“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of foreclosure fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion

chain of title

“I think what struck me most about this story was the fact that the foreclosure fraud these ordinary citizens uncovered was so crude and so sloppy. I could only conclude that the people involved knew there was nobody minding the store. That says a lot about Americans’ sense of ethics. How many people working in that industry do you think knew they were committing fraud and just didn’t care? “


“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of foreclosure fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion

Earlier this week the New York Times featured a depressing story about homeless people living in the foreclosed and abandoned houses that still dot the landscape in Nevada, reminding everyone of that awful time just a few years ago when families all over the country lost their homes in what has become euphemistically known as “the housing crisis.” It was actually much more specific than that, it was an epidemic of criminal mortgage foreclosure fraud and it devastated millions of people, many of whom have still not recovered.

My Salon colleague (and one-time blogging cohort) David Dayen has written a wonderful new book called “Chain of Title” about some amazing Americans down in Florida who were caught in the maw of this epic criminal conspiracy and bravely took on the system when no one else would do it. Faced with a morass of impenetrable documents and intractable officials they took matters into their own hands and uncovered the crime of the new century by becoming internet muckrakers, using crowd-sourcing and social media. And in the process of following their fascinating story, we learn the full scope of this massive crime which goes all the way from the Florida suburbs to the boardrooms of Wall Street.

I had a chance to ask Dayen some questions about the book this week.

Can you explain in plain English how the foreclosure fraud industry worked?

You can read the rest here…



8 Responses to ““It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of foreclosure fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion”
  1. FSmith says:

    Hi Grace. Just read your statements. United Bank paid my lawyers to thwart my efforts to litigate. My lawyers committed fraud on the court and allowed United Bank access to my legal files. Please email me floretta36 outlook

  2. Grace says:

    The FBI investigated and pursued a successful case against a man in Florida who falsified his mortgage documents causing WAMU Bank to lose 35k. Bernie Sander’s wife is also being investigated for supposedly falsifying mortgage docs to obtain a loan for a university she was running.

    This begs the question what the hell is going on Banks get the HELP FROM THE FBI yet the rest of us who actually pay their salaries get told it’s too difficult to pursue clearly forged checks and falsified documents submitted via discovery (which are clearly felonies!). The forged check I was handed via discovery was clearly and easily shown to be forged, it had no check number, and the one bank processing date on the back of the check was over a year after the supposed writing date and the other bank processing date.

    Not so coincidentally, the FAKE date coincided with the bank denying they were responsible for transferring money to make loan payments to protect the bank from the slander of credit charges.

    Yet the FBI had clearly documented evidence of forged checks, check kiting and some pretty definitive evidence of money laundering or embezzlement of over $600,000.00!!! I lost way more than 1 million dollars. I worked and paid my taxes my entire life. My AND every single one of you pay the entire FBI salary. Yet I was told I didn’t lose enough money to justify an investigation.

    I also was a poster child for over coming a poor childhood and making a success of my life. I made until money by working two and three jobs and by working 70/80 hours a week and going to university part time. I bought only one new car in my life. I never took vacations. I did this because I wanted to have my own business.

    These banks by having forged documents and clearly falsified evidence allowed in court discovery docs and $1800 per hour white collar crimes defense lawyers who buy the legal system complete negates the Rule of Law in this country. Which means none of poor dumb peons who work for a living have any protections at all.

    My lawyer said “you are lucky you are taking anything away from this fight with the bank. Most people are completely wiped out. I looked at her in total shock and said so what you really mean is u are really sorry I was brutally raped but I should feel lucky I am not pregnant and I don’t have HIV, right?” She had the decency to turn white in the face and say yeah well I guess so. She was also angry I called her on it.

    Check kiting btw is when you drop your payment off in person, teller hands you a receipt. Then the. And holds off crediting your loan payment. In my case 3 to 7 days for the entire length of the loan. The bank was adding $440 per day in accrued interest to my loan. Every single person should check every month that their payment is stopping additional interest for the payment amount from accruing. I have met only 4 people to date out of hundreds I have spoken with that actually even think to check that their bank is actaully doing what they are supposed to.

  3. rnk444 says:

    I am so sorry to hear your story, Grace. Thank you for listing the specific crimes perpetrated by United Bank. I think auditing the Fed is a great idea. Have you had any luck??

  4. bgreen50 says:

    No one cared, no one listened, neighbors friends family all couldnt grasp HOW this could happen.
    I lived in my home 40 years. I am foreclosed. Judge told the lawyers to keep me in my home— domid not happen. I lost 90% of our belingings and memories. My wedding dress, family photos, tools, more. I have Multiple Sclerosis. Struggled but paid and teied to work it out. To this day I am not sure If they even had the right to foreclose.

    THEY STOLE MY HOME, not just a House. I am stripped of 30 years of work and savings!!!!

    • Kent says:

      I have fought fir seven years and they took a voluntary dismissal. Now I see they are gearing up to come at me again

  5. Grace Smith says:

    Foreclosure and mortgage servicing fraud have NOT been taken care of at all nor do I think they will be.

