Daily Archives: May 5, 2014

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Credit Suisse in talks to pay $1.6 billion to resolve U.S. tax probe – source

Credit Suisse in talks to pay $1.6 billion to resolve U.S. tax probe – source

Credit Suisse Group AG (>> Credit Suisse Group AG) is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department to pay as much as $1.6 billion (948.3 million pounds) to resolve an investigation into the bank’s role in helping Americans evade U.S. taxes, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Credit Suisse Group AG (>> Credit Suisse Group AG) is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department to pay as much as $1.6 billion (948.3 million pounds) to resolve an investigation into the bank’s role in helping Americans evade U.S. taxes, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The penalty could be roughly twice the amount paid by UBS AG (>> UBS AG), which settled similar charges in 2009 for $780 million and agreed to identify its customers.

Prosecutors have also been pushing for Credit Suisse to plead guilty in connection with the probe, two people with knowledge of the talks said.

The settlement talks are in progress, and the details are still being finalised. An agreement could come in the next few weeks, the sources said.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse declined comment.

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Important decision on federal rule amendments favors the “little guy” versus corporations

Important decision on federal rule amendments favors the “little guy” versus corporations

Many people’s eyes probably start to glaze over at the mention of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. But a recent action by the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules bears mentioning, and not just for civil procedure nerds.

First, the context: the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern civil cases in federal court. They determine what a plaintiff must claim to get in the courthouse door, what procedures and time limits apply to steps that move the litigation forward, and (of particular importance to this set of amendments) the rules governing discovery — that is, what information the opposing sides must share with each other through written questions, requests for documents, and in-person questioning of witnesses under oath.

Next, consider the proposals before the Committee: for several months, the Committee has been considering amending the rules to limit discovery (specifically, to reduce the presumptive numbers of depositions and interrogatories; to limit the number of requests to admit; and to reduce deposition length). What these amendments would mean in practical terms is that the opposing sides are entitled to ask fewer questions of each other, question fewer witnesses under oath, and generally obtain less information.

Limiting discovery would, in general, impose significant burdens on individuals facing off in court against big corporations. Often, the individual has little information of relevance to the case — it is the conduct of the corporation, with its many departments, employees, and policies, that is at issue. All the information about the corporation, of course, is in the hands of the corporation, not the individual. So if it’s the individual who needs the information and the corporation who has it, limiting discovery is going to work to the detriment of the individual.

Now, the news: the Advisory Committee recently rejected the proposed limits on discovery. This is an important victory for the “little guy” — be it a consumer, an employee, or a civil-rights plaintiff — because it avoids placing new restrictions on the lesser-informed party’s ability to gather the information she needs to litigate her case. The Committee’s report, available here (all 580 pages of it; focus on Tab 2, beginning at page 79), reflects that the Committee took very seriously the public comments it received, including significant opposition to the proposed discovery limits.

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High Court Seeks US View On Foreclosure Jurisdiction Case

High Court Seeks US View On Foreclosure Jurisdiction Case

Law360, New York (May 05, 2014, 1:03 PM ET) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the federal government to weigh in on whether it believes states can bar out-of-state banks from conducting foreclosures or whether the National Bank Act trumps state law on that jurisdictional matter.

In the case at hand, Fannie Mae argues that the Utah Supreme Court went against the express meaning of both the National Bank Act and the authority of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when it barred a Texas-based unit of Bank of America Corp. from…

“Fraud” in Foreclosures, Revisited – Nationstar vs Rita Lawhorn: Another Trial Win by The Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen

In early 2013, the Florida Supreme Court in Pino, told us that fraud, in a lawsuit, is defined by a person or entity actually getting away with deceiving the court.  Flat-out lying or attempts to deceive is not “fraud.”  The Court even went out of its way to avoid stating whether or not monetary sanctions would be warranted in Pino, because that issue was not before it.

Before reaching the Supremes, the 4th DCA addressed the case.  Justice Polen, adopting the written opinion of Justice Gary M. Farmer, wrote that:

“Decision-making in our courts depends on genuine, reliable evidence. The system cannot tolerate even an attempted use of fraudulent documents and false evidence in our courts. The judicial branch long ago recognized its responsibility to deal with, and punish, the attempted use of false and fraudulent evidence. When such an attempt has been colorably raised by a party, courts must be most vigilant to address the issue and pursue it to a resolution.”

Unfortunately, neither the majority of the 4th DCA nor the Supremes agreed with this position and the use of fraudulent documents and false evidence in foreclosure cases is alive and well!

Nationstar v. Rita Lawhorn

While investigating the court file in this matter, we quickly and easily discovered evidence of fraud – a very poorly photoshopped note was attached to the amended complaint.

More from Evan M. Rosen’s blog. Click here.

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CalSTRS to Vote Against BofA Directors in Proxy Campaign

CalSTRS to Vote Against BofA Directors in Proxy Campaign

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund is voting against members of Bank of America Corp.’s BAC -1.11% board ahead of the bank’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

The pension fund, known as CalSTRS, is casting votes against four of the five members of Bank of America’s audit committee, according to disclosures accessed through its website.

