The Resolution Law Group: Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland Settle & Others for More than $2.3B with European Union Over Interbank Offered Rates

Deutsche Bank (DB) has announced that as part of a collective settlement, it will pay $992,329,000 to settle investigations involving interbank offered rates, including probes into the trading of Euro interest rate derivatives and interest rate derivatives for the Yen.

Also paying fines as part of the collective settlement are Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) which will pay $535,173,000 and Society General SA (SLE), which will pay $610,454,000, and three others. In total, the financial firms will pay a record $2.3 billion.

The fines are for manipulating the Euribor and the Yen London interbank offered rate. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that regulators would continue to look into other cases linked to currency trading and Libor. Also related to these probes, Citigroup (C) has been fined $95,811,100, while JPMorgan (JPM) is paying $108M. Because of Citigroup’s cooperation into this matter, it avoided paying an additional $74.6 million. The two firms reportedly admitted that they were part of the Yen Libor financial derivatives cartel.

Almunia said that transcripts of Internet conversations exist documenting collusion between traders. According to Bloomberg News, which obtained excerpts of charts that the EU used in its investigation, one trader usually requested that a few banks set low or high fixings for a benchmark rate. (This month, Deutsche Bank barred multi-party chat rooms at its currency trading and fixed-income outfits.)

The setting of Yen Libor and European Libor were part of attempts by financial firms to make money in the financial derivatives connected to the benchmarks. Because UBS (UBS) and Barclays (BARC) notified the authorities about these activities first, they were not fined in the cartel matter, although regulators had fined them previously over Libor manipulation.

The Resolution Law Group represents institutional investors and high net worth individuals with securities claims against financial institutions, broker-dealers, investment advisers, brokers, hedge funds, mutual funds, and others. Your initial case assessment with us is free.

The Resolution Law Group: New California Appellate case published on August 8, 2013, “Glaski v. Bank of America”, holds that a homeowner can challenge his lender’s right to foreclose by showing that the Deed of Trust never made it into the securitized trust until after the trust’s closing date.

A new California Appellate case published on August 8, 2013, “Glaski v. Bank of America”, holds that a homeowner can challenge his lender’s right to foreclose by showing that the Deed of Trust never made it into the securitized trust until after the trust’s closing date. This is the case in most loans made in the last 12 years. If the bank foreclosed we should be able to get the homeowner money damages and/or the house back. Or a lawsuit could be filed and a court ruling obtained preventing the court from foreclosing.Recently enacted Sections 2924(a)(6) and 2924.19 of California Civil Code provide the same relief to homeowners.

It is highly suggested that homeowners take this window of opportunity to get relief before the banks get Congress to close this door with national legislation.  If you feel you are the victim of Mortgage Fraud, please do not hesitate to email or call the The Resolution Law Group (203) 542-7275 for a confidential, no obligation consultation.

 

The Resolution Law Group: Latest Mortgage Fraud Trend: Collusion on the Inside

victor wolf mortgage fraud case

When real estate agent John Lebron opened EZ Investments in Tampa, Fla., he may have already been planning fraud. His very first EZ Investments transaction involved selling a distressed property to his sister, then to his brother-in-law, the kind of “non-arms-length” flopping that tips authorities to collusion. Lebron lost his real estate license and his liberty in April, when he was sentenced to 26 years in prison for a string of foreclosure and short-sale frauds.

Mortgage fraud is rampant in the U.S., with distressed homeowners offering a whole new market to criminals. The recent trend in rising foreclosures led to soaring rates of foreclosure fraud. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen, reports a 58 percent rise in 2012’s foreclosure-rescue fraud schemes, a rate possibly spurred by the “opportunity” created by government assistance programs.

Florida continues its run as the country’s top state for mortgage fraud investigations, coming in No. 1 on the Lexis-Nexis Mortgage Fraud Index for the fifth year. With a Mortgage Fraud Index of 805, Florida had eight times the expected number of fraud investigations in 2012. It’s closest second, Nevada, had only a little over 2½ times the expected rate. Plus, for the second year running, Florida came in first with the record number of defaults.

A newcomer to the Mortgage Fraud Top 10 also bears close watching: Ohio. Of mortgage frauds under investigation that originated only in 2012, Ohio ranks number one-indicating a recent fraud upswing in that state.

The last several years have also seen an uptick in collusion of industry professionals, resulting in an entire new index focused on collusion indicators alone. Collusion indicators, which are derived from public records, are based on factors like cohabitation, shared assets, family and business connections and other criteria, particularly relevant when a property has been transferred at a loss. Vermont ranks No. 1 in collusion indicators, with almost five times the expected number of incidents for 2012.

While FinCEN reports a 25 percent decline in Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, filed nationally in 2012, some analysts think the decline may be due, at least in part, to an overall decline in the housing market. According to National Association of Realtors spokesman Walter Molony, 2013 will see an estimated 11 percent increase in the housing market, creating all kinds of new opportunity for scammers.

