Labor and community groups call for action as mortgage fraud settlement nears


Take action, says Working America, the AFL-CIO affiliated community group in response to reports that the Justice Department is nearing an agreement with several banks responsible for ripping off home owners by mortgage fraud.

The banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, were responsible for overcharging literally millions of homeowners, many of whom lost their homes.

The Justice Department investigation began when it was revealed that banks, in a rush to maximize profits, were involved in "robo-signing," that is, signing mortgage papers en masse without proper review.

To date, close to 8 million families have lost their home since the crisis began when working families were unable pay back sub-prime loans. With rising unemployment the mortgage crisis quickly spread to standard loans.

Reuters reports that "In exchange for between $20 billion to $25 billion in relief to distressed homeowners, the banks will put behind them potential government lawsuits about improper foreclosures and abuses in originating and servicing the loans."

The proposed settlement however may amount to just a pittance of what is actually owed consumers. For this reason, California's attorney general, Kamala Harris in October left negotiations with her counterparts "aimed at reaching a broad settlement over their mortgage practices," characterizing bank proposals as "insufficient" and "inadequate" in bringing relief to Californians "equal to the pain California experienced." Attorney Generals from all 50 states had joined together to demand compensation from the banks.

Harris said "too few Californians would be allowed to stay in their homes."

With an agreement near, the Justice Department is now approaching smaller banks to see if they will follow suit. "The DOJ has contacted several nationally chartered banks to determine whether they might agree to terms similar to those in the proposed deal," says Reuters. 

Working America is calling for letters to be written to state attorney generals demanding real relief instead of a symbolic fine. The online letter can be signed here

In a separate but related case, Bank of America recently agreed to pay a record $335 million settlement on behalf of its Countrywide financial unit for steering Black and Latino homeowners toward sub-prime loans.

Countrywide was the one of the architects of the sub-prime swindle. No banking officials have faced criminal prosecution for fraud.

Earlier the affected banks had entered into a much-criticized consent decree to compensate victims. 

Photo: Occupy Atlanta march on Bank of America, Nov. 11, 2011. CC by 2.0  


Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


  • I am writing this testimony to raise awareness and support for Satori Farm, Stephen Conklin Sr., his 84 year old father, and his family, who are victims of the Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud crisis sweeping the nation. This is an urgent situation as the Conklin's face an illegal eviction process scheduled for January 23, 2012.

    Since 1997, Mr. Conklin has been trying to expose the fraudulent foreclosure proceedings being brough against him. He has been harassed and intimidated by the Pennsylvania Courts and I feel much of it is in retaliation for him "blowing the whistle". During this timespan, he has uncovered more fraud in his particular foreclosure case than the majority of foreclosures I've ever studied, and I've studied 100's of them.

    There is plenty of well documented and factual evidence to support all of Mr. Conklin's claims, including ex-parte communications, perjury, robo-signing, backdating of assignments, fraudulent verifications, and fraudulent assignments, and that's just the tip of the iceburg. Had the courts listened to his valid claims which are well documented, verified and supported by expert witness affidavits, they could have very well prevented the foreclosure crisis from becoming the nationwide epidemic that it has over the years. All they needed to do was give him a fair trial when he first brought all of the evidence to light. In 13 years, he has never been given that Constitutional right.

    Instead, he is followed, harassed, and intimidated by deputies as soon as he walks into a courthouse, yet he has never once been anything but honest, calm, and diplomatic within the court system. Let him cross examine witnesses. Let him present the overwhelming amount of evidence to prove his claims are completely with merit. His Constitutional rights are being completely deprived and due process has been ignored in favor of a high powered law firm representing EMC mortgage.

    EMC recently settled with the FTC for an amount over $28 million as a result of filing fraudulent foreclosure paperwork.

    Lynn Szymoniak who was recently on 60 minutes, and trained the CIA and FBI on fraudulent documents, has verified the fraud and submitted not one, but two expert witness affidavits to prove the assignments and verifications are completely fraudulent.

