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Sep 14 2015

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Officials Cover Up Housing Bubble’s Scummy Residue: Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents

by David Dayen, The Intercept

Sep. 14 2015, 8:17 a.m.

Every day in America, mortgage companies attempt to foreclose on homeowners using false documents.

It’s a byproduct of the mortgage securitization craze during the housing bubble, when loans were sliced and diced so haphazardly that the actual ownership was confused.

When the bubble burst, lenders foreclosing on properties needed paperwork to prove their standing, but didn’t have it – leading mortgage industry employees to forge, fabricate and backdate millions of mortgage documents. This foreclosure fraud scandal was exposed in 2010, and acquired a name: “robo-signing.”

But while some of the offenders paid fines over the past few years, nobody cleaned up the documents. This rot still exists inside the property records system all over the country, and those in a position of authority appear determined to pretend it doesn’t exist.

In two separate cases, activists have charged that officials and courts are hiding evidence of mortgage document irregularities that, if verified, could stop thousands of foreclosures in their tracks. Officials have delayed disclosure of this evidence, the activists believe, because it would be too messy, and it’s easier to bottle up the evidence than deal with the repercussions.



In both of these cases, evidence of fraudulent activity harming homeowners has either been suppressed or not acted upon. Refusing to investigate illegal actions is an effective way of remaining in denial. But refusing to release the contents of those investigations, or refusing to rule on cases where the illegal actions have already been proven, really takes denial to the extreme.

In November 2010, Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin explained in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee why there were no real investigations of bank misconduct during the foreclosure crisis.

“Federal regulators don’t want to get this information, because they are too scared that if there is a problem, they’re going to have to do something about it,” Levitin said.

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