Incredibly, after five major American banks were forced to sign a large settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses, there is mounting evidence that they have shamelessly continued to harm American families with their shady foreclosure practices.
New York’s middle-class warrior, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has revealed plans to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo for failing to maintain their part of the settlement – and said other states have found similar problems.
“Several other states have identified similar recurring deficiencies by the participating servicers,” Schneiderman said in a letter dated May 23 to the monitor for the settlement, former North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith. The letter was obtained by Reuters on Friday.
The historic $25 billion settlement was brokered last year between the five banks and the 49th state attorneys general. The other three banks that signed the settlement are J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, and Ally financial Inc. As part of the agreement, the five major banks agreed to provide relief to homeowners and comply with a set of servicing standards to make up for their previous foreclosure misconduct.
Of course, Schneiderman could not identify which other states had unfurled evidence of banks violating the settlement, nor single out any particular repeat offenders, but he did confirm that delivery of this letter to Smith and a concurrent one to a monitoring committee would initialize a waiting period, at the end of which lawsuits could be filed against the banks. This waiting period comes from an agreement in the settlement that a monitor will first work with the mortgage servicer to correct any potential violations and take them to court if the servicer does not atone for their errors.
Although Schneiderman did not mention the possibility of filing suit against Bank of America and Wells Fargo on Thursday’s letter, on May 6 of this year he made it clear that those are his intentions.
Schneiderman said that, since the previous October, his office had documented 339 violations of standards, 210 by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America.
In Thursday’s letter, Atty. Gen. Snyderman said the violations show that the two banks are “engaging in much of the same misconduct that precipitated that National Mortgage Settlement”.
This comes as no surprise to the middle class, evidenced by the mortgage/foreclosure fraud-related protests that continue to spring up around the country.
While these banks can be incredibly accurate and sophisticated when it comes to managing the returns of their own risky proprietary derivatives trading, they claim to be overburdened and overworked when it comes to processing simple loan modification applications. Unfortunately, this is the same shameless ruse they have been performing ever since the days of the Great Depression.
As usual, the banks are playing the victim card and pretending to be tightening their belts in order to comply with the supposedly crippling big government regulation. Anybody that has been paying attention to the way the banks sinisterly inflated the American mortgage market and proceeded to profit off its collapse knows that these banks are capable of anything, especially paying off measly $10 billion fines and pretending to be in a world of financial hurt over them.
Smith reported that, as of now, the banks have distributed $50 billion in direct relief to over 620,000 homeowners as part of the settlement. Although these fines are relatively large compared to the “slap on wrist” out-of-court settlement that banks usually receive for their criminal actions, they pale in comparison to the harm and destruction caused by reckless Wall Street greed and corruption under the “watchful” eye of Dick Cheney and “Dubya”.
We MUST support Schneiderman’s efforts and those of other general attorneys that are bringing the fight to these corrupt banks. Please do your part by sharing this and other related articles on social media forums.
Huff Po: NEW YORK — A gang of cyber-criminals stole $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then fanning out around the globe to drain cash machines, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch called it "a massive 21st-century bank heist" and compared its size to the Lufthansa heist in the late 1970s immortalized in the film "Goodfellas." Lynch said the fraudsters had moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world.
A security analyst said it was the biggest ATM fraud case she had heard of.
Seven people are under arrest in the U.S. in connection with the case, which prosecutors said involved thousands of thefts from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards. The accused ringleader in the U.S. cell, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, was reportedly murdered in the Dominican Republic late last month, prosecutors said. More investigations are ongoing and other arrests have been made in other countries, but prosecutors did not have details.
An indictment unsealed Thursday accused the eight of being members of the New York cell, saying they withdrew $2.8 million in cash from hacked accounts in less than a day. One of the suspects was caught on multiple surveillance cameras, his backpack increasingly loaded down with cash. Others took photos of themselves with giant wads of bills as they made their way up and down Manhattan.
