'Zombie' homes get facelift after Center report

By Alison Fitzgerald

Foreclosure crisis left some homes empty and untended. Wells Fargo addressing problem in St. Petersburg.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… the lender foreclosed on loans tied to the homes. The San Francisco-based bank has been working with city officials to fix up the ailing properties after …"

"… abandoned, foreclosed homes in his city by lender in an effort to get the banks’ help with upkeep. Dove said Wells officials contacted him the day aft …"

"… ses can take years to complete. The empty homes are often neglected by the banks until they regain title, and they pull down the value of other homes in t …"

"… were unoccupied and 54 were listed as “problem properties.” Once the bank contacted Dove in September, things began to happen quickly. By November, …"

Florida homeowners catch a break in courts

By Alison Fitzgerald

The state Supreme Court revisited foreclosure court procedures after a Center report.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Supreme Court":

"… n find a more friendly reception in the state’s courtrooms after a state Supreme Court panel found that some judicial practices designed to speed up the cases ma …"

"… yond the judge’s authority. The committee referred the rule to the state Supreme Court for review. At issue is an order by the chief judge in Palm Beach County, …"

"… Thomas Ice, a Florida lawyer who took his opposition to the orders to the Supreme Court’s committee as well as to two state appeals courts. “I’m going to wa …"

"… blic Integrity reported earlier this year that Florida’s legislature and Supreme Court have instructed judges across the state to clear what they say is a critic …"

Poorly rated nursing homes got HUD-guaranteed mortgages anyway

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Hundreds of poorly rated facilities received mortgage guarantees.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… Housing Act of 1959, the nursing home mortgage program was created because Congress believed that for-profit nursing homes were having trouble securing loans …"

Sunshine state uses fees to prevent sun from shining on judicial records

By Alison Fitzgerald

In Florida, a court is charging massive fees for some public records.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… en the Center for Public Integrity last summer requested records from Florida’s 17th judicial circuit regarding the procedures and policies surro …"

"… government agencies to avoid releasing information they want kept private. Florida’s laws and the state courts’ rules allow, but don’t require, th …"

"… e courts to charge for such records searches. “The problem we have with Florida is that they all claim they have to review emails for exempt information, …"

"… First Amendment Foundation, a group that advocates for open government in Florida. “If you’re asking for information on policies and procedures in an em …"

'Zombie' homes haunt Florida neighborhoods

By Alison Fitzgerald and Jared Bennett

Neighborhoods devastated by thousands of abandoned homes as banks fail to follow through on foreclosures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Freddie Mac":

"… but records provided by Mainor show that Citi transferred the mortgage to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, in October 2013. “If they wan …"

Investigating Florida's parallel legal system for foreclosures

By Alison Fitzgerald and Sarah Whitmire

A Q&A with Senior Reporter Alison Fitzgerald on her most recent investigation into Sunshine State foreclosures.

Homeowners steamrolled as Florida courts clear foreclosure backlog

By Alison Fitzgerald

Why are Florida's courts rushing to clear more than 700 foreclosure cases per day?

Excerpts from this story referencing "officer":

"… even listen to you. This is a total fraud!” the 12-year St. Pete police officer fumed as he paced around Weidner, his lawyer, in the courthouse hallway wh …"

"… ked out of the home they have lived in for more than 12 years. The police officer was willing to pay the principal and interest due on his mortgage, but now …"

"… rawn after enormous opposition, including from Florida’s chief financial officer, Jeff Atwater, who said in a comment letter to FHFA the plan wou …"

Former subprime executive making risky loans again

By Daniel Wagner

Andy Pollock, who led First Franklin's bad loan factory, is pushing interest-only loans at new firm.

Excerpts from this story referencing "WDB Funding":

"… r out. The veteran subprime executive has been named president and CEO of WDB Funding, the company announced last week. WDB is a national lender that provi …"

"… ly sank Merrill Lynch, which was forced to sell itself to Bank of America. WDB Funding is the third mortgage company Pollock has helped lead since rejoining the …"

"… not qualify for government guarantees because they carry more risk. WDB Funding’s managing partner said he is “ecstatic” to have nabbed Pollock. “ …"

Report: Some lose homes over as little as $400

By The Associated Press

Some homeowners lose houses for a little as $400 in overdue taxes, consumer group says

Excerpts from this story referencing "The Associated Press":

"… policies and procedures for tax lien sales. An early copy was obtained by The Associated Press.___Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports .  …"

