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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and a team of his attorneys fanned across nine counties to sue 10 so-called foreclosure counselors Thursday.
 
Zoeller said it was the next step in his campaign to beef up consumer protection statewide. Last month, the attorney general sued two local for-profit credit counseling companies for what he described as fraudulent practice.
 
Zoeller said his team is also taking a close look at banking behemoths like Chase and Bank of America after word of their representatives "robo-signing," or blindly signing foreclosure documents, tantamount to legal affidavits, on thousands of homeowners nationwide, including a fair number in Indiana.
 
With Lake County Clerk Mike Brown by his side, Zoeller filed a complaint in Lake Circuit Court for an injunction and restitution against Santa Ana, Calif., based Meridian Law Center, run by attorney Kamran Yusuf Malik, for trying to get $2,000 from Sandra Dobson for foreclosure help.
 
"I had way more sense than to send those people any money," said Dobson, from the home she’s owned for 33 years. "I filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office last year because the package they sent me looked fraudulent."
 
According to Zoeller, the 10 companies his investigators and attorneys sued have been taking money from people in financial straits and promising to help them save their homes from foreclosures or lower their mortgage rates.
 
Zoeller said the companies did not register to do business in Indiana, did not obtain $25,000 bonds mandated by the state and violated the Consumer Protection Act and other deceptive practices laws.
 
He accused the companies of having agents who seek targets based on foreclosure filings.
 
"Each of the companies have the same modus operandi," Zoeller said. "They’re preying on people who are in financial trouble."
 
Zoeller said collecting any money in restitution or costs from such companies is difficult, but the action at least sends out a warning to unsuspecting homeowners.
 
Dobson said she was in no financial trouble when she received a glossy, "important looking package" from Meridian Law Center Aug. 24, 2009, and immediately filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office. The last time she was in any foreclosure proceedings was more than 25 years ago, Dobson added.
 
Dobson still praised Zoeller and his actions.
 
"I just think it’s wonderful because we’re just little people, and it’s about time somebody steps up to protect little people," she said. "They’re just con artists ripping off people trying to lead a decent life."
 
Zoeller said he is headed to Oregon for a meeting with of the states’ attorneys general to address the "robo-signing" scandal, but he declined to comment on specific cases in Indiana.
 
"Maybe all the documents are correct, but, in my mind, when you sign your name on those papers, you’re signing a legal affidavit."
 
For more on this article:  http://bit.ly/dDkZFO
 
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GOLD Member Roger Taylor just sent me this very interesting article.

My hometown has a neighborhood in the TOP 25. Beth and her mother think Louisville is safe.

What do you think?

Please VOTE for your most dangerous neighborhood in America!

——————————————————————————————

 

Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In USA

Do You Agree?

1. Chicago, Ill.
Neighborhood: W. Lake St.
Found within ZIP code: 60612
Predicted annual violent crimes: 297
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 257.72
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 4

2. Cleveland, Ohio
Neighborhood: Scovill Ave.
Found within ZIP code: 44104
Predicted annual violent crimes: 307
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 165.56
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 6

3. Las Vegas, Nev.
Neighborhood: Balzar Ave.
Found within ZIP code: 89106
Predicted annual violent crimes: 351
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 145.98
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 7

4. Las Vegas, Nev.
Neighborhood: N. 28th St.
Found within ZIP code: 89101
Predicted annual violent crimes: 875
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 135.09
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 7

5. Atlanta, Ga.
Neighborhood: Carter St.
Found within ZIP code: 30314, 30313
Predicted annual violent crimes:118
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 126.77
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 8

6. Philadelphia, Pa.
Neighborhood: N. 13th St.
Found within ZIP code: 19123
Predicted annual violent crimes: 488
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 117.19
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

7. Atlanta, GA
Neighborhood: Marietta St.
Found within ZIP code: 30313, 30303
Predicted annual violent crimes: 307
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 114.18
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

8. Las Vegas, Nev.
Neighborhood: D St.
Found within ZIP code: 89106, 89101
Predicted annual violent crimes: 392
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 113.53
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

9. Washington, D.C.
Neighborhood: L St. SE
Found within ZIP code: 20003
Predicted annual violent crimes: 240
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 111.34
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

10. Chattanooga, Tenn.
Neighborhood: King St.
Found within ZIP code: 37402, 37403, 37408
Predicted annual violent crimes: 114
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 110.79
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

11. Charlotte, N.C.
Neighborhood: N. Tryon St.
Found within ZIP code: 28206
Predicted annual violent crimes: 352
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 108.94
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

12. Memphis, Tenn.
Neighborhood: Florida St.
Found within ZIP code: 38106
Predicted annual violent crimes: 203
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 108.91
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

