Daily Archives: April 16, 2017

Local vet urges changes in Dept of Veterans Affairs rules on foreclosures

SPARROWBUSH – Any day now, DJ Gonzalez will be escorted out of his home, and the doors will be locked behind him.

Gonzalez, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran, is on the verge of homelessness, due to a string of circumstances that could befall anyone: divorce, health problems and tight finances.

Disabled and unable to work full time, Gonzalez said Social Security payments weren’t enough to keep the home on Academy Avenue where he has lived since 2005 when he purchased it for $164,900, with a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

As the former manager of the Empowering Port Jervis community center, Gonzalez knows how to help people who have fallen on hard times, he said.

Now, being there himself, he wants to address the holes in the system.

In April 2016, the VA bought Gonzalez’s foreclosed home from the mortgage company for $58,800, according to Jennifer Toth, a loan guarantee officer with the VA.

Gonzalez purchased the home for $164,900 in 2005 – near the height of the housing market – but the 2016 appraisal for the home was $70,000, Toth said.

The VA paid the mortgage company an additional $41,650 because it was responsible for up to 25 percent of the loan, she said.

Read on.

Nuns Take On Wells Fargo

In an insightful song about outlaws, Woody Guthrie wrote this verse: “As through this world I travel / I see lots of funny men / Some’ll rob you with a 6-gun / Some with a fountain pen.”

The fountain pens are doing the serious stealing these days.

For example, while you’d get hard time in prison for robbing a bank at gunpoint, bankers who rob customers with a flick of their fountain pens (or a click of their computer mouse) get multimillion-dollar payouts.

They usually escape their crimes unpunished — but not unscathed. After all, it’s their constant, egregious, gluttonous thievery that’s made “banker” a four-letter word in America, synonymous with immoral, self-serving behavior.

For example, Wells Fargo, our country’s biggest consumer bank, has gotten away with paying some fines for stealing millions of dollars from customers in its notorious “fake accounts” scheme.

But it hasn’t escaped the wrath of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

This feisty order of nuns, which holds a block of Wells Fargo stock, is infuriated by the rank immorality of its bank’s executives. The sisters are pushing a shareholders’ proposaldemanding a full accounting of the “root causes” of the malicious fraud perpetuated on vulnerable depositors.

Read on.

This morning’s tweets on Easter from the North American leaders & other world leaders

Here are some of the wishes from other world leaders:

Easter greetings to everyone! May the teachings of Jesus Christ further the spirit of harmony, compassion & togetherness in our society.

Best wishes to all my countrymen in India & abroad, especially to my Christian brothers & sisters on Easter

As Christians across London and around the world come together to celebrate, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter!

And from Pope Francis:

Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth: nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from God’s love.

Hey Donald, It’s Easter.. At least I went to church this morning to celebrate resurrection day of Jesus…

Panama Papers: The Downfall of a Scandalous Firm

Photo published for Panama Papers: The downfall of a scandalous firm

Three days after the Panama Papers were published at the beginning of April 2016, Jürgen Mossack spoke to the Wall Street Journal. The story put his law firm Mossack Fonseca (Mossfon) at the center of a global scandal that was covered by more than 100 media outlets around the world. The story revealed the law firm’s dark business dealings, which included links to Mexican drug cartels and one of the Syrian regime’s biggest financiers, as well as to dictators, arms smugglers, and tax evaders. One report described how the billions were funneled through an offshore network of president Vladimir Putin’s best friend. Jürgen Mossack’s law firm allegedly enabled corruption, helped its clients breach sanctions, and made a slew of other crimes possible. At the same time, Mossfon’s activities covered the perpetrators’ tracks.

In the days before the Panama Papers story broke, Mossack ignored all requests for comment, including the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s. In the interview with the Wall Street Journal, the German-born lawyer was defiant and aggressive. While he admitted that mistakes had been made, he denied that his law firm had broken any laws. He also stated that Mossack Fonseca would not just give up and “go plant bananas or something”. Rather, Mossack fully intended to keep doing business as usual.

Read on.

Top Wall Street lawyer takes aim at SEC in new book

One of Wall Street’s top lawyers is taking aim at one of Washington’s biggest regulators.

In his new book, “Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis,” veteran lawyer Norm Champ recounts his tumultuous five years at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Champ, now a partner at Kirland & Ellis, laments a “culture of fear and paranoia” spurred by anonymous complaints and backbiting. He ultimately stopped regulators from sharing information about investigations.

Read on.