Unbelievably: Another Bombshell revelation. Another case has emerged to our attention involving a Bank of America Whistleblower. Gregory Mackler filed a Qui Tam case on behalf of all those who were foreclosed upon while eligible for modifications which were required if a homeowner qualified, but denied so that the bank could maximize profit. This time a former employee blew the whistle on purposeful, malicious denials of modifications while the bank was reporting to the federal government complete direct lies about participation levels in HAMP. This whistle blower pocketed 14million. READ THIS FROM REUTERS…. Seems like the whistleblowers should be coming out of the woodwork.
By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) – Bank of America NA prevented homeowners from receiving mortgage-loan modifications under a federal program in order to avoid millions of dollars in losses while benefitting from financial incentives for participating in the program, according to a complaint unsealed in federal court Wednesday.
The suit is the second whistle blower complaint unsealed so far with apparent ties to the $1 billion False Claims Act settlement announced by Bank of America and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on February 9.
The Bank of America settlement is also part of the sweeping $25 billion agreement reached between state and federal authorities.
Final settlement documents have yet to be filed in the BoA settlement, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office said was the largest ever False Claims Act payout related to mortgage fraud.
The settlement resolved claims that Bank of America’s Countywide Financial subsidiaries defrauded the Federal Housing Administration by inflating appraisals used for government-insured home loans, as well as claims involving the Home Affordable Modification Program, a federal program to help American homeowners facing foreclosure.
The complaint unsealed Wednesday was filed by whistleblower Gregory Mackler, a Colorado resident who said he worked alongside Bank of America executives while an employee at Urban Lending Solutions, a company to which Bank of America contracted some of its HAMP work.
While working at Urban Lending, Mackler said he saw BofA and its loan servicing subsidiary, BAC Homes Loans Servicing LP, implement “business practices designed to intentionally prevent scores of eligible homeowners from becoming eligible or staying eligible for permanent HAMP modification.”
The bank and its agents routinely pretended to have lost homeowners’ documents, failed to credit payments during trial modifications and intentionally misled homeowners about their eligibility for the program, the complaint alleged.
BoA let through just enough HAMP modifications to avert suspicion and allay congressional critics, while not enough to incur any substantial losses to its own bottom line, according to the complaint.
“In other words, BoA has had it both ways. BoA has continued to maximize the value of its mortgage portfolio with anti-HAMP modification practices and managed to make money by committing fraud on homeowner,” the lawsuit said.
A lawyer for Mackler could neither confirm nor deny that the complaint was tied to the settlement. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office and a representative for Bank of America declined to comment.
In February, a whistleblower complaint was unsealed from Kyle Lagow, a former employee in a Countrywide appraisal unit which detailed allegations of Countrywide’s “corrupt underwriting and appraisal process.” Bank of America purchased Countywide in June 2008.
Under the False Claims Act, successful whistleblower complaints can earn that whistleblower up to 25 percent of the settlement amount.
Wolf-relocation project struggles as lobos fall prey to guns and cars…
By Brandon Loomis The Republic | azcentral.com, Sat May 25, 2013 11:25 PM
“ALPINE — A brown-streaked wolf — named Ernesta by her admiring captors — bounded from a crate and onto Arizona soil. She carries in her womb the newest hopes for a rare native species that is struggling to regain a footing in the Southwest.
Her government-sponsored April 25 relocation with her mate, from New Mexico’s Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge to a mountain south of Alpine, was the first in the state for a captive-bred pair of Mexican gray wolves in more than four years.
The last time a new canine couple sniffed freedom in these mountains, in fall 2008, they didn’t last the winter. Someone shot the female almost immediately, and the male disappeared by February.
“It’s a tough life for wolves in the wild,” Endangered…
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Oregon Woman Wins 3-Year Fight Against Wells Fargo Foreclosure
Oregon Woman Wins 3-Year Fight Against Wells Fargo Foreclosure (ABC News)
A woman in Tualatin, Ore., is breathing a sigh of relief after a three-year battle to prove Wells Fargo had wrongfully moved to foreclose on her home, saying she had missed mortgage payments.
A judge ruled Wednesday that Wells Fargo failed to prove she was actually behind in her payments, which Delores Dingman, 80, attributes to the bank’s simple “accounting errors.”
“I just praise God for it all because I kept praying so many times about this, because I knew I had made the payments, but their accounting errors made it hard,” she said.
The judge heard six hours of testimony and then ruled to cancel the judicial foreclosure.
Dingman and her late husband moved into their four-bedroom home in 1967, 46 years ago.
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Bank Of America Mortgage Fraud: Feds Sue For Over $1 Billion Alleging Multi-Year Scheme
Posted: 10/24/2012 12:20 pm EDT Updated: 10/25/2012 10:27 am EDT
Federal prosecutors sued Bank of America for $1 billion on Wednesday, alleging that the bank’s former Countrywide unit concocted a mortgage scheme it called the “Hustle” in order to sell thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“In order to increase the speed at which it originated and sold loans … Countrywide eliminated every single checkpoint on loan quality and compensated its employees solely based on the volume of loans originated,” the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal district court, alleges.