New whistleblower cases allege continued bank fraud

By Amy Biegelsen and Emma Schwartz

Mortgage modifications and appraisal processes in question

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Department of Justice":

"… nancial Inc. Although the formal papers have yet to be filed in court, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that under settlement, the majority of the funds would go to pri …"

Raging against the foreclosure machine

By Ben Hallman

Automated foreclosure process creates errors, stifles modifications and enrages helpless homeowners

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mortgage":

"… led to sign up for a modification plan with their loan servicer, GMAC Home Mortgage, Cassandra Gray said. The modification lowered their payment from $1,128 …"

"… to pools of 5,000 or more. They are then sliced up and sold as securities. Mortgage servicers bid on the rights to manage these loan pools before they are sol …"

"… aged lenders to stop caring whether the loans they were making were sound. Mortgage giants like Countrywide approved as many loans as possible knowing that Wa …"

"… ton III, a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Aberdeen, Miss., ordered American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. to pay borrower Glen Cothern’s legal expenses due to its …"

Feds investigating possible fraud at GE’s former subprime unit

By Michael Hudson and E. Scott Reckard

Federal investigators looking into possible fraud at GE's now-closed subprime lender

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mortgage":

"… into potentially criminal business practices at Burbank, Calif.-based WMC Mortgage Corp. during the home-loan boom, according to four people with knowledge o …"

"… rs, making it a less-familiar name than giant retailers such as Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and Countrywide Financial Corp. Still, in 3½ years under GE’s owner …"

"… ed in guilty pleas to egregious fraud. One, at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. in Florida, included the creation of fictitious loans. The othe …"

"… ;in Florida, included the creation of fictitious loans. The other, at U.S. Mortgage Co. in New Jersey, involved selling the same loans twice — once to credi …"

Fraud and folly: The untold story of General Electric’s subprime debacle

By Michael Hudson

High-paid employees of fraud-plagued, GE-owned WMC Mortgage included ex-porn star, strippers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mortgage":

"… loans by paying roughly half a billion dollars to buy California-based WMC Mortgage Corp.What GE got in the bargain, former WMC employees say, was a place whe …"

"… ng.Founded in 1955, it had been known for much of its life as Weyerhaeuser Mortgage, a subsidiary of the pulp and paper giant Weyerhaeuser Co. By the lat …"

"… ck defective WMC loans.By October 2007 — as Riedel had predicted — WMC Mortgage was effectively out of business, dead after having pumped out roughly $110 …"

"… loans under GE’s watch, according to industry data tracker Inside Mortgage Finance.‘Living it up’And Amy Brandt?She was “living it up,” at le …"

Woman says GE-owned subprime lender deceived, defrauded her

By Michael Hudson

Mortgage on modest home becomes legal nightmare for West Virginia woman

Excerpts from this story referencing "WMC Mortgage Corp.":

"… laid out the costs and details of her loan.The $67,500 loan was funded by WMC Mortgage Corp., a subsidiary of General Electric since 2004.GE shuttered WMC in 2007, but …"

Ex-WaMu worker claims he was shunned for refusing to push toxic loans on borrowers

By Michael Hudson

Ex-WaMu employee says he fought pressure to sell toxic loans

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kerry Killinger":

"… mortgage boom years, according to federal regulators.WaMu chief executive Kerry Killinger touted Option ARMs as the bank’s “flagship product.”It was no wonder …"

Bank of America to pay record settlement over Countrywide abuses

By John Dunbar

Bank of America to pay record settlement over Countrywide abuses

Excerpts from this story referencing "Justice Department":

"… the real estate collapse that led to the nation’s economic meltdown. The Justice Department said Wednesday that the agreement is the largest fair lending settlement i …"

Whistleblowers ignored, punished by lenders, dozens of former employees say

By Michael Hudson

Former mortgage company employees say fraud was widespread in industry

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kerry Killinger":

"… prits.In congressional testimony, former Washington Mutual chief executive Kerry Killinger blamed borrowers for misleading WaMu about their incomes and other details …"

Worst may be yet to come in foreclosure crisis, study says

Millions more homes at 'imminent risk of default' study says

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mortgage":

"… ften as white borrowers.The study – “Lost Ground, 2011: Disparities in Mortgage Lending and Foreclosures” – concludes with a plea for stronger governm …"

Obama housing plan gets faint praise

The president outlined a new plan to help homeowners, GOP presidential candidates rely on free market

GOP candidates in foreclosure capital say government not the solution to crisis

By Michael Hudson

Republican candidates in Nevada say foreclosure mess will go away if government stays out of it