13. North Charleston, S.C.
Neighborhood: Echo Ave.
Found within ZIP code: 29403, 29405
Predicted annual violent crimes: 233
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 108.86
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

14. Louisville, Ky.
Neighborhood: E. Breckinridge St.
Found within ZIP code: 40203, 40204
Predicted annual violent crimes: 226
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 106.01
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 9

15. Fort Worth, Texas
Neighborhood: E. Lancaster Ave.
Found within ZIP code: 76102, 76111, 76103
Predicted annual violent crimes: 284
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 98.12
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 10

16. Winston-Salem, N.C.
Neighborhood: E. 21st St.
Found within ZIP code: 27105
Predicted annual violent crimes: 175
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 95.79
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 10

17. Atlanta, Ga.
Neighborhood: Richardson St.
Found within ZIP code: 30312, 30303
Predicted annual violent crimes: 119
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 94.94
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 11

18. Chicago, Ill.
Neighborhood: 4000 S. Federal St.
Found within ZIP code: 60609
Predicted annual violent crimes: 202
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 93.04
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 11

19. Memphis, Tenn.
Neighborhood: N. Danny Thomas Blvd.
Found within ZIP code: 38105
Predicted annual violent crimes: 147
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 90.42
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 11

20. Cleveland, Ohio
Neighborhood: Chestnut Pl.
Found within ZIP code: 44104, 44115
Predicted annual violent crimes: 156
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 90.38
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 11

21. Galveston, Texas
Neighborhood: Church St.
Found within ZIP code: 77550
Predicted annual violent crimes: 84
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 88.1
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 11

22. Atlanta, Ga.
Neighborhood: Humphries St. SW
Found within ZIP code: 30310
Predicted annual violent crimes: 119
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 82.96
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 12

23. Kansas City, Mo.
Neighborhood: Independence Ave.
Found within ZIP code: 64106
Predicted annual violent crimes: 82
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 81.97
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 12


24. Cincinnati, Ohio

Neighborhood: Moore St.
Found within ZIP code: 45210
Predicted annual violent crimes: 150
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 81.92
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 12


25. Orlando, Fla.

Neighborhood: W. Central Blvd.
Found within ZIP code: 32805, 32801
Predicted annual violent crimes: 299
Violent crime rate (per 1,000): 79.83
My chances of becoming a victim here (in one year): 1 in 13

 

Thanks to Roger and Wallet Pro
Read more of this article: http://bit.ly/Top25DangerousNeighborhoods  

PLEASE VOTE!

For Your Most Dangerous Neighborhood in America!

Fire Away… I Want To Read Your Comments!
 

 Battle Lines Forming in Clash Over Foreclosures

 
That clash — expected to be played out in courtrooms across the country and scrutinized by law enforcement officials investigating possible wrongdoing by big lenders — leaped to the forefront of the mortgage crisis this week as big lenders began lifting their freezes on foreclosures and insisted the worst was behind them. 
 
Battle Lines Forming in Clash Over Foreclosures
 
 
About a month after Washington Mutual Bank made a multimillion-dollar mortgage loan on a mountain home near Santa Barbara, Calif., a crucial piece of paperwork disappeared.
 
Cynthia Veintemillas, a lawyer in Florida, met with a client, Patrick Jeffs, on Wednesday.
 
Herbert Newlands Jr. of Temple Terrace, Fla., getting foreclosure advice from his lawyer on Tuesday. Florida has been hit hard by foreclosures.
 
But bank officials were unperturbed. After conducting a “due and diligent search,” an assistant vice president simply drew up an affidavit stating that the paperwork — a promissory note committing the borrower to repay the mortgage — could not be found, according to court documents.
 
The handling of that lost note in 2006 was hardly unusual. Mortgage documents of all sorts were treated in an almost lackadaisical way during the dizzying mortgage lending spree from 2005 through 2007, according to court documents, analysts and interviews.
 
Now those missing and possibly fraudulent documents are at the center of a potentially seismic legal clash that pits big lenders against homeowners and their advocates concerned that the lenders’ rush to foreclose flouts private property rights.
 
That clash — expected to be played out in courtrooms across the country and scrutinized by law enforcement officials investigating possible wrongdoing by big lenders — leaped to the forefront of the mortgage crisis this week as big lenders began lifting their freezes on foreclosures and insisted the worst was behind them.
 
Federal officials meeting in Washington on Wednesday indicated that a government review of the problems would not be complete until the end of the year.
 
In short, the legal disagreement amounts to whether banks can rely on flawed documentation to repossess homes.
 
While even critics of the big lenders acknowledge that the vast majority of foreclosures involve homeowners who have not paid their mortgages, they argue that the borrowers are entitled to due legal process.
 
