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Behind the Humble Blue Pickup Scott Brown Has Been Working for Banks with Ties to Home-Stealing Forgers

Remember when Scott Brown used his old GMC pickup to promise he’d change business as usual in Washington?

In a bid to force Elizabeth Warren to reveal her clients going back decades, Brown made this admission.

“I am also a real estate attorney with a very small general practice. I don’t have any corporate clients, where I get paid tens of thousands of dollars.”

Mostly, he said, his local legal work involved property closings and real estate transactions. He said he has worked for Wrentham Cooperative Bank, Hyde Park Cooperative Bank and Middlesex Savings Bank.

I was a title agent for first American and Fidelity National Title and I represented a couple of small mortgage companies that are probably out of business now,” Mr. Brown said. [my emphasis]

As Adam Levitin and DDay translate, by working for Fidelity National, Brown worked for the parent company of one of the most corrupt players among the rogues gallery of mortgage fraudsters.

Fidelity National is the former parent company of LPS, one of the worst offenders in the foreclosure fraud industry. Fidelity National split with LPS very quickly once their worst abuses came to light.

As I’m sure you can gather from my reports here, LPS was a middleman in this game, providing faulty documents – often off a prescribed menu, where you pay $100 for a mortgage assignment, or $150 for a full loan file – through its subsidiary DocX. This company facilitated forgeries and mass false documents, which we know through Lynn Szymoniak’s work. The Linda Green phenomenon came right out of LPS and DocX. This is where robo-signing lived.

And while we don’t know what Brown did–or still does!–for Fidelity National, it does place him in the front seat of the housing bubble.

It’s not clear exactly what Brown was doing for these clients–title work sounds innocent and boring enough, and Brown certainly isn’t responsible for all of his clients’ misdeeds.  But at the very least, Brown’s association raises a host of questions. Who were those “mortgage companies” that he worked for?  It’s nice that Brown named a bunch of local banks, but I wonder what lies under the “mortgage company” label?  What did Scott Brown understand about the mortgage market he was facilitating? Did he recognize that there was a bubble?  (He was a town property assessor at one point, so one would think he’d notice this sort of thing.) If not, what does that say?  And if so, what does thatsay? How many predatory loans did Scott Brown facilitate?  How many of the loans where he handled the closing resulted in foreclosure?  What would he say to those families that lost their homes to predatory loans?

Since Brown first raised these nice homely local banks with ties to document forgers in a bid to force Warren to explain more about how she helped people get asbestos settlements and other things, I’m sure he’ll have no problem answering Levitin’s questions about precisely what he did and knew about the mortgage industry. Ha! And, as DDay notes, he should also answer for the conflicts of interest that led him to hold up some financial reform.

He held out in the [financial reform] bill, getting a bank fee removed that would have paid for much of the regulatory measures, and weakening the Volcker rule to allow more proprietary trading among big financial institutions. So Brown was a cog in the great finance wheel when doing these closings and “title work,” and also when a US Senator trying to enable as much profit-earning risk in the big financial institutions as possible. A useful cog.

Before Scott Brown digs up work Warren did years ago, he probably ought to elaborate on this nice homey mortgage work, and let us know whether he was ignorant to the corruption around him, or just facilitating it. After all, he’s the guy insisting on transparency .

When Job-Killing Regulations Are Removed, Jobs Become Killers

The city of Karachi is shut down today:

Public transport was suspended and schools and colleges closed. Factories and markets also shut while attendance at offices was thin.

This city of 18 million is in mourning for the deaths of 258 people in a fire at a garment factory. The fire was horrific:

Workers were suffocated or burnt alive at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, which made ready-to-wear clothing for Western export, when a massive fire tore through the building during the evening shift on Tuesday.

Up to 600 people were working inside at the time, in a building that officials said was in poor condition without emergency exits, forcing dozens to jump from upper storeys to escape the flames, but trapping dozens in the basement where they perished.

How can a factory be allowed to operate when it is in such poor condition that nearly half the workforce present dies when a fire breaks out? One place to look for an answer to that question is the labor minister of Sindh province, where Karachi is located:

Ameer Nawab, who has just resigned from his post as Sindh labour minister, has said that Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had stopped him from taking action against factories violating labour rules.

This point was corroborated by Sharafat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, an organisation that works for labour rights. He alleged on Wednesday that the CM had verbally issued directives to government officials to stop the inspections of factories in Sindh.

Noor Muhammad of the Pakistan Workers Confederation and Ayub Qureshi of the Pakistan Trade Union Federation had damning words for how regulations are enforced:

“The state and its machinery is responsible because they silently allow the violation of laws and regulations established to ensure health and safety at work,” said Muhammad.

The National Trade Union Federation held a protest outside the press club and demanded Rs700,000 for those who died in the fire and Rs300,000 for the injured.

