and other Senators in the letter sent today. “This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers.”

    Enforcement actions were initiated by federal regulators because of the “robo-signing” scandal from last year that revealed many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Robo-signing is when banks falsely swear that they have reviewed property documents that are necessary to foreclose on a homeowner’s house. Recently both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases.

    The request for disclosures is also based upon concern over the fact the consultants performing foreclosure reviews have conflicts of interest since they are chosen by the mortgage servicers they are hired to investigate and have done past or future business with those same mortgage servicers. The Senators are requesting public release of Engagement Letters, Action Plans, Foreclosure Reviews, and other plans, policies, or processes submitted by mortgage servicers or third-party servicers to ensure that abuses in foreclosure practices are not being ignored by the review process.

    The letter sent today was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All three regulators to whom the letter is addressed will appear before the Senate Banking Committee for a hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    Mr. John Walsh The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Chairman

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Independence Square

    250 E Street SW 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

    Washington, DC 20219-0001 Washington, D.C. 20551

    Mr. Martin Gruenberg

    Acting Chairman

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    Washington, D.C. 20429

    Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh, Chairman Bernanke, and Acting Chairman Gruenberg:

    We write today to urge you to make public critical information related to enforcement actions taken against mortgage servicers regarding their improper foreclosure practices. This is especially important given this week’s allegations that mortgage servicers continue to engage in widespread “robo-signing” despite your assurances that these illegal actions would not continue. Specifically, we request that you make public the following items related to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders issued by your offices:

    • All “Engagement Letters” governing the mortgage servicers’ contracts with the consultants hired by the servicer to review that servicer’s foreclosure actions;

    • All “Action Plans” that mortgage servicers and third-party service providers are required to provide to regulators and that will outline the financial resources, organizational changes, measurement systems, governance controls, and timelines that will be adopted to correct improper foreclosure practices;

    • All “Foreclosure Reviews” completed by consultants for each bank, which will outline the results of their investigations into whether ownership of promissory notes or mortgages were properly documented, whether foreclosures were undertaken in accordance with state and federal law, whether calculations under the Home Affordable Modification Program and proprietary loan modification programs were done correctly, whether borrowers were charged excessive or improper fees and penalties related to delinquency, and whether any errors identified caused financial injury to borrowers, among other items;

    • Any other plans, policies, or processes submitted to your offices by mortgage servicers or third-party service providers pursuant to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders whose disclosure is important to instill public confidence in the process and results of the foreclosure reviews.

    We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results. This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers. The information we are requesting is therefore necessary for the public to determine the independence of the consultants being engaged to perform the foreclosure reviews, the accuracy of the foreclosure reviews, the adequacy of the “Action Plans” in responding to your findings, whether servicer performance meets the goals they have established, and whether those homeowners who experienced harm (such as being improperly foreclosed upon or denied mortgage modifications when they should have been granted under existing criteria) are given appropriate remedies. Based on a legal analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, we also believe that it is well within your regulatory discretion under existing laws to disclose this information in the public interest. This is consistent with your previous determination in April that release of the Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices, which was essentially an examination report of foreclosure practices, was also in the public interest. We understand concerns about not revealing mortgage servicers’ proprietary information, but also believe that some disclosure can be done on a bank by bank basis without compromising proprietary information.

    Furthermore, we believe that the full disclosure of these documents to the public is necessary given the recent reports by both the Associated Press and Reuters of the continued widespread practice of “robo-signing” among mortgage servicers. Both have alleged that servicers continue to file thousands of property documents that appear to be fabricated. Reuters also quoted a top representative from the mortgage servicing industry saying that the Consent Orders have “not put a stop to questionable practices.” David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, tellingly said that some loan servicers “continue to cut corners” and “the real question is whether the servicer complied with all legal requirements.”

    We respectfully request that all documents be made public and sent to Congress within one week of your office receiving them from mortgage servicers or third-party service providers. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Amanda Fischer at (202) 225-2201 or Michael Passante at (202) 224-4744. We appreciate your swift attention to this important matter.

    ###

    Home | Meet Maria | News | Issues & Legislation | Constituent Services | Contact Maria

  16. Update !
    Press Release of Senator Cantwell
    Cantwell Calls on Federal Agencies to Release Records on Banks’ Foreclosure Practices
    With nearly 30,000 Washington state properties in foreclosure, Cantwell calls on federal agencies to improve transparency in effort to root out ‘robo-signing’

    Wednesday, July 20,2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and eight other senators in urging for increased transparency among mortgage servicers’ practices to prevent illegal foreclosures. In a letter sent today to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the senators urged the agencies to release information regarding each mortgage servicer’s performance to the public to prevent illegal foreclosure practices. The letter arrives in the wake of recent reports that illegal foreclosure “robo-signing” by banks is still rampant.

    Rooting out illegal foreclosure practices would help ensure that Washington state homeowners are not being unfairly forced to leave their homes. Through the first six months of 2011, Washington state had the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the country. RealtyTrac reports that the state had 4,450 new foreclosure filings in June and that overall, there were 29,398 foreclosure properties.

    “We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results,” said Cantwell and other Senators in the letter sent today. “This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers.”

    Enforcement actions were initiated by federal regulators because of the “robo-signing” scandal from last year that revealed many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Robo-signing is when banks falsely swear that they have reviewed property documents that are necessary to foreclose on a homeowner’s house. Recently both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases.

    The request for disclosures is also based upon concern over the fact the consultants performing foreclosure reviews have conflicts of interest since they are chosen by the mortgage servicers they are hired to investigate and have done past or future business with those same mortgage servicers. The Senators are requesting public release of Engagement Letters, Action Plans, Foreclosure Reviews, and other plans, policies, or processes submitted by mortgage servicers or third-party servicers to ensure that abuses in foreclosure practices are not being ignored by the review process.

    The letter sent today was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All three regulators to whom the letter is addressed will appear before the Senate Banking Committee for a hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow on the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    Mr. John Walsh The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Chairman

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Independence Square

    250 E Street SW 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

    Washington, DC 20219-0001 Washington, D.C. 20551

    Mr. Martin Gruenberg

    Acting Chairman

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

    Washington, D.C. 20429

    Dear Acting Comptroller Walsh, Chairman Bernanke, and Acting Chairman Gruenberg:

    We write today to urge you to make public critical information related to enforcement actions taken against mortgage servicers regarding their improper foreclosure practices. This is especially important given this week’s allegations that mortgage servicers continue to engage in widespread “robo-signing” despite your assurances that these illegal actions would not continue. Specifically, we request that you make public the following items related to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders issued by your offices:

    • All “Engagement Letters” governing the mortgage servicers’ contracts with the consultants hired by the servicer to review that servicer’s foreclosure actions;

    • All “Action Plans” that mortgage servicers and third-party service providers are required to provide to regulators and that will outline the financial resources, organizational changes, measurement systems, governance controls, and timelines that will be adopted to correct improper foreclosure practices;

    • All “Foreclosure Reviews” completed by consultants for each bank, which will outline the results of their investigations into whether ownership of promissory notes or mortgages were properly documented, whether foreclosures were undertaken in accordance with state and federal law, whether calculations under the Home Affordable Modification Program and proprietary loan modification programs were done correctly, whether borrowers were charged excessive or improper fees and penalties related to delinquency, and whether any errors identified caused financial injury to borrowers, among other items;

    • Any other plans, policies, or processes submitted to your offices by mortgage servicers or third-party service providers pursuant to the April 12, 2011 Consent Orders whose disclosure is important to instill public confidence in the process and results of the foreclosure reviews.

    We believe it is essential that the items listed above be made available to the general public or the public will lack confidence in both the foreclosure review process and results. This is particularly the case because the foreclosure reviews are being performed by consultants who are chosen by the mortgage servicers themselves, and those consultants often have conflicts of interest in that they are not prohibited from getting future business from those same mortgage servicers. The information we are requesting is therefore necessary for the public to determine the independence of the consultants being engaged to perform the foreclosure reviews, the accuracy of the foreclosure reviews, the adequacy of the “Action Plans” in responding to your findings, whether servicer performance meets the goals they have established, and whether those homeowners who experienced harm (such as being improperly foreclosed upon or denied mortgage modifications when they should have been granted under existing criteria) are given appropriate remedies. Based on a legal analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, we also believe that it is well within your regulatory discretion under existing laws to disclose this information in the public interest. This is consistent with your previous determination in April that release of the Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices, which was essentially an examination report of foreclosure practices, was also in the public interest. We understand concerns about not revealing mortgage servicers’ proprietary information, but also believe that some disclosure can be done on a bank by bank basis without compromising proprietary information.

    Furthermore, we believe that the full disclosure of these documents to the public is necessary given the recent reports by both the Associated Press and Reuters of the continued widespread practice of “robo-signing” among mortgage servicers. Both have alleged that servicers continue to file thousands of property documents that appear to be fabricated. Reuters also quoted a top representative from the mortgage servicing industry saying that the Consent Orders have “not put a stop to questionable practices.” David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, tellingly said that some loan servicers “continue to cut corners” and “the real question is whether the servicer complied with all legal requirements.”

    We respectfully request that all documents be made public and sent to Congress within one week of your office receiving them from mortgage servicers or third-party service providers. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Amanda Fischer at (202) 225-2201 or Michael Passante at (202) 224-4744. We appreciate your swift attention to this important matter.

    ###

    Home | Meet Maria | News | Issues & Legislation | Constituent Services | Contact Maria

  17. Gregory Dean Lemke shared a link.
    Washington AG Investigates New Foreclosure Abuse Front: Trustee Non-Compliance « naked capitalism
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com

  18. Gregory Dean Lemke shared a link.
    Washington AG Investigates New Foreclosure Abuse Front: Trustee Non-Compliance « naked capitalism
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com

  19. .A Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis: Make Banks Write Down Underwater Mortgages
    Opinion December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am Erica C. Barnett
    This guest op/ed was written by Pastor Lawrence Willis, president of the United Black Clergy of Washington, and Mila Dolan, a Renton resident who is currently facing foreclosure and is a member of Washington Community Action Network.

    The federal government and state attorneys general, including Washington State’s Rob McKenna, are currently negotiating a settlement with the big banks over foreclosure abuses, with a deal expected within the next few weeks.

    Unless the public stays vigilant, this settlement could turn into a slap on the hand for Wall Street, with a slap in the face to homeowners.

    Recently reported settlement proposals would effectively absolve major financial institutions of meaningful civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes of the Wall Street Recession.

    Because the deal lets the big banks off easy, attorneys general from New York, Delaware, Massachusetts and Nevada are no longer participating in discussions (with California mostly out as well). The last thing Attorney General McKenna should be doing right now is absolving the big banks of responsibility for their role in the foreclosure crisis.

