—– “I loathe bankers. They rig the roulette wheel of commerce, very nearly destroyed the world economy, and they still think if they wear suits, they’ll be treated like respectable folk instead of the crooks that they are.” — Sherlock Holmes on the TV show “Elementary” —– That appeared on an October 2012 episode. I’ve added it here, now, as I edit this post to add the following advisory: I’ve been directed, and so, agreed, to change or remove the parties’ names to protect the guilty.
In 2009, I was at the receiving end of a big bank foreclosure against my landlord and an unannounced trash-out of my home that had a company of men and trucks roll up to my front door and then attempt to crash in through the back door. I was home alone in a wooded environment where many surrounding homes were vacant at the time. As a tenant, I had not been privy to the mortgage issues surrounding the house and, for whatever reason, I had not received any notice that events were playing out that would soon capture me in a web of lies and concealment by the banks and their various agents.
It took me about a year and a half to discover the real names of the trespassers who threatened me, invaded my privacy and attempted to break in. The men also took unauthorized photographs of me and my home. It ended up being one of the most harrowing incidents in my life. I and my partner reported the incident to the sheriff’s department.
The realtor, hired as the property manager for the bully bank, and the property management service company, – I’ll call them “PMS” for short — it seems only apt, refused to tell us or the sheriff the names and location of the people who came to the house. The same parties refused to divulge their contacts with the banks so we could discuss our situation which eventually led to terminations to our utilities during the year we fought to remain in our home subject to our lease. Overall, at least half a dozen California civil, penal and business codes had been violated by the banks and the companies that supported them. The realtor and a Vice President at the property management company thought it was funny that I had been traumatized by the incident. The two of them, with their lies and concealment, prevented me, at the time, from having anyone criminally prosecuted.
We eventually filed a lawsuit against all the parties, a total of seven defendants, including two big bully banks, one deemed to be one of the largest foreclosers in the nation and its idiot mortgage servicing company. We’re on our own against four law firms and headed for a February trial. It seems even other attorneys don’t want to go up against the banks. They know that big bucks will win every time.
Banks in the News
Robo-signing and mortgage fraud runs rampant. Banks engage in securities fraud and then restructure to shield themselves from new regulations under the Dodd-Frank Reform Act. We are one Nation Underfoot to the Banks. Nothing but fraud, foreclosures and turmoil follows in the path of deregulation.
Government Agencies Useless
With respect to my case, not a single government agency in a position to investigate and punish unethical or fraudulent behavior, will do anything, not the Attorney General, not the Department of Real Estate and not the Contractors Board. Their attitude is let the victims fend for themselves. I’ve spent countless hours and lots of money trying to prosecute my case, none of which will be recoverable according to our absurd legal system. Law enforcement agencies bow out when a civil suit is in progress. They’re all lazy bums.
Defendants and their Attorneys
The defendants remain ensconced in their protected bubbles; the law apparently on their side and their high priced attorneys doing battle for them. I wonder how’d they fare if they actually had to fend for themselves as I’m doing. How many other people have been forced to fight expensive battles that our governments should be fighting for them?
As I attempt to prosecute my case I’ve discovered that while all the defendants hold themselves out to be experts on some level in mortgage servicing, foreclosures, property preservation and management and REO matters, not a single one of the non-banks bothered to find out if the banks’ actions were legal, if the one bank actually owned the property or if tenants were living in the house. According to them nothing happened at all. Alternately, they “entertain” the idea that a mistake “might” have been made; they’ve blamed us for being where we were legally permitted to be. One defendant’s attorney blamed God in his response to our complaint, saying it was all an act of God. Ultimately, no one will take any responsibility. Intentional lying, concealing information and wholesale negligence is simply the way these people and companies do business in today’s environment.
The lawyer at the big firm handling the case on behalf of both banks told me personally that the banks would rather pay the attorneys to fight Plaintiffs than settle.
Foreclosure “mistakes” keep happening as companies rush to kick people out of their homes and sell off the properties. In a nationally reported incident one company broke into the same home on three separate occasions and the home wasn’t even owned by a bank and wasn’t in foreclosure. In another, it was the wrong house entirely. The local trash out crew involved in my case has been sued by their own employees. In his complaint, one of the employees charged that the main man at this company, the guy who came to my home, had tried to run him over with his truck in a contentious personal attack. Mister big shot bank attorney then stepped in again with this little nugget telling me that all this evidence will be kicked out come trial time and he’ll make sure of it. It’s not even evidence against his clients. How foolish we nonprofessionals are to think that the court would be interested in hearing evidence that supports the truth.
Fairness, Government, the ACLU and the Law
I keep coming back to the idea that there exists in this country the American Civil Liberties Union that will fight tooth and nail to protect some kid’s right to wear a tee-shirt to school emblazoned with some profanity on free speech grounds, but when it comes to actual civil liberties being threatened by fraud, illegal or unethical actions by our agencies, or having an enormously unfair legal system designed by attorneys for attorneys, as just a few examples, they are nowhere to be seen or heard.
As our own government agencies repeatedly turn a blind eye to the wrongs perpetrated against the public, I find it increasingly difficult to listen to the political claptrap spewed upon us come election time. Bankers Trust went out of business in 1998 (embroiled in fraud) and that’s most apt given today’s vile and rampant bank fraud climate. Unfortunately, there really is no one to trust anymore. The bank reforms that are being touted in Washington are a spit in the bucket of fraud and complicity. With respect to the $25 billion settlement between the government and the nation’s largest banks, the California Reinvestment Coalition said in September that “banks have made little progress on providing principal reduction to California homeowners, and instead have prioritized short sales — a tool that represented business as usual for banks before the settlement was ever announced.” There you have it. We’re on our own.
American civil liberties have been disappearing fast in this country. Maybe we should all get together and form our own super PAC. We could call it the Real American Civil Liberties Union.
I’ll be posting again on this topic to keep you abreast of this lawsuit insanity.