Wells Fargo Accused Of Fabricating Foreclosure Documents
Will Someone Go To Jail This Time?
With foreclosures not exactly making front page news anymore, a recent internal report states the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. Sound familiar? Our government overstating successes?
And talk about mortgage fraud, this report comes at a time when a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wasn’t it bad enough to falsify signatures with robosigning? Imagine a bank creating missing documents in order to foreclose on homeowners.
The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a key role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all.
Sounds Like An Inside Job
This attitude seems eerily familiar to what documentary filmmakers Charles Ferguson highlighted in the Academy Award winning documentary Inside Job. He spotlighted how during and after the serious mortgage scandal and meltdown that no one lending executive has gone to jail.
Now with this recent Wells Fargo scandal we shall see is that fact remains true.
For those who wish to read the whole report and transcript then click on the link –
The expo will offer information and resources for both perspective home buyers and current homeowners.
Current home buyers will be able to get the latest information about down payment assistance programs, credit tools and special mortgage products. Buyers will also be able to tour affordable homes for sale. Be sure and book the tour early because last year the tour booked up quickly.
For current homeowners, the expo will offer counseling and on the spot loan modification services for those in distress or suffering a hardship. The program will also include updates from Keep Your Home CA as well as other programs such as the CA Homeowners Bill of Rights to help avoid foreclosure.
California Short Sellers No Longer Need To Worry About Phantom Income
With the surging San Francisco and Bay Area real estate market, shorts sales and foreclosures have seen a steep decline. Even so, they still exist in San Francisco, San Mateo County as well as neighboring counties and cities.
Thanks to California Senator Barbara Boxer who pushed this issue with the IRS and got this letter as clarification about the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act.
“The IRS has clarified in a letter that California’s troubled homeowners who sell their homes in a short sale are not subject to federal income tax liability on “phantom income” they never received.”
Homeowners in California involved in short sales have been concerned with “phantom income”which refers to the amount of debt that is forgiven when a lender is willing to accept less than the full amount owed (as in a short sale). If you owed $500,000 on your mortgage, and the lender allowed a short sale for $450,000, you would have “received” $50,000 in phantom income.
With so many issues nipping at the heels of still underwater homeowners at least the fact that Uncle Sam and his California cousin will not have their hands out at the end of any short sale transaction ready to collect phantom income will make things slightly easier for still distressed property owners.
With the San Francisco real estate market continuing to climb, we see more San Francisco Real Estate Graffiti (see photo). We took this photo at 1155 Page St., a former SFUSD school site which will be leased to the private French American International School, which will operate a preschool and kindergarten facility there. The building sat vacant for six years. According to reports, the private school has agreed to pay nominal rent for 20 years and to invest about $5 million to rehabilitate the site. It is not more condos but what do you think of what will soon stand there?
We’re talking about an earthquake. Besides humans needing to be prepared so to do buildings especially in San Francisco. With that in mind San Francisco presents Earthquake Retrofit Fair today (January 28, 2014) 3 PM – 7 PM at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Questions about retrofitting your property? Have to comply with the new Mandatory Soft Story Ordinance?
Need to select a design professional, lenders, or contractor?
Are you a property owner looking to make your building safer?
WHAT TYPES OF BUILDINGS?
Wood frame construction (Type V), and
Application of permit for original construction was prior to January 1, 1978, and
Five or more residential units, and
Two or more stories over a basement or underfloor area that has any portion extending above grade, and
A soft story condition that has not been seismically strengthened to the standards set forth in the ordinance.
All San Francisco buildings that are wood-framed, permitted for construction prior to 1978, contain five or more residential dwelling units and are three or more stories or two stories over a basement or underfloor area that have any portion extending above grade, and have not yet been seismically strengthened.
REFERENCES AND REFERRALS – ENGINEERS AND CONTRACTORS
We will be at the event but if you are not able to attend then contact us and we can refer qualified engineers.
Consumers here in California get an early 2014 present with a new law that prohibits a debt buyer from bringing suit on a claim that is barred by the statute of limitations (Civil Code § 1788.56).
The new law which takes effect January 1, 2014 changes the burden of proof to the creditor. Up until now, a creditor was free to sue on a debt that was older than the statute of limitations. The burden was on the person sued to claim the protection of the statute.
Too often, the debtor didn’t know that and the collector got a judgment on debt that should have been unenforceable.
The law contains many other benefits which you can read about at Cathy Moran’s blog:
Luxury homes continue to foreclose at a record rate.
Even though pundits say that the economy continues to gain more traction and that the worst of the real estate crisis may be over, distressed properties continue to pop up in the Bay Area.
Inventory continues to be in short supply and experts say that we have 4-5 years (we’ve heard up to 10-12 years) left of REOs coming on the market. Unlike the past years, the upcoming REOs tend to skew toward the high end. Homes valued in the $1.5 million-plus range continue to climb in the foreclosure scene. For a couple of examples, a $2.5 million home recently foreclosed in Cow Hollow and likewise for a $1.8 million home in Hillsborough.
Folks over at RealtyTrac state that foreclosure activity on homes in the $5 million-plus value range jumped 61 percent from the same time period in 2012. During the real estate meltdown, high end homes certainly did see their share of REO casualties but banks often held off foreclosing because of the high losses. Instead the banks worked toward loan modifications, forbearances and short sales.
Now with values on the rise, many luxury homes have fallen into the foreclosure track. In the past, banks often hesitated at foreclosing due to possible high losses. Now, banks may take more chances to foreclose on the high ticket homes. With increased profits, banks with defaulting loans seem more willing to roll the dice on the luxury inventory. Such actions may end up signifying snake eyes for distressed high end homeowners.