    We want to applaud Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for demanding in a letter recently that the Department of Justice fully investigate fraudulent foreclosures before coming to a settlement that lets the big banks off the hook. Cantwell rightfully insists that a final settlement must adequately compensate victims of the foreclosure crisis.

    So, what would a fair settlement look like?

    Forcing big banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value would help stabilize the housing market while helping families and our economy get back on track. Widespread principal reduction would save Washington homeowners $496 per month, add a total annual stimulus of more than $1.4 billion, and create more than 20,000 jobs.

    Those are big numbers, especially in a struggling economy. Fewer families would lose their homes, more money would go in homeowners’ pockets, and more jobs would be created—all resulting in a stronger economy.

    It’s no secret that Washington has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. According to a recent report by the New Bottom Line, there are currently 238,476 underwater mortgages in Washington.

    RealtyTrac reports that Washington had over 29,398 homes go through foreclosure in the first six months of 2011.

    Imagine the entire population of SeaTac getting evicted in just half a year. That’s the scale of this problem.

    A national study by the Center for Responsible Lending found that black and Latino borrowers, respectively, were 76 and 71 percent more likely than whites to experience foreclosure.

    You don’t have to look hard to find people who are impacted. At church every Sunday we hear of another family that’s been foreclosed on, or is facing foreclosure.

    It’s clear to us the impact underwriting principal could have on our lives and the lives of those in our communities. An additional $496 per month could save someone’s home. It could determine whether a family that can afford to put food on the table. It would pump much-needed money and jobs into our economy and set us on a path toward recovery.

    History has shown that letting big banks off the hook does not help our communities. After being bailed out by taxpayer dollars, the big banks saw their profits skyrocket, while low and middle-class families have carried the burden of the financial crisis.

    The big banks need to be held accountable for their role in crashing our economy and Washington State residents deserve tangible results. We have a chance to do right by families throughout the country by require the banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value.

    If Rob McKenna settles for anything less, it’s a clear sign that the big banks are more important than the millions of middle class families who are suffering.

  20. .A Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis: Make Banks Write Down Underwater Mortgages
    Opinion December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am Erica C. Barnett
    This guest op/ed was written by Pastor Lawrence Willis, president of the United Black Clergy of Washington, and Mila Dolan, a Renton resident who is currently facing foreclosure and is a member of Washington Community Action Network.

    The federal government and state attorneys general, including Washington State’s Rob McKenna, are currently negotiating a settlement with the big banks over foreclosure abuses, with a deal expected within the next few weeks.

    Unless the public stays vigilant, this settlement could turn into a slap on the hand for Wall Street, with a slap in the face to homeowners.

    Recently reported settlement proposals would effectively absolve major financial institutions of meaningful civil and criminal liability in one of the largest alleged fraud schemes of the Wall Street Recession.

    Because the deal lets the big banks off easy, attorneys general from New York, Delaware, Massachusetts and Nevada are no longer participating in discussions (with California mostly out as well). The last thing Attorney General McKenna should be doing right now is absolving the big banks of responsibility for their role in the foreclosure crisis.

    We want to applaud Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for demanding in a letter recently that the Department of Justice fully investigate fraudulent foreclosures before coming to a settlement that lets the big banks off the hook. Cantwell rightfully insists that a final settlement must adequately compensate victims of the foreclosure crisis.

    So, what would a fair settlement look like?

    Forcing big banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value would help stabilize the housing market while helping families and our economy get back on track. Widespread principal reduction would save Washington homeowners $496 per month, add a total annual stimulus of more than $1.4 billion, and create more than 20,000 jobs.

    Those are big numbers, especially in a struggling economy. Fewer families would lose their homes, more money would go in homeowners’ pockets, and more jobs would be created—all resulting in a stronger economy.

    It’s no secret that Washington has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. According to a recent report by the New Bottom Line, there are currently 238,476 underwater mortgages in Washington.

    RealtyTrac reports that Washington had over 29,398 homes go through foreclosure in the first six months of 2011.

    Imagine the entire population of SeaTac getting evicted in just half a year. That’s the scale of this problem.

    A national study by the Center for Responsible Lending found that black and Latino borrowers, respectively, were 76 and 71 percent more likely than whites to experience foreclosure.

    You don’t have to look hard to find people who are impacted. At church every Sunday we hear of another family that’s been foreclosed on, or is facing foreclosure.

    It’s clear to us the impact underwriting principal could have on our lives and the lives of those in our communities. An additional $496 per month could save someone’s home. It could determine whether a family that can afford to put food on the table. It would pump much-needed money and jobs into our economy and set us on a path toward recovery.

    History has shown that letting big banks off the hook does not help our communities. After being bailed out by taxpayer dollars, the big banks saw their profits skyrocket, while low and middle-class families have carried the burden of the financial crisis.

    The big banks need to be held accountable for their role in crashing our economy and Washington State residents deserve tangible results. We have a chance to do right by families throughout the country by require the banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value.

    If Rob McKenna settles for anything less, it’s a clear sign that the big banks are more important than the millions of middle class families who are suffering.

  21. Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600 with TD Ameritrade. Recent Items
    •Chris Cook: Naked Oil – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Links 1/10/12 – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •GAO Goes After Administration “TARP Made Money” Claim – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Hatchet Job by Florida Inspector General to Justify Firing of Two Lawyers for Foreclosure Fraud Investigations – 01/09/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Doctors Call for Fracking Moratorium – 01/09/2012 – Yves Smith
    Thursday, April 7, 2011
    Washington AG Investigates New Foreclosure Abuse Front: Trustee Non-Compliance

    LoanSafe reports that the Washington state attorney general, Rob McKenna, has uncovered a likely widespread violation of state law, that foreclosure trustees lack a physical presence as required and a means for borrowers to contact or visit them to submit last minute payments or present documentation. McKenna’s interest appears to result from the fact as with servicers, the foreclosure trustees are not accessible to borrowers and not responsive when there may be legitimate reasons to halt or delay a foreclosure. Note that Washington is a deed of trust state, and the foreclosure trustee handles certain tasks relative to the actual foreclosure. This is a different role than that of the securitization trustee, who is the agent of the securitization trust, the legal entity that holds the loans in the securitization.

    From LoanSafe:

    Six months into its investigation into unlawful business practices by foreclosure trustees, the Washington Attorney General’s Office announced that it has uncovered an additional widespread problem that jeopardizes homeowners’ chances of stopping a foreclosure….

    “Washington law requires that foreclosure trustees maintain actual offices in our state and local phone numbers for this reason,” he [McKenna] continued. “But our investigation shows that some of the largest trustees are not in compliance and borrowers who have a legitimate reason to stop a foreclosure are having trouble reaching trustees.”….

    Washington is a “non-judicial foreclosure” state, which means that a lender can proceed directly to selling a home at public auction without first filing a lawsuit. This process was created by the state Legislature. Although lenders may foreclose in court in Washington, they almost always choose non-judicial foreclosures.

    If a trustee is unwilling to stop a foreclosure, then the homeowner must file a lawsuit under the Deed of Trust Act and obtain a court order before the sale.

    McKenna’s office sent a letter to 52 trustees yesterday. If you are a Washington state resident and would like to file a complaint about your inability to reach a trustee, an online form is here.

    Topics: Banana republic, Banking industry, Credit markets, Legal, Real estate, Regulations and regulators

    Email This Post Posted by Yves Smith at 2:25 pm

    4 Comments » Links to this post

  22. Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600 with TD Ameritrade. Recent Items
    •Chris Cook: Naked Oil – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Links 1/10/12 – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •GAO Goes After Administration “TARP Made Money” Claim – 01/10/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Hatchet Job by Florida Inspector General to Justify Firing of Two Lawyers for Foreclosure Fraud Investigations – 01/09/2012 – Yves Smith
    •Doctors Call for Fracking Moratorium – 01/09/2012 – Yves Smith
    Thursday, April 7, 2011
    Washington AG Investigates New Foreclosure Abuse Front: Trustee Non-Compliance

    LoanSafe reports that the Washington state attorney general, Rob McKenna, has uncovered a likely widespread violation of state law, that foreclosure trustees lack a physical presence as required and a means for borrowers to contact or visit them to submit last minute payments or present documentation. McKenna’s interest appears to result from the fact as with servicers, the foreclosure trustees are not accessible to borrowers and not responsive when there may be legitimate reasons to halt or delay a foreclosure. Note that Washington is a deed of trust state, and the foreclosure trustee handles certain tasks relative to the actual foreclosure. This is a different role than that of the securitization trustee, who is the agent of the securitization trust, the legal entity that holds the loans in the securitization.

    From LoanSafe:

    Six months into its investigation into unlawful business practices by foreclosure trustees, the Washington Attorney General’s Office announced that it has uncovered an additional widespread problem that jeopardizes homeowners’ chances of stopping a foreclosure….

    “Washington law requires that foreclosure trustees maintain actual offices in our state and local phone numbers for this reason,” he [McKenna] continued. “But our investigation shows that some of the largest trustees are not in compliance and borrowers who have a legitimate reason to stop a foreclosure are having trouble reaching trustees.”….

    Washington is a “non-judicial foreclosure” state, which means that a lender can proceed directly to selling a home at public auction without first filing a lawsuit. This process was created by the state Legislature. Although lenders may foreclose in court in Washington, they almost always choose non-judicial foreclosures.

    If a trustee is unwilling to stop a foreclosure, then the homeowner must file a lawsuit under the Deed of Trust Act and obtain a court order before the sale.

    McKenna’s office sent a letter to 52 trustees yesterday. If you are a Washington state resident and would like to file a complaint about your inability to reach a trustee, an online form is here.

    Topics: Banana republic, Banking industry, Credit markets, Legal, Real estate, Regulations and regulators

    Email This Post Posted by Yves Smith at 2:25 pm

    4 Comments » Links to this post

  23. Wall Street Reformer Cantwell Responds to Wall Street Protests
    That Washington October 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm Josh Feit
    US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has been one of the sharpest critics of Wall Street malfeasance and one of the most adamant advocates for regulatory reform.

    She was also one of the few senators—Democratic or Republican—to vote against the bank bailouts. (Watch her dissident floor speech here.)

    Cantwell seemed positioned, in 2009, to lead the Democratic rejoinder to the Tea Party, as a detail-oriented populist who was addressing some of the same issues that the mad-as-hell Tea Party crowd were rallying around, but with a much different response: strict regulations on Wall Street.

    However, her big push to re-institute the Glass-Steagall Act (a firewall between commercial and investment banking) and her fight for on-the-books rules governing risky derivative markets were sidelined in the big financial reform package.