Banks “have essentially sidestepped 400 years of property law in the United States,” said Rebel A. Cole, a professor of finance and real estate at DePaul University. “There are so many questionable aspects to this thing it’s scary.”
 
Others are more sanguine about the dispute.
 
Joseph R. Mason, a finance professor who holds the Louisiana Bankers Association chair at Louisiana State University, said that concerns about proper foreclosure documentation were overblown. At the end of the day, he said, even if the banks botched the paperwork, homeowners who didn’t make their mortgage payments still needed to be held accountable.
 
“You borrowed money,” he said. “You are obligated to repay it.”
 
After freezing most foreclosures, Bank of America, the largest consumer bank in the country, said this week that it would soon resume foreclosures in about half of the country because it was confident that the cases had been properly documented. GMAC Mortgage said it was also proceeding with foreclosures, on a case-by-case basis.
 
While some other banks have also suggested they can wrap up faulty foreclosures in a matter of weeks, some judges, lawyers for homeowners and real estate experts like Mr. Cole expect the courts to be inundated with challenges to the banks’ actions.
 
“This is ultimately going to have to be resolved by the 50 state supreme courts who have jurisdiction for property law,” Professor Cole predicted.
 
Defaulting homeowners in states like Florida, among the hardest hit by foreclosures, are already showing up in bigger numbers this week to challenge repossessions. And judges in some states have halted or delayed foreclosures because of improper documentation. Court cases are likely to hinge on whether judges believe that banks properly fulfilled their legal obligations during the mortgage boom — and in the subsequent rush to expedite foreclosures.
 
The country’s mortgage lenders contend that any problems that might be identified are technical and will not change the fact that they have the right to foreclose en masse.
 
“We did a thorough review of the process, and we found the facts underlying the decision to foreclose have been accurate,” Barbara J. Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans, said earlier this week. “We paused while we were doing that, and now we’re moving forward.”
 
Some analysts are not sure that banks can proceed so freely. Katherine M. Porter, a visiting law professor at Harvard University and an expert on consumer credit law, said that lenders were wrong to minimize problems with the legal documentation.
 
“The misbehavior is clear: they lied to the courts,” she said. “The fact that they are saying no one was harmed, they are missing the point. They did actual harm to the court system, to the rule of law. We don’t say, ‘You can perjure yourself on the stand because the jury will come to the right verdict anyway.’ That’s what they are saying.”
 
Robert Willens, a tax expert, said that documentation issues had created potentially severe tax problems for investors in mortgage securities and that “there is enough of a question here that the courts might well have to resolve the issue.”
 
As the legal system begins sorting through the competing claims, one thing is not in dispute: the pell-mell origination of mortgage loans during the real estate boom and the patchwork of financial machinery and documentation that supported it were created with speed and profits in mind, and with little attention to detail.
 
Once the foreclosure wheels started turning, said analysts, practices became even shoddier.
 
For example, the foreclosure business often got so busy at the Plantation, Fla., law offices of David J. Stern — and so many documents had to be signed so banks could evict people from their homes — that a supervisor sometimes was too tired to write her own name.
 
When that happened, Cheryl Samons, the supervisor at the firm, who typically signed about 1,000 documents a day, just let someone else sign for her, court papers show.
 
“Cheryl would give certain paralegals rights to sign her name, because most of the time she was very tired, exhausted from signing her name numerous times per day,” said Kelly Scott, a Stern employee, in a deposition that the Florida attorney general released on Monday. A lawyer representing the law firm said Ms. Samons would not comment.
 
Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, is investigating possible abuses at the Stern firm, a major foreclosure mill in the state, involving false or fabricated loan documents, calling into question the foreclosures the firm set in motion on behalf of banks.
 
That problem extends far beyond Florida.
 
As lenders and Wall Street firms bundled thousands of mortgage loans into securities so they could be sold quickly, efficiently and lucratively to legions of investors, slipshod practices took hold among lenders and their representatives, former employees of these operations say.
 
Banks routinely failed to record each link in the chain of documents that demonstrate ownership of a note and a property, according to court documents, analysts and interviews. When problems arose, executives and managers at lenders and loan servicers sometimes patched such holes by issuing affidavits meant to prove control of a mortgage.
 
In Broward County, Fla., alone, more than 1,700 affidavits were filed in the last two years attesting to lost notes, according to Legalprise, a legal services company that tracks foreclosure data.
 
When many mortgage loans went bad in the last few years, lenders outsourced crucial tasks like verifying the amount a borrower owed or determining which institution had a right to foreclose.
 
