Archive for the Curious Puzzle Category

Fraud + Theft = Jail

Posted in Curious Puzzle with tags , , on February 11, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Finally, one little bone has been pulled from the closet-full of skeletons belonging to America’s largest banks.

The unmitigated gall and greed behind one of the largest consumer frauds ever perpetrated, resulting in a world-wide economic collapse, homelessness and widespread unemployment has so far only cost the perpetrators a mere $25 billion “settlement”.

As Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune said, “…the guys who did this are laughing all the way to the Hamptons.”

Thousands upon thousands of borrowers lost their homes while individuals in the banking and financial sectors rewarded themselves with obscene performance bonuses.

These banks may have once been deemed too big to fail, but are the people behind this fraud too big to go to jail?

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, went into law to go after the leadership of organized crime organizations such as the Mafia.

The “settlement” costs will just be passed along to the banks’ customers in the form of higher fees.

Take away those homes in the Hamptons and incarcerate those responsible.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Read some background information  on this Curious Puzzle and how this fraud may have touched upon Hillsborough County Florida.

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Foreclosure settlement

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

black hole moneyTo truly eradicate the underlying rot behind the banks’ Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) program, you need to follow the money.

Counties lost millions on mortgage transfer fees, but who gained the most from all this? The real money was made by those involved in turning these mortgages into federal government-back securities that could be bought and sold on the open market.

The sweetest of the sweet deals are those mortgages that were run through city or county “housing” departments, which resulted in the securities also attaining the status of tax-free municipal instruments.

You only have to go back to the Housing Finance Authority (HFA) of Hillsborough County which in Nov. 2010 got approval from the Board of County Commissioners to bond $250 MILLION to buy and sell existing bank low-income home mortgages.

Just the potential 1% processing fee to turn these mortgages into tax-free municipal bonds should be enough to launch an investigation into who gets what and why. Who then also benefits from offering these bonds for public sale?

The County taxpayers gain not a dime from all this financial activity, but pay dearly in cleaning up the mess thus caused.

It is way past time to lift this MERS rock at the county level to expose the slimy creatures crawling there.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Hillsborough County Fallout?

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , , on September 3, 2011 by verbumsapienti2
Seal of the United States Federal Housing Fina...

Where's the money?

Any chance that fallout from the national robo-signing and fraudulent bank mortgage investigations might have any negative impact on Hillsborough County for all the “bundled” mortgage-backed securities that came out of the County Housing Finance Authority?

Recall last year’s Hillsborough BOCC consent agenda approval of County Housing Finance Authority’s additional $250 MILLION finance plan “…for the purpose of providing funds for the purchase of qualifying mortgage loans…”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies provided the 50 state attorneys general a report on robo-signing practices at the largest mortgage servicers (such as Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, commonly called MERS and the Nationwide Title Clearing company in Pinellas County).

Counties across the United States are discovering that illegal or questionable mortgage paperwork is far more widespread than first thought, tainting the deeds of tens of thousands of homes dating to the late 1990s.

black hole moneyThe AGs launched a multistate investigation into mortgage servicers in October when evidence of forged and mishandled foreclosure documentation surfaced in state courts. HUD and the Federal Housing Administration launched their own investigation of their servicers in early 2011.

Federal regulators launched a broad legal assault on big banks Friday, claiming they sold nearly $200 billion in fraudulent mortgage investments to housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that led to massive losses during the financial crisis.

The suits, brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, name 17 domestic and foreign banks as defendants.

Among them: Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

According to the court filings, those firms and others “falsely represented” the quality of the loans that were bundled into securities and sold to investors and “significantly overstated the ability of the borrower to repay their mortgage loans.”

The result, the suits claim, were investments that were far riskier than the banks led taxpayer-backed Fannie and Freddie to believe, and the securities ultimately were worth a fraction of their original value.

Maybe Hillsborough County should get ahead of this and look into its own fiscal closet for the trail of the promissory notes for those mortgages held before they were sold to investors.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Attorney General Pam Bondi goes after “foreclosure fraudsters”

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Hillsborough County, FL on January 17, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Pam Bondi & MERSToday’s St. Pete Times editorial examines the investigation by Attorney General Pam Bondi into “foreclosure fraudsters”. The enabling entity underlying all these practices is the  little-known Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, commonly called MERS.

The majority of the nation’s home mortgages include language that “assigns” the mortgage to MERS. This allows the mortgages to be bundled into securities for investors which are bought and sold on the open market.

Two problems with MERS related mortgages are that 1. County transfer fees are avoided each time the mortgage changes hands and 2. When these mortgages fall into foreclosure, the paper trail of who owns what becomes a nightmare.

