In the first two blogs in this series, our Miami foreclosure defense lawyers looked at how banks are getting away with crimes because the Obama Administration seems to think what has happened in our country was simply the “least ethical” practices, but not crimes.
The blogs also looked at how a small faction of states attorneys are going against the grain and pursuing lawsuits against the banks who caused the real estate collapse in the first place. Rather than going along with most other states attorneys and attempting to settle with the banks for cash, this group seems intent on holding them criminally accountable for causing an influx of foreclosures that left homeowners considering strategic default because of problems with mortgage servicers and shady bank practices.
And our series of blogs has also concluded, based on a Politico article, that the Obama administration doesn’t seem very interested in pursuing criminal cases against these bank officials. While it’s obvious that crimes were committed — there have been documented examples of banks foreclosing on military families — as many as 5,000 against a 2003 act. And bank officials who were ordered to alter documentation in order to support a foreclosure — yet no major criminal charges have been filed.
In fact, the administration has encouraged the states attorneys to settle with banks over their foreclosure practices instead of pursuing criminal cases. That’s what has happened on the federal level. The Justice Department is trying to squeeze the banks for money instead of charging their officials with crimes. This comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve doling out $7 trillion in secret loans to banks.
The Politico article reports that Obama seeks to coverup the bank crimes by trying to force the states into a large-scale financial settlement. The Massachusetts lawsuit, which alleges foreclosure fraud against banks and MERS, is the most sweeping and while most banks have done little to fight back, government-owned Ally Financial has said it will stop lending in Massachusetts.
Officials are now attempting to set up congressional hearings into Ally’s capital strike, a tactic which is designed to meet their legal demands while threatening to stop financing. This isn’t new. In 2003, Georgia lawmakers found that mortgage lending had problems with predation and fraud, so they passed a consumer protection law that struck back at fraudulent practices.
But the result wasn’t what they expected, as Standard & Poor’s said it would no longer rate mortgage-backed securities with loans that started in Georgia. Since S&P made big profits from rating subprime mortgages, the Georgia law could have threatened its business. Lawmakers quickly reversed the law.
The Politico article goes on to state that while the housing bubble and burst wasn’t just based on bad behavior, it included threats made by banks to stop financing or make lending difficult in states where lawmakers attempted to make things right for homeowners.
The only way to make change, which is sure to come slowly, is for lawmakers to care about justice and to make it happen. Banks have found that crime pays and until someone stops it, it will only continue.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.
More Blog Entries:
A Miami Foreclosure Is Not Only a Tragedy, But a Crime Scene: Part 1: December 27, 2011
Treat foreclosure as a crime scene, by Matt Stoller, Politico