A case of major lending institutions with no respect for the law… Part of the system that destroyed the American economy

Jeff Thigpen is Guilford County, North Carolina’s Register of Deeds, and I didn’t write the headline above, those are his words used to describe the fraudulent acts of our nation’s major banks, brought to light as part of the robo-signing scandal of last fall. (Hat-tip to reader Catherine for sending this in.)

Thigpen says that a large number of national banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, HSBC and others repeatedly filed documents with forged signatures illegally notarized and other false information, and not only in his Register of Deeds office, but all over the country.

Thigpen says that he and his staff have been reviewing documents on file at his office and that they have uncovered a plethora of evidence of wrongdoing by Wells Fargo and other banks.  Among others, he says he has found thousands of documents signed by Linda Green, and many are clearly forgeries of Ms. Green’s signature.  Although foreclosure defense attorneys like Max Gardner of North Carolina, have known about Green for some time, she became known to homeowners as a robo-signer when an April 3rd episode of 60 Minutes introduced her to the show’s national audience.

According to 60 Minutes, Linda Green, who was signing her name as VP for something like 20 different banks, was hired because her name was short and easy to forge… I mean, “spell,” it was easy to spell… and another signer-VP explained that the only requirement for being a Vice President of the bank was that you could hold a pen.

Thigpen was quoted in an article in Greensborough’s Rhino Times as saying:

“I’m sending the information to the Federal Reserve, 50 state attorneys general and to the banking institutions involved, to tell them to fix it.”

Alrighty then… that oughta’ do it… we’ll let you go back to bed then.

The same article went on to quote Thigpen explaining that banks fraudulently mass-produced documents that were either missing or non-existent, often outsourcing the dirty work to firms that became complicit in the illegal scheme. Thigpen was quoted by the story as saying:

“It was like a sweatshop of signing off on documents on land records that certify satisfaction on a loan or a debt.”

Thigpen said that the bankers hired people at $10/hour because they could write fast, and gave them the title of vice president of numerous various banks so they could robo-sign false names to document after document.

Even the 60 Minutes program that aired in early April made it clear that banks had been, “caught in a jam of their own making,” and their solution was “resorting to forgery and phony paperwork to throw people down on their luck out of their homes.”

On a side note, I have a question for President Obama…

When homeowners are seeking loan modifications, you had said previously that they “should contact their bank directly.”  Are you standing by that advice or would you like to revise what you said in 2009, since we now see that perhaps that was the equivalent of heading into a lion’s den wearing fresh meat around our necks.

No need to respond, since we haven’t heard a single word from you ever since February 19, 2009 when you gave that fabulous speech introducing your Making Home Affordable program, why bother answering anything about the foreclosure crisis now?

Thigpen also said that in light of the egregious and illegal action on the part of the bankers, Guilford County should end its relationship with Wells Fargo and find a bank not heavily involved in the forgery scam… something he acknowledges will be difficult to do.

Well, perhaps I can be of assistance, Mr. Thigpen… I’ve got four little words for you:

A Mandelman Minute:

As Sir Walter Scott once said… and my mother must have said a thousand times to us kids while growing up: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”  And talk about being appropriate… we’ve got bankers that are tangled up in blue.

I just want to say that a few things should be getting kind of obvious to every interested observer by now:

  1. Our bankers are more than willing to lie, commit fraud, forgery and more if it suits their purposes, and not give it a second thought.  I’m not willing to do any of that, are you?
  2. Our bankers don’t have the documents they need to properly foreclose or transfer the titles to our homes.  Remember how the bankers said this was only the case in isolated incidents?  Yeah, well… not so much.  (Refer to point #1 above.
  3. If they don’t have the notes properly endorsed and assigned to the REMIC trusts that are used in conjunction with mortgage-backed securities, then those trusts aren’t holding the mortgages they were supposed to hold when the investors invested.  They invested in mortgage-backed securities without the mortgage-backed part.
  4. If we were to somehow just say that it was okay, and the bankers could just SAY which loans were in which trusts, do you think the investors will be okay with the banks picking out which loans they now own?  Or do you think the investors will say, NO WAY… and sue the banks for securities fraud?
  5. And if the trusts are empty, then it would seem that the rules of the REMIC trust were broken, which destroys the pass-through tax status afforded these trusts and someone owes certainly hundreds of billions in taxes.
  6. And all of this could have been avoided if the bankers would have just been even mildly empathetic, pleasant, agreeing to modify loans as they were expected to do, and said they would do.
  7. And they want us to believe that they are the smartest guys in the room?  Okie dokie then.

Mandelman out.

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