    Not one person has stepped up to stop this. All of my payments were current until United Bank appropriated my payments for buying insurance they claimed they were NOT buying.

    My farm was at ALL TIMES properly insured. NOT once was their mortgage underinsured or not present.

    United Bank slandered my credit in August of 2009 then again March, April and May of 2010, which directly resulted in the destruction of my business. United Bank approved my loan based on that same business income. United Bank was determined to keep my 7.99% interest rate loan in house.

    United Bank originally suggested a loan modification (I did NOT ask for one) telling me it would save me the hassle of re-applying at Citibank where I had been offered a 3 1/4% loan rate. Effectively cutting my loan payments by half. United Bank in writing promised they were working on this loan modification for over a year. Yet released discovery docs show United Bank thought I could afford the 8% so I didn’t really need an interest rate reduction! I just wanted one.

    After the year went by I said well look I have this great offer I confirmed it is still on the table, if you aren’t giving me the interest rate reduction I am moving my loan. The next month United Bank ‘forgot’ to pay the HELOC while continuing to pay the mortgage. United Bank had control of the payments at this time. United Bank TOLD their COLLECTIONS PERSON NOT TO CONTACT ME and let me know the payments were not being transferred!!!!

    United Bank intentional hid the FACT that they knew they were supposed to be making payments and were NOT doing it. United Bank intentionally destroyed my credit so I could not move my loan.

    The effect of that was United Bank ruined my entire income source!!

    Even after the loss of my business for TWO years I kept my payments current. I made every attempt to get the situation resolved finally I ran out of money!!

    United Bank Virginia for YEARS accepted payments and handed me a receipt IN PERSON for payments on a loan they did not even make! Enabling United Bank West Va to add late fees and collect unearned interest EVERY Single day. Over 30 years this means over 1 MILLION in unearned interest.

    United Bank appropriated loan payments supposedly to pay for additional insurance United Bank put in WRITING was NOT necessary. by their own submitted evidence United Bank added over 47K in FP insurance in 18 months.

    United Bank stated I should just ignore those letters claiming additional insurance was being added.

    Since 2008 United Bank was not giving me access to my loan statements in the mail or online. United Bank officer claimed they did not offer online payments!!!

    United Bank submitted loan statements where no charges for additional insurance were added YET United bank then submits statements years later where those insurance charges were credited back.

    United Bank SUBMITTED a refund for CHARGES that were NEVERE MADE!! yet nnot one person said that can’t happen.

    Lest one think the Fed will reopen case THEY will not even though the investigator acknowledged the fact the the previously supplied evidence was total LIE.

    A complaint made to the Federal Reserve WILL NOT be reopened even though it is proven the bank in question committed fraud to get that complaint decision!!

    Can you FIOA a request to the Federal Reserve Bank so you can get the results of an investigation?? Nope Not a government agency so FIOA’s don’t work. Its all hidden from prying eyes of the American Public.

    I filed a complaint with the Federal Reserve about United Bankshares Inc. forging a check to support their lie that they were NOT responsible for slandering my credit.

    I paid mortgages for over 27 YEARS without a significant late payment.

    United Bank continuously emailed me saying sorry we sent that info slandering your credit in error, we corrected it. Yet they had NOT!

    Beginning in July of 2008 United Bank started missing delivery of loan statements.

    In July of 2008 United Bank signs on with new FP insurance company American Modern!

    Denied all online access to statements even when an attempt to open a checking account so I could access my loans online.

    Misapplied and or lost loan payment continuously beginning in July of 2008

    Hard to argue with on time payments when I stood in line in person and was handed a receipt every single month!

    United Bank gins up EXCEL spread sheets in place of copies of actual statements.

    United Bank Forging a Check for $9500.00 in an attempt to hide responsibility of United bank officer transferring payments

    Manufacturing statements and Account activity notes submitted via discovery. Yep this bank is really worried about repercussions of submitting falsified evidence via discovery.

    YES A member bank of the Federal Reserve submitted a FORGED Check for 9500.00

    United Bank is so sure they will be subjected to zero repercussions that they falsified evidence (statements and account activity notes both!) via discovery, Submitted a forged check via discovery.

    Then the legal help available to us fools who do not spent stockholders money on their legal bills. My own lawyer (supposedly) after driving to my farm and getting me to sign a mediated agreement that had been significantly changed in a very negative way telling me “You don’t have to read it, everything is pretty much the same” I checked it for you. We don’t have to worry about getting it notarized!!” if you don’t sign today the bank is going to start foreclosure. We need this done today.

    6 weeks later he went to work for a large firm who had been asked to handle my case when I first discovered the fraud!!! They had told me they could not handle the case because they had a conflict of interest due to a pre-existing relationship with United Bank!

    We fools who borrow from these crooks to get a mortgage cannot possibly compete with the 1800 per hour these banks pay their lawyers. So what lawyer is going to take up a case for us??

    United Bank knows full well that no one will call them on their behavior.

    How many of you know the Federal Reserve Bank is OWNED BY ITS MEMBER BANKS!! They print our money and run our monetary policy but they ARE NOT A government agency!!!