Mortgage fraud is especially tricky, according the FBI, because scams morph with the market, always adapting to the latest trends. And although financial institutions file SARs by the thousands every month (there were 93,508 in FY 2011), it can take years after the fraud occurs before it is even discovered.
There are over a dozen common mortgage fraud schemes-application falsification, illegal flipping and flopping, short sales, equity skimming and more. The FBI and CoreLogic report that in 2010 more than $10 billion in loans originated with fraudulent application data, the most common kind of mortgage crime. Particularly brilliant hucksters manage to combine and pull off serial land and mortgage frauds that can bilk private investors and financial institutions alike out of millions. Two such alleged fraudsters were a couple living in Florida, Natalia and Victor Wolf. (CNBC’s “American Greed: The Fugitives” reports on the notorious “developers” who vanished after their investors lost millions. Victor Wolf is pictured above.)

At the end of the housing boom, the Wolfs allegedly were engaged in every known type of mortgage fraud, said Roman Groysman, an attorney representing lenders in a lawsuit against the couple. “If one could teach a course on complex mortgage fraud and match it up against the allegations against these two individuals, I think there’d be little left to cover,” he said.

“None of the lenders knew … there were other lenders,” FBI Special Agent Kurt McKenzie told CNBC. As authorities and investors began to close in on the Wolfs, the couple managed to quickly mortgage their opulent home-over and over again. There were private cash lenders, small business lenders and financial institution lenders. “By the time all was said and done,” said McKenzie, “there were at least four to five loans, mortgage loans, on [the Wolfs’] house.”

But when authorities went to the mansion looking for the couple, they found empty champagne bottles. The people who lost money by trusting the Wolfs have never been able to confront them. Unconfirmed reports place the couple at large in Moscow.

Upcoming changes to regulations may — or may not — affect rates of mortgage fraud. In January 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will enforce new mortgage regulations that emphasize loan and borrower quality. “Under the new regulations for Qualified Mortgages,” said CFPB spokesman Samuel Gilford, “certain loan features are not allowed any more, for example, balloon payments or interest-only loans or mortgages that last for over 30 years.” The new Ability-to-Pay rule says borrowers must conform to a clear standard, and lenders will have to verify and document the lender’s ability to repay. The no-doc loans of the past, says Gilford, “were much more vulnerable to fraud.”

The latest fraud-detection tools are two new indexes in the Lexis-Nexis Annual Mortgage Fraud Report, which is available for public access: a foreclosure index, added this year, and an index of potential collusion activity, which makes its second appearance this year. The two new indexes join the on-going index of verified mortgage fraud and misrepresentation.

The potential for collusion is an important new index because in recent years, data analysis shows an increase in collusion involving multiple industry professionals. (The Collusion Indicator Index reports on the factors that make collusion possible or likely; not actual collusion.) “What the industry has found,” Jennifer Butts, one author of the Lexis-Nexis report, wrote in a recent email to CNBC, “is that these indicators-properties transferred at a loss between known relatives or associates-is often an indicator of suspicious activity.”

The more indexes a state appears on, according to the report’s authors, the more “challenging” are the state’s financial prospects for the coming years. New Jersey is the only state to appear on all three indexes. Five states — Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia and Ohio-appear on both the Mortgage Fraud Index and the Volume of Foreclosures Index. And New York and Delaware appeared on both the Mortgage Fraud Index and the Collusion Indicator Index.

Drilling down into the data reveals even more geographic information: For loans originating only in 2012, five “metropolitan statistical areas” represent 35 percent of all 2012 SARs.

If you feel you are the victim of Mortgage Fraud, please do not hesitate to email or call the The Resolution Law Group (203) 542-7275 for a confidential, no obligation consultation.

The Resolution Law Group: JP Morgan Chase admitted that it broke the law in the “London Whale” trading debacle. While it is commonplace for banks to settle cases and pay money, it is uncommon for a Wall Street Bank to admit guilt.

JP Morgan Chase admitted that it broke the law in the “London Whale” trading debacle. While it is commonplace for banks to settle cases and pay money, it is uncommon for a Wall Street Bank to admit guilt.

The “Whale” losses stemmed from wrong-way bets made by JP Morgan’s London office involving complex derivatives. JP Morgan Chase agreed to pay $920 Million in addition to admitting guilt.

Geoffrey Broderick, the senior partner of the Resolution Law Group, says “While the admission of guilt is unprecedented, it is also appropriate. However, the admission was done at the corporate level. The behavior and culture on Wall Street must change, and that will only happen when CEOs and other senior executives are personally charged and held responsible.“

Mr. Broderick adds that “The housing market will continue to suffer until it is fixed by the Courts or the Legislature. Somebody has to fix the problem. That is why The Resolution Law Group continues its fight for homeowners. Homeowners cannot expect the problem to fix itself.”

The Resolution Law Group continues to prosecute ground breaking litigation in Federal Court on behalf of homeowners suing lenders and servicers for, among other things, the illegal use of MERS, robo-signing, and intentionally ignoring underwriting standards and encouraging inflated appraisals.