Excerpts from this story referencing "Freddie Mac":

"… the housing crisis on government-chartered mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been taken over by the government and bailed out by taxpayers. …"

"… ublicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, has said: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the main cause of the nation’s current financial turmoil.” The fe …"

'Occupy Wall Street' aims ire at foreclosures

By Michael Hudson

Singing protesters try to block foreclosure in Brooklyn courtroom

Excerpts from this story referencing "Foreclosure":

"… m from beleaguered homeowners, community activists and consumer attorneys. Foreclosure opponents have used social media to spread the word about questionable tac …"

HUD cuts to devastate mortgage counseling agencies across nation

By Ben Hallman

HUD mortgage counseling program loses funds, hundreds of housing counseling agencies hammered

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ding makes it into law is uncertain.   …"

"… an 7,500 housing counselors across the country, including those at Western Tennessee. Funds run out Sept. 30. The cuts come at a terrible time, say counseling …"

"… our staff,” said Steven Xanthopoulos, the executive director at Western Tennessee Legal Services. “We are faced with some hard decisions.” Western Tenn …"

"… ssee Legal Services. “We are faced with some hard decisions.” Western Tennessee may lay off as many as four employees when its $1.2 million HUD grant runs …"

Mortgage industry tanks, fraud continues at Countrywide

By Michael Hudson

As the mortgage industry melted down, fraud investigator kept up the pressure, soon lost her job

Countrywide protected fraudsters by silencing whistleblowers, say former employees

By Michael Hudson

Exclusive interview with a high-ranking Bank of America whistleblower reveals corruption that led to the financial collapse

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… that branch employees had used scissors, tape and Wite-Out to create fake bank statements, inflated property appraisals and other phony paperwork. I …"

"… chief, had seen a lot of slippery behavior in her two-plus decades in the banking business. But she’d never seen anything like this. “You’re looki …"

"… for exposing fraud and retaliation against whistleblowers. It ordered the bank to reinstate her and pay her some $930,000. bank of America denies Foster …"

"… his is the story of Eileen Foster’s fight against the nation’s largest bank and what was once the nation’s largest mortgage lender. It is also the s …"

Obama's new plan for underwater mortgages may be too little too late

By Michael Hudson

Obama orders Fannie and Freddie to work with borrowers; earlier programs helped only a few

Excerpts from this story referencing "Neil Barofsky":

"… rlier this year, shortly before he stepped down as TARP inspector general, Neil Barofsky criticized the Treasury Department, which administers TARP, for not puttin …"

Borrower Nightmares: Disabled homeowner alleges broker, bank sold her mortgage she couldn’t afford

By Ben Hallman

Queens woman fights foreclosure on her childhood home

Excerpts from this story referencing "Astoria":

"… s not fit the usual profile of those borrowers. She owned her house in the Astoria neighborhood outright. She has lived there since the 1960s. But a low inc …"

"… on her home, which sits on an attractive block in the rapidly gentrifying Astoria neighborhood, and thousands of dollars more in other unpaid bills. The sta …"

Reporter Michael Hudson Talks Mortgage Fraud on KCBX

Michael discusses annual FBI mortgage fraud report

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… Monster: How a gang of predatory lenders and Walls Street bankers fleeced America -- and spawned a global crisis.Read the ongoing iWatch News series on debt …"

FBI brags about chasing down mortgage fraudsters but big banks are left untouched

By Michael Hudson

FBI report identifies mortgage fraudsters of all stripes – except banks

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama administration":

"… seudo-investigatory approach” of the FBI, the Justice Department and the Obama administration in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown. “The only thing worse than do …"

"… blic into thinking they're doing something,” Eskow told iWatch News. The Obama administration, Eskow claims, has taken the view that the nation’s largest banks are to …"

"… exactly what each employee and branch office is doing.Sending a messageThe Obama administration’s efforts to portray itself as tough on financial crime have been the su …"

"… omething less than it appears. Some of the cases were initiated before the Obama administration took office. Others got under way before President Obama created . . …"

A roundup of investigations in the three years since the last market crash

By Shirley Gao

iWatch News reports on the financial crisis from 2008 to now

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bush":

"… assets from banks so lending could start again. On Oct. 3, 2008, President Bush signed the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law. Cal …"

As housing crisis festers, mortgage servicers spend $8 million on political contributions

By Michael Hudson and Aaron Mehta

Mortgage servicers pony up $8 million in political donations as housing crisis festers

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