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‘Robo-Signing’ Claims May Stick to U.S. Bank

‘Robo-Signing’ Claims May Stick to U.S. Bank

(CN) – U.S. Bank must face claims that it illegally “robo-signed” docs related to two residential mortgage-backed securities trusts originally worth more than $51 million, a federal judge ruled.
     VNB Realty Inc., a subsidiary of New Jersey’s Valley National Bank, claims it bought certificates in the CSMC Mortgage Backed Trust 2006-8 valued at more than $21.6 million on Oct. 20, 2006, but has since taken an impairment charge of more than $1 million.
     Though VNB allegedly purchased certificates in the MASTR Alternative Loan Trust (MALT) 2007-1 valued at about $30 million, on Jan. 30, 2007, it says it has since taken an impairment charge of nearly $2.6 million on those certificates.
     The regional bank later sued U.S. Bank, the trustee, in Newark, N.J., alleging it tainted the trusts with “robo-signing.”
     U.S. Bank and nonparty Wells Fargo, the master servicer, signed mortgage-related documents “in assembly-line fashion, often with a name other than the affiant’s own, and swearing to personal knowledge of facts which the affiant has no knowledge,” VNB says.
     Plus, because U.S. Bank was engaging in robo-signing outside of the trusts, it had a conflict of interest that “made it impossible for [U.S. Bank] to prevent, remedy, or address the robo-signing within the trusts at issue,” according to the complaint.
     VNB further claims that Wells Fargo and another nonparty, Countrywide, originated the loans recklessly and negligently, based on a June 7, 2010, complaint in which the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Countrywide “knowingly originated risky loans.”
     But U.S. Bank “failed to nose to the source, provide notice of, and address” these risks, despite “pervasive evidence,” VNB claims.

LEAKED: Docs obtained by Pando show how a Wall Street giant is guaranteed huge fees from taxpayers on risky pension investments

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Holder Signals Criminal Charges Coming Against Some Banks

Holder Signals Criminal Charges Coming Against Some Banks

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his department is readying criminal cases against banks that show financial institutions aren’t too big to prosecute.

Holder, in a video message posted today on the department’s website, said improved coordination with regulators is creating a relationship that “will prove key in the coming weeks and months” as prosecutors pursue charges. The government is nearing decisions on whether to charge Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and BNP Paribas SA, (BNP) people familiar with those probes said. Holder didn’t specify any banks.

“I am personally monitoring the status of these ongoing investigations,” he said, speaking generally. “I am resolved to seeing them through, and in doing so, I intend to reaffirm the principle that no individual or entity that does harm to our economy is ever above the law.”

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Title Company Manager Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison in $4.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme (Federal Bureau of Investigation – Baltimore Field Office)

Title Company Manager Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison in $4.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme (Federal Bureau of Investigation – Baltimore Field Office)

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 28, 2014
  • District of Maryland(410) 209-4800
 

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Bonnie Kathleen Kreamer, a/k/a Bonnie Meehan, age 49, of Riva, Maryland, on April 25, 2014, to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in losses of more than $4.8 million. Judge Bredar also ordered Kreamer to pay restitution of $2,499,048 to the victims and to forfeit $4.8 million.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins, Washington Field Office, U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino.

According to her plea agreement, in 2002, Kreamer’s Maryland license to issue title insurance policies was revoked after she was convicted of theft for fraudulently endorsing checks at a title attorney’s office where she worked. Despite her conviction, from 2007 until January 2010, Kreamer worked at Sanford Title Services LLC located in Columbia, Maryland, and had significant day-to-day responsibility for the operation of Sanford Title. From June 2008 to January 2010, Kreamer and co-conspirators Niesha Williams, Rhonda Scott, Emeka Udeze, and Demetrius Peete arranged various aspects of real estate transactions so they could siphon profits out of the transaction for themselves. They used many fraudulent techniques to further the conspiracy, including short sales in which the property was sold for a higher price than was represented to the lien holder and the seller; sales of properties not owned by the seller at the time of settlement; real estate transactions in which there were multiple sales of the same property at the same time; real estate transactions in which the buyer’s financial status was misrepresented to lenders; and transactions in which the seller and/or buyer were shown different settlement statements and the conspirators used the difference between the figures in the two statements to enrich themselves.

In addition, Kreamer admitted that she personally facilitated deals between her co-conspirators, prepared false settlement statements, improperly disbursed funds contrary to the settlement and lender approved disbursements sheets, failed to pay off mortgage loans in accordance with the settlement documents, directed funds to entities created by herself and her co-conspirators, received proceeds of fraudulent transactions, and improperly issued title insurance policies.

Kreamer admitted that the scheme involved at least 30 victims, including lenders, sellers, and buyers of real estate; a title insurance company; and lien holders. She further agreed that her offense involved sophisticated means and her abuse of a position of trust at Sanford Title. The reasonably foreseeable loss associated with Kreamer’s conduct is at least $4.8 million.

Niesha Williams, age 34, of Fort Washington, Maryland; Rhonda Scott, age 52, of Oxon Hill, Maryland; Demetrius Peete, age 46, of Manassas, Virginia, each previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud and are scheduled to be sentenced on May 1, May 2, and May 7, respectively. Gregory Green, age 49, of Waldorf, Maryland, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $404,596. A fifth conspirator, Emeka Udeze, age 38, of Bowie, Maryland, also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

FOIA Controversy re TERMINATION of Allonhill as a “Consultant” for the INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW || WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY, LLP v. OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY . . . Case DISMISSED

Williams & Connolly, LLP v. Office of Comptroller of Currency (D.D.C. 2014) Status: Precedential View original: From the court One of the consultants, Allonhill, LLC (“Allonhill”), was engaged as an independent consultant for Aurora Bank until its termination at the direction of the OCC due to a conflict presented by Allonhill’s previous work and the independence requirements of the OCC in connection with the IFR. See Ex. 1 (Walker Decl.) at Ex. D, p. 15. __________________ 5 Williams & Connolly is counsel for the terminated consultant, Allonhill. -5- . . . Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, the Court grants the Comptroller’s motion for summary judgment and denies the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and also its request for a hearing in the matter. SO ORDERED this 30 day of April, 2014.11 REGGIE B. WALTON United States District Judge

Here is the court document. Click here. And more court documents from Stop Foreclosure fraud website. Click here.