“If inspections are allowed in jails where people serve time for their crimes then why is this right denied to labourers who strive to earn by lawful means?” asked Ayub Qureshi of the Pakistan Trade Union Federation. “Industrialists and entrepreneurs have been allowed to treat their labourers even worse than animals.”

Those in the US who rail against “job-killing regulations” should take a moment to ponder Karachi’s mourning today. The cost of allowing garment manufacturers in Pakistan to operate without inspections of their facilities was around 300 lives just this week, as another 25 lives were lost in a shoe factory fire in Lahore. Factory inspections also had been halted in Punjab province, where Lahore is located. Earlier this year, over 100 Pakistanis lost their lives due to contaminated heart medication that was produced as a result of lax regulation.

These tragedies in Pakistan should stand as a stern warning for what happens when regulations are brushed aside in favor of “industrialists and entrepreneurs”. And if you think that can’t happen here, try telling it to the four million families who lost their homes as $7 trillion in family home values was wiped out by the unregulated market for various derivatives based on mortgages that were packaged and sold in “creative” ways. If other US industries are allowed to go Galt in the way the financial industry has, days of mourning could be coming to a city near you.

Are Obama and Congress Set To Screw American Counties, Homeowners and Give Wall Street Mortgage Banksters a Retroactive Immunity Bailout?

There are rapidly emerging signs the Obama Administration and Congress may be actively, quickly and covertly working furiously on a plan to retroactively legitimize and ratify the shoddy, fraudulent and non-conforming conduct by MERS on literally millions of mortgages.

From CNBC:

When Congress comes back into session next week, it may consider measures intended to bolster the legal status of a controversial bank owned electronic mortgage registration system that contains three out of every five mortgages in the country.

The system is known as MERS, the acronym for a private company called Mortgage Electronic Registry Systems. Set up by banks in the 1997, MERS is a system for tracking ownership of home loans as they move from mortgage originator through the financial pipeline to the trusts set up when mortgage securities are sold.

Just to make clear the implications of this craven action, the White House and Congress are conspiring to give a get out of jail free bailout card to the biggest banks and finance companies in the country to cover up and mask their illegal behavior and behavior that did not conform with state, county and local laws throughout the United States. On at least sixty (60%) percent of the existing mortgages in America.

There are dozens of implications to individuals and both private and public entities. At a root minimum, it will likely decimate, if not bankrupt, most counties in every state of the union.

If courts rule against MERS, the damage could be catastrophic. Here’s how the AP tallies up the potential damage:

Assuming each mortgage it tracks had been resold, and re-recorded, just once, MERS would have saved the industry $2.4 billion in recording costs, R.K. Arnold, the firm’s chief executive officer, testified in 2009. It’s not unusual for a mortgage to be resold a dozen times or more.

The California suit alone could cost MERS $60 billion to $120 billion in damages and penalties from unpaid recording fees.

The liabilities are astronomical because, according to laws in California and many other states, penalties between $5,000 and $10,000 can be imposed each time a recording fee went unpaid. Because the suits are filed as false claims, the law stipulates that the penalties can then be tripled.

Perhaps even more devastatingly, some critics say that sloppiness at MERS—which has just 40 full-time employees—may have botched chain of title for many mortgages. They say that MERS lacks standing to bring foreclosure actions, and the botched chain of title may cast doubts on whether anyone has clear enough ownership of some mortgages to foreclose on a defaulting borrower.

Why would the Obama Administration and Congress be doing this? Because the foreclosure fraud suits and other challenges to the mass production slice, dice and securitize lifestyle on the American finance sector, the very same activity that wrecked the economy and put the nation in the depression it is either still in, or barely recovering from, depending on your point of view, have left the root balance sheets and stability of the largest financial institutions on the wrong side of the credibility and, likely, the legal auditory line. And that affects not only our economy, but that of the world who is all chips in on the American real estate and financial products markets.

What does that mean to you? Everything. As quoted above, even the most conservative estimate (and that estimate is based on only a single recording fee per mortgage, when in reality there are almost certainly multiple recordings legally required for most all mortgages due to the slicing, dicing and tranching necessary to accomplish the securitization that has occurred) for the state of California alone is $60 billion dollars. That is $60,000,000,000.00. California alone is actually likely several times that. Your county is in the loss column heavy from this too.

Where will the roads come from? Where will the county courts, judges and prosecutors come from? The Sheriffs? Who will build and maintain the bridges, parks and public works entities? Removal and obviation of this funding mechanism may literally kill any and every county.

That is without even going into the real and myriad effects on individuals, families and communities. This is a death knell to the real property system as we have always known it and the county structure of American society as we have known it. And millions of people will have lost the ability to benefit from the established rule and process of law that they understood and relied on. After the fact. Retroactively. So Obama and Congress can once again give a handout and bailout to the very banks and financial malefactors that put us here.