Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Foreclosure Crisis affects 8 Million Children

In OHIO  - Foreclosure affects 177,000 children
Nationwide 2.3 million children lost their homes due to foreclosure while another 3 million are - at risk - while their homes are in some stage of foreclosure. Additionally some 3 million children had to relocate due to rental evictions. In Ohio an estimated 79,000 children have lost their homes to foreclosure and 98,000 more are at risk of eviction because their families’ mortgage payments are at least 60 days delinquent, according to a report released earlier this month by First Focus, a Washington D.C. based family advocacy-group.
Family destruction by foreclosure - painting at Youngstown Butler Art Museum

“It is a huge, traumatic issue for families, and the implications for kids’ long-term well-being is really poor,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus.

“The financial pressure on parents tends to affect interactions with each other and with their children, and a less supportive parenting style caused by stress can have negative consequences on children’s behavior and their overall development,” said Julia Isaacs, senior research fellow at the Urban Institute and author of the report.

The school performance of children who are forced to move out of their homes often suffers, as a move has the same effect of missing one month of school, the report said. Some health issues have been linked to housing changes as families with housing problems also postpone important medical visits and they skip buying necessary medications.

“Many of these families are living in a state of limbo for a very long period of time, and being in that limbo state and trying to fight to avoid losing your house is very tough on these families” said Cyleste Collins, research assistant professor with the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Collins said parents try to limit the disruption the foreclosures cause in their children’s lives by doing things like keeping them in the same schools or holding onto their home until the school year ends. But it is very difficult to shield children from the hardships involved in losing a home, she said.

Across the country, millions of children have lost their homes while millions more are at risk of joining them. Families that are evicted from their homes often must double up with other relatives or rely on friends for a place to stay, according to First Focus. Unstable housing situations commonly lead to emotional and psychological hardships that negatively affect family relationships

Read about this terrible crisis & problem as reported by Cornelius Frolik (HERE)

In Ohio: contact Voices for Ohio’s Children
Voices for Ohio's Children is a non-partisan collaborative of private, public, and not-for-profit sector organizations and individuals who advocate for public policy that improves the well-being of Ohio's children and their families. Voices for Ohio's Children will be a leader in children's advocacy efforts in Ohio. Our work results in public policy ensuring our children are well-educated, healthy and safe.

In Utah: Homeless Families found living in storage units (KSL-TV-VIDEO).....
Storage manager Christie Andrews said that a family of three, including a 3-month-old child, was staying in one of the storage sheds. She said sometimes families can't keep up with traditional rent. "They're homeless and they don't have anywhere to go, I was getting a lot of complaints that people were leaving their doors a half a foot up. ... I would kick them out and then an hour later they were there."

Authored by Brookings Institution scholar Julia Isaacs, the report (Download-Read report HERE) provides a comprehensive look at the impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on America's children. It finds that one-in-ten children has been or is at risk to be affected by foreclosures, that the rate approaches one-in-five in some states, and that the upheaval resulting from foreclosure can have harmful and lasting consequences on a child's development.

A companion paper released by the First Focus Campaign for Children recommends specific actions Congress and the Administration can take to help families avoid foreclosure, find quality, affordable homes quickly when foreclosures happen, and deliver the help children need to blunt the harms resulting from foreclosure.

The First Focus Campaign for Children places a priority on supporting legislators who stand by our nation's children. Our Champions and Defenders of Children awards recognize the top 100 Members of Congress (HERE) working to make children and families a national priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Congratulations to OHIO's only recognized leader - SHERROD BROWN

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wells Fargo turns away shareholders in San Francisco

Wells Fargo executive turns away homeowner w/payment
Ignores cerebral palsy wheelchair-bound homeowner

Refuses payment - and has her arrested (video below)
Citing space constraints, Wells Fargo turned away many of the shareholders today, at the bank's annual shareholder meeting. This action in a move protesters quickly decried as an illegal attempt to dodge tough questions from shareholders. Wells Fargo packed the meeting with its own employees, and continued to let shareholders who were not part of the protest in through a side door according to a press release from the activist group the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