    In retrospect, her strong dissident rhetoric (she was constantly at odds with her own party’s then-popular president and his treasury secretary Timothy Geithner) was a clear precursor to the class-conscious 99 Percenter movement.

    I hadn’t seen any reaction from Sen. Cantwell, though, to the mass Wall Street protests. This morning, after the arrests at Seattle’s kindred protests in Westlake, I asked Cantwell for her response to the 99 Percenter rallies.

    Here’s what I got from her spokesman, Jared Leopold:

    Main Street continues to pay the price for Wall Street’s risky business. Senator Cantwell believes we cannot allow Wall Street’s shenanigans to take down our economy again. She continues to fight for more transparency in the derivatives markets, ending ‘too big to fail’ and separating commercial from investment banking.

    I also asked for US Sen. Patty Murray’s response. Murray, of course, is a central player in the current deficit reduction talks which put her squarely in the sites of the 99 Percenters who have decried the cuts approach to the federal government’s recessionary budget woes.

    Murray’s press person Eli Zupnick told PubliCola:

    Senator Murray understands the frustration that is driving these protests in Seattle and across the country. So many workers and middle class families have been devastated in this economic crisis, and most Americans agree that it’s only fair that big corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share and share in the sacrifice this moment requires.

    Neither Cantwell nor Murray appear to have much in common with the 99 Percenters, with net worths estimated between $2 million and $10 million and $400,000 and $1 million, respectively.

    Back in 2009, I asked Cantwell about the rift between her financial status and her populist cred, and she told me this:

    I don’t think it stopped Ted Kennedy and it doesn’t stop me. It’s about digging in on what some of these issues are. Consolidation of banking is going to create continued havoc if we don’t fix this.

    Maria Cantwell Occupy Seattle

  24. Wall Street Reformer Cantwell Responds to Wall Street Protests
    That Washington October 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm Josh Feit
    US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has been one of the sharpest critics of Wall Street malfeasance and one of the most adamant advocates for regulatory reform.

    She was also one of the few senators—Democratic or Republican—to vote against the bank bailouts. (Watch her dissident floor speech here.)

    Cantwell seemed positioned, in 2009, to lead the Democratic rejoinder to the Tea Party, as a detail-oriented populist who was addressing some of the same issues that the mad-as-hell Tea Party crowd were rallying around, but with a much different response: strict regulations on Wall Street.

    However, her big push to re-institute the Glass-Steagall Act (a firewall between commercial and investment banking) and her fight for on-the-books rules governing risky derivative markets were sidelined in the big financial reform package.

    In retrospect, her strong dissident rhetoric (she was constantly at odds with her own party’s then-popular president and his treasury secretary Timothy Geithner) was a clear precursor to the class-conscious 99 Percenter movement.

    I hadn’t seen any reaction from Sen. Cantwell, though, to the mass Wall Street protests. This morning, after the arrests at Seattle’s kindred protests in Westlake, I asked Cantwell for her response to the 99 Percenter rallies.

    Here’s what I got from her spokesman, Jared Leopold:

    Main Street continues to pay the price for Wall Street’s risky business. Senator Cantwell believes we cannot allow Wall Street’s shenanigans to take down our economy again. She continues to fight for more transparency in the derivatives markets, ending ‘too big to fail’ and separating commercial from investment banking.

    I also asked for US Sen. Patty Murray’s response. Murray, of course, is a central player in the current deficit reduction talks which put her squarely in the sites of the 99 Percenters who have decried the cuts approach to the federal government’s recessionary budget woes.

    Murray’s press person Eli Zupnick told PubliCola:

    Senator Murray understands the frustration that is driving these protests in Seattle and across the country. So many workers and middle class families have been devastated in this economic crisis, and most Americans agree that it’s only fair that big corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share and share in the sacrifice this moment requires.

    Neither Cantwell nor Murray appear to have much in common with the 99 Percenters, with net worths estimated between $2 million and $10 million and $400,000 and $1 million, respectively.

    Back in 2009, I asked Cantwell about the rift between her financial status and her populist cred, and she told me this:

    I don’t think it stopped Ted Kennedy and it doesn’t stop me. It’s about digging in on what some of these issues are. Consolidation of banking is going to create continued havoc if we don’t fix this.

    Maria Cantwell Occupy Seattle

  25. http://youtu.be/5NHZ6XsKXBI

    Senator Cantwell tell it like it is on Wallstreet and it need for Reforms.

  26. http://youtu.be/5NHZ6XsKXBI

    Senator Cantwell tell it like it is on Wallstreet and it need for Reforms.

  27. Gregory Dean Lemke likes a link.
    Everything You Need to Know About Wall Street, in One Brief Tale | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
    If there was ever a news story that crystalized the moral dementia of modern Wall Street in one little vignette, this is it. Newspapers in Colorado t..

  28. Gregory Dean Lemke likes a link.
    Everything You Need to Know About Wall Street, in One Brief Tale | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
    If there was ever a news story that crystalized the moral dementia of modern Wall Street in one little vignette, this is it. Newspapers in Colorado t..

  29. DING DONG (THE 50 STATE FORECLOSURE CRIMINALS) SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITCH IS DEAD
    January 14th, 2012 | Author: Matthew D. Weidner, Esq.
    We’ve all been hearing for more than a year now that the 50 State Attorney Generals were close to reaching a settlement with the banking criminals that committed crimes and treason that destroyed this nation.

    First Tom Miller, the head of the AG group said this was criminal and that people would go to jail. Then he discovered campaign contributions (cough, cough, BRIBES, CORRUPTION, PAYOFFS) and then he decided that going soft was the best approach. It’s funny how, after this alleged law enforcer who allegedly works for the people of the State of Iowa suddenly turned all soft on the targets of his investigation after receiving nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions (cough, cough, BRIBES, CORRUPTION, PAYOFFS) read more about that here surprise most of this money came from the bankster criminals they were all supposed to be investigating.

    I miss organized crime and we all owe the mafia families and organized crime families apologies. Whose to say that what they all do was wrong…and after all, at least they’re honest about it. Our politicians take bribes, call them campaign contributions and then allow this bribery to direct who will be subject to the rule of law and who will not. Our public officials and law enforcers (and when I say “our” public officials I really mean the people who are bought and paid for by the corporations) will persecute low-level targets who don’t have the ability to pay the bribes or extortion, but the masterminds of systemic crime sprees that have destroyed this country get to walk free after the pay their bribes and extortion.

    It’s just plain crazy that Attorney Generals take any campaign cash at all. Attorney Generals are supposed to be law enforcement, they are supposed to protect consumers…I know this because I read it on Pam Bondi’s webpage. But that’s of course all a joke As we see from all the internal emails here and here when big companies are targets of investigations, they make big contributions, then they meet again and again to discuss how they should not be the subject of any investigation at all and things promptly go away.

    But there’s a big problem with the whole 50 state AG thing. The most important principle is government should not negotiate with terrorists. We used to live that here in the USA, but that was abandoned when the government got in bed with the terrorists. The other problem with the whole AG approach to this international crime spree that is fraudclosure is that there is no solution to the crime spree that they have caused. I’ve been saying this all along, that there can be no AG settlement because there are too many crimes, too many laws broken, too many claims and liabilities and so many parties involved.

    Now if my mom lost her home and I found out there was fraud involved from begining to end will I respect the legitimacy of any settlement that lets all the wrongdoers go? No. And neither will Americans. They should, and they would riot in the streets if “our” government just continues to let them all walk. And apparently AGs from across the country are now coming around to my way of thinking…..just like last week when Chairman Bernake issued a policy statement that confirms what we’ve all said all along that foreclosures are bad for everyone.

    But the big story today is……

    (From Firedog Lake another example of a real news source that is actually reporting)

    This is a total mutiny from Tom Miller’s sideshow, which increasingly has been run by the Obama Administration and not the AGs. That sideshow has been falling apart; just yesterday we learned that the main Administration point person for the settlement, Thomas Perrelli, plans to step down in March.

    These discussions are not taking place with the participation of the mortgage servicers. In other words, they are not negotiations. They are strategy sessions. They involve the AGs which have been the most aggressive in holding the banks accountable – Martha Coakley, Catherine Cortez Masto, Beau Biden, Eric Schneiderman, Kamala Harris – and a group of others (so far, all Democrats, though there are rumors that the Republican AG from Colorado may be involved) who want to benefit from their wisdom as they consider their own investigations. And that’s the right move. The banks will never provide a good deal as long as nobody actually investigates them to determine the depth of the fraud. The banks have all the leverage with a desperate coalition led by the Administration and Tom Miller. With a Schneiderman/Biden/Coakley coalition, the law enforcement officials have the leverage.

    THE AG’S ARE BOLTING THE SETTLEMENT TALKS

  30. DING DONG (THE 50 STATE FORECLOSURE CRIMINALS) SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITCH IS DEAD
    January 14th, 2012 | Author: Matthew D. Weidner, Esq.
    We’ve all been hearing for more than a year now that the 50 State Attorney Generals were close to reaching a settlement with the banking criminals that committed crimes and treason that destroyed this nation.

    First Tom Miller, the head of the AG group said this was criminal and that people would go to jail. Then he discovered campaign contributions (cough, cough, BRIBES, CORRUPTION, PAYOFFS) and then he decided that going soft was the best approach. It’s funny how, after this alleged law enforcer who allegedly works for the people of the State of Iowa suddenly turned all soft on the targets of his investigation after receiving nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions (cough, cough, BRIBES, CORRUPTION, PAYOFFS) read more about that here surprise most of this money came from the bankster criminals they were all supposed to be investigating.

    I miss organized crime and we all owe the mafia families and organized crime families apologies. Whose to say that what they all do was wrong…and after all, at least they’re honest about it. Our politicians take bribes, call them campaign contributions and then allow this bribery to direct who will be subject to the rule of law and who will not. Our public officials and law enforcers (and when I say “our” public officials I really mean the people who are bought and paid for by the corporations) will persecute low-level targets who don’t have the ability to pay the bribes or extortion, but the masterminds of systemic crime sprees that have destroyed this country get to walk free after the pay their bribes and extortion.

    It’s just plain crazy that Attorney Generals take any campaign cash at all. Attorney Generals are supposed to be law enforcement, they are supposed to protect consumers…I know this because I read it on Pam Bondi’s webpage. But that’s of course all a joke As we see from all the internal emails here and here when big companies are targets of investigations, they make big contributions, then they meet again and again to discuss how they should not be the subject of any investigation at all and things promptly go away.