Now investors who bought mortgage trusts — investment vehicles composed of mortgages — are wondering if the loans inside them were recorded properly. If not, tax advantages of the trusts could be wiped out, leaving mortgage securities investors with significant tax bills.
 
For years, lenders bringing foreclosure cases commonly did not have to demonstrate proof of ownership of the note. Consumer advocates and consumer lawyers have complained about the practice, to little avail.
 
But a decision in October 2007 by Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the Federal District Court in northern Ohio to toss out 14 foreclosure cases put lenders on notice. Judge Boyko ruled that the entities trying to seize properties had not proved that they actually owned the notes, and he blasted the banks for worrying “less about jurisdictional requirements and more about maximizing returns.”
 
He also said that lenders “seem to adopt the attitude that since they have been doing this for so long, unchallenged, this practice equates with legal compliance.” Now that their practices were “put to the test, their weak legal arguments compel the court to stop them at the gate,” the judge ruled.
 
Yet aside from the actions of a few random judges, little was done to force lenders to change their practices or slow things down. Since March 2009, more than 300,000 property owners a month have received foreclosure notices or lost their home in a foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosure listings.
 
What finally prompted a re-examination of the foreclosure wave was the disclosure in court documents over the last several months of so-called robo-signers, employees like Ms. Samons of the Stern law firm in Florida who signed affidavits so quickly that they could not possibly have verified the information in the document under review.
 
Lenders and their representatives have sought to minimize the significance of robo-signing and, while acknowledging legal lapses in how they documented loans, have argued that foreclosures should proceed anyway. After all, the lenders say, the homeowners owe the money.
 
People who have worked at loan servicers for many years, who requested anonymity to protect their jobs, said robo-signing and other questionable foreclosure practices emanated from one goal: to increase efficiency and therefore profits. That rush, they say, allowed for the shoddy documentation that is expected to become evidence for homeowners in the coming court battles.
 
For example, years ago when banks made loans, they typically stored promissory notes in their vaults.
 
But the advent of securitization, in which loans are bundled and sold to investors, required that loan documents move quickly from one purchaser to another. Big banks servicing these loans began in 2002 to automate their systems, according to a former executive for a top servicer who requested anonymity because of a confidentiality agreement.
 
First to go was the use of actual people to determine who should be liable to a foreclosure action. They were replaced by computers that identified delinquent borrowers and automatically sent them letters saying they were in default. Inexperienced clerical workers often entered incorrect mortgage information into the computer programs, the former executive said, and borrowers rarely caught the errors.
 
Other record-keeping problems that are likely to become fodder for court battles involve endorsements, a process that occurs when notes are transferred and validated with a stamp to identify the institution that bought it. Eager to cut costs, most institutions left the notes blank, with no endorsements at all.
 
Problems are also likely to arise in court involving whether those who signed documents required in foreclosures actually had the authority to do so — or if the documents themselves are even authentic.
 
For example, Frederick B. Tygart, a circuit court judge overseeing a foreclosure case in Duval County, Fla., recently ruled that agents representing Deutsche Bank relied on documents that “must have been counterfeited.” He stopped the foreclosure. Deutsche Bank had no comment on Wednesday.
 
Cynthia Veintemillas, the lawyer representing the borrower in the case, Patrick Jeffs, said the paperwork surrounding her client’s foreclosure was riddled with problems.
 
“Everybody knows the banks screwed up and loaned out money to people who couldn’t pay it back,” she said. “Why are people surprised that they don’t know what they are doing here either?”
 
Meanwhile, another judge on Wednesday indicated that the courts would not simply sign off on the banks’ documentation. Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of New York’s courts, ordered lawyers to verify the validity of all foreclosure paperwork.
 
“We cannot allow the courts in New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs — such as a family home — during this period of economic crisis,” Judge Lippman said in a statement.
 
For more: http://nyti.ms/clFAba
 

 

 
The owner’s policy assures a purchaser that the title to the property is vested in that purchaser and that it is free from all defects, liens and encumbrances except those which are listed as exceptions in the policy or are excluded from the scope of the policy’s coverage. 
 
Title Insurance and Why It Is A Must
 
 
"Prior to the invention of title insurance, buyers in real estate transactions bore sole responsibility for ensuring the validity of the land title held by the seller. If the title were later deemed invalid or found to be fraudulent, the buyer lost his investment".
 
 
 
Standardized forms of title insurance exist for owners and lenders. The lender’s policies include a form specifically for construction loans, though this is rarely used today.
 
Owner’s policy
 
The owner’s policy assures a purchaser that the title to the property is vested in that purchaser and that it is free from all defects, liens and encumbrances except those which are listed as exceptions in the policy or are excluded from the scope of the policy’s coverage. It also covers losses and damages suffered if the title is unmarketable. The policy also provides coverage for loss if there is no right of access to the land. Although these are the basic coverages, expanded forms of residential owner’s policies exist that cover additional items of loss.
 