In the building lobby, a Wells Fargo shareholder Andrew Constans, who was wearing a suit and tie and holding a paper copy of his single share of stock. The 19-year-old University of Minnesota student flew halfway across the country to tell Wells Fargo that it should pay more taxes. (Between 2008 and 2010, Wells Fargo paid none, but got $681 million in tax credits.)
"I pay taxes, so why can't they?" Constans asked.
"I'm not a multinational corporation; I don't have 60 tax shelters."
Oakland protest
The Wells Fargo protest is part of an effort on the part of 99% Power, a coalition of dozens of labor and community groups that plans to target some 40 corporate shareholder meetings over the next six weeks.

Wells executive turns away homeowner w/payment
Ignores cerebral palsy wheelchair-bound homeowner - has her arrested
picture by Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

Ana Casas Wilson has taken her complaint public and attempted to take her house payment directly to a bank official on Thursday. Along with about 100 supporters, she attempted to hand deliver her mortgage payment directly to Tim Sloan, the top financial officer for Wells Fargo. Wilson, who has cerebral palsy, lives with her husband, who works as a school janitor, her teen son and her mother, who helps care for her. She has worked as a court reporter, and as an advocate for the disabled.

Supporters of Wilson, also were challenging a San Marino ordinance, just adopted last November – immediately after a protest of Wells Fargo's predatory lending practices. The protest was held on "banker" Sloan’s front lawn. That demonstration, involving about 100 protesters, was peaceful and ended without incident according to the Los Angeles Times (HERE)

Wilson is shown peacefully moving her wheelchair, through a police cordon, to deliver her check to Sloan's house as Wells servicing has refused all her previous attempts to pay. She knocks several times, but gets no answer.....

"He's embarrassed," Wilson tells the Tribune. "That's why he won't come out. ... He knows that what they {Wells Fargo} are doing is wrong."

Many similar foreclosure battles are under way nationwide, with support from a movement called Occupy our Homes

Read U.S. NEWS coverage on this story (HERE)

Read Mother Jones story... by Josh Harkinson (HERE)

Similar Treatment: OHIO's Chase Bank 2011 Shareholder meeting (HERE)
And: J.P. Morgan Chase sued for fraud - again (HERE)
photo courtesy of Michael at

Palm Beach Post: Wells Fargo said late Monday that because of the “current market environment” it will not offer refinances under the new Home Affordable Refinance Plan to deeply underwater homeowners unless they are already being screwed as a Wells Fargo customer (Read Kim Miller story - HERE)

MLS home listing service tells WELLS FARGO: "Stop Deceiving" (Read HERE)

4closurefraud - Wells Fargo Shareholder Report - FRAUD pay-off settlement (HERE)

Martin Andelman:
Wells Fargo you've
deceived, confused, and beaten....a senior citizen
Wells Fargo Insider: The independent Foreclosure review for OCC "IS A SHAM"
Related:  Goodbye, Wells Fargo; Hello, Credit Union Why a plush pony is no substitute for great service, reasonable fees, and a bank that doesn't aim to milk you at every turn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Money, Power, and Wall Street - PBS Frontline Special

Money, Power, and Wall Street - A PBS Frontline Investigation & Report

        Watch a Shocking excerpt - beginning at 5:30 in - from the below segment
                                    NEXT Tuesdays  May 1, 2012
                        Replay times on PBS - Check you Local Listing (HERE)


This PBS FRONTLINE program investigates the inside story and exposes the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance. The program also explores some of the key decisions, missed opportunities and struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy.  

