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Crook Alert! Is There Something Rotten in Denmark (Countrywide)?!
Countrywide's CEO, Angelo Mozilo, Apparently Has Been Spending Time on the Beach!
Countrywide Finanical Under Investigation for Bankruptcy Abuses
The United States Trustee has subpoenaed Countrywide documents in two foreclosure/bankruptcies in Florida in an investigation of whether the lender's conduct constituted bankruptcy abuse.
In one case the documents sought involved Countrywide's claim that the borrowers owed $279,000 on their loan. The $279,000 figure included an $11,294 advance Countrywide said it had made to an escrow account as well as an insufficient funds fee of $683. In the second case the U.S. Trustee has subpoenaed documents relating to Countrywide's claim of $101,000 including $2400 in overdue mortgage payments. The borrowers in both cases objected to the amounts Countrywide claimed they owed.
Countrywide failed to appear at both hearings, and judges ordered the fees stricken from the claims.
The United States Trustee took an interest in both cases after Countrywide did not respond to the borrowers' objections.
And in Ohio, three federal judges recently dismissed 73 foreclosure cases brought by lenders and loan servicers because they could prove that they owned the notes on the properties they were trying to seize.
These cases appear to be only the tip of a very large and very rotten iceberg. Questionable or nonitemized charges levied on borrowers by lenders and loan service racketeers are an industry wide problem, consumer advocates contend. A recent study of more than 1700 foreclosures by Katherine Porter, an associate professor of law at the University of Iowa, showed that questionable charges had been added to almost half of the loans she examined.
In a case involving Wells Fargo, the court found that the bank assessed improper fees and charges that added more than $24,000 to the loan, 12 percent more than the court found was actually owed.
In another case, Ms. Porter found that a lender had claimed that the borrower owed more than $1 million but that an examination of the loan history showed the true balance to be only $60,000.
[Based on a NYTimes article 11-28-07 by Gretchen Morgenson, linked below.]
Countrywide Financial Under Investigation
Can the Feds Send Andrew Mozilo Up the River?
- Can the Feds Prosecute Meltdown Mogul Angelo Mozilo? - Bloomberg
Assuming prosecutors can clear legal challenges against applying retroactively the law's longer statute of limitations -- from five years to six -- the next step will be deciding whether to reopen the investigative files of top banking executives.