The Federal Government is so concerned with the effects of MERS upon the economy that a bill (H.R. 6460) has been introduced to Congress that would “prohibit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae from owning or guaranteeing any mortgage that is assigned to the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems or for which MERS is the mortgagee of record.”

Given the pervasiveness of the MERS system, and negative impact caused, it is incumbent upon local governments to ensure that they are not further contributing to this mess.

An audit needs to be made of any  “department” “board” or “authority” that touch upon any mortgage at any time. An example would be the recent Hillsborough BOCC approval of County Housing Finance Authority’s $250 MILLION finance plan “…for the purpose of providing funds for the purchase of qualifying mortgage loans…”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Irony Alert

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , on December 21, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

Irony is:

County-created, tax-exempt, mortgage-backed securities for investors who pay no taxes on them, are guaranteed by people who DO pay taxes.

Irony is:

Your county, not getting a dime for helping create these securities, and missing the revenue from lost filing fees each time these mortgages change hands AND paying for extra staff time processing subsequent foreclosure irregularities.

Irony is:

Your Board of County Commissioners NOT looking into this because they don’t understand it; are reluctant or afraid to ask, and yet expect to be re-elected to the next term.

Mom’s Apple Pie and American Flag Co. Inc.

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Satire with tags , , on December 20, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

My Dear Hillsborough Florida County Commissioner;

Let me reintroduce myself. I am Mom, of Mom’s Apple Pie and American Flag Co., Inc.

I would like your assistance in getting one hundred of my local employees into affordable housing through a low-income, first-time home buyer program.

Although I have Apple Pie factories in your county and throughout the United States, (our American Flags are made in China) I cannot afford to pay our low-wage, part-time, no-benefit workers enough for them to qualify to buy single-family homes on their own.

I am new to this, so I may miss a few important points.

Please approve a “financing plan” from your county Housing Finance Authority to issue bonds to buy these GNMA (Ginnie Mae) guaranteed mortgages from my son’s bank. $250,000,000 should be enough.

With the help of another son, the MERS System registered mortgages can then be “pooled” or “bundled” into municipal tax-exempt securities which my other son the stock broker,  can now sell to investors and repay the original bond buyers.  Since I am his mom, he will put me at the head of the line for me to buy.

Ya gotta admire a loving son.

Please don’t mind that MERS related mortgages are not subject to county filing fees each time those mortgages are subsequently transferred.

Think of the ease of mind this poor old widow-woman will have with such an investment that will not be subject to taxes and which both the principal and the interest payments are guaranteed by the Federal Government (taxpayers). In the unfortunate event that I have to “outsource” my employees, (China makes a great Apple Pie too) and their homes go into foreclosure, I will still be taken care of by the taxpayers.

Another son is in the mortgage foreclosure business. He doesn’t need many skilled, high-wage employees, he needs only someone who can scribble a signature (robo-sign) on the documents needed for the county. His teen-aged daughter (now working at Burger King) can do this. Please let the county employees sort out the discrepancies. The county judges won’t need to spend much time as they can easily handle many of these cases (rocket-docket) in one day.

Anther son is in the real estate investment business and will be buying many of these foreclosed homes at cents-on-the-dollar. With yet another son who is a real estate broker, they will sell these homes to new first-time home buyers.

Soon, sufficient time will have gone by so that I can once again expand my (economic development target industry) business and get lots of new tax incentives and tax credits for the new-hires. I might even ask the county to kick-in some land on which to build, if I can come up with enough promises.

So you can see, all of this is very good for Mom, Mom’s otherwise unemployed sons and Mom’s Apple Pie and American Flag Co., Inc.

Also remember that this happens without any “financial impact” to the county, unless you count the costs of lost filing fees and the cost of processing questionable foreclosure documents. Plus, we’ve always done it this way.

My employees, none of whom can vote but want to get involved with politics, are already talking about making maximum individual contributions to their favorite elected officials running for re-election. Ain’t democracy grand?

Oh, and please hurry. Congress is looking at a bill (H.R. 6460) that would prevent the Federal Government from guaranteeing these mortgage investments. Several counties have already filed law suits  for lost filing fees.

But hey, it’s for affordable housing
and Mom’s Apple Pie and American Flag Co., Inc.

Sincerely,
Your Mom

H.R.6460 – Transparency and Security in Mortgage Registration Act of 2010

Posted in Curious Puzzle with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

What we’ve got here is…failure to communicate.

Why is it that the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners do not seem to want to look into the possible ramifications of MERS related mortgage filings and their recently approved $250,000,000  municipal bond issues which has the potential to create even more “pooled” or “bundled” mortgage-backed securities?

What are MERS related foreclosure documents costing taxpayers in county staff time?
What are MERS related mortgage files costing county taxpayers in lost fees?

Either they do not know to look into this,
or they do not care to look into this.

Does no one read the SP Times?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen