We will concentrate on these two issues in the next election. This is what I know about judges.........the are chosen and placed on the ballot by the Maryland State Bar Association. If you have lawyers that don't prosecute and judges that send cases that do make it to court to arbitration or dismiss them, you have no recourse. It is therefor a conflict of interest for lawyers........a great many guilty of crimes.......choosing judges. THIS IS BIZARRE AND IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF CORRUPTION IN THE MARYLAND POLITICAL SYSTEM.
IF YOUR POLITICIAN IS NOT SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY ABOUT THE CORRUPTIVE NATURE OF THIS CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.......IF LAWYERS AND JUDGES WHO REPRESENT THE GUARDIAN OF LAW ARE NOT SHOUTING OUT AGAINST THE FAILURE TO ENFORCE WHITE COLLAR CRIME...........THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR THE MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS. See the State Attorney General site for Judiciary. Do not think this is too much work because these are the institutions that make America a democracy and provide protections for all people equally under law. If this branch of government becomes corrupt.....and I dare say if the politicians selecting these people are corrupt then there are good odds their appointments will have similar views on enforcement......WE WILL LOSE OUR DEMOCRACY. IT IS NOT LOST YET, BUT IT WILL BE SOON IF WE ALL DON'T ACT NOW!
Remember that only a few judges questioned the veracity of these settlements.....most simply signed off on DEEPLY TROUBLEMSOME SETTLEMENTS. THEY WERE CHOSEN BY THE STATE'S GOVERNORS.
Documents in foreclosure fraud settlement highlight lawlessness of the banks
by Barry Grey
Global Research, March 16, 2012
On Monday, the settlement between five major banks and the federal and state governments of foreclosure-related fraud charges was filed in federal district court in Washington, DC. The agreement must be approved by the court to take effect.
The settlement, reported to be worth $25 billion, was announced February 9 and hailed by President Obama as a serious rebuke to the banks and boon to distressed homeowners. (See: “Obama administration brokers pro-bank mortgage fraud settlement”).
It is nothing of the kind. It quashes investigations by 49 state attorneys general into wholesale fraud and illegality committed by the five biggest mortgage servicers in their rush to foreclose on homeowners and seize their houses. The abuses first surfaced in the fall of 2010, amid reports of “robo-signing” of foreclosure papers and court submissions.
It was revealed that bank employees and contractors routinely vouched for the accuracy of documents affirming the banks’ title to targeted homes without having ascertained the facts or having even read the documents they were signing. The process was rife with forgeries, fraudulent notarizations, inflated job descriptions of the signers and other violations of the law.
The federal complaint against the banks filed Monday as well as audit reports on the five institutions posted Tuesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) inspector general show that the illegal actions covered by the now-suppressed probes went well beyond the fraudulent processing of documents.
The government charged the banks with eight counts of violating federal and state foreclosure and lending laws, including levying improper fees on homeowners who fell behind on their payments, failing to provide proper documentation on foreclosures, losing paperwork after consumers asked for loan assistance, and wrongfully denying consumers who asked for help.
The complaint alleged that the five mortgage servicers’ malfeasance “resulted in the issuance of improper mortgages, premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violation of service members’ and other homeowners’ rights and protections, the use of false and deceptive affidavits and other documents, and the waste and abuse of taxpayer funds.”
The inspector general’s reports documented the fact that the “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents was ordered by top management at the banks. They also accused all five banks of impeding the government investigation into their practices.
Far from a blow to the banks—Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial—the settlement filed Monday is a whitewash designed to shield them from potentially tens of billions in fines and damages arising from the state investigations. The banks largely dictated the terms of the settlement in the course of 16 months of negotiations, during which the Obama administration pressured recalcitrant state governments, particularly California and New York, to sign onto the deal. Under the agreement, the banks do not admit to any wrongdoing.
In return for the ending of the state probes, the banks have merely to pay a combined fine of $5 billion. Of this, $1.5 billion is to be set aside to pay some 750,000 illegally foreclosed homeowners a token sum of $1,500 to $2,000 each. Not one of the families whose homes were effectively stolen by the banks will be made whole.
The remainder of the reported $25 billion in the agreement is in the form of relief to be provided by the banks to “underwater” homeowners—those who owe more on their mortgages than the market value of their homes. Of this, $10 billion will supposedly go to reducing the principal on home loans, $3 billion to lowering monthly interest rates, and the other $7 billion to short sales and other measures to allow delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure. The latter procedures are already being carried out by the banks, so they will receive $7 billion in credit for what they are already doing.