Lynch said the cells would take a cut of the money then launder it through expensive purchases or ship it wholesale to the global ringleaders, but didn't say where they were located. Prosecutors said the scheme involved attacks on two banks, Rakbank, which is in the United Arab Emirates, and the Bank of Muscat in Oman. Hackers obtained debit card data, eliminated withdrawal limits on the accounts, created access codes and then sent a network of operatives fanning out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities, authorities said.
Lynch called it a "virtual criminal flash mob." She said they could use any plastic card to withdraw the cash – an old hotel key card or an expired credit card – as long as they had the account data and correct access codes.
There were two separate attacks, one in December and one in February. In the second attack, more than 36,000 transactions were made worldwide and about $40 million was stolen.
Lynch would not say who masterminded the attacks globally, who the hackers are or where they were located, citing an ongoing investigation.
The seven men arrested in New York were U.S. citizens originally from the Dominican Republic, lived in Yonkers and were mostly in their 20s. Lynch said they all knew each other and were recruited together, as were other cells in other countries. They were charged with conspiracy and money laundering. If convicted they face 10 years in prison.
Law enforcement agencies in Japan, Canada, Germany, Romania and 12 other countries have been involved in the investigation, U.S. prosecutors said.
Arrests began in March. Lajud-Pena was found dead with a suitcase full of about $100,000 in cash. The investigation into his death is also continuing separately.
Avivah Litan, an analyst who covers security issues for Gartner Inc., said similar ATM fraud schemes are not uncommon, but the $45 million stolen in this one was at least double the amount involved in previous, known cases. Middle Eastern banks and payment processors are "a bit behind" on security and screening technologies that are supposed to prevent this kind of fraud, but it happens around the world, she said.
"It's a really easy way to turn digits into cash," Litan said.
Some of the fault lies with ubiquitous magnetic stripes on the back of the cards. The rest of the world has largely abandoned cards with magnetic strips in favor ones with built-in chips that are nearly impossible to copy. But because U.S. banks and merchants have stuck to cards with ma Share gnetic stripes, they are still accepted in many places in the world.
In 1978, $5.8 million in cash was stolen from a Lufthansa Airlines vault at Kennedy Airport, a heist masterminded by Jimmy Burke, the inspiration for Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas."
It’s been a long slog for a group of service members fighting to keep their homes while serving in the military of this great United States. Between the years of 2006 and 2010, a particular group of over 300 military members were served foreclosure notices, resulting in the accrual of greater debt, home equity lost, and the general stress of wondering if one’s home was going to be pulled out from under them while on active military duty.
The Justice Department didn’t like the sound of what was going on and got involved and in 2011, a settlement was reached with Bank of America to compensate 142 of those military members for wrongful foreclosures. A win, certainly, but the investigation continued and after the Bank of America handed over information about additional foreclosures made between mid-2009 and 2010, it became clear that 155 more service members had been impacted. The Justice Department added these parties to the settlement, making the amount Bank of America (and to a lesser extent, Morgan Stanley) will pay out for illegally foreclosing on 300+ service members the robust amount of $36.8 million. From Reuters:
Each of 316 service members will receive at least $116,785, plus compensation and with interest, for any home equity lost.
The payout follows the 2011 settlements the Justice Department reached with BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, a subsidiary of Bank of America, and Saxon Mortgage Servicing Inc, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
The Act allows members of the military to postpone or suspend certain financial obligations, such as outstanding credit card debt and mortgage payments.
“Our men and women in the military should not have to worry about a bank foreclosing on their home while they bravely serve our country,” Eric Halperin, Special Counsel for Fair Lending in the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.
While clearly this is a victory for the 300+ families involved, and $116,785 will go a long way toward righting the wrongs done, there are potentially 5000 service members who were also impacted by illegal foreclosures. Back in November of 2011, Think Progress wrote a piece laying out the egregious actions of a number of banks and lending facilities that hit a significant number of military families:
For months, major banks have been dealing with the fallout of the “robo-signing” scandal, following reports that the banks were improperly foreclosing on homeowners and, in many instances, falsifying paperwork that they were submitting to courts. Banks have been forced to go back and re-examine foreclosures to ensure that homeowners did not lose their homes unlawfully.
In the latest episode of this mess, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has found that banks — including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup — may have improperly foreclosed on up to 5,000 active members of the military.
