Monthly Archives: February 2017

Senate Adds Another Foreclosure Kingpin To Trump’s Cabinet

The Senate voted on Monday evening to confirm Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. The 79-year-old billionaire private equity investor is President Donald Trump’s 10th cabinet nominee to be confirmed, and remarkably, is the second member of Trump’s cabinet who was deeply involved in companies that swept up the housing crisis with foreclosures marred by document fraud like robo-signing.

The first, Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, invested in and ran OneWest bank, which foreclosed on tens of thousands of Americans in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. During his Senate confirmation hearing, he denied that his bank used the illegal practice of robo-signing, but public documents obtained by The Columbus Dispatch showed that was a false statement.

Ross may not have been the CEO of a bank foreclosing on homeowners, but he was nevertheless intimately involved and invested in two companies that were accused of widespread wrongdoing. American Home Mortgage Servicing was accused of illegal foreclosure practices while it ran the second-biggest portfolio of subprime mortgages in the country.

American Home effectively outsourced the fraud, David Dayen reported”}}”>David Dayen reported, using “acompany called DocX”}}”>company called DocX, which forged millions of mortgage assignments, claiming to be the officers of dozens of different banks … documents were fraudulently signed after the fact to recreate a chain of title that lenders broke.” The company was eventually sold to Ocwen, which was fined $2.1 billion in 2013 for its unethical business practices. Ross served on Ocwen’s board from 2012 to 2014.

Read on.

Petition asks city of Decatur to stop doing business with Wells Fargo

An online petition is asking the city to discontinue its business relationship with Wells Fargo bank.

One of the concerns cited by petition organizers is Wells Fargo’s role in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial oil pipeline project that is opposed by many Native Americans.

“Wells Fargo is the City of Decatur’s primary bank,” the petitions says. “Our property, business and other taxes and the City’s funds are deposited with Wells Fargo. According to Investopedia, deposits are the primary source of loanable funds for almost every bank. Wells Fargo loans our money to fund fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). We do not want our tax dollars to support the DAPL project.”

Read on.

90-year-old woman foreclosed, evicted from home of over 60 years

NJ.com:

LAWRENCE — It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Gloria Turano thought she’d be living on Skillman Avenue when she died, in the ranch home her late husband Louis built for them in 1953. She never wanted to leave it, and the decades of memories of raising a family it holds for her.

“I thought the undertaker would take me out of here,” the 90-year-old Turano said with a smile recently, sitting on a couch in the home’s den.

But as she spoke, the house was not hers anymore.

It belonged to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company, which bought it for $100 at a sheriff’s sale last year after a reverse mortgage company foreclosed on it – shutting down a loan Turano took in 2004.

She borrowed the money to help her pay her property taxes – in an effort to stay in the home. The taxes would be the loan’s undoing.

The money ran low, and Turano’s attempts to contact the lender, Financial Freedom, and refinance or work things out were never answered, she said.

She fell more behind in the taxes, and then legal notices started coming to the home from the lender around 2012 and 2013.

Citigroup, JPMorgan Face Euribor Antitrust Class Action

Law360, New York (February 21, 2017, 10:34 PM EST) — A New York federal judge on Tuesday trimmed a putative class action brought by investors who say they lost money in derivatives transactions because big banks conspired to manipulate Euribor, the euro interbank offered rate. But two plaintiffs, including a California retirement fund, still have claims against JPMorgan and Citigroup.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel cut four plaintiffs from the suit, saying they lacked standing, as well as six foreign defendants who didn’t fall under his jurisdiction because their allegedly illegal activities weren’t tied to the U.S. He also dismissed all Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Commodity Exchange Act claims from the suit and cut three out of four Sherman Act claims in the case.

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EPA chief Scott Pruitt said at confirmation hearings that he didn’t use private email for state biz. But he did.

Photo published for AG's office confirms Pruitt used private email for state business

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) – The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office confirms former Attorney General Scott Pruitt used a private email for state business. The information comes a week after FOX 25 first revealed the emails that appeared to be sent from Pruitt’s private email account.

FOX 25 requested answers about Pruitt’s private email use and whether that account was searched for records in accordance with state law. It took one week for the office to return our multiple calls and emails and confirm it did search the account.

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Citigroup focus of federal probe into foreign hiring practices

Marketwatch:

Citigroup Inc. C, -1.75% said late Friday that federal officials have launched a probe into the bank’s foreign hiring practices, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. “Government and regulatory agencies in the U.S., including the SEC, are conducting investigations or making inquiries concerning compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws with respect to the hiring of candidates referred by or related to foreign government officials,” Citigroup said in the filing.

Protesters urge Sammamish City Council to divest from Wells Fargo

Protesters from Sammamish and the greater Seattle area flooded Sammamish City Hall on Tuesday urging City Council members to divest the city’s money from its banker, Wells Fargo, due to the bank investing in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Roughly 30 protesters were in attendance, with nine addressing the council over the course of a half hour. While individual protesters spoke, those in the audience held up signs that read “Divest,” “Water is life” and “No DAPL.”

Read on.