Bloomberg Must Read – JPMorgan, Bank of America Face `Hydra’ of Foreclosure Probes

JPMorgan, Bank of America Face `Hydra’ of Foreclosure Probes


JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Ally Financial Inc., defending allegations of fraudulent home foreclosures from customers and Congress, may face the most financial peril from investigations by state attorneys general.

Authorities in at least seven states are probing whether lenders used false documents and signatures to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures, and the number of these inquiries will grow, according to state officials and legal experts.

“You’re going to see a tremendous amount of activity with all the AGs in the U.S.,” Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said in an interview. “We have a high degree of skepticism that the corners that were cut are truly legal.”

JPMorgan, Bank of America and Ally have curtailed foreclosures or evictions in 23 states where courts have jurisdiction over home seizures.

While homeowners in those states and elsewhere must usually show damages to win a lawsuit, “attorneys general can just sue over deceptive sales practices and get penalties,” said Christopher Peterson, a University of Utah law professor who specializes in commercial and contract law.

In Ohio, penalties include fines of up to $25,000 per violation, with each false affidavit or document considered a violation, according to state law enforcement officials. In Iowa, fines rise to a maximum of $40,000 for each violation.

Foreclosure Freeze

This penalty would apply to “every instance of an affidavit that was filed improperly or every time facts were attested to that weren’t true,” Cordray said. His counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has called for a freeze on foreclosures and said the submissions are a “possible fraud on the court.”

Officials in Ohio and Connecticut, along with Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Iowa and Illinois, said they are investigating mortgage foreclosure practices.

Attorneys general in Colorado and California asked Ally’s GMAC unit to halt foreclosures in their states. GMAC and Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers plan to meet to discuss the matter, said Mike Saccone, spokesman for Suthers.

“We’re talking to them,” Jim Finefrock, spokesman for California Attorney General Jerry Brown, said in a telephone interview about Detroit-based Ally.

Evictions Suspended

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley yesterday asked GMAC, JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co. to suspend foreclosures and evictions in that state.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said today he was expanding his investigation into questionable foreclosure tactics to include 14 more lenders. Cooper, who announced earlier he was looking into allegations about GMAC, also asked lenders to stop foreclosures in his state until they can confirm they are complying with laws.

In addition to the investigation of Ally which began last month, Texas Attorney General Jim Abbott on Oct. 4 asked 30 loan servicers operating in his state — including Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America and New York-based JPMorgan — to stop foreclosures pending a review of business practices. Abbott also asked lenders and servicers to halt “all sales of properties previously foreclosed upon” and stop all evictions.

Multiple Fronts

Lenders took possession of a record 95,364 U.S. homes in August and issued foreclosure filings to 338,836 homeowners, or one of every 381 U.S. households, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based data seller.

Lenders, loan servicers and even title insurance companies are facing litigation on multiple fronts, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and a former federal prosecutor who worked on cases involving bank fraud.

“This is going to become a hydra,” he said in an interview. “You’ve got so many potential avenues of liability. You don’t even know the parameters of this yet.”

Reviews of affidavits and other loan documents that may have been signed without personal examination by the signers should be completed in a few weeks, JPMorgan and Bank of America said last week.

“We believe the accuracy of the factual loan information contained in the affidavits was not affected by whether or not the signer had personal knowledge of the precise details,” JPMorgan said in its statement. “The affidavits were prepared by appropriate personnel with knowledge of the relevant facts.”

Tom Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan, declined to comment further yesterday and a call to Dan Frahm, a spokesman for Bank of America, wasn’t immediately returned.

‘Procedural Errors’

“We don’t believe the procedural errors…

Catch the rest here…


6 Responses to “Bloomberg Must Read – JPMorgan, Bank of America Face `Hydra’ of Foreclosure Probes”
  1. We have been fighting foreclosures in America and so agree with your movement. The problem is getting our elected to stop these unlawful acts of Robo Foreclosures, the banks have all the control. The banks who refuse to follow the rule of the law and are allowed to do so at will.

    The short story is the courts have been very slow to respond to the Robo Foreclosure problems, because the big banks are believed to be too big the fail.

  2. marget banas says:

    Kim johnson and brain – is giving michael a place too stay ,intown living llc ,a realistate company .rite side suntrust bank flat shoal rd atl ga ,east atl ,phone number is 4046077070 . One of the. worker over their said wow ! Michael broke and don’t have anything .

  3. matt banas says:

    These people must be god . Too take of companys from a man son , then start telling people they better pay their loan , or get put out . Wow ! I wish I could do a trade like that , and then get away with it .well if they stole 236 companies , with out getting locked up . People are gone start going crimes now cause they should get away with it too . U can’t get 1 and let the other 1 go . I wonder what that poor child is going threw . In his life . The trustee of the companys need to contact that poor child . I would like to meet a p .gannini , and jp morgan , great grand son , my self .

  4. Okie says:

    Please Define damages….. So many definitions…..

    While homeowners in those states and elsewhere must usually show damages to win a lawsuit, “attorneys general can just sue over deceptive sales practices and get penalties,” said Christopher Peterson, a University of Utah law professor who specializes in commercial and contract law.”

  5. Michael says:

    Oh AG’s .. I have millions of records in my database; spotting fraudulent affidavits is pretty easy.

    Do you think the foreclosure mills lost thousands of summons (keeping in mind they own the process servicing companies)? Think that they swore in good faith that they had to run constructive service on about 10K people, who were sending them monthly checks up to a few months before they foreclosed?

    We can pull out the full list of false affidavit signers, and you don’t even need to compare the signatures. Of course, we’re also working on comparing the signatures too. Our goal is the find them all .. everywhere. At thousands of dollars per violation the state’s will be rich!

    Want the data? Please write: olenick -at-

    We’ll also be publishing pieces and parts of it. The fraud is much wider than the banks are reporting … and it’s all on the record.

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