The investigations that followed resulted in the Justice Department looking into the lending and accounting practices of Bank of America and others mortgage servicers, and the violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides certain financial protections to military members, were discovered, leading to this recent settlement.
The Bank of America is already paying out on this first settlement of $36.8 Million, but the Justice Department is not done looking into the matter:
Under the second settlement, Saxon Mortgage Services Inc. is in the process of paying out some $2.5 million to 19 service members whose homes were unlawfully foreclosed upon between 2006 and 2010.
The Justice Department is overseeing audits of the country’s five largest mortgage servicers – Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Ally – to identify violations of the Servicemembers’ act foreclosure provisions between Jan. 1, 2006 and April 4, 2012.
Which means it’s likely there will be other settlements to come… and other service families to be rightfully compensated for the illegal – and unconscionable – foreclosures of their homes.
Collier County, Florida -- Have you heard the one about a homeowner foreclosing on a bank?
Well, it has happened in Florida and involves a North Carolina based bank.
Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff's deputies foreclose on the bank.
It started five months ago when Bank of America filed foreclosure papers on the home of a couple, who didn't owe a dime on their home.
The couple said they paid cash for the house.
The case went to court and the homeowners were able to prove they didn't owe Bank of America anything on the house. In fact, it was proven that the couple never even had a mortgage bill to pay.
The Judge said the bank wrongfully tried to foreclose on the Nyergers' house.
So, how did it end with bank being foreclosed on? After more than 5 months of the judge's ruling, the bank still hadn't paid the legal fees, and the homeowner's attorney did exactly what the bank tried to do to the homeowners. He seized the bank's assets.
"They've ignored our calls, ignored our letters, legally this is the next step to get my clients compensated, " attorney Todd Allen told CBS.
Sheriff's deputies, movers, and the Nyergers' attorney went to the bank and foreclosed on it. The attorney gave instructions to to remove desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets and any cash in the teller's drawers.
After about an hour of being locked out of the bank, the bank manager handed the attorney a check for the legal fees.
"As a foreclosure defense attorney this is sweet justice" says Allen.
Allen says this is something that he sees often in court, banks making errors because they didn't investigate the foreclosure and it becomes a lengthy and expensive battle for the homeowner.
CBS News / WINK
Ever since the 2008 "recession," I have heard stories right and left about banks falsifying documents in order to seize homes and about homeowners losing their homes unless they racked up court costs in order to save it. I'm glad stories of homeowners fighting back are becoming more visible. This illegal business practice needs to stop.
From The Daily What: Hundreds of Bank of Scotland customers, many of them college students, flocked to a malfunctioning ATM in Glasgow after a rumor began spreading on Twitter yesterday it was paying out double the amount of the customers' withdrawal requests. The bank quickly responded by having police officers dispatched on the scene and resetting the ATM, but a spokesperson later confirmed that it will be difficult to trace all payments made during that time and it remains unclear what action can be taken by the bank to seek any reparations.
From Huff Po (note: The receipt with this story shows 40 grand for the total but the story quotes 60???):
It's no surprise that rich people will go to ridiculous lengths to show off how wealthy they are. But one London banker just took ridiculousness to a whole new level.
An energy commodities trader, whose identity is unknown, spent over $60,000 at a private club in west London on Nov. 1, according to the Sun. While the exact reason for the outlandish bill is unknown, onlookers suspected the banker was trying to impress Academy Award Winning actor Benicio del Toro who strolled into the bar moments before the spending frenzy began.
The banker’s tab included two $2,600 bottles of Belvedere vodka, three $12,700 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne and $2,400 worth of Don Julio 1942 tequila. The late night escapade was fueled by caffeine--25 Red Bulls that cost $140, to be precise. The bill also included a tip for $8,000.
Surprisingly, the unnamed banker is hardly the first person to shell out big bucks in order to impress celebrities. In 2011, a Russian billionaire bought Heather Graham and Zac Efron a $100,000 bottle of champagne at a Chicago nightclub, CBS reports. The billionaire also bought two bottles of Grey Goose for $1,250 and two bottles of Dom Perignon for $2,500.