The liability limit of the owner’s policy is typically the purchase price paid for the property. As with other types of insurance, coverages can also be added or deleted with an endorsement. There are many forms of standard endorsements to cover a variety of common issues. The premium for the policy may be paid by the seller or buyer as the parties agree; usually there is a custom in a particular state or county on this matter which is reflected in most local real estate contracts. Consumers should inquire about the cost of title insurance before signing a real estate contract which provide that they pay for title charges. A real estate attorney, broker, escrow officer (in the western states), or loan officer can provide detailed information to the consumer as to the price of title search and insurance before the real estate contract is signed. Title insurance coverage lasts as long as the insured retains an interest in the land insured and typically no additional premium is paid after the policy is issued.
 
Lender’s policy
 
This is sometimes called a loan policy and it is issued only to mortgage lenders. Generally speaking, it follows the assignment of the mortgage loan, meaning that the policy benefits the purchaser of the loan if the loan is sold. For this reason, these policies greatly facilitate the sale of mortgages into the secondary market. That market is made up of high volume purchasers such as Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation as well as private institutions.
 
The American Land Title Association ("ALTA") forms are almost universally used in the country though they have been modified in some states. In general, the basic elements of insurance they provide to the lender cover losses from the following matters:
 
The title to the property on which the mortgage is being made is either
  • Not in the mortgage loan borrower,
  • Subject to defects, liens or encumbrances, or
  • Unmarketable.
  • There is no right of access to the land.
  • The lien created by the mortgage:
  • is invalid or unenforceable,
  • is not prior to any other lien existing on the property on the date the policy is written, or
  • is subject to mechanic’s liens under certain circumstances.
  • As with all of the ALTA forms, the policy also covers the cost of defending insured matters against attack.
 
Elements 1 and 2 are important to the lender because they cover its expectations of the title it will receive if it must foreclose its mortgage. Element 3 covers matters that will interfere with its foreclosure.
 
Of course, all of the policies except or exclude certain matters and are subject to various conditions.
 
There are also ALTA mortgage policies covering single or one-to-four family housing mortgages. These cover the elements of loss listed above plus others. Examples of the other coverages are loss from forged releases of the mortgage and loss resulting from encroachments of improvements on adjoining land onto the mortgaged property when the improvements are constructed after the loan is mad
 
 
 
For more: http://bit.ly/bj1GgO

This is what we can expect if ‘CAP & TRADE" legislation is enacted:

We thought we were angry before!  This is getting even scarier! 
 
Well read this one, it is all snoped and links are at the bottom of the page. If Congress strong arms this through America is finished!!! Hope you pass this on to every single person you know. Our government is totally out of control. 
 
A License Required for your HOUSE? 
 
Thinking about selling your house?  Take a look at H.R. 2454 (Cap and Trade bill), that has passed the House of Representatives and being considered by the Senate. 
 
Home owners take note & tell your friends and relatives who are home owners! 
 
Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Cap and Trade Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act. 
 
H.R. 2454, the "Cap & Trade" bill will be the largest tax increase any of us has ever experienced. 
 
The Congressional Budget Office (supposedly non-partisan) estimates that in just a few years the average cost to every family of four will be $6,800 per year. No one is excluded. 
 
A year from now you won’t be able to sell your house
 
The caveat is that if you have enough money to make required major upgrades to your home, then you can sell it. But, if not, then forget it. Even pre-fabricated homes ("mobile homes") are included. In effect, this bill prevents you from selling your home without the permission of the EPA administrator. 
 
To get this permission, you will have to have the energy efficiency of your home measured. Cost $200 to start. Then the government will tell you what your new energy efficiency requirement is and you will be forced to make modifications to your home under the retrofit provisions of this Act to comply with the new energy and water efficiency requirements, which easily could cost over $50,000. 
 
Then you will have to get your home measured again and get a license 
(called a "label" in the Act) that must be posted on your property to show what your efficiency rating is; sort of like the Energy Star efficiency rating label on your refrigerator or air conditioner. If you don’t get a high enough rating, you can’t sell. 
 
And, the EPA administrator is authorized to raise the standards every year, even above the automatic energy efficiency increases built into the Act. 
 
The EPA administrator, appointed by the President, will run the Cap & Trade program  (AKA the "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009") and is authorized to make any future changes to the regulations and standards he/she alone determines to be in the government’s best interest. 
 
Requirements are set low initially so the bill will pass Congress; then the Administrator can set much tougher new standards every year. 
 