This led to “rampant instances of fraud and other serious loan defects,” all while Countrywide was telling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy up mortgages for resale, that it had strengthened its lending requirements, the lawsuit claims.
When the loans “predictably” defaulted, Fannie and Freddie, which in 2008 required a massive taxpayer bailout due in large part to the purchase of toxic mortgages, incurred more than $1 billion in losses, the lawsuit alleges.
The mortgage scheme, called the “High Speed Swim Lane” or the “Hustle,” for short, continued through 2009, well after Bank of America acquired Countrywide, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara characterized the activity as “spectacularly brazen in scope.”
Bank of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The government’s lawsuit comes quick on the heels of two other high-profile mortgage fraud cases filed by federal and state law enforcement officials, who have taken fire for not aggressively pursuing those responsible for the financial crisis.
Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Bear Stearns, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase, accusing it of stuffing mortgage bonds with bad loans without informing investors of the risk.
A week later, the Department of Justice sued Wells Fargo, claiming the bank lied about the quality of thousands of loans it certified for a federal insurance program. Both of those cases are pending.
The government’s case also comes after years of allegations by whistle-blowers that Countrywide railroaded borrowers into bad loans and in some cases even fraudulently altered documents so that they would qualify.
One of these whistleblowers, Eileen Foster, told the Center for Public Integrity last year that Countrywide allegedly used scissors, tape and Wite-Out to create fake bank statements, inflated property appraisals and other phony paperwork — and that the company tried to cover it up.
Countrywide was once the largest mortgage lender in the U.S. From 2004 to 2007, it originated more than $1.3 trillion in loans. But the company’s remarkable growth was built on the issuance of subprime mortgages, often to borrowers with bad credit or no ability to repay.
In 2007, though, market growth began to slow and air began to leak out of the housing bubble. The mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or control more than half of all loans in the U.S., began to push the lenders to impose stricter limits on underwriting, which is the process of qualifying someone for a home mortgage loan.
But rather than tightening up those standards, Countrywide crafted a new program meant to move more loans through the pipeline more quickly than before, according to internal documents in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the aim of the Hustle was to have loans “move forward, never backward” and to remove unnecessary “toll gates” slowing down the loan origination process.
For instance, instead of reviewing the loans, Countrywide allegedly assigned critical underwriting tasks to loan processors who were previously considered unqualified even to answer borrower questions. The mortgage company also eliminated previously mandatory checklists that provided instructions on how to do this vital task, the lawsuit says.
“Under the Hustle, such instructions on proper underwriting were considered nothing more than unnecessary forms that would slow the swim lane down,” the lawsuit says.
Countrywide put the new program in place in August 2007, just as Fannie and Freddie tightened their repurchase requirements due to escalating default rates. The company also concealed from Fannie and Freddie quality control reports that showed instances of fraud and other defects were “legion,” the lawsuit alleges.
Specifically, the lawsuit says Countrywide’s own quality control reports identified defect rates of nearly 40 percent in some months, rates that were 10 times the standard industry defect rate.
One of these loans, which closed on Oct. 12, 2007, was made to a borrower in Tampa. Countrywide sold the loan to Fannie Mae with the promise that it complied with underwriting requirements.
But that’s not what a post-default review of the loan revealed, according to the lawsuit. The mortgage application showed that the borrower, a nurse, earned $8,000 a month, when in fact she earned $4,112 a month. Moreover, the home appraisal misrepresented the size of the home and the decline of home values in the neighborhood, the lawsuit says.
The loan defaulted 12 months after closing. Countrywide’s internal fraud investigator later confirmed fraud in connection with the loan.
The Bank of America lawsuit alleges violations of civil fraud statutes, meaning that potential penalties will be measured in dollar terms, not jail time. It also does not single out any current or former officials at the beleaguered bank or at Countrywide.
Bank of America purchased Countrywide in 2008, a decision that has cost the bank an estimated $40 billion in real-estate losses, legal expenses and settlements with state and federal agencies, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.
AG Biden Says $25B Settlement Not the End, Securitization Next
mortgagenewsdaily.com | May 16, 2012
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said recently that the states’ attorneys general need to make it clear that the recent $25 billion settlement with five major banks is the beginning not the end of their enforcement actions. Biden, speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe said the savings and loan crisis cost the economy $168 billion and 1,000 people went to jail. “This crisis, which was man made,” he said, “cost the economy trillions and I can’t really find anyone who has been held accountable.”
Show co-host Willie Geist asked Biden who he was focusing on, who did he think should be in jail? Biden said one area he, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and others are looking at is the securitization aspect, “whether or not there were false securities, mortgage-backed securities, sold to investors. That affects borrowers as well.”
He noted that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster recently indicted DOCX and its CEO Lorraine Brown. This is relevant, Biden said, because this woman has become famous, on 60 Minutes and so forth, because she signed thousands upon thousands of foreclosure affidavits. “Chris Costner indicted her for forgery. That’s the kinds of thing we need to begin to do.” He said that investigations need to go beyond robo-signing and that people must be held accountable. “People are angry,” he said. “Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers and 99 Percenters are all angry that no one has been held accountable for something they know is obviously fraught. And that’s my job as AG.”