Daily Archives: April 23, 2014

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Four insurers get subpoenas in NY Regulator Iran sanction probe

Four insurers get subpoenas in NY Regulator Iran sanction probe

Four U.S. insurance carriers have been subpoenaed by New York state’s top insurance regulator in an ongoing probe of potential sanctions violations involving Iran, according to sources quoted by national media.

The subpoenas were sent to Chubb Corp, CNA Financial, Liberty Mutual and Navigators Group from the Department of Financial Services’ head Benjamin Lawsky.

The subpoenas reportedly demanded information related to the companies’ dealings with Swiss-based commodities concern Glencore Xstrata and its Iranian metals trade. They were also allegedly asked to identify any instance in which they invoked governmental sanctions as a reason to refuse claim payouts.

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New York’s Top Regulator Sues Subprime Auto Lender

New York’s Top Regulator Sues Subprime Auto Lender

New York’s top financial regulator is taking advantage of a rarely used provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that gives the state authorities power to enforce federal consumer protection law.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York State’s superintendent of financial services, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Condor Capital Corporation, a subprime auto lender that he accused of siphoning millions of dollars away from the accounts of unwitting borrowers.

The complaint, which also names Condor’s owner, Stephen Baron, contends that Condor deliberately avoided issuing refunds by deceiving customers about positive balances in their accounts. To do this, the company would shut down borrowers’ access to online accounts after a loan had been repaid, leaving them unable to see whether an insurance payoff, overpayment or other transaction had left excess money behind, according to the suit.

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Audit: Michigan’s foreclosure prevention program failed to ensure all recipients were eligible

Audit: Michigan’s foreclosure prevention program failed to ensure all recipients were eligible

LANSING — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority didn’t make sure that all applicants for mortgage assistance were eligible before awarding dollars from the federal Hardest Hit Fund, according to an audit.

The report released Wednesday by Michigan’s Auditor General found several instances of homeowners who had received financial assistance even though MSHDA had not sufficiently verified that they met income and hardship requirements.

“As a result, MSHDA may have provided HHF Program assistance to homeowners who were not hit hardest by the economic and housing market downturn,” according to the report.

My Friendship With a Convicted Murderer: Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

A very touching testimonial.

From Huffington Post:

By Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Retired federal judge

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter telephoned me a few days ago and said: “I want yours to be the last voice I hear before I pass away, because you were the one who gave my life back to me. I love you man.”

We both cried. He died a few days later. Twenty-eight years ago, I issued an order freeing Rubin Carter from prison after he had served 19 years for murders that I am convinced he did not commit. His call in April came as a surprise to me, because he has called to thank me on November 7th every year — all 28 years — on the anniversary of his release.

His case came to me on an application for a writ of habeas corpus. Before my decision I never saw or met the man. But after the decision and the endless appeals by the prosecution — ultimately to the United States Supreme Court, I came to know him. He is the greatest testament to the human spirit of anyone I have ever known. His conviction cost him his career as a boxer, his family and his freedom, and yet he never uttered a word of bitterness. Even facing death, he was upbeat and trying to cheer me up at the news of his terminal illness.

He devoted himself and his life to others who had been wrongly convicted. We spoke together at law schools and to a variety of audiences. He was always in good humor* and appreciative of whatever invitation or opportunity was presented to him to speak of the importance of habeas corpus review and the dangers of convicting the innocent. He never failed to carry with him and display the writ that had freed him. The movie about his life, The Hurricane, provided him with some notoriety, but he never lost his humility or his love for his new found freedom. He was always the messenger. His descriptions of the horrendous life of prisoners made listeners have empathy even for the guilty.

To the very end he was positive. He spoke only of his life after prison and what he hoped he had accomplished. There are books written about him and his resolve never to surrender his pride and dignity even while in prison. Despite repeated solitary confinements, he refused to bow to certain prison rules because it would have represented an acknowledgment that he belonged there — something he refused to do. I know that there are still some out there that think he was guilty, but the man I knew was gentle, caring and courageous. I have often said that if he was lying to me over all of these years, he is a better actor than Denzel Washington. I was honored to know him and be his friend.