Decades of deregulation kept the government’s top officials in the dark about the complicated financial products that drove the meltdown. As Wall Street innovated, its revenues skyrocketed, and financial institutions of all stripes tied their fortunes to one another.
Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank CEO: “We were bullish on the mortgage market in general, and {bundling and selling} subprime {mortgage risk} was an element of it.”
Beginning with the government bailout of the collapsing investment bank Bear Stearns in the spring of 2008, the film tells the story of how the country’s leaders - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner - struggled to respond to a financial crisis that caught them by surprise.
Phil Angelides, the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: “One of the most striking parts of the story is … how little people in charge of our system knew and/or did in the wake of the oncoming crisis”
In 1994 at a luxury hotel in Boca Raton, Fla., JPMorgan financial executives created a new product and {financial innovation for the} marketplace in which banks could buy and sell risk. A team of bankers, all in their 20s, dreamed up a new "insurance product" for loans called a credit default swap. It was the beginning of absurdly huge profits for the banking industry....and fuel for a boom in global investing.
Satyajit Das, 30 year Wall Street consultant: “The basic business that {Investment Firms and Banks} created was immensely profitable…..we were just moving the risk from one party to another party.”
As the real estate market was booming, bankers successfully tweaked the credit default swap to bundle and sell home mortgage loans to eager investors. But despite the money flowing into banks’ coffers, credit default swaps also loaded the financial system with lethal risk.
Bill Winters, the former co-CEO of JPMorgan’s investment bank said it was a way out for the banks and “The defining problem was that banks were unable to adequately deal with their own credit risks,”
When the housing bubble burst, the credit default swaps - originally designed to stabilize the financial system - brought the global economy to its knees. Regulators, who had often stood on the sideline and allowed Wall Street to police itself, watched in horror as the consequences rapidly unfolded before them

Phil Angelides, the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: “Here we are three years-plus after, and very little has changed...and in many respects, the financial crisis never ended."
FRONTLINE’s veteran financial producers Martin Smith (College Inc.The Madoff Affair) and Michael Kirk (Inside the Meltdown, The Warning), probe deeply into the story of the big banks - how they developed, how they profited, and how their {financial profit} model produced unfathomable wealth {and} planted the seeds of financial destruction.
In the first hour of Money, Power and Wall Street, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith interviews leading bankers, government officials and journalists which shows the epic rise of a new financial order and the trouble that followed. The investigation charts the largest government bailout in U.S. history, and a series of decisions that rewrote the rules of government and fueled a debate that would alter the country’s political landscape.
Federal Reserve governor Daniel K. Tarullo:  “It was quite clear to me that a number of really quite large financial systems had {no} management information systems which allowed them even to know what all their risks were.”
In the second hour, FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk investigates how the American government confronted the crisis while dealing with sharp internal divisions and a relationship with Wall Street marked by mistrust and dependence, mutual interests and competing goals

PBS: Full Program Press Release (HERE)
BLOOMBERG: "Money, Power, and Wall Street"- "Takes No Prisoners" (Read HERE)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lisa Epstein - Homeowner Hero wants to help - again!

I'm privileged and honored to call Lisa a friend. She was and remains the inspiration for the Ohio FRAUDclosure blog and this author/blogger. No one single person has done more to put the FRAUDclosure crimes in the national narrative and forever change the legal landscape
Much more to come.....but most Lisa by allowing her to use her skills in office:
You can help Lisa continue the fight!........I WANT TO HELP LISA (CLICK HERE)
I was alongside Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman while they spent another full day in a Palm Beach County (Florida) courthouse. I participated in and witnessed efforts to help homeowners - in a program they call "court watch." They both ducked in and out of the courthouse to field hundreds of calls, emails, and requests for help.....from all over the country! It was an amazing experience and a privilege to watch the dedication, focus and passion. In the middle of the day...between the high speed foreclosure docket, Lisa took a call from David Dayen of Firedoglake....the result of the conversation is below:

.....A small band of foreclosure fraud fighters in Florida, ground zero for the housing crisis, decided to get involved in public service at one of the most basic levels possible. These activists want to become the public official who tracks the transfer of mortgages in their respective counties. Sometimes this is called a register of deeds, or recorder of deeds, or a clerk of court. It’s traditionally a backwater for legacy types who, if they’re lucky, never get their name in the papers. But since the foreclosure fraud crisis, a few of these registers of deeds have shown real leadership in exposing criminal fraud in the mortgage document process. Inspired by their efforts, one of the leading foreclosure fraud activists in the nation, Lisa Epstein, is running for office.
“We are allowing an erosion of everything America holds dear,” Epstein told me in a phone interview from Palm Beach County, Florida, where she will challenge a two-term incumbent for Clerk of Court in a Democratic primary on August 14. “Not just property rights, due process rights – a right guaranteed by the Constitution – and basic fairness. But contract rights. The idea that when you make a contract with a party with superior power and influence, they can’t just make things up and lie, especially when an essential need of survival is at stake. Putting myself at risk is not as important as standing up and saying it was wrong.” Epstein has never run for public office before. She was a nurse who lost her job and fell into foreclosure, and in the course, figured out that banks were distributing faulty documents to courts, robo-signing affidavits without knowledge of the underlying mortgage files, and illegally foreclosing on families all over the country.

She and a few others (Michael Redman, pictured left of 4closurefraud) began investigating the foreclosure mess, literally going through court documents and mortgage records, and they started a cottage industry on the Web. They had no money or power, yet their efforts led to a de facto moratorium of the bulk of the mortgage market, and billions in lawsuits and exposure for the banks.
Read more on this amazing person:
 Foreclosure Fraud Activist Lisa Epstein Runs for Clerk of Courts

Monday, April 2, 2012

Robo Signing - While our government was sleeping !

Below, some shocking news (cough-cough) that apparently happened while our government was sleeping! In a total surprise (except for homeowners) it appears fraudulent robo-signing continued, as Attorney Generals sold out attention was focused on cutting a sweetheart deal with the five largest mortgage servicers: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial. Of course they all agreed to a $25 billion settlement without admitting wrongdoing. (Collectively paying 25 billion!...for no wrongdoing...Really!)

The New York Times  - April 1st - Section B - cover story
As Foreclosure Problems Persist, Fed Seeks More Fines
Carla Duncan is fighting a foreclosure lawsuit on her home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Carla Duncan, a social worker, is {still} fighting a lawsuit over the foreclosure on her three-bedroom home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2010 in Ohio state court, includes a {mortgage assignment} document signed by {an admitted and known robo-signer} Ms. Erica Johnson-Seck. In July 2010, Erica Johnson-Seck, whose signatures appeared in {thousands of} foreclosure cases acknowledged, in a having signed 750 mortgage documents a week, usually with only a cursory review.
“It’s so totally unfair {to have to fight their fraudulent submissions}” said Ms. Duncan.

In October 2010, Garr M. King, a senior judge with the United States District Court in Oregon, blocked a foreclosure after spotting a suspicious document from {another admitted and known robo-signer}Ms. Noriega. In that lawsuit, Ms. Noriega, acting as vice president of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems,(MERS) signed an assignment of mortgage. The problem, court records show, was with the date. Ms. Noriega’s signature {purportedly} transferring the mortgage from Mortgage Lenders Network (MLN) to LaSalle National Bank (now part of Bank of America) was dated 15 months after MLN halted its operations.

Despite the pledges of the giant servicers to amend their practices, there are signs that foreclosure cases with other companies remain problematic. An examination of dozens of court cases by The New York Times found questionable documents involving some of {the below} eight institutions. HSBC (United States bank division), SunTrust Bank, MetLife, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, EverBank, OneWest and Goldman Sachs. In addition, judges, lawyers and advocates for homeowners say that people are still losing their homes despite improper documentation and other flaws in the foreclosure process often involving these firms. The eight firms cited by the Federal Reserve “should be fined for unsafe and unsound practices in their loan servicing and foreclosure processing,” Suzanne G. Killian, a senior associate director of the Federal Reserve’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, told lawmakers last month in a House Oversight Committee hearing in Brooklyn. Read the rest of the New York Times story (HERE)

(Picture above by David Maxwell for The New York Times)