The Act itself contains annual required increases in energy efficiency for private and commercial residences and buildings. However, the EPA administrator can set higher standards at any time.Sect. 202 Building Retrofit Program mandates a national retrofit program to increase the energy efficiency of all existing homes across America. 
 
The label will be like a license for your car. You will be required to post the label in a conspicuous location in your home and will not be allowed to sell your home without having this label. And, just like your car license, you will probably be required to get a new label every so often – maybe every year. 
 
The government estimates the cost of measuring the energy efficiency of your home should only cost about $200 each time. Remember what they said about the auto smog inspections when they first started: that in California it would only cost $15. 
 
That was when the program started. Now the cost is about $50 for the inspection and certificate; a 333% increase. Expect the same from the home labeling program. 
 
CHECK OUT Just a few of the sites; 
 
Cap and Trade: A License Required for your Home 
 
http://www.nachi.org/forum/f14/cap-and-trade-license-required-your-home-44750/ 
 
HR2454 American Clean Energy & Security Act: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2454 
 
Cap & Trade A license required for your home: http://www.prisonplanet.com/cap-and-trade-a-license-required-for-your-home.html 
 
Cap and trade is a license to cheat and steal: http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/columns/oped_contributors/Cap-and-trade-is-a-license-to-cheat-and-steal-45371937.html 
 
Cap and Trade: A License Required for your Home: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2393940/posts 
 
Thinking about selling you House? Look at HR 2454: http://www.federalobserver.com/2009/10/01/thinking-about-selling-your-house-a-look-at-h-r-2454-cap-and-trade-bill/ 
If you own a Home, Read this!!

 Mortgage Broker Fined, Sentenced

 
The 188-month sentence is a clear sign that those responsible for mortgage fraud are being held accountable, Robert O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, said in a press statement. 
 
A federal judge sentenced Peter Bakowski to more than 15 years in federal prison, and ordered him to pay $16.1 million in restitution, after he pled guilty on charges related to a mortgage fraud scheme.
 
The 188-month sentence is a clear sign that those responsible for mortgage fraud are being held accountable, Robert O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, said in a press statement.
 
Bakowski, a Tampa resident and a Florida-licensed mortgage broker, was involved in a Ponzi-type scheme, the statement said.
 
Since 2004, he was involved in multiple sales of the same mortgage to more than one person, and in order to keep the scheme afloat, he would pay returns on the preceding investor’s investments with money from subsequent investors.
 
There were more than 30 victims, including investors and institutions, and more than 150 properties involved, the statement said.
 
 
Read more: Mortgage broker fined, sentenced – Tampa Bay Business Journal 
 
For more: http://bit.ly/aKDrlb

 

 
The FBI report draws attention to one type of fraud that has grown considerably since the bubble burst: borrowers on the brink of foreclosure who hope to avail themselves of financial assistance related to federal stimulus legislation. 
 
October 14, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — Once the dust had cleared from the recent economic collapse, the media focused a great deal of blame on one group: financial professionals involved in real property transactions who were accused of fudging documents, lying to buyers, falsifying appraisals and other illegal activities. New data from one federal agency reveals a growing interest in investigating all types of mortgage fraud and helping the Department of Justice pursue convictions.
 
The latest annual mortgage fraud report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals that the agency has taken a greater interest in crimes involving financing of homes and other real estate. From 2008 to 2009, investigations rose over 70 percent. The stakes are high: two-thirds of pending investigations during 2009 involved losses totaling more than $1 million.
 
When the real estate bubble was swelling at double-digit rates, some industry professionals padded profits by encouraging borrowers to maximize their debt load by entering into unsustainable adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). The FBI report draws attention to one type of fraud that has grown considerably since the bubble burst: borrowers on the brink of foreclosure who hope to avail themselves of financial assistance related to federal stimulus legislation. "Vulnerabilities associated with these and similar programs include the lack of transparency, accountability, oversight and enforcement that predisposes them to fraud and abuse," the FBI stated in its report.
 
The FBI indicated five states with the worst mortgage fraud problems: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Arizona. In light of journalistic investigations revealing that a significant number of ex-criminals had received mortgage licenses, Florida state regulators have responded with a variety of measures to minimize risks, including annual criminal background checks for brokers and lenders.
 
Assembling Straw Buyers for Profit
 
Financial institutions are not the only parties who may be accused of making material misstatements, misrepresentations or omissions during the mortgage application process. One typical scheme perpetrated against banks and other lenders is the use of "straw buyer" scams, which involve using a stand-in to purchase property. Straw buyers can be used to obtain mortgage approval for an otherwise unattractive borrower, or to eliminate a paper trail on fraudulent investments and other scams.
 
