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A million-plus homeowners foreclosed upon illegally in 5 years. Here's how and why.

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Richard Clark       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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At "Bankster of America," which until late last year was the nation's largest mortgage servicer, two employees testified that they had raised concerns about whether documents were being properly notarized, but managers essentially told them to shut up and proceed with their assigned work.   One vice president testified that documents in her department were checked only for "formatting and spelling errors," not with regard to the underlying figures or facts in the case.

 

"Bank of America did not establish effective control over its foreclosure process," according to the report   to be released today.   And as foreclosure cases multiplied, BofA's management turned up the pressure on employees to move through this fraud-based activity faster.  

 

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At Wells Fargo, now the nation's largest mortgage servicer, bankster, and mortgage originator, employees told the inspector general's office that the company's management had assigned them bogus titles, including "vice president of loan documentation," even though they had absolutely no training in document review.   Before becoming "vice president," one employee's previous job had been at a pizza restaurant.   (This shows that criminal fraud has been committed by high-level bank officers.   Such fraud enabled more than a million homes to essentially be stolen from their owners.)

 

Wells Fargo's management quashed an independent study by a manager responsible for overseeing the affidavit process.   The study had started to show that the document department was critically understaffed.   "The midlevel manager was then directed to stop the independent study and return to the practice of (fraudulently) signing affidavits without reading or verifying data," the report said.

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And instead of remedying the problems, Wells Fargo's management shortened the review period to less than 48 hours instead of the normal five to seven days, the employees said, thereby making it impossible for employees to properly evaluate loan applications.

 

The banks have argued that despite "document errors," foreclosures were justified because borrowers had fallen behind on their payments.   But the report, which focused on foreclosures from 2008 to 2010 of federally backed loans serviced by five major banks, suggests that all of these banks criminally violated state laws governing the foreclosure process.

 

At the center of the foreclosure controversy, regulators accused the banks of so-called robo-signing, in which employees churned out thousands of documents used to seize homes . . without reviewing those documents for accuracy.

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A team leader in Ally Financial's foreclosure department admitted signing up to 10,000 affidavits a month without reviewing them for accuracy, according to the report.   The team leader also testified that he had routinely signed documents used in foreclosure proceedings with "no knowledge of the facts, and without reviewing the supporting documents."

 

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)
 

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