The Financial Times reported last month that the bulk of the cost of the settlement will be covered by taxpayer funds. At the insistence of the Obama administration, the banks will be allowed to make use of an existing federal program, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which provides public funds to banks that agree to reduce the principal on troubled home loans. Nearly two-thirds of the value of any write-downs the five banks make will be recompensed with funds from this program, the Financial Times reported.
Even if all of these measures are carried out, less than 5 percent of the nation’s 11.1 million underwater homeowners will be eligible for aid, according to an analysis by Ted Gayer, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution.
The HUD inspector general’s reports show the undisguised contempt of the banks for the government investigation. Bank of America, for example, refused to provide complete files and documents and refused to provide some of its foreclosure policies to HUD investigators. It failed to fully comply with subpoenas. It also limited employee interviews and ordered employees not to answer certain questions.
JPMorgan would not provide certain records, while other records were incomplete. Wells Fargo did not allow the inspector general to interview some employees and failed to provide information in a “timely manner,” the inspector general reported. Ally Financial put up similar roadblocks, according to the inspector general’s report on that bank.
Despite these attempts at sabotage, the HUD reports document the systematic fraud carried out by the banks, providing damning examples. One notary reported his workload going from 60 to 200 documents per day to more than 20,000. Another employee reported signing 18-inch stacks of documents at a time.
Wells Fargo employees reported signing as many as 600 documents per day. When employees told upper-level management they could not handle the workload, the bank shortened the turnaround time for document signatures.
Citigroup’s mortgage unit “regularly signed foreclosure documents when not in the presence” of a notary public, as required by law, the inspector general said.
The report on Ally Financial said that an employee “routinely” signed 400 foreclosure affidavits per day and 10,000 a month without reviewing the supporting documentation.
JPMorgan Chase supervisors told HUD officials they often signed affidavits as an “assistant secretary” or “vice president,” when those were not their official titles. They had simply been given those titles by Chase to allow them to sign legal documents.
That the government rewarded the banks for breaking the law and then refusing to cooperate with investigators by giving them a sweetheart deal underscores the complete impunity with which the American financial aristocracy carries out its acts of social plunder. Like the French Ancien Regime, they are a law unto themselves and not subject to the rules that apply to the “mob.”
IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS SAME CRIMINALITY AND PEOPLE'S REACTIONS TO IT ARE BEING FELT ACROSS THE US AND EUROPE. YOU WON'T READ ABOUT THE CRIMINAL ASPECT OF THE CRISIS....ONLY DEBT AND AUSTERITY IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE PROBLEM IS CRIMINAL AND IT INVOLVES POLITICIANS, BANKS, AND LAWYERS!
Ireland: Disgraced property developer Mick Wallace and the United Left Alliance
By Dermot Quinn 21 June 2012 Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)
For over a week, the Irish media has been reporting on the case of Mick Wallace, a former building developer and restaurant operator who now sits in parliament.
His firm M. and J. Wallace fiddled €1.4 million (US$1.8 million) in tax by making a false and illegal VAT return on apartment sales. The total amount now due to the Irish tax revenue is €2.1 million.
On June 14, Wallace made a short statement to the Dail (parliament) saying he was sorry about the €1.4 million withheld in VAT. He offered to pay half his Dail salary yearly to reimburse the revenue, but did not specify if he would resign his seat.
Wallace knew he had little reason to fear the response to his statement in parliament, since criminal activities are the rule rather than the exception within Ireland’s political establishment. Earlier this year, a long-running inquiry into political corruption, which saw the indictment of former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, declared in its final report that “corruption affected every level of Irish political life.”
The fact that Wallace has been allowed to walk away from his mountain of debt, shrug his shoulders, put on the poor mouth and look for pity, while drawing a full TDs (MP’s) salary and expenses, has provoked widespread anger. One comment on a phone-in radio show summed up the attitude of many workers towards Wallace: “All material assets should be seized, the state should then grant him rent allowance and a standard social welfare payment to live on, marking him as no different to 300,000 other people in this state.”
This anger is being driven by the austerity measures imposed by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition, which are pauperising wide layers of the population. Some €3.8 billion of cuts and tax hikes have been implemented this year and a similar figure is planned for 2013. The likelihood of a second bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund will intensify the cycle of austerity and hardship.