Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lender Processing Service Reaches $120 Million Deal With States in Foreclosure Probe

Lender Processing Services Inc. reached a $120 million settlement with 45 states to resolve claims of improper foreclosure practices, according to two state attorneys general.

Source: Bloomberg

USA v Bank of America

MANHATTAN – The United States amended its $1 billion federal complaint against Countrywide Financial and Bank of America, for the “streamlined,” “Hustle” loan originations.

Source: Courthouse News

[VIDEO] Texas County Clerk MERS Audit Findings Presentation re: Robo-Signed Forged Documents

Here is the video: http://youtu.be/vDDq45oj7nY

Full 177 Page Report | Audit reveals  million revenue loss in Williamson County due to MERS:

 

Link

Equifax Sells Private Information To Debt Collectors In ‘Biggest Privacy Breach In Our Time’: Report

Equifax Sells Private Information To Debt Collectors In ‘Biggest Privacy Breach In Our Time’: Report

Financial information is considered by most to be very private, but that isn’t stopping one credit reporting agency from sharing it without your knowledge, according to a report by NBC News.

Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies with one of the most expansive private databases of information, has accumulated the salary and employment records of more than one-third of U.S. adults, according to NBC. In turn, the agency has sold some of this information to debt collectors and other financial service companies. That data can make debt collectors’ jobs easier by giving them access to information individuals thought only their employers knew.

“It’s the biggest privacy breach in our time,” Robert Mather of Pre-Employ.com, an employment background company, told NBC.

See NBC’s full report here.

How does Equifax do it? The credit agency gets the sensitive information from U.S. businesses and feeds it into one of its subsidiaries, The Work Number. Used by lenders and employment screeners, The Work Number serves as a verification of employment and income information.

According to NBC, once the information is compiled, Equifax sells some of it to debt collectors and financial services companies without expressly notifying the individual whose information is being distributed.

Demitra Wilson, a spokesperson for Equifax, verified that debt collectors can request employment data from The Work Number.

NEW SEC CHIEF MARY JO WHITE THINKS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BRING CASES – ‘TO A POINT’

A few more things about Mary Jo White, the former prosecutor and corporate lawyer recently chosen by Barack Obama to head the SEC.  Last week, I wrote about White’s involvement in the notorious Gary Aguirre episode, wherein the former U.S. Attorney and then-partner at the hotshot white-shoe defense firm Debevoise and Plimpton helped squelch then-SEC investigator Aguirre’s insider trading case against future Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack.

White, who was representing Morgan Stanley in this affair, went over Aguirre’s head to talk directly to then-SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen about “reviewing” the case. After Aguirre was fired and the case against Mack went away, the official responsible for terminating the case, Aguirre’s boss Paul Berger, was given a lucrative, multimillion-dollar job with Debevoise and Plimpton, closing the circle in what looks like a classic case of revolving-door corruption.

There are a few more troubling details about this incident that haven’t been disclosed publicly yet. The first involve White’s deposition about this case, which she gave in February 2007, as part of the SEC Inspector General’s investigation. In this deposition, White is asked to recount the process by which Berger came to work at D&P. There are several striking exchanges, in which she gives highly revealing answers.

Rest here…

UNPRECEDENTED CIVIL JURY VERDICT FINDS ONEWEST BANK GUILTY OF FRAUD BANK BREACHED MORTGAGE AGREEMENT IN CASE BROUGHT BY U.S. GOVT. FRAUD INVESTIGATOR

Jan 30, 2013 – Washington, DC: In October 2012, an historic civil jury verdict in the District of Columbia found that OneWest Bank, which also does business as IndyMac Mortgage Services, violated DC’s consumer protection law by breaching its contract and committing fraud against the plaintiff, Ross Yerger (“the customer”) – a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service.  Actual damages were awarded and accompanied by punitive damages and attorney fees.  This is the highest level at which any such case has been decided against a financial institution in favor of victory for the plaintiff.

This case is also being considered by the United States Attorney’s Office for additional action and has already been considered similar in nature to the current Bank of America lawsuit filed by the U.S. Government.  The case citation is Yerger v. OneWest Bank, No. 2011 CA 000706 in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.  JR Howell, Esq. of JRH Legal Strategies represented the customer.

In August of 2009, OneWest Bank, solicited the customer into joining its “Equity Accelerator Program.”  Under that program, OneWest promised to debit the homeowner’s mortgage payment in two bi-monthly installments every month for the remainder of the loan. OneWest said that the program would result in over $170,000.00 in interest savings and a gain of nearly $70,000.00 of equity in ten years.  OneWest Bank’s promises were reduced to a written agreement.

The program was not executed as promised.  The bank never debited any money from the customer’s account. However, the bank consistently charged the customer hundreds of dollars in late fees. The customer repeatedly cured the bank’s failures by making the mortgage payment manually, including the fees that were charged because the bank failed to make the debits. Each time he made these payments, he was told the debits would continue under the program as agreed. But that never happened.

Several months later, the customer was threatened with foreclosure. The bank’s lawyers told the customer to pay $9,878.22 to stop the foreclosure in August of 2010. The customer immediately paid this amount, but three weeks later the customer received that payment back from the bank, which said it was refusing to accept the payment. The foreclosure was scheduled for October 21, 2010.

The bank’s lawyers then demanded over $16,000.00 a few weeks later, otherwise it was going to sell the customer’s home in a foreclosure sale. The customer came up with the money. At trial, several thousands of the dollars were labeled as miscellaneous fees and remained unexplained. Hundreds of dollars were never applied to the customer’s account and remained unaccounted for at trial. A witness for the bank was unable to explain why the customer was charged several thousand dollars in unspecified fees and what the bank did with hundreds of dollars of the customer’s money.

A few days later, the customer was sent a mortgage statement rife with accounting errors, saying that the customer was a month behind on his mortgage-even though the bank told him that the $16,000.00 payment would bring him current. Even though the bank’s lawyers told him the accounting error was fixed, the following month he was sent a mortgage statement demanded three times his regular mortgage payment. OneWest Bank refused to accept the amount of the regular monthly mortgage payment and demanded the customer pay the full amount that they insisted. In deposition, the witness for the bank confessed that these statements were mistakes. But at trial, the witness recanted this statement and restated that the November 2010 statement was accurate. Neither the bank, nor an independent auditor completed an audit of the customer’s account.

The lawsuit began in January of 2011.  When the summons was served on the bank, the customer’s legal counsel sent a letter with the complaint, explaining that there was no need for litigation to fix this issue and that the parties could negotiate their differences amicably. There was no response to the letter. Instead, OneWest Bank forced the customer to undergo two years of protracted litigation, as well as surveillance on the residence by the bank’s contractors and other harassment.

FEDSPEAK: TO SUPPORT A STRONGER ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND TO HELP ENSURE THAT INFLATION, THE COMMITTEE WILL CONTINUE PURCHASING ADDITIONAL AGENCY MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES AT A PACE OF $40 BILLION PER MONTH…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that growth ineconomic activity paused in recent months, in large part because of weather-related disruptions and other transitory factors. Employment has continued to expand at a moderate pace but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has shown further improvement. Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.  Although strains in global financial markets have eased somewhat, the Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on  longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financialconditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemploymentrate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financialdevelopments. When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.