One such situation recently investigated by the Tampa office of the FBI involved Mark J. Moncher, an Orlando man who posed out-of-state family members as buyers to channel mortgage funds to his business, Dream Home Management. Moncher was recently sentenced to 57 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of a larger mortgage fraud scheme. His cadre of straw buyers all defaulted after obtaining more than $3.7 million in loans from various financial institutions. In addition to several years of incarceration, Moncher must pay nearly $2 million in restitution.
 
As this case reveals, the basic accusation behind a mortgage fraud case can be surprisingly simple: falsifying a borrower’s identity, income, employment, assets or other information can lead a mortgage lender to approve an application that would otherwise be denied. While lenders have become much more wary since the mortgage meltdown, there is still ample room for dishonest hustlers to game the system. At the same time, simple misunderstandings, honest mistakes and creative accounting can lead to baseless accusations of criminal intent and protracted legal struggles.
 
Protecting Your Interests by Avoiding Mortgage Fraud Accusations
 
Criminal allegations can arise at any stage of a real estate transaction. For example, appraisers can be suspected of mortgage fraud on behalf of either the seller or the lender by inflating the value of the property. Lenders or brokers can be accused of changing details in the paperwork, amending contracts after they are signed or failing to disclose pertinent information. Entrepreneurial buyers who quickly fix and sell homes can face allegations of illegal property flipping.
 
Federal and state authorities will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud involving everything from loan origination, builder bailouts, and offshore transactions to equity skimming, short sales, reverse mortgages and loan modifications. But the facts surrounding even the most basic property transaction are complex, and parties who suspect that they may be under investigation should act swiftly to protect their interests and head off a prosecution before it gets off the ground.
 
The FBI, DOJ and other federal and state government agencies have tremendous resources to draw from to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. A defense attorney who has experience in federal white collar criminal cases can assess your situation, explain your rights, represent you in an investigation and defend your rights in the event that federal criminal charges are filed.
 
Article provided by Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.
 
For more: http://bit.ly/cuwFpf
 
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 When most people think of mortgage fraud, they think of a clever borrower conning an unwitting banker into extending him a loan he cannot afford. But this isn’t really how fraud usually works in the mortgage business. According to the FBI, 80% of mortgage fraud is committed by lenders.

 

There are two types of financial outrages: acts that are outrageously illegal, and acts that are, outrageously, legal. Yesterday’s Senate hearing on the rise and fall of Washington Mutual was a rare examination of the former outrage, documenting the pervasive practice of fraud at every level of the now-defunct bank’s business.

All of Washington Mutual’s sketchy practices can be traced back to rampant fraud in its mortgage lending offices. The company repeatedly performed internal audits of its lending practices, and discovered multiple times that enormous proportions of the loans it was issuing were based on fraudulent documents. At some offices, the fraud rate was on new mortgages over 70%, and at yesterday’s hearing, the company’s former Chief Risk Officer James Vanasek described its mortgage fraud as "systemic."

When most people think of mortgage fraud, they think of a clever borrower conning an unwitting banker into extending him a loan he cannot afford.

But this isn’t really how fraud usually works in the mortgage business.

According to the FBI, 80% of mortgage fraud is committed by the lender, so it shouldn’t be surprising that WaMu’s internal audits concluded that its widespread fraud was being "willfully" perpetrated by its own employees. The company also engaged in textbook predatory lending across all of its mortgage lending activities–issuing loans based on the value of the property, while ignoring the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

These findings alone are pretty bad stuff in the world of white-collar crime. For several years, WaMu was engaged in fraudulent lending, WaMu managers knew it was engaged in fraudulent lending, and didn’t stop it. The company was setting up thousands, if not millions of borrowers for foreclosure, while booking illusory short-term profits and paying out giant bonuses for its employees and executives. During the housing boom, WaMu Chairman and CEO Kerry Killinger took home between $11 million and $20 million every single year, much of it "earned" on outright fraud.

But the WaMu scandal gets much worse. WaMu is routinely referred to as a pure mortgage lender, one whose simple business model can be contrasted with the complex wheelings and dealings of Wall Street titans like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. That characterization is grossly inaccurate. WaMu was very heavily engaged in the business of packaging mortgages into securities and marketing them to investors. This is a core investment banking function, something ordinary mortgage banks like WaMu were legally barred from engaging in until 1999, when Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, a critical Depression-era reform.

Securitization is immensely profitable, and under the right circumstances, it allows banks to dump risky mortgages off their books at a profit. That’s exactly what WaMu did. Even after internal audits flagged specific loans as fraudulent, WaMu’s securitization shop still went ahead and packaged those exact same loans into securities, and sold them to investors. Knowingly peddling fraudulent securities is a straightforward act of securities fraud, one made all the more severe by the fact that WaMu never told its investors it had sold them securities full of fraudulent loans. The only question now is whether anyone will be personally held accountable for the act.

