Mortgage Fraud

Bank of America Earnings Shrink Due to Mortgage Settlements

Bank of America says its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit, settling one case with Fannie Mae and another with the government. But the modestly positive results still beat the expectations of analysts.

NY Man Who Dressed as Dead Mom Sentenced for Fraud

A man who dressed up as his mother in a bizarre real estate fraud that involved doctoring her death certificate and cashing her Social Security checks for six years after she died was sentenced Monday to more than 13 years behind bars.

Occupy Our Homes Targets Banks Over Mortgage Mess

A spin-off group from Occupy Wall Street, called Occupy Our Homes, has formed to reverse and stop foreclosures. Lately, the group has been using creative tactics to raise awareness about the banking practices that led to the housing bubble.

Street Gangs Clean Up on White Collar Crime

Violent street gangs that have long focused on drugs and gun running are expanding into white collar crime. According to the FBI, a slew of gangs, including the Bloods, the Crips and the Latin Kings are branching out into mortgage fraud, identity theft, check counterfeiting and bank fraud, among other crimes.

Bank Settlements Bring Homeowners a Bit of Relief

This week brought a bit of good news for some troubled homeowners in the form of two separate settlement activities. The FTC has begun mailing refund checks to 450,000 Countrywide customers, and Wells Fargo reached an $85 million settlement with the Fed that will provide relief to up to 10,000 customers.

Why You Should Double-Check the Math on Your Mortgage

Attention homeowners with mortgages, whether you're current or in default: Double-check your mortgage bank's math. As recent court testimony explains, there's a real chance that the bank is wrong about how much you owe them, particularly if you're behind on your payments.

Why Is the Fed Letting Big Banks Boost Dividends?

The Fed's decision to allow big banks to pay sharply higher dividends makes no sense, and not just because the results of the so-called "stress tests" are secret. Based on facts that are public knowledge, the banks are actually insolvent, and in danger of sinking much further.

Decoding the GOP Argument Against Punishing Banks

Almost as soon as regulators proposed a settlement for the mortgage mess that would require banks to obey the law, the banks' Republican allies began trying to weaken it through obfuscation and confusion. Read on for some plain English translations of their arguments against the settlement.

False Deeds in Md.: More Foreclosure Fraud Emerges

As if we needed more proof of the outlaw actions of banks and their agents, The Baltimore Sun reports that 1,000 or more Maryland deeds are likely forgeries created by a foreclosure mill. If the accusation is true, the false deeds will create a nightmare for the innocent people who bought the homes.

The Mortgage Mess Settlement Proposal: Off to an Awful Start

A partial settlement plan has been constructed by a group of state attorneys general and federal regulators. In theory, it addresses banks' flawed mortgage servicing, modification and foreclosure practices. In reality, it just lets the banks off the hook.

HSBC's Foreclosure 'Moratorium' Has Big Holes in it

HSBC announced late last month that it had put all of its U.S. foreclosures on hold to review their documents -- back in December. So why are its lawyers still pushing cases ahead? HSBC also says it doesn't robo-sign. So why does its annual report mention foreclosure document problems that sound so much like those caused by robo-signing?

Lawyers' Carelessness Was Key to the Mortgage Mess

As multiple lawsuits and SEC actions progress in relation to the nation's mortgage mess, it's becoming clear that the misbehaviors of the lawyers involved at all stages were not isolated incidents: The misconduct was systemic, and it's time to start holding those lawyers accountable.

Did Bear Stearns Know These Securities Were a House of Cards?

JPMorgan Chase may come to regret buying Bear Stearns. Suits by Wells Fargo and bond insurer Ambac claim that Bear entirely disregarded loan quality to appease its trading desk's ever-growing demand for mortgages to securitize. Now, those parties are suing to get their money back, and they might get it.

Bank of America Sued for Countrywide's Mortgage Sins, Again

On Monday, a group of institutional investors sued Countrywide and Bank of America over Countrywide's mortgages practices. The bank is accused of issuing vast numbers of loans using methods that went beyond lax standards and into fraud, with the sole goal of repackaging them into securities to resell with inflated ratings.

Why Paperwork Matters: Consider This Mortgage Mess

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge in New York wants officials from HSBC and Litton Loan Servicing to appear in her courtroom next month -- to explain their failure to provide adequate documentation concerning how HSBC wound up claiming to hold a mortgage that's involved in a bankruptcy case.

The Mortgage Mess: Blame Banks, Not Homeowners

After an exhaustive examination, DailyFinance's legal reporter comes to a clear verdict: Banks are responsible for 90% of the problem, homeowners 10%. Banks have done three things to create the massive glut of foreclosures choking America's legal systems and laying waste to its real estate markets.

Why New York Foreclosures Are Grinding to a Halt

On Oct. 20, the state's chief judge ended robo-signing by requiring a special affirmation from the banks' attorneys. The now must swear that they know the banks' documents are true because they checked the paperwork. The result: nearly empty courtrooms statewide.

The Database That's Clouding Millions of Titles

The mortgage industry has created a system meant to simplify the handling of loan documents. Instead, it's legally shaky, makes tracking mortgage-note ownership extremely hard and may be throw into doubt who actually controls the title of properties throughout the country.

Little Sympathy for 'Besieged' Mortgage Bankers

In a compassionate Bloomberg profile of Barbara Desoer, the president of Bank of America's home loan unit, both the headline and the article call her "beseiged." But here's who's really beseiged: All those homeowners who are getting a raw deal from the banks.

Where the Foreclosure Mess Is Even More Perilous

In California, Texas and 25 other states, the robo-signing scandal and foreclosure debacle are even more dangerous because the lender doesn't have to go to court to foreclose. Except in rare instances, lenders can use fraudulent paperwork with impunity in those states.

What's the New York State of Mind for Foreclosures Now?

Now that N.Y. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has considerably tightened the state's foreclosure rules, his effort to eliminate robo-signing has greatly raised the stakes for the banks' attorneys. But what will the practical impacts be?