    But there’s a big problem with the whole 50 state AG thing. The most important principle is government should not negotiate with terrorists. We used to live that here in the USA, but that was abandoned when the government got in bed with the terrorists. The other problem with the whole AG approach to this international crime spree that is fraudclosure is that there is no solution to the crime spree that they have caused. I’ve been saying this all along, that there can be no AG settlement because there are too many crimes, too many laws broken, too many claims and liabilities and so many parties involved.

    Now if my mom lost her home and I found out there was fraud involved from begining to end will I respect the legitimacy of any settlement that lets all the wrongdoers go? No. And neither will Americans. They should, and they would riot in the streets if “our” government just continues to let them all walk. And apparently AGs from across the country are now coming around to my way of thinking…..just like last week when Chairman Bernake issued a policy statement that confirms what we’ve all said all along that foreclosures are bad for everyone.

    But the big story today is……

    (From Firedog Lake another example of a real news source that is actually reporting)

    This is a total mutiny from Tom Miller’s sideshow, which increasingly has been run by the Obama Administration and not the AGs. That sideshow has been falling apart; just yesterday we learned that the main Administration point person for the settlement, Thomas Perrelli, plans to step down in March.

    These discussions are not taking place with the participation of the mortgage servicers. In other words, they are not negotiations. They are strategy sessions. They involve the AGs which have been the most aggressive in holding the banks accountable – Martha Coakley, Catherine Cortez Masto, Beau Biden, Eric Schneiderman, Kamala Harris – and a group of others (so far, all Democrats, though there are rumors that the Republican AG from Colorado may be involved) who want to benefit from their wisdom as they consider their own investigations. And that’s the right move. The banks will never provide a good deal as long as nobody actually investigates them to determine the depth of the fraud. The banks have all the leverage with a desperate coalition led by the Administration and Tom Miller. With a Schneiderman/Biden/Coakley coalition, the law enforcement officials have the leverage.

    THE AG’S ARE BOLTING THE SETTLEMENT TALKS

  31. Gregory Dean Lemke likes a link.
    Maria Cantwell Talks to The Stranger About Occupy, Glass-Steagall, Plan B, and Running Scared | Slog
    Maria Cantwell: Questioning the Plan B decision.Washington’s junior U.S. Senator, Maria Cantwell, was in town last week to do a fundraiser with Massachusetts Senatorial candidate…..

  32. Gregory Dean Lemke likes a link.
    Maria Cantwell Talks to The Stranger About Occupy, Glass-Steagall, Plan B, and Running Scared | Slog
    Maria Cantwell: Questioning the Plan B decision.Washington’s junior U.S. Senator, Maria Cantwell, was in town last week to do a fundraiser with Massachusetts Senatorial candidate…..

  33. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material . I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.

    On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade” (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stopping foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.

    Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a “Cease and Desist” order. The “Cease and Desist” order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question. This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.

    The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nation’s face. The United State has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

    Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint Actions NextPrevious
    “);

  34. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material . I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.

    On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade” (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stopping foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.

    Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a “Cease and Desist” order. The “Cease and Desist” order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question. This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.

    The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nation’s face. The United State has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

    Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint Actions NextPrevious
    “);

  35. Reason for missing CAKE videos
    Click the link below and sign the petition if you want to help
    http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/

    I’m a little late to the party but my CAKE videos will be on strike today and some of tomorrow in protest of the PIPA and SOPA acts

    CAKE will eventually return

  36. Reason for missing CAKE videos
    Click the link below and sign the petition if you want to help
    http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/

    I’m a little late to the party but my CAKE videos will be on strike today and some of tomorrow in protest of the PIPA and SOPA acts

    CAKE will eventually return

  37. Sent this protest letter to your elected today and protect the internet !

    I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to vote “no” on cloture for S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, on Jan. 24th. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.

    Over coming days you’ll be hearing from the many businesses, advocacy organizations, and ordinary Americans who oppose this legislation because of the myriad ways in which it will stifle free speech and innovation. We hope you’ll take our concerns to heart and oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture.

  38. Sent this protest letter to your elected today and protect the internet !

    I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to vote “no” on cloture for S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, on Jan. 24th. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.

    Over coming days you’ll be hearing from the many businesses, advocacy organizations, and ordinary Americans who oppose this legislation because of the myriad ways in which it will stifle free speech and innovation. We hope you’ll take our concerns to heart and oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture.

  39. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me this week about the internet streaming of copyrighted material . I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    I would like to give you an update as to where the proposed legislation is in the process. The Protect IP Act was scheduled to go to the Senate floor for a procedural vote on January 23, 2011. Due to the effective grassroots advocacy and public outcry against the bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pulled the proposed legislation from the floor calendar.

    I appreciate Senator Reid’s decision to postpone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act. America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy. This week, the American people clearly spoke and their voices were heard. As we move forward, I’ll continue to advocate for a policy that protects both creative content and online freedom of speech.

    Now, I encourage Congress to consider the OPEN Act, which addresses illegal piracy and security while keeping the Internet open for free speech and innovation. The OPEN Act would build on the existing legal framework for resolving unfair acts in the importation of articles, including those that infringe a valid and enforceable U.S. patent, copyright, or trademark. Through the International Trade Commission, violations of digital trade can be investigated and websites found to be “willfully” and “primarily” infringing on copyright material can be shut down. The ITC will create a transparent and adversarial process where all parties would receive due process and IP rules can be consistently applied. Neither the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House nor the Protect IP Act in the Senate allow for similar due process.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

  40. Dear Mr. Lemke,

    Thank you for contacting me this week about the internet streaming of copyrighted material . I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    I would like to give you an update as to where the proposed legislation is in the process. The Protect IP Act was scheduled to go to the Senate floor for a procedural vote on January 23, 2011. Due to the effective grassroots advocacy and public outcry against the bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pulled the proposed legislation from the floor calendar.

    I appreciate Senator Reid’s decision to postpone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act. America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy. This week, the American people clearly spoke and their voices were heard. As we move forward, I’ll continue to advocate for a policy that protects both creative content and online freedom of speech.

    Now, I encourage Congress to consider the OPEN Act, which addresses illegal piracy and security while keeping the Internet open for free speech and innovation. The OPEN Act would build on the existing legal framework for resolving unfair acts in the importation of articles, including those that infringe a valid and enforceable U.S. patent, copyright, or trademark. Through the International Trade Commission, violations of digital trade can be investigated and websites found to be “willfully” and “primarily” infringing on copyright material can be shut down. The ITC will create a transparent and adversarial process where all parties would receive due process and IP rules can be consistently applied. Neither the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House nor the Protect IP Act in the Senate allow for similar due process.

    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov . Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
    http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

  41. 2011
    Cantwell pushes a new bill to boost low-income housing and jobs
    Print | Email | |

    Nate Caminos, Office of Senator Maria Cantwell
    Maria Cantwell with Kim Herman (WA Housing Finance Commission), Michael Mirra (Tacoma Housing Authority),Troy Christensen (Pierce County Homeless Programs), Lisa Wolters (Seattle Housing Authority), August 26, 2011
    By Judy Lightfoot
    When Congress reconvenes in the other Washington this fall, Sen. Maria Cantwell will introduce a bipartisan bill — cosponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine — to strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. She made the announcement on Friday (Aug 26) at a forum in Tacoma sponsored by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

    The legislation would ease the uncertainty and monetary risk of private investors who put capital into affordable housing, by fixing the rate at which they will receive tax credits. Currently the rate is tied to federal interest rates, which fluctuate. With the new legislation, said Cantwell, “even if federal rates remain low we will ensure that projects will receive credits” at a level high enough to spur investment.

    Cantwell called LIHTC “the main financial tool with which the federal government participates” in housing production. Ninety percent of affordable housing in the US is created with the program’s help. “Tax credits leverage private dollars so that critical units get built. Before the economic downturn took hold, it generated $9 billion per year for 120,000 units, and 140,000 construction jobs” to build them per year. In Washington state, the program has sparked more than $2.6 billion in private investments to produce 26,000 affordable rental homes in 37 counties.

    “That’s why,” Cantwell said on Friday, the upcoming Congressional deliberations about growing the economy must put affordable housing “in the category of roads, bridges, and airports” — infrastructure that endures — instead of classifying them as a social program. Since “the recession froze capital,” there are “thousands of stalled [affordable housing] projects throughout the country” that could go forward, she said.

    Seen as an infrastructure essential, a bill that spurs the building of affordable housing stands a chance of passing, at a juncture when the Congressional focus is on cutting budgets and improving job numbers. “I’m hoping [elected leaders] would have gone home to their individual states and districts and talked with people about their priorities,” said Cantwell. Housing officials and advocates like those attending the Friday forum must keep reminding their senators and representatives that building affordable housing is essential to an economic recovery because it boosts job numbers so effectively, she said. There’s a strong “nexus between [building] affordable units and putting people back to work.”

    The nexus has several strands. For example, due to what Cantwell calls “unacceptably high” unemployment in Washington state, the state “ranks 16th in the nation in its foreclosure rate.” Building affordable housing is an important way of addressing the problem of foreclosure. “We’re solving the problem, but also creating jobs when we do it, especially for the hardest-hit sector, construction.” Further, to bring unemployment numbers down, “you have to have affordable housing near jobs.” Because tax credits for low-income housing solve several problems at once, she called them a “win-win-win” strategy.

    It’s one of the ways the federal government has of stimulating the economy that actually produces something concrete and lasting. “All around the state — Seattle, Spokane — people are talking about biofuels investments” from the departments of Agriculture and Defense, said Cantwell. “In southwest Washington a new market tax credit will help investment in low-income or brown-field areas,” and as a result, “a steel fabrication facility is moving into [the region] with 40 jobs for people who had not worked in months and months.” Adding stable low income housing tax credits to the mix will put more people to work again and further brighten economic prospects.

    “I’m tired of [the focus on] Wall Street,” Cantwell remarked during the informal panel discussion. “I want us to make something besides exotic financial instruments.” Those attending the forum burst into applause.

    Salishan was an appropriately symbolic location for the event. With the help of LIHTC incentives this dilapidated, crime-ridden neighborhood, built in the postwar era, was rebuilt starting in 2002. It is now a mixed-race, mixed-income, walkable neighborhood that has won national awards for combining low-income housing with market-rate homes, greenbelts, play areas, a medical clinic, and a retail center with a library and credit union, all built upon new infrastructure.

    Said Cantwell, “Salishan is an innovation, a model of development here in Pierce County. There is national recognition of Tacoma for likely increases in property values over the next 10 years because those investments were made.”

    As part of Crosscut’s coverage of social justice issues, Judy Lightfoot writes about how the region’s people face challenges in a time of economic stress and diminished expectations. She often draws on her weekly one-on-one coffees with individuals sharing our public spaces who are socially isolated by homelessness or mental illness. Formerly a teacher, she also writes about books, education, and the arts. Email judy.lightfoot@crosscut.com.