The Resolution Law Group is currently enrolling clients into the pending lawsuit. For further information, visit its website at www.TheResolutionLawGroup.com.

The Resolution Law Group: A Bankruptcy Court in Wisconsin has invalidated a bank’s security interest and treated the mortgage loan as an unsecured debt.

A Bankruptcy Court in Wisconsin has invalidated a bank’s security interest and treated the mortgage loan as an unsecured debt. While this is not unique, the Court’s published opinion has garnered some attention.

In re Couillard, starts, as follows: “Whether one is baking a cake, building a house, or recording a mortgage, sometimes even the slightest deviation from the directions can lead to catastrophe. Cakes don’t rise, buildings fall down, and … mortgages aren’t perfected.”

Under applicable Wisconsin state law, a conveyance that is not recorded is generally void as against a subsequent purchaser who records first. In Couillard, since the recorded mortgage was not in the chain of title, the Court concluded that it was not properly recorded.

Geoffrey Broderick, the senior partner of the Resolution Law Group, says “This isn’t rocket science. Banks need to take all required steps in order to perfect security interests, or they will be unsecured.”

Mr. Broderick adds that “It is refreshing to see a Judge holding the banks to do what is required. That doesn’t happen in every instance. The housing market will continue to suffer until it is fixed by the Courts or the Legislature. Somebody has to fix the problem. That is why The Resolution Law Group continues its fight for homeowners. Homeowners cannot expect the problem to fix itself.”

The Resolution Law Group continues to prosecute ground breaking litigation in Federal Court on behalf of homeowners suing lenders and servicers for, among other things, the illegal use of MERS, robo-signing, and intentionally ignoring underwriting standards and encouraging inflated appraisals.

The Resolution Law Group is currently enrolling clients into the pending lawsuit. For further information, visit its website at www.TheResolutionLawGroup.com

The Resolution Law Group: Darryl Woods, the Chairman of Mainstreet Bank in Ashland, Missouri, pleaded guilty to charges that he used the TARP bailout money given to his bank in 2008 to buy an oceanfront condo in Florida, rather than use the money for its intended purposes.

Darryl Woods, the Chairman of Mainstreet Bank in Ashland, Missouri, pleaded guilty to charges that he used the TARP bailout money given to his bank in 2008 to buy an oceanfront condo in Florida, rather than use the money for its intended purposes.

Mainstreet bank applied for and received just over One Million Dollars in TARP funds. Woods took over $380,000 and used that money to buy his luxury condo.

Geoffrey Broderick, the senior partner of the Resolution Law Group, says “At a time when many Americans were losing their homes, and the Government made money available for the specific purpose of assisting the homeowners, Mr. Woods’ actions are reprehensible. For a Bank Chairman to siphon off public funds to pay for an oceanfront condo is shameful“

Mr. Broderick adds that “The housing market will continue to suffer until it is fixed by the Courts or the Legislature. Somebody has to fix the problem. That is why The Resolution Law Group continues its fight for homeowners. Homeowners cannot expect the problem to fix itself.”

The Resolution Law Group continues to prosecute ground breaking litigation in Federal Court on behalf of homeowners suing lenders and servicers for, among other things, the illegal use of MERS, robo-signing, and intentionally ignoring underwriting standards and encouraging inflated appraisals.

The Resolution Law Group is currently enrolling clients into the pending lawsuit. For further information, visit its website at www.TheResolutionLawGroup.com

The Resolution Law Group: In a trial now pending in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), The Government is suing Bank of America’s Countrywide unit for issuing defective mortgages and then selling them to Fannie Mae.

In a trial now pending in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), The Government is suing Bank of America’s Countrywide unit for issuing defective mortgages and then selling them to Fannie Mae.

An ex-Countrywide employee has testified that pursuant to the company’s “High Speed Swim Lane” program, loan applications were pushed through without taking the time to evaluate the application. Evidence was presented at trial showing that the entire review process for one loan was 13 minutes, from beginning to end. The review process began at 3:53 pm and the loan was “cleared to close” at 4:06pm!

Geoffrey Broderick, the senior partner of the Resolution Law Group, says “Obviously, the review process must take more than 13 minutes to complete. A bank employee would have to review, at a minimum, title searches, deeds, taxes, a review of the applicant’s credit and employment history, a determination of whether the home was located in a flood zone, property appraisals, and a comparison with similar properties, among other things.“

Mr. Broderick adds that “The housing market will continue to suffer until it is fixed by the Courts or the Legislature. Somebody has to fix the problem. That is why The Resolution Law Group continues its fight for homeowners. Homeowners cannot expect the problem to fix itself.”

The Resolution Law Group continues to prosecute ground breaking litigation in Federal Court on behalf of homeowners suing lenders and servicers for, among other things, the illegal use of MERS, robo-signing, and intentionally ignoring underwriting standards and encouraging inflated appraisals.

The Resolution Law Group is currently enrolling clients into the pending lawsuit. For further information, visit its website at www.TheResolutionLawGroup.com.