    We cannot even get enough votes to get AUDIT the FED passed from our Senators. You guys want to pitch in and do something easy to help retake our country from the men who are destroying our country email or fax or call your Senators and tell them to vote to Audit the Fed.

    If you or someone you know has experienced problems with United Bank Inc or their holding company United Bankshares Inc (UBSI) and you would like someone to commiserate with please leave a comment here so I can get in touch with you.

    • I am so sorry for bgreen50 and this comment letter is also for Grace Smith and Kent. I am worried about a Second Wave.The largest banks do own this country. I was finally able to own my home free and clear and have the Title and Warrenty Deed in my safety deposit box. One of the large banks erroneously lent to someone else securing my home for his loan. Never saw nor paid a dime. Fought and rejected this loan from the start. Complained to my states’ attorney general. Originator replied that they’d “never heard from me”. My state did nothing. Tried calling the loan servicer repeatedly and they wouldn’t discuss with me. I wasn’t a borrower. Saving for an attorney, the errant borrower came down with cancer and , remorseful, gave me his loan file. There were two papers importantly: one was the Rescission Notice which i filed within the three year period. The Lender did nothing.The second important paper was an email to Borrower: “Your wife is refusing to sign..please advise”. Jubulant, I now could press my case.
      I spent my retirement on a good lawyer, who insisted we not trouble the State’s attorney with that particular misrepresentation as it wasn’t all that useful-banks misrepresent all the time-why drag our AGO into it?.
      We won with prejudice two and a half years ago at the Lower Court under a wonderfully unafraid Judge!!
      We’d not even introduced the robo-signing, the fact that Fannie was the real party, and all the usual. We won on the strength of the incriminating email alone, testimony from the now-humbled husband who is still alive, and many exhibits indicating that I didn’t ratify, in fact vehemently fought!
      We also won as to my great surprise the Countrywide/Boa/Everbank never pled significantly to court nor disputed its unclean hands that husband was preyed upon. He’d desperately needed to do a debt restructure before he allowed-though he’d no right as this is a homestead tenent-by-entirety-state- Countrywide/Boa raid my home. Many, many unttruths to me by bankreps, etc.
      We won because the judge caught the lawyer for Boa misrepresenting to him only and I believe was truly angered.If only the judges would be angered more often by this industry!
      Then the Bank of America handed the baton to Everbank , hired two more law firms and appealed.
      Though it was appealed in Everbank’s name, Greentree had already been sold the Servicing rights.
      So Richard Briansky of McCarter and English stood there arguing that poor “Everbank was left holding the bag while homeowner gets a windfall”. No one looked at our briefs nor mentioned that Cash Purchase homeowner and Fannie’s Investors really were holding the any bag. Husband went bankrupt over unrelated judgments so his loan was extinguished (he wasn’t homeowner). Bankof America had insisted that husband pay off his sole creditline (large), with my home so this loan was conditional, making them unfit for any equity rights in my home. Counsel for Bank misrepresented prolifically and apologetically, almost in fact to humor. Counsel said nothing of wasting my time and money at Civil for two years while the bank sat and waited for appeal. Then, “as we must”, said the state appellate court,
      “All favor goes to the bank as the appellant on a Motion for Summary Judgment”. This means that now my state has published a report with shameful misrepresentations regarding me, my title, and my family.
      I have been remanded back to reprove everything under a new judge. Happily, the new alleged mortgage-servicer has lost Bona-Fide Purchaser rights.But I am $30,000 poorer, and am facing another whole round. Sitting now holding the Warrenty Deed and Certificate of Title and looking at my home which is in desperate need of a paint job, I wonder how long I can go on.I won’t stop fighting though I’m drained financially (7.5 years-4 in court). I suppose it is pro-se time.I’ll comment here. After my own mess is cleared I’d like to reach out to anyone who’d like to start a simple Homeowners’ Advocating Transparency, Good Faith, Fair Dealing and Fair Judiciary Regarding Banking Practices. A simple idea and brainstorming group at a grassroots level.
      Enduring the humiliation of fighting a foreclosure, adding the injury of subject loan I’d not been a party to, is challenging as it were. The publication of simply incorrect statements about me in the state’s order has changed me into a person who simply has lost faith in our authoritative government agencies.
      I shall continue to fight. I have the Certificate of Title and Warrenty Deed. I believe my state made a mistake when they published the bank’s brief and neglected to look at mine. Perhaps our very state judiciary believe, as i once did, that banks operate fairly.
      God Bless Everyone who stands up to fight the fraudulent industry, its ownership of our government.
      My founding mothers and fathers would be proud of us all even if we die prematurely from stress or
      become homeless.

      • Grace Smith says:

        Hi Caroline Grace here. I only saw your post today. I am still interested in helping get a group together for this. Please contact at wracewheeler gmail. Anyone else in this struggle please email. Please only if you have been subjected to forged, manufactured documents and falsified evidence submitted by a bank though. We are searching for criminal actions by banks that have been ignored by the system!!

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