Posted on July 28, 2011 by Neil Garfield
ALMOST ALL AG’S ARE GRANTING AMNESTY TO THE BANKS
EDITORIAL NOTE: MASSACHUSETTS’ AG COAKLEY LOOKS LIKE THE ONLY AG IN THE COUNTRY TO USE REALITY AS A FRAME OF REFERENCE. Each day , each week, and each month the revelations, decisions, judgments and investigations drill down deeper into the morass that Wall Street created. It’s about time that someone actually took the offensive. Let’s hope nobody steps on her the way they stepped on others who were ready willing and able to bring the banks down on their knees and then were ordered to stop.Martha Coakley might be the last person in government anywhere that is (a) not intimidated by the Wall Street Banks and (b) very interested in the political outcome of bringing the Banks to justice. Those who oppose her do so at their own peril.First, finding a person out of government and not in the financial services industry who favors leniency for the Banks is a most daunting task. I’d rather search for the proverbial needle in the haystack. So as she digs deeper and draws blood, she will grow immensely in popularity, which will reflect badly on people who opposed her efforts.Second, anyone who conspired with Wall Street might be criminally or civilly liable thus losing their job, money and liberty all in one fell swoop. Stepping up now to defend Wall Street Banks would reveal ties that for the sake of the politicians so inclined, should not be revealed.Third, the situation in the courts and in the court of public opinion has gone too far already. It can’t be stopped. The effort to hold America hostage using the purse strings as a garrote will collapse bringing thousands of people down with the Wall Street Banks.More than 800 people went to jail in what was then seen as an enormous S&L scandal in the 1980′s, of which McCain was one of the Keating 5 (nobody wants to remember those guys). This time the situation is far more dire and when the prosecutions start (and they will) there will be thousands spending their time confined to a small cell. The race is on — government investigators are actively looking for those people who know enough to be valuable witnesses and who will testify in exchange for immunity. Faced with 25 years in prison, incurring the wrath and disdain of their peers will likely not sway them from cooperating with these investigations.Martha Coakley is leading the way and in so doing setting a new paradigm in American politics. It might not be apparent for those arrogant fools in Washington or state houses now, but they will be injuring each other later as they try to jump on the band wagon rolling out to the next town.
Coakley steps up probe into foreclosure fraud
Virginia-based firm is focus of new action
By Jenifer B. McKimGlobe Staff / July 26, 2011
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is beefing up her investigation into foreclosure fraud, targeting a powerful lender-created company in Virginia that claims to be the official owner of tens of millions of mortgages nationwide.
Yesterday, Coakley said she will ask county registers to provide information to see if Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., known as MERS, is violating Massachusetts laws related to property seizures. She is concerned that MERS failed to pay government fees as well as “impaired the integrity’’ of the state recording system by failing to document loan transfers.
Coakley also said she would not agree to releasing MERS from any liability in talks between government regulators and large banks to settle allegations of sloppy and fraudulent mortgage-related practices. State and federal regulators launched the probe last year after some bank representatives, now known as “robosigners,’’ admitted to signing thousands of mortgage-related legal documents without accurately reviewing them.
“We want to be clear we are not prepared to give a release of liability on any broad scope of MERS issues,’’ she said. “We intend to complete the investigation.’’
Coakley joins a growing number of real estate attorneys, judges, and consumer advocates voicing concerns about MERS, a company created in the 1990s by major US lenders to reduce paperwork and save money.
The company oversees a database of 32 million active mortgages, about 60 percent of the loans in the United States. Because it purports to be the legal owner of loans in its database, company officials say they don’t need to record every loan transfer between investors in a county registry of deeds.
Janis L. Smith, vice president of corporate communications for MERS, said the company will cooperate with the probe. “The use of MERS has been litigated in Massachusetts courts, and judges have upheld the legality of the MERS business model in the commonwealth,’’ she said.
Coakley spoke yesterday after releasing a letter she sent to the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds Association. She agreed to meet with the association to discuss foreclosure-related issues, including “MERS, the filing of false or misleading documents with registries, and other matters.’’ She set a meeting for Aug. 11.
The association contacted Coakley after issues were brought up by John L. O’Brien, register of deeds for the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds in Salem. In June, O’Brien called his office a “crime scene’’ after releasing an audit alleging that hundreds of mortgage-related documents were invalid or fraudulent.
Last year, O’ Brien asked Coakley to investigate MERS, saying that the company owes Essex County more than $22 million because it failed to record mortgage transfers locally, thus bypassing a $75 fee per transaction.
O’Brien said he was thrilled to hear that Coakley was intensifying her investigation.
“Today she sends a message loud and clear. At least public officials in Massachusetts are going to hold them accountable for their actions,’’ he said. “It’s a great day for consumers and everyone in the state.’’
Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at email@example.com.