  42. 2011
    Cantwell pushes a new bill to boost low-income housing and jobs
    Print | Email | |

    Nate Caminos, Office of Senator Maria Cantwell
    Maria Cantwell with Kim Herman (WA Housing Finance Commission), Michael Mirra (Tacoma Housing Authority),Troy Christensen (Pierce County Homeless Programs), Lisa Wolters (Seattle Housing Authority), August 26, 2011
    By Judy Lightfoot
    When Congress reconvenes in the other Washington this fall, Sen. Maria Cantwell will introduce a bipartisan bill — cosponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine — to strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. She made the announcement on Friday (Aug 26) at a forum in Tacoma sponsored by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

    The legislation would ease the uncertainty and monetary risk of private investors who put capital into affordable housing, by fixing the rate at which they will receive tax credits. Currently the rate is tied to federal interest rates, which fluctuate. With the new legislation, said Cantwell, “even if federal rates remain low we will ensure that projects will receive credits” at a level high enough to spur investment.

    Cantwell called LIHTC “the main financial tool with which the federal government participates” in housing production. Ninety percent of affordable housing in the US is created with the program’s help. “Tax credits leverage private dollars so that critical units get built. Before the economic downturn took hold, it generated $9 billion per year for 120,000 units, and 140,000 construction jobs” to build them per year. In Washington state, the program has sparked more than $2.6 billion in private investments to produce 26,000 affordable rental homes in 37 counties.

    “That’s why,” Cantwell said on Friday, the upcoming Congressional deliberations about growing the economy must put affordable housing “in the category of roads, bridges, and airports” — infrastructure that endures — instead of classifying them as a social program. Since “the recession froze capital,” there are “thousands of stalled [affordable housing] projects throughout the country” that could go forward, she said.

    Seen as an infrastructure essential, a bill that spurs the building of affordable housing stands a chance of passing, at a juncture when the Congressional focus is on cutting budgets and improving job numbers. “I’m hoping [elected leaders] would have gone home to their individual states and districts and talked with people about their priorities,” said Cantwell. Housing officials and advocates like those attending the Friday forum must keep reminding their senators and representatives that building affordable housing is essential to an economic recovery because it boosts job numbers so effectively, she said. There’s a strong “nexus between [building] affordable units and putting people back to work.”

    The nexus has several strands. For example, due to what Cantwell calls “unacceptably high” unemployment in Washington state, the state “ranks 16th in the nation in its foreclosure rate.” Building affordable housing is an important way of addressing the problem of foreclosure. “We’re solving the problem, but also creating jobs when we do it, especially for the hardest-hit sector, construction.” Further, to bring unemployment numbers down, “you have to have affordable housing near jobs.” Because tax credits for low-income housing solve several problems at once, she called them a “win-win-win” strategy.

    It’s one of the ways the federal government has of stimulating the economy that actually produces something concrete and lasting. “All around the state — Seattle, Spokane — people are talking about biofuels investments” from the departments of Agriculture and Defense, said Cantwell. “In southwest Washington a new market tax credit will help investment in low-income or brown-field areas,” and as a result, “a steel fabrication facility is moving into [the region] with 40 jobs for people who had not worked in months and months.” Adding stable low income housing tax credits to the mix will put more people to work again and further brighten economic prospects.

    “I’m tired of [the focus on] Wall Street,” Cantwell remarked during the informal panel discussion. “I want us to make something besides exotic financial instruments.” Those attending the forum burst into applause.

    Salishan was an appropriately symbolic location for the event. With the help of LIHTC incentives this dilapidated, crime-ridden neighborhood, built in the postwar era, was rebuilt starting in 2002. It is now a mixed-race, mixed-income, walkable neighborhood that has won national awards for combining low-income housing with market-rate homes, greenbelts, play areas, a medical clinic, and a retail center with a library and credit union, all built upon new infrastructure.

    Said Cantwell, “Salishan is an innovation, a model of development here in Pierce County. There is national recognition of Tacoma for likely increases in property values over the next 10 years because those investments were made.”

    As part of Crosscut’s coverage of social justice issues, Judy Lightfoot writes about how the region’s people face challenges in a time of economic stress and diminished expectations. She often draws on her weekly one-on-one coffees with individuals sharing our public spaces who are socially isolated by homelessness or mental illness. Formerly a teacher, she also writes about books, education, and the arts. Email judy.lightfoot@crosscut.com.

  43. Dear Senator Cantwell

    I hope you are still with us and are still willing to push for the rule of law on wrongful foreclosures in Washington State.

    The deal the President has made for those who have been pushed out of a home wrongfully is, well just shamefully wrong. We should not allow the too big to fail banks to get off again !Crime should not pay this well. I should considered being a banker and, becoming a MOB member, this life looks to have no limits and, is all about getting rich at the cost of others. However, I could not sleep nights, if I have been a banker these days. They have abused with the American dream, abused the public hopes of ownership of a home, had parties, tool from the public trust without regard to the meaning of respect or honor for maintaining the American system of the rule of law. The banks have foreclosured on homes they don’t even own and, put families in the street. Created a fall from income on all retirements of the working class and, for this they get paid well ? Stop the abuse, crime of this nature should not pay this well ! Jail time would be a better resolve for those who created this shameful system of abuse in our banking system and, continue to do so without regard for what they have done to the Americam dream.

    Respectfully,

    Gregory Dean Lemke

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017312490_apusmortgagesettlement.html

    Press release: piggybankblog.com

    Dear Piggybankbloggers:
    .
    BREAKING NEWS: It’s the eleventh hour and the White House is about to strike a deal with big banks.
    .
    President Obama wants to be able to point to a big bank foreclosure settlement in Tuesday’s State of the Union as a measure of progress towards more Wall Street accountability. But the deal on the table is appalling, especially when compared to 2011 big bank bonuses.
    .
    Proposed total restitution for the millions of Americans who lost their home due to illegal foreclosure tactics: $25 billion.
    .
    2011 big bank bonuses: $144 billion
    .
    Something is very wrong with this picture.
    .

    See what you can do to help at John’s Daily Blog: :http://piggybankblog.com/2012/01/16/johns-daily-blog/
    .

    I need your help.
    If you liked today’s blog, please give Piggybankblog a donation
    .
    Donate here: http://piggybankblog.com/2010/09/09/donations/
    .
    .
    Nationalmortgageinvestigation.com
    Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint

  44. Dear Senator Cantwell

    I hope you are still with us and are still willing to push for the rule of law on wrongful foreclosures in Washington State.

    The deal the President has made for those who have been pushed out of a home wrongfully is, well just shamefully wrong. We should not allow the too big to fail banks to get off again !Crime should not pay this well. I should considered being a banker and, becoming a MOB member, this life looks to have no limits and, is all about getting rich at the cost of others. However, I could not sleep nights, if I have been a banker these days. They have abused with the American dream, abused the public hopes of ownership of a home, had parties, tool from the public trust without regard to the meaning of respect or honor for maintaining the American system of the rule of law. The banks have foreclosured on homes they don’t even own and, put families in the street. Created a fall from income on all retirements of the working class and, for this they get paid well ? Stop the abuse, crime of this nature should not pay this well ! Jail time would be a better resolve for those who created this shameful system of abuse in our banking system and, continue to do so without regard for what they have done to the Americam dream.

    Respectfully,

    Gregory Dean Lemke

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017312490_apusmortgagesettlement.html

    Press release: piggybankblog.com

    Dear Piggybankbloggers:
    .
    BREAKING NEWS: It’s the eleventh hour and the White House is about to strike a deal with big banks.
    .
    President Obama wants to be able to point to a big bank foreclosure settlement in Tuesday’s State of the Union as a measure of progress towards more Wall Street accountability. But the deal on the table is appalling, especially when compared to 2011 big bank bonuses.
    .
    Proposed total restitution for the millions of Americans who lost their home due to illegal foreclosure tactics: $25 billion.
    .
    2011 big bank bonuses: $144 billion
    .
    Something is very wrong with this picture.
    .

    See what you can do to help at John’s Daily Blog: :http://piggybankblog.com/2012/01/16/johns-daily-blog/
    .

    I need your help.
    If you liked today’s blog, please give Piggybankblog a donation
    .
    Donate here: http://piggybankblog.com/2010/09/09/donations/
    .
    .
    Nationalmortgageinvestigation.com
    Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint

  45. Dear Mr. Lemke:

    Thank you for your inquiry about our ongoing settlement negotiations with the big banks over robo-signing and other foreclosure and loan servicing practices. There has been a lot in the news and in the blogosphere lately about these negotiations between the country’s largest mortgage loan servicers and a group of state attorneys general and a number of federal agencies. Our Attorney General and staff are among the longtime leaders in the fight to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive lending practices. From that perspective, let me give you our perspective on the negotiations and the potential settlement.

    Beware the misrepresentations, distortions and outright falsehoods being circulated by those who don’t know the substance of the settlement negotiations. The truth is that the settlement is still being negotiated and criticism of it at this point is rank speculation. Nevertheless, it is not too early to make a few observations as negotiations continue.

    A settlement promises significant benefits for distressed homeowners. We estimate the final settlement amount will be in the tens of billions of dollars in total value – unless it is allowed to be indefinitely stopped by critics who insist on diverting our focus away from the needs of homeowners. Those harmed by the mortgage meltdown need relief now, not months or years down the road. Every day we delay, more homeowners face losing their homes to foreclosure.

    A settlement promises new approaches to the problems. For example, principal reduction for “under water” borrowers is very much on the table and will likely be part of any settlement. The settlement will also set new and stronger standards for loan servicing, including provisions that will ensure greater accuracy, timeliness and greater responsiveness to borrowers.

    A settlement will not give the banks “total immunity” or a “blanket” or other broad release of matters not covered by the settlement. As is typical of all multistate settlements, the States will provide the servicers with a release appropriate to the relief they provide homeowners, including increased loss mitigation efforts and reformed systems to ensure that these servicing problems do not reoccur. Moreover, there will be no amnesty from criminal prosecution. This is a civil investigation not a criminal one. The states have never contemplated doing anything that would interfere with any criminal prosecution. While some state attorneys general have criminal jurisdiction, many are like Washington State, where the Attorney General does not have original criminal jurisdiction. If you have concerns regarding criminal prosecutions, you should address those to criminal prosecutors such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office or local county prosecutors. But you should also understand that over a decade ago, Congress deregulated the financial services industry. That meant there were a lot fewer rules to accuse bankers of violating.

