I was fetching a glass of water and about to go back to bed when this caught my eye:
Attorneys General in 40 States Said to Join on Foreclosures.
Attorneys general in about 40 states may announce by next week a joint investigation into potentially faulty foreclosures at the largest banks and mortgage firms, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
State attorneys general led by Iowa’s Tom Miller are in talks that may lead to the announcement of a coordinated probe as soon as Oct. 12, said the person, who asked not to be named because an agreement wasn’t completed. The number of states may change because several are deciding whether to join, the person said. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said yesterday in a statement that his state will join a multi-state effort.
What they’re investigating is the big banks using apparently fraudulent means — including forged signatures and made-up dates — to attempt to foreclose on homes that they can’t prove they own. Normally, these banks would have clear title and therefore the clear right to foreclose, but after doing a criminally sloppy job of chopping the mortgages up into pieces and reselling them as mortgage-backed securities, nobody has clear title. (You know that recession from which we’re trying to recover? The banks’ sloppiness is one of the major root causes, if not THE major root cause, of the credit crisis that led to that recession — nobody trusted anyone because nobody knew what anyone else was really worth, and so lending ground to a halt.)
What’s scary about this is that all of this is coming to light (in the mainstream media, anyway — Rep Alan Grayson (D-FL) was on it long ago (2)) after this nation dodged a bullet in the form of HR 3808. This bill, which sailed through Congress on unanimous consent motions, would have required the courts in any state to recognize a notarization in any other state. While this sounds like a common sense measure, this would have sent anyone with any need to prove anything in court running to the state with the weakest notary laws. That way, they could have put a meaningless signature and stamp on a fraudulent document — and every court in the United States would have been forced to recognize that document. Among other nightmares, this means that the above-mentioned frauds being perpetrated by the big banks would have been nearly unstoppable.
Fortunately, we have a reprieve, even if only temporarily, from that nightmare. On Thursday, President Obama vetoed HR 3808, very much to his credit. Interestingly, Bank of America halted foreclosure proceedings in all 50 states on Friday, and the Wall Street Journal published an editorial bemoaning the “politics” of the veto on Saturday. My read? They were counting on this bill sneaking past everybody.
This is where you come in. You can help yourself and everyone else by doing the following:
- Write the attorney general for your state and ask them what they’re doing to investigate fraudulent foreclosure practices by the banking industry. If you don’t know who your AG is, check Congress.org or Wikipedia. This kind of thing might seam like weak sauce, but it keeps the AGs focused on the issue, which is exactly what we consumers want right now.
- Ask your Senators and Representative why they didn’t step in to stop HR 3808. It doesn’t matter who your Senators and Representative are — not a single one of them stepped in to stop this bill.
- Ask the people running to be your Senator or Representative whether they would have supported HR 3808. If they say “no” or “yes, but with minimum standards for notaries,” then they’re probably okay. If they would have given HR 3808 unconditional support, then they don’t deserve your vote; tell them so, and tell them why. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, educate them.