*As evidence of his sense of humor, he sent me a picture of a huge fish he had caught with the inscription: “Dear Judge — Without you this fish would still be alive. Love Rubin”

 

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MEMORANDUM | MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, RECORDER OF DEEDS V. MERSCORP, INC. ET AL

MEMORANDUM | MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, RECORDER OF DEEDS V. MERSCORP, INC. ET AL

MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION ORDER THAT THE MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION (DOC. NO. 51) IS GRANTED AND THE CLASS IS HEREBY DEFINED AS CONSISTING OF EACH COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS IN PENNSYLVANIA IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT PLAINTIFF NANCY J. BECKER IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS RECORDER OF DEEDS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA IS APPOINTED AS CLASS REPRESENTATIVE AND THE LAW FIRMS OF KOHN, SWIFT & GRAF, P.C., LAMB MCERLANE, PC, COOPER & SCHAFFER, LLC, WH ITFIELD BRYSON & MASON LLP AND CUNEO GILBERT & LADUCA LLP ARE APPOINTED AS CLASS COUNSEL. 

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Massive new fraud coverup: How banks are pillaging homes — while the government watches

Massive new fraud coverup: How banks are pillaging homes — while the government watches

Great reporting by David Dayen…

Joseph and Mary Romero of Chimayo, N.M., found that their mortgage note was assigned to the Bank of New York three months after the same bank filed a foreclosure complaint against them; in other words, Bank of New York didn’t own the loan when they tried to foreclose on it.

Glenn and Ann Holden of Akron, Ohio, faced foreclosure from Deutsche Bank, but the company filed two different versions of the note at court, each bearing a stamp affirming it as the “true and accurate copy.”

Mary McCulley of Bozeman, Mont., had her loan changed by U.S. Bank without her knowledge, from a $300,000 30-year loan to a $200,000 loan due in 18 months, and in documents submitted to the court, U.S. Bank included four separate loan applications with different terms.

All of these examples, from actual court cases resolved over the last two months, rendered rare judgments in favor of homeowners over banks and mortgage lenders. But despite the fact that the nation’s courtrooms remain active crime scenes, with backdated, forged and fabricated documents still sloshing around them, state and federal regulators have not filed new charges of misconduct against Bank of New York, Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bank or any other mortgage industry participant, since the round of national settlements over foreclosure fraud effectively closed the issue.

Many focus on how the failure to prosecute financial crimes, by Attorney General Eric Holder and colleagues, create a lack of deterrent for the perpetrators, who will surely sin again. But there’s something else that happens when these crimes go unpunished; the root problem, the legacy of fraud, never gets fixed. In this instance, the underlying ownership on potentially millions of loans has been permanently confused, and the resulting disarray will cause chaos for decades into the future, harming homeowners, investors and the broader economy. Holder’s corrupt bargain, to let Wall Street walk, comes at the cost of permanent damage to the largest market in the world, the U.S. residential housing market.

By now we know the details: During the run-up to the housing bubble, banks bought up millions of mortgages, packaged them into securities and sold them around the world. Amid the frenzy, lenders failed to follow basic property laws, which ensure legitimate transfers of mortgages from one legal owner to another. When mass foreclosures resulted from the bubble’s collapse, banks who could not demonstrate they owned the loans got caught trying to cover up the irregularities with false documents. Federal authorities made the offenders pay fines, much of which banks paid with other people’s money. But the settlements put a Band-Aid over the misconduct. Nobody went in, loan by loan, to try to equitably confirm who owns what.

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Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan seek dismissal of aluminium price-fixing lawsuits

Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan seek dismissal of aluminium price-fixing lawsuits

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (>> Goldman Sachs Group Inc), JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.), the London Metal Exchange and warehouse operators want a judge to throw out lawsuits saying that from May 2009 they conspired to reduce the supply and increase the price of aluminium.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (>> Goldman Sachs Group Inc), JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.), the London Metal Exchange and warehouse operators want a judge to throw out lawsuits saying that from May 2009 they conspired to reduce the supply and increase the price of aluminium.

They argued in New York federal court motions late on Tuesday that commercial buyers of aluminium and consumers who purchased aluminium-based products lacked standing to sue under antitrust law because they did not store metal in the defendants’ warehouses or trade on the LME.

The lawsuits said that the defendants conspired to delay the delivery of aluminium from certain warehouses, allowing the LME and the financial firms to profit.