    A settlement will not interfere with the work of other state or federal agencies or of attorneys general who elect not to join the settlement nor will it waive any rights of individuals without their consent. The settling states may only release the claims of their own states. They cannot release the claims of states that do not choose to settle or the claims of individuals without their consent. If a state is unhappy with the settlement, they are not required to join it. The settlement will thus have no effect on that state or its citizens.

    The attorneys generals involved in multistate negations with the banks maintain a laser-like focus on bringing as much help to distressed homeowners as soon as we can. The interests of homeowners are not the same as those of the hedge funds and other Wall Street investors he seeks to include in our negotiations. Diverting our energy and losing precious time while investigating the securities industry will only delay relief to homeowners and could blow up our whole effort.

    Contrary to what some have alleged, this settlement will give us more, not less, leverage with the servicers to ensure that the home mortgage servicing industry serves the needs of America’s homeowners, and puts in place national servicing standards they will have to adhere to. We are at a critical juncture in our settlement talks. These negotiations are being handled by a savvy and experienced group of consumer protection professionals who have a long track record of bringing real relief to defrauded mortgage borrowers. If they agree to a settlement, it will be because they believe the terms are in the best interests of America’s homeowners. Combining the claims of private institutional investors with the claims of investors puts homeowners’ interests on the back burner at a crucial time. We believe the settlement holds the prospect of significant and immediate relief to distressed homeowners, which is good for homeowners, good for the real estate marketplace and good for the economy.

    In closing, we recognize that there is much conversation in the blogosphere and that emails from various interest groups are being circulated. However, what I’ve offered here is the view from one of the states actually leading the settlement talks. These remarks are based on factual information about the actual substance of the negotiations. Please take accusations from those not involved in the talks with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    MICHELLE FERAZZA LEGAL ASSISTANT

    ’206-464-6491 |7 206-587-5636 |* michellef@atg.wa.gov

    WA State Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division

    800 Fifth Avenue Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104-3188

    From: ATG MI CPR Contact AGO
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:58 AM
    To: Ferazza, Michelle (ATG)
    Subject: FW: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    From: ATG WWW Email AGO
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:57 AM
    To: ATG MI CPR Contact AGO
    Subject: FW: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    From: gregorylemke@yahoo.com [mailto:gregorylemke@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:30 AM
    To: ATG WWW Email AGO
    Subject: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    The following message has been submitted to staff at the Attorney General’s Office. Depending on the complexity of your request and the volume of messages received, please allow up to 10 business days for a member of the AGO staff to help you with your request. Please do not respond to this message. The ATG WWW Email AGO mailbox is an unmonitored box.

    From:
    Lemke, Gregory Dean

    Email Address:
    gregorylemke@yahoo.com

    Address:
    8614 217th PL NE

    Arlington WA 98223

    Address Type:
    Home

    Phone:
    360474-8047
    Phone Type:
    Home

    Subject:
    Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and your intended next action to it’s resolve

    Message:

    Dear Attorney General Rob McKenna

    I hope you are still with us and are still willing to push for the rule of law on wrongful foreclosures in Washington State.

    The deal the President has made for those who have been pushed out of a home wrongfully is, well just shamefully wrong. We should not allow the too big to fail banks to get off again !Crime should not pay this well. I should considered being a banker and, becoming a MOB member, this life looks to have no limits and, is all about getting rich at the cost of others. However, I could not sleep nights, if I have been a banker these days. They have abused with the American dream, abused the public hopes of ownership of a home, had parties, tool from the public trust without regard to the meaning of respect or honor for maintaining the American system of the rule of law. The banks have foreclosed on homes they don’t even own and, put families in the street. Created a fall from income on all retirements of the working class and, for this they get paid well ? Stop the abuse, crime of this nature should not pay this well ! Jail time would be a better resolve for those who created this shameful system of abuse in our banking system and, continue to do so without regard for what they have done to the American dream.

    Respectfully,

    Gregory Dean Lemke
    Copy to : Representative Kirk Pearson, Representative Dan Kristiansen

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017312490_apusmortgagesettlement.html

    Press release: piggybankblog.com

    Dear Piggybankbloggers:
    .
    BREAKING NEWS: It’s the eleventh hour and the White House is about to strike a deal with big banks.
    .
    President Obama wants to be able to point to a big bank foreclosure settlement in Tuesday’s State of the Union as a measure of progress towards more Wall Street accountability. But the deal on the table is appalling, especially when compared to 2011 big bank bonuses.
    .
    Proposed total restitution for the millions of Americans who lost their home due to illegal foreclosure tactics: $25 billion.
    .
    2011 big bank bonuses: $144 billion
    .
    Something is very wrong with this picture.
    .

    See what you can do to help at John’s Daily Blog: :http://piggybankblog.com/2012/01/16/johns-daily-blog/
    .

    Previous Contact:
    No
    Date:

    Regarding:

    AttachmentsDownload All SaveData.txt Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint Actions NextPrevious

  46. Dear Mr. Lemke:

    Thank you for your inquiry about our ongoing settlement negotiations with the big banks over robo-signing and other foreclosure and loan servicing practices. There has been a lot in the news and in the blogosphere lately about these negotiations between the country’s largest mortgage loan servicers and a group of state attorneys general and a number of federal agencies. Our Attorney General and staff are among the longtime leaders in the fight to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive lending practices. From that perspective, let me give you our perspective on the negotiations and the potential settlement.

    Beware the misrepresentations, distortions and outright falsehoods being circulated by those who don’t know the substance of the settlement negotiations. The truth is that the settlement is still being negotiated and criticism of it at this point is rank speculation. Nevertheless, it is not too early to make a few observations as negotiations continue.

    A settlement promises significant benefits for distressed homeowners. We estimate the final settlement amount will be in the tens of billions of dollars in total value – unless it is allowed to be indefinitely stopped by critics who insist on diverting our focus away from the needs of homeowners. Those harmed by the mortgage meltdown need relief now, not months or years down the road. Every day we delay, more homeowners face losing their homes to foreclosure.

    A settlement promises new approaches to the problems. For example, principal reduction for “under water” borrowers is very much on the table and will likely be part of any settlement. The settlement will also set new and stronger standards for loan servicing, including provisions that will ensure greater accuracy, timeliness and greater responsiveness to borrowers.

    A settlement will not give the banks “total immunity” or a “blanket” or other broad release of matters not covered by the settlement. As is typical of all multistate settlements, the States will provide the servicers with a release appropriate to the relief they provide homeowners, including increased loss mitigation efforts and reformed systems to ensure that these servicing problems do not reoccur. Moreover, there will be no amnesty from criminal prosecution. This is a civil investigation not a criminal one. The states have never contemplated doing anything that would interfere with any criminal prosecution. While some state attorneys general have criminal jurisdiction, many are like Washington State, where the Attorney General does not have original criminal jurisdiction. If you have concerns regarding criminal prosecutions, you should address those to criminal prosecutors such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office or local county prosecutors. But you should also understand that over a decade ago, Congress deregulated the financial services industry. That meant there were a lot fewer rules to accuse bankers of violating.

    A settlement will not interfere with the work of other state or federal agencies or of attorneys general who elect not to join the settlement nor will it waive any rights of individuals without their consent. The settling states may only release the claims of their own states. They cannot release the claims of states that do not choose to settle or the claims of individuals without their consent. If a state is unhappy with the settlement, they are not required to join it. The settlement will thus have no effect on that state or its citizens.

    The attorneys generals involved in multistate negations with the banks maintain a laser-like focus on bringing as much help to distressed homeowners as soon as we can. The interests of homeowners are not the same as those of the hedge funds and other Wall Street investors he seeks to include in our negotiations. Diverting our energy and losing precious time while investigating the securities industry will only delay relief to homeowners and could blow up our whole effort.

    Contrary to what some have alleged, this settlement will give us more, not less, leverage with the servicers to ensure that the home mortgage servicing industry serves the needs of America’s homeowners, and puts in place national servicing standards they will have to adhere to. We are at a critical juncture in our settlement talks. These negotiations are being handled by a savvy and experienced group of consumer protection professionals who have a long track record of bringing real relief to defrauded mortgage borrowers. If they agree to a settlement, it will be because they believe the terms are in the best interests of America’s homeowners. Combining the claims of private institutional investors with the claims of investors puts homeowners’ interests on the back burner at a crucial time. We believe the settlement holds the prospect of significant and immediate relief to distressed homeowners, which is good for homeowners, good for the real estate marketplace and good for the economy.

    In closing, we recognize that there is much conversation in the blogosphere and that emails from various interest groups are being circulated. However, what I’ve offered here is the view from one of the states actually leading the settlement talks. These remarks are based on factual information about the actual substance of the negotiations. Please take accusations from those not involved in the talks with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    MICHELLE FERAZZA LEGAL ASSISTANT

    ’206-464-6491 |7 206-587-5636 |* michellef@atg.wa.gov

    WA State Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division

    800 Fifth Avenue Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104-3188

    From: ATG MI CPR Contact AGO
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:58 AM
    To: Ferazza, Michelle (ATG)
    Subject: FW: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    From: ATG WWW Email AGO
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:57 AM
    To: ATG MI CPR Contact AGO
    Subject: FW: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    From: gregorylemke@yahoo.com [mailto:gregorylemke@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:30 AM
    To: ATG WWW Email AGO
    Subject: Contact AGO – Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and yourintended next action to it’s resolve

    The following message has been submitted to staff at the Attorney General’s Office. Depending on the complexity of your request and the volume of messages received, please allow up to 10 business days for a member of the AGO staff to help you with your request. Please do not respond to this message. The ATG WWW Email AGO mailbox is an unmonitored box.

    From:
    Lemke, Gregory Dean

    Email Address:
    gregorylemke@yahoo.com

    Address:
    8614 217th PL NE

    Arlington WA 98223

    Address Type:
    Home

    Phone:
    360474-8047
    Phone Type:
    Home

    Subject:
    Willful and wrongful foreclosures in Washington State and your intended next action to it’s resolve

    Message:

    Dear Attorney General Rob McKenna

    I hope you are still with us and are still willing to push for the rule of law on wrongful foreclosures in Washington State.

    The deal the President has made for those who have been pushed out of a home wrongfully is, well just shamefully wrong. We should not allow the too big to fail banks to get off again !Crime should not pay this well. I should considered being a banker and, becoming a MOB member, this life looks to have no limits and, is all about getting rich at the cost of others. However, I could not sleep nights, if I have been a banker these days. They have abused with the American dream, abused the public hopes of ownership of a home, had parties, tool from the public trust without regard to the meaning of respect or honor for maintaining the American system of the rule of law. The banks have foreclosed on homes they don’t even own and, put families in the street. Created a fall from income on all retirements of the working class and, for this they get paid well ? Stop the abuse, crime of this nature should not pay this well ! Jail time would be a better resolve for those who created this shameful system of abuse in our banking system and, continue to do so without regard for what they have done to the American dream.

