Archive for 'Florida'

 Could This Be The Start Of A Nationwide Trend?

Are Big Banks Bullying Efforts Paying Off or Is Our Court System Scared Of The Tsunami of Mortgage Fraud Cases Smothering Their Dockets?

Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson had headed up investigations on behalf of the Florida attorney general’s office for more than a year into the fraudulent foreclosure practices that had become rampant in the Sunshine State. They issued subpoenas and conducted scores of interviews, building a litany of cases that documented the most egregious abuses.

That is, until the Friday afternoon in May when they were called into a supervisor’s office and forced to resign abruptly and without explanation.

“It just came out of nowhere,” said Edwards, who had worked in the attorney general’s economic crimes section for more than three years. “We were completely stunned.”

Less than a month before they were forced out, a supervisor cited their work as “instrumental in triggering a nationwide review of such practices.” Now, Edwards is convinced their sudden dismissals will have “a chilling effect” on those probes into the shoddy foreclosure practices that caused national outrage when they made headlines last fall.

Although similar abuses have occurred throughout the country, they have been particularly rampant in Florida, which was ground zero for the housing bust and is home to a collection of large law firms that were hired by the financial industry to relentlessly churn out foreclosures in recent years. That made the investigations headed by Edwards and Clarkson among the earliest and most closely watched by officials across the country.

A spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi declined to comment on what she cited as internal personnel matters but said in an e-mail that the foreclosure investigations remain a top priority.

Before the uproar last fall, Edwards and Clarkson were already investigating the problems plaguing foreclosure filings in the state. Working under then-attorney general Bill McCollum, they created a 98-page presentation entitled “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases,” which detailed such far-ranging problems as fake and forged affidavits and falsified mortgage ownership records.

Their inquiry led them to focus on “foreclosure mill” law firms that were filing foreclosures for their clients at lightning speed, as well as to the practices of other companies in the mortgage industry. It also led to calls from other attorneys general offices across the country that were beginning to scrutinize similar problems.

“We were farther along in our investigation because we had dug a little deeper than anybody else,” Edwards said. “We kept opening up more and more investigations, more and more cases.”

Their work won them accolades. In the evaluation provided by Edwards, a supervisor wrote that the pair had “achieved what is believed to be the first settlement in the United States relating to law firm foreclosure mills” — a multimillion-dollar settlement a month earlier with a Fort Lauderdale firm.

Despite that praise, Edwards and Clarkson said in separate interviews that they sensed a change when Bondi took office in January. Almost immediately, they said, supervisors began to question their findings and demand details about how they were gathering information.

Both women say they were summoned into a meeting on the afternoon of May 20 and told they could either resign or be fired. Either way, they would no longer be employed come 5 p.m. They had to come back over the weekend to pick up their things, they said.

“No two weeks’ notice, no severance, no nothing,” Clarkson said. “I have no idea why it happened.”

Added Edwards, “We didn’t even have a chance to go over our cases with anybody. We were just locked out.”

A spokeswoman for Bondi, Jennifer Krell Davis, said the economic crimes division “continues to actively pursue the investigations into foreclosure law firms.” She said the division’s director, Richard Lawson, is leading the inquiry into one of the state’s largest foreclosure firms and is supervising other cases.

“The division has made these investigations a top priority and will continue to actively pursue all of our investigations into foreclosure law firms,” Davis said in an e-mail, adding that Lawson had assigned 14 attorneys and investigators to work on the cases that belonged to Edwards and Clarkson.

As for their hasty departure, she wrote, “We do not comment on personnel matters. However, the Florida Attorney General’s Office is always striving to make sure that we have the best staff working to serve and protect the people of Florida.”

Edwards and Clarkson, whose dismissals were first detailed this week by The Palm Beach Post, have since opened a private law firm together in South Florida focused largely on foreclosure defense. They expressed doubts about how aggressively the cases they left behind will be pursued, saying the other attorneys in their division are dedicated and hardworking but that each already had a full caseload.

For her part, Clarkson said she worries about the work left undone, the potential misdeeds left undiscovered, even as state and federal officials negotiate a settlement with banks to end some of the worst practices.

“There is so much paperwork that came in due to our subpoenas that I didn’t even get a chance to look at,” she said, adding, “I looked at enough to know that there’s a lot more problems out there.”

By Brady Dennis, Published: July 14
from Washington Post Business

Forwarded by Gold Member Roger Taylor

Stay Tuned, the financial tsunami is not over. 157 Banks failed in 2010. This is why banks are so reluctant to make loans, especially to investors. The Federal Bank Examiners are actually doing their job now when compared to how they were so laid back a couple of years ago during the “Fog This Mirror and You Are Approved” lending bonanza.
– Mike Butler

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 7, 2011

Regulators on Friday shuttered a Florida bank, the first closure of 2011 after 157 banks succumbed last year to the struggling economy and mounting bad loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over First Commercial Bank of Florida, based in Orlando, with $598.5 million in assets and $529.6 million in deposits. First Southern Bank, based in Boca Raton, Fla., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of the failed bank. The failure of First Commercial Bank of Florida is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $78 million.

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!

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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!
 

Check this out. Wells Fargo pays $24 million to eight states to stop investigation. These funds, apparently given to each state, will be used to "reach out" to help customers. I wonder how many customers they "reach out" to will be "tax-eaters" and how many will be "tax-payers."   Stay tuned.

$24 Million Payment to End Wells Fargo Inquiry

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 6, 2010
 
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wells Fargo & Company is paying $24 million to end an investigation by eight states into whether lenders acquired by the bank made risky mortgages to consumers without disclosing their perils.
 
The states said loans known as option adjustable-rate loans, or pick-a-payment mortgages, were deceptive. Those loans allowed borrowers to defer some interest payments and add them to the principal balance. Borrowers could make payments so low that loan debt each month.
 
Wells Fargo announced the agreement Wednesday with attorneys general in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and Washington State.
 
The loans were made by the Wachovia Corporation and a California company it acquired, World Savings Bank. Wells bought Wachovia at the end of 2008. Wachovia had already stopped making those loans before that acquisition.
 
As part of the agreement, Wells has agreed to offer loan assistance worth more than $770 million to more than 8,700 borrowers through June 2013, though that amount will depend on how the economy fares. The $24 million will be used to help states reach out to such customers.
 
The agreement includes no admission of wrongdoing by Wells Fargo.