    Why won't the court acknowledge this evidence and rule appropriately?

    Janus Handwriting Experts have also verified numerous instances of fraud being committed, including cutting and pasting Mr. Conklin's signature to create a settlement sheet to rush a mortgage settlement. There were also defacements on the copies of the assignment of mortgage and promissory note, rendering them unacceptable for legitimate transactions. Janus also found that there were several other questionable irregularities to consider as well.

    During a bankruptcy proceeding Judge Mary France even exclaimed "this is bizarre" and "collusion", the latter referencing collusion between Conklin's prior counsel, Paul Lutz, and the "banks" attorney, Leon Haller, with regards to how Conklin wrongfully lost his property at an unjust sale.

    Judge Arthur Schack of NY has thrown out cases with just a fraction of the fraud Mr. Conklin has discovered. At recent judicial conferences in Chicago and Arizona, several panelists praised his rulings as a possible national model. Justice Schack's take is straightforward, and sends a tremor through some bank suites: If a bank cannot prove ownership, it cannot foreclose. "If you are going to take away someone's house, everything should be legal and correct," he says.

    There is absolutely nothing legal and correct about the fraudulent paperwork being submitted to the Pennsylvania Courts by EMC mortgage through the law firm of Grenen & Birsic in an attempt to take away Mr. Conklin's farm.

    There's also proof that the attorneys for EMC mortgage, including Kristine M. Anthou, perjured themselves on several occassions.

    How Mr. Conklin is being ignored and chastised for so many years in the PA Courts is completly mind numbing and ridiculous, to say the least. I would like to see the courts finally give Mr. Conklin a fair trial.

    There is more than enough evidence to suggest the entire foreclosure proceeding against him should be completely thrown out, as it is completely fraudulent, without merit, and founded on fabricated documents and lies. If action isn't taken soon, Mr. Conklin faces an eviction no later than January 23rd, 2012.

    I am hopeful that justice can finally be granted and Mr. Conklin can finally enjoy his farm, and resume sharing it with the community, providing educational programs for the children and many other positive contributions he's made to the community over the years through his chairatble endeavors.

    And perhaps his 84 year old father, a union worker and veteran who fought in WWII to defend the American Dream, can finally enjoy the rest of his retirement instead of worrying about having it stolen from him and living in fear.

    The courts are supposed to be for the people and by the people, not for the bankers and their law firms. Thank you for your support and considerations.

    Quick Introduction to Foreclosure Fraud:

    Lynn Szymoniak, esq., is a nationally recognized expert on foreclosure fraud and has trained the FBI and CIA on examining and detecting fraudulent documents.

    Watch Lynn Szymoniak on 60 Minutes discussing Foreclosure Fraud:

    View the Proof of the Fraud being commited against Satori Farm:

    Lynn Szymoniak's expert witness affidavits proving fraudulent foreclosure documents are being used against Satori Farm

    Janus Handwriting Experts affidavit proving more fraud and irregularities against Satori Farm

    For more information, Satori Farm can be reached at 717-458-2815 or

    Thank you for your time and considerations. Please forward and share this with whoever you can.

    Posted by denied_due_process, 01/21/2012 2:50am (4 years ago)

  • Your article states the following:

    To date, close to 8 million families have lost their home since the crisis began when working families were unable pay back sub-prime loans. With rising unemployment the mortgage crisis quickly spread to standard loans.

    What is the source of this 8 million figure? I track completed foreclosure sales and short sales, and have them broken out between owner occupied and non owner occupied, and I can't come up with a number anywhere close to 8 million. But I am aware that my numbers may be incorrect. Please cite a source, broken out by "families" who occupied their home but who have lost their home, vs. homes lost by "investors."

    It's really important to get the facts right, and if my data are not correct, and you have a good and reliable data source that can verify your number, I would love to have that.

    Thomas Lawler

    Posted by Thomas Lawler, 01/12/2012 7:16pm (4 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments