Daily Archives: May 17, 2015

NY AG Schneiderman takes down law firm in mortgage rescue scheme

A law firm with offices in Brooklyn and Florida saw its fraudulent mortgage rescue practice shut down Wednesday when a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered it to halt its activities. Litvin Law Firm and Litvin, Torrens & Associates, led by attorney Gennady Litvin, had been charging customers across the country hundreds of dollars in monthly fees, typically $595 or $750, for services they claimed would help avoid foreclosure. In fact, the firm does not have a nationwide presence and was not even licensed to represent many of the people who were paying fees. Some “clients” never spoke to an attorney. Others were duped by promises of “forensic loan audits” and “a level of service that usually is only enjoyed by large corporate clients,” and found the services had very little value in saving their homes. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hit them with a lawsuit last year after hearing one of their misleading ads on the radio and calling in himself. Even after he revealed his identity, the firm continued to harass him with calls advertising their services, according to a representative from Schneiderman’s office. – See more at:

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/05/13/schneiderman-takes-down-law-firm-in-mortgage-rescue-scheme/#sthash.9GROAlJI.dpuf

These photos show what it looks like when we ignore foreclosures in black neighborhoods

Civil rights groups this week filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development against Fannie Mae, arguing that the quasi-government agency that now owns more than 100,000 foreclosed homes across the country has been doing a much better job of caring for the ones located in white neighborhoods than minority ones. And their case is hard to wave away because, for the last five years, as the National Fair Housing Alliance has gone into neighborhoods in 129 cities in 34 metropolitan areas, they’ve been taking pictures.

They photographed one home in a predominantly black neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio (shown above), where the gutter had collapsed onto the porch and much of the siding had peeled into the yard. That seemingly well-tended bush in the front yard? This is what was behind it:

Read on.

Greece Will Default On June 5 Without Deal, IMF Leaks

Another week came and went with no breakthrough in negotiations between Greece and its creditors. The IMF is now fed up and has reportedly refused to be a part of any new bailout program for Greece, after Athens drew down its SDR reserves to makes its latest payment to the Fund. That money will now need to be repaid and in a move that surely marks the new gold standard for absurd circular funding schemes, Greece will likely look to use the next tranche of IMF money to payback its IMF SDR reserve which it tapped to pay the IMF. The country’s public sector employees live in limbo, not knowing from one week to the next whether they will be paid and commuters are now subjected to a 50 second looped highlight reel of the Nazi occupation meant to rally the country behind the government’s quarter trillion euro war reparations claim (they might as well just ask for a ‘gagillion’) on Germany which has now become the symbol of tyranny and debt servitude for many Greek citizens.

Given the situation, one would be inclined to think that Alexis Tsipras would be falling all over himself to cut a deal with creditors because while giving up on campaign promises to voters isn’t ideal, it’s better than going down in history as the PM who sent the country careening into a drachma death spiral, and besides, giving up on campaign promises is something most politicians do all the time (it’s a job requirement for the US presidency). Alas we were back to the now ubiquitous ‘red line’ rhetoric on Friday as Tsipras continued to employ the “tell EU officials one thing behind close doors and tell the public the exact opposite a day later” negotiating technique. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

Greece won’t cross its red lines in negotiations with international creditors just because time is pressing to close a deal, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.

“Those who think that our red lines will fade as time goes on would do well to forget it,” Tsipras said at a conference in Athens late Friday. “I want to assure the Greek people that there’s no way the government will back down on the issue of pension and wage cuts,” he said. “A deal must be reached but it must be mutually beneficial.”

Europe is once again set to take the stalled negotiations down to the wire as it now appears the next serious round of talks will come in Riga (the site of an epic Varoufakis meltdown that saw the FinMin tweeting out melodramatic FDR quotes after he was forced to have dinner by himself while his EU counterparts attended a gala) when Tsipras will try to close a deal by the end of the month.

Tsipras will address the standoff in bailout negotiations on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union leaders to be held May 21-22 in Riga, Latvia, according to a Greek government official who asked not to be identified as the diplomacy is not public.

If a deal isn’t struck by the end of May, it is truly game over. Here’s the ECB’s Yves Mersch:

“We are in an end game in Greece where the situation is grave. This situation is not tenable. There has been an accord between Europe and Greece to go through a program. This hasn’t been the case since December last year, because the new government said it doesn’t want to have anything to do with the program. But then they can’t demand money that was attached to that program either. In the meantime, they haven’t managed to bring other measures to the table that could lead to the same goal as foreseen in the first program. Greece is convinced it can play along the line of other rules than” the other 18 euro-area members.”

Despite the obviously dire circumstances, the Syriza government still insists it will somehow scrape together cash to meet its obligations…

“Greece Will Pay Wages, Pensions, Varoufakis Tells Skai TV”

Read on.

After nearly 35 years in business, mortgage law firm Butler & Hosch closes down

Mortgage banking industry law firm Butler & Hosch, P.A. filed an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors to Florida law firm Michael E. Moecker & Associates, an action analogous to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Butler & Hosch closed their doors this week and laid off the entire staff. It will not open on Monday.

No one at Butler & Hosch could be reached for comment, but HousingWire obtained a copy of the May 14 memo emailed to employees and vendors from Bob Hosch, CEO and Senior Partner at Butler & Hosch confirming the story:

“It is with great sadness that I report to all of you regarding the difficult financial status of Butler & Hosch and its affiliates[1] (“BH”) which has resulted in the filing of the state court Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors (“ABC”). I have voluntarily stepped down as CEO and Senior Partner of BH. The control of the BH companies has been voluntarily placed in the hands of an experienced third-party fiduciary, Mr. Michael Moecker.”

Significantly, the bankruptcy-style filing and events leading up to it seem to have been sudden – the memo cites the company’s aggressive growth over the past two years and how now there is not sufficient cash on hand to even meet payroll, according to the memo:

“How does the filing of these ABC’s cases impact you? Though Mr. Moecker has complete access to our assets, he will not have sufficient cash on hand to fund payroll at the end of this week. Without BH employees and attorneys there is no ongoing operation. BH cannot continue to function. To be clear, while I continue to hold out hope that our existing lender and/or strategic partners may provide an infusion of cash today, without it, BH will have no choice but to close its doors immediately.”

Read on.