Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grand Theft Home

Matt Taibbi has a horribly depressing article in Rolling Stone on the conspiracy between banks and state judiciaries to steal peoples homes. (i.e. the nation's foreclosure crisis)
You've heard of Too Big to Fail — the foreclosure crisis is Too Big for Fraud. Think of the Bernie Madoff scam, only replicated tens of thousands of times over, infecting every corner of the financial universe.
The courts have decided to ignore all of the annoying niceties like due process and rules of evidence and go for pure speed.
One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour.
The banks, you see, have created such complex securities out of mortgages in an effort to defraud investors that even the banks can't figure out who actually owns the debt anymore. As for accurate paperwork, forget about it. So the banks just make shit up.
Such rank incompetence at doctoring legal paperwork is typical of foreclosure actions, where the fraud is laid out in ink in ways that make it impossible for anyone but an overburdened, half-asleep judge to miss. "That's my point about all of this," Kowalski tells me later. "If you're going to lie to me, at least lie well."
And the judges go along. The judges swallow any lie, every fraud, all the perjury to keep the foreclosure mill grinding. A homeowner can hire a lawyer and maybe forestall foreclosure for a couple of months but the thieves always win in the end.
"Who's next?" Judge Soud says. He turns to Mark Kessler, the counsel for the big foreclosure mills. "Mark, you still got some?"
"I've got about three more, Judge," says Kessler.
Kessler then drops three greenish-brown files in front of Judge Soud, who spends no more than a minute or two glancing through each one. Then he closes the files and puts an end to the process by putting his official stamp on each foreclosure with an authoritative finality.
Of course, the judge was outraged at some sun being shined on his clown court. Judge Soud threatened one homeowner for talking to Taibbi and threatened the attorney who accompanied Taibbi into the court with contempt charges. All quotes are from Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article.

And for those whose disgust quota has not yet been reached, here are:
13 Foreclosure horror stories
And three stories of banks foreclosing on the wrong house, including one where the bank auctioned a house they did not have rights to. Las Vegas. New Bedford, Mass.
Vultures feeding on the misfortune of others.

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