So far, we’ve got fraud on fraud– but wait!

The WaMu saga actually gets worse still.

When the mortgage market started falling apart, WaMu ordered a study on the likelihood that one if its riskiest mortgage products, the option-ARM loan, would begin defaulting en masse.

The report concluded that, indeed, option-ARMs were about to default like crazy, within a matter of months.

Option-ARMs feature a low introductory monthly payment for a few years, often so low that borrowers actually end up going deeper into debt, despite making their regular payments. After a few years, the monthly payment increases dramatically–sometimes by as much as 400 percent. Suddenly this cheap loan is outrageously unaffordable, and if home prices decline, borrowers are immediately headed for foreclosure.

Now, most would-be homeowners are not very interested in this kind of loan. It seems dangerous, because it is dangerous. So WaMu actively coached its loan officers to persuade skeptical borrowers into accepting this predatory garbage instead of an ordinary mortgage.

This assault on its own borrowers is only half of WaMu’s option-ARM hustle.

For a while, Wall Street investors really liked option-ARMs. They were inherently risky, which meant they were much more profitable, if you ignored the risk that they might someday default, and Wall Street was all too happy to engage in this kind of creative accounting.

But when WaMu conducted its study on looming option-ARM defaults, the prospect of heavy, imminent losses did not convince the company to abandon the business. Instead, WaMu began issuing as many option-ARMs as it could. The idea was to jam as many of these loans into its securitization machine as it could before investors decided to stop buying option-ARM securities altogether.

That means WaMu was knowingly setting up both borrowers and investors for a fall. The company was actually trying to extend loans that it knew would be disastrous for its borrowers–and then selling them to investors that it knew would end up taking heavy losses. Whether or not this constitutes illegal fraud will depend on some technicalities, but it is clearly an act of outrageous deception.

When the securitization markets finally froze up, WaMu got stuck with billions in terrible, terrible loans it had issued, and the company failed spectacularly. One of the few good calls the U.S. government made during the financial crisis was the decision not to extend bailout funds to WaMu, not to save the jobs of its executives, and allow the company to fail. It was seized by the FDIC in late September 2008, and immediately sold to J.P. Morgan Chase, at no cost to taxpayers.

But WaMu’s story is nevertheless rife with implications here for Wall Street reform.

First, regulation matters.

Everything WaMu did could have been stopped not only by an engaged regulator who worried about the company’s bottom line, but by a regulator who cared about consumer protection in any degree whatsoever. WaMu’s regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision, didn’t care about either, but it was particularly uninterested in consumer protection rules, because those often conflict with bank profitability.

If we establish a new regulator that is charged only with writing and enforcing consumer protection rules, it won’t worry about how profitable consumer predation might be, it will simply crack down on it. In the process, it could actually protect the company’s bottom line (Salon’s Andrew Leonard has been emphasizing this point for some time).

Second, at yesterday’s hearing, former WaMu Chief Risk Officer James Vanasek acknowledged that his bank would not have been able to wreak so much economic destruction without the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which barred any mixing between complex Wall Street securities dealings and ordinary, plain-vanilla banking. He even went so far as to offer a tepid endorsement for reinstating the law.

A lot of predatory mortgage firms didn’t run their own securitization shops–they sold their loans directly to Wall Street firms, which handled the securitization on their own. So proponents of the Glass-Steagall repeal (most of them employed at one point or another by a major banking conglomerate) argue that the crisis would have occurred with our without the repeal. That argument is basically a distraction, as the WaMu case reveals. Over the course of just a few years, WaMu’s entire mortgage banking operation transformed from a boring, profitable, plain-vanilla enterprise, into a feeding trough for its risky securitization activities. There is simply no way that transformation could have occurred without the lure of easy in-house securitization profits. It is possible to conceive of a mortgage crisis taking place without the repeal of Glass-Steagall, but it is utterly impossible to imagine a mortgage crisis as severe as the one we are still living through.

It will be very surprising if criminal charges are not soon filed against some of WaMu’s former executives. But WaMu isn’t the only bad actor from the financial crisis. This is basically how the entire U.S. mortgage market operated for at least five years. Dozens of lenders who are still active, many of them saved by generous taxpayer bailouts, were engaged in similar activities. There’s only one way to churn out billions of dollars worth of lousy mortgages for several years, and it involves a prolonged campaign of fraud and deception.

 

 Wells Fargo will not join BofA in foreclosure suspension

Wells Fargo will not suspend foreclosures and stands by the accuracy of its affidavits, Jason Menke, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank, told HousingWire.

 

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