    Respectfully,

    Gregory Dean Lemke
    Copy to : Representative Kirk Pearson, Representative Dan Kristiansen

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017312490_apusmortgagesettlement.html

    Press release: piggybankblog.com

    Dear Piggybankbloggers:
    .
    BREAKING NEWS: It’s the eleventh hour and the White House is about to strike a deal with big banks.
    .
    President Obama wants to be able to point to a big bank foreclosure settlement in Tuesday’s State of the Union as a measure of progress towards more Wall Street accountability. But the deal on the table is appalling, especially when compared to 2011 big bank bonuses.
    .
    Proposed total restitution for the millions of Americans who lost their home due to illegal foreclosure tactics: $25 billion.
    .
    2011 big bank bonuses: $144 billion
    .
    Something is very wrong with this picture.
    .

    See what you can do to help at John’s Daily Blog: :http://piggybankblog.com/2012/01/16/johns-daily-blog/
    .

    Previous Contact:
    No
    Date:

    Regarding:

    AttachmentsDownload All SaveData.txt Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint Actions NextPrevious

  47. Michelle Darnell
    12:17am Jan 25

    I have rewiewed several cases here in WA and I am seeing a pattern!!
    This phrase is repeated often:
    “We [also] agree that the plaintiffs’ failure to obtain a preliminary injunction or restraining order barring the nonjudicial foreclosure sale waived any right to contest the validity of the foreclosure. We reverse the Court of Appeals and reinstate the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of ——–”.
    Here in WA if you do not contest, seek injunction or in any way resist the foreclosure/sale, you waive rights to contest the validity of the foreclosure!!! Homeowners if you do not know your rights you have none. Just a heads up. MD

  48. Michelle Darnell
    12:17am Jan 25

    I have rewiewed several cases here in WA and I am seeing a pattern!!
    This phrase is repeated often:
    “We [also] agree that the plaintiffs’ failure to obtain a preliminary injunction or restraining order barring the nonjudicial foreclosure sale waived any right to contest the validity of the foreclosure. We reverse the Court of Appeals and reinstate the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of ——–”.
    Here in WA if you do not contest, seek injunction or in any way resist the foreclosure/sale, you waive rights to contest the validity of the foreclosure!!! Homeowners if you do not know your rights you have none. Just a heads up. MD

  49. My two bills are in Committee. I need support MORE THAN EVER NOW! Please call Senator Hobbs regarding SB 6070 (Banking Committee Chair 360-786-7686) and Senator Kline regarding SB 6199 (Judiciary Committee Chair 360-786-7688) and tell them you want these bills to be considered and be allowed a hearing. Please call now.
    SB 6070 – Will bring needed funds into County budgets by simply requiring every transfer and assignment to be manditorily recorded in the county recording office. Wa State REALTORS unanimously voted to support this bill. Will help provide transparency and integrity back to the land records.
    SB 6199 – Will allow for the state to prosecute false swearing by a beneficiary. The state has no monetary damage associated with a false beneficiary trying to claim ownership and take a property to foreclosure. Let’s make this a felony and apply a substantial monetary penalty to this legislation.
    We need to demand hearings on both these pieces of legislation! PLEASE CALL NOW!
    Karen

  50. My two bills are in Committee. I need support MORE THAN EVER NOW! Please call Senator Hobbs regarding SB 6070 (Banking Committee Chair 360-786-7686) and Senator Kline regarding SB 6199 (Judiciary Committee Chair 360-786-7688) and tell them you want these bills to be considered and be allowed a hearing. Please call now.
    SB 6070 – Will bring needed funds into County budgets by simply requiring every transfer and assignment to be manditorily recorded in the county recording office. Wa State REALTORS unanimously voted to support this bill. Will help provide transparency and integrity back to the land records.
    SB 6199 – Will allow for the state to prosecute false swearing by a beneficiary. The state has no monetary damage associated with a false beneficiary trying to claim ownership and take a property to foreclosure. Let’s make this a felony and apply a substantial monetary penalty to this legislation.
    We need to demand hearings on both these pieces of legislation! PLEASE CALL NOW!
    Karen

  51. We won this one up to this point Senate Committee on Judicuary SB6199 pasted 9 in support of the bill. No one opposed the Bill.

    This Bill makes it a class felony to searing to a foreclosure falsely.

    Gregory Lemke has sent you a video from tvw.org
    SB6199 passed without incident.
    Senate Judiciary Committee held on Tuesday January 31st 2012, 10:00AM
    Public: SB 6143, SB 6286, SB 6376, SB 6067, SB 6199, SB 6321 Executive: SB 5697, SB 6162, SB 6108, SB 6252, SB 6253, SB 6566

    Please click here to watch video or paste this url into your browser address bar:
    http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2012011285

    Please do not reply to this email. For questions or concerns please email support@tvw.org

  52. We won this one up to this point Senate Committee on Judicuary SB6199 pasted 9 in support of the bill. No one opposed the Bill.

    This Bill makes it a class felony to searing to a foreclosure falsely.

    Gregory Lemke has sent you a video from tvw.org
    SB6199 passed without incident.
    Senate Judiciary Committee held on Tuesday January 31st 2012, 10:00AM
    Public: SB 6143, SB 6286, SB 6376, SB 6067, SB 6199, SB 6321 Executive: SB 5697, SB 6162, SB 6108, SB 6252, SB 6253, SB 6566

    Please click here to watch video or paste this url into your browser address bar:
    http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2012011285

    Please do not reply to this email. For questions or concerns please email support@tvw.org

  53. Write your elected at your State House and Senate and tell them to support these bills !

    Dear Senator Steven and friends.

    I really support these Bills SB6070,SB6199 under review, it’s a first step to correct the unlawful foreclosures in Washington State. Please sand with us and vote yes to pass these issues into law in Washington State. Should you fail in taking a stand to protect those facing unlawful foreclosures I sure we will continue to the fall of the housing market and continued loss of income from home being sold on the market.

    With every foreclosure in Washington State we lose income and those affected by the foreclosure are forced to file for chapter 13 protection in some cases. This is not good Washington State.

    Read the comments after the article…

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/01/31/the-occupy-bills-featuring-sen-pam-roach-fighting-big-banks

    Respectfully,

  54. Write your elected at your State House and Senate and tell them to support these bills !

    Dear Senator Steven and friends.

    I really support these Bills SB6070,SB6199 under review, it’s a first step to correct the unlawful foreclosures in Washington State. Please sand with us and vote yes to pass these issues into law in Washington State. Should you fail in taking a stand to protect those facing unlawful foreclosures I sure we will continue to the fall of the housing market and continued loss of income from home being sold on the market.

    With every foreclosure in Washington State we lose income and those affected by the foreclosure are forced to file for chapter 13 protection in some cases. This is not good Washington State.

    Read the comments after the article…

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/01/31/the-occupy-bills-featuring-sen-pam-roach-fighting-big-banks

    Respectfully,

  55. Insight: Top Justice officials connected to mortgage banks

    inShare.42Share thisEmailPrintRelated NewsBofA may pay staff in shares, with eye on capital
    Thu, Jan 19 2012
    Ex-SEC attorney Barasch settles DOJ case
    Fri, Jan 13 2012
    Retail sales weak, jobless claims up
    Thu, Jan 12 2012
    Special report: Greece claims magnate stole from his own bank
    Thu, Jan 12 2012
    Fannie Mae CEO to leave after successor chosen
    Wed, Jan 11 2012Analysis & OpinionAmid SOPA debate, SCOTUS gives Congress broad copyright power
    Contingent liability of the day, force-placed insurance edition
    Related TopicsMoney »
    Special Reports »

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) chats with Assistant Attorney General in the criminal division of the Justice Department Lanny Breuer before their testimony on the second day of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 14, 2010.
    Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed
    By Scot J. Paltrow

    Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:31am EST

    (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud, a Reuters inquiry shows.

    The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington’s biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

    Both the Justice Department and Covington declined to say if either official had personally worked on matters for the big mortgage industry clients. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Holder and Breuer had complied fully with conflict of interest regulations, but she declined to say if they had recused themselves from any matters related to the former clients.

    Reuters reported in December that under Holder and Breuer, the Justice Department hasn’t brought any criminal cases against big banks or other companies involved in mortgage servicing, even though copious evidence has surfaced of apparent criminal violations in foreclosure cases.

    The evidence, including records from federal and state courts and local clerks’ offices around the country, shows widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures on the homes of thousands of active-duty military personnel.

    In recent weeks the Justice Department has come under renewed pressure from members of Congress, state and local officials and homeowners’ lawyers to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation of mortgage servicers, the biggest of which have been Covington clients. So far Justice officials haven’t responded publicly to any of the requests.

    While Holder and Breuer were partners at Covington, the firm’s clients included the four largest U.S. banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co – as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage servicers.

    DEFENDER OF FREDDIE

    Servicers perform routine mortgage maintenance tasks, including filing foreclosures, on behalf of mortgage owners, usually groups of investors who bought mortgage-backed securities.

    Covington represented Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s biggest issuers of mortgage backed securities, in enforcement investigations by federal financial regulators.

    A particular concern by those pressing for an investigation is Covington’s involvement with Virginia-based MERS Corp, which runs a vast computerized registry of mortgages. Little known before the mortgage crisis hit, MERS, which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, has been at the center of complaints about false or erroneous mortgage documents.

    Court records show that Covington, in the late 1990s, provided legal opinion letters needed to create MERS on behalf of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and several other large banks. It was meant to speed up registration and transfers of mortgages. By 2010, MERS claimed to own about half of all mortgages in the U.S. — roughly 60 million loans.

    But evidence in numerous state and federal court cases around the country has shown that MERS authorized thousands of bank employees to sign their names as MERS officials. The banks allegedly drew up fake mortgage assignments, making it appear falsely that they had standing to file foreclosures, and then had their own employees sign the documents as MERS “vice presidents” or “assistant secretaries.”

    Covington in 2004 also wrote a crucial opinion letter commissioned by MERS, providing legal justification for its electronic registry. MERS spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde declined to comment on Covington legal work done for MERS.

    It isn’t known to what extent if any Covington has continued to represent the banks and other mortgage firms since Holder and Breuer left. Covington declined to respond to questions from Reuters. A Covington spokeswoman said the firm had no comment.

    Several lawyers for homeowners have said that even if Holder and Breuer haven’t violated any ethics rules, their ties to Covington create an impression of bias toward the firms’ clients, especially in the absence of any prosecutions by the Justice Department.

    O. Max Gardner III, a lawyer who trains other attorneys to represent homeowners in bankruptcy court foreclosure actions, said he attributes the Justice Department’s reluctance to prosecute the banks or their executives to the Obama White House’s view that it might harm the economy.

