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.