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Daily Archives: April 18, 2015
The Justice Department is looking for scalps.
Companies under investigation for fraud better be prepared to name names if they want prosecutors to show any mercy, the Justice Department’s criminal head said in a speech Friday at New York University.
“We really expect a company that’s seeking full cooperation credit to identify the culpable individuals who are engaged in criminal misconduct even if they’re senior executives,” said Leslie Caldwell, the assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s criminal division.
“Prosecuting corporate individual executives in the case of corporate misconduct is really our top priority,” she added.
Caldwell has led major prosecutions against some of the biggest banks since she started in her role at the agency a year ago. French bank BNP Paribas paid $8.9 billion in fines and pleaded guilty to laundering money for black-listed nations like Iran and Sudan. Credit Suisse paid $2.6 billion in fines and pleaded guilty to aiding tax cheats.
Those prosecutions could have been less painful for those firms if only they had cooperated, Caldwell said Friday.
For all the tough talk, some people believe that the feds are too soft, especially when it comes to prosecuting individuals. Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff down-played the DOJ’s string of cases against the big banks.
“Most respectfully, I think that is very small potatoes when compared to prosecuting individuals, in particular high-level individuals responsible for the crime,” Rakoff said in a speech Friday evening at the New York University School of Law.
Law360, Washington (April 17, 2015, 2:09 PM ET) — A Wells Fargo Bank NA executive asked a New York federal judge on Thursday to make the government release 179 withheld documents in a $189 million mortgage insurance suit against the bank, saying the government has failed to show a lawful rationale for withholding them.
Ahead of a May 15 discovery deadline, Kurt Lofrano, a Wells Fargo vice president and a defendant in the federal fraud suit, told U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman the government had failed to meet its burden under the Federal Rules…
A California widow nearly lost her home to overzealous Bank of America foreclosure proceedings, even though her late husband had taken out an insurance policy to protect her against that very thing, and even as she dutifully paid the premiums on the insurance policy, The Charlotte Observer is reporting.
When George Mitchell purchased a home in Rialto for himself and his wife, the lender encouraged him to take out an insurance policy against the mortgage. It would protect his widow against losing the home if he were to die, immediately paying $100,000 toward the principal.
And when the former trucking company manager died in 2003, the policy should have been paid out to Bank of America on the spot, according to the widow’s lawyer. Paying $100,000 against a remaining $120,000 balance on the widow’s mortgage would have left her with $20,000 to pay; nothing for a widow with limited income to scoff at, but hardly insurmountable.
Unfortunately, Laura Coleman Biggs didn’t know about the mortgage insurance policy. The insurer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, neglected to pay off on the policy. Bank of America continued to collect the widow’s mortgage payments, according to The Bellingham Herald, even as she continued to make payments on the insurance policy – payments listed as “fees” in the small print buried at the bottom of her monthly mortgage statements.
When the widow fell on hard times in 2011, she fell behind on her mortgage. A third party – Select Portfolio Servicing – began pursuing collection and foreclosure against the widow on behalf of Bank of America. All the while, the insurer continued to collect insurance premiums on a mortgage insurance policy that should have been paid out a decade before.
By Christmas 2013, the widow was in danger of losing her home. That is, until the L.A. law firm of Edward Lopez took her case pro bono. Legal administrator George Bosch began poring over the mountains of paperwork – and one line, listed as miscellaneous “fees,” stood out. He called Bank of America wanting answers.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2021202/bank-of-america-attempted-to-foreclose-on-a-widows-home-even-though-the-mortgage-was-insured/#K1TW71h1HAheIXER.99
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- It’s a Call for Action investigation. Someone is leaving notes on the doors of local homes.
WINK News first told you about this on Thursday, when the Collier County Sheriff’s Office sent out a warning about the scam. Now, WINK News investigated and learned homeowners may need to do exactly what the notice says.
The generic notice is causing a lot of confusion. It’s hand written and doesn’t even say what company it’s from.
CCSO sent out a warning to the public after getting an email from a local attorney. The attorney was concerned that her client, who received the notice on their front door was getting scammed.
She tells WINK News she even contacted Bank of America’s fraud hotline who told her it was a scam. But, when WINK News called Bank of America ourselves, a spokeswoman told us they use the door hangers nationwide. However, only customers who are delinquent on their mortgage and could be facing foreclosure will get one.
The fresh new trend in conservative policymaking amounts to what seems like an exercise in seething resentment: using the letter of the law to sharply restrict the kinds of food and activities that can be enjoyed by poor people dependent on government aid.
In Missouri, lawmakers are discussing banning food stamp recipients from buying cookies, chips, seafood, and steak. In Kansas, they want to ban those on welfare from using government funds to see movies, visit swimming pools, or go on cruises. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker wants welfare recipients to pass drug tests.
Not only is this policy utterly wretched on the merits, but it’s also completely hypocritical. Rich people, who get their own kind of welfare, never get the green-eyeshade treatment — and their welfare costs way, way more than food stamps. If we’re going to go through the accounts of anyone receiving government benefits with a fine-toothed comb, then we should at least be consistent about it.
