Five Questions with David Dayen About Foreclosure Fraud, Activism, and Hope

Chain of Title by David Dayen

Five Questions with David Dayen About Foreclosure Fraud, Activism, and Hope

David Dayen (dday to old-timers at Daily Kos) has been the most single most dogged journalist digging into the massive fraud perpetuated on American homeowners in the last decade, the fraud that almost brought down the global economy. In fact, he wrote the book on it—Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize (reviewed here). He is a contributing writer to The Intercept, and a weekly columnist for The Fiscal Times and The New Republic. He also writes for The American Prospect, Vice, The Huffington Post, and more. He lives in Los Angeles. Here I followed up with him about his reporting on the foreclosure fraud and the book for our five questions feature.

1. You wrote about it in the book, but can you tell us how you connected with Lisa, Michael, and Lynn, the people at the heart of your story?

So there’s a scene in the second half of the book where Lisa, Michael, and Lynn are invited to Washington to discuss the foreclosure fraud scandal (that’s the mass delivery of false documents in foreclosure cases by financial institutions who do not have the legal right to foreclose) with a bunch of activists, lawyers, writers, some political staffers. I think someone from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was there. And I was asked to be there. At the time I was writing for Firedoglake and was just starting to wrap my head around this particular scandal.

I knew of Michael’s website ( but didn’t know him. And I don’t think I knew Lisa and Lynn at all at that time. But their stories stood out, because they were the only foreclosure victims in the room. They had something to bring to the crisis that none of us shared. So they became sources of mine. I’d read their websites and ask them questions. Years later, one of them, I think Lisa, told me that they were surprised I was interested in this and even though I was not in foreclosure. In their experience everybody fighting foreclosure fraud was personally affected. So their world was foreign to me and my world was foreign to them.

Check out the rest of the questions and answers here…


5 Responses to “Five Questions with David Dayen About Foreclosure Fraud, Activism, and Hope”
  1. Tom says:

    As I have said many times before here, the mortgage scams are going to continue as long as no one at the top goes to jail.
    The banksters have the backing of their lawyers and judges to force as many fraudclosures through the system as they can for huge profits.
    The banksters will NOT help anyone stay in their homes! They only use tactics to delay the process until they can fit their next victims into their court schedules.
    They will continually lose documents and keep having the homeowners produce the documents over and over again, but that is just part of their delay tactics.
    They will also stop informing homeowners of upcoming court dates to see if they can steal the homes through a default by having the homeowners not showing up in court.
    They will use the scam that the loans were transferred or sold to someone else, even though the original bank is still in control of the loan.
    They will hold back documents that the homeowners should have received early on in the case and then add those to the files after the fraudclosure is completed.
    If people get into better financial positions and offer to bring their accounts current, their payments will be denied.
    If people try to pay off the mortgages in full, they will also deny accepting those payments.
    A lot of this happened to anyone that had that force placed insurance scam added to their mortgage loans.
    The PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) and the new one MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium).
    One was for people putting a down payment of less than 20% and the other was added for any loan they did regardless of the down payment.
    That is the big motivating factor for the fraudclosures! That insurance payout of 80% paid by the government on the loan amount, followed by the resale of the property after the fraudclosure is completed, usually makes them more money than what the original loan amount was.
    I know people that thought that insurance that they were paying for was to protect them in case they ever needed it, but found out the hard way later that the insurance premiums they were paying only protected the banks.
    (Wouldn’t that be similar to paying your auto insurance, getting into an accident, and then finding out the courts and insurance agents stole your insurance payouts and then resold your car afterwards for more profit?)
    The lawyers receive big payouts, the judges receives their big payouts (kickbacks), and everyone in the scam is happy, while destroying the lives of many homeowners.
    As long as the corruption continues and nothing is being done to stop it, they will continue to budget in their phony fines, supposedly pay those fake fines to make people think the banks are getting some form of legal charges put against them, but it is just all part of the scam.
    When the homeowners receive documents from Court Recorders that prove the fraud committed by the courts, and that doesn’t help, people don’t have a chance to keep their homes.
    Once people are targeted by the fraudclosure scam, they will lose!!!
    Maybe there was a time our court system actually worked for people to receive justice, it is no longer there.
    The courts have turned into nothing more than a place to generate huge profits for those that control them, and to hell with the victims thinking that the courts were there to also work for them when needed.
    Wake up people!!!

    • mike Drouin says:

      I have to agree with Tom . The alleged Mortgages used in this scam are the fraud . These entities lied to you when they sent you Mortgage statements every month . It was all accounting fraud ! your homes were being used to give value to certificates of another contract taking place behind your back and without your permission . The Investors who funded that contract were defrauded too !! and the Banksters used the fake Mortgage papers to Foreclose on you !and steal your home . Mine is up for auction today at one pm . I sent a letter to the foreclosing attorneys that has 23 counts of Fraud with State , Federal , and contract Laws broken !?!? Where is consumer protection ???? Crooks and criminals run this Country !!!!

      • mike Drouin says:

        One more thing…….We aren’t even afforded the protection of the Law ! what I mean by that is , when an entity commits fraud in a contract , and in this case the Mortgages are the fraud , the party that was defrauded has the right to cancel the written documents . I did this by operation of law , but do you think that matters ???? I also deeded the property to someone else and recorded everything in the Registry of deeds …. do you think that matters ???? The system has gone rogue !!!! We are all being held accountable to a fraudulent contract ??Welcome to financial America 2016 !!!!

      • Randall Stephens says:

        Mike, I’m very sad to learn your home was auctioned today. Very sad.

        I followed your NH case in 2011 – 2013. After that I lost touch. 🙁

        I’m very sad.

      • mike Drouin says:

        Thank you for your concern Randall . The litigation back then was us fighting the Fraud after the fraud . We even got the Federal Court Judge to agree the assignment of Mortgage should not exist in that case , but the Judge allowed the Banks lawyers to disregard that assignment and they brought in ” securitization ” paperwork and when I wouldn’t comply with what the Court wanted me to do , which was settle with the Bank , I was railroaded !?!? Now , we have the full truth that the Mortgage itself is the Fraud and all the previous litigation is VOID, ab initio . The battle is not over yet . There are two cases in the NH Federal Court , under the same judge , that have the smoking gun evidence of how the illegal securities contract was funded . what this reveals is very disturbing . It was very disheartening seeing our home auctioned off yesterday , but what is more disheartening is knowing how extremely illegal it all is !!!

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