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Standards and Customary Practices in a Fraudulent Industry

Livinglies's Weblog

The creation of fake accounts and fake services comes as no surprise to anyone who has been involved in foreclosure defense. As usual the response from Wells Fargo was a blatant lie. It wasn’t 2.1 MILLION fake accounts that were opened, it is now 3.5 MILLION fake accounts and there is more to come. Oh, and another 528,000 customers of Wells Fargo also got signed up for BillPay when they didn’t ask for it.

The point of all this is that Wells Fargo figured correctly that the penalty was worth the gain. By fraudulently expanding its reported portfolio of accounts and services, Wells Fargo had falsely represented a key indicator of its growth and health, causing its stock price to rise. The end result is a few million dollars in “refunds” while the increase in the stock price was worth billions.

Contrary to what Cramer says this is not the…

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Richard Blum and Dianne Feinstein Make Big Investment in Foreclosure to Rental Housing

Pueblo Lands

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.48.26 AM Power couple, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blum.

I’ve reported for a while now on the phenomenon of the Wall Street landlord. During the depths of the foreclosure crisis private equity firms and real estate investors bought up thousands of single family homes in Florida, Illinois, Arizona, Georgia, and especially California. These investors did quick rehabs on these properties and then rented them out, often to households that lost their homes between 2008 and 2013 due to the global financial crash. These elite investors bet that housing prices would rebound, and thanks to the actions of the US Federal Reserve and Treasury Department they did. They also bet that there would be a shift in America’s housing market toward more renter demand. Households that lost their savings and jobs have been forced into the rental market, creating an opportunity for those with capital to obtain higher returns on real…

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California Appellate Court Judges’ Ownership of Stocks and Bonds of Financial Companies

This blog post just shows the importance of reviewing the financial disclosure for the judge or justices hearing your case. If there is a clear conflict you should file a verified statement to disqualify the judge.

Pueblo Lands

How do judges reach conclusions in complex cases where the law is often open to interpretation, or where the laws are still changing in response to the times? Are judges influenced by cultural currents? Do politics sway their decisions? What role does their material interest play in shaping their rulings and legal reasoning?

Appellate Court Judges Fin Holdings 1 A network diagram of the 42 of California’s 105 Appellate Court judges who own at least $2,000 of stock or bonds in a financial company. The larger and darker colored nodes are financial companies. The node size is based on the number of judges who reported an ownership stake in the company. The larger the line connection two node (judges to their investments), the larger the investment in dollar terms.

I don’t claim to have answers to any of these questions. But in searching for some possible reasons for the outcomes of homeowner lawsuits against banks, mortgage…

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Challenge Blanket Objections to Discovery

The scope of discovery is very broad.

Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. The information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

Under the Federal Rules, the objecting party has the burden of explaining why the discovery is improper, and it’s well-settled that boilerplate objections are insufficient. “Boilerplate, generalized objections are inadequate and tantamount to not making any objection at all.” Walker v. Lakewood Condo. Owners Ass’n, 186 F.R.D. 584, 587 (C.D. Cal. 1999); accord Adelman v. Boy Scouts of Am., 276 F.R.D. 681, 688 (S.D. Fla. 2011) (“[J]udges in this district typically condemn boilerplate objections as legally inadequate or meaningless.”); accord Ritacca v. Abbott Laboratories, 203 F.R.D. 332, 335 n.4 (N.D.Ill. 2001) (“As courts have repeatedly pointed out, blanket objections are patently improper, . . . [and] we treat [the] general objections as if they were never made.”). See also Matthew Jarvey, “Boilerplate Discovery Objections,” 61 Drake L. Rev. 913 (2013).

Livinglies's Weblog

There is a simple rule to keep in mind. If you win on the discovery requests, you are on your way to a successful conclusion for the homeowner.

The 2015 amendment to Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure essentially bars the use of blanket objections. The objector must state both the grounds and the reasons for an objection on each item. Blanket objections continue nonetheless in Federal Court and are pandemic in state courts. They continue because few lawyers or pro se litigants are challenging them forcefully.

The Federal Rules, while not binding on state court, could be used as persuasive authority to ply answers out of banks and servicers who are attempting to obscure the facts — i.e., primarily that the base event (i.e., the alleged loan represented on the note and mortgage), in a long chain of events, was a nullity along with all transfers…

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Damning report finds state agencies wasted millions meant for struggling homeowners

That is outrageous that funds that were supposed to be spent to help homeowners that were hit the hardest by the financial crisis were used instead to enrich a bunch of lazy bureaucrats.

Justice League

A damning new report from a federal watchdog shows that 19 state housing finance agencies wasted millions of dollars that should have gone to struggling homeowners as part of the government’s Hardest Hit Fund program.

The report, published Friday by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, showed that SIGTARP’s investigation found that the all 19 of the state housing finance agencies that participated in the Hardest Hit Fund collectively wasted $3 million on items like barbecues, steak and seafood dinners, gift cards, flowers, gym memberships, employee bonuses, litigation, celebrations, and cars, instead of using the money to help struggling borrowers.

Read on.

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Wells Fargo wants court to toss overdraft lawsuits and let it use arbitration

Justice League

A group of Wells Fargo & Co. customers who say they were victims of unfair overdraft practices want their claims heard in court, but the bank wants the disputes handled through arbitration.

Class-action lawsuits filed around the country have accused Wells Fargo of changing the order of debit card transactions — from highest dollar amount to lowest dollar amount — to unfairly increase the number of transactions eligible for overdraft penalties.

Read on.

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Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks

Considering the dire straits that the State of Illinois is currently facing what Ellen Brown is suggesting makes a lot of sense.

WEB OF DEBT BLOG

Illinois is teetering on bankruptcy and other states are not far behind, largely due to unfunded pension liabilities; but there are solutions. The Federal Reserve could do a round of “QE for Munis.” Or the state could turn its sizable pension fund into a self-sustaining public bank.

 Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally passed a budget, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto on raising taxes. But they used massive tax hikes to do it – a 32% increase in state income taxes and 33% increase in state corporate taxes – and still Illinois’ new budget generates only $5 billion, not…

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