Here’s the ostensible justification, courtesy of Chelsi Henry (TANF refers to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, while SNAP, better known as food stamps, refers to the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program):
If the taxpayers’ hard-earned money pays for those in need to receive TANF or SNAP benefits, then it’s reasonable for their elected representatives to restrict what those benefits are used to buy… [I]t’s not fair for people receiving benefits to spend them on tattoos or jewelry — if you’ve got enough money to spend on those items, then you should be able to cover your basic living expenses. [The Washington Post]
This is ridiculous right out of the gate — you already
can’t spend foodstamp money on jewelry, and TANF is essentially dead. But more problematically, this view says that food stamps should be used only to cover the bare minimum of existence. This will serve to increase the disconnect between poor people and regular society. As Matt Bruenig notes, chips and cookies and the like facilitate events like “having friends over,” and so allowing them only the most basic items (and, presumably, eventually nothing but Soylent) cuts food stamp families out of normal social life.
In a sense, this is actually the whole point. The idea that untrammeled capitalism automatically produces lots of poverty makes conservatives uncomfortable, and they would prefer to assign blame to poor people for their low incomes. The strategy is twofold: harshly judge the poor for buying “non-necessary” food, and create the false impression that there is an epidemic of cruise ship tours paid out of the $464 that a family of four on average receives every month in food stamp benefits.
Furthermore, welfare payments are not the only government subsidies that exist. On the contrary, our major welfare programs are buried in the tax code, which makes it much easier to direct the vast majority of the benefits to the rich. Food stamps cost $76 billion yearly, but retirement exclusionscost $91 billion (14 percent of which goes to the top 1 percent), the mortgage interest deduction costs $71 billion (15 percent to the top 1 percent), while the special rate for capital gains and dividends costs $97 billion (68 percent to the top 1 percent).
Worst of all is the carried interest loophole, which allows ultra-rich hedge fund managers to label their regular old income as capital gains, costing the taxpayer $11 billion to $13 billion a year, all of it almost certainly going to the top 1 percent.
Ocwen Financial Corp. may turn over contracts to oversee soured Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to the government-backed mortgage guarantors as it pares its portfolio after coming under regulatory scrutiny.
The potential deals, which were disclosed Tuesday as likely produce to losses in a presentation to lenders, relate “to non-performing agency loans where the company expects to close transactions directly with” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, John Lovallo, a spokesman for Ocwen at Levick LLC, said in an e-mail. The cash received, which Ocwen said may total more than $100 million, will come “largely” from reimbursements of advances to cover expenses such as foreclosure attorney fees, he said.
Ocwen, which grew rapidly in 2012 and 2013, has been shrinking its business after a December settlement with New York in which its founder agreed to leave the firm. The home-loan servicer, which has also faced complaints from some mortgage-bond investors, is working to file an annual report delayed while its auditor determines whether there’s a risk it won’t be able to continue operating as a going concern. Ocwen will probably have to recognize losses from relinquishing the bad-loan contracts, according to Tuesday’s presentation.
“Under these agreements the company is not allowed to provide any further details on the nature of the agreements,” Lovallo wrote in the e-mail.
The Atlanta-based company, which previously announced plans to sell $90 billion of servicing rights on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, said Tuesday it expects to receive $880 million and report $186 million of gains on those sales.
Watching as your two children slowly die must be indescribably painful; a Kansas dad is doing that while his bank is sending foreclosure threats to his home, KAKE (Wichita) is reporting.
James Shepherd two young daughters, Meriah, now 21, and Tia, now 17, are both dying of the same disease — slowly — and each day their symptoms get worse, and the demands to care for them increase.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2018247/as-his-young-daughters-slowly-die-bank-of-america-threatens-foreclosure-on-a-kansas-dads-home/#JUuFyY9hhY6R2ppz.99
When you call or stop in at a bank, you’re likely not shopping for overdraft insurance, travel insurance or another credit card. But Wells Fargo employees are likely to try to sell you one because the bank has a quota system that has “battered employee morale and led to ethical breaches, customer complaints and labor lawsuits,” according to a Los Angeles Times investigation. Thirty Wells Fargo employees in California were recently fired for “cheating” on the goals. The Times reports employees opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers’ permission and forged client signatures on paperwork.
Bank employees who say they’ve had enough sales goal pressure protested Monday outside Wells Fargo corporate headquarters in Minneapolis and then tried to hand deliver a petition with more than 10,000 signatures calling for the bank to change its practices.
Former Wells Fargo workers told the Times that bank supervisors said employees would “end up working at McDonalds” if they did not meet quotas. Protesters in Minneapolis called for “access to full time, stable employment.”
The settlement with the second-largest U.S. bank was disclosed on Thursday by Scott & Scott, a law firm for the investors. Terms were not disclosed.
Bank of America is the third bank to settle investor claims related to the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) settled for $99.5 million in January, and Switzerland’s UBS AG (UBSN.S) settled for $135 million in March.