Daily Archives: March 8, 2014


Former HUD-OIG Special Agent in Charge Indicted on Mortgage Fraud Charges

Former HUD-OIG Special Agent in Charge Indicted on Mortgage Fraud Charges

ATLANTA – Herschell Harvell, Jr. made his initial appearance in federal court on charges of making false statements to a bank to obtain a mortgage loan and conspiring to obstruct an investigation into his real estate transactions by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).  Until he was terminated last year, Harvell was the Special Agent in Charge of HUD-OIG’s Atlanta office, which encompasses several southeastern states.  Harvell’s co-defendant and nephew, Tavus A. Wright also made his initial appearance on federal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury. 

“As a federal law enforcement officer, Harvell was entrusted with supervising mortgage fraud investigations,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “It is particularly troubling that someone responsible for investigating mortgage fraud is charged with committing it and with obstructing justice to cover up his crimes.” 

“It is a regrettable day for the dedicated, hard-working men and women of our organization.  We cannot tolerate or condone the abuse of trust and the violation of the very laws that Mr. Harvell was sworn to investigate and that is why I brought this matter to the attention of the U.S. Attorney,” said David A. Montoya, Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  “I am profoundly disappointed at that break down of our former employee’s ethical and moral compass.”


US government investigating 2 major French banks

US government investigating 2 major French banks

Two French banks are under investigation for alleged money laundering and certain dealings in Iran, Sudan and Cuba that may have violated sanctions, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Manhattan district attorney, and the New York Department of Financial Services are looking into Société Générale and Crédit Agricole. The move comes not long after French bank BNP Paribas announced it was setting aside more than $1 billion to pay fines it incurred for violating U.S. sanctions in Iran and Cuba.


Bank Of America Wants People To Pay $5 For A Currently Free Service

Bank Of America Wants People To Pay $5 For A Currently Free Service

Banksters are still nickeling and diming consumers…

Bank of America is offering you the chance to pay a fee for a service you may not know you already have.

The bank on Thursday launched a new kind of account, known as the “SafeBalance” account, which costs $4.95 a month and comes with no paper checks. Its major selling point is that is won’t let you overdraw your account.

That sounds great in theory, especially if you’re broke and can’t afford to pay a $35 fee every time you’re overdrawn. But if this is a luxury, it’s one that anybody can afford — and you don’t need to pay $4.95 a month for it.

As the Consumerist blog points out, no one has to pay overdraft fees if they don’t want to.


Local woman suing Wells Fargo, saying they did not have the right to take money out of her CD to pay on her sister’s defaulted home loan

Local woman suing Wells Fargo, saying they did not have the right to take money out of her CD to pay on her sister’s defaulted home loan


A local woman is suing her bank, saying they did not have the right to take money out of her CD to pay on her sister’s defaulted home loan. The trial is underway in downtown Clearwater.

When Linda Pisantos was approved for a home equity loan at Wells Fargo, she did not know her sister had two CD’s there with her name on them.

“Had you ever seen or had knowledge of that CD before?” asked Pisantos’ sister’s attorney, William Rambaum.

“Not before all of this legal stuff,” she replied.

The legal stuff started when Margaret Zurro, Pisantos’ sister, went to check on that $40,000 CD.

“They told her that the amount that she thought was in the CD was no longer there,” Pisantos told the court. More than half of it was gone. Zurro called her sister and the two began to put the pieces together.

Pisantos had defaulted on that Home Equity Loan after falling on tough times. Wells Fargo took the money from the CD to make up the loss but Zurro said she had indicated to the bank that her sister was only to be listed on the account as payable upon death in the event of Zurro’s death.


Wells Fargo told to pay $3.2M for ‘shocking’ foreclosure

Wells Fargo told to pay $3.2M for ‘shocking’ foreclosure

A New Mexico judge has issued a $3.2 million judgment against Wells Fargo & Co. for foreclosing on a man’s home after his death, even though he had a purchased an insurance policy through the bank that would have paid the remaining balance on his mortgage.

District Judge Beatrice Brickhouse said the bank’s conduct was shocking and so reprehensible that in addition to actual damages, attorney’s fees and court costs, she awarded James Dollens’ estate $2.7 million in punitive damages.

Brickhouse issued the ruling Feb. 14. It was reported Friday by the Albuquerque Journal.


JPMorgan whistleblower gets $63.9 million in mortgage fraud deal

JPMorgan whistleblower gets $63.9 million in mortgage fraud deal

(Reuters) – A whistleblower will be paid $63.9 million for providing tips that led to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s agreement to pay $614 million and tighten oversight to resolve charges that it defrauded the government into insuring flawed home loans.

The payment to the whistleblower, Keith Edwards, was disclosed on Friday in a filing with the U.S. district court in Manhattan that formally ended the case.

In the February 4 settlement, JPMorgan admitted that for more than a decade it submitted thousands of mortgages for insurance by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs that did not qualify for government guarantees.

JPMorgan also admitted that it had failed to tell the agencies that its own internal reviews had turned up problems.

The government said it ultimately had to cover millions of dollars of losses after some of the bank’s loans went sour, resulting in evictions and foreclosures nationwide.

“There were a lot of bad loans made during the financial boom, and the United States taxpayer was left holding the bag through the VA and FHA loan programs,” Edwards’ lawyer, David Wasinger, said in a phone interview. “Hopefully the settlement sends a message to Wall Street that this conduct is not allowed, and that in the future it will be held accountable.”

JPMorgan extends deadline for mortgage-bond trustees

According to an article in Bloomberg, JPMorgan Chase(JPMagreed to give mortgage-bond trustees evaluating a proposed $4.5 billion settlement over bad loans an extra three months to consider signing onto the deal.

The deadline was extended to June 16, according to a letter posted to a website for the settlement. Trustees including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Deutsche Bank AG and Wells Fargo & Co. had asked the New York-based bank for the change in a letter dated March 4.Stephen Cutler, JPMorgan’s general counsel, agreed to the request, the document shows.

The previous deadline was March 16, according to an earlier letter.

Source: Bloomberg