London bankers are apparently notorious for spending ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol. Last year, nine hedge funders burned through $111,000 on their company’s Christmas party, according to Eater.
This past summer, 15 Olympic officials spent $69,000 on lunch alone. The most expensive item on their bill was a $30,000 bottle of Hennessy Cognac.
Del Toro, who won an academy award for his role as Javier Rodriguez in Traffic, reportedly left the bar shortly after the trader and his friends. Apparently, $60,000 of fun is enough for one night out on the town -- even for celebrities.
Perky here again, and a rather weird thing happened to me
yesterday. It isn't exactly a retail hell story, but it did revolve around a
crusty bank customer.
So yesterday was such a nice day. The kids were in school, I was off work and did not have any errands to run. So I thought I would make the best of it by heading out to the beach for some last minute fun in the sun before the weather turns cool. (Not like that will stop me anyways.)
On my way there I stop at my bank to get some cash for the beach parking and just to have a few dollars for lunch or what not. As I'm pulling into the bank to go through the drive through ATM I notice that the guy at the ATM is standing out of his car, but do not think anything of it. Who has not pulled up just a bit to far and have to get out to use the ATM? There was a big SUV behind him. So I pull up behind the SUV. Once there I can no longer see the guy at the ATM.
So I'm waiting, and waiting, and then waiting some more. About 5 minutes have gone by. I can not see what is happening in front of the SUV and I'm wondering what is the hold up. All I want to do is get to the beach and have some down time before I have to be home to get the kids off the school bus. Then I notice the break lights on the SUV flash on. Then they go off and I realize she is going to start backing up to go around the dude at the ATM. I had a split second to throw my car from park, to reverse (Thank the Gods I had not turned it off) and start backing out or she would have creamed me.
But it gets better, I'm backing away from her and she just keeps coming back, a truck starts to pull in behind me! I can not go any further for fear of hitting him I start to wail on my horn.
Finally the woman in the SUV stops. She jumps
out of her SUV and runs over to me, I had my window down. And she is all like
"Are you ok? I'm sooo sorry I didn't even see you . I'm so sorry, I'm glad
you blew your horn..."
At this time the guy who just pulled up in his truck gets out and starts yelling at both of us. "F*****G women drivers, this isn't a hair salon..."
All this time the dude at the ATM is still standing outside his car, all he is doing is putting his debit card into it and punching in what I would assume is his PIN number and getting receipts. He has like a stack of them in his hand.
The woman in the SUV turns to the truck guy and says, "Look mister none of us can get through cause of that guy (she points to the dude at the ATM). He's been there for more than 5 minutes."
So the truck guy goes over and starts roughing up the guy holding up the ATM, "What do you think you're doing there buddy? Get your shit and get going, I don't have all day...."
The guy standing at the ATM is like, "my card is broken I know I have money, it's not giving me my money....my card is broken they are stealing my money...'
So I'm sitting there thinking the world has gone mad. About this time someone from the bank has come out and is taking the crazy-someone-is-stealing-my-money-I'm-gonna-hold-up-the-line-all-day dude inside and telling everyone to get back in their cars, they will get it all worked out....
The Truck guy is still bitching at the SUV lady for driving like an idiot. At that point I just drive *carefully* around everyone and went to a different bank.
People are crazy. I was never so happy to get to the beach.
Greetings Curious Scroller,
If you've never landed in this part of cyber space before, you have taken a hard, fast plunge into the fiery depths of work hell. RHU is dedicated to giving the service worker a voice. If you are an angry customer, a corporate suite, a homophobic race-hater, and you don't like skull masks or swear words, this blog isn't for you. Click away now, before your ears bleed and your eyes explode.
I'm Freddy, Crypt Keeper of Retail Hell Underground RHU -- a place for service slaves to have a voice, tell their story, support each other, or just have a chuckle about the insanity of working in the 10th Circle of Hell! I'm also the author of "Retail Hell," the funny memoir about life as a handbag sales associate at an upscale department store! The sequel, "Return To The Big Fancy," has just been released in hardcover and e-reader and is available wherever books are sold!