    But he said that the background of Holder and Breuer at Covington — and their failure to act on foreclosure fraud or publicly recuse themselves — “doesn’t pass the smell test.”

    Federal ethics regulations generally require new government officials to recuse themselves for one year from involvement in matters involving clients they personally had represented at their former law firms.

    President Obama imposed additional restrictions on appointees that essentially extended the ban to two years. For Holder, that ban would have expired in February 2011, and in April for Breuer. Rules also require officials to avoid creating the appearance of a conflict.

    Schmaler, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “The Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General Breuer have conformed with all financial, legal and ethical obligations under law as well as additional ethical standards set by the Obama Administration.”

    She said they “routinely consult” the department’s ethics officials for guidance. Without offering specifics, Schmaler said they “have recused themselves from matters as required by the law.”

    Senior government officials often move to big Washington law firms, and lawyers from those firms often move into government posts. But records show that in recent years the traffic between the Justice Department and Covington & Burling has been particularly heavy. In 2010, Holder’s deputy chief of staff, John Garland, returned to Covington, as did Steven Fagell, who was Breuer’s deputy chief of staff in the criminal division.

    The firm has on its web site a page listing its attorneys who are former federal government officials. Covington lists 22 from the Justice Department, and 12 from U.S. Attorneys offices, the Justice Department’s local federal prosecutors’ offices around the country.

    As Reuters reported in 2011, public records show large numbers of mortgage promissory notes with apparently forged endorsements that were submitted as evidence to courts.

    There also is evidence of almost routine manufacturing of false mortgage assignments, documents that transfer ownership of mortgages between banks or to groups of investors. In foreclosure actions in courts mortgage assignments are required to show that a bank has the legal right to foreclose.

    In an interview in late 2011, Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written about foreclosure practices said, “I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history.”

    Holder has resisted calls for a criminal investigation since October 2010, when evidence of widespread “robo-signing” first surfaced. That involved mortgage servicer employees falsely signing and swearing to massive numbers of affidavits and other foreclosure documents that they had never read or checked for accuracy.

    Recent calls for a wide-ranging criminal investigation of the mortgage servicing industry have come from members of Congress, including Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., state officials, and county clerks. In recent months clerks from around the country have examined mortgage and foreclosure records filed with them and reported finding high percentages of apparently fraudulent documents.

    On Wednesday, John O’Brien Jr., register of deeds in Salem, Mass., announced that he had sent 31,897 allegedly fraudulent foreclosure-related documents to Holder. O’Brien said he asked for a criminal investigation of servicers and their law firms that had filed the documents because they “show a pattern of fraud,” forgery and false notarizations.

    (Reporting By Scot J. Paltrow, editing by Blake Morrison)

  56. Insight: Top Justice officials connected to mortgage banks

    inShare.42Share thisEmailPrintRelated NewsBofA may pay staff in shares, with eye on capital
    Thu, Jan 19 2012
    Ex-SEC attorney Barasch settles DOJ case
    Fri, Jan 13 2012
    Retail sales weak, jobless claims up
    Thu, Jan 12 2012
    Special report: Greece claims magnate stole from his own bank
    Thu, Jan 12 2012
    Fannie Mae CEO to leave after successor chosen
    Wed, Jan 11 2012Analysis & OpinionAmid SOPA debate, SCOTUS gives Congress broad copyright power
    Contingent liability of the day, force-placed insurance edition
    Related TopicsMoney »
    Special Reports »

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) chats with Assistant Attorney General in the criminal division of the Justice Department Lanny Breuer before their testimony on the second day of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 14, 2010.
    Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed
    By Scot J. Paltrow

    Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:31am EST

    (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud, a Reuters inquiry shows.

    The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington’s biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

    Both the Justice Department and Covington declined to say if either official had personally worked on matters for the big mortgage industry clients. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Holder and Breuer had complied fully with conflict of interest regulations, but she declined to say if they had recused themselves from any matters related to the former clients.

    Reuters reported in December that under Holder and Breuer, the Justice Department hasn’t brought any criminal cases against big banks or other companies involved in mortgage servicing, even though copious evidence has surfaced of apparent criminal violations in foreclosure cases.

    The evidence, including records from federal and state courts and local clerks’ offices around the country, shows widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures on the homes of thousands of active-duty military personnel.

    In recent weeks the Justice Department has come under renewed pressure from members of Congress, state and local officials and homeowners’ lawyers to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation of mortgage servicers, the biggest of which have been Covington clients. So far Justice officials haven’t responded publicly to any of the requests.

    While Holder and Breuer were partners at Covington, the firm’s clients included the four largest U.S. banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co – as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage servicers.

    DEFENDER OF FREDDIE

    Servicers perform routine mortgage maintenance tasks, including filing foreclosures, on behalf of mortgage owners, usually groups of investors who bought mortgage-backed securities.

    Covington represented Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s biggest issuers of mortgage backed securities, in enforcement investigations by federal financial regulators.

    A particular concern by those pressing for an investigation is Covington’s involvement with Virginia-based MERS Corp, which runs a vast computerized registry of mortgages. Little known before the mortgage crisis hit, MERS, which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, has been at the center of complaints about false or erroneous mortgage documents.

    Court records show that Covington, in the late 1990s, provided legal opinion letters needed to create MERS on behalf of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and several other large banks. It was meant to speed up registration and transfers of mortgages. By 2010, MERS claimed to own about half of all mortgages in the U.S. — roughly 60 million loans.

    But evidence in numerous state and federal court cases around the country has shown that MERS authorized thousands of bank employees to sign their names as MERS officials. The banks allegedly drew up fake mortgage assignments, making it appear falsely that they had standing to file foreclosures, and then had their own employees sign the documents as MERS “vice presidents” or “assistant secretaries.”

    Covington in 2004 also wrote a crucial opinion letter commissioned by MERS, providing legal justification for its electronic registry. MERS spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde declined to comment on Covington legal work done for MERS.

    It isn’t known to what extent if any Covington has continued to represent the banks and other mortgage firms since Holder and Breuer left. Covington declined to respond to questions from Reuters. A Covington spokeswoman said the firm had no comment.

    Several lawyers for homeowners have said that even if Holder and Breuer haven’t violated any ethics rules, their ties to Covington create an impression of bias toward the firms’ clients, especially in the absence of any prosecutions by the Justice Department.

    O. Max Gardner III, a lawyer who trains other attorneys to represent homeowners in bankruptcy court foreclosure actions, said he attributes the Justice Department’s reluctance to prosecute the banks or their executives to the Obama White House’s view that it might harm the economy.

    But he said that the background of Holder and Breuer at Covington — and their failure to act on foreclosure fraud or publicly recuse themselves — “doesn’t pass the smell test.”

    Federal ethics regulations generally require new government officials to recuse themselves for one year from involvement in matters involving clients they personally had represented at their former law firms.

    President Obama imposed additional restrictions on appointees that essentially extended the ban to two years. For Holder, that ban would have expired in February 2011, and in April for Breuer. Rules also require officials to avoid creating the appearance of a conflict.

    Schmaler, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “The Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General Breuer have conformed with all financial, legal and ethical obligations under law as well as additional ethical standards set by the Obama Administration.”

    She said they “routinely consult” the department’s ethics officials for guidance. Without offering specifics, Schmaler said they “have recused themselves from matters as required by the law.”

    Senior government officials often move to big Washington law firms, and lawyers from those firms often move into government posts. But records show that in recent years the traffic between the Justice Department and Covington & Burling has been particularly heavy. In 2010, Holder’s deputy chief of staff, John Garland, returned to Covington, as did Steven Fagell, who was Breuer’s deputy chief of staff in the criminal division.

    The firm has on its web site a page listing its attorneys who are former federal government officials. Covington lists 22 from the Justice Department, and 12 from U.S. Attorneys offices, the Justice Department’s local federal prosecutors’ offices around the country.

    As Reuters reported in 2011, public records show large numbers of mortgage promissory notes with apparently forged endorsements that were submitted as evidence to courts.

    There also is evidence of almost routine manufacturing of false mortgage assignments, documents that transfer ownership of mortgages between banks or to groups of investors. In foreclosure actions in courts mortgage assignments are required to show that a bank has the legal right to foreclose.

    In an interview in late 2011, Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written about foreclosure practices said, “I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history.”

    Holder has resisted calls for a criminal investigation since October 2010, when evidence of widespread “robo-signing” first surfaced. That involved mortgage servicer employees falsely signing and swearing to massive numbers of affidavits and other foreclosure documents that they had never read or checked for accuracy.

    Recent calls for a wide-ranging criminal investigation of the mortgage servicing industry have come from members of Congress, including Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., state officials, and county clerks. In recent months clerks from around the country have examined mortgage and foreclosure records filed with them and reported finding high percentages of apparently fraudulent documents.

    On Wednesday, John O’Brien Jr., register of deeds in Salem, Mass., announced that he had sent 31,897 allegedly fraudulent foreclosure-related documents to Holder. O’Brien said he asked for a criminal investigation of servicers and their law firms that had filed the documents because they “show a pattern of fraud,” forgery and false notarizations.

    (Reporting By Scot J. Paltrow, editing by Blake Morrison)

  57. Rob Harrington
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/eric-holder-banks-lanny-breuer_n_1218452.html
    U.S. AG Eric Holder, DoJ Head Lanny Breuer Linked To Banks Accused Of Foreclosure Fraud
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com
    ‎(For related Special Report, see ) By Scot J. Paltrow Jan 19 (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks…

  58. Rob Harrington
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/eric-holder-banks-lanny-breuer_n_1218452.html
    U.S. AG Eric Holder, DoJ Head Lanny Breuer Linked To Banks Accused Of Foreclosure Fraud
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com
    ‎(For related Special Report, see ) By Scot J. Paltrow Jan 19 (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks…

  59. FULL TESTIMONY: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman before Congressional Progressive Caucus
    By Steve On April 28, 2012 · Leave a Comment ….Published on Apr 27, 2012 by ProgressiveCaucus

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman testified before the Congressional Progressive Caucus on current efforts to help millions of American families stay in their homes, and pushed back on blaming the middle class for the economic recession.

    Click on the link to the testimony:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YRriT8FHKw

  60. FULL TESTIMONY: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman before Congressional Progressive Caucus
    By Steve On April 28, 2012 · Leave a Comment ….Published on Apr 27, 2012 by ProgressiveCaucus

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman testified before the Congressional Progressive Caucus on current efforts to help millions of American families stay in their homes, and pushed back on blaming the middle class for the economic recession.

    Click on the link to the testimony:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YRriT8FHKw

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