Daily Archives: March 7, 2015

Ferguson, MO judge behind aggressive fines policy for residents and accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself is a tax dodger, owes $170k in unpaid taxes

Great catch from The Guardian.. Too bad the American papers didn’t bother to catch this huge news story..

The judge in Ferguson, Missouri, who is accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself and colleagues while inflicting a punishing regime of fines and fees on the city’s residents, also owes more than $170,000 in unpaid taxes.

Ronald J Brockmeyer, whose court allegedly jailed impoverished defendants unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars, has a string of outstanding debts to the US government dating back to 2007, according to tax filings obtained by the Guardian from authorities in Missouri.

Brockmeyer, 70, was this week singled out by Department of Justice investigators as being a driving force behind Ferguson’s strategy of using its municipal court to aggressively generate revenues. The policy has been blamed for a breakdown in relations between the city’s overwhelmingly white authorities and residents, two-thirds of whom are African American.

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Brockmeyer did not respond to multiple emails and telephone calls requesting comment. Federal tax liens filed against Brockmeyer by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) state that he has tens of thousands of dollars in overdue personal income taxes from joint filings with his wife, Amy. He also owes tens of thousands in employer taxes for his law firm and an annual tax paid by employers to fund benefits for the unemployed. Since November 2013, Brockmeyer has paid off another three overdue tax bills totalling $64,599.

Read on.

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Ocwen Tries To Buck Tax Reporting: Class Action

Law360, New York (March 06, 2015, 4:32 PM ET) — Ocwen Financial Corp. on Thursday asked a California federal court to dismiss a proposed class action alleging the company failed to report home mortgage interest to the Internal Revenue Service because the relevant statute does not allow for private action.

Plaintiffs George and Claudia Camberis should have sought a refund rather than suing Ocwen if they believed they did not receive the full amount of the mortgage interest deduction they were entitled to, Ocwen said. Two federal district courts have rejected the existence of a right…

Source: Law360

From homeowner to homeless, meet a victim of Florida’s ongoing foreclosure crisis

For our Making Sen$e story about Florida foreclosures, we met a man named David who had to hand over the keys to his house for cash. Paul Solman catches up with him on his third day living out of his truck.

In 2007, a man we’re calling simply David bought a modest house on a quiet street in Fort Myers, Florida, for $139,000. He intended to live there with his parents and his brother. Eight years later, now 39, he, his brother, his ailing mother and two dogs live in a Ford Explorer in a truck stop parking lot unsure of where to go next.

“I had a good job. I had thousands of dollars in my bank account. I didn’t have to worry about nothin’,” David told Making Sen$e last week. “People think that ‘oh, it’s a joke,’ it’s [homelessness is] not gonna happen to ‘em. … It did happen to me. I never thought it would.”

Like millions of Americans, David took out a mortgage to buy his house. But later that year, his father died unexpectedly. The family used money from low-income jobs and the mother’s widow’s pension to pay the bills. Tragedy struck again in mid-2010 when his mother suffered a heart attack that’s left her dependent on more than a thousand dollars in prescription drugs each month and needing frequent care. David stopped working to look after her. Unable to make his house payments, he got a loan modification from mortgage-servicing company Litton in January 2011 that reduced the interest rate he paid. Several months later, he told us, a company called Green Tree took over the mortgage and started raising his payments. He drained his bank account and 401(k), sold his 2003 Monte Carlo and picked up odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Last week, Making Sen$e watched David hand over the keys to his house for a $1,500 check in a “Cash for Keys” transaction. He was told that if he returned, he’d be trespassing. His belongings curbside, the house, which is now worth a third of what he bought it for, belongs to the bank. He was told he could take the refrigerator. But it barely works, and besides, where would it fit in the Explorer?

The $1,500 is supposed to give the newly displaced a fresh start, but for David, his new start is a truck stop parking lot where the best he can hope for is some shade for his dogs and access to the bathroom. His mother slept upright in the car the first night, but David was concerned about possible swelling and blood clots, so he put her up in a motel starting the second night. At $120 a night during tourist season, though, there’s only so far $1,500 can stretch. And there’s no telling how long David and his brother will be able to park where they are. His brother has a criminal conviction for inappropriately touching a minor, and although he maintains he’s innocent and was framed by disgruntled family members, local police treat him as a sex offender.

Read on.

Class Can’t Stop Bank Foreclosures

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Wells Fargo cannot be stopped from foreclosing on troubled, Pick-a-Payment mortgage loans despite class allegations of breach of settlement, a federal judge ruled.
Jennifer Murphy and 30 other named plaintiffs suedWells Fargo, Wachovia, World Savings Bank and Golden West Financial in 2012.
The class claimed Wells Fargo et al. approved fewer than 3 percent of loan modifications after acquiring “troubled” mortgage loans effectively “for nothing.” They claim that the bank’s “greed seems to have no bounds.”
Murphy’s federal claims were echoed by Richard D’Alessio and Paul McDermed, who separately cited the alleged breach, In re: Wachovia Corp. “Pick-A-Payment” Mortgage Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, approved by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in 2010.
The multidistrict litigation represented a consolidation of assorted Pick-a-Payment class actions around the country, including the first-filed action in Northern California,Mandrigues v. World Savings, Inc., et al.

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